The night was dark; the air carried a foul odor. The wolf grimaced at the scent, his lip curling back over his fangs. His ears swiveled, catching all of the sound around him. There was no one in sight, he was safe. He crept silently into the fortress, slinking low to the ground. The building was eerily quiet, unnaturally so. The place felt chilled, and the wolf shivered. Ignoring his instincts to flee, he stepped up to the reason why he had come: the dagger. It shone with intense, ethereal light. The blade was long and perfectly sharp. Magic emanated from the weapon in sickening waves. Hesitantly, the wolf's dagger-like teeth closed over the dagger. He backed up swiftly, slicing his paw pad against the icy cold stones. He whimpered, and before his courage left him, fled, leaving a trail of sticky blood behind him.
Jem bolted upright, automatically snatching up his dagger. Without pausing to think, he threw it. Bright light pierced his eyes, and he blinked restfully, raising a hand to block the light and a possible blow.
A laugh sounded from in front of him. "You missed, tough guy."
Relief flooded through him; he recognized the voice. "Ainu, don't do that! You scared me!"
She leaned closer to him, lowering the flashlight. Her face was angular, like a cats. Red hair curled gently around her shoulders. With her bright wings, muscular build, and stunning looks, she really did look like an angel.
In truth, she was half angel. They all were. Every person Jem knew had angel blood running through their veins, had unique, super natural powers. They were amazing warriors, teachers and artists. They were called the Dishner, and he was proud of who he was.
Shooting Ainu a glare, Jem sheathed the dagger she had handed him, and rolled out of bed. "What did you wake me up for?" he asked.
Ainu sighed. "Everyone's to report to the main entrance. Something's happened."
Jem frowned, disturbed. "In the middle of the night?"
Jem turned, reaching for his t-shirt, and frowned. Nothing was there. He scanned the room. Where could it have gone?
Ainu's tinkling laugh sounded behind him. "Turn around."
His favorite black t-shirt was floating in front of him, seemingly of its on accord. As he scowled and reached for it, it moved just out of his grasp.
Jem shot Ainu an annoyed look. "Stop messing around.
Ainu had the ability to move objects with her mind. It could be a deadly and dangerous weapon, but she mostly used it to annoy and tease.
She grinned, snapping her fingers, and the shirt fell into Jem's outstretched hand. "Get dressed."
Jem rolled his eyes. "Hilarious. " He yanked the shirt over his head and flung open the door. "Let's go see what the heck's going on."
The fortress had one main meeting room, at the center of the building. Swords were crossed over the entrance. Light sparkled off the blades, sending shadows dancing across the walls.
Ainu stepped closer to Jem, the light painting her skin an odd color. "Shall I or shall you?"
"I'll do it. " Jem reached out, placing his palm against the blades. Icy energy shot through his hand, and he shivered. It made him feel incredibly alive. He closed his eyes, drinking in the powerful sensation. His wings trembled, electric power tingling through them. Drawing in a deep, Jem whispered, "In the name of the Dishner and the angels, I ask entrance to the-"
With a grating screech, the blades parted, revealing a circular room. Jem and Ainu stepped inside. Hundreds of Dishner lined the room, each wearing the same grin expression.
Thoughts whispered in the back Jem's consciousness, and he opened his mind up to them; every Dishner was telepathic.
Jem leaped into the air, gliding over to the far side of the room. "what happened?"
Sam, whose special power was control of the elements, laughed bitterly. "Think I know?"
Jem shrugged, deciding against saying anything. He knew better then to have a conversation with his friend when Sam was angry.
"Attention!" A voice roared over the noise, and Jem turned his attention to the center of the room.
The oldest Dishner in their order, Rinu, had stood. "At exactly two AM this morning,: He said his voice resonating through Jem's mind and ears. "Our ceremonial dagger was stolen."
An audible hiss rose from the crowd. Beside him, Jem felt Sam shaking. He glanced at his friend. Fire was spitting from Sam's hands, and his face was set in a snarl
"Cool it." Jem muttered.
"We our not sure how this occurred, it should have been impossible for anyone to break in and steal the dagger," Rinu continued. "The only evidence we have is a trail of blood."
Blood? Jem shivered.
"We need three of you to lead an investigation." Rinu said, eyes sweeping the assembled Dishner. "We must get out dagger back.'
The ceremonial dagger was used when a Dishner reached adult hood, and it was used to bless them with the power of all the angels. This blessing would strengthen their powers and sharpen their senses. Without being blessed by the dagger, a Dishner was considered weak.
Jem exploded off the ground, spreading his wings. "I'll go."
Sam shot up after him. "I'm coming too."
Ainu's voice hissed in Jem's thoughts: You so are not keeping me out of this, tough guy.
Jem grinned and shot back, Wouldn't dream of it.
Ainu rose up to join them. "Count me in."
Rinu's eyes twinkled. No doubt, Jem thought, he was thinking of all of the other adventures the three best friend's had managed to entangle themselves in. "So be it. Guard each other's back. Be careful, stick to our code, and use your powers well. May the blessings of all the angels go with you." He clapped his hands, sending them back down to the ground. "You leave tomorrow."
"So, what would someone want with our dagger?" Ainu asked the next day as they walked down the street. "I mean, what would they use it for?" Without giving her companions a chance to answer her questions, she continued, "Well, first we must look at the evidence. " She snorted. "Blood. How helpful. The guy stole a powerful, angelic weapon, manages to sneak out and into our fortress, and then just has to blow the whole thing up by cutting himself with said dagger. Nice."
Jem grimaced. He was uncomfortable. His wings were concealed and contained in a t-shirt. He longed to slit holes in the back and allow them to expand. He shot Ainu a warning look. If she didn't keep quiet, they could get in trouble. "Keep your voice down," He breathed.
Ainu rolled her eyes as she tossed back her red hair flamboyantly. "Oh please, no one is going to know what we're talking about."
"The enemy could be anywhere," Sam said. His jaw was clenched tight, eyes flashing. Jem noticed that his hand periodically strayed to his left sleeve, where a dagger was hidden. "We need to be on the alert at all times."
Ainu smacked him in the back of the head. "Oh lighten up and answer my question, Captain Obvious."
Jem suppressed a snicker. Trust Ainu to make the best out of every dangerous sitatition, and Sam to make the worst. He glanced around them. How strange it was out here. Everyone looked bored, or tense or angry, and they strode with clipped, strained strides. Everyone was talking on their cell phones. How lonely they seemed. Jem was used to everyone working together in harmony.
Sam shot Ainu a glare. "I don't know, werewolves?"
Ainu laughed. "Just because they're our sworn enemies doesn't mean they stole the dagger."
"Then who did?" Jem challenged, without taking his eyes off of the road.
Ainu blew out her breath in an exasperated sigh. "Oh, I don't know…This is just so frusterating." She snorted. "I mean, the only evidence and clues they could give us was blood? What are we supposed to do with that?"
"I have no idea." Jem frowned. Something was wrong. He wasn't sure how he knew, but he could tell. Their was a tenseness in the air. He shivered, and his wings pushed against the hated t-shirt, longing to be free.
Ainu stopped suddenly, her eyes unfocusng. "Do you sense that?"
Jem whirled around and went back to her side. "Sense what?" Sam was beside him, hand in his sleeve. The dagger glinted.
Ainu's eyes cleared, and her nose wrinkled. "Magic…" She gasped suddenly. "Of course." She breathed. "The blood….magic…it all makes sense now!"
"What all makes sense?" Jem demanded, thoroughly confused.
Her eyes narrowed and her lip curled. "Werewolves are close." She said flatly, her elation vanished, replace by cool, calm, determination.
Jem's careful control slipped. His wings exploded out of his back. His t-shirt tore, and they expanded, the tips brushing the top of his head.
Sam cursed. "Great low profile Jem."
Jem ignored him. A tingling sensation had started in his fingers, and his senses had sharpened. Danger! His instincts screamed. He inhaled. The werewolves were close. Could they possibly have the dagger?
Yes. Ainu whispered in his thoughts.
How do you know?
No time! Just run, they're in the woods!
Jem took off at a dead sprint, running to fast for human eyes to see as he darted into the forest. He sensed Ainu and Sam running behind him, and magic, pure, holy magic from in front of them. The dagger.
A foul stench blew in on the breeze. Werewolves.
Do you sense anything? He thought to Ainu.
She was running beside him now, wings out, red hair flying.
They have the dagger.
They. The werewolves.
Let's do this. Sam thought.
Jem grinned, fingering his knife. Let's.
A flash of movement to his left caught his attention. He leaped towards it.
The wolf was quicker though; it easily eluded him. He landed with a jolt, the impact sending numerous waved of pain through his ankles. He cursed.
Sam exploded over him, wings spread out, hands raised. He landed, flinging his arms over his head with a yell.
A tidal wave of fire reared off the ground, hissing and spitting.
The wolf Jem had been trying to catch yelped, trying to dart around the deadly flames.
Ainu leaped over the flames, her eyes flashing, her wings spread out. She landed, punching the air with her fist.
The wolf was blown backward, straight at Jem. Understanding now, he jumped up to meet it, catching it in his arms.
It fought, snarling hidieously. Jem dug his fingers into the rotten-smelling fur. His arms ached from the strain.
His friend's had succeeded in cornering the remaining wolves. A ring of fire surrounded the fight. Sam stood in the center, arms raised, coal black hair whipping in the breeze. Ainu was crouched low to the ground, her body coiled like a lioness's her knife raised threateningly. "We know you have our dagger." She said in clear, ringing tones. 'Where is it?"
Jem was panting with effort of containing the wolf in his arms. "Submit," He hissed into the creature's ear.
"Where is it?" Ainu screeched, and Sam brought the fire higher.
The wolf Jem was holding broke free with a snarl. Jem fell back against the ground, cracking his head against the hard earth. He groaned, pushing himself up.
The wolf stepped forward, its form shimmering. A man stood in front of them. He was a animal. His ears were pointed, his hair greasy and mated, his hands clenched into fists. "here's your precious dagger, Dishner." He spat, and flung the knife at Ainu.
Fast as a striking snake, Ainu's hand shot out, and she plucked the dagger out of the air effortlessly. She laughed. "Nice try." She sheathed the dagger. Then she drew herself up, she truly was an avenging angel. "Follow us. Don't try to escape, we will not hesitate to kill you."
Jem grinned at her ferocity and stood. Sam doused the fire, and they dragged the wolves back to the fortress.
The wolves were obviously uncomfortable in the fortress, Jem noted. They looked around with wary eyes, and bared their fangs.
Rinu was waiting for them. He gave them a small nod of approval, then turned his glare on the werewolves. "Where is the dagger?"
Ainu stepped forward and handed him the glowing weapon.
The elder Dishner gripped the dagger tightly. Icy energy exploded from the weapon, searing the air with heat.
Jem gasped and stepped back, shielding his eyes. The energy coursed trough him, filling him power. All around him, he felt the other Dishner join their thoughts together. He opened his eyes, and with one voice the Dishner asked: why did you steal our dagger?
The wolves coward. Their leader stepped forward. "we wanted to over through you. "
Rinu stepped towards him, his eyes flashing dangerously. "Then you are fools."
Jem shivered at the rage in the elder Dishner's voice. If Rinu had spoken at him like that, he would have been running.
The werewolf leader took an involuntary step back.
Rinu turned to the gaurds who flanked the wolves. "Throw them in the dungons."
A dismal howling could be heard all night.
Rinu carefully placed the dagger in its orginal place. Then he turned his icy gaze on the Dishner. "I do not understand how they found a way into our fortress…"
"Does their blood have magical properties?" Ainu asked. "A trail of blood was found by the dagger was it not?"
Rinu's silvery eyes widened. "Werewolf blood has transformation power, but only at full moon. If I recall, it was full moon the night they broke in."
"So they purposefully cut themselves, transformed the password to allow themselves in, and stole the dagger." Sam finished.
Jem frowned. "But how could stealing our dagger over through us? The leader said that was their motive. "
Rinu sighed. If they had covered the blade in blood, the power would have been transformed to their own power. It would have been easy for them to invade the fortress."
Jem shivered. He had not realized just how dangerous their mission had been.
"How did you young ones find them?"
Ainu beamed. "I put all the clues together. I knew the wolves blood had magical properties, and that was somehow related to the theft. Once a caught the scent and felt the magic, everything fell together." She shrugged. "Mystery solved."
Jem and Sam stared at her. "Why didn't you tell us?"
She grinned deviously. "You guys wanted to be tough, so I let you think you solved it."
Jem glared at her, "You-you-"
Rinu laughed. "Oh go to bed, you three!"
"So what do you think?"
Sam turned to look at Jem in confusion. "Think of what?"
Jem smiled. "Our little adventure."
Ainu's tinkling laugh sounded behind them, and an invisible force slammed into them from behind, knocking them to the ground and pinning them their.
Jem squirmed, turning to look at Sam in exasperation. His friend grimaced. Jem rolled his eyes. "Very funny, Ainu."
He could sense her grinning. "Oh, it's hilarious." Tossing her hair, she flounced away. "See ya."
Jem sighed. "Do you think they'll send people to look for us?" He asked Sam.
His friend grinned. "Might be another great mystery for someone else to solve."
Their laughter woke the whole fortress.