The Broken Angel


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1. chapter 1

Eve was almost a normal woman.

She sat there, meditating on the grass, her black hair fell in locks around her face, at sharp contrast with the paleness of her skin, while a warm and gentle breeze caressed it, causing it to flicker and flutter slightly. She was dressed in a black leather outfit, tailored and fitted so that it hugged her form, but was not tight fitting. Her outfit consisted of a thin black leather jacket, open at the front, on the collar of the jacket was a small silver pendant, reflecting the sunlight, one of the few sources of colour on her person, which was shaped in the style of a flower, underneath the jacket lay a black leather tunic. The jacket was purely for style but the tunic was filled with padding to absorb and reduce the impact of a blow, the stitching of the tunic was done in the shape of defensive wards, which added to the strength of the tunic, not even a sharp blade would be able to pierce it, as well as reducing the impact its wearer would feel from a blow. Her trousers, like the rest of her outfit were made from black leather and, like her tunic, had defensive wards stitched into them, increasing their durability and strength far beyond that of normal leather. Around her waist Eve wore a notched belt, from which hung a sheath for her sword, the sheath was a faded black leather except for the tip, which had golden embroidery spiralling in on itself, creating a hypnotizing beauty. also pinned into her belt was a small silver pendant in the shape of a leaf, while another silver pendant was in the collar of her jacket, but this one in the shape of a flower. Her boots came up to her knees and a sword lay across her lap, her right hand played with the hilt, simply carved but with a small clear diamond set in the centre of the cross guard. Her left hand was held out slightly in front of her, the palm facing the ground, although it was not moving, Eve was in fact using it to measure the air currents around her. That was the first thing that was strange about Eve, that she could control magic.

Perhaps magic would be the wrong term to use, rather Eve had the ability to manipulate energy and objects around her. Although this is not strange to Eve herself or her people, as every member of Eve's species can do this, it could be considered a strange thing to humans, who only have a very slight command, if any at all, of energy manipulation, and therefore referred to it as magic, a term which everyone uses when talking about this type of manipulation due to its simplicity, even though it cannot be said there is anything supernatural or otherworldly about it.

The second curious thing about Eve was that she had two feathered wings sprouting from her shoulder blades, white ones, marking her as an Angel of Eden. The wings began at her shoulder blades, cut through the leather of her jacket and tunic and folded up against her back for convenience, however Eve could move them at will, spreading them outwards to achieve a wingspan of ten feet or could even curl them round to the front of her body, although this put a lot of strain on them.

As Eve sat there, measuring the air currents, her eyes suddenly flew open, a piercing green, and she rolled to the left, taking her sword with her. Where she had sat a moment before stood another Angel, a male with pale blue wings, in his hands he held a wooden staff, covered in carvings, both wards and runes, battle worn, with the head of the staff shaped like a raven, with a ruby set where the ravens eye would be, giving the staff an almost menacing appearance as the jewel glinted in the sunlight.

It was her mentor and one of her best friends, Elijah, an Elder One of Eden, the three rulers of the Angels, and arguably one of the most powerful beings in the whole of Mirum.

Elijah was blonde, his hair long, stretching to his shoulders and had a rippled effect, so that he resembled a lion. His clothes were plain and unadorned, the only adornment was a pattern of three stars surrounding a tower that was emblazoned upon his tunic, and upon his right hand was a ring, upon his ring finger that was made of black obsidian, not fashioned into any likeness and seemed to draw in the light from around its surroundings, which always seemed darker as a result. Eve didn't like that ring.

"What are you doing here? Today was meant to be my day!" She said, scowling at him.

"I did say that, didn't I?" Elijah's voice had a soft musical lilt to it. "As to why I'm here, I want some practice and you're a violent enough person, so I thought you would oblige and spar with me." He said, holding up her staff for her to see.

"I am not violent!"

"Yes you are. And anyway, I can't practice with Abaven, he's too dull, Mara's in the infirmary tending her patients, and anyway she has the body of an eighty year old human. You are the only other person in Eden who has a chance at beating me." He said this while nodding his head in a thoughtful fashion.

"Fine, if you want to spar, we will spar." Throwing her hands in the air exasperatedly.

"Is magic allowed?" She said, getting into a ready stance.

"Yes."

And with that, Elijah lunged, swinging his staff at her head, Eve ducked, feeling the rush of air on her face as the staff just missed, and aimed at cutting blow at his legs, meaning to disable him, but her sword hit his staff, which had moved faster than she could follow. She struck again, attempting to cut him from right shoulder to his left hip, but again her sword collided with his staff. They stood like that for a moment, their weapons between them. Eve snarled at Elijah and he laughed, a rather care free sound. Eve kicked at his stomach, but he dropped his staff, moved to the side, caught her leg in mid-air and elbowed the knee, shattering it, and she fell to the ground, in pain and dazed. Her sword fell to the ground next to her.

Elijah picked up his staff from where it had fallen and Eve placed her hands-on top of her shattered knee, she focused her magic and it poured into the wound, she ground her teeth together in pain as the bone mended itself, while Elijah leaned against his staff, smiling smugly at her. Even as she stood up, her sword back in her hand, her hair was matter against her scalp with sweat and she was breathing hard. Eve circled Elijah warily, keeping her distance.

Suddenly inspiration struck, and Eve dug her left hand into her jacket pocket, pulling out a handful of grass seeds. Elijah frowned at them, but then let out a little gasp of panic as Eve threw them at his feet. As if by their own will the seeds quickly burrowed into the ground, and then, obeying a swift upwards flick of Eve's left wrist, they erupted upwards, growing at an alarming rate, within a second there were grass blades as thick as cables and three feet long, and still growing. Another deft motion of the hand and they sprang towards Elijah, he tried to run but he was far too slow, the grass wrapped around his body, arms and legs and lifted him into the air, his staff fell uselessly to the ground. The grass continued to grow until he was encased in a great green cocoon, suspended in the air, with thick vines stemming from the cocoon and rooting themselves in the ground, almost like legs.

Eve studied her handiwork for a second, looking for weaknesses, but as soon as she was done checking it, a steady glow began to emit from within the cocoon, faint at first but getting brighter every second. Eve concentrated with all her might, it was her magic against his, but then let out a great cry, as if physically wounded, and the grass cocoon caught fire, great licks of flame burning along it's sides. The grass blackened and burned and fell to the ground, it's prisoner released. Elijah was hovering in the air, he reached out with his hand, and the staff flew to it and for a moment, with the faint glow of the fire still lingering in the air around him, he looked like an avenging holy creature. He glided gently to the ground and took up another stance facing Eve.

Eve was sweating heavily and shaking slightly. Anger flared hotly within her chest as she saw Elijah was completely immaculate, not a hair out of place and with a satisfied expression on his face, but she was too exhausted to do anything other than stand up, and even that was an effort. Elijah sauntered up to her and placed his hand on her chest, she tried to beat him away, weakly, and he pushed and she fell heavily to the floor, her legs laying atop her sword. Eve tried to rise but before she could she felt a pressure atop her chest. He was kneeling on her, pinning her to the floor and Eve was too tired to fight him, he had won.

Elijah stepped off Eve and held out his hand, which she took and he pulled her to her feet. She dusted down her clothes and picked up her sword from where it lay and turned to face Elijah.

"You're getting better."

"Of course I am, I have a good teacher." Eve smiled at him, while she also sheathed her sword at her hip.

Elijah smiled but didn't reply, and instead made a circling motion with his finger, ordering her to turn around. She did as he wanted, knowing he wouldn't be happy until he had checked. Elijah scanned her for any cuts and found some on the back of her knees where her legs had been cut by the sword as she fell on it. He placed his hands gently on the cuts and healed them, like he had done so many times before, while at the same time he also rejuvenated Eve, removing her tiredness and pain.

When he was done, Eve moved away from him, taking in her surroundings. They were on what could only be described as a large garden, several hundred meters across and circular. From the centre paths stretched out to its edge and joined another path that circled the circumference of the garden, so that it resembled a wheel. The garden was surrounded by a wall with small wooden doors facing north, east, west and south. The condition of the doors reflected the garden, with them being slightly overrun with plants and weeds growing through their wood, the garden, despite its size, had been largely forgotten by the inhabitants of the city, caught up in the whirlwind of everyday life. The spaces between the paths were filled with common plants, but also the rarest and most impossible ones. Eves personal favourite was hidden away in a dark corner, and it was there that Eve was heading now. Elijah knew where she was heading and rolled his eyes, but caught up with her and they strolled pleasantly through the garden.

For a minute the only sound was the quiet, regular thumping sound of Elijah's staff hitting the dirt.

"Why are you really here Elijah?"

"I wanted to check on you, make sure you were coping alright. The ceremony's only two months away after all."

Eve felt touched, but wasn't surprised, Elijah had a compassionate soul and was constantly worried about others, sometimes he forgot to think of himself as a person.

"I'm touched Elijah, really, but I'm fine."

"Good, that's good."

Silence again fell between them.

"Have you given it much thought?"

Eve didn't answer immediately, but instead knelt at a rose bush which bloomed petals made of rubies.

"Of course, I have"

"And?"

Eve picked one of the roses, smelling it. It had a smooth but hard texture, but it gave off that clean smell associated with regular roses. "I was thinking nature."

Eve stood back up, rose in hand, and re-joined Elijah, and they continued their walk. It was Elijah again who broke the silence.

“I remember that rose bush.”

“What’s that got to do with anything?” She said, staring at him, completely befuddled as to why he was saying this.

“It happened when you were younger, remember? You were six I think and I brought you here to teach you how to fly.” Elijah carried on, completely ignoring Eve’s statement.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But the blush that crept into Eve’s cheeks told a different story.

“Yes you do, you had always had trouble with your flying so we came here to be alone. It was the first time you managed to fly without my help, you actually managed to get about a meter in the air if I remember correctly.” He said, grinning at her mischievously.

“Yeah, until I crashed into the stupid rose bush,” Eve grumbled.

Elijah just shrugged, “I thought it was cute.”

A companionable silence fell between the two Angels, the only sound being their own footfalls along with Elijah’s staff. The silence continued until Elijah spoke again, this time his voice serious, at great contrast to how light hearted he had been only moments ago.

"You know you don't have to go through with this, there's no dishonour in backing out now."

Eve sighed before speaking, "Are we really talking about this? It's not about honour or dishonour Elijah, this is what you've trained me for since I was a little girl, for twenty years, backing out would feel like a betrayal. I'm meant to do this, I'm meant to become an Embodiment, become your successor and take your place on the Council of Elders."

"Good, it's brave what you’re doing, because you don't want to do it" Elijah said, nodding.

"I never said that!" Eve protested.

"You didn’t have to."

By now they had reached the corner where Eve's favourite flower was, it stood alone and was completely black, but a saddening black, unlike the malevolent darkness of Elijah's ring. The flower had no depth to it, becoming almost invisible when viewed from the side.

Eve handed Elijah her rose and knelt next to the flower.

"Why nature?" She heard Elijah say behind her.

Eve shrugged noncommittedly, "It's what I feel a connection with."

“May I ask why?”

“Nature, to me, seems… honest, there is no politics, no lies, no half-truths, everything is simpler, and better because of it. Everything in nature has a place and knows it, nature isn’t about conquering, winning or losing, it’s about balance and harmony more than anything else.” While she said this a small smile played across her features, and her eyes became glazed, as if she was in a dream.

“I’m going to have to disagree with you on that, I find nature to be incredibly brutal, but to each their own. Anyway, can you tell me what an Embodiment is?"

"An Embodiment is a person of extreme magical power, who, when they achieved that level of power, became the physical Embodiment of an aspect of the world. You, for example, are the Embodiment of life, and as such have a connection with every living thing." She said, rolling her eyes, everyone knew that, even the youngest child.

Eve poured magic into the plant in front of her, cupping her hands around the head of the flower, they began to glow with a pale green light, and a light green mist also rose from her hands before drifting towards the flower in the centre of them. Eve was trying to learn about it, trying to find out how it existed.

"What would be the difference between the Embodiment of nature and me, the Embodiment of life?"

"No-one knows as there has never been an Embodiment of Nature before, but if I were to make an educated guess I would say that the Embodiment of life, you, would only kill when it would save more lives than those taken. While the Embodiment of nature would not care about lives, only that the natural order was maintained and wild places kept safe, the lives taken or spared in such a mission would not matter."

The mist returned back to Eve, moving lazily from the flower to her hands, where it absorbed into her skin, and they finally stopped glowing as Eve absorbed the last of the magic, and she absorbed the information it brought back, nothing, technically the flower didn't exist, and yet it lived. Sighing, Eve stood up and turned back to face Elijah, leaving the paradox of the flower to be solved another day, who handed back the rose, it was no longer made of ruby, but it was now an actual rose.

"For you milady." Elijah bowed deeply to Eve, holding the rose outstretched in his hand.

Eve grinned and took back her rose; placing it behind her ear. Just then they heard footsteps from behind them, and turned to find an Angel, a male with pale blue wings and dressed in the bronze coloured armour of a guard of the Citadel, a full set of plated steel armour designed to protect the wearer completely, except for the head which was left open. Even the Angels wings were armoured, as he wore over them very light and very flexible scaled armour, that covered the top half of the wings, but left the bottom half unprotected, nor did the armour extend to the Angels shoulder blades, too much armour and the wearer would lose mobility. He stopped at the respectful distance of four feet and saluted, his right hand was thumped on his chest, just under his left shoulder and he delivered his message, clearly, and with a sense of great importance.

"Sir and ma'am, you are requested at the Citadel by Abaven."

"On what business?" Elijah asked, shifting his weight so that he was now leaning against his staff.

"Confidential sir, but he said it was urgent and that he required your immediate presence."

"All right, return to him and tell him we will join him shortly, then retire to the barracks, you delivered your message well, I will recommend you to your commanding officer."

"Thank you, sir."

The messenger them turned and left them.

Elijah turned to face Eve.

"So, what do you think?"

"What do you mean what do I think? We have to go, Abaven wouldn't have summoned us if it wasn't urgent." Eve said, frowning.

"True enough."

And with that they left they garden, heading for the Citadel.

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