Between the twin peaks in the distance hovered another wave of snow. It blew upward into the sky off jagged cliffs and seemed to hug the ground it traversed. Ethaen knew this storm wouldn’t end anytime soon.
Summer had changed long ago, bringing a strange cold to these lands. With it, many worlds seemed to come into the same phase.
Ethaen’s a place of observers and watchers of all the others, overlapped with the Human world and Faery world, creating one so different that the complete structure of society had collapsed. Except for Ethaen’s society, who had predicted this could happen. And now it seems to have allowed for a somewhat smoother transition.
Glofhin nudged Ethaen gently with her beak, the warmth bringing him back around to his senses. “I know. We’ll have to go to the human settlement to the west of here before we can get home.”
The hawligan flapped its wings, spreading warmth which instantly melted the snow around Ethaen’s feet. The fresh puddle froze instantly, creating a mirror which stared back at the pair. Ethaen didn’t see the mirror, he saw beyond it.
An ocean danced beyond the shoreline, waving serenely in every direction under blue skies and a warm sun. The Moon shown just above the horizon with a gentle star glistening as a companion. The two slowly took the sky as their own, changing the sky into darkness. The sky filled with brilliant lights, a collaboration of magickal beings all dancing in magnificent colors.
Yet, the ground shook. The sea turned black and swelled with an angry heart. Sprays flew high into the sky, forming clouds over the beach, darkening the land the sky once saw and guarded. Now darkness came, and fires appeared to fight the sudden fear. Fires that spread even across the water to far off places.
Again, Glofhin nudged Ethaen. Shaking his head, he stepped away from the mirror and walked into the west as the new batch of clouds came overhead and began to rain even more snow onto the mirror.
Hours passed, by human standards, and the now standard of the conjoined worlds; mere minutes to the Faery world and a full day to Ethaen’s world, and finally Ethaen came upon the small town. The quiet overwhelmed the peaceful houses while snow drifted to its resting place. Ethaen looked at his hawligan and adjusted his backpack before walking down the street.
Through their connection, Ethaen felt the warmth of bodies and fires from Glofhin. Most of the humans in this town were already asleep for the day, bundled in the heat of their houses. Few were moving around, and even less were outside in this cold. The two that were outside stood farther down the lane, huddled together.
A myriad of memories came as warning. Rumors spread that human’s feared Ethaen’s kind, and may soon be forming a rebellion of sorts. The Faery kind feared this the most: prophets and seers heeding only warning of disaster in the future due to the events Ethaen walked through. He personally saw to the peaceful mingling of the worlds, trying to sooth the fear which encased the human hearts and undo the skepticism of the faery psyche. Yet, it seemed a never ending struggle which may have caused even more turmoil.
The Faery kind had always embraced Ethaen’s people, seeing the two wisdoms as equal. Many generations before, but mere years in Faery time, the Faery world and Ethaen’s had already become completely and undeniably aware of each other. Communication found its way and soon they acknowledged the worlds as equal reality, but apart forever.
Until a few years ago, by human time. It was suppose to be winter, in the human year of 2012, and the end of two calendars, one of which predicted more accurately more events than any other in human history. On that day, the three realms merged and created a world that only existed centuries before.
Since then, Ethaen’s people were constantly going about instilling peace. The Faery kind were even so willing as to help and joined in Ethaen’s people’s conquest.
Recently, however, rumors were arising about human unhappiness with the events so geared for peace, and too many unfounded reasons flew with the rumors. With these memories, Ethaen moved forward cautiously, toward the two officers standing before the large building.
“Who goes there?” a commanding voice called through the muffling snow.
“A friend only, and his companion. We seek shelter and food for the night,” Ethaen stated calmly, all the while thinking How primitive their speech is. No sign of mental reaching or physical energy. And always quick to suspicion!
One of the officers took a few steps forward and asked, “What’s your name?” Again, the doubt and suspicion riddled every word.
“Ethaen, good sir.”
Glofhin’s light intensified to brighten the area between Ethaen and the two guards. Finally, recognition registered with the humans and one turned to the other, whispering, “It’s one of those Demons!”
The other stepped farther forward, he was the larger of the two, and called out timidly, “Wait here. We’ll go see about any possible accommodations for your-you.”
“Fantastic,” Ethaen stated good-naturedly. Turning to Glofhin he whispered in turn, though much lower than humans possibly could. “The fear of other worlds has intensified. I hope the rumors are indeed inaccurate.”
Glofhin’s acknowledgement swept through Ethaen’s mind. Then came the warnings: A psychic image, a room, the star, and hatred welling deep in eyes.
“As I feared, dear friend. We will have to watch ourselves.”
Two more images appeared simultaneously: struggle into the room or walking peacefully.
Ethaen smiled. “We’ll cooperate willingly. We’re still diplomats here. We all want peace, I hope.”
A human minute or so later, the two guards reappeared from inside the building. The taller of the two stepped closest again, while the shorter held a gun casually. “We have a room for you and your pet. Come with us.”
The force of the command startled Ethaen and Glofhin, raising the hairs all over his body. Anger had replaced fear. They gained control so simply, even when the control was unnecessary.
Thus, Ethaen dropped his mental barriers, allowing all the energies be seen and currents of every individual and item punctuate his sight. In an attempt to remain amicable, Ethaen created simple talk.
“What are your names, if I may ask?” he probed, for in names lies the powers of control.
“I’m Dave, and this here is Bill,” the tall guard answered.
David and William, the forces and energies told Ethaen.
“Well, it is a great pleasure to meet you gentlemen.” With the chat, Ethaen began to see and fell what the humans saw and felt.
Ultimately, they feared Ethaen. His three horns and two tusks reminded them of an evil spirit known as the Devil, and his face reminded them of a bull. Broad shoulders and stance created an image of physical strength that Ethaen indeed owned, but they didn’t perceive the magick lying well underneath such a façade. His bare, clawed hands struck even more apprehension and his tail fascinated them. Then they looked at Glofhin Her wings glowed like fire, and her beak shined at the tip because of the diamond like callous that formed there. Her feet had sharp talons and the tail a scaled sword swinging from side to side.
Together, the humans thought they were monsters come from a nightmare. Hence their namesake, Demons.
Once inside, the cramped hallways brought much needed warmth. Dave and Bill led Ethaen and Glofhin down a labyrinth of sorts to a door. It was draped with a stained white cloth. The door appeared to barely be large enough for Ethaen to fit through. And he felt the power rising from the door and its frame.
“This will be your room. You’ll have to share with another, she arrived yesterday.”
Ethaen felt the pentacle emblazoned on the door, the binding symbol which the humans used against the Faery kind and Demons alike. Simple, but affective. “Is there no other room?”
Dave shook his head. “No. This is all we have.”
Three down on the left, two upstairs and a basement all empty, the psychic flows stated.
“Very well, we shall be friends then.”
Opening the door, Dave stepped aside to allow Ethaen entry with Glofhin close beside. Ethaen noted how Dave didn’t allow any part of himself to enter the room. A different fear guarded that movement.
Inside sat a woman, dark, messy hair laying down her shoulders and back, dress old and tattered but regal all in the same. The energies inside the room informed Ethaen her name was Alesha the Wise Fire.
The door shut instantly behind Glofhin, who turned and sniffed aroundt eh door. Ethaen paid no attention.
“Good evening, dear Alesha the Wise Fire.”
Her eyes penetrated Ethaen.
“Ethaen Glif. The Prince of Minograthi. Why does one so important find himself trapped with a priestess?”
“Travelling, dear friend. On errands of peace to try and sooth the tensions. Though I feared and knew not of how much worse it has become.”
Alesha rose from her seat, and became, with that one movement, more regal and beautiful then any living creature. “You know what is happening, do you not?”
Nodding in awe, “I do know.”
“There are many of us caught like this. Many Earth moons have passed with more Faery kind under lock and key. I suppose many Ylanths are caught too.”
“I have not heard of this from any of my people.”
Alesha nodded. “Then it is possible you are one of the first.
“Blook will spread upon the pure before the new moon. Life will alter and the separation will once more take place.” Alesha’s voice trembled and she sat down harshly. The magick of her appearance dissipated.
Ethaen stood still, knowing of the priestess trance and predictions it allowed.
Her normal voice returned, “We are doomed. The new moon is but two Earth days away.”
Glofhin returned to Ethaen’s side, her pawing and sniffing fruitless at the door. However, her more finely attuned mind pointed to the two walls with neighboring rooms, both unguarded and no magick inlaid upon them. Ethaen thanked Glofhin silently and layed a hand upon her head, scratching softly at her beak line.
Alesha the Wise Fire noticed. “She has found a way out of here!”
“Well…Where is it?” Her patience had run out a long time before they had arrived.
“To escape this way would cause much destruction and chaos. We need to resolve this peacefully if we can. And quickly by the sound of it.”
Alesha the Wise Fire sighed heavely. “They do not wish peace anymore.” She looked out the window. Snow still silenced the air, but allowed sight, though much interrupted. More humans were awaking, night slowly giving way to a brighter white then that of night. “T’is morning, dear friend,” she stated vacantly. “What shall we do now? Tonight will be the end.”
Ethaen looked at Glofhin as he went to sit on the nearest chair. What will happen? he asked of his hawligan.
The image of angry eyes appeared again, the loud clatter sounded. Snow fell, covering blood and darkness came over everything. Footsteps drew near, voices: “Now it has begun.” Then the visions faded.
“What does the bird tell you?”
Ethaen looked at Alesha again, feigning confusion.
“Do not play with me and call me friend. I know the powers of all creatures across every land, including Minograthi. What says your bird?”
“Anger will overwhelm someone, which will start the fight. The humans will use their guns and someone will fall victim to death, or perhaps bloodshed. But, that’s what the humans want.” Ethane let his shoulders fall. “Fighting.”
Alesha laughed slightly. “Through all of time that’s all humans have hungered for, fighting. It’s all they know.” Raising her hands. “May the Goddess, with all her many faces, guide us through this and protect us. Blessed be!”
“Blessed be,” Ethaen stated. Glofhin nodded her head.
The rest of the day was uneventful. Snow continued to fall, till darkness descended once more. The clouds moved onward east and revealed a crystal clear night: purple sky littered with stars. This made the snow appear blue.
Alesha started looking out the window more frequently, her eyes becoming more fear filled with each glance. Ethaen began to worry what she saw in the stars with each of her movements.
“What is it, dear friend?”
Alesha looked at the Ylanth with such fear. “They come for us.”
A knock at the door startled everyone. Glofhin instantly jumped to her feet and stood ready to attack. With one word from Ethaen’s mind, she calmed.
The door opened to reveal Dave with three men standing behind him, Bill included. “Come with us,” he stated while wielding his gun towards them.
As Alesha stood, her beauty and fierceness reappeared, but the soldiers didn’t flinch as they should have. Ethaen and Glofhin followed the Priestess as they led the captives outside.
In the starlight stood a man dressed in black robes holding a black book. His eyes were closed and his breathing subtle. Black hair blew in the cold breeze, but he cared not. When the small group stopped in front of him, his eyes opened to reveal black irises overwhelming the whites of his eyes. He grinned a malicious grin in welcoming Alesha and Ethaen.
Alesha the Wise Fire gasped and looked up, a tear falling from her cheek. “Why does the Goddess cry?”
“Because God ordains her a blasphemous creation!” the man called out.
Angry eyes graced the visage Alesha now wore. Her being had once again transformed. Ethaen felt a strange pull of allegiance with this new being, a felling of uncontrolled willingness to help and obey Alesha’s form. Then Her voice came, issuing from Alesha the Wise Fire with tones no earthly body could form.
“Humans and their faith. Binding, restricting. How know you your god? How hath He come to you now, as I to the Priestesses?” Anger took Alesha’s body now, and the men guarding Alesha and Ethaen stepped back in awe. “And you!” She pointed at the black man before them, who stood with book in hand, two fingers raised and a mouth moving with unheard incantations. “Your faithful men dare to destroy the High Priestess. You dare to condemn Me! Forever shall you remember this day, when your hope was lost!”
Glofhin heard a gun click to the ready, sending the sound to Ethaen. He, in turn, reached for his magick, forming a barrier in the air around Alesha the Wise Fire, Glofhin and himself.
The angry eyes turned on Ethaen, though a hint of peace resided only for him.
“You are even good to all living creations. I shall forever be with your kind.”
“Now!” the man in black shouted.
Clatters filled the air. Ethaen’s protection held off the first wave of gun fire, but vanished quickly after.
With that gone, Glofhin leapt to the air, spraying fire down upon the humans from her wings. They aimed up at her as she went over head, but Ethaen knew the tactic well. They were practiced together.
He sent a net of ice magick over the four guards who fell under the cold weight. Then he turned to run behind a building for safety, hoping Alesha was released from the Goddess and would follow.
But that hope was in vain. The Goddess’ rageful force was too strong now; perhaps the humans had killed the High Priestess after all. With Her great power, she held the dark man above the snow, fire encasing his body as he perished.
Ethaen turned on the spot, knowing this would end terribly both politically and morally. He raced for Alesha the Wise Fire, hoping she would break free and stop.
When he reached her, a part of his net broke open. Ethaen touched Alesha’s shoulder, causing the Goddess to drop the flaming man upon the snow. A gun shot sounded, and a bullet found its way into Ethaen’s heart.
“No,” he whispered, always looking into the Goddess’ eyes.
They changed into sorrow.
Another bullet whizzed through the air, but the Goddess raised her hand and built a barrier, protecting the three of them: Alesha the Wise Fire, Ethaen and Glofhin. She knelt down next to Ethaen, a tear running down her cheek.
“I am sorry, dear friend. You, of all beings, should not be paying this price.” She laid her hand on his face. “You are Godly, High Priest forever.”
Blood wet the snow, flowing freely as pain reached into Ethaen’s mind. Glofhin cried out a dreadfully beautiful song. Her own sorrow leaking into the hearts ofe very human in the town.
“Forgive me, Ethaen Glif of Minograthi.” The officers had freed themselves by now and walked up to the barrier. “Now it has begun.”
The Goddess stood, slowly gaining her full height. Ethaen looked at Glofhin. She hovered over him, tears running down her beak.
“Go with Alesha the Wise Fire,” he choaked. “She will protect you. Go to my brother. Tell-“ a cough. “Tell him of what has happened. He’ll know the right cause.”
The Goddess raised her hand and pointed to the sky. “Look,” She said. Even the humans turned their heads up in reverence. Thirteen stars flashed into existence, all in the shape of the hawligan. Ethaen started to cry as his chest heaved violently. “This is in memory of Ethaen!” the Goddess shouted, as if for the whole world to hear her in that moment.
“Thank you,” he whispered with one last breath. His eyes closed. His chest sagged.
Snow began to fall out of the clear sky, sweeping off the mountain top and roofs onto the peaceful chaos which stood silently around Ethaen. No-one moved, everyone watching the sky in awe.
Suddenly, Alesha the Wise Fire and Glofhin started to move away. The four men took notice and issued orders to fire, but the bullets were useless against the Goddess’ barrier. As she walked away, the men turned to alert whoever they could of the disaster and death that had become history.
All the while, Ethaen watched from the stars.