Everything is burning. Flames of scarlet, gold and crimson bereave the landscape of all serenity; tendrils of searing fire surge forwards with a rampant ferocity that cannot be quenched. So barbaric is the inferno, that it seems almost as though the blaze possesses it's own will. A will to destroy; to eradicate; to consume all life within this once tranquil valley. Peace has long since been incinerated.
But to he who observes, the flames are beautiful. He gazes upon the inferno with exhilaration; he loves the way they dance and flurry and whirl and twist; he loves the incandescent glow that burns through the night. Beauty comes not in the form of an emerald land, he scowls with distaste. Beauty is captured within only two great phenomenons, two glorious so-called atrocities: death, and fire. Both retain the mysterious, enigmatic splendor that nothing else can truly possess. In short, he holds an unhealthy craving to that which others fear.
Briefly, he glances up into the sky, merely to observe the smoke as it obscures the stars; providing a menacing barrier of constantly shifting black and grey. Stars do little but irritate him. Their light - distant and faint - is nothing in comparison to the phosphorescence of the dazzling fire before him.
Dying screams are swallowed effortlessly by the vehement roar of the raucous flames. Still, he doesn't shift from his spot on the mountainside, gazing with interest as the blaze reaps the entire village of lives. His chest begins to rumble slightly with remorseless laughter; he can feel the death as the fire feeds souls to the gates of hell. Suffering has never bothered him; it certainly never will. He preys on alluring things such as spite, and misery, and torment, while his eyes devour scenes such as this: deaths upon deaths caused due to a single inferno. Oh, how magnificent. How invigoratingly refreshing, to watch everything burn to ashes, he thinks, as the heat rejuvenates him in waves of revitalising warmth.
Soon, this moment of euphorial carnage shall be over. She is approaching; he can tell. Her terror is imminent. He can sense it on the wind.
Scowling aggressively, he raises his arms in an almost tempestuous motion, palms facing forwards and fingers stretching towards the turbulent inferno. The calefaction of the flames seeps into his veins as his lustrous eyes begin to glow. At first, they are black: pure, jet black like the most atramentous, caliginous night. But as the seconds flash by, his obsidian eyes start radiating light. Impregnable, dangerous light that gleams with the ferocity of the flames before him.
Laughter erupts through his chest as the scorching, searing sensation undulates through his body, each moment more excruciatingly incredible as the flaring agony deluges him. This is pain, yes, but it is power: resplendent power; illustrious power; ravishing power. Power that he yearns for; hungers for; pines for. Power that he craves; desires; lusts. Power that is glory and regality and energy.
And he loves it.
The flames rage around him, unrelenting and merciless as they strive to reach his body, trying unremittingly to return to their summoner and king. They feed him with his power - his precious, treasured power, and his deranged laughter rips through the valley. Storms of torrid heat engulf his entire body: more calescent than the flames of hell itself. For now, he allows himself to forget of her: that vile, repugnant creature who seeks to destroy him. This time, he will obliterate her, so that her ashes may coalesce with those of his kin.
Unimportant. Forgotten. Abolished.
Finally, he allows his attention to shift to the impending threat of his adversary. Her detestable presence is bound to him, and he can tell of her forthcoming. Let her come, he thinks, a sadistic smirk forming on his thin, spiteful lips. He will destroy her, barbarously, mercilessly, callously.
And then, he can feast munificently upon all the power he so desires. His serpentine tongue flickers fervidly at the thought. Soon, she will be here: his ultimate test; his determinative obstacle. Finally, he can be released from the restrictive shackles of her existence.
She enters the valley.
Her wings are white, like the brightest snow, like the most innocent cloud. Oh, how he despises the colour white. So insipid, so repulsively pure, that it positively sickens him. Purity, the humans say. Purity comes only in the form of death and demise; such a tainted, loathsome race as the humans can be pure only when purged of their very being. Yet she protects them in her golden and white armour, with her white wings, with her so called 'purity'. Seeing her once more inundates him with malice. Insufferably alabaster hair flows behind her as she soars towards him.
Even from here, he can detect the squall of emotion swelling within the golden pools of light that are her eyes. Betrayal. Fury. Anguish. There is, however, no loathing in her eyes. No animosity, no hatred that adumbrates her eyes as it does his. Hatred is too malevolent for her. Never will the Queen of Angels bow to such a villainous emotion.
"Greetings, Crystal, Queen of Angels." He bows in mockery, the travestying gesture evoking not a single reply from the angel. He thought not.
"Not feeling so talkative today?" he asks, his deep, threatening voice tinctured with daring and rancorous venom. Each word is dipped in aversion, spoken with the tone of a hunter. A predator that knows its prey is within reach.
"You know why I'm here." Her own voice is clear; as clear as untainted, translucent water. No matter - water can be reddened with crimson blood. And then, all clarity is lost to the claws of death and agony.
"Indeed," he sneers in anticipation, limbs twitching with the newfound power. He cannot wait to shatter her into a thousand pieces; to incinerate her hideously grotesque body into ashes.
"You shall repent for your crimes, Carnelian." The name invokes a guttural snarl from her opponent. Such a dainty name is hardly fitting to his cataclysmic desire for blood.
"Do not speak to me of atoning, monster," he hisses. "You created us; you moulded the Firekin with your own two hands. The sin was committed by you, and you alone." Amusement fills his blood as she flinches at his words, as though they are daggers, slicing into her porcelain skin.
"I created you to protect the humans," she manages. Tears well in her eyes; manifestations of the weakening sorrow. After all this, and she still doesn't want to kill him. After he obliterated his kind without thought, without remorse, and she still wants to save him from the darkness of his heart.
How completely pathetic.
"Well, just see how well that turned out for you," he laughs, enjoying her misery. "The others are mere ashes by now, their own pitiful flames nothing compared to my own. And just look at the humans. I've been free for an hour, oh great Queen, and just look at the beauty I've created! Your vermin do nothing but fill this world with waste. Consider my efforts an improvement." Gesturing to the razed land of ravage and ruin, he laughs again, a deep, throaty laugh that echoes from the mountainside. "You made me to lead the Firekin. You made me to guide them in their quest to protect humanity. And now, they're dead, and I'm the king of this new world. It's glorious, don't you think?" Slowly, almost gracefully, he unfurls his wings. And reveals what is by far the most beautiful of the Angel Queen's creations.
Long, slender feathers line his powerful wings, each strand fine and strangely delicate. Colour seems to emanate from the feathers: a fiery hue bursts from his wings in the form of crimson, scarlet, gold and topaz. A fiery light radiates from the limbs: the embodiment of fire itself. They were designed as a symbol of hope. Now, his wings are nothing but the emblem of a blazing demise. He finds it invigorating. She finds it sickening.
In comparison, the coal black markings on his vermillion skin seem almost insignificant.
"Well? Will you answer, or will you not?"
She trembles slightly as he beats his wings, the notion lifting him into the sky with effortless ease.
"It's repulsive." Her voice has been reduced to a feeble, impoverished croak; to see her own creation act in such a callous manner is tearing her apart. Meanwhile, he bathes in her discomfort, gloating while she still breathes.
"I disagree. Though you'll have to fight me if you wish to decide the matter, won't you?"
He licks his ruby lips, hungering for the taste of the angel's demise. Stifling a sob, the Angel Queen opens her palm. Golden energy flares to life - searing, carcinogenic, celestial energy. Finally. The vermin is getting serious, no matter how much she despises to fight her own creation.
The confrontation between the beautiful flames of destruction and the tepid, pathetic flames of hope, he thinks with exhilaration. This moment will mark the day upon which hope is destroyed for humankind, and the magnificently entrancing age of death begins.
Newly fed with the inferno's power, he knows his weakling of an opponent is at a distinct disadvantage: he is brimming with strength, and power, and spirit. What does she possess? Emotions - and they will do nothing but diminish her. Against such an inhumanely tyrannical foe, she stands an almost hilariously miniscule chance.
Once, he had heard that the first blow was decisive. Evidently, whichever imbecile had conceived such a notion had not experienced a fight such as this. Elegantly evading the angel's flames, he laughs, continuing to provoke her as the two dart through the sky in flashes of white and red.
"You created a being more powerful than yourself, fool!" he mocks. "And I shall be your death!"
Screaming in a burning contrition, the angel Queen unleashes another blast of her resplendent flames. In comparison to his own aggressively effulgent fire, it seems muted - dull, almost. Grinning with noxious fangs, he allows his ruby blaze to swallow the golden embers, urging it to flow towards the angel. Somehow, she manages to thrust her body left, causing herself to tumble helplessly aside. How debilitated, how impotent and enervated, she looks.
Calmly, as deliberately stretches out the moments spent soaking in the glory, he moves forwards through the sky, his wings cutting easily through the smoke that has already blackened her feathers. Apparently, the angel has stopped her plummet, though perhaps that would have been a merciful end, for her to snap her neck on the rocks below. Certainly, such a fate would have been swifter than the elongated death he is planning for her. Another orb of fire bursts to life within his palm, pulsing with vehemence.
An even wider, demonical smirk stretches across his lips, as he sends the flames at the angel, savouring the festering consternation in her eyes as the blaze engulfs her.
She writhes desperately; screams in torment; sobs endlessly with anguish; begs imploringly for humanity's forgiveness to no avail. Perfection. Her suffering can be described as little else as she squirms helplessly within the sadistic grip of his fire, powerless to stop him. Immersing himself in his triumphant victory, he flies closer to the angel's perishing body. Her once swan-like feathers are being blackened, gradually incinerated one by excruciating one. Such is the agony within her eyes that it feeds him almost as much as the fire and the deaths, so inspiriting that it makes him yearn for more of the queen's pain.
For a brief moment, he calls off the ruthless flames, letting her body drop to the ground below. Barely conscious, he thinks with glee, but still able to hear his voice.
"You swore to protect humanity, didn't you? After I kill you, I shall wipe its worthless stain from the face of this world, until not a single person breathes. Do you like that, angel Queen? Does it please you to know you died failing? That your own creation will doom the very race you seek to protect?" He laughs as a tear rolls down her cheek, slicing through the accumulating ash and blood.
"Please," she implores him frantically. Oh, how he loves to see her begging at his feet. "You can't do it. Forgive them, please!"
"Do you see my eyes? Darker than any night sky, aren't they? Well, my heart is even blacker. I shall never surrender to you weakened state of mercy, fool."
"Somebody will stop you, one day," she whispers, blood trickling from her lips down her chin. Her voice is no longer clear like running water; it is thick with agony, just like blood. "Somebody will save... humanity."
"They won't, and you know it. You're the strongest of the angels, and you've fallen so very easily. What hope does any other have?" he sniggers uncaringly. "So now I'll let you die, Crystal, Queen of angels. You may perish knowing that your race, and all of humanity, is doomed. Farewell, my creator. May your ashes join that of my kin."
His eyes glint brutally as he hisses the words, dancing with an unrelenting gleam. Once again, the flames engulf her body, swallowing it within a cage of insufferable torture.
And then, silence.
The last of the Firekin turns away from the ashes that remain of her body. Destruction running through his mind, he doesn't look back, doesn't see any reason to lower himself to observe the insignificant ashes of a vermin such as the angel. He's always hated the name Carnelian, and he can finally crush it into the dirt along with all memories of her so called 'hope'.
Now, comes the fall of humanity. The angels can be incinerated on the way.
And hope? Hope died alongside the Queen of angels. Only death remains. Death, and the beautiful flames that dance beside him.