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ChaWriMo - Archangel

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Dwayna DragonFire, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Dwayna DragonFire

    Dwayna DragonFire 2014 Little Cup Champion

    Warning: This story may contain scenes of violence and issues regarding romance, sexuality, and other things that may not be suitable for all viewers. If you don't feel comfortable reading that sort of thing, please turn away now.

    Otherwise, I hope you enjoy this story about romance, sexuality, and other things. It was not the idea I had originally planned to write, but it is the one that appealed to me the most at this current time.

    Chapter One

    A world full of magic has a variety of different characters. Terrater had everything from dragons to humans, each one of them unique of their own right. It was a world larger than any Earth realm planet, with a single landmass united under one monarchy. The four suns and four moons made it all the more intriguing, leaving a spectacular day and night cycle and beautiful seasons.

    Being that the air itself was magic, anyone coming to the planet that did not have magic was given a gift from the planet as long as greed did not rule their hearts. Anyone already with magic was asked to keep the peace, be they a visitor or wishing to become a citizen. Regardless, the tradition was that all new visitors from any dimension would visit the royal family to formally introduce themselves. It was not only for the benefit of knowing the people who came to Terrater, but it was also to affirm that the new citizens would be welcomed by what some would call the honour guard – a strange race of robots, which the populace had fondly named the Androids.

    Several millennia had passed since the beginning of their culture, but it wasn't until the later years that inter-species relationships was widely accepted as the norm. It hadn't really been addressed before exactly what was allowed with marriage or mating rituals, many just pairing off with their own species for fear of reprimand from the dragon king. But he himself eventually chose a human wife, showing that love was welcome in all forms.

    But even though Terrater was a peaceful world, it was not perfect. Everyone had something from their old worlds that was widely believed to be taboo, and each was unsure of what was to be allowed and what was to be looked down upon. It was the monarchy that made the decision – as long as the parties involved were adults, their love was to be accepted. Inevitably, it would not please everyone, but the vast majority agreed that it was the best decision and hailed their rulers wisdom.

    To Ethan Torke, there was one particular aspect that was sickening. He was an angel from a planet called Vehn, a world that was at war with its polar opposite, a world full of demons called Vehl. The worlds and their peoples were created by two deities, Angelus of Vehn and Daemonem of Vehl. The two were actually brothers, who long mourned the war between their two races but did nothing to stop it, for they both believed in the concept of free will.

    It wad he who had called Angelus out on this fault, and it was he who was sent here to Terrater as a punishment. At first, Ethan was confused as to why such a peaceful place would be his downfall, until he realized that not only did he have to be at peace with the very demons he was previously at war with, but the two races even mated with one another at times. It was sickening that the peace that he had wanted for years was here, and he couldn't bring it home.

    He decided that he much preferred a human deity, known only as 'God', one who conquered the unjust and accepted those that asked for forgiveness. It was also quite coincidental that he was an angel that had the white wings as described in their scripture. But to become a priest, he had to put aside his differences and accept all who came to the church, even if they were his previously hated enemies.

    Though he was initially bitter, Ethan simply decided to be generally welcoming and hoped it would suffice. As a sort of irony, a church of a different deity was just across the street, apparently known to be in opposition to God. He respected that others might believe differently than him, so he spent his energy focusing on who came through his door in the morning.

    His favourite part was going up to the podium, decked out in white ceremonial robes with blue lining, a symbol of a cross knitted finely into the front. There was a glass roof just over the podium, so when it was sunny the light would glisten on his blonde hair, bringing a sort of warm to his vibrant, glowing blue eyes. He let his wings rest comfortably by his sides, not needing to hide them for fear of being judged, for some of the humans would consider him closer to God.

    Surprisingly, some demons did come to his church, seemingly genuinely interested in the scripture. For a time, he had felt the greatest peace he had ever known, because he could finally be free of his previous life where they were in constant turmoil. But there was still some part of him that mourned for Vehn and Vehl, that part of him which he felt could never bring him peace.

    One day, the force known as Fate stepped into his life. He had heard of it influencing many on the world of Terrater, especially those like angels and demons with the power of foresight. But Ethan had never once decided to use it himself, as he felt that he would rather be surprised by life than to know what was happening beforehand. That was the day that someone from across the street walked up to him, peering at him with silver eyes that swirled with magic.

    He had seen this girl many a time before, but had paid her little mind she she always went to the church across the street. She was obviously a human who had been changed by magic, as her hair color of pink was natural, dyed by the magic that now coursed through her veins. She wore glasses, black wristbands, a black dress with pink rims, and on her neck was what looked to be a dog collar of sorts – pink in color with a small silver tag. The diamond pin on her chest was pink and silver, betraying her status; she was a servant to a noble.

    “My name is Elizabeth,” she said calmly, lowering herself into a respectful bow. “I am a seer. I will make this short, Ethan. A demon from Vehl who is new to this world and young to your customs will be coming this way. When she sees you, there will inevitably be a confrontation. I have informed the proper authorities so you will not need to worry about her harming you. I am merely providing a friendly warning. You're welcome.”

    Ethan was genuinely at a loss for words as the woman walked away. She had answered every thought that he had just as he was about to respond. She did say she was a seer, he thought to himself, turning back to his regular post at the door. His nerves were on edge as he peered into the crowd, nervously looking for someone he hadn't seen before. But there were so many people that he didn't recognize, so many he had neglected to pay attention to until that very moment.

    His blue eyes met glowing red, which flashed with anger at their connection. It was at that moment that he truly felt fear for the first time; as before, war was just the way of life. On a world where there was supposed to be peace, a woman with hair the color of blood was not supposed to be rushing towards him screaming at the top of her lungs. But there was, and he could only watch in his horror as she came towards him, slicing into the skin of innocent bystanders.

    But it was as the seer said, for a red-scaled humanoid in golden armor stepped into view, running a blade straight through the demon's gut. The woman collapsed to the ground in pain, and was swiftly taken away by other authorities. When the scaled person turned, it was then he recognized her as a dragon who had transformed themselves to have a human-like body shape. Though her orange eyes had a harsh look to them, she bowed her head to him out of acknowledgement, Ethan simply nodding back out of shock and awe.

    He was snapped out of it by another person brushing by his shoulder, and he looked towards the people now gathering around the area. Some of them were healers, come to take those that had been wounded by the demon in question. A guilty feeling settled into his gut, and he stepped forward to offer his help. This is my fault, he thought sorrowfully, If she hadn't have seen me, those people wouldn't be hurt.

    Ultimately, he could do nothing but to help put some of the wounded onto stretchers to go to the hospitals. As far as he knew, none of the wounds were deadly, but some were particularly deep. Probably the ones that stood in the way, came the nagging thought, The ones that were protecting me. After the whole mess was sorted, he wiped the tears that had been forming from his face, simply praying that everyone would be alright in the end.

    Ethan raised his head to look at the building across the street, the one that Elizabeth went to. He still didn't want to use his own power, but maybe it wouldn't be so bad to consult someone else on the matter. Absentmindedly, he looked at his robe, realizing it may be a bad idea to walk into the building with it on. It was then he reminded himself that he had another sermon to give that morning, so any consulting would have to come later, when he could switch out with another preacher.

    He plodded on through his sermon until it was time for someone else to take the stand, going to change into different clothing just so he wouldn't stick out as a sore thumb. His wings disappeared as well, since he didn't know what the others thought of angels at all and he didn't want to offend anyone. Taking a deep breath, he walked out of his building and opened the door to the building across the street, stepping inside to peer around.

    It was an exact replica of his church, just slightly darker and with different symbolism. The representations of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water were displayed at the left and right walls, with the element of Spirit hovering over the empty pedestal. The people there were laughing and talking in wait of their preacher, all except for Elizabeth, who sat at the front of the room providing atmospheric music with a violin. That was when another woman stepped out of the darkness, a cold shiver running up Ethan's spine as the room fell silent.

    “Welcome,” she greeted, fangs slipping out of her mouth, betraying that she was a vampire. “It seems we have a visitor from the church opposite us, please give him a warm welcome.” The dark-haired woman motioned towards him with a smile, and the room erupted with applause as well as some cheering. Weren't they supposed to be enemies with his church?

    When the vampire lead them into prayer, Elizabeth beckoned to him. He scooted around the edge of the building to follow her into a stairwell that lead into a downstairs basement area. It was also quite large, but it didn't seem to have anything in it other than lighting. It was then that two chairs materialized out of thin air opposite each other, one that she sat in and the other she motioned to. Ethan sat across from her, somewhat bewildered at the whole thing, but less so than he would have been if he hadn't have been on Terrater for several years.

    “I must apologize for my abruptness earlier,” she stated calmly, which made him somewhat curious. “It is hard for me sometimes, being what I am. I see the many ways that a situation has happened or will happen and I never get used to it. I imagine you have some questions for me. Please, speak freely.”

    “Ah, yes,” he said nervously, coughing as if to clear his throat. “I noticed that I was given applause as I entered. That seems a bit weird for people who are apparently supposed to hate each other.”

    “So is mating with someone you're supposed to hate,” she replied, though her tone was still calm. “But you have seen how little hate really means on this planet. Former people at war coming to love each other, as if it never meant anything at all.” Ethan should have expected this sort of thing from a seer as good as she seemed to be, but he was still a little bit hurt by these facts that she so calmly worded.

    “So you're saying that it's just another duality?” he questioned. “Just another perception gone horribly wrong by another species?”

    “Reality isn't filled with black and white,” she said, “There is so many shades of grey that it is hard to see just where the lines lay between. It is the individual's perception of right and wrong that make things black, white, and everything that lays between. It is you who chooses to react in certain ways, you who decides what to think and do.”

    “That makes a lot of sense,” he murmured, taking his eyes away from hers for a moment. His memories flashed with all the wounded people outside his doorstep because a demon had decided he was a threat. I wish I had done something, he thought, instead of acting like a coward.

    “That blood is not on your hands, Ethan,” she said in response to his thoughts, which either meant that she could read minds or her powers were just that great. “She is the one who chose to react poorly. But she is now regretting her decision, and she will have to pay the price. A task for each citizen she harmed in cold blood, which she will agree to. When she is ready, she will also apologize to you, though she may still dislike you for the memory of a war that has been waging for eons.”

    “She may dislike me?” he speculated, before realizing something. If this woman was truly a great seer, then she would see not only one future, but all the possible futures that could happen due to a slight change of events. He looked at Elizabeth in that moment, and she smiled for the first time, breaking her mask of calm for a moment just to confirm his suspicions.

    “I cannot pretend that I know everything,” she said with humor, “But I do know a lot of things. My visions are voluntary at the best of times, but even I cannot fully grasp the complexity that is Fate itself. If it is an important thing that I must know, I may even get an involuntary glimpse of the past or future, but it is often a choice of mine to know what is going to happen. Unlike you, I find it would be better to know the future, but we grew up two very different ways and are two very different people.”

    “Fair enough,” he laughed. “Though I suppose I do have another curiosity. That preacher was a vampire, right?” Elizabeth nodded, her eyes looking somewhat intrigued for once. “Well, how do you feel safe with something like that as a preacher?” It was then that she actually pursed her lips, her eyes looking at him almost sorrowfully, as if out of pity.

    “I will forgive you that offence,” she quietly replied. “She is not only a preacher, but a very successful business woman and my Mistress. Just because she is a vampire does not automatically make her a bad person – in fact, quite the opposite. Did you consider that she was once human too? That she is not the type of vampire that feels the need to kill others just to sate her thirst?”

    Ethan hung his head in reply, betraying that he hadn't considered such a thing. He was supposed to be a non-judgmental person, but he had judged someone based entirely on their species without getting to know them first. It was against everything he had been working for; against his belief in forgiveness, hope, and love for all.

    “I'm sorry,” he whispered, guilt consuming him in that moment. “I shouldn't have judged her purely based on my perceptions of vampires. I know this is a world of peace, so if she was evil she would be long gone by now. But I know your status – you are the servant of a noble, which means she is the noble in question. If the royal family didn't see her as worthy of that status, she wouldn't be.”

    “True,” came the calm reply, her eyes filled with the warmth of her smile. “I forgive you. But such words aren't enough to get you to forgive yourself. The only true way that you may gain closure is to talk to her yourself.” As if on cue, applause sounded from upstairs, signifying that the sermon was over. Elizabeth rose from her chair like a flash, stepping quickly to wait by the door, Ethan glued to his seat out of both curiosity and bewilderment.

    The dark figure of a woman in a dress came down the stairs, her hands clasped in front of her. Elizabeth bowed deeply to the woman as she came back into view, her dark hair glistening blue, like a demon's wing feathers. She smiled at him as she walked, though little to no sound actually came from her steps, making her seem as graceful and elegant as she looked. The woman gracefully placed herself in the chair opposite him, her ice blue eyes looking into his with an unexpected warmth.

    “My name is Nerezza,” she said in a silken tone, her voice sending shivers down his spine. “I understand you are Ethan. Elizabeth told me that you might want to talk to me after the sermon, so I have come here to to talk. It is unwise to ignore the word of a seer, after all.” She smirked then, her fangs slipping over her lips in an almost involuntary way, but she closed her lips back over them reflexively as if ashamed by their presence.

    “Yes,” he gasped, surprised that he had trouble finding his own voice, so he cleared his throat and spoke with more certainty. “I have horribly misjudged you, it seems. On first glance I noticed your... condition... and I thought you a hazard to the people at the church. Elizabeth has informed me that you are not so much of one as I thought.” He felt nervous, but she smiled for a moment – as if to say she had forgiven him – before returning to her thoughts.

    “My... 'condition', as you put it, is only truly dangerous to me,” she said, a hint of sorrow touching her voice. “My type of vampirism is a disease that eats away the body if one does not consume blood. When I first became a vampire, I refused to drink it, but I was convinced by my 'family' that it would be healthier to not deny myself my needs. However, I have never taken blood from the unwilling, and most of the blood I now drink is donated by other people who are generously compensated.”

    Ethan breathed a sigh of relief, having found a new respect for not only Nerezza, but for people as a whole. Just because someone is portrayed as evil, doesn't mean they are, he thought to himself, I am such a fool. But there was still something nagging at the back of his mind, something he felt he needed to ask someone with more life experience than he had.

    “I can see perceptive changing on a species I barely know,” he started, even though he knew it would sound bad. “But what about the demons? How am I supposed to forgive them when they were my greatest enemies? How does anyone forgive them?” Nerezza smiled her fanged smile, a knowing look in her eyes that seemed to comfort him somehow.

    “You hold a grudge because they have found a peace together that you longed for on your world,” she replied. “Maybe your war is needless, but sometimes war is necessary for change. If they have come here to change their perspective on life, who are you to judge their decision? If you sit idly by in envy, you will never have that happiness for yourself.”
     
  2. Ah, Things Of Myth And Legend, one of my most beloved works of fiction. It was the first RP I ever took part in- As well as one of the main reasons of how I came to stick around- but our attempts at redoing it have never been succesful, which I confess is more than partially due to me.

    Regardless, Sara, I'm very glad to see this and I really enjoyed reading it, as I will with future chapters I'm sure ^^
     
  3. Oh yay, more from this universe! I did so enjoy the last story. Best of luck finishing this one!
     
  4. Dwayna DragonFire

    Dwayna DragonFire 2014 Little Cup Champion

    Thanks to the both of you. I has to re-use some material in a different way, since I did mention Ethan in a different story, but I managed to crank out another chapter. It is really difficult having to write a character's story entirely from scratch.

    Chapter Two

    Ethan mulled over everything Nerezza and Elizabeth had told him as he walked back to his church. Though he hadn't realized it before, they were absolutely right – his hatred only stemmed from his envy of the peace found on Terrater., that he couldn't bring it back home. It was so simple an answer, he mentally lectured himself for being so foolish.

    Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret--it leads only to evil. He smiled to himself at the truth of the statement, chuckling softly at the fact that it was from human scripture. Perhaps I should follow their lead for once. His church was much quieter than the one across the street, but he preferred the peaceful atmosphere. At the back of the church behind the podium, there was a large cross the the humans sometimes knelt before to pray. He lowered himself before the cross, clasping his hands together and closed his eyes. Many thoughts still swam through his head, but eventually he settled on what was bothering him the most.

    “Forgive me for my sins, for I have made many against the Chaos Demons,” he whispered, remembering scripture that he felt appropriate. “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. Amen.” He unclasped his hands, opening his eyes to stare back up at the cross, a soft smile spreading over his lips. It was as if a weight had lifted from his shoulders, the burden of his past almost disappearing entirely.

    “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” The reply came from a masculine voice behind him, at which he turned his head, recognizing the man who had tutored him in the ways of priesthood. He was an older human, dressed in a black robe with a white collar; which was the more traditional way to dress for the clergy. He had been given the gift to uplift someone's spirit at a touch, so when he placed his hand on Ethan's shoulder, a warmth spread through the angels body along with happiness.

    “Thank you, Brother Robert,” he said respectfully. “This just reminds me why I came to this church in the first place. I don't know if Angelus would be so forgiving as God.”

    “I do not presume to know Angelus, Brother Ethan,” came the reply, in the clinical tone he always used. “But in reply I give you another piece of scripture. 'Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.' He created you from Order itself, and thus he is the closest thing to a Father your species could have. Think on this, and perhaps you will be free of another burden, for I sense it plagues you just as much as anything else.” With that, Robert smiled and turned to walk away, leaving Ethan to his thoughts.

    There was one last thing to worry about that seemed more important at that moment, one last Chaos Demon that still plagued his psyche. The woman who had attempted to attack him had lived, the current monarch giving her freedom only if she repaid her transgressions. She would show her face to him again, and from what was implied by Elizabeth, ask for his forgiveness. Ethan wasn't sure if he was ready to give her his forgiveness for what she had done to those people.

    For several months he waited, hearing only murmurs of the woman doing odd jobs for the families of those she wounded. He decided to look further into it, and found that none of the citizens she had harmed had died. The healers on this world are extraordinary, he mused to himself with a smile, mentally fortifying himself for the day she would come.

    The blood red hair swam back into his vision, the glowing red eyes looking in his direction with a different sort of determination than before. She seemed no less angry with him, but there was not the same murderous rage from before, as if it had dissipated from her entirely. Perhaps it was because she was truly sorry, or she could be hiding it well enough that not even he could tell.

    “I was told you're called Ethan,” she spat, betraying the anger beneath the surface of her skin. “In my conquest to slay you, I needlessly hurt other people. I have since given them each my servitude until they deemed it worthy of me to leave to the next person. Humans are somewhat quick to forgive, but you are a different matter. I have been told I must ask your forgiveness for my attempted murder.” She finished by pursing her lips, which seemed to mirror his own expression exactly.

    “Even though you say it, you don't seem to mean it,” he replied, hearing his own tone as strangely calm. “But I have been taught that one must forgive their enemies, lest they gain forgiveness in return. You are forgiven.” Ethan almost felt like he was going to break down from how nervous and anxious he felt, but he apparently masked it well, since she didn't seem to notice. Instead she seemed to be deep in thought, her eyes studying him.

    “So what brought you here?” she questioned, which made him nearly jump out of his skin. “What made you have to learn that kind of lesson?” Her smirk was unnerving, it gave him shivers down his spine, made his blood run cold. But strangely, he felt like answering her with at least some form of the truth.

    “Angelus and I had a disagreement,” he curtly replied. “I was sent here as a punishment. At first I didn't understand why, but then I saw that your people were here, at peace with us. I was so envious that I nearly became as violent as you, but the powers here are greater than Angelus and Daemonem ever could be – and it is not blasphemy to say so. It is the truth.” He watched her face turn to shock at him saying such a thing, watched her face morph into confusion at his statement before she looked away.

    When she looked back at him, her eyes were burning with the fires of Vehl, and he felt them burn straight through his eyes into his mind. He didn't have much of a choice in the matter since it had come as such a surprise, but she had decided to use her True-Sight on him, causing his memories to flood forth from the back of his mind towards hers. Aria, came the whisper of her name to his mind, before he dissolved into a dream-like state to watch the memories unfold.

    His argument with Angelus over the ethics of free will versus brotherly love. Why did Angelus and Daemonem send their creations against each other if they were brothers? Because they loved their children and gave them the choice to fight or love each other. Ethan thought it was despicable that they wouldn't use their power as gods to make the conflict stop, which is what got him sent to Terrater in the first place. He felt another tug on his consciousness, a different question asked.

    A fallen dragon king and his queen, their forsaken daughter left to pick up their legacy. A dark evil that nearly destroyed Terrater if the new Queen had not given sacrifice. The dark world changed into a small light, which the Androids stole away for themselves, apparently breathing life back into not only the broken queen, but a different sort of Android that actually had emotions.

    When Aria finally pulled back from his mind, he saw the horrors of the war written on her face. But there was also understanding, acceptance – and most surprisingly – respect. Her face changed back to a frown, but all the passion behind her anger was gone, her eyes connecting with his in the calmest way he had ever experienced from any Chaos Demon.

    “I laugh at your transgression,” she said, an almost amused tone to her voice. “However, I do not think you my enemy anymore. Forgive me.” It was in that moment that he felt the last great weight lift from his shoulders, for she was finally honest with him, something he never thought capable. It's no longer a punishment for me to be here because of the Chaos Demons, he thought. It is a blessing. Thank you, Angelus... Father. Forgive me.

    Ethan suddenly felt an extreme amount of power course through his body, his wings and angelic markings appearing despite himself as he temporarily lost control. He felt his wings grow in length, was aware of the presence of a halo above his head. When the power finally calmed down, everything retracted again but his wings, which he looked at in awe. He was no longer just a simple Order Angel, but an Archangel, the most favored of Angelus' children.

    “All because of a Demon,” he murmured, a smile gracing his face as he looked to her. “Thank you for this blessing. You are most certainly forgiven... Aria.” She looked at him then, her wicked smile plastering itself back over her face, but it was far less intimidating because he could see that it was at least mostly genuine, the rest chalked up to her insanity.

    “Never seen an angel promotion in action. Nonetheless, congratulations. This doesn't exactly make us friends,” she said, wish made him draw in a deep breath,”But we're not enemies anymore either. See you later, Ethan.” She started to turn away, when he remembered something that she might like to look into. If nothing else, it would be a gesture of good will on his part.

    “If you like blades,” he started, which seemed to perk up her attention, “Go to Falassion's forge. She's the best there is.” Merenwen Falassion was a timeless elven paladin with her own biases, but someone as old as she was could put petty things aside. Not to mention it was absolutely true – she was the best blacksmith he had ever seen in his entire life, not to mention the skills she had in sword fighting. He figured Aria would at least enjoy seeing her at work, if nothing else.

    Aria seemed to take it in stride, because she smiled once more at him before turning to leave. Such relief washed over him that he had never felt before, which Ethan attributed to finally putting his past to rest. The Chaos Demons were like his distant family now, but that was all they were. He could accept it if others felt them worthy to be lovers, but it just wasn't logical to him to think of them much more than cousins or siblings.

    After the adrenaline had left his system, he found himself oddly hollow, but knowing the reason why. He had seen many people with their mates, but he had no one. Many angels had loved each other back on Vehn, but he had been too focused on the war and his fury to really endeavor into such things for himself. Never in his life had he known that elusive emotion, the one the humans called love.

    But I know who to ask, he thought, a smile creeping back onto his face. He got many observations on his wingspan difference, but other than that it was like any other day. After his sermon was over, he changed into his casual clothes again and walked back across the street, into the dark building.

    Apparently the people there were in the middle of prayer, but that wasn't what caught him off guard. He noticed that the stained glass windows looked to be as if they had come to life, the pictures flickering back and forth between their elemental representations. When he looked towards the center, there was a changed dragon as the priestess this time; her scales as white as his wings, bathed in the purple light that now came from the central window in the roof, her soul gem glowing a similar purple.

    “It is in reverence of the elements,” came the feminine voice, making people look up from their prayer. “That we come closer to them. It is thanks to them that we are given the blessings that we have. It is in prayer that we give our silent thanks to the Gods for our blessings, and it is now that we will give back to them.” People in robes came out with baskets, which kind of reminded him of his church, where they passed around a pan and a lot of the people gave coins.

    But there weren't just rows of seats like in his church, there were also columns. As the figures in cloaks advanced down the columns, each and every person placed something within the baskets, and it wasn't only coins. Sometimes it was small gems, other times it was a small trinket of some sort that obviously seemed to have some sort of value. He suddenly felt very out of place, feeling almost as if he needed to contribute, lest he look like a fool to all the generous souls that now sat before him.

    “Here,” came a soft whisper, along with something pressed into his hand. Ethan looked over to see that it was Elizabeth, who at some point had come to stand beside him. He lifted his hand to see a small metal cross, much like the one from his church, the soft shine of the lights from the windows giving it a strange but beautiful look to it.

    A cloaked figure finally approached him, another coming up to Elizabeth, their baskets clasped close to their bodies as if not expecting anything. Looking upon the metal cross one last time, he gently placed it inside the basket, looking over to see that Elizabeth had placed a simple stone inside the basket. Either way, it didn't seem liked the hooded figures cared very much which was of more value, because they simply turned and walked away, heading toward the basement.

    “Now we shall give your gifts to the Gods,” said the white dragon, “And you shall be given back a gift from the elements.” More robed people came up with more baskets, this time already containing something. They headed down the columns again, and gave each person what looked to be an orb of some sort, each glowing with an ethereal light. When they came to him, he was handed a white one, and Elizabeth was given a blue one.

    “Let these gifts be a reminder of our one creed: Give to others what you would wish to receive. By giving of ourselves, we wish to receive the same kindness, from the people in our life to the Gods blessings. Let us all remember the one rule.”

    “HARM NONE!” came the resounding response, at which the light from the orbs sparked and flew around the room, smashing themselves into the walls to bring everything back to the way it was when Ethan had first came to this church. It was a beautiful sight, and left the room brighter than it seemed to have been before.

    The white dragon bowed to the crowd, at which there was applause and cheering. She stepped down from the stage and followed the second group of figures into the basement, at which the people there conversed amongst themselves or left. It was different from his church, but in a way it had it's own sort of peacefulness to it, because everyone seemed to feel so comfortable with one another.

    It was then that he realized he was still holding the orb in his hands, which was now empty. He felt a tap on his shoulder, looking to see Elizabeth again, this time with an amused look on her face as if expecting his reaction. He simply smiled back and followed her when she beckoned to him, down into the basement where the other people had gone. All of them had already left through the back door, which left him to speak to Elizabeth alone.

    “That was amazing,” he breathed, another smile gracing his face. Nothing like that ever happened at his church. It was always so quiet, the applause for the preachers coming very rarely compared to what he had seen so far. Amazing how different religions can spark different rituals, he thought to himself.

    “Yes,” she replied, in her usual calm tone, “But that wasn't what you came here for.” It took Ethan a minute, before he realized that she was right. He had just been so distracted by everything else that had been happening that he had almost entirely forgotten about it.

    “I did indeed,” he replied. “You probably already know, but I suppose it would help to talk. You see, I have come to realize that it was my flaw to think that the demons were my enemy. But that is not what I came to talk about. I also realized that I have not experienced the same emotion that they seem to be able to with others. I believe humans call it love, if I'm not mistaken.”

    “Yes, we do,” she chuckled, “It is an elusive and complicated emotion at the best of times, but it is worth it when you find someone. As beings of free will, you and I can choose those with which we wish to mate, and sometimes it works. However it is much different with other species, especially the Spirit Dragons. It is often that Fate has already chosen the one that would match their soul, and sometimes it takes eons for them to find that person.”

    “That must be hard for them,” he mumbled. “I would certainly hate to wait so long to find love.”

    “I did not say it was restricted to dragons,” replied Elizabeth, which somewhat startled him. “Fate forges us a mate from the moment we are born, regardless of our species. We people with free will can sometimes completely miss those chances purely by our actions and what we choose to do. But it is also our choices that can lead us in the right direction, towards true happiness.”

    “But how can a person know they have chosen wrongly?” he asked, flabbergasted. “We are not gifted the same as dragons.”

    “You and I both know that life isn't always fair,” she replied, almost cryptically. “But you and I have also been gifted with the ability to see the future. I understand that you like to be surprised by such things, but I have my own reasons for... 'cheating', if you want to use that term.”

    “So you already know who you're meant to be with?” enquired Ethan, genuinely curious. “I mean, I can understand having your own reasons – wait. That means you know who is going to be my mate as well, doesn't it?” It was the first time he had ever felt so anxious about something, but he saw the look in her eyes. It was borderline sad, but it still had that strange calmness that was always about her.

    “I do know,” she replied. “But I fear that if I told you now, you would not enjoy the discovery as much. Not to mention you wouldn't believe me. I have already foreseen this, so there is no point in trying to argue the point. However, I have been known to help those few souls who ask it of me, albeit in my own cryptic ways so they won't be entirely unsatisfied.”

    “Then please,” Ethan whispered. “Tell me what you will.”

    “Your lover will be a changed human,” she replied. “Given an immortal soul. A coldness from within given new purpose, new life. They will not be what you ever expected in a mate, and you will consult me again to confirm the truth of it. I will tell you what I tell you this moment: It is true, and if you do not see that, you are truly blind.” She got up and left, leaving him to his thoughts.
     
  5. Dwayna DragonFire

    Dwayna DragonFire 2014 Little Cup Champion

    My character being named Alex was decided a long time ago.

    Chapter Three

    Robert was surprised when Ethan actually asked for a short vacation, but it was granted to the angel nonetheless. He felt he needed the time to think about what Elizabeth had told him, to ascertain how his emotions were effecting him. But most of all, it was because he had the hope of finding the changed human she had spoken of.

    Walking around the main city, he realized how little time he had actually spent looking around on his first visit. The residential area that he lived in was quite large, but he had requested for a house near to the church. That meant he was also near to the central park, where children went to play and adults went to contemplate their life or enjoy the company of others. It was a good place to start looking for people, as well as to sit down and think about life.

    It was lucky that he found an empty bench, since there seemed to be a bit of a commotion going on. Perhaps there was some event that he had been previously unaware of, but there seemed to be a large gathering of people. But he soon found it was not an event, it was centred around an individual who was waving and smiling as he pushed through the crowd, almost as if trying to escape their notice.

    Sometimes when humans were changed by magic, their hair color became different as well, which obviously explained Elizabeth and this man. His hair was a deep blue color, his eyes a more icy color of blue to contrast. Like most changed humans with this condition, he had a matching blue shirt as well as a blue scarf, to accentuate the feature of his blue hair even more. The only things that weren't blue were his black pants and shoes, and the symbol on his chest. As the man came closer to Ethan, the angel realized why there was such a commotion – the man had the symbol of a green dragon holding a silver diamond, which meant he was part of the royal family.

    “Hey, mind if I sit here?” asked the blue-haired man as he approached, a cheerful tone lacing his voice. “I just want to take a break.” The crowd seemed to get a little bit more restless, a lot of the eyes turning on Ethan in different manners. Some were friendly, others were scrutinizing, but they were all curious to what he would say.

    “Go ahead,” he replied, motioning to the empty seat. The crowd seemed to either approve or not care, because they all started moving away from the two to let the man have his peace. His shoulders did seem to slouch slightly, as if he had previously been tense, his smile turning down a few watts to look a little bit more genuine than before.

    “Thank you,” came the cheerful tone, not having worn from the man's voice despite his change in demeanour. “It would be awfully rude of me not to introduce myself. My name is Alex Eileas.” He outstretched his hand, which Ethan shook, knowing the traditions of human greetings.

    “Ethan Torke,” he said, giving a small smile of his own. “I noticed you didn't say Dragonfire, but you're part of the royal family.” He had assumed that this was the new husband of the young queen, but Alex chuckled softly and nodded.

    “I see someone doesn't read the newspaper,” he teased, causing Ethan to raise an eyebrow. “Most people assume that if there's someone new in the royal family, they were married in. However, I could never... Not important. Straight to the point, I was adopted.” This made the angel react with complete surprise, his mouth agape despite his attempt to maintain composure.

    “Aren't you a little bit old to be adopted?” Ethan replied causing another chuckle to come from the other man. There was obviously some reason why Alex hadn't simply married the queen, but the man didn't seem comfortable telling him.

    “That's what I said,” came his humorous tone. “But she said she saw something important in me. Something called a dragon mark, I believe. It's made my soul immortal, and in a way has connected me to her without my knowledge. She told me that it was the way of Spirit Dragons to be entwined with Fate, and the fact that I had gotten the mark tied me to her in that way.”

    “That's very confusing.” Doesn't that then mean you're her soul mate? thought Ethan, but the other man seemed to have a response.

    “I know, right? But I accepted what she had said, because this whole magic thing is new to me anyway.” Alex nodded to himself, as if assuring some stray thought that had come into his mind. “The point is, the tie that I have to her doesn't make me her soul mate, just a family member.” In a way, it was almost like he had read the angel's mind, but he didn't seem to be an oracle like Elizabeth. Thoughts seemed to be written on the man's face, but whatever they were, he didn't express them.

    “Well, that explains at least some of it,” said the angel, “That means you're her son.” Even though this man had been born as a human on another planet, he was now connected to the royal family purely by Fate. In a way, it made Ethan quite jealous that he had not been given the luxuries the other man seemed to be getting. But envy is a sin, he reminded himself, his smile simply fading from his face instead of turning bitter.

    “That's right,” came the cheerful reply. “I'm glad that's all it was.” The strange reply caught the angel entirely off guard, causing him to look at the human incredulously. How could this man not want to be more than just a son to the Queen? Wouldn't he have been with the woman romantically? But obviously his astonishment was written on his face, because Alex became somewhat tense again, as if putting up some sort of shield against whatever the angel might be thinking.

    “Thank you for listening,” said Alex, his tone somewhat neutral for the first time. “Maybe we'll see each other later, Ethan.” He got up from the bench and walked away, leaving the angel to be entirely confused. Just what exactly was this man's secret, that it was so large to consume him so?

    You could look, you know, the thought came from the back of his mind. You could look with your true sight to see what the secret is. But that would be a severe breach of not only his values, but the other man's privacy. The man was human, and they all had their own reasons for not wanting to discuss a certain subject. Obviously there was something about why he didn't want to be with the queen romantically, else he wouldn't have been so secretive about it.

    Ethan realized that he had gotten horribly distracted by the conversation. He looked around the park and saw other couples, some with their own children, but no one else was alone. It was time for him to go looking elsewhere for people that he might be interested in.

    He strolled through the streets of business, absentmindedly heading toward the castle in the process. The looming shadow of the large emerald fortress would be somewhat intimidating to newcomers, but he had been on Terrater for several years. It was simply another sight to be seen when people were walking around, another attraction for those who considered it beautiful to look at.

    Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the symbol of the black rose that was emblazoned on Elizabeth's collar tag. He saw that it was a restaurant, and was immediately curios as to what type of cuisine a vampire would serve. Before he knew it, he found himself inside, seated at a table and poised to order a meal.

    Being one who didn't need to eat, he found himself struggling to find something that he might be interested in. He never had human food before, so he decided to get the special, some sort of salad with meat in it. When he got the meal, it proved to be quite delicious, making him think that he needed to come to this sort of place more often.

    That was when he heard the soft sound of a violin playing, causing him to look over. It was Elizabeth, obviously done with her church duties for the day to come play at the restaurant. It was a beautiful rendition of an opera song that he thoroughly enjoyed listening to. It was all obvious to him now, that she would play one of his favourite songs, because she knew that he was here.

    He saw her open her eyes to look outward at the audience, but he felt like she only had eyes for him. The way the silver churned inside her irises wasn't the same calm as before, it was all passion for the moment. He felt something stirring in his chest, and he soon realized it was his heart.

    Suddenly it all seemed to fall into place. She was a changed human with an immortal soul, she had a certain coldness that was used for a different purpose. Maybe she hadn't wanted to spoil it for him, but in that moment he felt it was all too obvious exactly what was happening. He felt like he was flying without wings, soaring on the notes of her violin.

    It was over all too soon, the passion fading from her eyes almost as quickly as it had come. But the feelings he had still remained, still made his mind swirl with what was now nervousness and anxiety. She was a seer, surely she would know this had happened? That was the only thought he seemed to manage to hold onto as he got up to leave.

    Those thoughts plagued him for several days as he laid in his cabin. Why didn't she tell me when I asked the first time? he thought, which came with a quick answer. She was the type of person who would respect his wishes to not want to know the future and discover it himself. Maybe there was something else in the way that she just didn't want to mention at that point in time, like when he had been talking to Alex.

    He bolstered his courage to buy some flowers for her, an assorted bouquet of roses that he thought she might like. It was small wonder where she lived – almost everyone knew the Dellanotte manor. It was a long walk, even longer felt by his anxious emotions and unpreparedness.

    The house had a large black gate, a rose design carefully crafted into the bars, separated in the middle when they opened for his entry. The lawn was beautifully kept, the large mansion looming over his head, but not as much as the royal castle. It was a blue mansion with a black roof, and what looked to be a somewhat magical quality to it. The torches that were lit gave it a sort of dual feeling; one was warm and inviting, the other gave him chills down his spine due to the nighttime air.

    Ethan was somewhat surprised when the door didn't automatically open. Wouldn't Elizabeth know that he was coming? He reasoned that she had told him she was unable to see everything, but then again, he hadn't knocked. He rapped on the mahogany door three times, the soft sound of footfalls greeting him.

    The door opened and the pink-haired beauty peered out at him, her calm demeanour back in full force. However, she hadn't entirely opened the door, seeing as she was in a nightgown. He hadn't realized it was so late, but in a way it made him more drawn to her in that moment as he took in the view, admiring her petite form bathed in torch light.

    “Ethan,” she said, and her tone was less than happy. “I expected you.” Still the door was held in front of her body, as if she didn't want him to see her, so he raised his eyes out of respect. Humans had just as much modesty as angels in this, since they tended to have the same anatomy and desires as well.

    “Yes, I apologize for disturbing you,” he replied, the truth of his apology coming through the slight trembling of his voice. His face was fully flushed, but he held out the bouquet to Elizabeth, which she regarded with the same neutrality as she seemed to anything else. She flicked a finger up to indicate that she would need a minute, and the door closed again in a quiet manner.

    It was the longest minute he ever had to wait, but she came back in a timely manner. She opened the door wide this time, her delicate hands holding out a vase, the long arms of the nightgown spilling over her small hands. Ethan placed the flowers in the vase, at which she turned from him, beckoning for him to follow her. He stepped in and closed the door, finding himself looking around the inside of the mansion despite himself.

    Everything seemed to be made of mahogany wood, the only difference being the blue walls and black carpet. It was slightly darker, but in the light he realized that the torches were more than just regular torches; they were magical fires so the house wouldn't burn down and there would always be light.

    To his surprise, he was taken past the living room – where she left the vase – to another room entirely. It was well lit, with what looked to be some sort of rug on the floor, the only thing that wasn't one of the three colors of blue, black and mahogany. It was a simple red rug with orange and yellow designs, almost reminding him of fire in some way. Elizabeth tenderly lowered herself to the ground, crossing her legs and motioning for him to sit as well.

    “You have come to tell me something of importance,” she said nonchalantly, as a teapot appeared out of nowhere with two teacups. “I already know what it is.” His heart felt like it was leaping out of his chest, but then he saw that her expression hadn't changed. Perhaps there was a small detail he had missed somewhere, something that could have made it more impressive to her.

    “I must disappoint you,” came the feminine voice, sounding over his thoughts. “I could never love a man.” His heart dropped like a stone in water, his face transforming from uncertainty to sadness in one quick motion. Ethan was wrong the entire time, only his soul daring to hope that he had been right, but it was all folly. He had misread her look of passion at the restaurant, as it was not meant only for him, but the entire audience as it was originally intended.

    However, her face was not entirely calm either, as if some sort of sadness had overtaken her as well. Then she started pouring the tea, and he noticed something didn't seem right about her left wrist. When it rested against the back of the fabric, it looked like something else was attached to it, like another thin layer of cloth. Absentmindedly, he reached out and grasped her hand lightly, causing her to still her movements. He looked up at her, and she remained calm, simply turning her wrist over and pulling up her sleeve. It was a bandage large enough to cover her entire wrist, looking fresh enough that she probably put it on only minutes before.

    At first, he was utterly confused, and then he remembered who her Mistress was. He tenderly touched the bandage and calculated that it would be large enough to cover a bite. Instantly, there was a flash of anger, but then he again saw Elizabeth's face. It was as serene as it ever was, her eyes no longer glimmering in just the light of the room.

    “I knew this day would come,” she said, in a somewhat mournful tone. “The only possible way you could understand everything is if I show you.” Confusion overtook him again, as he looked at her with bewilderment. Couldn't she just tell him what was on her mind?

    “Words would never be enough,” she replied to the silent question, reminding him again that she was a powerful seer. But she was right, he felt that no matter what she said, nothing would justify the travesty that he saw before him. But there must have been some benefit for her as well, since she probably knew he was wondering why she could never love a man.

    Elizabeth held out both her palms, which he reluctantly took into his. He looked into the endless silver eyes, finding himself almost sucked into the way that they seemed to be dancing. Suddenly, he felt like his eyes were heavy, so he closed them, bracing himself for the mental assault that he would no doubt be feeling momentarily.

    But this time, it was nothing like it had been when Aria had forced his memories out of him. Slowly, he felt his consciousness move forward, a soft sort of music coming from the nothingness. Suddenly, out of the darkness there was light all around his being, the music sounding like a chorus of phoenixes rushing past, just like they did on a solstice night. It was almost enough to make him feel like he was going to cry, but then the chorus faded into something else.

    The sound of the violin music he had heard played not days ago flooded his mind as a vision of Elizabeth appeared before his mind. Here she was dressed in what looked to be silver crystals that swirled and churned much like her eyes. At the center of her throat burned a bright white light, the spot where Spirit Dragons often said the soul laid on a human.

    “Welcome to my mind,” she said, her voice echoing with whispers of different things, such a small sentence bringing about the sense of many memories. “It is not often that I bring a person here, but I feel you must know the things that I have experienced. That way, you will be able to understand everything that I have been trying to tell you. In the future, perhaps you will learn that your True Sight is not such a bad thing to have.”

    Ethan realized that if he had used his true Sight, he might have at least seen that she was not interested, and none of this would have ever happened. But it was much too late for him to back out now, as already he felt himself surrounded by the warmth of the sun, the vision of Elizabeth surrounded by silver crystals almost looking like they were fading away.

    Suddenly, the crystals shattered, and the shock wave pelted his conscience with a loud roar. Disjointed whispers rushed through his mind, many images of the past flowing into what he suspected were images of the future. All of the shards were connected together by silver thread which changed into other colors as well, causing a sort of strange beauty in the chaos around him.

    Then, all the threads seemed to retreat but one, looking almost as if it had snapped off of it's thread. The crystal attached got larger and larger, and he realized that he was falling into it headfirst. The last thing he saw was his own reflection, before he plunged into what he realized was a vision of the past.
     
  6. Dwayna DragonFire

    Dwayna DragonFire 2014 Little Cup Champion

    Warning: This chapter contains a mention of abuse (but nothing more), mention of a society built on gender bias, retribution for such things, definite vampirism, lesbians, and speculation on homosexuality. It is for this reason that I have put the entire chapter in a spoiler, until otherwise deemed appropriate.

    Chapter Four

    There was a blonde girl sitting alone on a bench, looking down at the ground with her hands clasped together in her lap. Her eyes were a light color of blue, but they looked like they were tired and blank of emotion. The pale peach skin didn't look right in some places, marred by bruises from some unknown source.

    “This was me,” said Elizabeth's voice, which caused Ethan to gasp softly. “This was my Earth realm.” The yellow sun and blue sky looked much like Terrater at morning, but it wasn't as beautiful. There was no trace of magic in this world, which made it seem pale in comparison.

    “There is a major difference, however,” a bitter tone now lacing the voice. “The men were always in charge, and the women took the roles of servants.” A couple passed by, the woman following the man in what looked to be a subservient manner. She was completely fine, which made him feel all the more sorry for the woman who used to be Elizabeth.

    “Some women were lucky to have good masters,” came the sad intonation. “I was not one of the lucky ones.” The vision suddenly went into hyper speed, until it was evening. Instead of four suns and moons, earth realms only had one of each, constantly turning between night and day, never changing.

    They were suddenly inside a house, when the door opened and the blonde girl tensed her shoulders. My Father, came the softest whisper, only causing Ethan's stomach to churn. He never deserved that name. The older man loomed dangerously over the woman in front of them, but the vision seemed to break apart and change scenes before anything happened. It seemed that Elizabeth wanted to spare the both of them from that particular memory.

    “That was the day when it all changed,” she said, as a new scene unfolded before him. A familiar looking portal opened in the center of town, causing many onlookers to look on in awe. Knowing Terrater as well as he did, it could not have been a coincidence that the adventurer sent on this particular mission was the strongest woman he knew.

    Pointed ears peeked out from beneath a red headband, short blond hair spilling around the pale, elven face. The crowd gasped at this affront to their culture, the woman looking strong in her silver armor, wielding a sword and shield emblazoned with the symbol of a dragon. Her timeless eyes surveyed the crowd of onlookers, looking generally unimpressed by everything that she took in.

    “Listen well,” came the mystical voice, capturing the attention of all around her. “My name is Merenwen Falassion, and I am an elf from another dimension. Our world is filled with adventurers such as myself who travel the worlds. I have even seen a world that is your exact opposite, with women in charge of men.” A whisper of something akin to outrage came from the men, but those women who had been the worst off suddenly had a spark of hope in their eyes.

    “I can see you are less than open-minded,” said the elven paladin, which made the crowd quiet down once again. “I will say again what I said on that world. On mine, we are treated as equals, and any person who wishes to seek salvation from their oppressors may do so. It is now your choice, for if your oppressors dare raise a hand to you now, I will strike them down.” There was some laughter, especially from Elizabeth's father, that such a thing would even be considered. This woman, no matter how strong she looked, was just another woman.

    But Elizabeth was the first person to step forward, away from her father. There was a small moment where he seemed disbelieving the scene in front of him, which quickly turned to rage. He quickly stepped after her, reaching his hand outwards as if to stop her.

    Quicker than someone could blink an eye, a sword plunged into his chest, disappearing in purplish light to return to Merenwen, who had thrown it. Who throws a sword? thought Ethan, which seemed to gain a soft giggle from the Elizabeth that was showing him this vision in the first place for some reason. The cut still stayed where it was, leaving the man to fall forward and die on the spot, the crowd gasping again out of sheer astonishment.

    But that seemed to spark hope in other women, for they started to step towards Merenwen as well. Some men protested in the same way as Elizabeth's father, only to be cut down in the same fashion. Finally, there was a reasonable group of women in front of the elf, the rest having backed away, as if fine with the life they had been given. But he saw the winds of change written on the faces of many who had stayed behind, including those of some of the men.

    “Even though my world did change its ways,” said the voice of Elizabeth, “It had already been written into my soul that I would never love a man. Perhaps I could think of them as friends, but they would never be anything more.” The vision seemed to plod onward, even though he felt like that portion had been answered. The old Elizabeth stepped through the portal at the coaxing of Merenwen, and suddenly his perspective shifted to total darkness.

    “Another human,” said a strange voice, and the most beautiful vision appeared before his eyes. It was a woman who glowed with pure, ethereal light, her hair looking like it was made with the leaves of a tree. The lines of Fate that he had seen earlier in Elizabeth's mind seemed to dance around her, weaving themselves through her every so often to indicate their utter oneness with the woman. The Spirit of Terrater itself, came the whisper of thought, Shown only to those who do not previously have magical ability. Which most humans don't.

    “Regrettably, I must give you something to survive here,” said Terrater, the tone of voice never changing. “Whether it will be a blessing or a curse to you is up to your perception. Depending on your choice, I may give you a little bit extra, or I may take some away. My question is simple, human: What is it that you wish for the most?” The blonde woman was deep in thought, sadness written on her face.

    “I wish to... know,” the girl replied in earnest. “I want to know everything, so I will never have to be hurt again.” A single tear seemed to fall from her face, caught by the hand of Terrater, who had appeared suddenly by her's side. The same hand reached out; the tear having crystallized, before the spirit pressed it to Elizabeth's forehead, dissolving into a bright light.

    “Then you shall know,” whispered Terrater. “You shall see.” The strings of Fate entwined with the strands of light that the tear had dissolved into, and as the spirit took her hand away, the light poured forth into Elizabeth's open eyes. The woman opened her mouth in a silent stream as her eyes and soul glowed with power, her hair blossoming into the color of pink that Ethan had become familiar with.

    Darkness plunged over him again as the woman fell unconscious before the spirit, a slow smile spreading onto Terrater's face at last. Flashes of visions suddenly poured forth from the darkness and suddenly slowed, showing the image of a black rose blossoming before his eyes. A pair of fangs appeared from the darkness, pulling themselves into a slow smile before disappearing again.

    “Remarkable,” came another woman's voice, this time recognized as the queen. “It is as if the threads of Fate themselves were knitted into her very being. She will be a powerful oracle.” A soft shuffling was heard in the darkness, more flashes and whispers plaguing Elizabeth's mind in that moment before focusing back on the one at hand.

    “But why does her necklace have my family symbol?” The voice of Nerezza, thoroughly confused. He could barely hear it over the screaming, that seemed to fade into the memories with visions of explosions and death. Being new to the whole ordeal, Elizabeth was entirely unprepared for the visions that came to her whilst she lay on the hospital bed.

    “Probably due to another vision,” said the voice of the queen. “Fate has chosen for her to be with you. Perhaps you could take her in, show her the kindness she never got to experience on her old world.” The face of Nerezza finally swam into view, contemplative at first, but then seemed to make a decision.

    “Perhaps I have been lonely for far too long,” admitted the vampire. “I would be glad to take her into my care, as whatever she chooses to be.” The vision seemed to break apart, time speeding by yet again to another moment in time, glimpses showing that Elizabeth had chosen to be a servant again, but with the free will to choose how she served, the bruises long since faded from her skin.

    “It would be unwise of you to see me for long periods of time at night,” said Nerezza, concern lacing her voice. “Being... what I am... can be detrimental to your health. That is why I ask you give me the blood tea and wait until I have consumed it before you return to my presence.” Elizabeth simply bowed to her new Mistress, the vision still flying past in what seemed to be several years.

    She had been consulted by the queen during the large war, had been consulted by many others who asked of their Fate, but she had never been pushed to do anything that she didn't want to do. Music was something that Nerezza found beautiful, so Elizabeth soon found herself taking violin lessons just so she could please the older woman. She was a natural, and with time she felt she could finally give back to the woman who had given her such kindness.

    Then the passing of time finally wound down to singular moment, where Elizabeth came to Nerezza at night, without the teapot. Surprise knitted the face of the vampire, but they had built a relationship of trust, so she didn't question why the other woman had seemed to forget such a thing for once. Knowing that the woman was an oracle, there must have been some reason why tonight was different from any other, why she had so suddenly broken years of tradition.

    “As it turns out, immortality apparently has some perks,” said Elizabeth, in a soft tone that seemed to enhance the ambiance of the situation. “I'm completely immune to disease.” A sudden realization spread over Nerezza's face, as it did Ethan's when he remembered that the particular form of vampirism the older woman had wasn't entirely magical. The vampire's brow furrowed in confusion soon afterwards, the sound of her gulping crisp.

    “Surely you would have known sooner,” replied the vampire, licking her lips and looking as if she was trying to resist doing something rash. “Why tell me this revelation now, of all times?”

    “Because we have both grown fond of each other,” came the soft reply, “I believe you know just how fond I mean.” A sudden look of passion pierced both the woman’s eyes, startling Ethan into complete surprise. Elizabeth outstretched her wrist towards Nerezza, who took it as if it was a prized gift.

    As the fangs made the first breach of Elizabeth's skin, it was a short pain, a warm feeling following soon after. Nerezza did not take much blood, but it was almost intimate the way the woman licked the bite wound clean, the blood stopping its flow seemingly at the touch of her saliva. The oracle merely felt lightheaded, which was normal for humans who had recently experienced blood loss. The vampire was careful to clean the remaining blood from her own face, returning to a more neutral demeanor.

    But that was not the end of the surprises, for in the last moment of the vision, Nerezza gently cupped the chin of the other woman. They both leaned towards each other in that moment, Elizabeth's lips being claimed in a gentle kiss. I may never love a man, came the whisper, as the vision started crumbling around him. But I can love a woman.

    Ethan opened his eyes at last, gasping for breath as if he had been previously devoid of air. He was back in the room, still sitting on the multicolored rug, with the present Elizabeth in her nightgown. She pulled her hands from his, resuming her previous task of tea pouring. The angel simply looked at the girl agape, absentmindedly taking the cup when it was handed to him.

    “How...?” he began, finally sorting through his thoughts after coming back to his senses. “How is that sort of thing normal?” Wasn't a relationship supposed to be between a man and a woman? But Elizabeth was just as calm as always, if not with a spark of humor in her eyes.

    “Beings of free will think they have the ability to choose who they are attracted to,” she replied, as calm as she had ever been. “In many cases, I have found that Fate is willing to be kind to those desires, if only those people look in the right places. But to answer your question more concisely, yes. It is normal.” It was a matter-of-fact sort of tone, like it had always been true.

    “Why then have I not seen it to be more common?” he asked, utterly bewildered.

    “Because sometimes, different species have been against that sort of thing,” she replied, somewhat sorrowfully. “It was uncommon before, but now that the law is clear about love it has become increasingly more common. As long as the individuals involved in the relationship are two consenting adults, it is accepted as normal. Not to mention you never really looked before now.”

    Ethan fell silent at that, furrowing his brow in thought. Elizabeth had looked happy in the last vision, and she wasn't being made to do anything against her will. She had freely fallen in love with Nerezza, and he couldn't really begrudge the woman anything. He had been unsuccessful in his endeavors for completely justified reasons, but now it just left him wondering what her vision had truly meant.

    “Didn't I tell you that it wasn't going to be what you expect in a relationship?” queried Elizabeth, at which he realized she had. He furrowed his brow again, a sudden realization coming over him. All of this talk of free will, human relationships with the same gender; it was all too much to be just a coincidence. Was this all leading up to what he thought she was saying?

    “Impossible,” he muttered, almost spitting it out. “I am attracted to only women.” The oracle simply raised her eyebrows, the amused glimmer coming back to her face.

    “How do you know for sure?” she inquired, a mysterious tone coming to her voice. “You didn't know what love was until now. You never looked at anyone that way before myself. Why not another man?” At that he sputtered, shaking his head as if he had just heard the stupidest thing ever.

    “It is not right,” he said, albeit somewhat strangled. “Love is meant to be between a man and a woman. That is all I have to say on the matter.” It was no sooner out of his mouth than he regretted it, his face falling from anger to look with guilt at Elizabeth. Not only had he renounced the possibility from his mind, but it was as if he had said that he renounced her love for Nerezza. The woman didn't look to be hurt by the comment, simply maintaining her smile as if to forgive him of his rash statement.

    “You never know if you don't try,” she replied, her calm demeanor finally getting on his nerves. It was as if the whole situation had meant nothing to her at all, like she simply didn't care. But memories of her small smiles and frowns came back into his mind, as well as the jumbled voices and images of the visions he had experienced through her. She has had to live with such a burden for so long, he thought, It has taken its toll on her. But she is still human, she still has feelings.

    “I apologize,” he said, guilt intertwining with honesty. “But I do not believe my feelings will change on the matter.” I doubt there is a way she can prove that it is a normal thing, he reasoned with himself. But all of a sudden, her eyes flashed and her face lightened considerably, a smirk playing itself over her lips as some revelation came to her.

    “Actually, I can,” she quipped, at which he groaned at the way Fate seemed to mock him at every turn. “Please, hear me out. I think that this would really open your eyes.” Ethan pursed his lips in disdain, but he had to admit to himself, he was somewhat curious. He nodded his head to indicate that she could share her thoughts with him, and he would reluctantly listen.

    “Come with me this weekend,” she said excitedly, causing him to raise an eyebrow. “If nothing else, I can get you to see that this sort of thing is more normal than you think. It is entirely up to you what you do with the information. You wouldn't be forced into doing anything you didn't want to.” She was practically buzzing with excitement, the most happy he had ever seen her since they first met. How could he ever refuse that sort of face?

    “Fine,” he sighed, nodding his head. “As long as I have some choice in the matter.” If he didn't like what she had to show him, he would leave. But he had a sneaking suspicion that if she was this excited about it, something was bound to happen that would completely surprise him.

    “Meet me at the park on Saturday,” she said, which was the human recognition of Tairaisday. “At the set of the Afternoon Sun. I will take you to the location then.” She stood from her sitting position, motioning for him to also rise. He followed Elizabeth back to the front door, which she opened for him, indicating that he should leave.

    “Goodnight, Elizabeth,” he said simply, finding himself wanting to give her a hug despite himself. She happily obliged, probably knowing that it was out of the stress of worrying for her during her visions. Obviously she had lived through it all, but that didn't change that fact that she had a somewhat morbid past that had changed who she was as a person. It was a hug not only to comfort him, but her as well.

    “Goodnight, Ethan,” she replied, closing the door behind him as he left, the dark gates opening for him once more. He plodded back to his cabin, finding himself to be exhausted from the whole ordeal, and fell asleep swiftly when he laid down on his bed.

    He took his time recuperating from the whole ordeal, finally getting a break from his very eventful life. It wasn't that long before Tairaisday came, at which he almost started regretting making plans. But he was not a man to back down from his word, especially to see a pretty girl smile.
     
  7. Dwayna DragonFire

    Dwayna DragonFire 2014 Little Cup Champion

    This chapter definitely has a lighter tone to it, but there are some darker bits as well.

    Chapter Five

    The afternoon sun was setting, the red hue that bathed everything fading to the darker colors of night. Ethan looked behind himself for a moment to see the evening sun rising, the white color of it reminding him of the Earth realm's moon that he had seen in Elizabeth's vision. It was amazing how some of the things about the two worlds were the same, but Terrater was so much more than an Earth realm could ever hope to be.

    She was already waiting for him at the park, dressed casually – for once – in a pair of jeans with a black shirt, the beautiful silver pattern of a rose on the front. That meant he didn't have to feel too out of place in his white dress shirt and black dress pants. Wherever the oracle was taking him, it must not have been all that important, else she would have told him to dress appropriately.

    Elizabeth lead him into the business district, turning down one of the many streets that branched off from the main road. As they walked, the distinct sound of a thudding bass betrayed that they were coming close to a club of some sort. The angel had never been to one before, probably because he usually preferred the peaceful tedium of regular life, but he figured that it might be an interesting experience to at least try.

    He was either in luck or she had read his mind, because the oracle got in line behind some other people. So far, it looked like a regular type of place, with regular types of people. Every few minutes or so, the line moved forward, giving him ample time to take in the sights. The night sky was just as beautiful as it ever was, he could just see more out here than from his bedroom window.

    “Identification,” said a masculine voice, startling Ethan out of his reverie. The door guard was quite obviously buff, but his muscles weren't the only interesting feature about him. He had green skin and his large canines betrayed the fact that he was an orc, or at least of orcish decent. In his palm, there was some sort of scanning device with a small glowing light.

    Elizabeth tilted her head upwards, and the orc scanned the tag on her collar, the only thing that hadn't changed from her regular attire. Ethan remembered that every person on Terrater had a sort of magical identification with them, given in the form of a necklace at first. He had kept his as a necklace, but had altered the appearance to make the circular pendant into a long white opal, the symbol of a blue cross emblazoned in the center. He held it out to the orc, who scanned it the same way, and motioned for the two to enter the club.

    When the door opened, immediately the sound of the bass got loud enough to make it hard to hear anything. He simply kept his eye on the pink hair making its way through the large crowd, to come to a spot that gave them room to breathe. The oracle looked at him with her silver eyes, giving a knowing glance around the room, before beginning to dance.

    The way she moved to the music made it look as if she had been born to dance, her hips swaying in time with the beat. It was hard for him to look away, but he managed to pry his eyes from her body to look at the other people around them. Many couples were dancing together like they were, and sometimes people who were by themselves joined a crowd of dancers. At first it looked like it would any other club, but then he noticed that the people who were dancing together were not always the opposite gender. It still amazed him in a way that this was a normal thing to do, but never had the point come across more than that moment.

    The music seemed to slow down to transfer into a different beat, which caused a nearby crowd to suddenly separate. Elizabeth motioned towards the crowd, which caused him to feel nervous all of a sudden. He walked towards the crowd of people and became one of the onlookers, wondering what they could have possibly broken apart for.

    Shock filled his eyes as he recognized blood red hair swishing around a dexterous form, the demoness wearing tight clothing that left little to the imagination. It was obvious the way Aria was dancing that she wanted the attention that she was getting, which caused him to feel the own blush growing on his face. It was like he couldn't control his emotion of lust in that moment, even for someone he thought he could never love. He felt utterly stupid, but it didn't prove anything different from what he believed.

    She had finished her dance, because she suddenly motioned to someone across the room. The man came towards her, the features of his face unclear in the sudden darkness of the club, but he showed little interest in the woman before him. How could another man be uninterested when even I could not resist her charm? he thought to himself, but suddenly the lights came back up.

    That was the moment when his jaw dropped, the sudden realization hitting him like a ton of bricks. The man was dressed in all black, the fabric hugging his skin, but that wasn't what Ethan was looking at. Club lights danced across his face, lighting up the unmistakable ice blue eyes, the dark blue hair glimmering just as bright.

    Alex Eileas shook his head and smiled, the action stilling the angel's next breath. Onlookers cheered as the man moved his feet in time with the now quickened beat, waltzing himself around the demoness as if to taunt her. Nothing but concentration was written on his face, and then the man was suddenly sliding across the floor, almost looking like a figure skater. Ethan noticed the sentiment wasn't far from the truth, a sort of icy film forming under the other mans feet with very little effort.

    The man stilled and gained a small cheer from the crowd, and even over the loud music, the angel heard Aria's laugh. The demoness bowed out of the circle, leaving Alex in the spotlight. The man simply touched his nose and winked, his showmanship causing the crowd to cheer him on all the more. The man proceeded to built up his footsteps again, the ice forming under his feet and around him in a strange sort of aura that was strangely beautiful.

    Cold air bristled past Ethan as Alex skated past, shivers running down his spine for more than one reason. He found himself longing to be in the center of the dance floor with the man in front of him, found himself wanting to skate across the floor in tandem with the other man. His heart thudded in his chest in a way that seemed even louder than the bass that blared over the speakers.

    Skidding to another stop, the man before him seemed to look around before his eyes landed on the angel. Ethan's heart felt like it stopped in that moment, time seeming to slow around him as the other man looked him up and down. It looked like Alex was going to reach towards him, but another man cut into the center, which made Ethan's heart fall yet again. When the angel finally realized what was happening, he bolted from the spot, struggling through the crowd to try to find a different face.

    The silver gaze of Elizabeth met his again, and she smiled her mysterious smile for a moment. But then her eyes glowed again, her smile faltering as another vision consumed her. Then her face filled with concern, and suddenly fear. It was the first time the angel had seen her visibly pale, and it was at that moment he knew something was terribly wrong.

    Go back, came the whisper in his mind, as her eyes connected with his. Please. The mixed feelings he had dissolved into the same fear written on her face, and he looked back toward the crowd of people, looking back to where the opening was. Realizing his mistake from the first time he had tried to get through, he mimicked the motions of dancing and found his way easily back to where he had been before. The crowd had lessened now, but the two men looked like they were talking to each other.

    Suddenly, an arm reached out to grab the arm of Alex, almost in an aggressive motion. The aura of ice tried to crystallize, but the other man had already prepared some sort of energy to be channeled. Blue eyes disappeared under now heavy eyelids, the younger man falling forward into the already waiting arms of the stranger. Anger started to fill Ethan's mind, causing him to walk toward the other man with a quickened pace. This did not escape the other man's notice, as he quickly lifted Alex so he was slumped over the strangers shoulder.

    “I got to him first,” said the stranger, his voice like white hot knives that penetrated Ethan's brain. “That means he's mine for tonight, and there isn't anything you can do about it.” But suddenly people started to turn towards them, as a light brighter than the club lights started emanating from Ethan. Rage pumped through the angel's veins, causing his arcane markings to glow with a blue sort of fire, causing the strangers eyes to open wide in something akin to fear.

    “Let. Him. GO.” Large white wings burst from his sides, his holy aura building of its own accord. The stranger dropped Alex to the floor, the thudding noise even louder since the club had silenced for a moment. Aria swam into his vision then, and when the angel saw that she had drawn a dagger, his anger started to fade.

    “Come with me, Mister,” she said, moving behind the man to point the dagger at his back. “You're going to have a long talk with with the authorities.” The crowd gave a great cheer as the stranger was led away, Aria giving Ethan a wink as she passed. He smiled despite himself, but it faded as soon as it came as he looked to the unconscious form of Alex.

    The angel gently knelt down, gently pressing his fingers against the other man's wrist. Albeit feeling quite cold, a pulse was still apparent, which made Ethan sigh in relief. He gave a thumbs up to the crowd, who applauded for the both of them, another person pushing to the front of the crowd. The pink hair betrayed that it was Elizabeth, her silver gaze falling on him with a smile. She rubbed the tag on her collar, which glowed with an ethereal light.

    Suddenly, three people teleported into the building, two bodyguards walking swiftly with a familiar form. The crowd bowed before the dark-haired woman, as all recognized her as the Queen of Terrater. Emerald eyes peered down at the unconscious form of Alex, a glimpse of sadness passing through her gaze before it turned to Ethan's face, as if studying him.

    “Please take my son to the healers,” she said nonchalantly, at which one of the bodyguards moved to pick up the man on the floor. Ethan backed away from the other man, knowing that he could trust that Alex would be okay. It was a strange feeling, but he actually had worried for the other man a great deal.

    “Ethan, Elizabeth, please come with me,” said the authoritative tone, which made him look to the young queen as she turned to the crowd. “This man will be rewarded for his service to the crown. Enjoy the rest of your evening.” There was another cheer and applause, the music starting back up again as the queen walked out, the oracle and the angel following soon after.

    When they stepped outside, the queen seemed to visibly relax, a myriad of emotions crossing her face. The gem at her throat burned with purple light, which enveloped the entire group of people within moments. With an eerie sort of silence, they teleported to the inside of the throne room, where she took her seat. The bodyguards were waved away, leaving only Ethan and Elizabeth standing in front of her.

    “What a disturbing turn of events,” said Dwayna, her lips pursed into a thin line. “Alex simply wanted to enjoy a night on the town in peace. I thought he would be safe, but I was apparently wrong. This world is supposed to be filled with good people, those without greed in their hearts. But out of a selfish desire, a man attacked my son, and had you both not been there... I dread to think what might have happened to him.”

    “I saw that he would be there tonight,” replied Elizabeth, surprise overtaking the angel yet again. “However, I did not see that outcome. I got the vision just as Ethan was returning to me from another part of the dance floor.” Both pairs of eyes turned to the angel, making him quite nervous, but he knew that he needed to tell the truth, lest the young queen worry more.

    “I was watching Alex dance, and I saw the man approach him,” said Ethan, his eyes downcast. “It was out of... jealousy... that I left to see Elizabeth again. I thought that they were going to have a good time together, until I saw her face.” Guilt filled his mind, but the queen didn't seem to judge him any differently, motioning for him to continue his story.

    “I went back at her word, and I saw the man use some sort of magic to knock Alex unconscious before he could get any sort of defence up. That was when I stepped in.” He felt his courage returning to him in that moment, the memory still fresh on his mind. “I fear I lost my temper in that moment, but showing my true form seemed to jar the stranger from his intent. Aria stepped in afterwards to take him to the authorities and I checked to see that Alex was still alive. You know the rest.”

    “I appreciate your honesty,” Dwayna replied, her voice calm and thoughtful. “It is not your fault that you misjudged the situation. I am just happy that you went back and were able to protect him. I will have to give Aria my thanks as well for dealing with the perpetrator. It certainly counts in her favor towards the recommendation for knighthood that I received from Merenwen.” It surprised Ethan that the timeless elf would do such a thing, but it was a curiosity for another time, since there was a bigger concern on his mind.

    “Will Alex recover?” Ethan felt himself asking, surprising himself. The young half-dragon looked astonished as well, but she smiled warmly, as if she was truly grateful for his concern. Emerald eyes flicked to Elizabeth, at which the oracle nodded in understanding at some silent communication.

    “Have Arcaniss see him,” came the somewhat cryptic reply, the oracle's silver eyes shining yet again. “It was a spiritual attack, so she would be the best option. The stranger... he knew what he was doing, but not who he attacked. He has a fire within him... it makes his passion amplified, including in the darkest ways. It had built up within him to reach a breaking point, which was tonight. He could have controlled it a little bit longer, could have asked, but he took action instead.”

    “A dangerous thing to have,” said the young queen. “Too dangerous. Since it was my son he attacked, I have no choice but to go to the full extent of the law. He will die a traitor's death.” There was little remorse in her tone, but the angel thought that it was completely warranted. Even though Alex was only her son in spirit, she still cared for him a great deal.

    “That being said, I must also do what I promised. Come forward, Ethan.” Dwayna beckoned to him, and although he felt somewhat nervous, he felt like he had done a good thing. The queen stood from her sitting position to reach towards the diamond on his chest, which designated his status as a regular citizen. She tapped her finger against it, a small amount of magical energy transferring from her finger to the diamond, changing it from the white color it was to silver. In a simple moment, he had become a noble of the monarchy.

    “I don't know what to say,” Ethan replied, thoroughly astonished. “Thank you.”

    “No thanks needed, Ethan,” said the queen, a smile coming over her face. “You helped save the prince. It is my duty to see to it that you gain a raise in status. To be perfectly honest, however, you will find its convenience astounding. Especially for hospital visits.” She raised her eyebrows in an almost suggestive manner, her face looking somewhat amused.

    At first, he was utterly confused by her statement, but then he thought about it more. Being that Alex was in fact a prince, the only people authorized to see him for visits would be the queen herself and any noble. Being of nobility meant that the monarchy trusted you, so if he were to say he wanted to visit the young prince, it would not be questioned. But Dwayna had just given him express permission in a way, which also meant that she approved of him.

    He nodded in understanding, but he still went back to his own thoughts of confusion. It was obvious that she knew that he had feelings for the other man in some way due to his admission of jealousy. Was it all just hopefulness on his part, or did she also approve of his feelings? He decided that he needed to think on it alone, so he bowed out and walked away, leaving Elizabeth to chat with the queen alone.

    The cabin was exactly how he had left it, which meant nothing had really changed. He would probably still be a priest in the morning as well, knowing how this strange society worked. The only big difference was that now he was some small part of the monarchy, which meant that he would get some media attention and privileges he had never thought to have before. He laid down on his comfortable bed, marveling at the possibilities as he stared at the ceiling.

    All of it just reminded him about the true situation at hand. He had admitted not moments ago that he was jealous of the stranger, which meant he had feelings for Alex. Were those feelings anything like the ones he had felt not days before for Elizabeth? Or was it just lust and desire, like he had unintentionally experienced for Aria? What would Robert think of him if he admitted this feeling, and would he still be welcome as a priest in that church?

    Ethan found himself fading to sleep, all the recent stress finally getting to him. When he woke the next morning, the thoughts flooded back into his mind, making it apparent that he needed to deal with the situation somehow. How could he know for sure if it was real, that it was love and not lust?

    Visiting Alex would only make the conflict worse, or so he felt. Talking to Robert about it may get him a lecture that he really didn't want to hear at the moment. The only real friend that he could talk to was Elizabeth, and she might be cryptic about her visions, as she usually was. But he remembered they had not long ago talked about this very thing, that she had said he would go back to her to ask.

    Resolved, the angel got up from his bed and decided to make the trip to see Elizabeth again. Fragments of what she had said to him before came back to him, making him hesitate before walking out the door. Even though he felt unsure in that moment, he already had an expectation of what the answer would be.
     
  8. Dwayna DragonFire

    Dwayna DragonFire 2014 Little Cup Champion

    Chapter Six

    The mansion looked different in the light of the morning sun. It was the only time of day where Terrater had a similar sky color as an Earth realm. Even though this was true, the statement still stood that the world of magic was better, or at least it was in Ethan's mind.

    Elizabeth greeted him when he knocked again, this time dressed as she was regularly. The angel couldn't help but to notice that the wristbands she had on were for more than just aesthetic appearances. Perhaps the woman knew how bad the bite mark would look in a public setting, and was actually modest about the whole thing.

    “I expected you again,” she said to him, a slight hint of humor to her tone. “But I don't need to be a seer to know that you need to talk. Come in.” She motioned for him to follow her again, but this time she took a leisurely pace, allowing him to look around a bit more. There was a large stairway not that far from the front door, splitting in two to lead up to the second floor. This was probably not only something for design, but also for practicality considering the general layout of the mansion.

    He was lead past the living room, which had two lovely couches and a large television screen. The technology was so advanced that it would no doubt be holographic in nature. They both passed the living room again to go to the same side room, Elizabeth positioning herself the same way she had before; cross-legged sitting.

    “I have a feeling I know what's bothering you,” came her slightly amused tone again. “I think you also know the answer I'm going to give you. However, I believe you will have more answers than you originally intended to receive. Please, speak your mind.”

    “I don't understand what I'm feeling for Alex,” he said honestly, as he felt he had little left to hide. “Is it just my desires, or is it true love?”

    “It is true,” she replied in her cryptic tone, the same way she had the first time she told him this would happen. “And if you do not see that, you are truly blind.”

    “How did this happen?” he asked, bewildered again for what seemed to be a lot of times since this whole ordeal had begun. “I thought your vision meant something else entirely. But now I feel like I'm out of the loop. You mentioned a coldness within given new purpose?”

    “I was under the impression you had noticed Alex's gift,” she replied, raising her eyebrows. “He can manipulate ice in extraordinary ways. But that is not what you're asking. You want to know why, and I think you know the only way to find that out is to either ask him yourself or look into his past. Since the previous action is currently unavailable, I will assume you want the latter.”

    “Yes,” he admitted, a somewhat guilty tone lacing his voice. “But I feel like it would be a horrible breach of privacy to look at his past without permission.”

    “And you would rather blame my random visions than admit you wanted to know,” she replied calmly, which just caused him to feel even more guilty. “No, I think that this is something you must do yourself. It is time that you take matters into your own hands and become more responsible for the things you ask of me. You are the one who will have this vision, and my role will merely be to help.”

    Ethan had nothing to say on the matter, so he simply nodded his agreement. He had the ability of true sight as well, but he had never used it because he had wanted to keep things surprising. It was only at that moment that he had realized just how much he had spoiled by reading into what Elizabeth had told him just because she was a seer. He sunk to a sitting position with her, his blue eyes looking up to meet her silver ones.

    “Close your eyes,” she whispered calmly, and he let himself follow her instruction, concentrating only on what she had to say. “I'm not going to tell you to clear your mind, because that is an almost impossible action. Instead, I will ask you to focus on the thought of Alex.” Memories of the blue-haired man flooded easily into his mind, especially ones from the other night.

    “Now ask yourself what you want to know,” said the almost distant voice in his mind. “Touch on the power of your true sight and open it to that question. It is then that you will see the answer.” Being that the True Sight was built into him, it was not hard to find and focus on. But what did he want to ask?

    Please, he thought, Show me the past. Let me know who Alex was before Terrater. He felt his consciousness being tugged on, like it was in Elizabeth's mind, but this time it was different. What looked to be an icicle appeared in his vision, and he fell into much the same way he had the woman's memory. It didn't take a genius to figure out that he had succeeded in his endeavor, that he had made his way into Alex's mind.

    It was another Earth realm, only this one seemed to be at war. The many countries had created bases where spies would be trained and set upon their opponents. Alex – who had black hair at the time – was recruited at a young age by his country's government. He had little choice but to try to do away with most of his emotions for the sake of the job.

    But the similarities between Ethan's world and this Earth realm were truly astounding, as Alex soon found that the different nations didn't really want to be at war with one another. They fought each other from time to time, but the different spies were actually sometimes friends from time to time.

    That was when Alex met another man from the directly opposing country. He seemed to be much softer in personality, much different from the other men in the organization. That was the moment when Alex realized his feelings for the other man, and that he hadn't ever felt the same way for a woman. It was shocking in a way, but for some reason it seemed far less surprising to Alex than it had been to Ethan, like the man had always known but had neglected to admit it. But the man from the opposing faction didn't feel the same way for him, and he soon found himself somewhat depressed by the whole ordeal.

    Alex resolved himself to try harder to be emotionless, to be completely cold. Alas, it was not meant to be, for soon there came visitors to his Earth realm, offering salvation from the hell he had experienced his entire life. It was too good an opportunity to just pass up. When Alex stepped through the portal, he too saw the spirit of Terrater, but he hesitated when she asked him what he wanted. What he wanted more than anything in his world was to have a more peaceful life, but he didn't know the limitations of this one wish genie.

    “I feel like I've died a little bit on the inside,” said the man, causing Ethan to have a pang of sympathy pain. “Having to be a spy in a fruitless war does that to a person. I just wish there was a way that I could use all that coldness I've built up on the inside for good.” The spirit of Terrater smiled in understanding, as if she had read his entire wish and not just the one he had said.

    “You have good intentions,” said Terrater, “So I will give not only what you asked, but what you truly want.” The spirit touched his neck, where the soul was said to be, and the spot glowed with a black sort of energy. Black turned to bright blue along with his hair color changing, his eyes turning from their deeper blue to the ice blue that Ethan had seen. But there was another quality to the light, the symbol of a diamond imprinted into the area of the soul.

    It was revealed to Alex when he came out of his blank state that he was now spiritually related to the queen. He had a family who would love him unconditionally, he would only have to go to war for a purpose, and he now had total control over the power of ice. It was all too wonderful not to make the man smile for what seemed to be the first time since he was a young child.

    Though he wasn't always happy, Alex had a good life with Dwayna. He envied the peaceful state of Terrater in comparison to his, much like Ethan had. But he took everything in stride and eventually became quite happy with his situation, the only thing missing being someone significant in his life.

    That was when he went partying, and not many weeks later he had met Ethan. Knowing the basic information about the angel and what he did for a living, it was small wonder why Alex had initially hesitated to reveal his sexual orientation. The man hadn't thought much about the angel until he saw the angel again at the club the night before.

    Gods, Ethan thought he hadn't been that obvious, but the look plastered on his own face was clear as day. Not only that, but Alex had wanted to invite him to dance that evening even after seeing that. The stranger was the one who had distracted Alex from that intent, and he had been so disappointed to see that Ethan left that he was willing to see what the stranger had to offer.

    The angel fell back out of the vision, not needing to see that moment again. Alex had returned his feelings for a fleeting moment, and if he hadn't let his jealousy get in the way, he would've been the man dancing with him that evening instead of the stranger. Ethan had never felt more stupid than in that moment, clasping his hands on his own face as if to try to hide from the world how guilty he was.

    “It's not your fault,” said the calm voice of Elizabeth, although it was also laced with sympathy. “Not even I knew that would happen until it was too late. You can't change what has already happened, but you can change your future, if you will let yourself.”

    Ethan would have asked how, but the thought had already crossed his mind by then. Alex had returned his feelings, and there was a strong chance he still would, especially after the night before. Instead of going in blind, he finally had something to work with. He had to admit, it was somewhat liberating knowing the whole truth of the situation instead of going off of almost nothing.

    “Then I will go to see him at the hospital,” the angel replied with confidence. “I will tell him my feelings and hope he still returns them.”

    “That would not be entirely wise,” said Elizabeth, surprising he angel somewhat. “Though I do think it is a good idea to see him at the hospital, the fact still remains that he was attacked.”

    “Of course,” Ethan murmured, his thoughts racing. “If he was attacked by a stranger out of desire, then he will likely be feeling that he doesn't want attention. He would fear that situation would just happen again, even if it was me who saved him.”

    “Correct,” said Elizabeth, her tone filled with something close to sorrow. “I suggest taking things slow. Wait until he admits his own feelings first. You'll want to make sure he's ready to accept a relationship again before jumping into things.” It was the first time she actually gave him friendly advice outside of her visions, which he felt was a significant change.

    “Thank you,” the angel replied. “For everything. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have had a chance at true love. I was so... naive of the world around me before now.”

    “But am I truly the one you must thank?” she asked, her cryptic tone returning with a smile. “It was you who sought me out the first time, you who asked me what you wanted to know. I only told you enough to keep you going, and you managed to go down the right track. I accept your thanks, but I think you should also thank yourself.”

    “Fair enough,” he chuckled, feeling modest. “I need to go. I have someone I want to see.” He smiled and rose from his place, and Elizabeth smiled back, giving him a hug and leading him back to the front door. He walked out with a new perspective on life, thoughts still racing through his mind.

    It was afternoon, which was somewhat surprising to him. As he walked towards the hospital, he realized that he had felt just as disoriented the first time he went through a vision. It was perhaps the greatest flaw of true sight, that one would lose track of actual present time. That was why he figured that he would only use it when he absolutely needed to.

    The hospital was a relatively large building, mostly white in color with red lettering and symbols. The front doors slid open of their own accord when he walked towards them, another marvel of technology on this world. The front desk had a lovely receptionist woman, who smiled at him warmly.

    “Welcome to the Madone Hospital,” she said, a slight mechanical buzz to her voice betraying the fact that she wasn't entirely human. “How might I help you?”

    “Yes, I'm here to see Alex Eileas,” the angel replied, slightly anxious. The woman rapidly typed something into the computer in front of her, and looked at him again. Still smiling, her eyes fell to the diamond on her chest, which she seemed to analyze for a moment before replying.

    “Identification, please,” came the cheerful tone, even though she surely recognized his status. It was still procedure to ask, and he respected people who did their job. He took off the pendant at this neck, holding it out for the woman. She scanned the pendant with a similar device to the club guard, and then typed some more information into the computer. Her expression never seemed to change from its cheerful disposition, almost as if it was stuck that way.

    “Mister Torke,” she finally said after a few seconds, finding whatever it was she had been looking for. “You are authorized to see him. Please follow the purple line to room seven.” She handed him back his pendant and pointed at the ground, which contained several different lines. They were probably for different types of medical conditions, and there was probably some explanation as to which was which, but Ethan didn't bother to ask.

    The purple line branched off from the other lines almost immediately, leading him down a corridor with several doors. Luckily each one had a number on the front, so it wasn't too hard to reach room seven. The angel knocked on the door and waited, thinking that if no one answered he would let himself in.

    But someone did answer, and he was surprised to see it was the white-scaled dragon from the church opposite his. Up close, he saw that her soul gem was purple in color, and her eyes were also purple, a sort of contrast that made her quite pretty for a changed dragon. He wasn't all that surprised with himself that he would find a draconic woman attractive as well, after what he had been through.

    “You are here to see the patient,” she affirmed, a slight hiss to her voice. “Come in.” She opened the door wide and motioned inwards, which he obeyed. Alex was visibly breathing now, almost like he was just sleeping instead of unconscious, which meant that the treatment was working.

    “He is not fully healed,” said the feminine voice behind him, which made him look to the dragon again. “I am not the typical kind of doctor who will lie to placate your emotions. He is lucky to be in even this condition, considering how volatile the attack was to his spirit. Whoever did this to him was not meaning to be careful.”

    “Thank you.” Even though her honesty was a bit brutal, it was somewhat comforting to know his exact condition. “Will he be alright, Doctor...?”

    “Arcaniss,” replied the dragon, the hissing simply part of her accent. “He will pull through, but I fear he may be emotionally damaged for some time. If only every species was as straightforward as mine. Then things like this would not happen.” She closed her mouth in such a way that if she had lips, they would probably be pursed.

    “Is there anything I can do to help?” Ethan found himself asking, even though he wasn't a doctor. But Arcaniss seemed to look at him then, a gaze that seemed to pierce his very soul. Perhaps it did, because he saw her eyes flash for a moment before she pulled her mouth into a fanged grin.

    “I see your emotion for him is strong,” she replied, causing him to blush. “It is small wonder why. Yes, I believe you can be of help.” She walked to the other side of the bed where Alex was laying, beckoning the angel to come closer. Again, he followed her, wondering just what she had seen in his soul that would convince her that he could help.

    “Spirit magic is a delicate art,” Arcaniss said, in a low voice. “It is connected directly to the soul. The soul is connected to emotion, and your emotion for him is strong. I believe that with the help of your emotion, we can help to complete the final stage of his healing. Be prepared, this process can be disturbing for some.” With all of that said, the changed dragon put her hands over the unconscious body of Alex, her soul gem glowing the same bright purple as it had in the church.

    The unconscious man started glowing around the area of his neck as well. Arcaniss was moving her hands in such a way that she was tugging on the energy, pulling it from the man's being. Darkness left his body, which was clearly the source of the problem.

    “Feel your emotion for him,” said the dragon woman. “I will pull it towards the energy.” Ethan didn't bother to question her, since she would know best. He felt himself wanting nothing more than for the unconscious man in front of him to wake up. He felt a tugging sensation, and suddenly the darkness was changing, until it was nothing but light. Arcaniss carefully siphoned the light back into the mans body, as if it were something precious. The glow from both beings disappeared, and there was a distinct couching sound from the lungs of the human. Ice blue eyes fluttered open, looking around frightened at first, but Alex soon recognized he was in the hospital when he saw Arcaniss. They looked around once more, landing on Ethan's own blue eyes, and the other man gave him a breathtaking smile.
     
  9. Dwayna DragonFire

    Dwayna DragonFire 2014 Little Cup Champion

    Chapter Seven

    “I see my mother made you a noble,” Alex said in his usual cheerful tone, looking straight at Ethan. “That explains why you can see me in the hospital. But... why am I in the hospital? The last thing i remember is that guy grabbing me and...” A sudden shiver went down his spine.

    “You were attacked on the spiritual level,” Arcaniss replied, gaining the other man's attention. “Whomever he was, he intended to knock you unconscious for quite some time, since you nearly died. I healed you back to a reasonable condition, but this man helped me bring you back to consciousness.” Both pairs of eyes fell on Ethan, at which he flushed with embarrassment at being put on the spot.

    “I'm not a healer,” said the angel, wanting to tone down the other man's stare. “I just did what Arcaniss told me to.”

    “Regardless, my thanks to the both of you,” Alex replied, his cheerfulness having turned down a notch. There was a slight hint of a flush on his cheeks as well, as if he was embarrassed by his own weakness.

    “I will leave you two alone,” said the doctor, causing both of them to look at her in surprise. “I am not blind. I can see there is much you two have to talk about. When you are ready to leave, do so. You are physically healthy again, Mister Eileas, and therefore no longer my patient.” She looked between the two of them again, before bowing her head and leaving the room.

    “She certainly cuts to the chase,” the man chuckled, before turning his concerned gaze on Ethan. “You were there at the club, so do you think you could tell me what happened?”

    “I had walked away after he first approached you,” replied the angel, the guilt returning to his expression along with a blush. “It was only because of my oracle friend that I was convinced to turn back. I saw him knock you out and I... got angry. My true appearance apparently intimidated him-”

    “Your true appearance?” Alex asked, bewildered. Ethan chose to say nothing in return, his eyes beginning to glow. As soon as the wings unfurled, he folded them close to his body, since the room wasn't large enough for him to spread them. He let the halo appear as well as the arcane markings, the power surging through his body even though he was calm.

    “An archangel from Vehn,” the other man gasped, his gaze making the angel feel nervous. “I've seen people like you angry before. Much more burning involved. Right now, you look... good.” The angel couldn't help but to notice the blush on the other man's cheeks, which caused his heart to skip a beat.

    “I have a more human appearance for convenience,” he murmured. “These walls don't entirely lend well to my large wings.” Alex chuckled softly, nodding his head in agreement. Ethan took that as his cue to pull everything back into his body, returning to his regular state.

    “So the stranger was intimidated by an angry version of that,” the other man commented, nodding his head in understanding. “He must have dropped me if he thought you were a threat. I'm surprised a man as determined as that didn't fight you.”

    “He didn't get a chance,” the angel replied. “Aria took him in to the authorities and Elizabeth called your mother. You were barely breathing when I checked you, so it is small wonder why you are here.”

    “Ah, so you're friends with Elizabeth,” said Alex, a thoughtful look now on his face. “She must have been the oracle you mentioned. Aria... she's that demon who I danced against before that whole situation happened. Not to mention she's been recommended for knighthood by Meren.” It was a shortened version of the elven name, probably one that the paladin didn't mind herself.

    “Anything else you wish to know?” Ethan asked, hesitation lacing his tone despite himself. The other man obviously noticed his discomfort, the ice blue eyes flicking to the side to look thoughtful. They turned back to the angel in an instant, startling him with the determination they now had.

    “Why did you save me?” Alex asked, a certain wonder piercing his normally cheerful tones. “Why are you here now? What did you see before I woke up?” There were so many questions, and although the angel wanted nothing more than to be perfectly honest, he would have to settle for what the humans called a 'white lie'.

    “There was a certain emotion in me that I've never felt before,” he replied, managing to keep calm. “It drove me to want to protect you. To want to see you again. When I got here, Arcaniss told me that I could help your recovery with my emotion. I trusted her judgement, and the treatment worked.”

    It was almost an admission of his love, but he had made it out to say that he was still confused. In a small way, he still was, since it seemed to be complex enough an emotion to evoke other emotions within himself. The blue-haired man seemed to realize or assume something, since he blushed darker than he ever had before. He seemed to calculate something to say, before his eyes finally rested on the silver diamond now on the angel's chest.

    “So because of your good deed,” said Alex, exasperated. “My mother gave you nobility. Aria will no doubt have her recommendation considered quicker than before. Elizabeth is already the servant of a noble, and apparently doesn't want anything else. The only concern left is what will happen to the man who did this to me.”

    “I already know,” Ethan replied, a certain neutrality in his voice. “Dwayna said she had little choice but to go to the full extent of the law, since he attacked you. I believe her exact words were 'He will die a traitor's death.' You need not worry.”

    A certain look seemed to pass between the two men, one of understanding and contemplation. Even though the stranger had done an evil thing, he was still a living being. Death was still a reality for even immortals like them, since it was only immortality in age. It was a serious issue, and almost seemed like an extreme measure, but it was so much easier to accept because the stranger had done a great wrong to Alex. It was a morbid truth to accept, but the truth was rarely beautiful to begin with.

    “So he'll be executed,” came the matter-of-fact tone. “Good.” It was a stark contrast from the man's usual happiness, but in that moment, the angel saw a flash of the man's past glimpse across his face. If Aria had killed anyone on her first trip here and been executed, Ethan would've felt the same way.

    “Yes,” came the angel's reply, at which the other man looked to him again. “It is good. Now we can focus on more happy things. Like your recovery.” He smiled in that moment, and the other mans face flushed darkly once again. One had to admit that it was entirely too much fun to make the man of ice let down his guard and warm himself to others. It was even more special because he was beginning to trust the angel, which meant he would feel more comfortable sooner.

    “We should celebrate,” said Alex, the regular cheerful tone returning to his voice. “But I don't think I'll be wanting to go to a club for a while. Do you want to have dinner with me next weekend?” Ethan felt his own face flushing, suddenly at a loss for words as the other man smiled at him. He cleared his throat to regain his composure, smiling back of his own accord.

    “I'd love to,” he replied, letting the simple sentence speak for itself. He turned to open the door, holding it open for the other man, at which they seemed to share another glance. Alex was trying to study him intently, and he was trying not to show too much emotion in return.

    But the human hesitated, something painful crossing his face before he turned to leave. Ethan left soon afterwards, but he decided to give the other man all the space that he needed. It was easy to assume that the other man was still remembering how he had been hurt by the stranger, and was holding himself back due to doubt and fear. The angel swore to himself that he would be patient, though in that moment it already seemed to be getting on his nerves.

    He woke to the yellow hue of the Early Morning sun, remembering that he had to return to work that day. No doubt he would have to request weekends off as a permanent thing, but Robert would probably ask why. The angel had nearly forgotten that this day would come, but it was here, and he would have to face the music sooner or later.

    The ceremonial robes that he usually wore to work suddenly made him feel uncomfortable. Others would surely judge him if they knew his affection for another man. Was he really prepared to deal with the scorn? Everything was suddenly unsure in his mind, but he had little choice in the matter anymore.

    Ethan felt himself going through the motions when he got to the church. He held open the door for people to come in, getting the occasional comment that it was good to see him again. They might not give him the same courtesy if they knew how he truly felt.

    When he got up on the podium, he found himself struggling to find a piece of scripture that matched his current thoughts. What could he possibly say to ease himself in this setting? The crowd was waiting for him to speak, so he finally settled on something he felt was close enough.

    “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. Love must be sincere. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

    There was far more to the verses than he had said, but he knew that they would fill in the blanks where they wanted to. It felt like the first time he had truly been emotional about his preaching, and he was sure it showed, for the people before him seemed to look at him with a new sort of respect.

    Ethan lead the group into regular morning prayers afterwards, gaining applause as he stepped down from the podium to let another priest take his place. He took a deep breath, not needing true sight to see that he would be confronted, and he was not wrong. There was Robert, the man who had taught him everything about the church and the human scripture, looking at him with nothing but sympathy.

    “There was a particular sort of power to your speech today,” the priest remarked. “Something must have happened over the weekend. Care to talk to an old man?”

    “Robert,” Ethan managed to choke out, finding himself at a loss for words yet again. “I fear that if I tell you, I would not be entirely welcome here anymore. I have found in the past week that people can be entirely too quick to judge. More specifically from my own self more than anyone else, though the statement still holds some truth.”

    “You have learned much from your years on Terrater,” Robert replied. “Never have you looked so bothered by something other than your previous hatred. But this is different somehow... something new that I've never seen in you before.”

    It was at that moment when Ethan felt everything coming down on him at once, and he finally let himself cry. At first he tried to hide such an embarrassment from the other man, but as soon as Robert touched him, warmth seemed to spread through his body. The angel remembered that the older man had the ability to do that to people, but it was so much more than magic. The hug was actually comforting, like it had come from someone who deeply cared.

    “I met someone,” he found himself admitting, surprise writing itself onto Robert's face almost instantaneously. “Met with many people over the past little while, actually. I'm surprised you didn't notice the change after the day the demon tried to attack me.”

    “When Elizabeth talked to you,” Robert acknowledged, which in turn seemed to surprise Ethan. “The seer is well known to many people on Terrater. I assume you went to see her again?”

    The angel nodded, and he felt himself spilling the entire story to the man in front of him. How he had gone back to Elizabeth for consultation. How he thought he had fallen in love with the woman, but it turned out to be that she was in love with another woman. How he had gone out to the club and saved Alex from an unfortunate fate, thus becoming a noble in the process.

    “But the biggest issue is that I'm in love,” said the angel, his tone neutral. “I'm in love with another man, and I think you'll hate me for it.” Ethan waited with baited breath, but the explosion never came. Robert simply looked at him with an expression that looked like it was somewhere between amazement and sadness. It was still remarkable to the angel that one person could feel so many different things at once, but the evidence of that was in his own soul as well.

    “In my time here, I have found that love comes in many strange forms,” replied the priest, a very neutral disposition to everything about him. “I am not one to question God's will for you. If it is destined that you are to be with a man, so be it. If you wish to have the free time, I will gladly give it to you for your services here.”

    “Thank you,” said the angel, a smile spreading over his face. It was neither approval or disapproval from Robert, but he had at least been given the free time he wanted for weekends. He found himself hugging the other man again, happy that he wasn't hated for how he felt.

    “It is as you said,” murmured the priest, “Love must be sincere. Do not doubt your love for him, else it will inevitably lead to destruction.” Robert left him to his thoughts, at which he left the church early.

    The week passed by much the same, only he went back to his regular ways of preaching. The scripture had always held some truth in his life, there was just more of it that he applied to himself. He found himself being truly satisfied with his career choice for the first time in his life.

    It was Saturday again before he knew it, when he realized he hadn't exchanged contact information with Alex. He chastised himself for missing such a minor detail, but then a sudden beeping noise came from his pendant. It was glowing in an odd way, which instinctively made him touch it to see what exactly was going on.

    A metallic device of sorts popped out from the pendant, falling open to reveal a screen. It lit up with a holographic display, a message written at the top in black lettering, with a royal symbol displayed to the right. Meet me on Draconia when the Evening Sun rises, it said, From Alex. Draconia was Terrater's only neighboring planet, a somewhat volatile world filled with almost nothing but dragons. Why the blue-haired man wanted to meet him there was lost on the angel, but he supposed it was because the other man wanted to show him something.

    It had been many years since the angel had entered the portal building, but when it was late afternoon he made the trek over to the skyscraper. He stepped up to the front desk, the same receptionist as he had seen when he first arrived still sitting at the desk. She was a brunette by the name of Ellen, who had a relatively sunny disposition.

    “Mister Torke,” she greeted, typing information into the computer. “Scheduled for a visit to Draconia today, I see. Authorized and set up by Prince Alex, as well. He's already been through earlier, so he'll be waiting for you, no doubt. Try to stay safe, and have fun!” Ellen smiled and motioned to the door on the other side of the room, which slid open at the angel's approach.

    The endless ceiling betrayed thousands of portals, all leading to different dimensions and planets with life on them. Above his head, there was a large metallic woman with no face and wings, an Android that went by the name of The Gatekeeper. As she turned towards him, a portal came down from the wall and dropped down in front of them, the number one emblazoned on the top. Symbols of dragons and volcanoes marked the outside of the portal, as well as what he had been told was the Android’s language. They were the ones who had built the portals in the first place, so it was little surprise.

    “Portal to Draconia,” came the robotic, feminine tone. “You have been authorized to pass through. A guide is already waiting for you.” The Gatekeeper turned gracefully in the air to another person, having given him all the information he would need. Someone else would take care of him when he got there, meaning he didn't need a warning about any dragons or volcanoes.

    The portal opened, the space in the middle of the circle becoming wobbly with the break in time and space. Ethan took a deep breath and jumped through, coming out on the other side no worse for wear. Even though he had worn a nice t-shirt, the immediate heat that washed over him was uncomfortable.

    “Hey,” came the familiar voice, ice blue eyes looking at him. Alex was dressed in a nice blue shirt, the blue scarf from before back around his neck. Even in such a hot environment, the ice manipulator looked somewhat comfortable in his own skin. It was almost as if nothing bothered him, but the angel knew better than to think it was true.

    “Interesting choice of location,” remarked the angel, pulling at his shirt collar. “You're the guide, so how about you show me where we're supposed to be going?”

    “Gladly,” replied the other man, a smile stretching itself onto his face. “If you will follow me, I'd love to show you a great place I know.” Whatever else was on this planet than dragons and volcanoes, Ethan would just be glad to follow his human companion to see it.
     
  10. Dwayna DragonFire

    Dwayna DragonFire 2014 Little Cup Champion

    This chapter contains talk about sexuality and allusion towards certain body parts. But don't worry, this story isn't going to turn into a slash fic.

    Chapter Eight

    As it turned out, there was a small town on Draconia, looking like it was put there just to contrast the harsh environment around them. In said town, there was also a restaurant, which Alex bee-lined towards with a certain determination in his eyes. He might have been a regular, so it wasn't surprising that he would know where it was.

    “Hello, Alex,” said a feminine voice, at which Ethan found another changed dragon, this time with yellowish scales and white highlights. “I see you brought a date.”

    “Thrae,” came the harsh whisper, a blush on the blue-haired man's cheeks. “Don't embarrass me.”

    “That means yes,” she snickered, giving a fanged grin. “Why don't you two have a seat, and I'll bring you something to drink.” The changed dragon plodded off in another direction, leaving the two men alone. The both of them were blushing, but they found a nearby booth to sit at across from each other.

    “A date?” the angel questioned, barely remembering the words meaning. It had something to do with two people being together, but he wasn't clear on the details. The other man seemed to take a deep sigh, a flush still on his cheeks.

    “It's when people go out together,” Alex explained, “Referring to you, it meant that you were my.. companion on such an outing. More likely than not it's used as a reference for... romantic interest.” The flush turned darker again, and the angel felt himself return the sentiment. It was almost comforting in a way, to be embarrassed for the same reason as someone else.

    “I feel like I need to be honest with you,” said Ethan, remembering what he had done the week previous. “I know this sort of outing is meant to get to know each other, but... my species has the ability of true sight – like what Elizabeth has, only more controllable. I looked into your past of my own accord, and I understand why you're who you are as well as why you're the queens adoptive son.” Ethan hung his head, fully prepared to take the brunt of the other man's rage, but received nothingness, like when he hold told Robert the truth about his change in attitude.

    “I appreciate your honesty,” the human replied, causing the angel to look up again. “I think I understand what prompted you to look, as well. But... you saw everything?”

    The issue suddenly became clear in Ethan's mind, causing him to be astonished as his own deductive reasoning for once. Alex was afraid what he might think if he had learned about his sexuality, just the same as he had with Robert. What's more was that because the man did not have the same ability to see the future, he couldn't possibly know what the angel's response would be, nor how he really felt. It made him smile, to be in an advantageous position for once.

    Everything,” he affirmed, looking straight into Alex's eyes. The two different colors of blue met, another look of understanding passing through them, but for different reasons. The angel understood the humans own worries because he himself had experienced them, and the ice manipulator understood what the angel had meant by his words.

    “It's referred to as being gay, on my part,” said the blue-haired man, the blush lessening somewhat. “It means I'm only attracted to men.”

    “That much was obvious,” remarked the angel, which seemed to surprise the other man. “The way Aria danced that night made even me look her way. But you were completely indifferent to her.”

    “That just means you were watching me,” Alex teased, his demeanor becoming much more relaxed. “But that much was obvious when I saw you looking.” The memory flooded back into Ethan's mind, causing the angel to flush a whole new shade of red. It was the stare of an almost ravenous beast, how he had looked at the other man that evening.

    He was going to retort, but the draconic woman came back to their table with two glasses. The human requested for something called a root beer, and the empty glass filled with a brown substance that was somewhat fizzy. In return, the angel ordered a simple juice, which seemed to cause Thrae to roll her eyes and walk away again, this time with the promise of plates for food.

    “I have a question,” said the angel, causing the other man to pop an eyebrow. “You said that the term was 'gay' when you liked another man. Are there other terms for certain relationships?”

    “Quite a lot of them,” Alex replied, a knowledgeable look on his face. “If you're a man attracted to a woman or vice versa, you're straight. Gay is the term used for same sex attraction, though with two females they can also be called lesbians. For people who like both genders you're called bisexual, and if you don't care about gender you're pansexual. The list goes on, especially if you ask different species, but that is the most basic explanation.”

    “Interesting,” Ethan speculated, as if thinking deeply about it. “I suppose the closest term to my feelings at the current moment are bisexual.” The other man looked thoroughly surprised, but the angel saw a small smile come to his face. He visibly relaxed, as if a large weight had been pulled off of his shoulders. For some reason, he had been particularly concerned about the angels reaction.

    “So you like both, but you actually care which is which?” Ice blue eyes looked to his again, genuine curiosity written in them. The angel seemed to contemplate the question again, before nodding in affirmation of his previous answer.

    “I do care,” came his honest reply. “I would like to know what I am dealing with beforehand, without any doubts in my mind.”

    “Fair enough,” said the other man, somewhat indifferently as he shrugged his shoulders. The plates were plopped down in front of them, which caused them to order their dinner. Alex ordered a steak and fries, and Ethan ordered a salad with meat like he had the first time he ate human food. Both meals materialized much the same as the drinks had, which caused the two men to fall silent in their discussion in favor of eating.

    The silence helped the angel truly contemplate the meaning of the other mans words. Men and women had different parts, but he had found both bodies attractive. The human was no doubt also referring to the sexual organs, which he realized were also different. He had never been intimate with a person, so it was hard to say whether or not he would be attracted to their actual parts, but he would have to see.

    “So, I've heard about Vehn,” said Alex, breaking the silence between them. “Though I've never actually been there. It sounds beautiful. Blue skies with white clouds, but only one sun that you ever see in battle, and another planet opposite.”

    “I could show you,” replied Ethan, causing the other man to be surprised yet again. “Or at least I could try. I haven't used my true sight all that much, but I am under the impression that it can be projected into another willing mind, if I so choose. If you would be willing, I would gladly show you the beauty of Vehn and our sun... even Vehl, if you wanted. It would be only fair, all things considered.”

    The other man seemed to contemplate it for a moment, before nodding his head. The angel felt himself reaching out with his hands at first, but stopped himself when he remembered he needed to be careful. Instead, he simply closed his eyes to concentrate on his power again. Please, connect me with the mind of the man in front of me, he asked, feeling the power coil up at his command. Show him my memories of Vehn and Vehl.

    His mind pushed a crystallized memory outwards, and he soon found something tugging at the other end. The presence of the other man in his mind seemed almost as cold as the ice he commanded, but it was warm in a different sense as well. The angel felt the memory stretching from his mind to the others, the vision appearing to the both of them.

    The skies of Vehn were indeed overcast, blue tinged of light appearing at the edges with strange waves of light appearing every so often. The perspective quickly moved from the planet's surface to the outside, a soft gasp resounding in the angels mind that was not his own. The planet looked like it was breathed in blue lightning, the swirling mass of cloud barely appearing underneath to make the sight all the more magical.

    The sun was a yellow color burning brightly between the two planets, the other giant orb coming into view at the lower edges of the vision. Vehn seemed to be covered in a red fire, with a black mass of what was determined to be ash swirling underneath. The vision zoomed out to the battlefield, and that was when the emotion of surprise came across the second time, for both figures.

    Ethan had never realized it before, but there was a subtle aura connecting the two planets. Blue and red intertwined with each other, clashing where the angels and demons did battle and otherwise calm. This must have been the outward sign of Angelus' and Daemonem's connection. It was there, almost as plain as day now, but he couldn't blame himself for not noticing it before. As they pulled out of the vision, he allowed himself a single tear; shed for the blindness of not only his brothers and sisters, but himself. If they had only looked, they would all see the pointlessness of their war.

    He felt a touch to his hands, and looked to see that it was the other man grasping them. There was genuine sympathy and understanding, and it was in that moment that the angel remembered why. They had both come from worlds strife with pointless war, both forced to fight without any real reason but the hatred of others. In a strange way, it made him love the other man even more.

    “Thank you,” Ethan whispered, smiling in time with the other man. Alex let his hands linger for a moment too long after the smiles both faded, causing both men to blush and pull away from one another. There was still a barrier between them, but it seemed to be lessening with every moment.

    “Now I know you're on a date,” said a feminine voice, Thrae giving a fanged grin yet again. “That doesn't mean your boyfriend here gets the employee discount. I'll see you on Monday, lover boy.” With a short chuckle, the changed dragon walked away, which caused the angel to turn back to the other man. The dark flush had returned to his face, but this time he was trying to desperately hide himself behind one of his hands.

    “What was that about seeing you on Monday?” The angel asked the question to try to put the other man at ease, and it seemed to work. Though the blush was still on his cheeks, he seemed to regain his composure, throwing an almost heated glare in the direction Thrae had gone.

    “I work here from time to time,” Alex replied, a somewhat bitter tone lacing his voice. “I'm a waiter, and that was my superior. She's usually a good sort, but a little bit eccentric, as you just saw.”

    “Which also explains the part about the employee discount,” Ethan quipped, at which the other man snorted out a laugh. The angel joined him in laughing, since he found the situation just as awkward and hilarious as the other man. Thrae had put them both on the spot with her comments, but in a way it was good that they were able to enjoy such surreal moments together because of it.

    “Same time, next week?” asked the blue-haired man, after they had settled down. They were finished with the food, so it wasn't too hard to assume they were leaving at that point. The angel contemplated it for a moment, before nodding his head in reply.

    “Sure,” he said, a humorous tone to his voice. “But I get to pick the venue this time. Somewhere more comfortable, perhaps.” The other man chuckled again, pulling at his scarf absentmindedly.

    “Sorry about that,” he replied, “Sometimes I forget other people don't have the same ability that I do. I can cool myself down without much of a thought, which is helpful in such a warm environment. But you don't have a resistance to fire. I expect it would be lightning instead.”

    The two men rose from their seats, and Alex lead him back to the portal. They walked through one after the other, the other man waiting for him to catch up to walk beside him. When they were outside, he started to head towards his cabin, and was surprised to see the other man was still walking with him. He simply raised an eyebrow and kept walking, letting the other man speak for himself.

    “I thought I'd walk you home,” came the simple statement. “Do you not want me to?”

    “It's not that,” the angel replied. “I should think that with all that's happened, it should be me walking you home, not the other way around.”

    “That's the fun part of being royalty,” Alex smirked. “Built in teleportation device. I'll remember to use it this time.” There seemed to be a sudden pain to the other man's face, which disappeared as soon as it had come. It would certainly take time for the human to get past what had happened to him, but in that moment, Ethan felt nothing more than to want to comfort the man.

    The opportunity came when they reached his cabin, the other man seeming to study it. He received an approving nod and a smile, as if it met to the other mans standards. That was when the angel reached out with both arms, as if to draw the other man into a hug.

    Alex seemed to look at them for a moment, hesitant to come towards him. But the ice blue orbs fell again on his silver diamond, an emotion that the angel couldn't discern crossing his face. Finally, the other man stepped forward and outstretched his arms, timidly wrapping them around Ethan's waist. The angel gently hugged the other man back, and realized the human was trembling in his arms. A soft sob came from the figure holding him, and he simply kept his arms where they were, making sure not to make any sudden moves as the other man released his emotions.

    “Thank you,” said Alex, pulling away and wiping the remaining tears from his face. “You have no idea what this means to me.” Trust was obviously an issue at the moment, so it was quite obvious how the other man felt. The angel simply smiled in return, shaking his head in disagreement.

    “It is an understandable reaction,” he replied, the smile still on his face as he clasped his hands together. “It is my... pleasure to be of some comfort to you. As the dragons would say, this has great meaning in my soul, as well.” That seemed to penetrate the barrier that the other man had put up, because in that moment, he saw nothing but desire in the ice blue orbs. But the human seemed to snap out of it, simply mumbling a good night and pressing his pendant to blink away.

    The angel sighed deeply and returned to his cabin, plopping himself down on his large bed. He felt like a lot had been accomplished that day, but there was still so much keeping the other man from giving him any sort of affection. He reminded himself to be patient, simply filling his thoughts with how it would all be worth it in the end.

    Memories from the evening flooded into his mind, specifically the part about his sexuality. Angels had the same bodies as a human in almost every way, the only difference being the magical additions. That meant that Alex had the same parts as he did, so it wasn't too far a stretch of the imagination.

    He found himself thinking about what the other man might look like in the nude. The black shirt the other man had worn showed that his body type was relatively normal, if not a bit slim. When it came to the lower parts, the angel found himself filling in the blanks, the blush on his cheeks spreading through his entire body. At least that answers the question of rather I'll be interested in him like that, he thought to himself, a soft chuckle passing through his lips.

    Even though the angel felt somewhat aroused by the thought, he found himself shutting his eyes to force himself to sleep. Now is not the time to release such emotions, he chastised himself. Save all of your desires to give to the person you love. Sleep overtook him in that moment, a peaceful sleep despite his previous thoughts.

    The week seemed to drag on as he went back to work, but he was still as passionate as ever about the scripture he read in church. Ethan affirmed that he would not deter himself from his job for a second, and he kept his own promises. But at night, his thoughts were flooded with the other man's face.

    Friday night was almost the blink of an eye, since he was stressing out about where they would go. He had done some research on what a typical date would be like, and he decided that since they had already shared dinner together, they would go to a movie. Luckily there was a movie theatre in the main town, but the issue on his mind was what movie the two men would see together.

    Saturday evening, there was a knock on his cabin door. He made sure his nice white shirt was straightened around his neck before answering, only to have his breath taken away. Alex was wearing the same black shirt he had to the club that evening, which was certainly a step in the right direction. But it was the smile on the cheerful mans face that caused his heart to soar.

    “Where to?” asked the other man, a certain look of humor in his eyes mixed with desire. He had looked Ethan up and down, seemingly satisfied with the result.

    “The movies,” replied the angel, “You can decide which one when we get there.” The ice blue orbs seemed to fill with mirth, and the two men walked into the street together once more.
     
  11. The writing is coming along well, I see. I might not be posting, but certainly, I am reading with great interest. :3 I think that's true for many others, too.
    Good luck getting it done in time, again! You're close.
     
  12. Dwayna DragonFire

    Dwayna DragonFire 2014 Little Cup Champion

    Thank you, Cycloneblaze. I assure you, I fully intend to finish the story before the end of tomorrow.

    Chapter Nine

    The movie theatre looked quite large, but that was to be expected for such a large city that Madone was. What was playing was often new, but there was the occasional movie that had been voted on beforehand to fill the space. That night, it was a romantic comedy, and Alex decided they would go to see it together.

    It was dark in the actual theatre, but it was supposed to be that way to see the large screen from even twenty rows back. The two men decided to sit at the back, as very few people sat in the back as it was. They would be able to enjoy the movie in peace, with only each other as company.

    Romantic comedies often followed the same plot-line, or so he was told. It was for that reason that the angel paid little mind to the actual movie, and instead to the form sitting next to him. The other man seemed focused on the screen, laughing at whatever corny jokes came up on the screen. Ethan resolved to face towards the movie, with both arms out on the sides of his chair.

    During the more romantic parts of the movie, he could sense the other man shifting in his seat, almost as if uncomfortable. Since it was a straight relationship that was being portrayed, the angel could understand to some degree why the other man might be uncomfortable. But surely the man would have known that it was part of the regular tedium of this sort of movie? It had to be something else, something that he was unaware of looking straight at the screen.

    When another particularly romantic scene came on, he was aware of another shift in the other man's stature, but this time he felt a touch against his skin. The angel had expected the ice manipulator to be cold to the touch, but the hand touching his was surprisingly warm. It was a feeling that seemed to spread throughout his entire body, a slight shiver running down his spine.

    The movie went on for a while yet, and then was suddenly over, as if it had never happened. The other man got up from his seat, but the hand didn't leave. That meant that the visit to the movies had been a date after all, possibly even their second one.

    Silence consumed them as they walked back towards the angels cabin, hand in hand. Alex looked to be contemplative, but his grasp was confident and strong against Ethan's own. Finally, they stopped outside the door, the blue-haired man looking at him in such a way that was confusing, perhaps even to both parties.

    “I feel like we've gotten quite close,” came the other mans cheerful tone, albeit somewhat quiet. “I think we've both felt a connection to each other since... that night. If you would do me the honor, I'd like for you to be my significant other.”

    The angel was stunned to silence, but he felt like everything had exploded into song. It had been only a couple of weeks, but the other man had asked him to be in a relationship. This was the largest step so far, causing his heart to skip a few beats. But he still had to be careful, because the other man was likely still hurt by the experience.

    “Of course,” he replied, after regaining his composure. “I'd love to.” Both of the men smiled at each other, and then their blue eyes met each other again. There was a certain spark to the angels eyes and a certain fire behind the other mans eyes as they looked at each other.

    Alex moved forward suddenly, and in a moment their lips pressed together, albeit in a somewhat clumsy way. It sent a certain type of warmth throughout the angels body, leaving him craving for more. When the two separated, the angel engaged in another kiss, this time more natural and more passionate. Both men found themselves wrapping their arms around each other, pulling each other close.

    But the blue-haired man suddenly made a noise that sounded like choking, and the angel felt something akin to tugging on his inner power. At first, it was like the angel had been painfully rejected, but then he notice that the other man was clutching his neck, a vibrant blue glow peeking through his fingers. Fear encompassed the ice blue eyes as he took deep breaths, each breath making Ethan feel like he was being pulled in and then pushed away again.

    The ice manipulator pressed his pendant, but he still held onto the angel as they teleported to the castle. Emerald walls with silver chandeliers filled their vision, the large chair betraying their place in the throne room. Dwayna was there, looking at some important view screens, but they were turned off in a hurry at the sound of their arrival. She turned to the both of them, a look of confusion written on her face as she saw her son.

    “Alex, what-” she started, before a gasp fell through her lips. In a quick motion, she stepped towards the male clutching his throat, gently prying the hand from its place. The blue glow was in the same shape of the diamond that the angel had seen in the vision.

    “It's the dragon mark,” said the normally cheerful man, his voice wavering as he confirmed the angels suspicion. “What is happening to me? I feel like I'm burning up.”

    “I am not surprised,” replied the queen, her tone calm. “The dragon mark is a powerful gift to have. Usually, when in humans, it only reacts like this when a soul has met its mate. My mother had the same experience when my father kissed her.”

    Alex seemed to calm visibly, but his gaze turned to the blue orbs staring at him with both worry and amazement. Elizabeth had alluded to the fact that he would be connected to the other man, but not quite so literally. He soon realized that the tugging he felt was his own soul reacting to the power of the dragon mark, and that he was meant to be the other mans mate.

    “How do I make it stop?” asked the ice manipulator, still somewhat afraid, although the light at his neck had died down somewhat. “When will I be normal again?

    “You could wait for a while,” Dwayna replied, her tone still quite calm despite a slightly worried face. “Ethan will need to be with you to lessen its effect on you, so he can stay here from now on. But it will not truly die down until it has been satisfied its purpose. You will need to bind yourself to him within the next month, else your fire will burn out and die.”

    Alex seemed to contemplate this deeply, sorrow written in his face, before looking to his companion. The angel had been taking deep breaths to try to calm himself, even the slight connection between them making him feel a portion of the other mans pain. It was enough to make him feel like he was burning on the inside as well.

    “What are my options?” asked the human in a frightened whisper. “I am unfamiliar with the ways that dragons bind themselves to each other. Perhaps you would inform me, mother?”

    “There are two options,” she replied, a slight blush coming to her cheeks. “The first is slightly impersonal, considering how short of a time you two have been seeing each other, but it is the easiest. You must pledge yourselves to each other, letting your magic flow between you, and then you must consummate the marriage.”

    The two men found themselves blushing, the two pairs of blue eyes clashing together once again. There was no guarantee that Alex would be ready to do such a thing with Ethan in a months time, but the beginnings of desire were definitely present. The blue-haired man resolved to shake his head, as if confirming with his own self that he would not be ready to endeavor on such a journey so soon.

    “Then the other option is to mate in the way of dragons,” said Dwayna, her face flushing deeper. “You must fly up into the sky, higher than any skyscraper – except for the portal building, of course. When you reach the peak of this ascent, you must then plummet back to the earth beneath you. It is risking your life, but in doing so you are giving everything that you are to the other person, trusting that you will live to be bound to them forever. I would rather you not take the risk, but if you will not consider the other option, it is the only way.”

    “But mother,” replied Alex, scepticism lacing his tone. “I do not have wings like a dragon. How am I supposed to fly?”

    “When one obtains a dragon mark, one has the ability to fly,” came the queens cheerful tone, a smile gracing her face. “You need only to look in the right place to find it. Yours may be quite different to my mothers, since you have the power of ice within you instead of air. But I do not know if you will be ready by the months end.” The smile left her face then, genuine worry in her emerald green eyes.

    “Then if you are not confident I can try the flight by months end,” whispered the ice manipulator, “I will pledge myself to Ethan.” A shiver ran down the angels spine as the other man said the words, but he at least had the guarantee that their connection would live on.

    “As you wish, my son,” replied the queen, her eyes turning to the angel. “You may still go to work, but your new home is here. You are to be my sons mate, and therefore my family. I suggest you also practice your flight skills when you can, for you will need the practice if you are to succeed in your survival as well.”

    “I will,” said the angel, determination lacing his tone. “I want to respect his wishes on this. I will take the risk if it means he will survive.”

    “If you go through with this, let us hope the both of you survive,” murmured Dwayna, something akin to sadness lacing her tone. “It would be far more painful if you died and he had no mate. He would have little choice but to follow you.”

    “Dragons are pretty brutal in more than just the physical sense,” Ethan quipped, an almost tired look in his eyes from the stress of the situation.

    “Tell me about it,” she chuckled, trying to lighten the entire situation. “Go. Try to rest your heads for the evening. Even if you do not pledge yourselves to each other, it would help to built trust by just sleeping in the same room. Not to mention it would be healthier for your bond.” She waved to two men away, the important view screens appearing before her yet again.

    The two men were silent as the went the the side of the throne room, climbing a set of stairs together. A blue door came into view, a stark contrast with all the green around them, but it was obvious that it belonged to Alex. There was a soft unlocking sound, the door opening slowly at the mans touch.

    Tones of black, blue, white and mahogany were all around the large room, the biggest feature being the king-sized bed. A soft shuffling was heard as the blue-haired man took off his shoes and plopped himself onto the bed in a sitting position. Sadness seemed to fill the angels senses, and as he realized it was not his own, he sat next to the other man to provide some form of comfort.

    As it turned out, the human needed to cry again, no doubt from the stress of the new situation that had been thrust upon the both of them. They only had a months time to bind to each other, or all would be lost to the winds. Both men would become shells of their former selves, or possibly even worse.

    “It is not your fault,” supplied the angel, causing the other man to look up from his hands. “If anything, you should blame Fate for our misfortune. I wanted to court you for some time yet, but it seems that your dragon mark had other plans. It is an unfair situation for the both of us.” During this time, he had wrapped an arm around the other man, trying to comfort him with soft touches.

    “Neither of us knew that this would happen,” Alex replied, wiping the remaining tears from his face. “I have the suspicion that Elizabeth told you something like this would happen, but knowing her, it was quite vague at the time. The dragon mark only reacted because I decided to take the initiative tonight.”

    “I don't blame you,” Ethan chuckled. “I wanted to kiss you as well, but I let you take the initiative considering what happened not that long ago. I wanted to make sure you were ready because I respect your boundaries as a human being.”

    “Sometimes it's hard for even me to keep my cool,” quipped the other man, causing both of them to laugh. “How do you manage to do it, after being born into the society you were?”

    “My emotions, even though they are strong, have to be controlled to some extent,” replied the angel. “From the moment we are born into the world, we have great power. We have to learn to control it, else it becomes destructive to not only those around it, but our own selves. If we let our rage overcome everything else, it will consume us both mentally and physically. Effectively, if I had truly let my rage take over everything that even, I would have died – and then none of this would have ever happened.”

    “I guess I should be grateful that you were still able to control yourself then,” said Alex, a smile on his face despite it all. “It may just be the connection talking, but I don't think I could have lived without you in my life. You made me the happiest I've ever been. Thank you.”

    “As a friend of mine said, thank yourself,” he murmured. “I was merely here to help. You are the one who chose to react the way you did.”

    “Same to you,” replied the blue-haired man, his cheerful tone returning. “Now, let's take my mothers advice and try to sleep, shall we?” With that said, the human laid down on one side of the large bed, patting the space beside him. The angel was hesitant at first, but he remembered what Dwayna had said, and suddenly felt like he needed to be there for the other man. He slipped onto the bed, laying on his side so that he wouldn't touch the other man, giving him as much space as he needed. It was a good position to just look at each other, and he found the other mans eyes were returning the stares.

    The dragon mark had died down considerably, but it was still glowing with power, the same light blue that glimmered in the mans eyes. In a way, he felt amazed that such a small thing could tie them together; but in a world like this, it was far from a small thing. It demanded that they bind together or die, which was far from fair, but what was fair in reality?

    Pale skin dimmed as Alex turned off the light, but as their eyes adjusted, the angel found it no less alluring. The sight of the other man was breathtaking, even in this state. He felt a twinge of arousal, which seemed to vibrate through the connection and caused the other man to let out an audible whimper, which just made it worse.

    They decided that it would be more beneficial to turn away from each other for the time being, hoping that it would keep their desires at bay for that much longer. It was perhaps easier for the angel, since he had been forced to control himself since day one, but for the human it would be increasingly difficult. Ethan forced himself into a neutral state, which seemed to calm the both of them enough so that they would go to sleep.

    It was like that for quite some time as the weeks passed, the angel going to preach at his church during the weekdays and coming back to sleep opposite his partner at night. Every day with the queens help, the blue-haired man was able to unlock new power within himself, the dragon mark burning brightly as he tested its limits. After the first week, he had already learned to hover above the ground.

    For the angel, it was a lot easier, since he had been born with wings. It had been a long time since he had actually flown, but he was willing to get back into practice for the desired result. He practised lifting himself up off the ground and flipping himself in the air so that he wouldn't hurt himself as he landed. Each day he went higher than the last, enduring some painful spills from time to time, affirming to himself that it was all going to be worth it.

    One of the days, he sat back to watch the other man at work with his power. The molecules in the air seemed to crystallize around the other as a cold aura came from his body, the dragon mark flaring back to life. Cold air pushed out from underneath him as he took a deep breath, lifting him up into the air very quickly. Alex seemed to be used to it by now, because he continued to rise with each breath.

    Then he fell from the significant height he had gained, looking graceful in the way that he dived. Just before he hit the ground, he flipped himself to look like he was going to land on his feet. In a moment, he seemed to slow down, ice forming around his feet before he touched the ground. He stumbled a bit and ended up slipping, the angel there to catch him as he fell backwards. They all had a good laugh at the situation, but it seemed that confidence was building in the both of them.

    With each day closer to the deadline, they seemed to get better at their technique, albeit the mistakes along the way. It was a long learning process, but they tried new techniques to perfect their flight so they would be able to perform the dangerous feat. Alex had been trying his ice-skating technique when he touched the ground for a better landing, and Ethan was learning how to control his wings.

    “Tomorrow is the day, mother,” said the blue-haired man at the second to last day of the month, a certain determination in his face. “Do you think we're ready to try the ritual?”

    “There is always a risk you will not survive,” Dwayna admitted. “But if you truly have your heart set on this method my answer is yes. May Fate be kind to the both of you.” She smiled at the two men, leaving them to their thoughts, though they were the same. Tomorrow.
     
  13. Dwayna DragonFire

    Dwayna DragonFire 2014 Little Cup Champion

    NEVER AGAIN.

    Chapter Ten

    The early morning sun shone through the window, but that wasn't what had woken the angel from his slumber. There was a harsh tugging at his soul, the burning sensation returning like never before. It was almost enough to make him scream, like he was a bout to be swallowed whole by everything.

    This made him turn to the man next to him, out of concern and worry. The blue-haired man was whimpering and crying into his blanket, a soft gasp escaping his lips as he felt the angel wrap him into a hug. Alex desperately clung to Ethan, but the burning sensation didn't seem to dwindle as much as it usually did.

    “It has to be today,” the man cried, shivering in the angels arms. “We have to do this ritual before sundown, or this fire will consume us both.”

    “I know,” replied the angel, kissing the other mans forehead to comfort him. “Where would be the best place to fall, without disturbing other people? I don't want to be potentially crashing into the main city.” This caused the other man to snort through his tears, at which the angel smiled for a moment despite the pain that coursed through the both of them.

    “The desert,” said Alex, wiping the pained tears from his face. “If I had known it would be this painful, I would have done it a day earlier.”

    “My guess is that Dwayna didn't know,” speculated the angel. “It is likely her parents resolved the problem quicker than we did. So as far as anyone knows, this hasn't happened to anyone before.”

    “It's almost morbid to say this,” murmured the other man. “But I almost wish that they had. That way we would’ve been prepared for the unwelcome start to the morning.”

    “Indeed,” replied Ethan, nodding his head to affirm the statement. “To the desert, then.”

    They went out the window, since it was closer to the direction the desert was in. It would be good practice for the ice manipulator to fly for a long period of time, and it would be somewhat leisurely for the angel. Regardless, the two men flew together over the backside of the city, where the road lead to the vast forest.

    As the treetops passed beneath them the sight of the wind blowing through the leaves was glorious. It took a couple of hours, but they bypassed to forest to find that the desert was strangely close by. The two of them landed together, Alex taking a break to regain his strength.

    There was suddenly a beautiful sound in the air, and out of the darkness of night fading came a flock of phoenixes. They were all different colors of fire, and every one of their bird calls seemed to be in harmony with each other, creating the most beautiful tune he had ever heard. But phoenix song had that effect on practically every species, the angel looking down to find that he was not the only one in tears.

    “If we live through this, we should come to the desert more often,” quipped the other man, both of them laughing through their tears. Another pang of burning pain seared through the both of them, reminding the both of them of their original intention. Today was the day that they needed to fly together to bond, else they emotionally die from the fires in their souls.

    Ethan spread his large wings, using them and a little bit of magic to lift himself up off the ground. He brought himself up a good distance, but slowed his flapping to watch the other man build power. It was a striking sight, seeing the other man rise from the ground, the cold air forming around him.

    Like a shot, the two men took off into the sky, the burning in their souls seeming to fuel their ascent all the more. They climbed higher together than they had before, the expansive desert trailing beneath their feet looking smaller by the second. Mountains appeared at the edges of the desert, and the edges of the blue ocean came into view.

    Suddenly, the angel started to feel quite cold as they passed through the small bit of cloud cover passing overhead. The other man was opposite him, looking quite invigorated by the whole experience, but he seemed to realize how high up the both of them were. The beginnings of the atmosphere caused the angel to tremble, his wings suddenly feeling very stiff. Fear consumed him as he looked to the other man, before he fell back down due to sheer inability to keep himself up anymore.

    The ice manipulator dived back through the cloud cover, a sudden determination in his face. Both of his hands reached out towards the angel, embracing them together as they fell. Their decent was slowed slightly by the push of cold air around them, but it wouldn't be enough to save them from the crash.

    Ethan shifted the joints in his wings as they fell, enough that he jostled them somewhat from their stiff position so they could wrap around the other man. He felt the burning sensation blaze within him, a tugging on his soul as they fell together. The burning died down in an instant, but it was like he had felt a snapping sensation, like something had fit itself into his very being.

    Alex leaned forward to capture his lips in a tender kiss, the passion transferring through the bond that they had created. They pulled away from each other as the ground approached ever closer, the angel doing his best to spread his wings back out despite their stiffness. It was enough to parachute their descent that much more, but the speed still seemed to be somewhat daunting. It was with all possibility that the two of them might die that day, but it would be together.

    A cold hand grasped his, pulling him back in midair so that the two of them would be in a sort of a standing position. Cold seemed to surge through his entire body as air seemed to blow up around the both of them. There wasn't much time left, so the angel simply kissed the other man once again before the both of them hit the ground.

    Pain shot through his entire body, making him shout out as they impacted. Sand was kicked up around him as he slid across the desert, the other man clutching the front of his shirt. He remembered smiling at his mate before everything blacked out, the other man simply holding him tightly.

    The next thing he was aware of was a bright light piercing through the darkness, a soft sort of music playing through his mind. He realized that it was the sound of Elizabeth playing her violin, and that this was a similar place to her mind. But there was a distinct difference, because there was nothing around him but the music and the light.

    A dark, hooded figure appeared out of the light, a scythe clasped in its right hand. The skeletal looking hands betrayed the angels suspicion; this was Death itself, and it had come for him. He felt a certain sadness fill his being, thinking of the things he would never see, never get to experience. Alex would never get to live a happy life with him gone, and that was perhaps the most heartbreaking.

    “Relax,” said a voice, neither masculine nor feminine. “I am not going to take you just yet. Come, walk with me a while.” When the hooded figure gestured, the angel realized that it was Deaths voice speaking to him. He hadn't expected the creature to have a voice, but then he hadn't expected the being to greet him either.

    A familiar grassy field appeared before them, the blue lightning skies of Vehn appearing before them. Here they saw angels milling about their regular lives, but the scene seemed to be going by very slowly as they walked together. A bony hand outstretched and motioned towards the angels, the hooded figure turning back to Ethan, the skeletal face peering out from beneath the hood for the first time.

    “A world strife with war,” said Death, the moving mouth of the skeleton sending a shiver down his spine. “With the world opposite, no less. But why, when they are meant to be connected together, much the same as you and your mate?”

    “I don't know,” Ethan replied, somewhat amazed by the whole thing. “I always thought it was because someone long ago had decided to fight the demons, and then it became a war.”

    “You are both right and wrong,” came the neutral tone, cold and unforgiving. “It seems to be an unwritten rule of the universe, that angels and demons should war against each other. The story is always the same, good and evil opposing forces that must clash together.”

    The surroundings vanished, a few images of angels appearing along with demons. Some were the couples he had seen on Terrater, some seemed to just know each other in some way. He hesitated as he recognized one of them as himself, the demon opposite him Aria. Death seemed to look on at the images that now surrounded them, the featureless face betraying nothing.

    “Yet this story has changed,” said the cloaked figure, the voice now seeming somewhat mystical. “Free will to choose can do that. These beings chose to question why they were fighting a pointless war, because they realized things were not so black and white. That their own creators were brothers who wished to embrace each other again. Even you chose to accept the one known as Aria as your sister, because your perception towards the entire species changed.”

    “The evidence is there to see,” replied Ethan. “We needed only to look past the war to see the truth. That everything is not so black and white. That we were more connected than we originally thought.”

    Images disappeared again, only to be filled with what the angel recognized as his own memory. The two planets of Vehn and Vehl, opposite each other as they rotated around the sun. Against the darkness of the space between, the faint aura connecting them seemed as plain as day.

    “Two brothers with the power of creation,” said Death, the mystical tone not having left the already ethereal voice. “Making two worlds opposite one another, hoping that they would be at peace. But they had opposite powers of creation, one of Order and the other of Chaos, which have been destined to fight since the beginning of time. Yet, through all of this, free will has changed Fate itself. It is a strange thing, but in a place of magic, everything is strange.”

    If the angel didn't know any better, he could have sworn that the figure before him was actually sad. The skeleton seemed to look on at the scene before them, as if trying to will it to stay there forever. But the scene dissolved like everything else had before, and the figure turned back to him with empty eyes.

    “The life you live is a beautiful lie,” said the emotionless tone again. “I am the painful truth, the inevitability that waits for all living beings. You may not come with me now, but I will see you again, for all things fade eventually. Your immortality is only in age, as this experience proves to you. I believe some would call this a 'near Death experience'.”

    There was a haunting cackle that emitted from the being in front of him, and despite himself, Ethan found himself laughing too. It was a surreal experience, to find out that Death had a sense of humor. Nothing that he had ever been told from the beginning was certain anymore. In a way, it was both frightening and exhilarating, to know that everything was not as it seemed to be.

    “But is it truly free will?” speculated the being in front of him, causing some degree of surprise. “Fate is a complicated thing, weaving itself through everything. It already puts the lines in place, and it is simply choice that changes which line you will follow.”

    “It is perhaps the closest to free will anyone can hope for,” replied the angel, causing the being to look at him once more. “It is enough to comfort someone like me to know that I have the choice, instead of everything being predetermined. It may just lead to another line of destiny, but I can live with whatever comes after I've made my decision.”

    “Either way, it all ends up the same, in the end,” said Death, in something akin to a whisper. “You all meet me, regardless of the choice. It is only how you meet me that really changes. But I suppose it is enough, that at least some of you will come to me satisfied and ready.”

    “What happens?” the angel asked, finding he wanted to know despite himself. “Where is it that we go when we die?”

    “Into the next life,” replied the cold tone. “Where you will have no memory of the previous one, save for in your dreams. Everyone lives and dies again, perpetuating the great cycle of life until the end of time. What happens after that, not even I know. It is one of the great mysteries of existence.”

    “I suppose that's comforting in a way,” Ethan murmured, deep in thought. “Fate will decide who I am when I live again, and my choices will determine how I live that life. It is the same as what has happened in this life, and quite possible that this is not the first time I have lived. I believe that when I die, I will do so peacefully and willingly.”

    “Ah, but you are an immortal soul,” said Death, in its mystical tone. “It is quite possible that you will live until the end of time. Do you feel comforted even then?”

    “You said that not even you knew what the end of time had in store,” replied the angel. “But you also said that you would see me again. Perhaps you know more than you're letting on, but I have a feeling that it will be taken care of.”

    “I do know more than I am letting on,” the figure cackled, the skeleton teeth revealing a grin. “If I told you everything, that would make this experience far less fun than it is. But alas, our time together is ending, and you must return to your beautiful lie, as I said you would.”

    “Regardless of what happens,” Ethan replied, with a smile of his own. “When I next see you, I believe I will call you my friend.”

    Death said nothing in reply, simply turning away from the angel, the darkness of his cloak seeming to encompass the light around them. As the skeleton faded away, the figure turned back to look at him once more, before everything went black again. He was aware of a soft beeping sound against his consciousness, pulling him back into his own body.

    He opened his eyes and let out a soft gasp, looking around to realize that he was in a hospital bed. There was a certain warm feeling in his chest, the presence of Alex in the room causing him to look to the side. The blue-haired man was sleeping in a chair next to the bed, bandages visible against his skin.

    The angel looked over to see that it was Arcaniss hovering above him. Her purple eyes seemed to stare at him with amazement, quickly relaxing to their former state. She looked between the two men, and then went back to staring at him. The beeping noise he had heard was a machine that hooked up to his arm, measuring his own pulse.

    “You were barely there not moments ago,” she hissed, her tone lowered so as not to wake the other man in the room. “It is a miracle that you woke up, considering how hard you hit the ground. That being said, I have to admire your methods.”

    “I am quite aware about my near death experience,” he found himself rasping, his chest not hurting nearly as much as his back when he breathed. “Mind telling me what you mean by that?”

    “Surely you are not blind,” Arcaniss replied, tapping her purple soul gem. “I know that I am not. You bonded with him, and with the damage done to your body, it does not take a genius to figure out how. You mated in the way of dragons, and that would earn the respect of any of my kind.”

    “Mind explaining why your method is so brutal?” he coughed, the involuntary action causing pain to shoot through his body. “Why risk your lives for this sort of thing?”

    “I am surprised Dwayna did not already explain it to you,” said the changed dragon, her tone neutral. “As beings who are connected to spirit, we take these types of matters quite seriously. The mating ritual speaks all the words you would ever need to say in binding. Sia itov ihk wux ui zyak jennu batobot si ornla wiilirk wux sari marfedelom coinah. 'My love for you is so great that I would follow you into death itself.' But Fate was kind to the both of you, and Death did not take you this day.”

    “Sounds like a good deal,” said a quiet voice behind him, the other man having woken up at some point during the conversation. “Saves a lot of time in trying to figure out which name to take, since we're apparently already married.”

    Both of them men shared a soft chuckle, the angel stopping sooner since it was still painful. They would both need to stay for a while yet, with their wounds, but they had both lived through the experience. The other man moved toward him, a hand wrapping itself around his own in a tender way. Arcaniss decided to leave the two of them alone, giving them a moment of peace to talk.

    “I'll still want some time before we do anything too serious,” said Alex, a blush spread over his cheeks. “I know we basically just fell to our potential deaths together, but even then I still feel like I just want to sit back and relax for a while.”

    “I understand the feeling,” whispered the angel, feeling sleep tugging at his tired body. “But don't worry too much. We have all the time in the world.”

    THE END.
     
  14. Hurray. Congratulations on finishing another story in a month! I greatly enjoyed this one, especially since it was interesting from my perspective (being a guy). I sure hope that you'll take the time to write another story, in your own time.
     

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