Of Angel Feathers

Prologue

Nathan was having a picnic with his mother when he heard the crying. A soft voice like tinkling bells filled his ears. He turned to find the voice, but all that met him was the Dry Woods, so thick he could barely see though them. "Nathan," his mother asked, but he still wasn't paying attention. "Did you hear that?" he asked his mother, pushing out his ears to maybe hear the voice better. "What?" asked his mother with disgust in her voice. "I'm gonna go find it," he declared, jumping to his feet and scampering off into the vast forest. "Nathan," his mother screamed but to no use, he was already gone.

Nathan ducked under branches and a few particularly large bushes until the small crying noise grew louder. He came to a small clearing surrounded by tall trees. Looking around he spotted the source of the distress, a small girl about his age, high up in one of the trees. How she got there he did not know. "Excuse me," he called, "Excuse me!" The girl looked down and what he saw made him gasp, she was beautiful, although he was not old enough to fully grasp the meaning he could tell this girl was a looker. He heard the men of his father's court talking about how his father was lucky for marrying one of the good ones, but this girl was even more so. She had large, bright, and tear rimmed blue eyes complemented by wavy and slightly curled glossy hair so light and wispy it was practically white. She was wearing white robe of some sort with gold trimming.

"Whada' you want?" her voice slurred from her sobs. "Why are you crying?" he asked first, although there were many questions plaguing his mind. "Nuna your business," she said while sniffling. "Ok then, can you come down, I'm only 7 years old, I can't do anything to harm you." "7 is close to 10 and that's old to me. I'm only 6 ½," she sneered, but her voice was still as beautiful as ever. "Please," he begged. He could see her contemplating his offer, then she smiled and hopped down the tree. "Wait stop, you'll hurt yourse-," he began, but stopped when he realized what was happening. Small white wings burst from her back at the last second as she fell, slowly and cautiously setting her down to the ground. "How-," he asked, but was cut off again by her look of pain.

"What's wrong," he asked her, reaching out to keep her steady as she stumbled. "M-m-mommy and Papa s-said it w-wouldn't hurt w-when, w-w-when my w-wings came in!" she sobbed hard into his shoulder. "Is that why you were crying?" he asked in the same comforting voice his nanny used on him when he had nightmares or after a particularly brutal beating from his pa. "Mm hm," she cried. "It's okay," he said while stroking her back, careful to avoid her wings. This girl must be an angel, like the ones he heard of in weekly lessons. "Thank you," she pulled away from the embrace. She then held out her hand to him and pronounced, "Noah K. Betheri of the noble clan Betheri of the angels." So she is an angel, he thought. Sticking his own hand to hers he declared his own name with the pride his father always told him to use when saying it. "Nathan Christopher William Locke of the Locke family of nobles."

She smiled at him and he found his breath catching, she truly was beautiful. "Nathan!" he heard his mother screech and the crunching of forest leaves. "I must go," he softly told Noah, turning to go. "Wait," she called after him. He stopped and looked back at her. "Does this mean we're friends?" she asked hopefully, looking him straight in the eyes. "Of course!" he smiled when her eyes lit up. "Can I see you again?" he asked her. "Right here, in the woods so I don't forget." She said and then disappeared in a cloud of mist. Nathan smiled to himself, he made a friend.

Of Angel Feathers

Chapter 1: Wishes Granted

Nathan was 18 now, almost old enough to take over his father's court. So much so that the noble ladies wouldn't leave him alone, that's where he was now, in his room, hiding from them. He looked in the small mirror against the wall above his small desk dresser. He took in his features that were so often complemented by the many girls pining after him. A strong chiseled shin with dark brown stubble, arrogant and cold dark brown eyes with flecks of honey color, and frazzled unkempt dark brown hair. "Why do those women not get the point, I could only ever marry one, but yet they continue to gang together. When I choose my bride they surly will hate each other." This was a fact that Noah had pointed out to him once when she saw how the girls pined after him in groups. He hadn't seen her since he was 12 years of age. He remembered that last day.

Nathan's father had given him a hard slap that left a particularly large bruise. When he went to him and Noah' meeting place she had noticed the purple mark and had convinced him his father needed a scolding or two. She devised a prank. Using her magic she had haunted her father with flying pastries and eerie promises. His father refused to leave his room for weeks! The next day after the prank he went to their meeting place to thank her, but she wasn't there, only a small note in sloppy handwriting.

Dear Nathan, the note said, angel feathers grant wishes. Enclosed in the note was one feather. He kept coming back day after day, but she was never there. Finally after almost 2 years he stopped going there all together. He still had her feather, but did not know what to wish for. She would probably know, but she was not here. He could wish for eternal youth like in his story books of mighty wizards that he read when he was young. Or he could wish for unlimited knowledge, which would help when he took over his father's court.

"Nathan," he heard the voice of Nelly, his nanny. "Yes," he groaned. "It's your Mum."

She died of a heart attack apparently. Sure he was sad, but not as sad a son who lost their mother should feel. See, he never really liked her, and neither she him. She treated him like her son because without him to take care of, his father would have found her useless and killed her. She thought of him as a burden though without him she would be dead. So, it came as a surprise when he found out she had left everything got him. "Nathan Christopher William Locke, son of Benjamin Harry Jones Locke and Katrina Judith Locke hereby receives all belongings under the will of deceased Katrina Judith Locke, any objections say I," Nathan stood waiting in the small courtroom as his father explained his mother's will with an hardly hidden look of surprise. Out of the corner of his eye he saw James, a young representative of the Hill family of nobles raise his hand and pronounce, "I." Of course it would be James, Nathan thought. James was a boy who was forced to play with Nathan when they were kids. James was always jealous of Nathan for some reason.

"Present evidence of reason, James Elliot Hill of the Hill family." James stood and cleared his throat. " As the law states, one can not inherit more than several hundred pounds of money without first having the need for it, like a family of his own, which Lord Nathan does not have," James sneered. Nathan shot James a dirty look then turned back to his father. "Uh, you seem to be right young noble. Nathan, until you marry you cannot inherit this money. But, if you do not marry in the time of 1 ½ years, you may not inherit anything. If you make it to 20 without marry you do not inherit anything." Nathan's eyes practically leapt out of their sockets. "WHAT?" "You know your supposed to marry before the age of 20," his father scolded. "But you never said that would affect my inheritance." "No, but you should have assumed there'd be a penalty." His father slammed his hands on the table in a gesture that the conversation was over.

The men of the court slowly stood up and began to leave. James deliberately flicked Nathan as he was passing, whispering, "Good luck, I know how you just love the ladies of the court." Nathan growled and stomped off to his room. He knew it was childish but he was too mad to care. Arriving at his own personal sanctuary he shut the door behind him and lay down in his bed. "That urgh," his curse was muffled by the sheets of his bed. He laid his head on his pillow. For some reason it felt lumpy. He lifted pillow and felt around in its case. Pulling out a soft white ruffled object he looked at it closely. It was Noah's feather. How he wished to have one of his conversations with her, someone who actually cared what his opinions were and weren't pining after his money. "I wish you were here…" he silently whispered while holding the feather. Putting it back down, he let the soft fingers of sleep pull him down into its lovely darkness.

When Nathan awoke, it was to the sound of chaos. Sitting up from bed he left his room to find the cause of the unruly behavior. Servants were rushing this way and that as he stepped out of his room and into the crowded hallway. He grabbed one of the bustling servants by their arms. He looked down at the flustered servant. "Hey-," they started but stopped when he noticed who he was grabbed by. They quickly bowed clumsily before asking, "What is it you need young sir?" they asked him. "What is the meaning of this?" he motioned to the commotion around it, you'd have to be blind and deaf not to notice it. "Oh, um well they have found a woman…" Nathan looked at the servant skeptically. "What's so special about this woman?" Nathan was curious. The servant looked up and into Nathan's eyes, "She fell from the sky sir," the servant said it so surely but like he couldn't yet believe it for himself.

"She fell from the sky? Preposterous! She is surely dead?" Nathan was utterly confused. "That's the thing, she's not," the servant answered boldly. "Bring me to her," Nathan commanded. He had to meet this girl, whoever she was. As they walked Nathan got a strange feeling in his gut. Uneasiness, which was an uncommon feeling for him. This girl must have been of great importance. They finally made it to the small infirmary of the estate. Myers, their local doctor was seated next to a small cot. In that cot was a young woman. She was beautiful, and for some reason, familiar. Nathan's bad feeling was back as he walked toward the bed. "Ah, master Nathan, what are you doin' in 'ere-," Myers began, but was cut off by Nathan's gasp. It was Noah. Why didn't he notice before? Better yet, how did she get here? Ohh, but how beautiful she had become.

Her hair, no long, was now even paler, white with silver blonde strands here and there. It had gotten so long, it now reached her thighs. It was still slightly curled like before. Her skin was pale, even paler than the ladies of the court could ever try to copy. Her arms, long and slender, were now draped over her eyes. She was tall, but not lanky like a lot of the other tall woman he knew, but she was shapely. How old would she be now? Oh yes, that's right, she's only a year younger than I, I think. At around sixteen, she was at marriageable age. Maybe she was married. At that thought, a pang went through his chest. Wait, he thought, why should I care. She's only a friend. A very close friend. Why am I thinking about this, I could just ask her. At that thought Nathan looked at Myers.

"Is she okay?" to him Nathan's voice sounded weak and whiney, so he cleared his throat and repeated. "Is she okay?" "Nay, she won't seem to wake up, I fear she may have a concussion." Nathan stooped down next to Noah and touched her forehead. "Wake up Noah," Nathan said with a hopeful tone in his voice. He had so many things to talk to her about. As he thought that he remembered thinking that exact same thought just the day before.

He remembered finding her feather in his pillow where he hid it, then wishing she was here… Nathan finally understood. With a gasp he pulled away. He had wished she was here. He still remembered the little note she had written. 'Angel feathers grant wishes' is what the note said. But had it really worked? Had he really wished Noah here. He looked back to where she was laying motionlessly on the cot. Had he caused that. He felt terribly guilty now, not only that but excited. She was here now. He was no longer alone. All he had to do was wait for her to wake up.