Eve was meditating cross legged in the Garden of Eden when she sensed the staff going for her neck. Eve was a young woman in her mid-twenties; her hair was so dark that at times it seemed to be shadow given physical form. Her skin was white, at great contrast with her hair. Her face was near perfect, free from blemishes, birth marks, pockmarks and other such markings, leaving a smooth and even skin. Her nose was pointed and small, her lips were full and cherry-red; her eyes were almost perfectly circular rather than the ordinary almond-shaped. She was garbed in a full length dress that was a dark shade of green and had the patterns of thousands of different leaves. Her feet were bare. Laid across her lap was a sword of medium length and that curved slightly to the right, on the inside of this curve, the edge was serrated, much like a butchers knife, it was a fearsome weapon equally able to cut with the smooth edge as well as saw through any hard material, such as bone, with the serrated edge. She fingered the swords hilt, which was made of plain, dark metal, lightly with her hands. She would have held the appearance of a normal woman if it weren’t for the golden wings that protruded from her shoulder blades. They were folded on her back to provide easier movement. Another curiosity on her was the blue sash running across her dress from her left shoulder to her right hip. The sash revealed her to be a student of the Elder Ones.
The Elder Ones were the three major Angels that resided in Eden, their seat of power and safe haven for Angels, from which they watched over the whole of Mirum. The Elder Ones were: Mara, Elijah and Abaven. Mara was the Embodiment of Hope and the more passive and complacent of the three; she was often the one who convinced the others not to be so harsh or to realize the recklessness of a decision.
Elijah was the Embodiment of Life and although was not an overly cruel person, he tended to take things and actions out of proportion, he was also the more immature and child-like of the three, owing to his choice of Embodiment, and though this allowed him to see the world in a light unnoticed by most others, it meant he often behaved childishly and was therefore the most unpredictable of the three.
Abaven was the Embodiment of Justice and the lead of the Elder Ones, although he was not technically superior to Mara and Elijah they usually obeyed his requests and suggestions, often after much challenging. He is the most fair and unbiased out of the three, owing to his Embodiment, and it was because of this that he was the only one of them that was allowed to judge another Angel, no matter their station or crime.
When she sensed the staff heading towards her neck, Eve grasped her swords hilt and rolled to the left, away from her attacker. She came up in a crouch and turned to face her attacker as he closed with her. Her attacker was an Angel with light blue wings with flecks of green. Seeking to end the fight quickly she held her sword in her left hand, pointed her index finger at the soil by the Angels feet and shouted ‘Vites, surge, et alligavit eum!’ The ground at his feet began to shake and green vines erupted from the soil, ceasing him to advance. The vines wrapped around his feet and he struggled against them, he tried to use his staff to cut them but he was unable to break his bindings. He then relaxed and whispered ‘ure vincula’. Eve’s eyes widened as fire appeared around the vines and they turned to ashes, freeing him. He stepped out of the ashes and twirled his staff with both hands. He struck at Eve’s wrists but she managed to move them an inch, causing the blow to be a grazing one instead of one that would have broken her bones. She retaliated with an underhand blow, planning to slash her opponent from hip to shoulder, but he blocked the blow lazily, knocking her sword away from him with hardly any effort. Eve snarled and this timed aimed a blow at his legs but at the last minute changed direction and went for his left arm. As she hoped, her attacker fell for the ploy and had dropped his weapon from the expected attack at his legs, the serrated side of her blade slashed her opponents left arm open, causing a cut six inches long along his bicep, although it was shallow. Her opponent seemed stunned that she had succeeded in drawing blood. He looked at her and said quickly ‘Memra tibi gravis.’ Eve’s arms and legs suddenly felt as if large lead weights were attached to them. She struggled to move them even slightly and so was helpless when her opponent swept her legs from underneath her, landing her on her back. She looked up to her attacker as he looked down at her and raised his staff…
The staff clunked next to her in the soil, burying itself an inch in the dirt. Her opponent offered her a hand and she took it, allowing herself to be pulled to her feet.
‘You’re getting better.’ He said. His voice was deep and rich and spoke of amusement and laughter.
‘So are you.’ She replied. Her voice was quite high and airy.
He let out a laugh ‘Well, of course I am, practice makes perfect.’
Her opponent had been her teacher and friend, Elijah, Embodiment of Life. He had skin that was tanned olive colour from being out in the sun, and he was clean shaven. He wore a tunic and trousers which were all the same deep red colour, which when with the blue and green of his wings made for an outfit as bright as his character. His ears were pointed and his eyes were the regular almond-shape if not a bit big. They were a dark hazel colour and most assumed that they were black. His hair was blonde and ran down to his shoulders in an untamed manner, resembling the mane of a lion. On his feet he wore sandals made of plain leather.
‘You need to work on your magic.’ He said you are good at casting but practically useless at blocking it or dispersing an enemy’s spells.’
Eve groaned ‘ugh, but that’s the hard bit.’
Elijah shook his head and said ‘Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.’
Eve seemed shocked. ‘Why, that almost seems wise.’
Elijah gave a sniff of haughty arrogance. ‘What do you expect? I’m the one who said it.’
Eve ignored him and took a look at her surroundings. She often came here to be alone and quiet. The garden was arranged in a perfect circle 500 feet in diameter, with the plants lying on the outer edge of the circle and was so arranged in a ring. There were stone paths 6 feet across leading around the edge next to the plants but there were more paths leading inwards, like the spokes of a wheel, to meet in the centre where a fountain in the shape of a stone rose stood 15 feet high. The plants were the ordinary junipers, roses, foxglove and Azalea’s, but mixed in with them were other far less, sometimes unique plants. There were plants that flowered gems instead of petals, others were made of living stone, but perhaps the most unusual was the plant in the corner that appeared to be made of shadow. Whenever someone looked at it from the side it disappeared and when it was looked at from face on it had a 2-D flat appearance.
Elijah softened his voice and asked ‘Have you given it much thought?’
Eve sighed, knowing what he meant. ‘Lots.’
‘Have you reached a decision?’
Eve hesitated. ‘Possibly.’
Eve paused before answering. She was approaching the day when she, as the student of and Elder One, would become an Embodiment of her choosing and take her masters place.
‘I was thinking Nature.’
Elijah’s response was immediate. ‘Why?’
Eve shrugged. ‘I like plants and it’s the branch of magic that’s easiest for me to control.’
Elijah nodded and led her down one of the stone paths towards the edge of the garden.
‘You do know the consequences of this right?’
‘Tell me them then.’
Eve said, as if reciting a piece of scripture. ‘He or she who so chooses to become the Embodiment of Nature shall have their whole temperament change. Instead of when they were reasonable and just, they shall decide with their instincts and the desire to protect oneself. They would become peaceful to violent in but a moment.’ ‘Precisely.’
Elijah hummed a tune as they walked around the garden.
Eve stopped and bent down to pick one of the flowers at her feet. Elijah kept on walking for a few more steps before realizing that she had stopped. When he did he turned and smiled when he saw what she was doing. The flower she was picking was a white lily except instead of delicate petals it had petals made from white star sapphire. She straightened up again with the flower in her left hand. Elijah looked at it curiously and said ‘Sapphire stella, fieri Lily album’. When he completed the phrase he waved his right hand over the flower and the flower began to twitch. The sapphire receded to the centre of the flower before disappearing completely and in its wake it left normal petals. Elijah had turned the flower into a proper lily. A bead of sweat ran down his brow.
Just then a commotion could be heard coming from behind them, as if someone was hammering metal. They both turned to face the sound and a door emerged from the stone wall that encircled the garden. Out of it stumbled a single Angel with yellow wings, giving them a sickly appearance. He looked around for a second with confusion until his eyes settled on Eve and Elijah. The angel was dressed in armour that was bronze coloured and he carried no shield but had a short sword strapped at his hip and a pike strapped on his back between his wings. On his breastplate was a picture of a tower surrounded with six six-pointed stars.
He ran over to Eve and Elijah and doubled over, out of breath. Both Angels waited patiently until he had recovered. When his breathing slowed he stood up, wiped the sweat from his face and he pounded his right fist onto the left side of his chest, as is the normal sign of respect top show to your elders in greeting and was often used as a salute.
The Angel addressed them in a formal tone ‘Elijah, Eve.’ He nodded to each of them respectively. ‘Abaven requests your presence at the Magna Room on a matter of great urgency and importance.’
Elijah nodded, his face grave, ‘Thank you for coming so quickly, you’ve done well. Notify Abaven that we will be there presently and then return to your post.’
The Angel banged his breastplate again and ran off.
Elijah turned to Eve and said ‘We should leave immediately, but first, summon your sword, you left it over there.’ He gestured towards the centre of the garden where they had been sparring earlier and her sword lay there. Eve looked at the sword as if surprised that she hadn’t picked it up.
She looked down at her feet and mumbled, ‘I don’t know how too.’
‘What you want to say is ‘Gladio, manum meam.’
Eve focused on her weapon and repeated the phrase. It began to hover in the air and then raced towards her, point first.
It would have gutted her if Elijah hadn’t shouted ‘Gladio, sistere!’
The sword froze an inch from Eve’s stomach and dropped harmlessly to the ground.
‘Elijah picked it up and handed it to Eve who sheathed it.
‘One second thought’s a better phrase would have been ‘Gladium, et consurget contra manus mea tarde.’ A bit of a mouthful but it should have worked better.’
‘Anyway, let’s go and see what our lord and master Abaven wants.’
Glossary of Magic in Chapter 1
‘Vites, surge, et alligavit eum!’ – ‘Vines, rise and bind him!’
‘Ure Vincula’ – Burn my bonds.’
‘Memra tibi gravis.’ – ‘Your limbs are heavy.’
‘Sapphire stella, fieri Lily album’ – ‘Star Sapphire, become White Lily’
‘Magnus’ – Great
‘Gladio, manum meam.’ – Sword, meet my hand.’
‘Gladio, Sistere!’ – ‘Sword, stop!’
‘Gladium, et consurget contra manus mea tarde.’ – ‘Sword, rise and meet my hand slowly.’