[WP] It is the year 0 B.C., due to an nuclear attack by the Romans, most of the world has been annihilated. One small Jewish family survives in the wastelands and the mother gives birth to a baby that possesses phenomenal powers…and is also hell bent on revenge. – ShadowMercure
Mariam remembered the day the world ended. The day the Romans brought down the Lightning of Jupiter, to cleanse the world of barbarism. Fire and light, scorching the world and rending all to ash. From leagues away, she had seen the Lightning erupt and consume Jerusalem, wiping the city from the surface of the world. Joseph, her husband, had covered his eyes from the sight, but Mariam had not, and she had paid the price for her transgression against the gods. She had seen the light, and now she saw only nothingness.
Now, months later, she, Joseph, and their mule huddled in a cave, as Mariam’s screams echoed against the cold walls. The child had been a surprise; when the Lightning fell, Mariam had not known she had been with child, and she feared what would become of the child. She and Joseph had met other survivors in the wasteland, including one family who carried a newborn with them. Mariam had not seen it, but Joseph had, and he told her how the child was cursed. Four arms, and eight black eyes. Mariam was glad she had not seen.
“I see the head!” Joseph announced, as another wave of pain tore through Mariam. “Keep pushing!”
Mariam screamed again, tears running down from her blind eyes. The pain was nearly unbearable; her husband’s attempts at easing the pain were admirable, but he had been a carpenter, not a midwife. “Oh, God, please, help us, help her,” he prayed, tears in his voice.
“God cannot,” “but perhaps” “we can.”
Three voices, but they spoke together so seamlessly that it seemed they were as one. Mariam, even with her sharp ears, had not heard them enter. Joseph gasped. “You – who are you? What are you doing here?” he demanded.
“Who we are” “is no longer” “of importance. But” “we have come” “to lend aid” “if you will” “let us.” Their final words were spoken as one. They had accents, but Mariam knew not from where.
“Joseph, please, the pain,” Mariam whined, torment clouding her mind.
Her husband grabbed her hand, reassuring her that he was still there. “You – I know not what you are, but please, please, help us,” he begged.
“It” “will” “be” “done.”
Footsteps, surrounding Mariam. Three pairs of hands upon her. On her eyes, her chest, her swollen stomach. Where they touched her, warmth spread, banishing the pain. The three men hummed in unison, a song that was familiar to Mariam, though she had never heard it before. Before she knew it, she had joined the harmony, until it filled the cave and reverberated through the bones of the earth.
Then, a cry.
Mariam gasped, the song leaving her. “It is done,” the three men said. “A boy.” “Healthy.” “Strong.” A bundle was pressed into her arms, wrapped in cloth and wailing.
“God,” Joseph breathed. “He’s – he’s perfect.”
“No, not perfect.” “Flawless.” “Divine.”
How Mariam wished she could see once more. To see her perfect son. “Bless you, oh God, bless you, we can never repay you, you saved our son,” Joseph blubbered to their three saviors.
The men laughed, though there was no humor in it. “He is not” “your son, Joseph of” “Bethlehem. He is the son” “of the Lightning” “sent to punish the Romans” “for stealing” “fire from the Gods.”
“What? You – who are you? What manner of creature-?”
“Once, we were” “kings, mighty men of” “wisdom. Now we are” “husks.” “Shells.” “Shadows.” “Cursed by the Lightning. Undying.” “Eternal.” “Immortal.” “We see the past.” “Present.” “Future.”
The baby’s screaming petered down to silence, as he was claimed by sleep. “He – he glows,” Mariam said, her blind eyes seeing the corona around her infant son.
“He will do more” “than glow” “by the time” “he is grown.” “Go north to” “Nazareth. It is untouched” “by the Lightning,” “mostly.” “These gifts shall” “aid you in” “your journey. Frankincense.” “Myrrh.” “Gold.” “Raise him well.” Footsteps, moving away and out of the cave.
“God above, the rumors were true,” Joseph said, at Mariam’s side. “About the men cursed by the Lightning.”
“Son of the lightning,” Mariam said, repeating what the three-men-as-one had said. “A savior from the heavens.”
“Joshua,” Joseph said, giving the child the name they had agreed upon. “I feel you will live a very interesting life.”