It is near midnight and the last member of my court rushes into the conference room, apologizing for their late arrival. My aggravation is surely vibrant in my emerald eyes and they bow profusely, fearing my discontentment. I wave a discarded hand. What is time to me? I am a nine thousand year old Erelim Elder. Minutes, hours, they do not process in the length of my life.
The twittering of my court dies down and their eager eyes rest on me. Twenty-two Elders under my command and none of them can comprehend what has happened. It is met with disbelief and fear. It is a fear that is well founded. They need answers and as such, they look to me, their queen.
I begin sluggish. “Forgive me for this late gathering but the urgency is well placed. Let us quickly begin. Allamuchy Township, who directs that area?”
Standing promptly, Hikmah Elder Ronan bows, addressing me, “Madam Isis, it is my section. I’m sorry I failed you.”
I wave my hand. Forgiveness is holy and I am a holy creature.
“Allow me to give an account of the situation. At four fifteen this afternoon, the human population deduced that a bomb went off inside a diner, called the Blue Diamond. Unbeknownst to them, it wasn’t a bomb but a powerful energy wave, one similar to Erelim power. Without erasing memories the duo left the compound, speeding away in a white Ford truck. With descriptions from the scene and pictures from a security camera we have reason to believe,” He hesitates, building up the suspense. It’s highly unnecessary. “Erelim Elder Tymician has entered our territory.”
Shouts and concerns speedily come my way and my hands rest on the table with defined mannerism. This is the main topic I have come here to discuss.
The Erelim race is a small handful and our lives link us together through a past best forgotten. I never really liked Tymician but we were Angels together, before the Fall, before the changes of Heaven. I respected him then. And he tossed that respect along with his wings as he Fell from God’s grace.
Less than twenty-four hours ago, he showed up in my private chambers, accessing barriers that should deny all of the Devil’s playthings. Though we are both Erelim, Tymician is Transcending. There is no doubt that he is more powerful than anything upon this planet. I only despise him more.
My mouth dried and I licked my lips searching for water. It was a silly response to aversion. I hadn’t been in the presence of Darkness in so long I had forgotten how nauseating it makes me feel. I sprang up from my desk, meeting Tymician as he stood in my bedroom doorway with a smug half smile on his face. To come into my private chambers, to bypass all my secruities was a feat not one can accomplish. Yet there he stood, as if he had walked straight in from the front door.
With his hands in his pockets, he strolled forward. He bared his scars with pride despite the disgust they cause. The incension from his pectoral to his belly button is horrifying display of his death. Everything he represents fills me with loathing.
“Forgive the intrusion.”
“No.” I instantly reached for the phone.
He rested his tanned hand upon mine. I jolted from the ghastly touch.
Tymician chuckled. “Do you want to cause a panic? No one has to know I’m here.”
“I know. That’s worse enough. Dane will--”
Tymician sat partly on my desk, crossing his hands on his lap, composed and bold, “Do you think I could be here if Dane Monte didn’t permit me? He recognizes I mean you no ill-will.”
My heart pounded in my ears. Tymician and I have have never been friends. I blame him as much as I blame the Devil himself for the evil of Earth. He was the embodiment of Darkness and no matter how well he conducts his manners, I knew what kind of man he was.
Tymician conducted his clan Kio in Pennsylvania on the edge of my territory and he has done so for the last two hundred years. I have said nothing to the imposing of his clan mates. He stays in his world and I stay in mine. We were simply playing nice so others would get along without fighting. But if ever given the chance, I’d wipe his clan from existence.
“Why are you here?”
“There you are: A civilized leader ready to converse. I was beginning to wonder if Ariel made a mistake, naming you as her Heir.”
I wondered what upon my desk I could stab him with. “Ariel is dead and it matters nothing to me what you think.”
Ariel was an Erelim Elder and my predecessor. She has been missing for hundreds of years. A death of her caliber would have been felt but an Erelim also can’t simply disappear. There were rumors and theories but with no proof, death was the only logical explanation.
He continued regardless of my obvious abhorrence, “We have coexisted for a while now and we have done well together, don’t you think? I mean to relocate to Manhattan. Tomorrow.”
“You cannot be serious!”
He widened his green eyes at me, an innocent expression if possibly for a demon, “There is no need to get distressed. I will not kick you out. I can be generous.”
“Generous!” I snapped to my feet to pace the floor. What ill news he brings? How could I allow Fallen into my territory? I would be seen as a pushover. As a dog plopping over on her back.
“It is a furtive operation. I need your secretive resources and you will supply them. How well you protect Dane Monte, I will ask the same.”
“I will not hide you! A revolting devil. You cannot be serious.”
He proceeded to reach into his pocket and exposed a small square paper. “Will you take this to your God and your leaders and ask them if they know this girl?”
I slapped his hand away. “I won’t do you any favors. Get out.”
Tymician stood, a move that unnerved me. I realized then I shouldn’t have done that. No matter how close we are in age, by less than a thousand years, we are in two different leagues and though I hate to admit it, he can and will destroy me if he so desires.
“There are two ways to go about this, Isis.” He speaks factually as he set the picture upon my desk. “We can live side by side and I will endorse your endeavors, keeping Fallen far from your reign. Or I will overrun your territory and make it my own. Which of these will you proceed with?”
I denied him and if he attempts to come to Manhattan he will see how stubborn I can be. He hasn’t an idea of what I can accomplish when pushed.
Besides, I have Dane Monte in my safe-keeping. Tymician would not dare upset him.
Hikmah Elder Amato pats down his black hair, bowing as he stands, “Madam Isis.” He greets and then addresses the court. “I oversee the Trenton Tri-county area.” The whispers hush in anxious wonderment. “Not long after the incident in Allamuchy Township, a terrible clash occurred. A Net with a diameter of fifteen miles encircled downtown Trenton area while something went on inside. We don’t know who put up the Net. It was not a Fallen or an Angel. The feeling was beyond a doubt terrible. The Net was anchored for a little less than an hour and by the time we found the place all who had been there had gone.”
On my right is my Second, Hikmah Elder Matthias. He leans up on his elbows, the decorative piercings from his ears dangle and the light shines boldly on the black designs of his tattoos. I normally cannot make out much of the illustrations along his arms because of his dark, Haitian skin but in this light, they expose handsomely.
“Who owned the apartment?”
Amato shovels his papers quickly, “The apartment was owned by a Howard Johnson. We have been unable to locate him. He left work several hours prior to the situation. But we have managed to locate his car and the situation becomes more befuddled hereafter.”
“Befuddled?” Matthias inquires.
“We have reason to suspect Howard Johnson is not his real name.”
“Why’s that?” A member questions.
“The fact that a clash took place in his apartment indicates that he is not a normal human as he has played off the last four years. He also had a Rune on his keypad. We managed to locate his car at an office that disguises itself to the human population as a law firm for divorcees. For Undead, it’s an Animation Corporation. The head of projects, Debra Wallace, refuses to report anything to us without a subpoena from the Ruling.”
I rest my fingers against my temple, “Is this at all connected with Erelim Elder Tymician?”
“The white ford truck from the restaurant was found outside of this man’s apartment.”
My eyes flip up.
“It is a positive fact, Madam, Erelim Elder Tymician is in our territory. We must subdue him.”
The very thought of it sets a smile on my lips and I am only about to speak when I am interrupted by one of my quiet and newest members.
Asura Elder Lynette ages around five thousand and wears the skin of an Egyptian woman. I myself am from that land though far removed. She has a completely different accent and tenor than I would have if I still kept to the old ways. I don’t know why I keep her. She only upsets me.
“Subdue an Erelim? A Transcending Erelim, my lords? How would one go about doing such a thing?”
I rest my head against the chair allowing them to answer the questions for me. At least I won’t have to ask it now.
“The Ruling? The Gloria Patri? These factions must help us?”
“No, sir.” She answers knowledgeable. “They will not. He is untouchable. The Ruling bows to his whims. The Gloria Patri is his friends. You look in the wrong places. You wish to fight Darkness then you must use Darkness. But we are Angels and we do not use such things. If Erelim Tymician wishes for our territory than our only option is to give it to him and plea for mercy.”
I stare at her impassive. Who is she to dictate such a statement? Where has she come from? To whom does she truly belong? I flip my shady orbs to my Second and he catches my own. He nods his head only once indicating he acknowledges the subtle request. He will do what should have already been done and find out more about where Lynette sprang.
“Wait a second.”
Humor fills me instantly. My loud mouth ward fills the room with her unguarded tongue, using no method of mannerism or education. Sitting to my left is a young barely three hundred year old Soul that I have taken under my wing. Tessa is a Newborn dressed in a Korean shell with short spiky black hair colored purple at the tips and bright pink polish on her stubby fingernails. She sits with her feet on her chair and holes cut into the jeans of her knees. She picks at the net stockings surrounding her arms and the large feathered earrings wiggle from her ears. She is perfect and keeps the formality of society balanced with her randomness and unpretentious nature.
The Elders cannot tolerate her presence but I admire her boldness enough to ignore their unhappiness.
“I’m confused.” She continues. “Tymician hasn’t even said anything to us so what are we getting worried about? Maybe he just wanted to go on a vacation? And what about the other person he was with? Where did they go?”
Grinning I slap her knee, “Good point, darling. Who was this mysterious partner he had at the restaurant?”
Ronan stands once more. “Calls to the News Station in Allamuchy led us to a small town in Pennsylvania,” He looks at me pointedly, “Wilkes-Barre, right on top of Bear Valley. Her name is Kyla, no last name was given by the grieving store owner. She worked at a small sandwich shop but any further investigation will alert the Fallen that occupy the town. The human police believe she was the suicide bomber. She may be human but it’s doubtful. Erelim Elder Tymician walked in with her, they ate together, and after the ‘bomb’ went off, he gathered her unconscious form and went to the truck.”
I tap my cheek. I wonder if this was the picture of the girl he tried to get me to look at. If I had been more compliant, I might be a little understanding of the situation.
Amato continues with more information, “The apartment is owned by a doctor, but from the descriptions we received from the restaurant, she went through a glass window. There would be no surviving if she were human. We suspect she is a part of Kio but Kio as far as we know it has no Fallen with such a name.”
Matthias ventures, “Where is the Ruling in all of this? It is obvious Tymician has disobeyed the Law.”
Amato responds, patting his black hair, “I haven’t spoken to a single one, my lords.” I notice Ronan readily agrees. “It is as if they don’t care. We have taken plenty reports and pictures for court but to wait any longer would cause more human interference. We have altered enough human minds. We need to begin rebuilding what has been damaged.”
I nod my head, tired with this conversation. “Proceed. Get your subpoena. I want this Howard Johnson to explain the mystery.” I attempt to stand.
“One more thing, Madam, it’s seems Kio Fallen are wondering what’s happened as well. The Clan Liaison Asuras Elder Misha has asked for an audience with you as soon as possible.”
I scoff at the audacity. “They presume too much. I will take the audience, only if they wish for God’s forgiveness and return to the Light.” I smile condescendingly. My members hide their smiles behind genteel hands. I stand promptly to my feet and my court raises firm and proud. I look at them, worry is trickling on their brow but their backs are straight and their hearts beat strong in my presence. “Worry none of Tymician. Never forget just who I am.” They readily bow offering up their highest respect with a quick signal: their fingertips pressed to their forehead, a sign of submission to all knowledge and command. I spin away and disappear out the back door.
My heels clink upon the marble of the floor, the well-lit hallway shines against my dark tanned skin and my white dress shimmers, billowing in my haste. I’ve grown fascinated with this decade’s fashion and gowns look incredible with my complexion and physique. I brush my black curls back from my face, forcing smiles as I pass random humans. They know me for the owner so I must always look my best.
Even being so late at night, Manhattan is bustling with people. The city never sleeps and it is what I love most about it. The bar is packed full of random strangers conversing, hoping to find partners for the night, the restaurant is never shy of visitors eating with longtime friends and business acquaintances and the ballroom is marrying off some foolish couple at least three times a week.
Accor Hotels are a worldwide chain created and operated by Angels. This includes Motel 6, the Ibis, the Sofitel, and the Pullman. Within Manhattan, I govern the Sofitel Luxury Hotel on 44th street, a reputable business of wealth and authority. From here, I oversee The New York Council, an Angel Sanctuary, one of many. My territory stretches from Buffalo down to Atlantic City, New Jersey and into Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It isn’t the largest area but it happens to be the most populated, holding more than two hundred Angels in my care.
My guards pass me with a subtle nod. They are the custodians, bellhops, ushers, etc. I never lack in protection inside my home. It is a disgusting fact that I need to hide from the world. Being an Erelim means my Soul is a prized possession. There are creatures out there that desire a taste of my Light.
Moreover, despite being an Angel, I’ve managed to gain enemies in nine thousand years. A smirk rises to my lips. Tymician is one of many. I wish to examine the means of his entry but I don’t want to expose that I have conversed with him. If he can get in, I wonder what other form of Darkness is capable.
I plug my key into the service elevator and wait patiently for its arrival. My lips hurt from the fake smiles and if I must perform one more, my mouth will fall off. I rub my jaw in a moment of weakness, my bracelets clinking together. I close my eyes upon the sound. It’s a familiar noise, displaced by generations. The resonance is a little off; the quality of the gold isn’t the same thickness.
I snap open my eyes as the fire alarm wails with its high-pitched voice. Lights twirl in vibrant colors and I stare at the ceiling where the red emergency siren circles. A fire? Would something so human really occur here? No. I don’t believe it all.
I stare at the elevator. Stainless steel acts as a barrier between us but I know what waits beyond its door. Shouts and pounding feet echo through the small hallway I occupy as humans hurry to escape but they are running from nothing. There is only one enemy here and that is what I face.
My heart rate increases, my breath rapidly coursing through my nose, and then the ding to the elevator sounds.
The doors pull apart.
A hatchet glitters, clutched in his left hand, blood drips down its tip having formed a pool at the base of his feet. Sandals adorn him, vine wire wraps around his thick, hairy tanned calves, ending just short of his knees. A shendyt white skirt covers his enormous thighs kept up by a gold plated belt. Leaving his abdomen bare, over his chest he wears a round gold medallion with Egyptian hieroglyphs descripting the era in which he lived. On each bulky arm, gold bracelets dangle quiet as he waits patiently for me to meet his gaze.
Erelim Elder Fallen Dion stands boldly before me.
Brown eyes under thick eyebrows stare at me with deadly intention. His long brown hair tangles hanging just past his shoulders and it jars with his hasty movement when he snatches onto my bicep. I trip on my heel, hitting the back end of the elevator harder than I was prepared for.
The doors peacefully shut. I spin to watch him smack his fist against the emergency button keeping us locked in this steel box. My chest heaves meeting his glare with my own. He points the tip of his blade at my face, blood continues to drip down and it twists my lip.
“Where is he?”
I am not intimidated. The day Dion is capable of such a feat I might as well relinquish my hold on the New York Council and curl up into a ball. I rub my shoulder and respond lightly, “The name of whom you search for, Dion of the Tiya?”
He moves his blade a tad closer, “Tymician.” He growls.
“A simple phone call would have been sufficient. I don’t know.” I reach over for the red button.
Dion shoves against me, one arm pinning against my shoulder while he points his weapon dangerously close to my neck. “Bullshit. It was known he was coming here, to Manhattan, to your city. It just so happens he disappears before he’s due to arrive?”
His newly developed Russian accent makes me sick.
“Get your hand off me.”
I fix my hair, straightening out the wrinkles in my dress, praying he did not get any dirt or fluid on the white of its fabric.
The way Dion stresses is alerting. All the information I have learned rolls in my head. What happened at the apartment in Trenton? Tymician fought something but what creature pairs against a Transcending Erelim?
The word ‘Disappears’ highlights as I replay Dion’s accusation. Someone as significant as Tymician cannot simply vanish. Yet we thought the same about Ariel.
Another piece of information springs at me and I eye Dion with unsure suspicion. Tymician came to me not less than twenty-four hours ago. He told me his movement was nothing short of clandestine. Would he tell Dion?
“I have come far, Isis. Do not lie to me. I may be out of my territory but I still have many, many allies.”
I growl nippily, “You assume incorrect. I haven’t an idea to where he hides.”
He slams his hand against the sidewall, “I know you had something to do with it. The moment Tymician rested, word would have been all over and you would have had hundreds of Fallen on your doorstep. Not a good sign for God.”
I tighten my lips. To believe me skilled of such horrid acts is insulting to not only me but to God. Honestly, however, if I thought I was capable of capturing the slippery sot, I would have done so years ago.
“What makes you think I am capable of hoarding a Transcending Erelim Elder? Tymician is far out of our league, Dion. Dane Monte is in my care because he wishes it not because I imprison him. You risk our clans’ delicate treaty because of desperation. You are a fool. Get out before the Ruling seeks to judge you.”
My guards have finally found me it seems. Pounding vibrates the steel doors. I hear my name shouting through them as fingers claw at the edges, attempting to tear them apart.
His pectorals twitch in agitation but he acknowledges the facts. He rests his eyes upon me once more but a sudden change waves over him as he drops his sight below my neck. He sweeps them down all the way to my feet and I visibly tense but I cannot stop his speedy movements. He steps forward, latching ahold of my jaw and pressing his lips against mine.
Fists pound against the steel of his chest but he feels none of my weight, pressing only harder, forcing his fingers into my jaw, opening my mouth to accept his tongue.
He senses my movement to knee him between the legs and reaches my thigh before I can manage it. Laughter, however, finally breaks his brutal treatment and his lips fall away as he holds me.
A bright smile stretches proudly. “You fight me so viciously, wife. It is good to see your fire.”
Revulsion prevails my visage. I fall against the elevator wall, barely containing the power of my Soul. “Get out of here before I kill you.”
His fingers fall away, hesitantly, slowly. He takes a step back and all the false giddiness fades from him. “If I find out you did something to Tymician, Isis, I will bring down this hotel level by level and if you are at the bottom, then the Devil is just.” He jumps up to the hole in the roof and disappears.
Rubbing my lips of his disgusting taste, I quickly fix my hair and adjust my dress as I wait for my guardians to rescue me.
I struggle and lose as glorious laughter echoes in this empty elevator.
It appears Tymician won’t be challenging my reign after all. What a pity.