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Penitent Feathers

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When evil thrives on the world, warriors known as Saints appear. Fueled by a heroic cause, they deliver hope through their fists; blessed armors that model the constellations wrap their bodies – the eighty eight Cloths of the goddess Athena; within their mortal surfaces, and channeled through their emotions in battle, they burn a universal energy– Cosmos. Corruption on Earth, from man or from God, cannot elude the explosive justice of Saints.

In 18th century Greece, Saints gather in The Sanctuary. From arched and pillared stone monuments, to mountain-tucked columned temples, The Sanctuary was a stark reminder of Ancient Roman Empire. It was the home and proving ground of the righteous Saints, and the secular figure that stood as the Saints’ figure of leadership.

Athena’s statue, her body dressed in a chiton and cuirass, rose tall above the Sanctuary, and its regal presence evoked the goddess’s significance to the world. She, the daughter of Zeus, was sent to Earth to become its valiant protector. In her right hand was Nike, her staff named after victory; in her left hand was the golden aegis of wisdom.

Under its helmet, the statue’s piercing eyes seem to watch The Sanctuary of her Saints diligently. There were five people in the theater’s semi-circular orchestra.

“Whaaaaat?!” a boy in a tunic and thoracic cuirass shrilled. “But, if you do that, doesn’t that mean you want to throw something away?”

“Wait! You’ll lose your strength, don’t do it!” a girl pleaded. She sounded genuinely worried.

“This is her wish,” an elderly woman said, “if it helps in her mission.” The kids frowned; any other words of disapproval were kept back in their thoughts. Marina had a soft aspect and a nurturing voice that gave out unquestionable wisdom. To add along to the elder’s respective visage was the habit she wore. She was a nun; in between her wrinkled fingers, she held long strands of light brown hair. In front of her was the hair’s owner, who had a body wrapped in magnificent gold. Deep-slotted wings and a white waist cape sprouted from the Cloth’s back.

“Hades will awaken soon,” said a giant man; he also wore a gold Cloth. From those words, the winged Gold Saint said nothing. The Saint’s gauntleted hands became fists. There was a long silence, as if everyone’s minds were heavy with contemplation.

“I see that many men enter war, return and not. It’s like either they felt like they’re the only ones who can do it, or they have nothing else to live for,” said the Saint containing the universe of Sagittarius, the guardian of the ninth house.

“However, I want to be just as devoted to justice, and stand on the same ground as the other Gold Saints. Marina,” Sagittarius paused, and then kneeled, “please.”

“Yes.” The nun lifted the hair to her eyes; in her other hand was bronze scissors.

“Lady Athena has given me such an honor. So now, I have to further humble myself,” Sagittarius said.

“Hey, how come? I wear my hair long.” The large man, Aldebaran, said with a grin. He wore the Cloth of the second house, Taurus; and indeed, his white hair was as long as his body.

“I know, but it’s a sign that I am abandoning my identity for a new one. It is a new beginning.” Sagittarius said. Marina squeezed the hair tightly and moved it in between the scissors’ large blades. The boy, Yato, and the girl, Anna, covered their eyes with their hands. The nun squeezed the tool’s grip, and the Gold Saint’s long flowing hair became neck-length. The brown strands fell onto the ground.

Sagittarius continued, “I’ll still be woman, but I’ll probably be more like a man. With this, I’ve given up my figure of lust, my glory of what a man has created, of being a companion.” Marina sighed and fiddled with the flat ends of what remained of Sagittarius’s hair.

“If I recall Valsylia, you told us that the previous Sagittarius had his hair short,” the nun said.

“Master Sisyphos…” The female Saint paused and looked to the ground; she said his name in a woeful voice, then she shook her head.

“He told me, no, he told all of us that we mustn’t give up in hope.” Valsylia looked up the sky and began to stride for the stairs ascending to the temples, “When you have a compassionate and loyal heart, you form great companions. It is that reason why Lady Athena trusts him so much. I want to look up to him and follow him.”

As the female Saint moved from the group, Yato called out to Sagittarius’s back, “Hey! Do you think Sisyphos is really dead?!”

Valsylia stopped for a moment, shook her head, and then resumed walking.