A Son's Betrayal
Deep within the craves of the world lays the land created by the god of death. In the heart of It’s divided plains stands the awe-inspiring spires of the King’s castle. Hidden within its endless twisting halls sits a lone figurer, poised at the head of an empty table. A crown sits heavy on his brow, though he bears the weight with grace and endowment. his hand twitches, causing the spoon to tumble out of his hand.
The figure’s eyes narrow, rotating so his wrist face up toward him. Thereupon his wrist lay row upon row of color marks starting just under his palm and spanning nearly down to the crease of his elbow. With a trained eye, he scans over each last remaining deal. Some of which spanned back to the beginning of time itself. It didn’t take him long to find the thin golden line near the bottom of the column, the edge of which started to flake off and disintegrate.
His eyes narrow further as he recognizes the mark. Though it was hard to see, anyone who truly knew the kind could see shock glimmer in his dark eyes. Disbelief quickly yields to a wave of cold anger that seems to fill to room, causing the shadows to bend and wither.
He stands then and storms from the room. His meal untouched and forgotten behind him. his steps sound sharp in the silent halls, an unspoken warning for everyone to get out of his way. No one crossed the King’s path of his way to the throne room.
Outside the throne room’s double door stands a short shrewish man. The King’s lips automatically twitch into a look of distaste before he can stop the action. Even after nearly a century of service as the Prime Minister, he had little respect for the weasel. The only reason he got the title was that he was ambitious and power-hungry. The only reason he kept the title longer than his predecessors was that he was cowardly, easy to understand and manipulate. Furthermore, the Prime Minister remains his for lack of a better replacement.
Before the King reaches the doors, the Prime Minister is already pushing them open. “Your Highness!” he squeaks before clearing his voice. “Was the meal not to you-”
“Summon Prince Azrael.” the King cut him off, his voice deceptively calm as he walked into the throne room without a falter in his step.
The Prime Minister pales slightly, bowing low. He had known the King long enough to know the raging storm the brews just beneath that calm facade. He had no intention of giving the powerful god a reason to release it on him. “Yes, Your Highness. ”
“close the door on your way out and do not return until I release Azrael.” The King states, taking his seat upon the high back, black throne.
The frightened man scurried off in a rush to fulfill what was demanded of him. A few moments later, a tall man slips past the close door. He moves with confidence across the floor towards the King. his footsteps slowing as he neared. His dark eye, unmistakably similar to the Kings, lowered to look at the steps leading up to the throne. Once he reaches an unspoken spot, he jumps to his knees. The massive set of wings unfurled from their place on his back, revealing the pure snowy feathers near the top and the shadowy one near the bottom. As if the wings he was dipped into ink, a sign of magic corruption. The newcomer freezes in his position, having learned through many painful lessons about the virtues of patients. So he waits with his palms pressed against the cold ground, head bowed low.
“Prince Azrael,” Rumbles the King’s voice after a moment.
“My King,” Azrael answers, not moving from his position. “You summoned me?”
“Yes, I did.” there was a sharpness to the King’s voice that caught the young prince’s attention. “It seems your brother is more traitorous then I first thought. He has broken the deal he has made with me.”
“Rhyne,” He spits the name as a curse, the shadows pressed into his body seem to hiss in agreement. “My King let me deal with him. It’ll be the last time he turns his back upon this family.”
“Quiet!” He snaps, leaning forward, his knuckles paling as they grip the armrests. “stand and be still.”
Azrael pushes himself to his feet. After spending a lifetime by his father’s side, his keen eye carefully picks up emotions that others overlook, such as the urgency swirling around in his dark eyes. The king counties to speak. “you are still no match for your brother. sending you to face him head-on would only lead to further complications. Rhyne is intelligent; any obvious attempt to hurt him or those around him will be met with his anger. if not his declaration of war.”
“no,” The King pauses, waving his hand before him. An image flickers before stabilizing, revealing a clear window to the overworld. “I need to take away his reason for betrayal. Show him that the overworld isn’t as friendly of a place as he thinks it is. Do that, and he’ll come back to us with open arms and return to his station. for that though I need to know her history, who she is, who she might have pissed off, if she’s running away from something.”
Azrael steps forward, tilting his head at the picture of Rhyne happily chatting with a stranger woman. “She appears to be his fate sent.”
“I didn’t ask you to state the obvious.” the shadows around the room, twist and flicker like snakes reacting to the King’s emotions. “I need you to find out everything you know about her.”
The edge in the King’s tone made it clear that he wanted the information yesterday. Lowing his head, Azrael mumbling a quick, “Yes sire.” before turning to leave. He freezes, staring at a nervous guard that steps away from his place against the wall. The armor-clad angel swallows thickly, feeling pinned under the royal family’s stare.
“I hope you have a reason for your interruption.” the King raises an eyebrow, the depths of his eyes starting to glow with barely contained power.
“Your majesty,” the guard whispers, his eyes looking toward the half-angel prince. Azrael nods his head slightly, hoping that the guard did indeed have a reason. the guard clears his throat, speaking louder this time. “No need to search for information. That is the granddaughter of the retired General.”
“Granddaughter?” The question was heavy in the room, and the guard’s wings started to rustle as his arms shook with fear.
“Yes, my King. The son of General Elhlin ran away with a demon several years ago. the General spent many years afterward looking for them. I was a new recruit, and a part of the ground General Elhlin took when he found his son. the General killed his son and sold the female demon into a slave ground run by a powerful set of individuals. the children at the time escaped.”
“Children? there was more than one of them?” Azrael, feeling a foul taste rise in his mouth, but he swallows it back.
“Yes, Prince Azrael. There was a lionshifter cub with them, but we are unaware of how he is related to the group. However, the cub is most likely the same that travels with them now. ”
“And what became of these children?” The king cuts in sharply, “don’t tell me General Elhlin was ignorant enough to lead loose ends like that. ”
“H-he Let the traders know that the children existed but then left it to the living to deal with.” the guard stutters, his hands balling into a tight fist at his side.
“You trust the Living to handle a mess you made?” The King states each word slowly, anger building with each one. “You should have killed everyone involved. Moreover, how dare you act without informing me first!”
Azrael could hear when the Kings snapped—driving to the side just in time for the blast of pure power to miss him. The guard wasn’t as lucky. The winged man’s eyes are blown wide as he struggles to gasp. his trembling hands touched where his stomach used to be. Azrael watches as he crumples to the ground, the angel’s young face staining with blood, a wet sound rattles in his throat.
pushing off the ground, Azrael turned towards his father with despairing eyes. “Your majesty.”
The King now stands, his hands still outstretched from when he releases the small blasts of his power. “that is a lesson to all about acting without permission.”
Azrael’s eyes darted to the dying man behind him. The angel was young, with a sister and a mother who would be expecting him to come home. “Your majesty,” he starts carefully. “If I may be as bold to say, you’re punishing the wrong person.”
“Speak well, my son.” the King settles back in his seat. “my patience is lacking at the moment.” the threat stood plainly in his words. If he said one wrong word, he would be on the ground, bleeding out next to the angel. But Azrael’s royal responsibility was to oversee the guard of the underworld.
“I don’t believe that it’s his fault. He was simply following the orders of General Elhlin if you want someone to punish, that’s who you should punish. Furthermore, I don’t believe we got all the information we could from him. it would be a waste to kill him.”
The King narrows his eyes towards his son. Then he nods his head slowly, “Fine, save him, but he is your responsibility for the rest of this encounter. Anything that happens will be yours to bear. and Elhlin’s punishment I want you to see to once this has been settled personally.”
Azrael runs over to the angel’s side, praying it wasn’t too late just yet. Sliding into his knee, he presses his hands into the wound and starts to channel his magic into the wound. The man’s screams are bone-chilling as unrestrained godly power flows into his body. It causes the guard around the room to shift uncomfortable and look away. Each of them has a healthy respect for the King’s last born son and rightfully fear the King himself.
After a tense minute, the angel’s eyes roll into the back of his head as his screams die off. A minute more and Azrael sits back on his heels, hoping the man lived through the experience. The second’s tick away and a sinking feeling pools in the pit of his stomach. This would be the 59th soldier he couldn’t save from the King’s rage. Then suddenly the man gasps, his eyes shooting open. Fearfully hands, clutching at his torn shirt and newly regrown skin.
Azrael wraps his arms around the man quickly, keeping him from clawing at himself. “Hey, hey,” he whispers, mindful not to be heard by the King. Kindness is a weakness in his eyes. “You ok, you’ll be alright now. Look at me. I need you to focus if you want to see your family again?” he kept talking gently into the guard’s wild eyes, calmed down, and looked at him.
“Th-thank you,” he whispers, still startled but alive.
“Don’t thank me yet. You’re still not safe. tell me what you know about those traders General Elhlin set after the children.” the guard’s eyes looked over Azrael shoulders to the King’s piercing glare, and his body started to tremble in Azrael’s grip. “Hey,” Azrael calls his attention. “don’t look at him, talk to me, ok?” his magic leaked into his words.
The angel nods, his eyes clouding over slightly as his muscle relaxes into Azrael. “the trader found the children after a while. I don’t remember how long it took. They ended up getting separated and sold to different masters. The one that ended up with the hybrid started to use her in experiments. They were working on advanced alchemy and other forms of science. The master was dying from some disease; he thought the hybrid could be his answer. she escaped before he could find a cure and is willing to do anything to be her back.”
“Thank you.” Azrael tightens his arms briefly around him before releasing. “go home, I’ll check up on you later.”
The soldier leaves, and Azrael stands to relay the information to his King. The King sits back in his throne; his eyes show that him working the new knowledge over in his mind. his calculative thought playing out different possible actions until he picked out one that worked to his advantage.
’perhaps this situation can still work out in our favor” the King amuses. “we help this man get his property back. in return, we set up a deal to use his labs and resources.”
“For what purpose, my king, do you have with theses living’s laboratory?”
“that book of interest, I found. The one with the special soldier in it.” the King answered cryptically. Azrael’s eyes widen his jaw, falling slack before he recovers again. “I believe it’s time to use the ancient knowledge hidden in those pages.”
“rhyne won’t just stand by as we steal his Fate Chosen.”
“When he attempts to save the hybrid, we’ll be ready. he’ll either return to my side, or he will be eliminated.”
“He will never agree to return.” Azrael grins cruelly. His hatred towards his older brother cultivated by his father until it was blind rage. The very thought of Rhyne finally meeting what he deserves was enough to spike his blood lust.
“Then it’s a shame to lose such raw talent. however, he is replaceable.” The King nods toward the son he had been craving into the perfect weapon.
Though Azrael lacks the raw power contained inside Rhyne’s body, the last born son had an unfaltering loyalty towards his King and unwavering rage toward his sibling, who he believes betrayed him. Azrael takes the strange statement as a complaint, helping to heal his earlier wounded pride.
“Azrael, go get the book and ready yourself to leave. we have a lot to do if we wish to be ready.”
“And if Rhyne bonds with her in the time it takes to get ready?”
“It won’t matter if they are both dead. Now no more question.” Azrael lowers his head and sprint out of the room to ready himself.
the King of death remains in his seat, glaring at the image of his favored son. Now, it’s nothing more than an annoyance that needs to be dealt with. It irked him to no end to lose the jewel of his army. But Azrael, for all of his faults, was correct about one thing; Rhyne may no longer be willing to bend to his father’s will.
The King never thought that the overworld would have this effect on his son. If he had known this is what would have come off the decision, he would have never let Rhyne leave his side. That mistake was made, and someone was going to die because of it.
Azrael jogs back into the throne room, a spear in one hand and a leather worn book in the other. the King stands from the throne and makes his way to his son’s side. “Let go help return this poor man’s property to him. And deal with your brother once and for all.”
Azrael couldn’t contain his trilled look as he nods. “As you wish my King.” The pair then left the underworld for a visit of their own to the overworld.