Kyla: Missing ward of Kio. 23 year old girl, currently in coma
Anna Marthalow- 1000 year old Angel, Soul Mate to Dane Monte, currently on probation for killing Fallen.
Tymician- Elder Fallen Angel Erelim, over 10,000 years old. Leader of the Fallen Race and the Kio Clan. Currently missing, presumed dead.
Alexander- Six hundred year old Angel, rogue Angel, currently on the run to save Kyla from death.
Felix- 2300 year old Fallen, Heir to the Kio throne, searching for Kyla.
Isis- Elder Angel Erelim, over 9000 years old. Leader of the New York Council. Soul Mate to Dion. Currently searching for Kyla
Metatron- Second in Command of Heaven. Responsible to find the seven Prophets to save earth.
Sable- Human, 28 years old, from Queens.
Dane Monte- Erelim Elder Angel, over 10000 years old. Soul Mate to Anna Marthalow. In hiding.
Dion- Erelim Elder Fallen Angel, over 9000 years old. Leader of the Tiya. Currently searching for Tymician and Kyla. Heir to the Fallen Race
On the fifty-inch flat screen, a muted skirmish repeats in sixty-second intervals. It interests me little as I adjust a piece of fabric of my Armani dress, smoothing out any wrinkle as it stretches over the length of my long legs.
Quiet shifts around the room, all attention is upon me, and though they wait for a reaction, I am disinclined to give them one.
The captain of my security, Asura Hahn stands behind the couch I occupy with his hands clasped around his bulbous belly. His eyes drill the back of my head full of scorn and suspicion.
Matthias sits with a straight back and crosses his legs, resting in the empty seat beside me. He flickers his gaze back and forth between the screen and my face attempting to figure out my thoughts.
I have a select group of friends. I pick them with caution and with much deliberation. Being as old as I, friends mean weakness and I cannot afford such a dreary thing. It could possibly cost me my expensive life. I owe it to God to do whatever I can to procure my Light.
Matthias is indeed part of my circle. He knows Dion is my Soul Mate. As much as I want to repress that pesky entitlement, I cannot do much about it.
The security camera restarts its loop. Dion falls from a broken section of the wall and barrels toward the entrance of the underground tunnel. Protected by three well-trained soldiers, he cuts through them as if they are greenhorn children. Blood splatters the walls and silent cries fall from muted lips. When the last soldier drops, he steps over them mindlessly and shoves his heavy shoulder into the steel, falling out of view. The camera begins once more from the top.
With every slash and failed counter, my Clan Liaison grimaces and twists, barely capable of peeking at the screen. Hikmah Elder Mario twitters in trepidation, his fingers constantly twitching in his lap. “This is a direct attack. We cannot ignore this, Madam. We must take this evidence to the Ruling.”
“He did not kill anyone,” I mindlessly reply.
Hahn steps to the side of me, derisive, “He chopped Kerry’s hand off, Madam.”
“Yet she lives. I explained to you, he sought Tymician. This is not an open attack. His intention was nothing unholy.”
Matthias’ stare is profound and I cannot disregard it any longer, flipping my green eyes over to meet his gaze, daring him to speak.
Even though he wears tattoos and piercing, it is his mannerism that reminds me there is a Hikmah in this twenty year old shell. “I wonder.” He tentatively begins. “Are you protecting him?”
“Tsk.” I fasten to my feet, “I will be first in line to testify against that creature of Hell. But as one of God’s children, I will do what is just. The Ruling will treat this too harshly. He may be Fallen, but Dion is an Erelim Elder. This is a little infraction that I care not to dwell upon.”
“Little?” Hahn growls. “Three of my soldiers are in a healing ward in Heaven! How little is that? He is a demon and you do nothing!”
Matthias stirs from his seat, “Sir, I require that you watch your tone when you speak to our leader. Had you done your job appropriately, you would have known he was coming.”
His face reddens, his cheeks wiggling from such frenzy, “He went undetected on all our scanners. He either has something that causes them to malfunction or he had help.” His brown ugly eyes land on me.
The insinuation is not lost and a smile forms on my pale lips. The sign of insubordination is rare. Angels are so compliant when standing before me, it’s disgusting. I find this moment refreshing.
Matthias rises and snatches his arm, pulling him out of the room. That will be the last time I see Hahn. Though it is wonderfully entertaining, I can’t have it circulating in my clan. Defiance will lead to betrayal, and betrayal will lead to my demise. I have lived a long life because I keep only God’s faithful glued to my side.
I wonder who will be the next Captain of Security. I hope a female. Men are far too emotional and yet I constantly find myself surrounded by them.
Mario unwillingly decides an alternate route, “We do not have to notify the Ruling. In sensitive cases such as this, we would report to Transcending Erelim Elder Tymician and have him discipline the offender. Yet as it stands, I hear, he is missing. Are we to do nothing, Madam? I advise that is unwise. If word gets out, Angles might take it in their own hands. You are an Erelim. Many regard you as a symbol of hope and strength. They will see this as an attack on your honor.”
I flick away a black curl, “I am no Dane Monte. I walk in his shadow, as is right. I will suffice with a letter of apology.” Even while I say it, laughter breaks through and I hold a hand to my lips. The thought of Dion apologizing for anything, even the slightest of things, is comical. He will see the slight and curse at my subtly. It will be enough for me.
Matthias hustles in his return with Amato at his heels. My enjoyment dies. I am sick of seeing his face. Hasn’t that fugitive Angel been eaten yet?
“I have news of the Vetalas situation, Madam.”
I give no reply; can’t they see that I don’t care? I want the girl. Get me the girl and let the situation resolve. Anything else is irrelevant.
“We don’t have much information but we know that a Vetalas was killed in a Kyonshi hideout down in Washington DC. The East Coast Territory, however won’t let us through without the proper permits and authorizations.”
Mario readily straightens. “I shall get right on it, Madam.”
I find this odd.
Four, three thousand, even two thousand years ago, clan borders were guarded heavily because of the lack of trust. Protocol required certain procedures such as written documentation that contained the reason for the visit, the duration of the stay and the names of the tourists. The Ruling must approve those said documentations. It’s an entire process that became completely too tedious. Nets encircled more than half the planet, keeping the dark forces at bay. Everyone stood on pins and needles. Earth was a stressful place back then.
When Tymician created Shrouds and Runes, life got simpler. Clans made treaties and communication opened up, allowing access into lands and parts of the world that had been closed before became free reign. Proper permits lost its vigor after that.
“Why would Henka seek such a thing?”
Henka is a simple Asura Angel, relatively new to the clans. The East Coast Territory introduced itself three hundred years ago at the last summit. Certainly honored to meet me, she knew well of my reputation and humbly offered up assistance to my whims. Not that I would need anything from such a simple peasant but I indulged her nonetheless. New leaders always believe they know everything there is to maintain and secure their place in this world.
I must oblige in friendship, however. It is part of my duty to help them succeed. The more Angel clans we have on Earth, the less space Fallen can occupy.
“Forgive me, Madam.” Mario chirps, “I thought I informed you years ago. My lady Henka lost her seat as leader to the East Coast. It is now a man named Richard that rules the territory. He operates systematically under the laws of the old rules. It shouldn’t take me more than an hour to set up the procedures.”
He hustles for the door yet I find myself burst out. “No. I will go.”
An hour is too long. With so many others searching for this girl, they will no doubt sabotage the scene. There is no honesty on this planet anymore. I must be the first one to derail their scent.
The men wildly protest against my departure for the obvious reasons so after I debate for my own safety I am forced to wear a hollow necklace. On top of such tacky jewelry, I must bring two well apt soldiers. Though it is unnecessary considering if I were to engage in physical combat with any high ranked evil, I would be the one to save myself; it is only suitable. Someone must be around to open my door.
My guard Paul creates the Dust and I merely clamber onto it. If I access the Source, the hollow necklace I wear will be mute and void. It is the other reason I must always have a courtier.
I exit the Dust, arriving on the outskirts of a middle class hotel. The East Coast Territory works out of the Sofitel in Lafayette Square in Washington DC. I stand at a corner of an active intersection with utter contempt.
Perhaps if I sent any forewarning of my arrival they would have been ready to receive me but as it is I wait to be greeted.
Thirty seconds of irritation go by until bellhops hustle across the street. Cars slam on their breaks, honking loudly and obscenely when their tires squeal across the pavement. Somehow, the welcoming committee makes it across the bustling road without injury.
With their leader absent, I openly scorn their outfits. They are low grade and disturbing with puffy shoulder pads and velvet lacings. Even the polished black shoes are fraud. They are clearly soldiers that haven’t yet learned how to act the part they’re being forced to perform.
I scan the hotel. Doused in Shrouds and runes, I expected but there beneath my feet, curling into my toes and mixing into my Light is an appalling sensation. Maleficium spews from its square windows and dribbles down its stone walls.
This new leader is either afraid of something, or he is hiding something. He turned his home into an army base where even a being as powerful as I couldn’.
As interesting as it would be to uncover his secrets, he isn’t my biggest problem.
The guards stand dumbfounded, awaiting my movement or some sign of life. They gawk as if I am a statue or a figment of their limited imagination. Obviously, they do not come upon an Erelim often.
“Who will lead me to the situation with the Vetalas?”
It takes a moment for the request to filter through their pea-sized brains but finally an older soldier steps forward, bowing awkward and completely improper. I roll my eyes, saying nothing to his decorum. It is a lost cause. I will not waste my breath.
“I will, your majesty.”
I smile into my hand following him into the Dust. I am no ‘majesty’ but again, what is the point to correct bumpkins?
He leads us to a rotted building, outwardly abandoned with barded windows. Spray paint layer the outer walls while the roof seems to be caving. Mother Nature, however apparently knew what occupied its domain. Grass and weeds that usually overrun such a place have instead rotted away and left behind only the residue of its previous existence.
Though the soldiers here are actually dressed properly, I expect nothing more than their comrades and receive nothing more. The activity comes to a standstill and they ogle my presence with no regard to mannerism or courtesy.
My guardian Phil disregards their lingering gazes and lifts the yellow warning tape, goading me further. The strangers unconsciously slink back, unsure and fearful. Perhaps they do not want to insult and hinder me. Or they’ve heard rumor of my malicious temper. Whatever it is that keeps them back, I encourage it. As long as they stay out of my way, I can do what I came here to do.
The building used to be a walk-in clinic from the x-ray machines glued to the walls and the numerous gurneys lined up against each other. It is quite clean for being abandoned. My fingertip runs along the front desk and comes away free of dust.
Flipping my eyes, I meet the man that is obviously the head of the investigation. He is silently following me, uncertain how to go about introducing himself.
“What are your thoughts?” I inquire vaguely interested, glancing around.
He forgets to bow or he hasn’t been shown his place as of yet. He speaks to me with an air of confidence I don’t quite like. “A Kyonshi was pursuing a victim when Vetalas burst through the ceiling. They attacked him and attacked the human as well.”
“You have very little.” I remark unkindly. “Show me.”
He bristles but leads the way down the back. “We have only just begun our investigation. Please be aware the sight you are about to see may be a little gruesome.”
“Sir, there is nothing that the Darkness can birth that I have not seen on multiple occasions.”
The doors part and the first thing that hits, is the stench. I can recall such a smell from eons ago, one that I breathed in deeply, inhaling as I sobbed. It is the stench of burning flesh, diseased and rotten. Through blurry eyes, I watch the faces of my children melt off. The fire crackles over the voices of one piteous moan.
My youngest was alive when the crazed masses tossed his little body upon the blaze.
I blink, clearing my head of delirium and returning to the present. I unclench the door, unlocking my knees and taking another step in. Paul coughs and sputters unable to stomach it.
The room is in chaos. Spare medical supplies litter the ground, shaken from their respective spots. Cabinets spill open and empty onto counters. Stone splatters in random places broken from the giant hole in the roof where pipes stick out and wires hang in disarray. A light flickers in upset and as I step around one giant mass of cement, I gaze impassively at the Kyonshi that lies there.
He struggles yet to regain the Light that he lost. He can barely speak with his intestines spread out around him, half eaten and torn to bits. He attempts pathetically to pack his organs back inside his borrowed body but hope wans and he cries redundantly for forgiveness. Disgust rises on my lip. I pray God does not look this way.
As I inspect the room further, I find the human half eaten on the floor. Her chest mauled opened as if a tiger came in search for her beating heart.
“Is there a Vetalas here?”
“Yea, it’s right at your feet. You should use your Light.”
I set my glare. Bad decorum is better than no decorum to be sure. “Get out.” Affronted by my dismissal he stomps away.
I knell beside the Kynoshi, keeping tight to my dress. I wonder how much I defile its fabric. I will have to shower for a week to rid myself of this moment. His eyes barely make out my form. His body shudders and if I could access my Soul I’m sure it would tell me his borrowed Light is about to be snuffed out.
“I will end it, this suffering. If you tell me one thing. Was she here?”
A bloody smile spreads on his broken lips exposing his rotten teeth and maggot infested mouth. “You,” His whispers slowly, “You, You know then.” He wheezes and coughs.
I lean back afraid to get his vile life fluid on me. “What do I know?”
“The Fallen. Yesss.” The Kyonshi hisses and his eyes rise to the sky. “You want her too... But you all are too late. God is too late.”
One last breath and his Light blinks out.
Despite his mistakes, I bless him and pray over his mutilated body.
I fasten my gaze to the doorway. I assume instantly this creature is the Leader of the East Coast Territory. He has a smirk as cocky as any newly founded chieftain would. From what I have gathered from Mario, he is only a thousand years old. A young fool to be sure.
I dare not underestimate him. He overpowered Henka, a being older than himself. He must be suave to some decree. To think he is a danger to me, well, I’m simply being humble.
He smiles with a breathtaking air, “What was that thing?”
Clenching my dress to keep it from touching the floor, I step from the Kyonshi, passing the dead human and take my full height before the low grade Angel. It is clear by the way he keeps his light blue eyes shining on me, he does not intimidate easily. His ego manages to protect him against my contempt.
“I do not expect your men to have proper education on etiquette but you will, sir. Bow to me and address me as Madam, or Mistress.”
He quickly holds up his hands, “My apologies.” He fondly adds, “Madam.” Richard drops to his knees, pressing his knuckles against the ground. It is brief contact, one that I would normally take in slight had he given me time to react.
“Speaking of etiquette,” He hastily begins as he rises, “while we are on the subject, I specifically remember denying such permission for any further investigation on the Council’s behalf. Imagine my surprise, albeit honor, when I heard you yourself had come. I will gladly fax you the report my men make when the crime scene is finished. It shall not take any longer than twelve hours or so. You certainly do not want to waste your valuable time--”
“Time I have plenty of.” I shove past him, which he holds the door wide with a positive beaming face. There is only pleasantry between our tones but I know there is something to uncover and I will not leave until I find it. “I wonder if there is an underlining cause to your obvious dislike of my presence.”
“Dislike?” He speaks astounded, his long brown hair waving with each bouncy step. “Certainly not. I am humbled to be in your company, Madam. I am simply ill prepared to serve you. As you yourself have stated my staff cannot provide amble provision for someone as illustrious as an Erelim. I ask you not to embarrass me further. I am a new leader. Rumors will spread quickly how terribly I fail you.”
Upon the exit, I turn to him. He stares with wide blue eyes, seemingly honest and true. I am not swayed. “You speak well for someone so young. You must have a teacher. I wonder who would invest time in someone like you.”Richard bows his head, his brown bangs slipping over his cheeks. “I will ask nicely, Madam Isis. I know my rights. I know the laws.” He once again attempts to speak with a cheerful voice. “Leave my territory.”
My smile slips. His audacity is appalling but his fear is enchanting. “You foolish child, I do not care what you conceal yet now I am intrigued. You gather an army at your base and hold plenty of magic inside it. The Ruling will do doubt be concerned. Do not play a game that someone else has been playing eight thousand years longer.”
I do not stay to see his smile drop. My dress swirls with my abrupt departure. I grasp the soldier that guided me to this place and he stumbles over himself, glancing back at his leader but I shove him into a ready-made Dust nonetheless. “That woman was from a restaurant, an IHOP. Where is one close by?”
“I will take you.”
“Madam, perhaps we should leave.” Paul murmurs unsure.
I flip my eyes, glaring, “Vetalas do not eat Kyonshi unless they get in the way of their prey. The one I am searching for was there. I want the security tapes from the restaurant and of the parking lot.”
I look back toward Richard and wave, a silent promise that we will meet again.