It was a cold October night like any other. All was quiet in the small town of Donn, or at least that’s what it seemed like. In a small white house near the end of the town a woman was giving birth to a baby boy, with her sister as her only companion. They argued in hushed voices, her younger sister reprimanding her for not wanting to go to the hospital. Trying to contain the whimpers from the tremendous pain she was in, she begged her sister not to be angry with her, adding in a solemn voice that she of all people knew no one should see the child yet. Suddenly she gave a great cry of anguish, and her sister rushed to help, both unaware they had company.
During all this ordeal they had been observed by three uncanny visitors. When Laylah first sensed a birth in Donn was imminent she immediately set out to oversee it went well. Like usual, Diniel said he would accompany her, it was not pure coincidence he was considered the protector of infants by his fellow angels. As soon as Briathon entered Laylah’s chambers she knew something was wrong. She put down the silver necklace she would present to newborns as a token of protection and looked at Briathon with understanding in her silver eyes. “Tell me, I must know.”
He sighed, “Laylah, that creature whose birth you plan to oversee is a demon.”
She furrowed her brows in concern and said, “Are you quite sure?”
“Completely sure, I checked the book of records and saw a new line saying
Ayperos Lars of Donn – October 18, 1997.”
Laylah gasped, “Ayperos?! Good Lord. So it’s true, he’s Lucifer’s child… I thought it was just a rumor.” Briathon stayed silent while in a moment of decision she made up her mind saying hastily, “I must go at once, he may be the devil’s son but he is a child. There is yet hope for him.”
“Laylah, no. That’s an order.”
She looked him square in the eyes. “Briathon, my lord, it is my duty. I have to go. Accompany me if you must, but let me go.”
“If something goes wrong, it is your responsibility Laylah.”
“I know,” she said quietly, “come, we must go at once.”
The three angels had stood by, quietly watching the scene before them. Laylah could sense Diniel’s unease and Briathon’s disapproval but she gave them reassuring glances, trying to convince them everything would be alright. Suddenly the mother screamed, drawing their attention back to the birth and the newborn popped out of the womb, making her pain cease. She panted hard, exhausted by the exertion of childbirth. The sister cut the umbilical cord, wiped the baby clean, and handed him to his mother.
“It’s a boy, my baby boy.” She said with a mixture of love and horror.
“What will you name him?” Her sister asked.
“Ayperos, Ayperos will be his name. It sounds right, don’t you think, Eliza?”
“Yeah,” her sister said smiling softly, “Ayperos Lars, the son of the greatest woman who ever lived.”
Laylah had been absorbed in the somewhat touching moment between the sisters, while an unlikely idea formed in her mind. She was interrupted by a subtle cough from Briathon. She glanced at him and saw he was impatient.
“Well? You’ve overseen the birth, there’s nothing left to do, and we must go back.” He said with impatience.
“No, Briathon, wait. I haven’t given him his token of protection yet and…I think he needs a guardian angel…to keep him safe, you know? That way we can also monitor him and make sure he doesn’t become evil.” Laylah said quickly and nervously.
Diniel gasped, his mouth agape while Briathon looked at her in disbelief. “Laylah, are you out of your mind?! Protect a demon? Give him a guardian angel? By our Lord, I’ve never heard such a thing.”
“Briathon, please. He’s just a child, he needs protection, especially since he’s the devil’s son. Think about it, many of our kind and those of his kind who are jealous of his status will try to come after him and destroy him, he will not be safe with my token as his sole protection. Let me find him a guardian and it will help us make sure he doesn’t communicate with his father or other demons, which could try to persuade him to join them.”
Briathon shook his head, saying, “this is simply preposterous, it cannot happen, and we will not assign an angel to a demon, when he or she could be watching over a righteous human baby.”
“I could do it,” Diniel said timidly, “I mean, though I admit the idea of watching over a demon is not very inviting, I am the protector of infants. I would just be doing my job, and Laylah is right, we could prevent him from becoming evil.”
“Thank goodness, that’s a relief! Would you really be willing to do this Diniel? I know you are not particularly fond of demons, especially after…” Laylah stopped there, afraid to go on, and nervously waited for Briathon’s decision. Would he let Diniel watch over Ayperos? Or would he leave him to the mercy of fate?
“Laylah, you are the most stubborn angel I have ever seen, well aside from Ariel, though I do admire her for her fierceness when it comes to protecting those she loves.” Briathon sighed in a resigned manner, “It seems you have won this time, but remember, if this turns out badly, it is your responsibility, not mine.”
Laylah smiled gratefully at Briathon and glided over to Ayperos who was now sleeping in a crib while his mother rested and his aunt brought some warm blankets for her sister. She gently touched his forehead and felt it was feverishly hot, but she didn’t worry since it was the common temperature for a demon. Removing her hand from his forehead she carefully leaned in closer and placed the silver necklace around his neck, which immediately glowed as it grew used to its new owner. Laylah turned around and nodded to Briathon, it was time to leave.
“Will you be alright Diniel? Remember you can always summon us if trouble arises.” Laylah said with concern.
“Yes Laylah, do not worry about me, I’ll be fine.” Said Diniel with a small smile.
Laylah took her place beside Briathon and they both took flight, watching Diniel intently for as long as they could.
“I hope nothing happens to him, I’ve known Diniel since he was created in 1702 and I do not wish for him to experience an encounter with Proserpine, especially now that he will be protecting her husband’s son whom she so ardently despises.” Briathon quietly commented to Laylah when they reached their home.
“I know Briathon, don’t worry, Diniel will be fine. I don’t think anyone besides us knows where Ayperos is located, and they won’t for a long time if all goes well.”
“I hope you’re right Laylah, I hope you’re right.”
6 MONTHS LATER
April 30, 1998
Diniel had grown accustomed to his duties as a baby demon’s guardian and actually enjoyed taking care of little Ayperos. Although Hannah, Ayperos’ mother and her sister Eliza couldn’t sense or see Diniel, Ayperos was perfectly aware of his protector’s presence, smiling whenever Diniel would make silly faces at him. This all happened without any of the sisters noticing, not even his mother, for neither was blessed with the gift of some humans, who possess the quality of being able to note an angel’s presence even in his invisible form. Most humans may only see an angel or demon when the creature permits them to, adopting a humanlike form when he wants multiple humans to see him or her.
Ayperos didn’t possess this quality, him only being half demon and a baby, therefore he was visible at all times for the eyes of any. This proved to be dangerous for him and his guard, but no one realized until it was too late. Ayperos had been found. She was coming to get him.
It was early morning when Proserpine arrived in all her wrathful glory. Diniel had left the house to do a quick scan of the area and Proserpine had taken her opportunity. She flew into Ayperos’ nursery with her demon wings and adopted her human form, transforming into the beautiful woman she had been before her husband kidnapped her and she became a demon. She approached the crib and ran one long fingernail down the infant’s face, waking him up. When he saw her he immediately started crying but she shushed him, putting her finger against his tiny lips menacingly.
“So, you are the heir to my husband’s throne. An insignificant half human, conceived from my husband’s insatiable lust for mortal women, when he has me. So it seems he wasn’t interested in the women themselves…he wanted an heir, which I couldn’t give him. Too bad you’re going to die little one.” She pulled a small dagger from her garb, which made Ayperos start crying again, he would not stop this time. “Silence creature! I said silence!”
Suddenly Diniel appeared and shoved Proserpine away from his protégé, grabbing on to her and pulling her away from the house. “What the hell do you think you’re doing here? Attempting to murder an innocent child who has done you no harm. Does your thirst for vengeance have no limit?”
Proserpine struggled to slip out of Diniel’s grip, but he was stronger than the last time they had fought. “Diniel, it’s so nice to see you again. How long has it been? 59 years? Do you miss your little girlfriend? I do remember how nice her screams sounded when I killed her.” Diniel’s grip slackened which was exactly what Proserpine wanted. She stabbed him in his right arm with her dagger and started flying back to Ayperos’ house, but was held back by Diniel. He would not let her win this time. Silently he summoned Laylah and Briathon’s help, hoping they would get there on time.
“Briathon, Diniel’s in trouble, I just received a distress message from him. Proserpine found them, she’s trying to kill Ayperos.” Laylah said with anguish, pulling Briathon away from his training.
“I told you something bad would happen, but you wouldn’t listen Laylah.” Briathon said, while taking flight behind Laylah. The two angels flew as fast as they could until they reached Donn. Laylah flew straight into Ayperos’ room and was immediately horrified by the sight before her. Briathon flew down and fell to his knees, unable to contain the pain he felt. Diniel was strewn on the floor dead with Proserpine’s dagger in his heart, while Proserpine was still alive but weak laying against the wall with multiple wounds all over her body. She had been too strong for him to defeat without dying in the act, but he had at least succeeded in stopping her from killing Ayperos.
Laylah rushed to Diniel’s side clinging to his lifeless body with her fingertips while Briathon finished Proserpine off. When Proserpine was dead, Briathon turned to see Laylah silently crying invisible tears, for angels can’t shed tears like humans do. “Laylah… I told you. I told you this would end badly, how will we tell our Lord the events that have happened thanks to your stubbornness? You do realize, Lucifer will come after us after he finds out his wife is dead, what’s more, he will come after the boy. It would have been better for us to let fate take care of him.”
Laylah sobbed, “I’m so sorry, I never thought Diniel and Ayperos would be in any real danger. I didn’t know Proserpine would actually want to kill the heir to her kingdom. I just wanted to keep the boy from turning evil like Lucifer did.”
“Come Laylah, there is no time to grieve. We must inform the council at once so they may advise us what to do to prevent any more tragedies from happening.”
Laylah silently accepted and they went back to the Heavenly kingdom to ask for the council’s help, but before they got to do so they were intercepted by three members of the council. Ariel, the most valiant angel of protection; Miniel, the angel of love, who was deeply in love with Ariel; and Zachriel, angel of memories, were on their way to solve a mishap involving a child and his guardian angel in the city of Celestine.
On seeing Laylah, Ariel approached her and hugged her, “Hello Laylah, hello Briathon. We are just on our way to solve a little problem that arose in Celestine. We left Bryan, Tammy’s kid in charge of Amitiel for a day, since we received word that there were demons lurking around the area and…two human bystanders saw him so we have to modify their memories. Quite careless, don’t you think?”
Laylah laughed nervously, “Oh yes, quite careless…oh my Lord.” She gasped, an idea suddenly forming in her mind. Briathon realized this and groaned, here we go again, he thought. Laylah grabbed Ariel’s shoulders none too gently, rapidly spewing words out of her mouth, “Ariel! You and Zachriel have to help us! Yes, this is perfect, Briathon please let me do this it will work, I know it will!” Briathon shook his head vigorously while Ariel, Miniel and Zachriel just stood there with confusion evident on their faces.
“Laylah, darling. I will help you with whatever it is you need but first I need to know what is going on, and so does Zachriel.” Ariel said matter of factly, with her hands on her hips. Laylah looked at Briathon pleading with her eyes.
Exasperated Briathon said, “I don’t know Laylah, you can very well go ahead and tell them what has happened since they are members of the council, but I doubt they will go along with whatever crazy plan you’ve come up with now.”
Taking this as an invitation to go on ahead, Laylah asked them to speak about the topic in a more private place, so they went to an abandoned meeting hall and sat down. Laylah briefly told them what had happened, starting from the moment she decided to oversee Ayperos’ birth right up to Diniel and Proserpine’s death. The three council members gasped as Laylah told the story, but listened intently from beginning to end. When she was done she was quiet for a minute.
Ariel broke the silence saying, “this is terrible, we must help the poor boy, and what are we going to do when Lucifer finds out what has happened?”
Briathon spoke, “with all due respect Ariel, I believe it is no longer our obligation to care for the child, in fact it never was. All we must focus on is making sure a war between angels and demons doesn’t arise thanks to Proserpine’s death.”
Ariel frowned and shook her head. “No, you’re wrong Briathon, he may be a demon but he is not undeserving of our help. After we resolve the issue of war, I will personally look after Ayperos.”
“I will not allow that Ariel!” bellowed Miniel, “it is far too dangerous to care for the devil’s son. I don’t want you to end with Diniel’s same fate.”
Ariel looked at Miniel coldly, “you will not tell me what I can or cannot do Miniel. That is my decision. Do not worry about me, for I can take care of myself.” She directed her attention to Laylah and said, “now, dear Laylah, tell us of this plan you have to fix this situation.”
Although slightly uncomfortable, Laylah maintained a calm demeanor and said,” Well, I was thinking that Zachriel could somehow plant a memory in Lucifer’s mind, a memory of Proserpine dying in a different manner having nothing to do with us angels. We could completely avoid a war by doing that and…and we wouldn’t have to tell our Lord about it. After that Ariel could assume Ayperos’ guardianship without worrying she might be attacked...well, not as worried.”
“I have to admit, it’s not a bad plan. Although, I repeat my opposition concerning Ayperos’ care remaining in our hands.” Said Briathon, showing Laylah he would support her plan, if only half of it.
Zachriel had remained in silence this whole time but now he spoke, “Okay, I will do it. I will modify Lucifer’s memory. It will be difficult, but I can do it. I’ve actually had to do it before, many millenniums ago, when he first fell from grace, so he wouldn’t remember our Lord’s most sacred secrets.”
Laylah sighed in relief, “Thank you so much for helping me. You have saved me from shame and from bringing war between our species.” She smiled warmly at Zachriel who returned her smile.
“Alright it is settled then. Zachriel will modify the Devil’s memory and I will take up the guardianship of our little demon.” Ariel said and when Miniel protested she added, “And none of you are going to stop me,” with a tone of finality. No one said anything to contradict her, preferring to stay quiet. Although they all knew they would try to stop her.
7 DAYS LATER
May 7, 1998
“Well, congratulations Laylah. Your plan succeeded,” said Briathon as he, Laylah, Ariel, Miniel and Zachriel stood on the hills of Donn after having kept guard of the town for the past 6 days to make sure the memory modification had been a success.
“Yeah, it did,” Laylah said with happiness.
“Alright.” Said Ariel. The other four angels turned to look at her expectantly. “As it quite obvious to all of us that three of you at least will try to stop me from risking my life for a baby demon, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands.”
Miniel looked at her with fear, “What do you mean Ariel?”
“I must say goodbye for now, my friends. You will never let me do this, and as long as I am in my angel form you will be able to stop me. I am going to sacrifice my immortality so that I may keep watch of Ayperos more closely. That way, I will also be less prone to danger, who would suspect a little girl of taking care of a little boy?”
They all gasped in understanding and shouted, “Ariel no!” as Ariel lost her glow and began to fade away.
“Take care of Ayperos for me while I’m ready.” Ariel said before disappearing.For the next nine months, the young Ayperos would dream with Ariel, her soothing voice saying to him, “don’t worry my darling, I will be here soon to watch over you.”