Ruth took a good long look at the old deteriorating forest that lay below her as she streaked through the sky in wingless flight. It saddened her to see such a damaged forest, but like all living things, forests grew old, wither with time, and like all living things it would die. It was her duty today to set fire to this forest so that in time a new forest could take its place. Often life worked in this fashion. The old had to make way for the new.
This was the worst part of Ruth’s sacred duty, for Ruth was an angel. She wasn’t just any angel, Ruth was the First Angel of Ki, the Great Protector of Life. Ki had changed Ruth into an angel at the dawn of men. Before her immortality Ruth was a human being. Ruth was born into the circle of life, but Ki removed her from it when she transformed into an angel. Ruth’s Transformation put a stop on aging. It made her body infallible. The scars on her body from her human life disappeared in the transformation. Her skin could not be pierced. Ruth’s body was suspended in flawlessness, but she wasn’t beautiful, at least anymore than a human. Ruth supposed, for a human, she looked quite nice. She had the dark skin of her ancient people. Her hair fell to her the small of her back with silky black waves. Ruth had high cheekbones and an even face. The only way to tell an angel from a human from looking at them was by looking into their eyes. To a human, angels’ eyes would look exceptionally brilliant, but another angel, with their superior site would see the signature of an angel hidden behind the radiant eyes. Of course, angels had other differences. they could travel at blinding speeds. They had power over the elements. They could travel by air and water just as easily as traveling on land. The First Angel was granted extra powers, but like all angels, Ruth did not sleep. She did not eat. She did nothing mortals do to survive. Ruth simply continues living agelessly performing her duties to spend her immortality protecting life.
Ki had given the angels the choice. At anytime an angel may choose to become mortal again. They would fall back into the circle of life and continue to age. Most angels chose to finish out their human lives, but not Ruth. She was much too fond of life. She didn’t value her own life so much as she valued all things living. That is why she was made into an angel in the first place. Ki saw her love for life. Ki knew Ruth would pay the price of eternity to help protect life. That is why Ruth was chosen as the First Angel. Ruth was meant to set the example for all who follow her.
It was a sacrifice to become immortal. It often weighed down on Ruth. There is a certain emptiness that comes along with immortality. It is the feeling of being removed from the circle of life. It meant losing all things mortal. Ruth had to depart from her family after becoming an angel. She watched from afar as they aged and died away. To this day she still keeps tabs on her descendants, though they could never trace their heritance back the many thousands of years it has been since Ruth gave birth as a human. Ruth couldn’t bear a child in this form. One had to be inside the circle of life to create life. Ki’s angels were cursed in that way. They were bound to protect life, but not create it. Even the great protector Ki could not create life. He too, lived outside of the circle of life. Ki wouldn’t change anyone who felt immortality was a blessing. Ki only chose those of the purest souls to become angels.
Ruth has often wondered what happens to life after death. It was outside of her realm. She existed in the present, only existed for the living. Ki wasn’t confined by time or space. Ki rarely took physical form. Ki had the power over all the angels, but like Ruth, Ki existed for the living. Ki tells the angels of a higher divinity that is the great creator of life. Despite the divine nature of angels, the humans’ beliefs of creation are as good as Ki’s. Ruth too believed there was something far greater than she. There was an entire universe out there. It was obvious to Ruth that Ki wasn’t the single greatest power to exist in the great universe.
Ki saw all things living, but even the great protector cannot be everywhere at once. That is where the angels come in. Not many angels choose eternal service the way Ruth had. There was Jacob. He was the second angel who came only days after Ruth, but he didn’t join Ruth in immortality for several years. As a human he was to be a father, so he chose to stay human long enough to see his son grow to be a man and start a family of his own. By the time Jacob stepped out of the circle of life he had grown old and gray. Ruth often saw the longing in Jacob’s eyes when he saw a family. Ruth has never met another angel who was so visibly pained from his sacrifice. It was the thought of Jacob that gave Ruth strength to do what she needed to today.
She saw a herd of deer storming away from the fire she started. Ruth was glad that unlike humans, animals could still feel her warnings. The last time they met, Jacob and Ruth speculated why humans have grown numb to the warnings of angels. This was a cause of great concern to the angels. Disasters struck whether it is of the angels doing or not. Most creatures were good at heeding the angels’ warnings and fled. Humans didn’t flee. They were taken by surprise when a disaster hit, which made things all the more devastating. To help solve this problem, Ki found more angels and charged them to live among the humans. It became necessary to protect them from their arrogance. Ruth signed, thankfully this forest was uninhabited by man. She knew the damage created would be contained to the ancient trees that lie below her.
Once the wildfire was at full blaze Ruth dropped into the center of it. Ruth felt the heat of the fire as she descended closer. Jacob always scolded her for this practice. Angels still felt pain like all living creatures. Jacob said it was a sadistic act, but burning along with the fires she created helped Ruth feel more connected to the earth. It strengthened her will to continue ever onward as a protector. The fire roared all around her. The flames tickled her skin. There were no burn marks on her body, but it felt excruciatingly painful. The trees around her crackled and burned. Ruth burned along with them knowing that her pain was the forest’s pain. The flames spread easily through the dying forest. Ruth saw the stampeding herd pressing through the river two miles away. She heard their hooves thumping on the rocks as they hurried to the other side. This made Ruth smile, the fire would not jump the river. In this moment Ruth felt like she one with the earth. In the survival of the animals there was joy. In the pain there was tranquility, and in the flames there was knowledge. Ruth smiled again as the flames died out and the smoke began to fade. One day this place will be full of life. On day it will be a thriving forest once again.