Angels of Donegal

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    It was a bright, sunshiney day like it always was in heaven. The
    golden gates sparkled, and the angels lived in harmony. Well, most of
    them did. Kieara wasn't one of them. She never really was at peace in
    Heaven. Always so curious, and wanted to have fun.

    Something very peculiar had happened today. She'd been banished from
    Heaven. Oh, this had happened before, but normally an angel was sent
    to Hell when this happened. She was banished to Earth. This was an odd
    happening in heaven. One would think it would be inhumane for the
    angels to even think of this torture right? Well, for most. There
    was always the exception made on....rare offenses. This was one of

    A loud boom echoed for miles around. Kieara was in a large clearing
    unconcious. She lay across the ground loose feathers scattered about
    the area. There was a large crater that she'd landed in. Her wings
    would no longer function to allow her to fly into Heaven. Yes she
    still had them, yes she could still fly, but not very long, or very
    far. Her halo lay at the tip of the crater.

    She was a new angel and had a very open mind and a kind heart. She was
    also very niave. She didn't mean to be, but it was in her soft, smooth
    nature. She couldn't help being the way she was. After all, her
    creator had made her that way.

    She was a petite girl and had pretty light greyish brown eyes. Unlike
    most angels, she had yet to get her white robes and such. She was
    still wearing what she had been when she died. Her simple outfit was
    black and loose. She had long brown hair that framed her face.
  2. [​IMG]

    Donegal | Year 1307 | The Village of Cordale

    He had rode in on a great black horse.

    He had been dressed in simple red robes when he had entered the village; a peaked hood covering most of his face. A golden pendent hung around his neck. It was emblazoned with a single symbol; a nine pointed star, with interlocking lines and shapes. His horse was dressed in black and red cloaks, horse blankets trimmed with thick red fox fur, to keep him warm through the drizzle that came with early spring. The horse had a strength in his gait, an immense draft horse for the towering man who rode him. With the peak of his hood, the man stood easily seven feet, but without, it was likely that he only stood as tall as the tallest man. Curious children came out from their cottages to peer at their mysterious visitor. From the pendent around the man's neck, it seemed as if he was a religious pilgram; a devotee of the Gods Who Are Many - an envoy of the angels from the heavens. He dismounted in front of the inn, and dipped his head to the innkeeper, further obscuring his face beneath his hood. He gave his name as Aidalis Saul, as he patted a local boy on the head, flicking him a copper piece to take his horse to the stables.

    The boy dutifully did as he was told, and led the horse to the stables. But boys are curious creatures, and he couldn't help but look in the saddlebags and waterskin. He later would wish that he hadn't. He uncorked the waterskin; hoping to find that prized alcoholic beverage that his parents so rarely let him drink inside. Instead, there was a metallic smelling, red fluid. It looked like wine, if wine was red. All the wine he had ever drunk had been magenta. He downed it anyway. It tasted sharp and acidic; and not the way that wine should taste. Perhaps it had gone bad. Perhaps it was just spoiled. The alternative was so much worse. The boy then began to unhook one of the saddlebags, prying it open with grimy fingers. Inside the bag was something lumpy, soft. Perhaps they were exotic fruits, from across the Silver Sea? He reached into the bag, and what he pulled out a lump that was fleshy and warm. It looked like human skin. And then, the boy realized, with a jolt - this was an organ. He dropped it to the ground, listening to the sound it made against the dirt stable floor. Squelch.This had been inside of somebody. Motivated by perverse curiosity, he dug into the bag with another hand, and his hand came away covered in clumps of hair, flakes of bonedust spread across his fingers. This was flesh, collections of people who no longer existed. He vomited, overcome by the smell, leaving a grisly stain across the ground. The boy shook, stomach emptied and afraid. He spent what seemed to be hours staring at the ground, overcome. His hands were coated in viscous bodily fluids. He collected himself and He ran into the inn; he had to warn them; he had to warn them that Aidalis Saul, their strange visitor; was no holy man. He was one of the Prime Evils themselves - a demon in the flesh of a man.

    When the boy ran to the inn; the door was open, a crack. The windows were dark. That was not supposed to happen. The windows should be filled with light and cheer. The innkeeper ran an honest establishment; a warm one. There were always lights in the windows. Ever since the boy's earliest memory - the inn had light in it. But now, it was dark, and the inn was still. There were curls of smoke coming out the slightly ajar door, and though every part of the boy's body told him not to open the door, he opened the door.

    The boy's eyes had to adjust to the dim light, but the scene that was infront of him was a horror show. The innkeeper lay split open on his bartop, from his second chin to his groin; his guts providing some grim feast. His wife was impaled with bottles on the far wall, like a knife-throwers trick gone wrong. Their young daughter was on the lap a man, half clothed in a red-peaked robe, half clothed in fullplate with the symbol of the Gods Who Are Many hanging around his neck. His face was in shadow from the hood. The girl was strewn in pieces across the skirts of his armor and robes; the boy realized. The dog, however, the inn's dog, was the last living thing in the room, save for Aidalis Saul himself. He couldn't see the man's face, but he could see the glimmer of the man's sword, driven through the girl on his lap. He carelessly tossed the girl aside with his sword, the body fell against the wall and then, the floor with a full thud. The man approached the boy. He knelt down next to him, at eye level. But there were no eyes. There was just hood and fabric.

    The boy wanted to run, but his feet wouldn't budge. It was as if he had been rooted to the spot. And the man spoke. His voice was soft, gentle. Like velvet made into words. "I'm sorry about the mess." He murmured, "But you shouldn't have looked. Why would you look?" The boy could only stammer. He felt tears spring to the corner of his eyes, and he tugged on his tunic. The man 'tutted' with his tongue, in a mouth that the boy could not see. "Your governor is coming next week. Tell him that Aidalis Saul completed what he asked for." He reached out to tug at the boy's cheek with a gauntleted hand, pinching the soft skin. "Can you tell him that?" The boy whimpered an affirmative, and the man passed from the room.

    He left on a great black horse.

    Donegal | Year 1307 | Outskirts of Cordale

    Aidalis Saul was having a good day. He had cleansed his way through the last few villages, and it was enough to put a spring in his horse's step, and the pride back in his shoulders. Though his face was concealed by his helmet, it was obvious to all who saw him that he was in a good mood from the way he smiled, the way he tilted his head. The muffled whistling of some name-less tune that came from his helmet. The drizzle didn't seem to bother Aidalis as he went about his way. He peered up at the sky through the eye slits in his helmet. The clouds were dark; greys and blacks; charcoal and dust. But then, there was light, blinding light. A comet of white light surged across the sky, and in the distance, he saw a lightning clap from where it must have fallen - blinding rays of bright light. It glinted across the medallion around his neck; making it shine a true gold - instead of the just like brass. There was a thundering sound, the thundering of war drums and destruction - a thunder that Aidalis knew all too well for him to mistake it for rain.

    The knight tilted his helmet with a metallic grating. He was intrigued. He'd heard of falling stars before - one had landed in his own home country, Igris, when he was just a boy of six. They had found a pile of feathers at the base, silver and shining, undamaged by the heat that had surrounded the crater. The All-Father had dedicated the site as a holy place; a site that the Gods Who Are Many had touched with one of their angels. They had built a great chapel atop it; a white temple with shining stained glass depicting angels and demons locked in battle; with the angels succeeding when the Angel of Conquest, Nathaniel - one of the few angels whose name was known to the races of Man - standing atopt the toppled prime evil; Bel. He had walked past those windows every day for fifteen years, when he was accepted into the church of the Gods Who Are Many to train as a All-Brother. His title had changed throughout the years. He was now known as an All-Sword; one of the few of his kind. As a religious man, Aidalis felt a sense of intrigue, stirring in his stomach at that flash of light.

    He egged his horse on, and began to head towards the horizon.

    When he reached the horizon, there a crater - a rocky outcropping that had not been there before the star had fallen. He knew this because the carin that had once marked the road was toppled, and had smashed the grass flat, instead of the shrubs and grasses growing around it. He dismounted from his horse. The huge black draft horse began to idly munch at the greens; a relatively subdued personality for such a grim looking stead carrying such nefarious cargo. Aidalis began to clamber over the rocks, sliding down to the crater base without much grace - his bulky robes and armor made grace quite impossible. His eyes darted behind the protection of his helmet, keeping an eye out for feathers. What he found, however, was far more than feathers.

    A girl - a lovely girl - lay in the basin of the crater. Her dress clung to her in just the right way, and her light hair hung around her face with such an elegance - such a beauty. Her eyelashes were long and thick. Feathery down fluttered through the air before settling at the base of the crater. A curious round hoop was resting some feet away from the beautiful girl, but Aidalis had only eyes for her. It was only then that he realized that he was standing on a bed of feathers. The girl had wings. And he had trod on her feathers. He quickly began to position himself so that his sabatons would touch barren earth. He knelt down next to her, his broadsword's scabbard scraping the ground with a grating sound, and he rested one of his gauntleted hands on her shoulder.

    His soft voice murmured to her: "Wake up." It was a gentle series of words, but strong; firm. He very gently brushed a piece of brown hair away from her face, a strangely tender gesture from a man who had murdered half of Cordale only a few miles and hours past.

    • Love Love x 1
  3. ((I think you and I will have a beautiful rp together. The way you write is my style I've just never met anyone who was gutsy enough to write out anything like that fully. I hope you'll bear with my measly replies. ))

    Kieara was unconscious upon impact. The fair skinned maiden lay in her bed of down with the drizzle dripping on her. The cool sensation of the rain wouldn't allow her to slip into a full unconscious state, but rather one where she could faintly hear things around her.

    She heard metal. At least she thought it was metal. There weren't many uses for the substance in her area of what had been her home in heaven. She continued to listen to the heavy clanking and scraping as it drew closer and closer.

    She heard it pause, then she heard scraping and dirt and rock moving as something moved near her. Had she made that big of a hole on her impact? More importantly what was coming into her hole with her?

    If it hadnt been for the large crater signaling a crash the down bed might've been rather comfortable. Her wings were intact but injured heavily and stained with the red ooze he was so familiar with. The feathers on the wings however glowed with a soft omniscient glow that seemed to come from within them and gave them light. Her halo, the strange ring he'd seen, did the same.

    She felt cool touch her arm. It was enough to make her eyes flutter with the effort of trying to open to see what had touched her. She heard words. Strong masculine words. It was a man. Once she finally made her eyes open the first thing she seen was a large dark blur
    Above her. Reaching up to rub her eyes her vision cleared a bit. She looked to see a metal man.

    She was silent for a long while pondering over the wonder of what she believed was a metal man. She'd never seen anything like it. An air of innocence surrounded her. One of curiosity and naivety. She looked back at him for a long while then spoke. "Are you a metal man?" She asked curiously. Her voice was silky smooth and soothing. Perhaps the most pleasant sound known to man. Of course the angels voice wasnt known to man until now.
  4. [​IMG]

    Donegal | Year 1307 | Outskirts of Cordale

    Aidalis was a religious man. He was an All-Sword, a sword guided by the heavens themselves. He had knelt next to his brothers in the Temple of St. Rhamiel; consecrated on the holy ground of a fallen star, just like the temple in Igris had. There were only ever twelve of them; twelve All-Swords, each devoted to the cause of righteous fury, enacting the parts that the Gods Who Are Many and all of their angelic host could not. The human cruelties that the All-Sword religiously engaged in were the beginnings of true deliverance. Aidalis had been told this when he was a young All-Brother, admiring the All-Swords in their peaked red hoods and glittering gold and brass armor. Of The Twelve - what his order was referred to, within the hierarchy of the church - he only knew three of the others. All-Sword Isiah; who had given him his amulet. All-Sword Ezekiel, who had clothed him in red wool. And the master of their order - Salathiel the Wielder. Every Wielder had been named Salathiel; they gave up their name when the became the Wielder, taking the name of the first Wielder.. It was said that they had all wielded the sword of an angel; who had come down to the world of men to bestow this sword upon the first Wielder, Salathiel, in the Year 1. There had been years before that, of course, but before those years the Gods Who Are Many had not shown their grace.
    Aidalis did not think that even Salthiel had ever seen an angel - no angel had been ever seen since the Year 500; when the Prime Evils of the Enemy had dragged an angel from the heavens - gutted her and tortured her, corrupted her until she was just like them. The Twelve had tried to stop the evils from their mad quest - but it had be all for naught. They had failed, and the angel reined now with the evils of the world - a queen amongst the damned. Unlike the Angels who were far off and distant, so pure that they were never seen; the Enemy showed their face regularly. There were nine prime evils in the depths of the Abyss, and their hordes were a scourge across the world. But there were countless angels - never seen, never known. And there was an angel infront of Aidalis, stirring at his touch. He smiled at her, behind his helmet, but the gesture was lost, hidden behind fullplate and full-helm. His gauntleted hand moved from her face to offer her an open palmed hand - an effort to help the angel to her feet. A cold, stormy breeze made his red robes flap in the breeze like the banners of his church. His gestures were cautious, tender. He bowed his helmeted head with a creak of metal.
    He spoke again, his voice even softer now. "My lady - I am merely a humble servant." His tone held a soft reverence in it, a piety that had not existed before. Only now, was he truly understanding. This angel - this girl - she had never seen a man before, not the crude workings that the Gods Who Are Many saw fit to form. His eyes, however, watched her from behind his helmet. He was studying the lines of her dress, the curves of the girl's body. He watched the rain dampen the black fabric that had encased her small form; causing the fabric to cling to her skin. His hand remained extended, as he rose to his feet, head remaining bowed; in study and respect. Dark thoughts ran through his head - images of angels pulled to pieces, of girls ripped to shreds. Of wings - broken, like birds in gilded cages. "We must get you safe." He said softly - not wanting this to come across as a command. Who was he to command an angel? No-one. Such a thing would be against every oath that he had taken, when he joined the Twelve. But there were dark forces in the world, and an innocent angel - a virgin in a sea of sin - could not possibly hope to escape them. Not by herself.

    Elsewhere | The White Room

    In another place, there was a room; made of what looked to be pure white marble. Pools of water lined the walk-way up to a magnificent, horrific, throne. Bones made up the arms and the seat, held together with sinew and blood. The back of the throne was made of flesh, stretched across iron barbs, and the padding on the seat - where a lesser lord would have a velvet cushion, were the tissues and bodies of what had once been men. Delicate cutout workings of human skin depicted a host of winged humanoids, pushed into the depths of a flaming maw on either side of the throne's back. Jutting from the back were cruel spears; with ebony skulls impaled on them. Blood dribbled down the edge of the bars; though the skulls had clearly been there for some time. Sitting in the chair was a hooded man. His robes stood out sharply against the gruesome; whiter than white. His hands were neatly folded in his lap; wearing golden gauntlets. His armor was golden as well - a gold so gold that it even shown in this dark place. Wings unfolded from his back, draping their tendrils of light across the arms of the throne - more like spun silk than anything that could truly fly.Resting at the hem of his robe was a long glaive - which seemed to be made of light, rather than any true material.
    A creature approached the throne. In its hand, it held a mace, with three skulls clinging with the remnants of flesh - larger than any human's - embedded into it. Soft echoes emanated form the weapon. One skull was laughing - the other was content - and one was sobbing. The creature's face was a bony mask; orange light emanated from places that must have been its eyes; and its mouth looked like a forge, rather than any sort of human facade. However, this bony-plated face was flanked on either side, where its cheeks should be, by the face of two beautiful women, their faces contorted in total agony. Immense, tumour-like horns grew from its head, and it was clearly stooped from the effort of holding its head up. It had no wings, but instead was covered with sickeningly orange growths that housed small, child-like skeletons. It dragged it's mace against the ground, causing a trail of fire to follow it in its wake, as it approached the throne. It bowed its head to the hooded man, holding its sword infront of it, like a knight taking a sacred vow.
    The hooded man did not rise, but instead, tilted his hooded head, and rested it on one of his golden gauntlets. He spoke, and his voice was as pure and clear as a silver bell, lacking any definition of gender or age. It was a calm, controlled voice:"You have seen her."
    The creature nodded its head, one of its immense, clawed hands tightening around his many-face mace. The hooded man let out a sound that could have been a sigh, in a world where sighs came in the sound of fluttering wings, brushing against a series of chimes. The creature spoke once, and its voice was like thunder, a rolling sound drum - the sound of rocks clanking against rocks, of a hammer in a forge: "The Salthiel had a puppet. The elohim must be delivered. Before they reach the Basin." The creature's eyes glowed with an infernal fury, and one of the faces of the women that graced his face let out an ethereal scream while the other degenerated into ghostly sobbing. The mace slammed once against the alabaster floors, and flames licked at the glaive of the light on the ground.
    The hooded man let out a soft laugh; like the chants of priests to their gods. "We must have patience, Turagath. The elohim shall not reach their destination. They may be in the grasp Salathiel's puppet; but what fear does One of the Twelve present?" One of the golden, gauntleted hands opened at the palm, and from the fingers came a radiant, golden light. "The puppet is a Man."
    The faces of the creature's cheeks let out a simultaneous scream; and it echoed throughout the white room; it was the scream of true terror, true horror. The sound a woman would make when confronted with absolute fear. The golden eyes in the creature's face burned - embers flying from the sockets. The monster spoke, and his voice had a sort of pleasure in it. "As you command, King of All Kings."
    The man in the white hood leaned back in his chair, watching the skeletal embryo's on the creatures back become smaller and smaller as he left the room by the way of a massive black door. The floor was covered in flames from the monster's massive bulk - a trail of inferno that he had left in his wake. The hooded man reached out a hand; and the glaive shot into it. He held it like a staff; like a conquerer, bent on conquest.
  5. Kieara listened to him. He still hadn't answered her question. Having never seen armor or a human man before, she was perplexed, but all at the same time intrigued. She wanted to see his face. It was something that confused her further. Why would he wear such a heavy suit made of what she was certain had to be the most durable of iron?

    She took his metallic hand and helped herself to her feet. The feathers on her wings that had fallen out fell to the ground and once there rested losing some of their glow that surrounded the woman. The blood ran from her wings and dripped off the tips as the rain wet them and washed them clean of taint. Her hair darkened a shade or two and stuck to her face much as her clothes had prior.

    She felt pained.... Pain? What was pain? she'd never felt it before. In her sanctuary of heaven, it was rare when they felt an ill emotion or feeling. Tis why it was heaven. A place without such things as pain or agony. She winced and her face curled up in the physical strain of the negative feeling. "Oww...." she uttered not really knowing the meaning behind the word. It just hopped out of her pink lips when she felt the heaviness and unpleasant grips of pain.

    She spoke yet again her voice like a melody. "It....hurts? move..." She said. She sounded uncertain about the word hurt. She knew what it was supposed to mean, but because of her lack of feeling pain or unpleasant things, she wasn't sure if she'd used it correctly. She moved along behind the man staying close to him. "safe?" she asked him. "What is there here to harm me? We are on earth are we not? the place my lord designed for humans?" She asked. She didn't believe that there would be anything harmful in the land her creator designed. There couldn't be right? Of course there were always demons to muddle things up.
  6. Aidalis took in the girl's shape; studying her as she pulled herself to her feet. She was so small; so much smaller than him; a towering and broad man of six-foot-and-four. He felt like if he he was to touch her too roughly, she would shatter into a hundred pieces, like the smallest and most fragile of birds. She was hurting, though, and an angel in pain was the most beautiful thing that Aidalis had ever seen; the contortion on her face, the newness of the sensation. Pain was the way to see the face of the Gods Who Are Many. He had been beaten within an inch of his life when he had joined the church - the All-Father of Igris had hit him with an leather flail, braided to lend it heft. By the end of it, sparks had flooded his vision, and he could feel the touch of the Gods Who Are Many. Aidalis had wept, certainly, he had wept hot and bitter tears that had streamed down his face like a falling star - but he understood why this violence was necessary. Without it, he would never have known the truth; the Gods Who Are Many can only be felt through true suffering.

    Though some part of him knew that he shouldn't touch her, he rested a hand on her shoulder, gently, while the other held her hand, gently. Aidalis knew that angels were not to be touched - they were remote, untouchable creatures from the unknowable heavens, but he could not stop himself from touching her. She was so full of questions - so full of pain. He wanted to help her in whatever way that he could, but he had no skills with healing; he was above all else a warrior - a sword in the darkness. He did not know how to care for a creature of such grace and beauty. He would only harm her further. And she moved with him, he guided her to his horse, helping her over the craggy edges of the crater that she had fallen into. The black stallion lifted its head, and stared at the girl. It too, bowed its head to her, as if acknowledging the girl's otherworldly prescence, and her status. Aidalis shifted his hands from the girl's hand and shoulder to touch her narrow hips. The touch was gentle, tender. There was a brush of his gauntlet against the curve there - a touch that lingered for a little too long. Aidalis knew that was wrong. He knew that he should not, be he did. He would then attempt to lift her, placing her on the back of the horse; who would only stand obediently as this action was performed.

    Aidalis then began to remove his red-cloak and cowl, leaving only his full-plated self. He offered the heavy wool cloak to the thinly dressed angel; the wool was warm, despite being damp. It would be too big for her, of course, but perhaps she could drape it over her shoulders, around her tiny body. Her words were so uncertain, so unknowing, but they rang in his head, and he was certain that he would remember them until he too was in the embrace of the Gods Who Are Many. His metal face stared around the landscape, glancing down into the depths of the crater. A dozen or some long feathers formed a nest at the bottom of the crater - Aidalis could only hope that they would be taken away by a bird for their own nest. His own saddlebags were too full to carry anything more; but in the wrong hands, those feathers could be dangerous. In the wrong hands, any piece of anybody could be dangerous. The Twelve knew that, above all others. Once the angel was in the saddle, Aidalis mounted his horse as well, sliding up behind her. He slipped his arms around her, to grasp the reins infront of her small body. His gauntlets were pressed gently against her ribcage, but not painfully. He dug his heels into his horse's side, and the horse began to pad away; a walk, for now. He didn't want to cause her further injury by egging his horse on further.

    As they rode, he began to answer her questions. "You have been injured, my lady. Your fall has harmed you." His eyes, behind his helmet, studied the tousled edges of her wings, inspecting the injuries that she had suffered. It was all he could do not to brush his hand against the injuries, but he kept his hands firmly on the reins. "This is the kingdom of Donegal, my lady. A land that was blessed by your masters, the Gods Who Are Many." Aidalis did not wish to tell her the sad tale of the angel who had come to the world in the Year 500; and had been twisted and contorted beyond recognition into a monstrous demon; one of the Prime Evils themselves. He had read the account of the angel in the Book of Voice; penned by the immortal sage Malachi.

    'And the angel of the faith; sent by the stars
    Fell into the darkness of the earth;
    The King of all Kings defiled her
    Her wings were broken
    Her crown was shattered
    She grew to love her domination
    And darkness sprouted in her heart'
    -Voice of Despair 5:8

    Aidalis managed to speak, and his voice was soft, gentle. "There are many who seek ill to things that are beautiful and pure. The Enemy always seeks to destroy that which is loved by the Gods Who Are Many. But do not be frightened, my lady. The Twelve will keep you safe from them.' His voice took on a lighter tone; "What is your name, my lady?"
  7. Kieara didn't mind his touches. She actually enjoyed them. Angels were creatures who were pure, and they weren't permitted contact with other beings. Not even their own kind. It was so frustrating at times, but it was a measure to protect their purity. Some contact, such as the contact involved in love making was considered to be pure, that is, if it was from one man to his wife and no other, and they were truly in love. It was considered pure. It was also considered to be a pure action when a husband and wife did so to bring forth a child into the world.

    Marriage family and children were three things that Kieara had never known in her life. She was of age, but she had been an angel. She hadn't had the chance to know such things. Until she was now on earth. Now she had that chance, but the question is what the result would be if such things happened. What would the resulting child or creature be like? A half human half angel? It would be blessed with unthinkable power. Or would the term be damned with it?

    She climbed out of the crater after listening to his words. It made sense. Humans felt pain, so on earth why wouldn't she? She dealt with it and let him lift her onto the horse. She smiled as the new warmth of the over sized cloak covered her. "It's really warm and fuzzy." She commented pulling it around her happily. Her wings were covered by it all but the tops of them which stuck out just a bit.

    As they took off, she watched as her halo drug along the road behind them. It was an extension of her, a part of her, and it was part of her life source. So as long as she was relatively healthy, it would follow her wherever she went. It rolled like a wheel following them, trying to return to the top of her head where it rightfully belonged. She giggled melodiously at it. For some reason it appeared comical to her. "My halo is following us." She informed him.

    She tilted her head backwards as if she was looking to the sky to look at him. "My name is Kieara. What is yours?"
  8. Now that the girl seemed somewhat comforted; Aidalis egged his horse forward. The stallion began to gallop, leaving the white halo to speed after them in their wake, as the horse's hooves kicked up dirt and grasses. Aidlais glanced over at the halo as it spun after them, the circle of light illuminating the gloomy path. It was helpful to have that little bit of light, but the All-Sword had gotten used to traveling under the cloak of night. That when he did his best work. He wondered if the angel could smell the sticky, acidic, sweetness of the saddlebags, and if she was curious enough to look. He hoped that he was not. His role was one of necessity, doing what was needed to keep the forces of the Prime Evils at bay. Sacrifices had to be made, and if those sacrifices had to be taken by force, the Twelve would do what needed to be done. In their last moments, each of the people that now were the contents of his saddle bags had known a pain more exquisite and sweet than any of them ever had really deserved. In their final breaths, each of them had seen the thousand faces of the Gods Who Are Many.

    Aidalis adjusted his hands on the reins, causing the side of his armored forearms to brush against the girl's side. He felt a tightness in his chest, and a sickness in his head when he touched her. It was shame, he suspected. She was an angel - she had never known Man. What must she think of him? Ever time he touched her, he must have been spreading his filth, his human sin and disease to her. The Gods Who Are Many had almost destroyed humanity, once, when they made their presence felt in the Year 1. They had sent down their entire host of angels and began to cleanse the earth. But then a sole angel saw beauty in the flawed face of mankind, and gave the first Wielder of the Twelve their sword - and had instructed him to rid the world of sin, to prevent humanity from ever becoming so foul and polluted as they were in the Year 1. The Gods Who Are Many had smiled with their unknowable mouths, and blessed the Twelve as the safeguards of humanity, the angels on Earth. Perhaps it wasn't so awful if he touched her. Aidalis was far from the filthiest of humans; the Twelve were paragons of morality. The All-Voice was not even as pure as they; may he forever speak the Voices of the Many. He leaned forward slightly in the saddle, bracing himself as the horse galloped on, causing his chest to brush against his cloak, and by extension, the angel.

    Kieara. What a pretty name, for a pretty girl. It had an otherworldly exoticness to it; something that sounded like a heroine from the deepest pages of the Book of Voices. There had not been many female leaders in the Church - but the ones that had existed had been such exemplars of good and purity that Aidalis could not hope to compare. He transferred the reins to one hand, and then reached out with the other to touch the robes that Kieara was wearing. He reached out, and tugged the cowl over his head; she looked absurd. A tiny girl face peeking out from beneath the tall peaked cowl of the robes. It would keep her dry, though, keep her hair from getting any more wet than it already was. He smiled, though the gesture was lost behind the front-plate of his helm. He breathed out her name, the word slightly muffled beneath the heavy steel plate of his helmet; "Kieara." It was as if he was savouring the word, tasting it. Aidalis cleared his throat, speaking once more in his clear, soft voice; "I am called All-Sword Saul, my lady." He added, with a lilt in his voice, "But you may call me Aidalis."

    Aidalis slipped both hands back on the reins, his gauntleted arms steady against her slim sides. They passed another carin along the green hills as the miserable drizzle continued. "I am taking you to the city of Gaul." He murmured. "We will find an All-Sister who can take care of your injuries. Are you still in pain?" His voice was concerned, but it had a certain strange warmth; genuine care and worry that was disguised with strength.
  9. She felt him pull the hood over her head and couldn't help but smile. It made the moisture wick off and kept her dry. She liked the feeling of his steady arms at either of her sides. It kept her from falling off of this.....thing.....What was that thing? The thing they were riding? It was pretty, she liked it. But she knew not what it was called. Human things seemed so foreign to her. It was alive. That much she knew. It was a creature. Of what kind she did not know.

    She listened as he told her what he could be called. She smiled. "Aidalis." she spoke his name as if tasting his name for herself. "I like your name." She complimented to him. "Aidalis?" She asked with a child's curiosity. "What is the thing we are riding on? I do not know what it is." She spoke wishing for knowledge to satiate her craving mind. She seemed so preoccupied with such unimportant things. She hoped it did not bother him.

    She did not seem to fear the road ahead. Of course, she knew not how dangerous it was. She hadn't experienced danger before. She didn't seem scared at all, but she did not yet comprehend the horrors that they would greet along the way. Answering his question, she spoke. "I do still feel pain, but it is not as intense now." she explained to him.

    "What do I do down here on earth Adalis?" she asked again seeking guidance. This man had to have been sent to her for a reason. Perhaps one that her lords had told him. "What is my purpose?" she asked. "Will I go back to heaven someday?" she asked him knowing not the answers herself.
  10. The town of Cordale was getting farther and farther behind them, and as far as Aidalis was concerned, that was a good thing. There had been a lot of blood spilled, there. From innkeeper to serving girl, to stablehand to farmer, they were now secured, deep within his saddlebags. The wax paper that he had stuffed the bags with would hopefully keep the former villagers from leaking out from the seams. In Gaul, at least, he could buy some more bags. His draft horse was capable of carrying a far heavier load than just this knight, these remainders of people, and this angel. Aidalis wondered how much Kieara weighed. She had felt so light, so weightless when he had lifted her. He was used to heavy lifting. Dragging corpses through their towns was not an unheard for affair for a member of the Twelve. Sometimes examples needed to be shown to the small folk. Otherwise they would not understand the wrath and glory of the Gods Who Are Many. Many villages near the capitals had become used to the late night visitations by the Twelve, and would paint a nine pointed star on their doors with a mixture of goat-blood, iron fillings, and salt. That was the sign that there were godly men and women inside, and that they should not be touched by the Twelve's All-Swords. The village of Cordale had not understood this, though, and Aidalis had to find the heathens himself. The governor of the province would be pleased that the city was purified. Aidalis hoped that the boy had delivered his message promptly and correctly.

    The girl's sweet voice launched him out his thoughts once more. She liked his name; his name that had come from the church. Aidalis Saul was not his birth name. Aidalis was, Aidalis with no surname. But when he was christened as a member of the Twelve, he had been given the surname of Saul. Each of the twelve members had a preassigned surname. Saul, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, David... The list went on. It was intended to disconnect them from their previous lives and remind them that they were now holy agents of the Gods Who Are Many - who did not live human lives. They never saw their parents or family after they took their vows in the Temple of St. Rhaemiel. Whatever wives or children that the All-Sword had never saw their husband or their father again. That was not to say that they were celibate. They were not; they took what they wished, and it was often freely given out of fear and respect. The only one of the Twelve who was to remain pure, always, was the Wielder. He had to be an innocent - one who had never known the touch of a woman - and who had undergone the Ritual of Cleansing. The ritual was secretive - Aidalis did not know what it entailed. None did; save for the All-Voice. They, the All-Voice and the Wielder, alone knew the circumstances of the ritual, and never shared it with anybody, sworn to secrecy. Aidalis suspected that even Salathiel had a real name, hidden, and tucked away. He could not even imagine what it might be.

    He leaned forward a bit more, feeling the brush of her wings , cloaked under his robes, against his chest plate. It was a reassuring feeling, a comfort. As he leaned into her, he closed his eyes, certain of where the horse was going. The stallion was sure footed and true, and would lead him to where they needed to go. He was savouring the moment, an angel in his arms, and the satisfaction of a nearly completed Cleansing. The ritual was never pleasant, but it had to be done. For the good of all the world, to keep the Prime Evils back, it had to be done. Thank the Gods Who Are Many that it was nearly over - he should hate to think that the angel would have to see that, as one of her first experiences with mankind. It was the very thing that kept her kind safe. Man protected angels, and angels protected Man; as Aidalis saw it. He shifted his weight on the saddle.

    They passed another rocky outcropping, another group of hills. Aidalis murmured out answers to her questions, only hoping that his words would suffice; "He is a horse, my lady. He is called Malak." He reached out a hand to brush his horse's mane, fondly - but it was bobbing and was always a little out of reach, the pace of the horse's gait was keeping the mane always a little out of reach, unable to grasped. He settled for pulling his hand back, brushing it gently against Kieara's right knee, before replacing his grip on the reins. "I do not know why the Gods Who Are Many have sent you, my lady. We will go to the All-Speaker in Gaul. Perhaps he will give us some guidance." Behind his helemt, his lips twitched. "I am sure you will be delivered back into the arms of the Gods, one way or another."
  11. She was not aware that she had a much bigger purpose and that if one tried to send her back it wouldn't not be quite so easy to accomplish. She smiled at his answers satisfied with them. She was silent for another long moment letting her mind wander about the other new and strange things going on around her. Adalis seemed to be kind enough to answer her questions to the best of his ability.

    After some while of riding, she spoke again. "Adalis, why do my gods make the heavens weep onto your land? Are my questions bothering you?" She asked him self consciously. She was afraid he'd be angry with her many questions and wonderings. She couldn't help it though. An innocent mind was a curious thing.

    She smiled when his hand touched her knee and she reached out placing her hand on top of his gauntleted one to hold it. To have some sort of contact with this large metal man. It was comforting. And she liked his touch for some reason unbeknownst to her yet.

    She remained silent pondering more questions to ask him. Like what his job here was. If her gods were good to him or not. If he got to experience the pleasantries that she had in heaven by his obedience to her gods. As it was said in their book obedience was rewarded. She could only hope he was given what his heart desired.

    Should she have to witness the violence death and bloodshed of this man it might change her image of him. She came from a pure place and it might be so disturbing to her innocence that she wouldn't be able to bring herself to understand it. She had no idea what a shock she was in for here on earth.

    Her stomach began to twist at itself. A weird almost empty feeling filled it. She came from a place where no one knew any needs. No one knew any sorrow. Hunger was foreign to her. "Adalis I think I may feel pain in my stomach..." She mistook the feeling. "It feels empty and uncomfortable."
  12. Donegal | Year 1307 | Outskirts of Cordale

    Aidalis glanced up the sky; staring at the rain that was still falling from the sky in drizzles and drops. It made a pitter patter of rain against metal; rolling off of his pauldrons. There were always a collection of clouds that stretched across the sky, but it was said that there had been a time when the sky had shown clear and bright; deprived of the permanent cloud cover that now stretched across the sky. The cloud cover had rendered the citizens pale and bloodless; and their crops limp and lifeless. Root vegetables were the most common of the foods consumed, and thin, gamy meat. They had never known anything else. She was hungry, and he could understand why. He could only imagine what it must have been like, in the days prior to to the Year 500, when the first angel had fallen, the one that had become part of the Prime Evils. The Gods Who Are Many had turned the sky dark as they wept bitter tears for their lost angel, the one who had gone astray, and they raged against the world of Man, who had let their wayward angel descend into total darkness.

    When Kieara pressed his hand against her knee, he felt a shudder go through him. Man was impure, tainted. Evil men, the Enemy of the faith had helped the Prime Evils get their hands on the last angel who had fallen to earth. He was not such an impure man as the agents of the Enemy that worked day by day to spread their diseases on the world. But he had impure thoughts, just as any man did, was not so pure. That is why there were Pain-Tasters. That is why there was the Cleansing. Because Man was sinful, and man was flawed. Aidalis' hand lingered on her knee, brushing the tips of his gauntleted fingers agains the edge of the fabric. Behind his helmet; he closed his eyes, thinking of all the touches he had given throughout his life, and all the touches he had. Nothing came close to an angel; touching that which had been closest to his Gods. He thought of terrible things, dark, dirty, filthy things. A sick look, a hand up the dress; the thought of her without her dress. Angels. Angels who had never seen a Man and knew nothing of what horrors this world had to offer. She was so like a child. So innocent.

    At her question, Aidalis was lurched out of his thoughts, and opened his eyes "The Gods scorched the sky, when one of your Sisters was lost." He murmured. "They wept bitter tears for her, and now, they remind us often of how Man failed to save one of their Children ; an angel who had come to us, that we had not taken care of." He tilted his head with a mechanical grating. There was a smile in his voice, a levity, "Your questions do not bother me. I am your servant in all things." He meant it, too. In all sense of the word, he was dedicated to her. He had to be, for he was an All-Sword, and she was an Angel. At the mention of pain in the stomach, he laughed once, not to mock her, but at the fact that hunger was such a novelty for her. He patted her knee once, and then, began to rummage in a saddlebag close to the front of the horse. This was the bag of practical goods, positioned near the saddle so that he could get at his essentials without having to show his precious and unsettling cargo.

    From his saddle bag, Aidalis produced a handful of white mushrooms; soft, meaty. Nutrient rich; albeit a bit tasteless. He handed a glove full to her, offering it to her. "You are hungry. Eat. These will help restore your strength, my lady." He bowed his head to her, and continued to gallop forward, down the road, to the city of Gaul, where Aidalis hoped that they could find some answers. He needed to know what he should do with her. The Twelve would need to protect her - but he did not know how they could. Aidalis would not be able to live with himself if this girl, this lovely little girl, met the same end as the angel that had fallen so many centuries ago.

    Donegal | Year 1307 | Outskirts of The Cloven Woods


    A grim sight awaited them as they entered into the territories surrounding the city of Gaul. Aidalis's horse came a stop at the sight of a narrow corridor of trees that had been hewn at the centers; refurbished into a crude structure, a frame for the handiwork of some vile monster. The masterpiece swung in the center of the frame; two humans strung up by the neck. Aidalis cringed, and kneed his horse in the sides, flicking his reins once. As they passed beneath the swinging corpses, he was able to get a better look at them. The man wore the distinctive red-peaked robes of a priest of his order. They were torn to shreds, and the All-Sword could see that his visible skin was covered in cruel lacerations from what must have been a serrated knife. The other, was a young boy; probably a young boy of the church, just learning the ancient words. Or a squire to some hedge knight that had once taken arms to protect the city of Gaul. The boy was shredded in a similar manner, and from inbetween his legs dripped a sticky, black substance that Aidalis dared not consider. The ground was stained a deep dark red, amongst the otherwise grey and green landscape. There was a roll of thunder, like the starting of the drums of war.One of Aidalis' hands instinctively leapt off from his reins and wrapped gently around Kiera's middle, holding her close to his heavily plated chest, his forearm nestling just under her breasts. His helmeted ad was lifted upward, staring at the mutilated bodies as he passed beneath them.

    He murmured to her, his voice strained, "Close your eyes, my lady. Do not look." But he knew that it was in vain. She had seen the ugliness of the world, something dark and terrible that the Enemy had to offer. There was no doubt in Aidalis' mind that this had been the work of the Enemy of the Gods Who Are Many - the Church of All. There were dark cults in the world, things that worshipped the Prime Evils and hoped to see them succeed. They expected to feel impossible pleasure and pain; but the truth was that such things are only possible through the love and discipline of the Gods Who Are Many. He muttered, more to himself than the angel before him, a prayer. In truth, it was a hymnal that he had sung when he was a mere boy , learning the sacred words in the Book of Voices. His mutterings gave way into softly sung prayers. Aidalis' voice was elegant, yes - he had been trained in music when he had been young, when he had been only a devotee to the Gods Who Are Many. It was quick, though, the All-Sword clearly wished to pass this desecration quickly, but still wished to honour those that had fallen.

    "Give rest, Gods of All

    to your servants with your host,

    where sorrow and pain are no more,

    neither sighing, but life everlasting.

    Your thousand immortal hands,

    the creator and unmaker of all;

    We are mortal, formed of the flesh

    and to your flesh we shall return.

    for so you did ordain when you created us, saying,

    ‘You are blood and to blood you shall return.’

    Aidalis bowed his head, and his horse began to trot past the site of desecration, the site where a man of a the faith and a very young boy had met their final deaths. His eyes, behind his helmet, stared straight ahead. Through this mostly destroyed wood was the city of Gaul. Once they passed this forest, they would be near Gaul - but this forest was dark and haunted. The ghosts of the Gaulmen lurked amongst the demolished trees; and the Enemy polluted them and bent them to their will. The Cloven Woods, it had been called, when the Gaulmen had fought their war against the first demon invasion, in the Year 501 - the last time one of the Prime Evils had ever walked the earth. It had been the angel, the one who had been pure. Her wings had been massive and cut like broadswords - reducing all of the trees to nothing more than petrified stumps. There was no life here, not any longer. There were only the vile cultists of the Enemy, and the spirits of the Gaulmen who had seen the face of evil, the creature that had called herself the Heresiarch, who had once been beautiful, who had once been a girl like Kieara with innocent eyes, who had seen no monstrosities ; but now, she had. She had seen swinging bodies, and Aidalis could not spare her that.

    #12 Sir Basil, Aug 26, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2013
  13. Kieara knew not of his tainted thoughts. She didn't know what tainted thoughts were. She did know that she felt safe with Adalis and that he made her feel secure. She knew she was protected. And she liked his contact. She'd never knew the touch of a man. But unbeknownst to them it was written in her future. She nor he knew this only their gods knew what was in store.

    Kieara listened to him laugh and tilted her head to look at him confused. When he explained a light pink tint stained her cheeks. A slight self conscious embarrassment filled her limbs. "Oh....I am hungry." She spoke. Mostly to herself to try to memorize all these new feelings she was encountering.

    She watched as he reached into the saddle bags. She payed not attention to which one he dug into. She was just curious as to what he was going to produce from it. When he pulled forth the tiny things she looked at them and laughed. "They're soft and squishy and funny looking." She observed as she held them and inspected them.

    She popped one into her mouth. The taste wasn't so bad. She chewed on it for a moment before swallowing and repeated the action with the rest. Her belly felt better. She smiled feeling satiated for now.

    She turned her head to look and see her halo was still trailing them. She smiled. "Perhaps at our next stop I could retrieve my halo?" She asked him. She didn't wish to trouble him to stop when they had such a good pace going into their journey.

    As they came upon the forest her tiny pink lips parted. She'd never seen such a horrible sight. She couldn't find words and she began to shake. Tears came from her eyes at the horrors and dropped down her cheeks. She was silent. She couldn't think of anything to say.

    When he told her to close her eyes and placed his arm around her she did just that. She closed her eyes and turned her head so that it rested on his shoulder where she felt safe.
  14. When the girl nestled into his arms, into his over-ready embrace, Aidalis, more by instinct than anything, encircled her. His horse continued to walk on, quietly. He dared not gallop through this forest - speed would draw attention to the small band. Aidalis held her in his arms, feeling her small, soft form. One hand moved gently down her back, patting her there to comfort her from the horror that she had seen. His other hand, they one that had wrapped around her mid-section, transitioned to holding her at the hip, to prevent her from sliding off of the horse as she shifting in the saddle. She was so small, however, that Aidalis rather doubted that she could slide off from merely a change in position within the saddle. Nevertheless, he did not want his fallen angel to go astray in the leather seat. The hand that had touched her back moved up to stroke the nape of her neck, where the heavy, peaked cowl began. His voice was scarcely above a whisper, but it had not lost the honey sweetness, the assuredness, that it always had. "Do not open your eyes until I tell you to, my lady." His hands helf her tight, arms folded firmly around her. His horse padded on through the Cloven Woods.

    The bloodstained ground stretched further infront of them, a ghastly trail of red amongst the green and grey woods, beneath the turbulent dark sky. Aidalis sat like a true man of metal on the back of his horse, his arms folded around the angel protectively. There were too long of shadows in the woods, there were strange lights in the distance, like embers that had been stirred up from a long dead fire. The Gaulmen had succeeded in their war against the Prime Evil, the Heresiarch, but the price had been high. They had to give up their flesh to protect the prison that she dwelt in, hidden deep beneath this very forest. Demons still lurked in these woods, killing indiscriminately, lost without their shepherdess. They had gifted the Enemy great powers, powers over the ever-watchful spirits of the Gaulmen. Magic was given by the Prime Evils - and was perverting the way the simple, good life in Donegal. Aidlais remembered the cabal of the Enemy's cultists that had tried to interrupt last year's Cleansing. They had been destroyed, of course, but they had woven black magics into corpses, fueled by demons. Angels had magic too, he knew - but he could not imagine what it was. Whatever it was, they did not share it with mankind. Some of the small folk believed that it was because the Gods Who Are Many had given up on mankind, that is why they did not share magic. Aidalis knew the truth; magic perverted men into becoming like the Enemy.

    Whatever magic Kieara held, it wasn't for him. Aidlais was happy to just hold her, and dream his dark thoughts as they passed through the skeleton of a woods. There were more corpses strewn across the road. The smell of blood was thick in the air, a heavy, humid feeling that stuck in the air. Flies were buzzing, making the incessant humming of creatures in feast. White maggots crawled in and out of the eyesockets of the dead, all mutilated in the same manner as the ones that were hanging above them, when the small band had first entered the forest. In the dim light provided by the halo, Aidalis could see the trace remainders of features on their faces, identifying marks. They had all been men and women who had used these woods; members of the Church of All who came to see that the spirits of the dead were at peace, hunters that were out to find birds and other game that munched at the sparse grasses in the shade of the towering, branchless trees. Aidlais caught more than one red cloak, and more than one nine-pointed star identical to the one he wore across his neck. His horse's hooves made an unpleasant squelching sound on the ground; like the stallion was trotting through fat. Aidalis' hand tensed on the clump of flesh that made up the girl's flesh, not painfully tight, but a tensing. He didn't seem to notice the action.

    Aidalis tried to reassure her, his voice clear, loud over the buzzing. "We will be in Gaul soon, and you will be safe." He glanced around, his helmet clanking, as he looked across the field of bodies. A battle standard was planted into the ground. The standard was blood red, with an argent tree emblazoned on it. It was tattered, burnt at the edges. It was planted into a pile of human heads; men, women, children. An albino rat was scuttering through the carnage, and in its mouth appeared to be a severed human ear. Aidalis made not sound, he simply shifted his hand from Kieara's hip, which only now did he notice he was holding so tightly. His hand moved to grab at his reins once more. He snapped them, spurring the horse on. The horse's pace sped to a gallop, spirits be damned. Aidalis leaned froward, his chest brushing against the top of Kieara's head, the hand not grasping at the reins was firmly around her. There was a thundering in his chest, his heart was racing. Something was wrong in Gaul.
  15. Kieara kept her eyes closed. She had no trouble there. She didn't want to see anymore. What she'd already seen was nearly too much for her tiny heart to handle. She stayed close to his chest her eyes shut tightly as her tiny form shook with fear and sorrow for the people who'd perished. She had salty tears dripping from her tiny chin and hitting the ground as they went. Where it hit though was a nasty hiss, one that signified something pure would surely perish here.

    It also almost seemed a sign of purity that would prevail. As her tears hit the ground and the halo following them emblazoned a trail behind them, the carnage and sea of blood parted its wake and in the spots left bare grass would begin to grow fresh new and green. It showed that this place would not always dwell in the darkness with any luck.

    The tiny girl sobbed in the man's arms for the lost and wept for their suffering. She leaned heavily against him not daring to open her eyes until he told her to. The smell was so overwhelming that she couldn't possibly imagine what the site before her would look like. And frankly she didn't want to know what it looked like. She had had her fill of bad sights for today.

    As the horse picked up speed, so did the halo following the two. Soon it was beside the horse matching its gait. It Bounced here and there along the gravel road whenever it would meet a hole in the ground or a rock jutting out. It remained as pure and clean though as when it must've rested atop her head.
  16. [​IMG]

    Donegal | Year 1307 | Edge of Gaul

    The horse came to a stop at the edge of the fractured woods. Before them should have stood the proud city of Gaul, the ancestral home of the Gaulmen. Gaul had been the site of many great events over the many years. The Gaulmen had rebelled against the All-Church in the Year; preferring instead their pagan deities. Their druids, as they called them, said that the Gods Who Are Many were merely an aspect of their single god and goddess couple; Ciarán of the Horns and his wife, Mara. They had waged a long and bloody war against the Church of All, and in the end, the Gaulman's High Father and High Mother had renounced to their pagan sins, and had become Saint Ciarán and Saint Mara. They took the names of their former deities, when they allied with the Church of All, to show that the Gods Who Are Many encompassed all; that all pagan deities were merely sad imitations of the grace of the Gods. The Gaulmen had then become strong allies of the Church; though that had strange arts and rituals that did not tie in with the traditional gospel of the Church of All; the Gaulmen had remained strong in faith and conviction. They hunted whoever kept to the old beliefs in the town, whoever had turned to Ciarán of the Horns or Mara, rather than their saintly equivalents, and administered the traditional punishment for heresy; Death by a Thousand Cuts. This execution was administered so that the heretics could perhaps, through the beauty of pain, see the thousand faces of the Gods Who Are Many. But in the Year 501; when the prime evil walked the earth, the Heresiarch, she had attempted to seduce the Gaulmen's proud hearts, tempting them with earthly pleasures to turn to their pagan beliefs once more. But they had pushed back the Heresiarch, making the ultimate sacrifice to imprison her deep beneath the earth, and save their city from the abyss-spawn that had threatened them. They were a hardy folk. They had seen much suffering. They withstood.

    But before Aidalis and Kieara should have stood the proud city of Gaul. What was there instead was not so proud, was not much like a city at all. It was a deserted town, with cracked cobblestones and half-charred buildings. Ravens fluttered around the town's main-street cawing out loudly, their beady blakc eyes curiously watching their visitors. The banners of Gaul hung in tatters from their posts. The carts that had once sold mushrooms and bird meat were toppled, the goods inside ravaged and ruined; strewn across the cobblestones. The thick smell of smoke hung in the air, burning at Aidalis's nostils and lungs; though his helm offered some protection. He clutched Kieara to him, as if this action would protect her from the smoke. Embers and coals, some still glowing, lay scattered at the horse's hooves. Most of the houses deeper within the city seemed intact, and Aidalis could still see the spires of the Temple were intact, some warmth glowing from within; the stained glass windows still had light behind them. That was where the must go; the night was coming, and with night came terrors. And only in the Temple could Aidalis learn what must be done with the angel that was pushed up so close to him. He snapped his horse's reins once more, and the stallion began to pad into the nearly silent town; the clacking of hooves and the cawing of the ravens the only sounds echoing through the air.

    But then there was another noise; a wet slapping sound, like a fish slamming against rocks. It was the sound of running, of running through puddles; and soon enough, a man rounded the corner. He wore tattered red-robes, a large peaked hood flapping around his shoulders. Like Aidalis, he wore a golden, nine pointed amulet around his neck. His feet were bare, and were a dull purple that stood out sharply against his snow white skin. His face was thin and sallow; and his eyes were the colour of freshly tilled soil; a rich red-brown. But those eyes held no compassion, no drop of warmth. They were hard and filled with fear, watering at the overly pink corneas. In his arms was a weapon that Aidalis had seen and felt many times before; a flail made of nine woven braids, the weapon of a brother of the church. As the man ran up to the small band; he brandished his flail, but then - he seemed to realize who the two were. He lowered the weapon to one of his robed hips, and his dark eyes widened. He continued to approach the group, with the cautious fear of a deer approaching a wolf, uncertain of whether or not it would be eaten or set free. Aidalis nodded once to him, and offered the church-brother a greeting, hoping that his words would provide the man with some comfort: "Gods of All bless you, brother."

    The church brother bowed his head quickly, and glanced over his shoulders, scanning his surroundings. His voice came out as a choked whisper; "They haven't - " The man's eyes glanced at the pendent around Aidalis' neck, and the red cloak that the angel was draped in. He was taking note of them, indexing who this man was, and his authority. A flicker of surprise crossed his features, before it faded into fear and horror once more. "-All-Sword. You must get-" Only now did the man of the Gods seem to notice the wings protruding from Kieara's robes, the feathers that gleamed dimly in the darkness. His eyes snapped to the shining circle that had followed the group, the halo that had once been on Kieara's beautiful head. The brother's mouth formed a small 'o', and he said hollowly, his voice ringing with disbelief, sheer wonder. "An angel." He went down on his knees, hand pressed together. The brother was overcome, muttering over and over to himself, a prayer to the Gods Who Are Many:

    " Thou wilt show Thyself merciful; for the Gods of All will deliver us;
    Thou wilt show Thyself pure; and with the froward Thou wilt show Thyself froward.
    For Thou wilt save the afflicted people, but wilt bring down black looks.
    For Thou wilt light my candle; the Gods of All will enlighten my darkness."

    Aidalis removed his arms from around Kieara, and slipped off of the back of his horse. He then reached up to encircle her waist and back with his arms once once more, pulling her gently down from the horse. His hand gently brushed against the small of her back once, the intimate space of spine between her wings. Aidalis then turned to the brother, mechanically. He rested a hand on the brother's shoulder, segmented gauntlet's tightening on the man as his grasp became more firm. "All-Brother. You must take us to the Temple." The brother looked up meekly, and rose to his feet. The brother stole glances at the angel, red-brown eyes tracing the lines of her body beneath the robes. The brother's hands knitted infront of him, and he offered the girl a shy smile, but his eyes were lost in her, lost in lust. There was darkness in him, and the All-Sword could see it. Men would be tempted by the angel. Man was so flawed, so imperfect, that they would feel the desire to defile something so perfect. So innocent. Aidalis growled once, and reached out to grab the man's chin, smashing it between thumb and fingers. "Brother. Take us to the Temple. Now." The brother let out a meek whimper, and the All-Sword released his face, a grimace rising behind the plates of his helmet. As soon as the brother was released, he began dashing in the direction of the Temple, his bare feet hitting the ground with a damp slapping sound.
  17. Kieara didn't dare to open her eyes. He had not told her it was safe yet. She had managed to stop crying, but at least the next horrors they would see wouldn't be quite as horrible as the ones already passed. She remained still her eyes closed as they slowly entered the town of Gaul. Kieara heard the strange pitter patter of ones feet and fear jumped into her being.

    It was a strange sour feeling. It felt one of the foulest tastes of sour in her mouth she'd ever experienced. Her heart felt like it was coming out of her chest, and when she saw the man round the corner brandishing a weapon a gasp escaped her lips. She turned her face into Adalis' chest gripping the man lightly with one hand thinking maybe if she didn't see what was to come it would protect her. The footsteps stopped. She slowly turned her head to look and see what had happened.

    A man, fearful looking, stood before them. She slowly loosened and looked down as her halo rolled up beside of the horse and stopped falling onto the earth with a soft ringing sound as it lay flat now in rest. It didn't appear harmed. That comforted her. Her halo was part of her and it was part of the source of her power and life.

    As the man stammered and fell before her on his knees she was confused. She did not understand why she held such a powerful impact on this man. She did look and watch Adalis though as he dismounted the horse and he pulled her off gently as well. She smiled as she now stood again. IT felt better to stand after all the riding.

    She strode over seemingly gliding gracefully upon the ground to her halo, but stopped. She saw that the man was staring at her. She didn't understand why. Perhaps he wanted her to greet him. "Um...hello?" She asked questionably. By the time she had though Adalis had already spoken to him twice and taken up his chin. She stooped down picking up her halo and rose her arm to a few inches above her head. She dropped the ring and it dropped a couple inches, then it levitated and centered itself among the top of her head floating about five inches from her hooded head.
  18. Aidalis glanced behind him at Kiearna, seeing the halo floating atop her head. He supposed it was only a matter of time before her nature was revealed, and the halo on the head seemed to signify that there was no way to keep her a secret. She would be watched as she walked through the huddled masses of Man; women would wish she was their child and dream of her grace, men would wish that they could have her every which way. He would have to watch her too; to make sure that her innocence wasn't further violated. Even her stammering hello rang with beauty that did not exist in his this mortal world. He padded up to her, and knelt down infront of her, so that he was closer to her, more at eye-level with her. He put his hands on her shoulders, a much gentler touch that he had used on the All-Brother who had given her those looks, looks that warned Aidalis of the dangers and sin that the world of Man had to offer. He bowed his head, once, with the tell-tale scrape of armor, and then he lifted it once more, looking at her. She was confused, she was uncertain, of what this world was, this world of darkness and fear. She had come to a terrible place. Aidalis could only hope that the All-Father of Gaul knew what to do. They had ancient texts dating from the times of the first demonic invasion, an account of the first angel to have fallen. These old works would offer him guidance. They would instruct him on how to prevent Kiearna from falling in the same way.

    But how could she fall? He couldn't imagine her falling. She was too young, too beautiful, too pure. But the other who had fallen must have been young too, beautiful and pure. Aidalis shook his head once, banishing those thoughts. He had to focus, he had to help her. She would not be able to survive in Donegal on her own. It was a dangerous world, and she could fall into the wrong hands, been seen by the wrong people. The Enemy could take her away from him. "Kieara, you must be brave and do exactly as I tell you." He told her gently, but there was strength in his voice, a voice that should belong to a commander, or king, a dashing knight, a voice that did not belong to a man who harvested organs. He shifted one hand away from her shoulder and offered it to her, a huge hand, compared to her dainty ones. "Take my hand, my lady. Stay very close to me. There are very dangerous things in the world, even in Gaul." He breathed out, the sigh muffled within his helmet. "I know I told you that we would be safe here, but things have changed. You will be brave for me, won't you?" The hand that was still on her shoulder rubbed the fabric gently, an encouraging sort of motion.

    In the distance, smoke was rising. It framed the dark silhouette of the Temple's tower. Thunder churned again, making the distinctive roll of drums once more. Lightning crackled in the distance - the electric blue-white of light from heavens. The rain was getting heavier. What had began as a miserable drizzle was becoming heavier and heavier. The cargo would get soaked; and nothing in Aidalis smelled worse than the stendch of this years Clensing marinating in blood and rainwater. The ravens had gone, he noticed. There was no more cawing, no more loud protests of bird-cackling. The smell of wet ashes began to fill the air. Mercifully, it would only be a short walk to the temple, where there would be a roof over their heads, shelter from the storm, a change of clothes, and perhaps some information about what evil had befallen the land. Aidalis had come here before, months back, when he was first beginning to the Cleansing, when his saddlebags were empty. It had not looked like this; the streets had bustled with men and women coming and going. Children played in the streets, and their loyal hounds followed them along. But now, it was empty, deprived of life. Aidalis returned his attention to the girl, hand extended. He followed up his instructions with the soft inquiry: "You do trust me?"
  19. Kieara looked up as he came over to her. She stood still and offered him a smile. She tried to lighten his mood. She could tell by his previous reactions that this place was not what he had expected. To hear him talk he'd expected much more. A great city or some sort of town strong and bustling with people when instead they were greeted with shells of its former glory. She found it a strange comfort though. This place was a much more pleasant sight compared to that one back in the forest.

    As he kneeled in front of her, he only came to a few inches shorter than her. She looked down at him and listened to his words. Bravery....she was so frail tiny and naïve. Bravery was a concept that she had trouble conceiving. But she would try. She would definitely try. She nodded at his words. "I will try to be brave Adalis." She told him.

    His hand on her shoulder made her feel comforted. When he was nearby she felt safe. He didn't look at her strangely as the man had, and he didn't brandish weapons and scare her. She felt secure. "I do trust you, very much." She told him. "You make me feel safe." she admitted with another award winning smile. She took his hand and jumped a little as the thunder and lightning sounded. "Those sounds are frightening, and it is cold. May we make our way in?"

    She was also without shoes on her feet. They had little need for them in heaven. Her feet were becoming cold and uncomfortable.
  20. Donegal | Year 1307 | Gaul

    Aidalis smiled to her, but the smile was lost behind his helmet, as were all of his expressions to her. He rose to his feet, with a clank of greaves and sabatons. He looked her over once, the only suggestion of the action was the slight movement of his helmet up and done. She had no shoes, much like the brother of his Church; he recalled his engorged, purple feet, gone numb and hypothermic from the cold and rain. She had been relatively safe from cold and rain, nestled into his arms, wrapped in robes. But now, her situation was much more precarious. When she laid her small, slender hand in his, her perfect little hand, his other arm encircled around her back, holding her at the base of her ribcage. He lifted her up. He was surprised about how light she was, but he supposed that he shold not be. She was so delicate. So soft and small.

    Aidalis gently shifted her in his arms, until he was carrying her like a child, about to be rocked back and forth in the security of a mother's arms. He tilted his head over his shoulder and let out a sharp, albeit muffled, whistle to his horse. The stallion obediently took a few steps forward. Aidalis cleared his throat, and said flatly, firmly; "Follow." The All-Sword then began moving, moving with the girl in his arms, one hand wrapped directly under her smooth legs, the other was gently tucked beneath the small of her back. He could not help himself from brushing his hand, gently, against the side of her thigh; a delicate, fluttering sort of touch. Such a touch was not meant to sate, or to disturb; the touch had been one of comfort, one that Aidalis would have labelled as a invitation. But Men are wicked. And the touch had been wicked, in its way, for it was an invitation of corruption. Of the end of purity. Aidalais was disappointed in himself. Succumbing so easily. He shifted her again in his arms, moving enough of his red-robes over her legs to avoid the temptation once more.

    The All-Sword began to move through the town. It was ruined near the front of the town; buildings were reduced to shanties, the streets were ripped up at the cobbles. But further within the city, the buildings were less damaged. Even a few citizens peered at them from behind the heavy glass panes of their house, children with their noses pressed against panes watching the pair. Some pointed at the angel in Aidalis' arms, but their mothers or older siblings quickly pushed their hands down and said words that read as harsh, even without the vocal elements of it. Aidalis' heart lifted, though, to know that the town wasn't completed deserted. The buildings around the temple were almost entirely undamaged. It seemed that the holy place had taken the brunt of the attack; a hole had punched through the southern wall. The All-Brother from earlier was standing at the door, and as the man, angel, and horse approached, he pulled the doors open. Aidalis strode inside.

    Gaul | Temple of Saint Ciarán and Saint Mara

    The temple was in a state of disrepair. Pews had been converted into crude shelters, where families were grilling mushrooms over small fires, made of burning cloth. There was a bustling of activity when they first entered; women were busily themselves with the preparations of food for their families. Children were arranged in a circle floor, where one of the older boys was telling them a story. Aidalis caught snippets of it as they moved into the foyer of the church; "And then, All-Sword Ezekiel brandished a sword of light - and smacked the Prime Evil right outta the sky! Her wings --" But his story stopped there. When the real All-Sword and the real angel in his arms entered the temple hall, there was a silence that descended upon everyone in the hall. Hundreds of eyes, brown, blue, green, all turned to Aidalis and Kieara. Aidalis began to gently set the angel in his arms down, making sure that this time, she did not fall.

    From the altar at the front of the room, a grand-affair with stained glass windows representing the city of Gaul, and the Gaulmen, came a man. He wore red peaked robes, as Aidalis had, with a golden nine-pointed star around his neck. His shoulders, however, were adorned with heavy, golden armor and the pattern of the nine-pointed star, the symbol of the Church of All, was emblazoned across his curriass. The man walked forward with the clank of armor; his robes were hemmed upwards to show golden greaves; heavy sabatons that made his steps shake. In his hand was a staff, with the same star at the top of it. It had clearly been made of the same wood that had been part of the Cloven Wood, years and years ago, when it had been a real wood. He wore a thick, russet beard, and had long red hair, as was common amongst the Gaulemn, that had been tied in a long braid that hung over one of his armored shoulders. He approached the All-Sword and angel, his staff scraping the ground, and bowed his head low.

    His voice was gruff, but filled with warmth. His words, however, were addressed to Kieara, who he watched from beneath his strong brow; "My Lady of Light." He murmured. He then continued on, "I am your humble servant; All-Father Bolar Cethleen. You are welcome here, elohim." He swept her a low bow, with a clank of armor and the shifting of heavy red wool. The hand with the staff gestured the long length of wood towards a similarly robed woman standing on the side. She quickly bustled up. Aidalis eyed her through the thin eyeslots of his helmet. She was in the later stages of middle-age, likely in her late forties, and had a plump, Her hair was a greying red, and tied back in a severe bun. She met the eyes of the angel, and her eyes were filled with sheer wonder and affection, a softness around his sharp, intelligent green eyes.

    Aidalis cleared his throat. "I need guidance, All-Father." Bolar lifted his head, his brown eyes turning to the helmeted, metal-man. Aidalis continued; "Lady Kieara and I will both need a fresh change of clothes; and information." The All-Father smiled, his eyebrows knitting on his forehead. He stroked his beard once. "Clothes first. Then we will talk. I will need to bring the books, up from the depths. Things have changed now that a Lady of Light is with us." Aidalis snorted decisevely behind his helmet. Lady of Light. It was an old holdover of the Gaulmen, dating back to when they still worshipped their pagan couple; when she had been a god, Saint Mara had been the Lady of Light. She had supposedly been the most beautiful woman in the world, and glowed with motherly light. Aidalis could not imagine a lady more fair than Kieara. The title of Lady of Light fit her better than it had ever fit Mara.
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