I waited for Ember to wake after flying her up to our bedroom inside the Angel’s quarters. I lay beside her patiently, her pale skin seeming to glow in the light of the fire in the corner of our room. Like embers, her skin burned, translucent against her dark hair, the lurid red bands, running down the length of her hair, such a vivid flame, burning bright, dancing in the light from the fire. My fire angel, our destiny foretold, our choices melding together to paint out our fate. I never wanted to let her go.
As I lay there, sleep grasped me tightly in its hold, I drifted away into a dream, tightly clutching the sleeping Ember in my arms, my unconscious mind whisked into another world, the world of the unknown. My dream-self looked around, searching for something I recognised, but could not find anything, the place was barren, desolate. All that there was, was a lone tree, in the centre of the plateau, underneath it crouched a young girl, some sort of wings drooped at her side. I approached her as silently as possible, my bare feet shuffling the rocks where I stepped. I knelt by her, she looked up at me, eyes wide and curious. Her wings fluttered slightly, their delicate membrane torn in places.
“What happened miss?” I questioned in a whisper. She shook her head at me. I put my hand on her arm, but it passed straight through. I stared back at her slightly shocked. Her body seemed so there and real, but as the sun met the horizon, its light shone straight through her body, as if she were merely a projected image. She looked up at me, eyes filled with pain.
“Good evening Drake.” Her sorrowful eyes searched my face. Her once glorious wings hung at her sides, lifeless. Her eyes filled with pain, heart ache. “I believe you know who I am.” I shook my head. “My name is Azaran, I was once the future so to speak, what was once meant to be. There are various paths that a person may follow that lead to their future, many people’s paths lead to that same event or occurrence, and each is guided down whichever path they choose by a faery such as myself” Her voice was weak yet steady, I helped her to stand and she continued to speak, “Faeries like me are common, as there are many people, and creatures, each with their own path and choices. If they follow our path, we are stronger, brighter, more able to guide them, but if they choose a different path, we grow weak, and slowly, we fade into nothing.”
I nodded my head, waiting for Azaran to continue, “I was the faery guiding Ember and yourself along your journey, assisting both of you in choosing the correct path, now however, your paths are splitting, moving in different directions, and new faeries are taking control.” My head snapped up in surprise, “Yes, you heard me correctly. You and Ember are no longer able to stay together, she is undertaking an alternate path to save humanity and the angels, to stop the rogue angels from destroying the world. You now have your own path to follow, in no way will you be able to follow her.”
As she stopped speaking, my mind wandered back to earlier today, standing before the Angels, Ember seeming to be off in a completely different world. Did she know something I did not?
“You must understand that it was never meant to be, not with everything happening, the rogue angels and such. If the world had stayed peaceful, remained unchanging, there was a chance. But Ember is not yours, her path will cross with another, not by her choice, you must learn to let her go Drake.”
“Something is going to happen I gather, Ember is going somewhere I can’t follow. I can’t let her go alone.”
“It’s too late Drake, she is already gone.” And with that Azaran faded, as did my dream.
I awoke to silence. No Luna. No Talutah. And no Ember. I leapt from the bed, catapulting myself through the entry to our sleeping area and out into the main hall where Ember and I had first eaten breakfast what was possibly months ago. I spread my wings as I flew to the floor, eyes frantically searching for any sign of Ember or Luna. Where was Talutah? She should be with me. But so should Ember, or at least I with her. My heart filled with despair. A fear that I would never see her again.
I raced out the entrance, running straight into Talutah, a growl echoed through her body, rumbling through the air. She leant her head down so I was able to stroke her growing nostrils, emitting steam, the smell of burning coal filled the air around her immense form. She had grown incredibly the past few weeks, now big enough for me to ride her, although it was unnecessary with my wings. She nuzzled my head, comforting me. She could sense my pain and sorrow.
I closed my eyes, concentrating hard, trying to detect her signal like I had before. There were many other fire angels like Ember, but I could no longer sense her bright, blazing soul, she had disappeared completely. Talutah's nostrils flared as a small bundle of black fur leapt on her back, it was Luna. I turned my head frantically, searching for Ember, but she wasn't to be seen.
My knees buckled as I fell to the ground, filled with despair. Ember, my Ember, she's gone. Tears fell from my eyes as glowing red and black drops. And as they fell, the sorrow was erased, replaced instead by a fury, a burning, blazing hatred for her and the rogue angels for taking her away. Inside me I could feel an intense hatred and loathing growing. Ember had left me. Of her own choice, without any good-byes. As an angel of War it was my duty to fight, to destroy. I held no control over it. But it was much easier to hate than to mourn.
I rose to my feet, wings outstretched. A deep midnight black, glowing with the hunger of destruction. I drew my sword and held it high in the air, it crackled with electricity, yearning for the taste of blood and flesh. I lifted my wings and then beat them down, launching myself high into the air. Talutah rose with me, her scales shifting to a pure gold colour, glinting in the sunlight, Luna clinging to her back.
I flew for the portal, speeding through the air. "Slow down Drake!" Talutah's voice shouted in my mind. But I refused to slow my pace. I will find Ember. Our paths have changed, she has switched sides and now it is my job to take her out. I dove through the door to the realm of Wolke von Englen. No one stopped me, although many looked towards me as I flew past, my body filled with a completely inhumane anger, my human side no longer exists, the angel completely embraced and overpowering, full of hate.
I fell through the sky, diving straight for the ground, I twisted in the air as the ground drew closer. Arms outstretched, legs straight, stretching for the ground. I lowered my wings, slowing just before I touched the asphalt of a broken road. Destroyed in the wars raging throughout. The rogue angels taking their place as rulers of the Earth. I bent one knee as I landed, an arm reaching down to steady myself, sword raised high. I folded my wings and stood, standing, I turned in a circle, observing my surroundings. A battle raged around me, fury and ferocity sizzled in the atmosphere, tense with vehemence. Death definite for most. Yet I went unnoticed. As I stepped forward the ground quaked beneath my feet. Hate rolling off me in waves. Ember was near.
Angels hurled fireballs, swords alight, tearing and burning flesh, others manipulated the ground at their feet, opening the Earth underneath their enemy's feet, some drew on the elements of air and water to suffocate and drown their victims, whilst a few summoned animals as allies to attack and slaughter. This battle had begun with a purpose. This was the beginning of the last but biggest battle ever fought in any history and it would be mine to play with.
I surged my abhorrence forward, thrusting it upon all in my path. Their bodies began to shine and shimmer with a deadly crimson light, as though every molecule of their being was bleeding profusely. I sliced my sword through the air, the blade ripped through the flesh of those closest to me. Tearing skin from bone, shredding muscle. They toppled to the ground, screaming in agony as their bodies burned. Where the sword sliced through the air, scorch marks were left in its wake, embers and sparks soaring, landing on the skin of both good and rogue angels, embedding themselves in the flesh, burning the tissue around it.
The angels clawed at them, struggling to remove the essence of the fire. As it embedded itself deeper in the skin, it released a poison. A poison brewed with hate, anger, sorrow and a deep, desperate loathing. It swirled together under the angels skin, drawing on its energy, seeping through their veins and choking all their love and compassion, racing towards their beating heart.
I watched the angels around me fall to their knees, collapsing, clutching their chests as their heart beat slowed, barely beating as the poison suffocated it. The angels further off were still fighting, they barely noticed as their comrades fell to the ground, both sides slowly eradicating the other. I raised my sword high into the air, blade gleaming in the bright light of the sun, glinting with a crimson fire of pure hatred. I twisted my sword so the blade pointed down, poised ready to pierce the ground. My muscles tensed. Arms bearing the weight. I threw them forward, the blade of my sword sliding easily into the hard ground. The angels became motionless, almost frozen in their melee as time slowed. A sudden burst of energy flowed through my body, coursing through my veins and into the sword. The ground shook, the Earth tearing open, angels tumbling in to the dark abyss. The abyss stretched from one side of the battlefield to the other. Dark smoke poured out, filling the nostrils of those still standing. As they inhaled their eyes shifted colour, now shining a deep, deathly black. Hatred. Anger. Malice. The smoke carried them through the air and into the angels.
I tilted my head up to the sky, laughing maliciously. Standing, I extended my wings and lifted myself into the air. The battle raged on, my damage ongoing. Angels burning, falling to their knees, dying under my loathsome stare. I searched the area, but there was no sign of Ember. I knew she would be here soon. She left me. Abandoned me. Now she is most likely in the arms of another. No tears leaked from my eyes, no pain in my heart, no sadness at all. Only a growing, intense hate. A loud boom reverberated through the scene in front of me. The ghostly, opaque image of my love appeared in front of me. "Stop this Drake! I know I left you, I had to. It is the only way to save you and the other angels." Tears cascaded down her cheeks. Her eyes were black and soulless, the eyes of a rogue angel. I snarled at her furiously.
"Why didn't you take me with you?"
"Because I was not meant to. Our paths have separated, I am on a different course to you. I am a fire angel, born of a human, turned rogue and dangerous. It is my path to destroy them from the inside. I made a deal with the leaders. If I did as had been decided, I would be allowed to return as an angel in Wolke Von Englen, but without you, you would be allowed to return to humanity and rebuild the Earth to its former glory."
"I don't want to live without you Ember!"
"You have no choice Drake, if I had not chosen this path, you would have been killed in the war, this way I am guaranteed you will survive." I shook my head at her. "I will be erased from your memory so you may live a normal and happy life. Goodbye Drake." She leant down and placed a gentle kiss on my forehead. I imagined I could feel it. I closed my eyes, breathing in the scent of fire and burning coals that had manifested with her image. Then her presence disappeared and I collapsed to the ground.
Ember was gone. I had nothing left. It was time to continue moving. I pushed myself to my feet, spread my wings and ascended into the air, wings outstretched. I had a war to fight. And as an Angel of War, it was my duty to ensure the enemy was destroyed, chaos and destruction were my goals and this war was sure to have plenty.