He felt the wind pass over his skin and through his jet-black hair. A pair of startling green eyes closed and with one beat of his pure white wings, he sped through the air. Below was a dense forest of the Mortal realm and he opened his eyes to look for the meeting place.

Eventually, he found it and alighted on one of the stone crosses that littered the human graveyard. The moon shone from behind his back and glinted off his scythe that hung limply in his hand. It reflected off the chains that were clamped tightly on his wrists, forever reminding him of how stupid he had been. Not that it really mattered, if this meeting went to plan, the chains would soon be removed.

He looked around but did not see who he was looking for. He scowled and reached out with his senses, trying to find the slightest trace of the person he had planned to meet. Mortal senses were not enough, he realised, and so he attempted to use those gifts that were his by right as an Angel. He scowled once again but, this time, out of pain rather than annoyance. Though he still had his abilities, it hurt to use them thanks to the cursed chains that bound his wrists together.

His eyes flew wide open as the presence of another overwhelmed his senses. He jumped off the headstone and ran towards the presence. It was strong, extremely so for him to be overwhelmed even in his weakened state, and not because the person it came from was powerful. Quite the contrary, whatever the Angel sensed was in huge amounts of pain and was on the verge of death.

After only a second or two, the Angel found the cause. A young woman, only a girl really, lay against one of the tombstones. She sat in a pool of her own crimson blood was covered in it as well. What little skin that could be seen underneath the blood was coloured by bruising and her breathing was becoming increasingly shallow.

The Angel cursed. He couldn't simply leave her there, it would go against everything he had ever been taught, but he couldn't heal her because of the chains' limiting ability on his powers. If he waited for who he was meeting, she would be dead by the time they got the chains off of him. He could try to heal her now and then wait but it would only prolong her death and not by enough to save her. He only had one option left – seeing as leaving her die was not an option – and it was damning to them both.

He made a move towards the human girl and her eyes flickered open. In the pale moonlight, it was impossible to tell what colour they were but the Angel could see that they were already starting to cloud over. She whispered a word that he could barely make out and he chuckled.

"Beautiful," she managed to say.

The Angel knew that by mortal standards, he was breath-taking. Even among other Angels he was generally considered to be a heart-throb.

"Do you want to live?" he asked her.

She nodded and with a sigh, the Angel picked up her up. It was her choice and he would have to respect it, even if that meant condemning her somewhat. He beat his powerful wings and they took off, heading towards the star-filled sky while the Angel did his best to heal her. Within a few minutes, the girl's breathing was evening out but she was still bleeding heavily and it was staining his white clothes.

She had passed out from the lack of blood and didn't see the journey they were taking. That was probably best, the Angel decided, because chances were she wouldn't feel safe at such a great height nor would she be happy about what he was going to do next.

Finally, the trees parted beneath them and a lake opened out to create a great expanse of glittering blue. The Angel suddenly changed direction, folding his wings in around him and the girl as he dropped directly into the lake's centre. They plummeted down and just as they were about to hit the lake's surface, a white light engulfed them and the Angel opened his wings once again.

The Angel breathed heavily as he looked around. There was no way to predetermine where the portal would open out but thankfully, he was no more than a two-minute flight from where he'd had in mind. He sped off in that direction, over a mountain range that was turning pinkish-red in the light of the sunset of the third sun, and finally reached his home away from home.

As he drew closer, he could see the servants scurrying around the grand, stone mansion, desperately trying to get everything ready for the Angel's unexpected arrival. In the distance he could just make out the figure of his old friend strolling out into the front garden to greet him. The Angel dropped down steadily, landing in front of his host, Luciar.

"What happened?" Luciar asked loftily, taking in his friend's appearance and that of the human girl in his arms.

"I'll explain later," the Angel said, handing the human girl to one of the servants that was fussing around him "Is Marcus here? I've done my best but she needs help."

Luciar nodded and directed the servant who was holding the human to one of the guest rooms. Half-an-hour later, Luciar and the Angel were sitting in the room as another of their friends sat tending the girl.

"….and that's how I found her, sitting there, drenched in her own blood," the Angel explained "I had no choice but to bring her back here."

"So, in short, Ivan," Luciar addressed the Angel "You've taken a human under your wing - if you'll forgive the pun - and brought her into the Immortal realm at the cost of a meeting which would have given you back the full extent of your powers. You do realise she'll never be able to go back and that you'll have to keep an eye on her all the times. Simply to prevent her from hurting herself, let alone getting eaten."

Ivan sighed, running a hand through his black hair.

"I know, but what other choice did I have?" he said.

"You could have left her," their other friend pointed out, not taking his eyes off of his patient "But I suppose, as an Angel, that wasn't an option. I don't really have room to talk though, do I? Even we Elves, with our slightly more relaxed set of morals, would probably done the same in your situation."

"Personally I would have eaten her," Luciar admitted nonchalantly.

"That's because you're a Werewolf," Ivan reminded him.

Luciar shrugged "Probably," he agreed "I wonder what she looks like under all those injuries."

"She won't be much to look at," the Elf assured them "She's only mortal after all so she'll look fairly plain compared to what we're used to."

"Don't be so harsh, Marcus," Ivan sighed "It's not as if it's the poor girl's fault she's been caught up in this."

There was silence for a while, the only noise was the crackling of Marcus's magic as he healed the human's numerous wounds. Ivan looked over his life-long friends as he waited nervously.

Marcus was a tradition Woodland-Elf; his hair, skin and eye-colour changed due to the seasons. The changes depended on the Elf but Marcus's skin-colour was always the first thing to change, then his eyes and finally his shoulder-length hair. Last month, his skin had been golden brown but now it was pale due to how close they were to Winter. At the moment, his hair was a shade of red but, like the changing leaves it mimicked, it would soon darken to brown. Finally his eyes were now always a shade of red but at the moment were probably nearer purple . To most humans, he would have looked like a perfectly normal 21-year-old guy except for his slightly pointed ears and maybe the four piercings in his right ear.

Like all Elves, he had a tendency to be rather noble and imperious. Usually, it didn't show but there were instances where he got under even Ivan's skin. The rest of the time, however, Marcus was a scholarly young man with an even temper and he was a good person to talk to in times of need.

Luciar was very different however. His perfect face would have looked no older than 18 or so to a human but his silver hair that contrasted with his tanned skin meant he attracted attention and tended to stay away from the Mortal realm. Luciar's eyes were a clouded sky-blue colour and didn't reflect the occasional blood-lust that was inevitable among Werewolves. However, blue tattoos covered his body, revealing that Luciar was of high birth among his kind even if the size of his home did not.

In personality, Luciar was fairly detached. He rarely showed much interest in anyone other than his friends and those that became his friends often took several centuries before hearing a full sentence from Luciar. He was always calm and didn't have the temper that most Werewolves did but he did often seem indifferent to matters of life and death.

Ivan himself was very much an outcast of the Angel-race who looked no older than 19 to a human. He wasn't sure what had set him aside so badly; the fact that his weapon was so large compared to other Angels; the fact he didn't seem to grieve when his parents perished; the fact that he didn't like the things that all the other Angels seemed to take such joy in doing. Either way, he had been forced to find allies and friends among other races, even some that Angels would never even look at such as Vampires and Demons.

"Do you know her name?" Luciar asked "Or even how she was injured?"

"I don't know," Ivan sighed "I can't even guess how she came so close to death."

"Most of the damage appears to be from a simple beating, you know, kicking and punching," Marcus informed them distractedly "Although there are some marks from whips and a load of cuts from sharp blades. Not swords though, more the sort of thing the average kitchen-knife would inflict."

"And all of it inflicted in one night," Ivan muttered "What kind of a monster would do that to a poor girl?"

"Actually," Marcus cut in "The majority of the bruises range from a couple of weeks old to a couple of days. There are scars all over her body so I think she's had this sort of treatment before. But I do agree, whoever did this to her is a monster."

"Well, it looks like you might have actually done the pathetic creature a favour, Ivan," Luciar commented "Let's just hope she sees it that way when she wakes up."

Ivan nodded agreement. If she didn't, things were going to be hard on her for a while.

"How many of the others are here?" Ivan asked quietly.

"Only us," Luciar confirmed "But it's not going to stay like this for long."