“Bring in the next one.”
Everyone in the arena turned their heads towards the double sided doors opening, creating a high, groaning noise that silenced every sound inside.
A man wearing only a dirty damaged robe appeared being brought in shackles by three armored guards. His chest was exposed. He had over the shoulder messy hair, and walked barefooted.
The crowd gasps. Most commented to the person next to them.
The walk to the elevated pedestal where the high council passed judgement took about 40 steps from the door. You could hear the audience’s whispers piercing the atmosphere around.
“Ah, the time finally arrived. I have the self-proclaimed son of light in front of my eyes. As I live and breath.” Said the superior council.
“Guards! Remove his shackles, and take off his robes. You may leave.”
The guards did as order. And the man was left naked, and alone, to be humiliated with all watching. He had tanned darker skin. A completely different appearance compared to everyone here, which was a pale white tone with almost hairless bodies.
“You are being sentenced to death by radiance. What are your last words.”
The man spoke softly. His words barely carried over the area.
— I am he that walks along the shadows. Shines away the darkness. Leads the journey into the outside…”
“Silence, heathen! There have been many before you. All of them fall to the radiance. You are just another one, using make-up as a parlor trick to terrorize our people. We show no mercy to heretics. We despise you.”
The spectators started shouting insults, and yelling.
“Into the ray!”
“Blessed be the cleansing light!”
The man looked around unfazed. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. He was totally surrounded by thousands in the audience, hundreds of guards and the complete high council in front of him.
The superior council called out.
“Open the radiance chamber”.
50 armored guards wearing a different uniform fell in line and marched behind the high council. Where they picked-up an humongous chain from the floor. Between all of them, they could barely grab ahold of it.
Scripture says a race of giant anthropomorphic cephalopods —old gods as they’re called by the faith worshippers— built this city and the arena, leaving behind only four chains of the same size scattered across the region. The ones in the arena and the town-hall both are single ones tied up to the roof. The other two are joined side by side at the great cathedral, extending all the way into the wall of worship and holy altars. No group of men have ever been able lift it, much less pull it and see what causes.
A loud scraping was heard, along the sounds of the guards yelling “heave-ho” to pull the chain. Small debris and particles fell from above. A single beam of light entered the arena a few meters from the man being judged.
No one dared looked up, everyone was staring at the man and the circle of light near him.
The guards dropped the chain on the floor, and a thunderous bang filled the whole stadium.
“Step into the light, you wretch. Let your soul be cleansed.”
The man looked around him, as if he was saying goodbye. His face was emotionless and calm. He used his hands to pull back the hair from his face, revealing a red eye, and a black one.
As he started making his firsts (and last steps) towards the light, he raised his voice at the council.
— Let me go. I’ll leave and never come back again. Save me from such a heinous act I do not wish on my conscience.
It was so loud that even the audience could hear everything he said.
“What it this salvation you talk of? Over 200 generations have been witnessing the radiance. We are obedient to the light, and our souls are cleansed. Just like yours will be.”
The council responded, while making hand gestures to the guards to push him into the light. The guards follow through, and threw the man to the floor in the middle of the spotlight. The crowd cheered and hollered.
The man fell to his knees and wrapped his arms around to cover his face. There was smoke emanating from his body, creating a dense cloud around him that covered him completely.
The high council stood up, shocked.
“It can’t be. Guards! Spears, now!”
Guards were scared, and stayed behind. Only two of them were brave enough to follow the order and step into the cloud with their spears. As they were getting closer, they started melting until being turned into a white goo. Falling short a few centimeters from the cloud, now dissipating.
It revealed the man in the middle of the light, completely unharmed, but now his skin was turned full black as night, with his eyes, mouth, ears and fingertips radiating light.
The spectators panicked, and started to run in every direction, trying to run away as fast as possible. But the man raised his arms and shot a beam of light that reached all the way up to the sky, blowing open the whole ceiling.
Light covered every inch of the arena, melting every person inside. The white liquid from all the remains formed a wave that reached to the center stage and elevated pedestal, where the high council was still shielded under a secondary wall on top of him.
The man walked towards him, still glowing, and grabbed the high council by the arm. It was burning him, slowly, not enough to be liquefied, but intense enough to leave the holes of the burning finger marks all the way of to the bone.
— I am the one that carries the cleansing flame. Your world will be dissolved and the life fluid shall flow to the core. Where it will be purified, and all souls will once again return the place they belong. The age of light has begun.