BiC: High noon. The day had crawled by. Not only was the last town completely absent of a church, it lacked just about everything else, including decent food. Almost pouting, Nietrous poured the can of earth-food (beans, they called it) into the pot he had found. After starting a fire, he waited patiently for the food to cook. Moments later, he grudgingly took a bite of the stuff. Repulsed, he was barely able to finish.
Earth blows. Too much like my planet.
Unable to comprehend that heaven was almost on a different plane of existence, he carried on. The wars must end. The only way to do it would be to make his way up the line of holy hiearchy, no matter the cost.
With frustration in his heart, he continued until he reached a magnificent cathedral, looming over a new town with it's graceful mock. By this time, his patience had completely run out. Quickly, and with exact precision he released his grip on his lashknife. Swinging the chained weapon over his head, his impressive muscles bulged. Soon the bone-blade was moving so fast it was like a propeller.
A nun took notice of him, and took the position that he recognized as prayer.
That's right. Call for your master. I'll be ready.
More people screamed as the sharp weapon ripped through the roof, making it's collapse inevitable. Sacrificing a few for the many...if that is what it shall take, than so be it.
OoC: Sorry, it's short, but I have a major twist for later on.
The caress of the sun’s warm, comforting light caused Mariana to stir. Groggily, she rolled over onto her side, the springy grass she laid in conforming to her new position. The incessant chirping of red- and yellow-plumed songbirds overhead prevented her from returning to the blissful state of unawareness that was sleep. Slightly annoyed, the angel sat up quickly and consequently waited for the world to stop spinning. She adjusted her silver robes on her shoulders and assured herself that her short sword was securely fastened to her side. Sighing, she began her now-daily routine of simply wandering.
She couldn’t even begin to recall how long she had been in her current state. Many centuries had passed since she had inhabited the village of Lochlynn. The world had seen numerous changes, but Mariana was oblivious to most of them. The only thing she cared about was… She laughed at her own foolishness. Even now, she couldn’t bring herself to say his name, not even within the confines of her own thoughts.
While lost within her musings, Mariana had failed to notice a rising sensation of urgency within herself. The Argentsigna was resonating with the prayers of someone in need. Someone very close. She quickened her step until she came upon a town that seemed to spring out of nowhere. Towering over all the other buildings was a spectacular cathedral. Instinctively, Mariana knew the silent pleas for help were coming from that place. Without even thinking of what could be behind the massive wooden doors, she tore them apart with a stream of lunar element and rushed headlong into the resulting gaping hole.
A most unusual scene greeted her eyes. A nun crouched in a corner, her lips moving in rapid, fervent prayer and her eyes widened in terror. Mariana’s eyes were drawn, however, to what stood in the center of the vast room. It was a rather strange-looking man, the likes of which she’d never laid eyes on. He had somehow managed to lodge part of his weapon in the ceiling of the sacred structure and was threatening to tear it down any second. Deciding she needed to do something fast, Mariana coughed to get the man’s attention. He turned around to stare at her petite form.
“Unless you wish to throw your life away, girl, I would turn around and go back to where you came from.”
Mariana’s eyes smoldered with indignation and a soft glow began to emanate from her body. She rebuked him in her quiet voice. “I am no mere child.”
By now, the nun was also focused on this newcomer, and her face radiated hope as she witnessed Mariana’s revelation of her wings. Her hope turned quickly to dismay and pure terror as the marred state of them glared starkly against the holy features of the cathedral. The nun ran her eyes over the streaks of ebony and crimson and pointed in the angel’s direction.
The words struck Mariana as if she’d been lashed with a whip. She turned her head to the side away from the quivering nun and the strange man and closed her eyes. A tear ran down her face. Immediately, she was overwhelmed by images of…him, but she suppressed those forcefully. She couldn’t afford to deal with that at the moment. Turning her gaze back on the man, she spoke.
“Please leave this place of God and this town entirely. You are upsetting the people here.”
Nietrous, determined, turned all the way around. He eyed the girl suspiciously, taking in her form with a sudden realization. His muscles bulged. His lashknife still lodged in the roof, he gave it a swift tug. The chain snakily raced back to him, firmly wrapping around his hand. His two-toned hair wavered in front of his eyes.
He removed the spiked shield from his back, the spines coating it rustling lightly.
"So...this deity chose to send a minion. How cute. However, I think he'll need an army, at least."
So, Nietrous didn't realize this angel came of her own accord. That wasn't good. He looked pretty strong, even for a mortal. Why he was so heretical was anyone's guess.
"The time is right, Holy one. Tainted you may be, but an angel nonetheless." This said, the man with blue and black hair bulged again, then lunged forward. His lashknife whipped out to greet the maiden as she stood.
Speedily, she ducked the razor-sharp bone, and it returned to it's master with perfect timing.
"So, you do know how to fight? A little unlike the others I've slain. The first angel I slew took the blade through the heart! Now the power of that being lives in my body, giving me the strength to the next, and the next!"
Mariana stared wide-eyed in incredulity at the strange man leering at her. It took her a few seconds to process what he had just said.
He killed an angel and now...
"...that angel's power resides in you?" She finished her thought out loud. How was that possible? She'd never heard of anything like that occuring. Her mind flicked briefly to her own circumstances.
No. That's not the same. I am not capable of using any of his powers. Or at least...I don't think I am...
A wave of emotion washed over her at the mere thought of the demon. She allowed herself to wonder where he was now. As she embraced these thoughts, she could feel the Argentsigna pulsate faintly. She was so muddled within her thoughts that she almost failed to see the blade of bone slicing through the air toward her. The weapon missed her by mere inches as she dove out of the way, folding her tainted wings tightly against her back as she went. She rolled to her feet, facing her opponent with narrowed eyes. She still had not figured out the enigma that he was. And she felt that might be something important to know before this fight continued on for much longer. She drew her short sword, and the light filtering in through the magnificent stained-glass windows illumed the weapon, granting it an almost mystical appearance. Much desiring to avoid conflict at all costs, Mariana decided to try to make conversation with the man and went out on a limb by introducing herself.
"My name is Mariana. This angel you say you slaughtered...tell me about it."
"Well, if you really want to know...YOU'LL NEED TO FORCE ME TO TELL YOU!"
Confidently, Nietrous swung his chained weapon backwards. The end, like a scorpion's stinger, sank into the wall of the sacred building again. Grinning, Nietrous was pulled back to land on top of the structure. Mariana was starting to get a little annoyed with this strange human, regardless of his power. Fine, she would fight on his terms.
"I would rather not, but I have no choice." The angel soared up, and her bare feet connected with the shingles of the elaborate roof. The shadows seemed to be all but gone beneath both the warriors' feet; it was noon. The matching eyes and hair of the tainted angel seemed to meld in Nietrous's perspective.
"If you would like to be more specific, though, my body doesn't really absorb divine power."
"What does it do, then?"
Nietrous didn't answer. His chain sprang forth once more, and the saber attached to the end glimmered. Mariana saw it's rapid approach, and jumped. Knowingly, the warrior jerked the handle, and the sharp end curved upwards into the angel's leg. Recoiling, she yanked her leg free. Rivulets of blood dribbled from her gash, staining the cathedral.
The lashknife, already retracted, glowed with an odd black light.
"The woman was right. You must be fallen, because your power is corrupted. I rebuke your energy from my weapon, imperfect one!" The bone vibrated, and a sphere of the the dark energy hit Mariana in the chest, dissolving back into her. Now she felt like a true outcast. Even this stranger , who she just met, rejected her for her faults.
"You know what? If you're just going to stand there, this place will just have to go!" with a whip-like snap, the lashknife cleft the roof completely in half, and chunks of it collapsed into the inner reaches of the cathedral. Mariana snapped out of it.
"Stop!" Mariana released a blast of lunar energy from her palm, and Nitreous thrusted himself into the air to avoid it. The lashknife snaked around him as he flew, a moving shield.
Another pulse of lunar element from Mariana's palm ricocheted off the whirling snake of chain and bone protecting her enemy. Come to think of it, she still had no clue as to what his name was. Not only did the weapon seem to have a life of its own, but it also had drawn her blood. She glanced down at her leg where the half-healed gash left by the weapon still trickled crimson. As she stared long and hard at the drops sliding down her leg to the ground, she almost could feel...him.
What happened to me that night?
Shaking herself out of her reverie, Mariana focused her attention back on her most immediate concern. As soon as the man had landed, she had sent more lunar element his way, which collided harmlessly with the wooden floor planks directly in front of him. She hadn't intended to hit him, just to make him dodge again. To her chagrin, once the dust had settled, she found that the man hadn't moved even a fraction. It was as if he had known she wasn't aiming for him. As she ground her teeth together in frustration, he sprang forward with such alacrity that Mariana barely had time to throw her short sword up to deflect that menacing bone blade and chain. The force of the blow sent a jarring sensation through her sword arm, and she almost completely dropped the gleaming weapon.
Acting quickly, Mariana spun around and called upon the water element to unleash Aqua Embrace. Tendrils of water snaked out from the marred angel's palm and swiftly wrapped themselves tightly around the man. The rapidity of the attack caused him to drop his weapon in surprise. As the flowing water around him increased, he began to feel his airway becoming constricted. Mariana stood there with her palm still outstretched, steadfastly maintaining the barrier. If she could hold it long enough before her energy began to drain...
Something broke loose inside her.
Agonizing pain suddenly shot through her body like a bullet train. She struggled against the blackness of unconsciousness that threatened to overwhelm her. Her concentration was utterly destroyed, and the water barrier surrounding her opponent splashed harmlessly to the ground, forming a now-tranquil pool of water at the man's feet. Falling to her knees, the angel swayed unsteadily for a few moments before her entire body met the hard, wooden floor.
* * * * *
"Are you alright?"
The stars and full moon overhead cast their pale, yet comforting, light over the grassy fields. It was here that Mariana usually came to find solitude. The everyday bustle of the quaint Irish village was pleasant, but sometimes she needed time to be alone. On this particular night, the guardian of the Argentsigna had sought her place of reflection and had very clumsily tripped over an unearthed root en route. Now, she slowly flipped herself over to meet the charming smile of Lucilius. Her heart began to race. The moment he had set foot inside Lochlynn, she had felt a deep connection to him. Now, he stood over her, offering her a helping hand to get her back on her feet. She strained to keep the breathlessness from pervading her voice as she assured him she was fine, and she thanked him for his concern. His smile broadened.
"I'm very glad to hear that. I wouldn't want anything to happen to such a beautiful and faithful priestess."
Mariana could feel the red rising in her cheeks, and she quickly fixed her eyes on the ground in front of her as if studying it intently. Lucilius chuckled and took the angel's hand in his own. Unable to move, Mariana continued staring at the ground as Lucilius raised her hand to his lips and pressed them ever-so-gently against her silky skin. Shock crashed against her like waves against a rocky shore, and she began trembling. This wasn't right. Something kept telling her that it wasn't right. And yet...oh, how she loved it. Lucilius smiled at her affectionately; his piercing green eyes seemed to tear apart every barrier Mariana had erected to contain her feminine emotions.
"Goodnight...my little piece of heaven."
* * * * *
It seemed an eternity since Mariana had lost consciousness, but in reality it had been but mere seconds. She laid on the floor, attempting to sort out what had just happened. Before she could wade very far through her confusion, however, the blade of her enemy's weapon slammed into the wooden planks inches from her head. In a rush, everything she had been doing before her blackout came back to her. Immediately, she sprang off the floor, snatching up her short sword that had slipped from her unconscious grip. As her opponent used precious seconds to pull his blade from the floor, Mariana summoned another burst of lunar energy. This time, the man was hit square in the chest with the element. It had only been a low-power burst, so the worst injuries the man sustained were some severe bruises. He stumbled backward, giving Mariana a chance to collect her swarming thoughts.
What in heaven's name happened? Why am I thinking about...him? And, more importantly, why did I lose consciousness? I can't let that happen again. Not as long as that man is still around...
OoC: Yes, I know I'm double posting, but I want to bump this back up, since it was slipping down the page. I made some changes to my post. ^_^ Hopefully, you weren't already working on your next one. If you were, I hope I didn't throw you off too badly.
Nietrous was pissed. This was taking far too long, and this angel was much stronger than the others he had encountered. He pressed in a lever on the handle of his weapon, and suddenly the chain was sliding through the middle of the handle, coming out on the other end. Flipping the weapon over, the small black orb that had been attached to the back clicked and expanded with a number of deadly spikes. This was the first tainted angel he had ever met; yet her power outranked the pure he had encountered. Such irony was beyond him as he spun the new flail over his head.
Mariana, her vision still trying to infect her thoughts, stood her ground. Lunar energy glowed in her hands. In a moment, Nietrous slammed the spiked sphere into the church's roof, this time with his own raw strength. The stone and shingles collapsed, and he fell onto the red carpet between the pews. Looking upward, he managed a grin.
The angel who had lain with an incubus waited warily on the roof, not daring to look down into the gap in the structure. The strange weapon this man wielded seemed to have reversed, taking a bludgeoning approach rather than trying to cut her in twain. Looking to the cathedral’s front, she saw the last of the worshippers running to safety.
Good. She didn’t want any innocents involved in the crossfire. Wisely, she began to pray. She was almost finished when-
The spiked flail exploded out from beneath her, the blunt spikes menacingly reaching. She had jumped at just the right second; any later and she would be dead or close to it. Wham! The sphere burst beside her, and she rolled away from the newest hole. In a flicker of movement, the man jumped through the previous hole, and sprinted at Mariana, spinning his weapon.
He intended to go for a close-range strike. That was the way Nietrous found most suitable for the dispatch. His legs moved fluidly, and the speed was intense. Mariana released a considerable amount lunar energy at him, but her energy seemed to pass through him. She glanced to her right, and saw the real Nietrous approaching. It was the feathers. That down-covered vest he was wearing, it was refracting an illusion. When he swung the ball-and-chain again, Mariana made another life saving move.
She gripped the spikes as they spun to hit her, and she allowed herself to be carried around until she was at Nietrous’s back. That was when she released her grip, and sent three lunar blasts into the back. The one that hit his vest quickly disintegrated weakly, but the other two burned into his neck and right calf. He growled ferally as he was hit, and quickly turned, reverting his weapon so that the bone saber was on the end of the chain. Now fully aggravated with this wench, he planned to crush her into dust.
The alarmed cries of the confused mass of townspeople below floated up to the two combatants on the failing roof of the church. Nietrous in no way appeared to be affected by the innocents below. Mariana mused that they must only be obstacles to him, mere ants that were simply in the way. He appeared human, and yet she could not seem to find a shred of human emotion in him. At least, not thus far. She unfurled her blemished wings to their full span...and braced herself for the ensuing outbursts from the people watching fearfully below. A child no older than seven years who clung tightly to her mother's skirts pointed at Mariana and put into words the astonishment probably every adult around her was feeling.
"Mommy! Is that an angel? What's wrong with her wings?!"
The mother quickly hushed her little girl. "Don't point, honey. And don't look at it, either. I think it's something sent from the devil."
Tears welled up in the tainted angel's deep blue eyes, and a few of them escaped to fall, shimmering in the sunlight, to the wooden slats of the roof. Why? Why did these people automatically associate her with the fallen hosts of Lucifer? And if they did think of her in this way, why did she insist on protecting them?
* * * * *
"It's because of your sweet nature, Mariana."
The disguised angel's heart fluttered at Lucilius's utterance of her name. They sat together on the bank of a babbling stream that ran not far from Lochlynn's outskirts. The moon glowed white in the sky, a perfect rotund pearl. The soothing sound of chirping crickets filled the night air, mingling with the playful splash of the stream. Mariana couldn't help but snuggle closer against Lucilius's warm chest. She looked up at him and felt red rush to her cheeks when he smiled down at her. Remembering what he had said moments before, Mariana ventured to voice her confusion.
"What's because of my sweet nature?"
Lucilius wrapped his arms around Mariana's body and leaned his head down to press his lips against hers. A flood of raging passion suddenly threatened to consume the angel, a flood so intense that it almost scared her. She found herself leaning harder into the kiss than Lucilius was, forcing him to fall backward into the soft grass. The two laid there entwined in each other's arms; Mariana was blissfully unaware of anything else. For her, there was only Lucilius. She inhaled the scent of him and tangled her fingers in his silken ebony hair and sighed contentedly.
"You still haven't answered my question, Lucilius."
Lucilius smiled up at the heavens, a faint knowing look flashing briefly in his green eyes.
"The reason I'm falling in love with you. It's because of your sweet nature."
* * * * *
A single sob rose unbidden from Mariana's throat. She choked once on it before suppressing the sound completely. Now was not the time for this. Nietrous balked visibly at this lack of emotional control. In no time at all, however, Mariana had regained her composure and was propelling herself toward him with her wings. She released a blast of lunar element directly at him, but the man jumped straight upward to dodge the attack and swung his chained blade downward in an arc that would surely have sliced the angel neatly in two had she not flipped herself over on her back and knocked the weapon away from her using a flood of water that burst forth from her palms.
In a beautifully executed follow-up, Mariana took her short sword in hand and launched it quite accurately at Nietrous's stomach. The man had been off-balanced by the sudden change in direction of his weapon that he was unable to do anything about the deadly gleam of silver that suddenly connected with his stomach. To Mariana's disappointment, the sword merely bounced off the protective vest of feathers the man wore and fell to the roof with a loud clatter. Both the tainted angel and Nietrous dove to lay claim to the sword. Mariana sent a pulse of lunar energy at her opponent in an attempt to deter him from the prize, but the energy did little more than sizzle harmlessly into the feathered armor. Mariana proved the faster of the two, and she grabbed her sword and whipped around to meet Nietrous. In a matter of seconds, her blade was hovering inches from his throat. The two stood frozen in that position for what seemed an eternity.
"Why do you not make the finishing strike?"
"Maybe because..." Mariana paused, reflecting on her previous thoughts of her past. She finished her sentence with a hint of defiance in her voice. "Maybe because I have a sweet nature."
Nietrous stared at her for a long while, the first signs of humanity breaking through his incredibly ruthless nature. His weapon danced in his hand until it was coiled into a point of rest.
He had never seen any type of angelic being ever show mercy. Perhaps, this angel, with her taint, was actually benevolent, and not fickle and selfish like the gods that once ruled and left his world. Maybe, this girl was worth letting go. After all, her power couldn't be sapped for what he wanted...
"I give up. I shall leave." With his weapon in hand and his shield to his back, he walked towards the edge of the roof. Not giving the wave of a hand or words of departure, he jumped off of the roof. Before he struck the ground, his chain snaked out and embedded itself in the ground. He used it to reduce the speed of his descent, and landed on the grass. The people from the church moved away from him, and he walked with a heavy head to accomplish his lonely mission.
Mariana was startled and very relieved to see the man go. She even felt sorry for him, but why she didn't know. Just as she was about to fly away-- There was a beam of light and an explosion that sent Nietrous sprawling on the ground. He looked dead. Mariana bit her lip, and saw a tan, topless man covered in white tattoos walking over the body of Mariana's former enemy. He had medium length white hair, and the bottom fourth of every strand was black. He looked very noble, and yet, very angry. His lower lip was pierced, and he looked about thirty five. His voice was strong and commanding.
"FALLEN ONE! I HAVE DISPATCHED YOUR ACCOMPLICE IN SIN! NOW GOD'S JUDGEMENT SHALL FALL ON YOU!"
The crowd, who now obviously believed the tainted angel was merely arguing with the other heretic, and they were actually on the same side. They began to cheer for Ovirian, their eyes clouded from the fact that he wasn't an angel of their God. They called him "Michael." They blessed him in languages he didn't understand. He didn't care who or what they were talking about; purification was all that mattered. Fallen angels were a particular breed that Ovirian knew could only be dealt with one way: destruction.
His tattoos lit up, and the white smoke that emanated from them became strange, white armor. What material it was made of remained a mystery. Wings made of that odd substance grew from his back, and around half of his face, leaving only one eye to see.
A white sword that looked like it was the same element formed in his hand, and he pointed it's exquisite edge in the angel's direction.
The wind swept the surface of the roof, tossing Mariana's silver robes playfully. The abrupt change in her opponents caught her completely by surprise, and she blinked as she stared at the gleaming weapon that was now being pointed in her direction. Taking a few seconds to glance down at the unmoving body of Nietrous, she shed an involuntarily tear for the man. No matter the circumstance, the angel never did enjoy seeing people die. The newcomer shoved his magnificent sword closer to her and brandished it menacingly. Mariana turned her attention back on what she supposed was an angel. He was no Michael, certainly, but he was pretty close on the confidant, almost to the point of arrogant, attitude.
"You are an angel, I take it."
The menacing warrior angel sniffed. "You might say that, tainted one."
Mariana flinched. "So. You hate me just like the rest of them, do you?" Tears brimmed in her eyes, and her control over her raging emotions snapped. "It's all because of my mistake! MY MISTAKE! Why can't all of you just accept that?! I LOVED HIM!!! AND I LOVE HIM STILL!!!" She collapsed to her knees, overcome with emotion, the tears flowing freely now and forming small pools of liquid in the creases in her robes.
I need someone to hold me... No... Not just someone. I need him.
Immediately, the mental barrier Mariana had placed against the memories shattered, and Lucilius filled her thoughts. Her sobs worsened, and she slid farther to the wooden roof, curling her body into a fetal position. She must have looked absolutely pitiful to the male angel, for he slightly lowered his sword, a quizzical look in his eyes.
"Your words confuse me..." he chose his words carefully, not willing to upset Mariana further, "angel... I do not know of what you speak." Mariana continued to cry; his words were obviously not reaching her. Her ignorance flared his temper. "But you are what you are, and you must be eradicated! You are a blemish that must be erased!"
Unfurling his wings to their full span, Ovirian launched himself, sword flashing in the sunlight, straight for the emotionally distraught Mariana. Tangled deeply in thoughts of her lost love, the only thing that saved Mariana from utter destruction was the demon himself. It was as if he spoke directly to her, through her memories of him.
The shock of "hearing" his "voice" shot Mariana into reflexive action. She rolled away from the charging Ovirian, narrowly escaping death with only a few of her imperfect feathers lost. Leaping to her feet, the angel trembled as she faced Ovirian.
It was him. Lucilius... NO! I've got to focus! If I die here, I'll never be able to see him again!