The Gatekeeper

an introduction to Destrim

Some thought it got lonely, guarding the gates to the multiple dimensions converging in Destrim, but truth was that Ysmerel liked his job. He enjoyed the solitude and peace that came with it, and he knew more about the connection between the different worlds than anyone. Occasionally, people would try to cross over, and that was why he was here. He was to ensure that everyone stayed where they belonged, and sometimes that meant meeting some interesting beings.

Within the few allowed to cross between realms were angels and demons. Moving between this world and theirs, whether it was Heaven or Hell, was part of their job as Guardians. Unfortunately, portals such as these being used so often meant leaks of high amounts of energy that created tears between dimensions. As a Gatekeeper, he had been able to transform these into regulated gates that would not expand any further, but it wasn’t in his power to close them completely.

Destrim being the origin of all realms, it was only natural that every portal created lead here, in this bright room they called the Gate Hall. From here, one could access any of the infinite amount of dimensions existing. In each one, there was a place called Destrim, or a variant of it, that connected to this one. Though it may be different from one world to another, they stayed the same in essence, myriad of copies reflecting different aspects of the City of Light.

Fortunately, in most of these other worlds, not many were gifted enough to sense the portals and would walk by without even noticing them. However, once in a while, a delinquent traveler would try to cross over. Stopping them wasn’t very difficult, but the consequences of opening the gate illegally was what Ysmerel couldn’t control.

Every world was different, and every time a gate opened, energy from Destrim would leak through it and alter ever slightly that world. Some dimensions carried magic, some didn’t. In some realms, there would be signs of supernatural activity on a regular basis, such as spirits reaching out, while in others, creatures of the underworld would cohabit with humans.

That energy was in its purest form and it could empower magic already existing in one dimension, or it could allow some faint manifestations of supernatural in worlds where there shouldn’t be. For example, spirits would be able to show themselves for a short time when they shouldn’t or windows between realms could open temporarily, confusing people. These leaks could create chaos, and chaos was what Ysmerel feared above anything else.

A familiar sibilant sound resonated in the ever-illuminated Gate Hall followed by a flap of wings. An angel had crossed over from Heaven.

“Hello Ysmerel, long time no see. How are you?”

The Gatekeeper recognized the smooth voice of the woman who greeted him warmly. Kiriel, one of the Guardians of Heaven. She was also a guide to new Fighters, helping them to choose a side. It was the never ending-war between Heaven and Hell, and Fighters were humans marked at birth to help keep a balance between the two realms so one wouldn’t overthrow the other. Whatever happened in Destrim always echoed in the other worlds, one way or another.

“I am well, thank you. I trust things have been good of late?”

The redheaded angel smiled at Ysmerel. He never had been able to read her easily, but he knew she was devoted to her duty. A warrior among her people, she was also the Captain of one of the many heavenly Guardian units.

“As usual. A new Fighter just came into power. I need to get there before the demons. You wouldn’t know, by any chance if…?”

“You know I cannot disclose any information, Kiriel.”

Ysmerel had been appointed as Gatekeeper, and thus had to be impartial in the war. If he was to choose a side, he could deny passage to the enemy and affect the balance of the world. Chaos. There was a reason he had been chosen for this job.

“You don’t change, do you.”

Kiriel didn’t hold it against him, she knew too well how the Gatekeeper operated. If anything, she found it amusing, but then, she did find many things amusing. Existing for centuries changed the way one would see the world, she assumed. And Ysmerel had been guarding the gates long before she was even born.

“Well, I have some work to do. I’ll see you soon.”

Ysmerel watched her silently as she left for the City of Light, the eternal battleground for the forces of Heaven and Hell, unsettled by her presence, as always. Kiriel had a way to unnerve people simply by looking at them. It felt as if she was reading one’s soul so easily while keeping her thoughts hidden expertly. Nothing seemed to touch her, not really.

It had been only minutes since the angel had gone that another being stepped into the Gatekeeper’s domain with a whooshing sound. A demon this time, as Ysmerel could have expected according to the information he had gotten previously.

“Greetings, Gatekeeper.”

Dantalian nodded in acknowledgment as he spoke, then made his way towards the entrance to Destrim. He wasn’t the type to stay and chat, he was always so stern. The demon was a general of the Hell army and one of their best recruiters, he didn’t get there by making friends.

Ysmerel nodded back, not making a single move to stop Dantalian. He simply watched him, always the observer. Just before he reached the door, the demon stopped and whispered : “She’s just gone through, hasn’t she? Kiriel.”

The Gatekeeper didn’t see his face from where he was standing and he couldn’t tell what that meant, and Dantalian disappeared before Ysmerel could ask how he even knew.

Dantalian and Kiriel… what a strange pair. Both champions in their realms, both deadly warriors. And yet, they seemed to simply dance around each other. Ysmerel had noticed how often they were sent after the same Fighter, trying to rally them to their side. They would come back with a few scars, but they were so evenly matched that they couldn’t kill each other. Or wouldn’t.

There were things he didn’t know, couldn’t explain, even if he had been around for thousands of years. As the Gatekeeper, Ysmerel was only a spectator. He could watch the struggles of humans, angels and demons, he could follow the path each world was taking, but he was never to take part of it all. History in the making. His duty consisted in guarding the Gates and monitoring them, not interfering with Heaven and Hell’s affairs.

Sometimes, guarding the gates got lonely, but Ysmerel liked the solitude and the peace that came with his position. It was simple. But once on a while, he wished he could be part of history, just once.



  1. kateamedeo

    Hello there! 🙂

    The first paragraph got me thinking about Gaiman’s Stardust. Have you read/seen it?

    It seems more a premise to a bigger story than a short story. As if you are building up to the conflict/love affair of the couple. Are you planning to continue to write about the two? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kate! Yes, I’ve seen the movie and have the book on my neverending list 😉 indeed, I do plan to write more about Kiriel and Dantalian as they are two important characters of a storyline I’ve had in mind for a while 🙂 thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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