Part William Blake, part Hideaki Anno, Above & Below is story of conflict and retribution.
A Tale of Warring Clans
Above & Below
by Joey To
Velvet clouds flow over the canopy before he emerges into streaming white rays. He smiles. The white charges him. It reassures him. It washes the powerful wings he is riding on.
He glances below and spread before him is a cacophony of cracked obsidian and billowing bronze, blazing and lashing for the skies, clawing for him. He huffs, the landscape somewhat familiar because it is a reminder of something else, of the blood-soaked and tear-stained stones of home. He peers, finding a proud tower amongst a jungle of other manmade monoliths and glides toward it.
Translucent droplets speckle and streak against the glass. Up ahead, the white is now diffused into its elementals, into an unstrung bow hanging in the heavens. He smirks at that sign of the resting weapon, a thing no longer to be used: an ancient promise to never again purge the earth with water.
But no promises were made to not use the fire.
He scoffs: their land must be cleansed. His wings blares a premonitory scream and he thumbs the red switch.
Thrashing tentacles of fire and soot fills his vision. Not long ago, this was a metropolis in its golden age. Admittedly, so was theirs until his people decided to—
His eyes dart about, unable to penetrate the swelling black. And neither does the streaks of white raining down. He lifts his gaze and raises his arms, the white rays no longer soothing him as dark wings streak across the heavens whilst lancing down shafts of onyx.
He winces as the demon screeches, drowning out the cries of the gravel beneath his feet. Still he keeps his eyes up, hoping for some measure of salvation despite the overshadowing menace.
Then a flicker. Is the avenger leaving? An act of mercy perhaps?
He squints… a glimmer of a colorful arc, a symbol of peace but it fades as the demon sweeps in to eclipse the sun. There is another flicker, something glints, and still he looks for those reassuring white beams…
But a silvery flash bathes him instead. He realizes there is no salvation today but maybe, just maybe a spark of redemption.