That's what my whole life is based on. Lies, and a bit of glamour magic to make people believe them.
I've taken on countless names and forms in my lifetime in order to protect my true identity from those who seek to kill me. I suppose it's like what humans call the Witness Protection programme, except I'm not being hidden by other people. I'm hiding myself.
Mine is a lonely existence. Being what I am, I can't get close to people, not in the human sense. Sure, I have friends that I socialise with, with whom I have many deep and meaningful conversations; I even love a couple of them. But they don't know me. Not the real me. I could never reveal my true self to a human, or to anyone for that matter. To expose my true form would bring all kinds of unwanted attention, from both humans and the other beings populating the universe.
I mean, it's not every day you're walking down the street on Earth and happen to see a woman with violet eyes, luminous skin and a wing span of four metres?
So many beings snigger at my species' gift of glamour, but I can tell you, it's a damn handy gift to have. Purple irises become brown, glowing skin becomes soft tan, and feathers are non-existent. Just one quick thought and I look as human anyone, taking on whatever features I want. I've been blonde, ginger, tall, short, slim and voluptuous, but never really pretty. My kind is a proud race, always wanting to look and be their very best, but I'm not like the rest of my kind. I find it so much easier to go unnoticed with braces and a bad mousy brown perm than looking like Heidi Klum's hotter sister. It's quite ironic really; the thing that helps me hide so well is the reason I have to hide in the first place.
Not my glamour magic specifically, but the power behind it. The strongest of my kind can change the colouring and rough shape of their natural features and hide their wings; I can shape shift into any appearance I wish. The strongest of my kind can shift anywhere on the current planet they reside; I can appear anywhere in the universe in half a heartbeat. The strongest of my kind can run a hundred metres in under five seconds; I can break the sound barrier without breaking a sweat. I am the most powerful being in the history of my species.
My name is Stellymi Zamir, and I am the Angel of Salvation, the one who was destined to be saviour of the Xarkadian race. I have been on the run for nearly two thousand years, trying to escape those who seek my power, the power that saved my species from destruction.
Too bad I don't have anyone to save me.
I was born at the end of the Third Age in Xytopia, capital city of the planet Xarkadia. My parents were servants to the royal family, an occupation I took up at the age of six. My parents always told me I their special little angel, as they had tried to conceive for years before I came along, but no one else saw me as anything other than a servant girl. No one knew the truth. Not even me.
Several hundred years before my birth, a prophecy of great importance had been made, regarding the future of our race. 'The one with the power to save the world draws near. The Angelykos Salvator will be saviour to all, blessed with the beauty, power and immortality of the Gods and cursed with a life of pain and deception. The Angel of Salvation will wander the universe in search of true love, finding their other half in the least likely of places. Peace shall only be found in bonding with their twin, mortality in the self-sacrifice for their soul mate and rebirth in the eyes of the world. '
Boys all over our world were put through aptitude tests as children to see if they were the fabled child, and those showing advanced gifts were placed in special training facilities. Being a strict patriarchal society, girls were never tested, so I grew up in the servant quarters of the Star Palace, never knowing I was the one the prophecy spoke of.
As I grew, my parents and the other servants began to notice my differences. I could remember anything anyone had ever told me, I could complete my tasks twice as fast as the most experienced servants, and I had total control over my glamour magic, something young Xarkadians didn't have.
To keep my talents hidden went against my kind's very nature, but my parents insisted on it anyway. I wasn't a show off, I just wanted to do something worthy of my talents; I hated being repressed because of my class and gender. My parents prayed each night to the Gods that I be saved from a life of servitude, but as the years passed, no answer came, and my hope dwindled. My only form of solace came in the one talent that I didn't have to hide; music.
On my days off, I would sit in the servants' garden with my harp, singing and playing until I could manage it no longer. Many of the servants would sit at the windows and listen as I played, some sat outside with me when they took their rest. When my mother and I sang together, even the Queen occasionally listened from her window. It was in the servants' garden, on the eve of my seventeenth birthday, that Gemynos changed my life forever.
Gemynos was the crown prince of the Xarkadian race, whom I saw everyday in the palace but had never spoken to. Dark haired and green eyed, he was as handsome as the Gods and had a womanising reputation to match. I watched him every day, brimming with envy as opposed to lust, as I went about my chores and he trained as a warrior. The only son of the King and Queen, he had the best of everything, was best at everything, and many of our people believed that he was the one to whom the prophecy referred. While his sisters spent their time on tea parties and sunning themselves, he trained tirelessly, and was well advanced for a Xarkadian in his mid teens. While I played my harp in the garden, I would also watch Gemynos train, memorising his moves and learning the ways of the warrior from afar.
Despite being advanced for my age, I still felt like something was missing. I couldn't pinpoint it, but I always had a strangely hollow feeling inside, like some of my organs were missing or something; I also had an over-active imagination, so thinking up reasons as to why I felt empty gave me as many nightmares as it did hours of entertainment. The only thing that made the feeling go away was being around Gemynos. I felt strangely drawn to him; I could always tell when he entered a room, just like I couldn't stop my eyes straying to him when he passed me in the hallway. He never knew I watched him, but I was also unaware of the fact he was just as interested in me; while I had been watching him train, he had been listening to me sing.
He approached me one day while I was playing in the garden, still glistening with the sweat from his training, and sat on the low wall that enclosed the servant's area. I didn't say anything, as I was not allowed to address the members of the royal family without being spoken to first, and continued to sing as if I had no audience. After listening for a while, he finally spoke up, asking me to sing for him at his birthday banquet the next day, in order to save him from 'unimaginable boredom'. I was overjoyed; I had never attended a royal banquet, even as a servant, so to be invited by the crown prince himself was beyond anything I could ever have imagined, even if it was to do a chore. He sat beside me in the garden for three hours, as we discussed our likes and dislikes, our hopes and our dreams. I had always envied Gemynos for his lifestyle, but I was shocked to find he envied me for mine. I dreamed of learning to fight, whereas Gemynos wanted nothing to do with the throne or the prophecy that people had branded him with. He just wanted a simple life, without the pressure of being heir to the throne looming over his head. The Prince had always seemed aloof and snobby when I had seen him, but I realised that he was simply unhappy with the life the gods had given him, and I could certainly relate to that.
When I revealed that my birthday was the same as his, he was strangely enthusiastic about it. He told me that seeing as I would have to suffer the company of his father's friends on my birthday, he would take me out to his training arena one day. I was totally overwhelmed by his generosity; I had assumed that he had asked me to sing as any master would ask a servant to do something, but I got the impression he was asking me as something different. I went to bed content that night, feeling like I had made a friend in the garden that day.
I was a hit at the banquet, so much so that the King gifted me to Gemynos, in order to entertain him whenever he wished. I was apprehensive when Gemynos asked me to accompany him to his room after the banquet; the drunken laughter from the nobles at the banquet made me sure there was a double meaning to the King's words, and I thought maybe I had misinterpreted the prince's interest in the garden. However, Gemynos assured me that he had enough girls to 'entertain' him; he just wished me to sing for him. He also decided, seeing as I was now answerable to him alone, that I was to call him 'Gem' instead of 'Your Highness'. I obeyed, somewhat hesitantly, but was pleasantly surprised when he started calling me 'Stella' as well. For the first time in my life, I knew I had a real friend.
Gem stayed true to his word, and the day after our birthday he let me accompany me him to his training ground. His trainer wasn't happy to have me there, but knew better than to contradict the future King, leaving us in privacy for my two hours of training.
Gem learned a new respect for me that day. He had planned on teaching me how to throw a proper punch; I had him pinned on his back in seven seconds. At the end of my two hours, I could execute all the Royal Guard's and Elite Squad's combat moves perfectly; Gem could hardly believe what I was capable of.
As months passed, we became inseparable. Instead of spending his nights getting drunk on nova juice with his friends and bedding the many girls who lusted after him, he would spend the night with me, as we talked, laughed, sang and sparred. I showed him the full extent of my abilities, including my glamour magic, and this time it was him begging me for lessons. I wasn't as good a teacher as him; I was born with my abilities and didn't know any other way, but Gem slowly improved, getting even further ahead of his peers than before. It irked me that his trainer got the credit for my hard work, but it was worth it. I was still a servant, but I knew Gem hadn't considered me a one for a long time; we were best friends.
I knew the pulling sensation in my chest whenever Gem was around me wasn't an aspect of normal friendship. When I spent extended periods of time away from him, my heart physically ached, soothed only when I was back in his presence. My mother noticed the fact that I succumbed to fits of depression when Gem and I were apart and quickly put two and two together; she sat me down and told me that one day I would meet a man that I couldn't live without, but that Gem wasn't him. Gem was to marry a woman of noble rank once he was of age, and of noble rank I certainly was not, so I couldn't let myself become too enamoured with him.
I knew my mother was right. I could never marry Gem, so falling in love with him not an option. The problem was that I was sure I already had. Just being around him made the emptiness inside me start to close over and the pain fade away, as if he was the very one I couldn't live without; if this wasn't love, then what was?
Before I knew it, a year had passed, and Gem and I were preparing for his birthday banquet yet again. The King had told all his subjects of the present he had gotten his son, boasting that its beauty was unmatched anywhere. People waited for the birthday celebration in almost hysteric anticipation, all clamouring to know what the King's gift was and to see its beauty for themselves.
No one was expecting the stunning blonde girl from the neighbouring city, presented to Gem to be his wife. No one was expecting him to refuse her in front of the whole city. And no one was expecting him to declare his love for another.
In my eighteen years in the palace, I had never seen the King so angry. In a fit of rage, he ordered me to be thrown from the palace and trespassed forever, declaring that I be killed if I ever returned. Gem screamed and wept and begged his father to reconsider, but the King refused to listen, blinded by his anger and the shame of his son falling for someone as worthless as me. I was banished to the streets with nothing but the clothes on my back and nowhere to go.
I had thought that the life of a servant was lowly, but, having never left the palace before, I had never seen the truly lower class of Xarkadia. I went from having clean clothes and three meals a day to wearing the same clothes everyday and begging just to get a few bites of food. After three days of living on the streets, I used my glamour magic to camouflage myself, and went in search of work and shelter. Taking on the name Kantryx, I found work at a high-class bistro, serving drinks and meals, where the owners generously let me board with them. At night I would get up on the small stage and sing for the oblivious patrons, many of whom threw money at my feet and asked me to spend the night with them. I declined each time, returning their money to them politely, but each night they tried again, telling me that no girl with the face of a god and the voice of angel should spend the night alone.
I quickly became something of an attraction in Xytopia; each night people would flock to the bistro, just to hear me sing, and each night I prayed that Gem would be among them. My prayers were in vain though, as I never saw the dark hair and green eyes I loved so much. I walked past the palace every morning before I started work, gazing up at his window, wishing I could see him just once. I also longed to see my parents again and let them know that I was safe and well. I would have teleported directly into Gem's room if possible, but the palace was impossible to teleport into, even for me, in order to protect the royal family from intruders. Instead I resigned myself to my new life, trying to ignore the irony of my situation; the Star Gods had finally answered my parents' prayers for freedom, only to make me wish that they hadn't.
I had no idea that things were going to get worse.
One day, several months after my banishment, I was taking my daily stroll past the castle when a man shifted right in front of me, bearing the silver shield of the King's Royal Guard. How he had managed it I would never know, for he was badly wounded and barely alive, but I scooped him up and ran to the palace, screaming for help until the servants came running. While the King was being summoned I tried to staunch the blood pouring from the soldier's body, but my efforts were in vain; the man dying in my arms. With his last breaths, he relayed to me his message for the King; his city had been attacked by warriors from another world, who were destroying everything in their path in search of a mystical power. He was the only one to escape, and had used the last of his energy shifting to warn the King. He was dead before the King arrived.
The battle sirens sounded all around the city, the signal for people to take shelter and for the Xytopian Royal Guard and Elite Squad to assemble. While the King was giving orders for protecting the city and organising his armies, more wounded soldiers from other cities were brought in, all bearing the same message; Xarkadia was under attack, and we were losing.
Many people fled to the Temple of Stars, praying to the Gods for the Angelykos Salvator to come and save them. Those who believed Gem to be the Angel of Salvation flocked to the palace, crying out for him to defeat the beings that were destroying our world. While the city was preparing for battle, I searched the palace for my parents, running through the countless chambers and screaming their names. I eventually came across a servant praying in the shrine room and asked if she knew where Pateira and Gynomi Zamir were. She looked at me with sad eyes, and told me that they had passed away not long after their daughter was banished, their broken hearts draining them of all will to live.
It was like a hole had been punched through my chest. I had been an orphan for months and I hadn't even known. I hadn't been there to light the pyres at their funeral, or to see their smoky essence spiralling towards the heavens as they burned. I hadn't been there to say goodbye.
My scream was so loud that the crystal shrine cracked and shattered. I had just wanted to sing, and it had cost me my best friend, my home and now my parents. If I had just gone about my routine as normal then they would still be alive. I may as well have killed them myself.
Hot tears poured down my face as I felt the glamour magic slide from my body, revealing my true self to the servant cowering in the corner. Her expression of fright shifted to one of awe as she crept towards me and prostrated herself at my feet, whispering 'Saviour' over and over again. In confusion I fled from the room, wanting to find Gem and have him tell me that everything would be okay. I sprinted to his room, hoping that he hadn't left for the battle yet.
I burst through the door to find the room deserted. I screamed in frustration, picking up a chair and tossing it against the opposite wall before catching my reflection in Gem's mirror. I was entranced by what I saw, slowly creeping forwards so I could see myself close up, gasping at what I saw staring back at me.
My skin sparkled like crystal, rainbows shattering off me in the sun. My violet eyes twinkled like jewels and my wings shone pure white, instead of black like my hair. Everything about me had been enhanced, from the span of my wings to the whiteness of my teeth. As I took in my new appearance, a voice rang out through the room:
"The time of the Angelykos Salvator is now."
A glowing feeling swelled inside me, smouldering across my skin, and it was like someone had flicked a switch in my head. My extraordinary talent, my desire to fight, the servant's reaction to me and my new look all clicked into place.
Gem wasn't the Angel of Salvation. I was.
I ran from the palace as fast as I could before taking flight, the rush of air reducing the burning sensation of my skin. I flew high above the city, searching for the army that was assembled to protect us from death, hoping to find them before they engaged with our foes. Unfortunately, when I finally located them, I was too late.
Half the Elite Squad was dead, along with most of the Royal Guard; only a few hundred soldiers remained. The survivors were on their knees behind Gem, overpowered by the enemy warriors, the leader of who was standing on the battered body of our King. When he raised his sword over Gem's head to deal a fatal blow, my vision turned red, power surging through me. I shot towards the ground, landing in front of Gem just as the enemy's sword swung down. I wrapped my arms and wings around Gem, bracing myself for the blow. When none came, I released Gem and turned to face the enemy leader.
His sword had halted just inches from my head, stopped by an odd shimmering barrier. He stared at it in shock and wonder, before turning his eyes on me, looking at me like he had never seen a woman in his life. I tentatively reached out and touched the shield, finding it solid but strangely fluid at the same time, and feeling an odd sort of familiarity in it. It dawned on me that I must have conjured it, though I was unsure exactly how I'd done it, or what it even was. I willed it out hesitantly, not knowing if it would obey my commands or not. It slowly crept away from me, advancing on the enemy army, who were now backpedalling fast.
"Who are you, and what do you want with our world?" I growled at them, my voice taking on a strange double timber. "You will pay for the slaughter of our people!"
"A female?" asked their leader in wonder. I didn't recognise his species from the many ambassadors that had visited the palace during my time there. His skin was brown as freshly-turned soil, with hair that was white as snow and strange golden symbols etched onto his cheeks. He didn't seem to be particularly attractive, but I was heavily prejudiced against him, due to the fact he was splattered from head to foot in the blood of my people.
He eyes roved over my body as he drank me in, giving me the same look the male patrons at the bistro would give me when I sang. He dropped his sword to the ground and knelt before me on the other side of my barrier, the hungry look never leaving his eyes.
"I am Kaos, ruler of the planet Tyn, and I have come in search of the power that rivals that of our God's. I came to steal the power for myself, but you are truly a gift too beautiful to destroy. Become my queen, goddess, and I will give you everything you have ever wished for!"
I whirled around to see Gem on his feet, hatred and rage marring his handsome face. "You will never have her!" he cried, limping forwards to defiantly stand by my side. "I would rather die than see her with you!"
Despite the angry violence of the scene, I couldn't stop the tears that pricked my eyes at Gem's words; he still loved me, and still wanted me despite everything that had happened. I blinked the moisture back and returned my gaze to Kaos, who was smirking at Gem, clearly amused by his words.
"Power belongs with power, prince! I have decimated your race, killed your King and had you, heir to the throne, on your knees at my feet. I have won the right to claim the female, and will gladly grant your wish for death!" Kaos laughed coldly at Gem, who was struggling to stay standing, before turning back to me. "Come with me, my angel; I have far more to offer you than a weakling like him. You deserve the absolute best the Gods can provide, and I am the one who can give it to you."
"ENOUGH!" I screamed, my shimmering shield shattering outwards, blasting Kaos and his entire army off their feet. I advanced on them, power building in me as I towered over the flattened Kaos and grabbed him by the throat, staring deep into his crimson eyes. "I am not a prize to be 'claimed'," I said threateningly, seeing the desire in his eyes warp into pure terror as I came nose to nose with his face. "I am Stellymi Zamir, the Angel of Salvation, and no one tells me what to do!"
The power exploded out me in waves, reverberating across the whole plane. I dropped Kaos on the ground, watching with a mixture of satisfaction and horror as he started to choke on nothing, blackened blood slowly starting to seep from his eyes and nose. He struggled against whatever I was doing for a full minute before his twitching slowed and the life slowly faded from his eyes. I stood up and faced his army, who were backing away from me in horror.
"You will leave here," I hissed, the double-timber ringing through the air. "You will tell your people that if they ever return to our planet, no matter the reason, they will face a fate far more painful than your esteemed leader here." I kicked Kaos's body over to them for effect. "Go."
The Tyns didn't need telling twice. They fled immediately, not even stopping to collect their leader's body from the battlefield. As our surviving army cheered with victory, I fell to my knees, my hands shaking with the shock of what just happened. Gem sank down beside me, taking my face in his equally-unsteady hands.
"Stella," he breathed, his tired eyes drinking in my face like a man dying of thirst. "It's really you...after all this time, you're here, it's you."
"It's me," I echoed, skimming my fingers over his cheeks in adoration, not wanting to waste a second with him. "I'm sorry; I tried to get here as fast as I could but I didn't know where you were, I'm so sorry!"
"It's not your fault," he said comfortingly, enveloping me in his arms and burying his face in my hair. "You didn't ask for this, my love, it's the will of the gods."
"I never knew," I whispered softly, clutching him as tight as I dared. "I was always different, but I never knew why." I shuddered, partly from the pleasure of Gem's touch and partly from the horror of what just happened. I had always wanted to be a warrior, to put my advanced skills to use, but now that I had done just that, I felt sick inside; I had killed a man with pure mental power, without having to lift a finger, and I hated myself for it.
"I don't want this," I gasped desperately, clutching at Gem's robe like a lifeline. "I want to live a normal life, to get married and have children, not live an immortal life of war and destruction!" Tears started to fall down my cheeks, and Gem pulled me into his arms, ignoring his wounds.
"Stella, you will get married, and have children and be happy, I swear it," he promised, rocking me gently and wiping away my tears. "I will always love you, and I will always protect you."
"Gem, my destiny is pain and destruction!" I sobbed, pulling myself away from him. "I won't make you suffer because of me. You're King now; you need a Queen who will love you and help you rebuild our world, not one who will always have death and destruction following her!"
Gem's grip on me slackened as he processed what I had just said. "You...don't love me?" he whispered brokenly, pain ripping through his eyes.
I closed my eyes to try and stop the fresh tears from leaking out, but it was no use. "Gem, I love you more than life itself," I swore, taking his face in my hands and staring deep into his eyes. "That's why I have to go. I promise I will see you again, but staying here right now will just bring more danger to you and our people." I leaned in and gently kissed his forehead, praying that he would one day forgive me, before breaking it off and standing up.
"Stella, NOOOO!" Gem screamed in agony, and I felt the pulling sensation in my chest, almost as if my heart was telling me not to leave. I considered staying with him, taking him in my arms and telling him that I would never leave his side. I imagined what it would be like to wake up to him in the morning, to have breakfast with our children...to watch him grow old while I stayed eighteen forever. I thought of the pain that my fate would bring him. I imagined telling my children to flee as they came for me. I imagined what it would be like to face another battle, this time getting there too late to save him. I backed away, tears streaming down my cheeks as I looked at my love for the last time.
A/N: As you can tell, I have never written anything remotely supernatural before, but I had a really cool dream once, that I had wings and DBZ-type powers, so I thought I'd write about it!
I won't be updating regularly sorry. I've written nine chapters since June last year :s but I'm trying to get them out quicker, I promise! I'm coming up to Uni holidays in three weeks, so I should be able to crank a few chapters out; I figure if I can post a chapter a month I should be able to keep up.
Please R&R, otherwise the crappiness won't get any better!