Chapter 1

*Fifty Years Later*

I unfurled my wings, black as ink, and cast an envious glance to the bustling street below. Ignorance truly was bliss, and when it came to mortals I couldn't help but hold a fair amount of contempt for them. It must be sometime near Christmas judging by the half a foot or so of snow that blanketed the ground below. Most of the people carried colorful wrapped packages that they had no doubt bought at any one of the boutiques that lined the street.

The soft sound of feet landing on snow sounded from behind me and I sighed softly, turning half way to glance at the undesired company. Giselle retracted her wings and rolled her shoulders back, smiling at me as she strode toward the ledge I sat on. I turned again and sighed, looking across the landscape to the mountains far beyond the small town. Beyond that there was nothing as far I was concerned.

"I love this time of year," Giselle said as she cleared her own place on the snowy ledge and sat, "The happiness and excitement almost makes me forget about war."

"I never forget," I said softly.

Giselle had found me soon after I had fallen, misreading my black wings and mistaking me as one of her own kind. She was a demon, a wanderer, looking for a purpose in life. And figuring that I'd be her saving grace, she nursed me back to health and brought me up to speed on everything I needed to know about being Fallen. As if I needed a memo.

"Honestly," She frowned and set her chin on her palm supported by the arm on her thigh, "You're a downer Adrian. Why don't you get into the Christmas spirit for once? Try to forget."

"Forget? You must be joking. Forget about the disgrace? Forget about the pain? That's insanity, I'll never forget. You haven't the slightest conception of what it is to be Fallen."

Giselle brushed off my arrogant comment as if I had never said a thing and I sighed.

"Forgive me," I murmured, "That was really rather rude. I apologize."

"No need. I only came to see you because I was afraid you had run off. Not that I would really blame you. I guess I'd just be lonely." She smiled half-heartedly, "There's a rumor going around. Cyrus may step down and that means the end of the war."

I snickered, "My brother? Give up his power and risk losing? Never. He's not that type of Angel. He isn't that holy."

"You're entitled to your own opinion Adrian. But honestly at this point stepping down would be pointless. There's no one to take Cyrus's place, and not only that, but The Fall is inevitable. Lucifer is simply counting down the days until the tables turn. And at this rate, with thousands of Angels dying for the sake of this war, their race may become extinct."

"The Fall?" I wondered aloud. Of course I had heard of the infamous Fall of Heaven just after God cursed Lucifer to damnation. But something like that was on such a massive scale, it nearly destroyed the world then. If demons ever had that sort of power again…

Giselle made a sweeping motion with her hand, and a T.V screen looking window appeared in front of us. She tapped three times on the blackness, and like a shade rolling up, it revealed the fiery scene of The First Fall. Angels were positioned in the upper right corner, iridescent wings unfurled as they clutched their weapons. Some of them dove toward the demons lining the bottom of the window, and there seemed to be thousands of them. They screamed like banshees and knocked my ancient ancestors out of the sky effortlessly.

It was The Fall when Angels were at their weakest. It took millennia for my former kind to regain their power and rise back up again.

"You're too young to remember," Even Giselle looked on with sadness in her eyes, "But this is the darkest time in Angelic History. And thanks to your brother it's destined to happen again."

The window disappeared and we both sat in silence, trying to retain what we had just seen.

"This war is bigger than just the Fallen and the Angels. It's only a matter of time until the Demons take over again. And when that happens, this world will go to shit." My fist clenched and my wings began to tremble.

"Adrian…please. Don't do this to yourself." Giselle reached for me but I flinched away.

"He's my brother Giselle! He has single handedly destroyed Heaven's reign, and he will continue to drive Angels to extinction." I stood, my body temperature rising, and stretched the blackness that were wings.

"Where do you plan to go?"

"I have to find Daniel. I don't know what he'll do, hell I don't know what he can do, but I can't allow this to happen. I won't allow Cyrus to destroy everything this way."

I leapt from the ledge and beat my wings, heading east. I'd pass those mountains in the distance, I'd cover every inch of this world if I had to, but I would find him. Heaven's only hope for redemption was for the Fallen and Angels to join forces and fight the Demons together.

There was a flapping beside me, another pair of wings. They were gold, shimmering under the light of the moon, and because of the intricate designs and holes that had been carved into them Giselle had to beat twice as much to compensate.

"I hate long distance flights," She muttered.

"Then why did you come?" I beat my massive wings once more and looked over at her as I glided through the air.

"Like I said, I'd be lonely without you. And hell, it's not as if I had anything better to do. I've always wanted to meet this infamous Daniel…"

I only smiled and arched back, heading up higher toward the moon. How I wish I could touch it…

"Adrian?"

I dove back down to her level and continued to glide, "Yes?"

"You never told me the story of how you became one of the Fallen, yet I see the pain everyday in your eyes. It was a woman wasn't it?"

I remained silent and brought my hand up to trace the collar clasped around my neck. It was cold, like it always had been, and I remembered.

It wasn't long after I had fallen, I sought to visit Sabrina again and went looking for her in the night. But when I was finally able to find her home, she had vanished. There was no note, no sign of her, and no sign of a struggle. The room she had once considered a prison was barren, empty of the warmth she once gave it.

It looked as if she had never been there, never existed at all.

"I've spent fifty years wondering what became of her." I whispered finally, removing my hand from the collar, "She was taken, I'm sure, soon after I had responded to my summons. There was nothing when I went back for her, not even a sign that she had once existed. She was going to trail in high court, and they would decide if she was an Outcast or not…I just hope she wasn't murdered for her potential crimes."

Giselle was silent now, and I could tell that she regretted ever asking. But in a way she had a right to know. She had spent everyday with me for the past fifty years, and never understood the true source of my bitterness.

"I'm…Adrian…I'm sorry." She spoke gently, as if my story had wounded her.

"Me too Giselle…me too."

We flew then together in silence. And for the first time since Sabrina, I was able to trust again.

Copyright © 2013 by Alisa Palmer

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