Author's note: I never really liked the idea that all angels were good and all demons were bad. life isn't that... Show full author's note »
DawnSlowly, the boy stalked forwards, creeping closer and closer to his prey. Five yards, four yards, three. A sly grin formed on his face, morphing into a scowl as the target stepped further out into the busy market place. Crouched and hidden in the depths of a darkened alleyway, the boy waited as the air went from chilly to downright freezing, as if he’d been frozen in one of the icicles that dripped from the side of the buildings.
He waited as the target’s friends, men who ruled the village with an iron fist, gathered around his mark. The village leaders were nice as a whole, except for this scoundrel. He waited as light slowly faded and turned the day into his time, the night time. He waited as the square emptied like in an hourglass, the time running out for the despicable man.
Silently and swiftly, he unsheathed his sword. The target’s head whipped to the side as he heard the obsidian blade squeal in anticipation for the kill.
“Who’s there? Come out! Come out I tell you!” he growled. “Don’t make me tell you twice, you little rogue!”
“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” the boy muttered. “Thou should be more courteous to those of higher magnitude then-st thou. However, thou dost have a most striking medal on thy waistcoat. Maybe if thou gives it to me myself, then I wilst make certain thy faithful wife hears of this encounter at once.”
“Do you know who you are talking to?” the man snapped, unable to hide the quavering in his voice.
“Aye, I do in fact know. Thou art the honorable constable O’Connell! Thou hast ridden this fair town of many a soul’s final shilling. Thou art a cruel man. A dead man,” The boy laughed the sound striking fear into the hearts of all those who dared turn onto the boulevard.
Just for fun, the boy tilted his katana slightly. Moonlight rippled off its surface, casting upon his face a shaft of the silvery light. The boy smirked as a soft humming tone flashed through the air. One flick of his sword, one snap of the wrist, was all it took to send blood scattering across the polished tile of the market-square.
He kicked the man until he rolled up against on of the towering pillars that encompassed the center. They had designs etched into them, spiraling up to the heavens. It was a beautiful sight in daylight, but a haunting scene when the beasts of the dark emerged. The bitingly cold snow at the base of one such pillar soaked into the boy’s trousers as he crouched to wipe the crimson tears off onto the constable’s waistcoat.
“Thank thee, my good lord,” the boy said; pick pocketing the glimmering medal, “Thou shalt serve my purpose with flying colors. Pray that the wretched angels treat you well in their ivory palace.”
Not long after, the boy, his hands dyed a shade of scarlet that would leave remains long after he’d washed them and even into the next morn, left the barren square. The words THOU ART MOST WELCOME glared at his back from their position on the pillar.
“Fare thee well, me beloved village. Let thou ne’er again assign such a most dreadful man to a position of such power like thou hast done formerly.” The boy sighed. “There shalt be no more ignoring of the fine and noble species that assist thou families more then you yourself dost! Nay! Let me see thee try and top that, God’s blasted messengers!”
“Well, well, well,” a melodious voice laughed. “That was quite a speech, Evion. But you know I hate you talking in medieval, so how about you calm down a bit and we head home before the pitchforks come out.” Evion turned, a true smile upon his face, just as Maya stepped into view from behind a tower of marble.
She was a beautiful creature, her platinum hair flying in the crisp winter air. Her shimmering black dress swirled around her feet, creating the fascinating illusion that she was floating, even without her colossal tar-black wings spread out behind her.
She had appeared out of nowhere, something Evion would never get used to, but he took it in stride, just like every thing else in his rollercoaster of a life.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk, Evion you are losing your touch!” Maya sighed flamboyantly. “Slapdash, slipshod and shoddy, you are slacking my friend!”
“Please forgive-th me, m’lady.” He apologized with an immense bow, one that gave him a breathtaking opportunity to smell the stench of marble trampled by millions of unwashed feet. “Now, my most dearest friend, let us saunter back to our dwelling to dance and be merry throughout this sparkling evenin’! We shalt have great epics written in our name depicting our deeds to humanity and demonic kind! Prior to thy request, until the morn, m’lady, we shalt work tirelessly on banishing my dialect to the very darkest pits of thee underworld!”
“That,” Maya whispered furtively, sliding ever so closer to Evion, “Sounds wonderful, m’lord.”
The pair of demonic souls launched into the air and flew through the night, dodging tree branches that reached for them like skeletal hands looking for flesh to feast upon. When they came upon their home, the only homely thing about it was the wisps of smoke fleeing the miniscule shelter through the flue. Wicked howls tore through the dark, trotting over any shred of confidence a mere mortal harbored that he could survive the Demon’s Wood. However, for the owners of the worn-out scrap of land, it was a sound of welcome given willingly by friends.
“Hew, Shred, Jave, heel,” Maya controlled her three lethal wolves with ease, for they were family. Even Evion trusted them with his soul. And that was not an easily given trust.
“Evion, do you smell something? I didn’t unintentionally walk into a perfume shop, did I?” Maya asked, wrinkling her little nose in disgust at the flowery and saccharine scent in the air.
“I do believe-th wretchedness is assaulting me nose, yes. Where have I smelt it before, is the true question thou should be asking, however,” Evion scowled.
Hissing, the pale shaft of moonlight said, “Heaven. I’d recognize that reek from anywhere, any time. You don’t forget the scent of your homeland that easily.”
“Shh, m’lady. Let us see which divine beast hast graced us with its presence,” he grinned wickedly, drawing his stained blade from its sheath. Silently, the Night’s creatures stalked through the underbrush until they came upon a horrific spectacle.
Lying on the scorched ground was a spectacularly stunning shard of splendor, fallen straight from His pearly white palace. Literally. Although the lass had a flowing black dress that put Maya’s to shame, the wings that swelled out of her back were stained, yet still snowy.
The magnificent muse jolted upright, her golden locks ruffling in the winter gusts. She scrambled erect, grating her feet upon the terrain. Blood trickled onto the soil, swiftly being absorbed by the scrubs.
“Please,” the angel begged, “Please don’t hurt me. I’d leave if I could. I’m sorry!” she flinched, flinging her delicate hands in front of her face.
“Why mightst thou be grounded to Earth, our home?” Evion inquired suspiciously.
“I… I was injured. I-I was coming down to escort a soul up to paradise, but some men saw m-my attire and-and shot me down. M-my wing….” She trailed off, collapsing to the ground. Evion, ever the gentleman, surged forward, halting her fall.
“Maya, we mustn’t leave her in such a state of despair and need!” he gasped, the cloying scent of lavender chocking him.
“Why? What has she ever done to earn our assistance?” Maya argued. Evion glared at her until she halfheartedly agreed. Grumbling, the demon flew into the abode, emerging with an armful of medical paraphernalia.
Evion hastily set to work locating the grievance. It wasn’t that much of a difficulty as crimson blood gushed from a fist sized hole at the base of her wing, dying her white wings pink. He hurriedly formed a tourniquet around the damaged part of the wing.
“Gah,” Maya gagged, “And I thought angels reeked without the blood! What will we do with her? If another angel comes and finds us with her injured, they will believe we caused this!” Evion gestured for her to be silent as the angel in question awoke.
“You didn’t kill me,” she murmured. “I guess my mentor was wrong. You guys aren’t the wicked and hideous monsters that they say.”
“Hold on a minute,” Maya butted in, a retort poised to snap, “They say we are monsters! How dare they! That’s a whole heaping load of bull-“
“-Maya!” Evion scolded, “I disapprove of thou swearing at all points in time! But in front of a distinguished angel who doubles as our guest for Jove knows how long! Nay! Although I must ask thou, angel, why dost thou wear a black garb in place of satin silver?”
“Oh,” the girl whispered. “I- I don’t really like all the fluffy and lacy dresses. I much more prefer the simple shifts that the women in the New World wear, but I have been refused permission to wear them. S-so I dyed all the white dresses of mine black.”
Evion stared at Maya, victoriously.
“Well, satisfied m’lady?” he smirked. “Any angel who dyes her gowns black as our night is most certainly an angel worth assisting.”
“I… we don’t even know her name!” Maya countered. Four demonic eyes fixated themselves upon the gothic angel.
“I’m Eve.” Eve whispered, “If you help me, I swear you will be rewarded.”
“A bag of gold isn’t going to cut it Ms Eve,” Maya sneered.
“But we shalt still assist thou in thy time of need nevertheless. Out of the goodness of our hearts and the kindness of our souls,” Evion assured. Maya hmpfed and disappeared into the black of the night, her glossy wings silhouetted against Night’s valiant brother, Moon.
“Terribly sorry, m’lady. Maya is most unwelcome to any foreigners.” Evion sighed.
“So it’s not just the white wings,” Eve assumed.
“Nay!” Evion chuckled, “The wings most defiantly affect her belief of thy being. The perfume haze that is possible to be smelt from the far corners of our world doesn’t help, either. Or the unalloyed striking joie de vivre that thy carries around like a cloak. Or the immense danger housing thou under our roof shalt carry. Or-“
“Okay, okay, I get it!” she laughed, “She has reason to hate me! But why don’t you?” Evion’s rare and joyous laugh was cut short. He stood and marched into the small hut, smashing the door shut, narrowly missing Eve’s outstretched hand. It was a rather unusual burst of temper, but he had no reason to let the seraphim see any weakness within him.
“Hey! You promised me your help! And I don’t even know your name!” Eve cried.
Evion clenched his eyes tight, sliding down the wooden door. He rested his head in between his knees, struggling not to begin to sob at the frustration this newest twist in his life brought. Instead of giving in to his inner turmoil, Evion turned, latched onto the knob and wrenched the door open while yanking himself to his feet.
“Please forgive-th me, m’lady. It was ne’er my intention to lock thou out of my dwelling. Please, enter now and allow me to serve thou a dinner worthy of such a fine guest. If thy forgives me by then, then I shalt be most honored if thou graces us with thy presence for a longer period of time then just this evening.”
“I… Of course I forgive you, um…” Eve gasped.
“Evion, m’lady,” Evion introduced with a bow.
“Right, Evion,” She smiled, “Why would you think I’d be mad? It was my fault for asking that question. I had had no idea that it would trigger such emotion. I would love a meal and a place to rest, thank you.”
Evion escorted the angel into his home, setting about cooking a scrumptious soup and arranging an alcove for Eve to rest in. The two sat and ate their supper at the small wooden table by the fire.
The structure of the house itself was actually very ingenious. The base was a couple of feet below the door, with no steps leading down. It made a personalized alarm system; a burglar yelling tends to ruin a potential raid. Also the space meant that Maya and Evion’s feet stayed warmer, for the cold air blew midway through the house, not skimming the floor.
The fire was the only source of light in the whole hovel, making it a very dark and dreary place. The table was as close to the fire as it could get without bursting into flames. A set of loft beds adorned the side wall. Underneath each of the two beds was a chest of clothes and a desk, Evion’s covered in remembrances of his homeland, Japan. Maya’s desk was littered with sketches and sepia colored photos of her former home, Heaven.
The other two walls of the home were covered in shelves displaying a variety of herbs and potions. While Evion was out being an assassin, Maya spent her days being a bit of a witch doctor.
Eve’s sleeping section was in one of the two rooms that branched of from the main house, stairs leading down into the pantry and bathroom. Both of which were even more dimly lit than the main foyer, a single torch waging battle against the dark.
“So, how’d you fall to Earth?” Eve asked cautiously.
“Oh, I did not fall. I was born by a human mother.” Evion sighed, awaiting the barrage of questions that always followed that statement.
“What? How is that possible? How old are you? What was your mother like? How’d you get your wings? Who was your Pops?” Eve inquired, shooting the questions at him like bullets.
“Slow down there miss!” Evion chuckled. “All things shall come to those who wait.”
“Sorry, I’m just am so curious!” Eve squealed, literally bouncing in her seat.
“First, promise me thou won’t betray my trust and tell thy superior. Please, m’lady, I shall not have my sanctuary demolished.” He demanded.
“I… okay. I promise. You can trust me, Evion.” Eve promised. “Angel’s honor.”
“Good. Well, I have absolutely no idea on how I came to grace this Earth. I’d be-th about 24 hundred years old, the perfect age for a demon of any nature. My mother was human, a crazy one. She fell in love with my demonic father and I came from the affair. I was but a simple human boy, albeit one with wings, until an accident when I was about eighteen. My father had always harbored a deep anger for his angelic brother, my uncle. When he came to visit, I was absolutely enrapt by his wings, the only white ones I had ever seen. My father was afraid I would flee with my uncle and the angel’s wouldst kill me, which mixed with his anger spelt danger.” Evion explained.
“When my uncle was about to end his stay, I begged to go with him, and my mother said it may be for the best if I went, for I was unable to marry. I was a burden to the family, and back in ancient Japan, boys of burden were sent to a monastery, a place forbidden to me. My father got so very mad at my mum, so he exploded. Remember my mother was naught but a human, so she would have died, hast I not stepped in. My father nearly killed me. I would not be-th here, had he not given me some of his blood. The blood healed me and made me a full demon. I have not aged since. That is partially why I reacted as I did when thou asked why I didst not hate you. I never truly believed that the angels were the bad guys, and that has gotten me into quite a heaping pile o’ trouble.” Evion explained.
“That’s terrible!” Eve cried. Evion shrugged.
“That’s the good part. My mother died, later of course, for she was human. My father was furious at me. He blamed me for her death, why I have but only faint possible motives stored within my psyche. He shunned me. His exact words still ring around in my head. I left to live in London, England and-and didn’t return for three hundred years.” Evion sighed, stumbling over his words.
“When I went back, I found my village a barren wasteland, much like the one in which I now reside. In the ashes of my old hut I found my katana wrapped up in a silk cloth. I also found a very distinct pile of a humanoid skeleton intermingled with wing bones.”
“Your father!” Eve gasped, covering her mouth with her hand.
“Aye. My father burnt down my village in a fit of rage. For many a century I was sure that I was one of a cruel and bitter race, but then I met Maya, a fallen angel. She told me that I did not have to be a vile and loathsome being, but that I could be one of great power. She told me that thou and thy angelic brethren called thy selves’ guardians, but that I’d ne’er see one of thou getting your hands bloodied. Thus I came to live as I do now,” Evion sighed, finding relief and pride in himself for being able to tell his tale without much faltering, a feat that had never succeeded, or even been attempted before.
A shocked silence filled the room until Maya abruptly cut it short.
“Well, now that she’s been told all of your secrets, what are you going to do to keep her from spilling them?” Maya hissed, standing in the door way. She hopped down from the little sill, her three wolves snarling at Eve.
“Maya!” Evion gasped.
“Don’t be so surprised. Why did you tell her?” Maya sneered.
“She shall not betray us! She is a good angel and a girl I- I trust.” Evion said, surprised to find that he really did trust the sweet angel, even if he’d only known her for a few hours or so.
“You trust her? But not-not ME! You-you’ve known me for centuries!” Maya sniveled, hurt. Her reaction came as quick as a whip, stunning Evion, for he had had no recollection of Maya caring about such petty matters as who he said he trusted. Her dogs became antsier as their master lost control, whimpering and pacing frantically.
“Maya, I trust thou!” Evion gasped.
“Then swear to it. Say ‘I swear on my mother’s soul that I trust you, Maya, with my life.’” Maya demanded.
Evion couldn’t. His insides turned to ice at the mere notion of pledging that particular oath to someone.
“Evion,” Eve said, looking taller and a little prideful as she glared down Maya. “Can you tell me it?”
“I- nay.” he whispered, backing up into a corner. The girls followed him both vying for his vow until he could no longer bear it. He collapsed to the ground, tears intermingling with Japanese curses, prayers and pleads, overwhelmed to the point of snapping.
“Oh! Evion, I should’ve realized what I was doing! I’m sorry,” Maya cooed gently, crouching down to Evion’s side. She soothingly stroked his arm, muttering words to calm him down.
“What, why are you crying?” Eve asked, her tone sounding as sharp as barbed wire. “Are you a baby?”
“Are you a six year old?” Maya retorted, making Evion chuckle. “You angels really are stupid.”
“I didst not tell her everything, Maya. She really dost not know what the problem is.” Evion whispered, shyly.
“I don’t know what?” Eve growled.
“Where hast the sweet little angel I entrusted with my life story winged of to?” Evion muttered dejectedly.
“Listen, you feathery freak, I’ll tell you why what we did is so traumatic for Evion, if he’s okay with it,” Maya groaned. At Evion’s nod she continued, “Okay, see, while he was in England, you freaking angels trapped him. Your species of villains ensnared him and put him in one of those arenas where they make demons kill each other. They convinced him he was a vicious beast who could only redeem himself by dieing, but that he’d just go straight to hell if he committed suicide or allowed himself to be murdered.”
“So they basically made him believe that he needed to fight, and try, but still die?” Eve summarized her face that of a pale porcelain doll’s, just about to shatter.
“Yep, pretty much,” Maya sighed, pulling Evion, who was shivering violently, into the warm embrace of her wings. “Don’t worry. They were wrong. You can’t believe a word they say”-a very purposeful glare at Eve was issued with a few scoffs of denial-“anyways… two of those three hundred years were spent in warfare, in a starving depression, and in an environment of hostility, fear and cold. Two of the three were filled with pain, torture and loss.”
“Stop! I think she gets it!” Evion cried, clutching his hands over his ears. “Please, m’lady, pain me no longer!” Tears dripped down his face, being soaked up by his fur lined jacket.
“Evion…” Eve whispered softly. “Please let her finish. There has to be an upside to this all.”
“No more!” he shrieked in terror, thrashing about.
“Okay, Evion relax!” Maya cried, tightening her wings around his rigid form. “No more. Calm down. Let’s get you to bed, ‘Kay?” he nodded and allowed the demon to scoop him up and rest him in his bed.
He lay in his bed, snuggling deeper and deeper into the comfort of the animal skins, intermingled with more contemporary coverlets. Comfort and warmth was at its maximum, yet sleep refused to befall his eyes. All the times that sleep danced in front of him, just out of his reach, something devastating would happen. This night was no exception to that thesis.
“So?” Eve inquired from her seat by the fire place. The scent of warm hot cocoa wafted throughout the hut followed closely by betraying voices.
“Well, I really have no idea how he escaped from the arena. All I am sure about is that when I found him, he was muttering things about enslavement, his father, bones, fire and the philosophy that was drilled into his mind. He was one hundred percent broken. I had to spent years working to simply get him to be able to speak in complete sentences. I was only able to finally figure out who he was after around a century and a half.”
“Wait, so you spent all that time, just to assist someone who you didn’t know? A crazy raving lunatic?” Eve gaped, astounded.
“Well, yeah! He is a demon,” she laughed like it was the most obvious concept in the world to grasp. “Demons stick up for each other. It was a clear choice for me. So I helped him and eventually he was able to tell me his story, but even then it was unclear because he couldn’t say three sentences before breaking down into sobs. But from what I gathered, there was a revolt in the arena. All the demons escaped, but he was too weak to fly away.”
“One of the more corrupted demons carried him out and apparently made him a slave. I think he bounced around from master to master around ten times, estimating. He finally escaped and made it back to Japan where, well you know the rest. He wandered around for at least thirty years before I found him, half dead of cold and starvation, not to mention the terrible infections all of his wounds housed.”
“It was terrible seeing him like that, and the memory of how he was that first year still pains me. I can only imagine the terror he goes through every night to cause him to crawl up to my loft and lie shaking for hours. He is technically thousands of years old, or eighteen, depending on how you view it, but his maturity is about that of a five year old at times. Other times he’s a brilliant sage. It just depends. Either way, he is like my little brother.”
“That’s terrible, but none of that tells me why the heck he shattered!” Eve snapped, showing an extreme amount of ingratitude.
“Before the demon that saved him would, in fact, save him, he forced Evion to pledge his loyalty to him. In other words, during the chaos of the revolt, the demon tortured him until he agreed. Evion did, and look where that got him. Enslaved and at the mercy of others! Is it any wonder why he refuses to vow anything to anyone? I knew why he couldn’t swear, yet I still tried to make him do it. I’m a monster.”
Unable to take Maya blaming herself for a simple, albeit devastating, mistake, Evion literally dropped out of his warm cocoon. As stealthy as the dawn, Evion stalked forward and up behind Maya, hugging her. She gasped, startled, but soon relaxed into his embrace.
“Do not worry m’lady. I should not fear pledging my trust to thou, for you are my best friend. One of my only, in fact. And I do trust thou, I trust thou with my life and my soul.” Evion swore, not a stutter halting his words.
“I…Evion you don’t have to…” Maya whispered softly.
“Be as that may, I still shall say the words that should’ve been uttered long ago. As for the m’lady Eve, I shalt revoke my trust in thou until further notice.” Evion said a defiant smirk upon his face.
“Why do you talk so weird?” Eve blurted, covering her mouth in surprise. “I’m sorry! That just slipped out!” she hastily apologized.
“Nay, do not fear, I do not mind answering. When I was… when I was enslaved, my master could not understand a word of what I said, a fact that irked him to no end. He forced me to abandon my native speech and adapt his Elizabethan tongue. I have never truly gone back to my old ways, considering Maya cannot comprehend a word of Japanese.” Evion laughed.
“Oh, please speak Japanese! I can understand most modern languages and some ancient ones. Maybe I can grasp Japanese!” Eve cried happily.
“In the morrow, m’lady, I shalt teach you the basics of my native dialect. For now it should be for the best if we all took it to our heads to go to bed. Dost thou not agree?” Evion asked.
“Agreed,” Maya yawned. “I’m exhausted!” Eve shrugged and trudged down the stairs to her little bed.
“Thank you, Evion,” Maya whispered from her loft after the two of them had settled in.
“Thou art most welcome, m’lady.” He muttered, half asleep.
“Evion, do you really think we should trust that angel? She changed personalities so quickly, that I just…. I don’t know about her,” she groaned.
“There is something called bipolar disease you know. Rumor has it that angels tend to have it. There is also something called sleep. Rumor has it that demons need it.” Evion sighed.
“Huh?” Maya cried. “Evion, English please.” Evion chuckled.
“Terribly sorry, m’lady. When I get tired I tend to slip back into my native language. I said, ‘there is something called bipolar disease you know. Rumor has it that angels tend to have it. There is also something called sleep. Rumor has it that demons need it.’ G’night.”
Maya batted him upside the head before finally allowing him to rest. He just rolled his eyes and fell into a deep and dreamless night, for the first time in ages.