AN: I am so sorry about how late I am posting this, I meant to have it up ages ago. There probably won't be another upload for a while though, I have finals this week.
Names used to mean very little to me. It wasn't until I met Andre that that changed. It wasn't until I held him in my arms as his heart blood stained the snow around us that I understood a names' true importance. It wasn't until I watched the light fade from his eyes, until I watched the spark die, and wished that I had been fast enough to take the arrow myself. Until I wished that I was the one with my blood spilling into the snow, with my light finally fading.
I didn't meet the mysterious Andre for another few thousand years. I guess Rafael hadn't been kidding when he said that I wouldn't expect it. I found him 7,000 years after I lost Luca. Even after all the time that had passed, I still hadn't recovered from his death. I had spent the years in a sort of daze, going through the motions without any emotion behind them. I had known when I lost him that I would never truly be over him, but I hadn't understood it. I hadn't understood that I would go around in a daze for as long as the world would let me, until something shook me out of it. I thought that after a few centuries the memories would fade, that the pain would dull. I didn't know that it wasn't time that healed wounds; it was the people that you met over time that helped heal them.
Luca had been special, he might not have seemed that way to others but he would always be so to me; but if Luca was special than Andre couldn't have anything less than extraordinary. I only knew him for a week but in that time I got to know him better than some people could have in a year. I knew his hopes and fears, I knew what his dreams and nightmares were about, I knew everything that he had to live for, and I knew what would kill him.
To most he would appear to be a secretive person, but I could see through his bluffs and lies. At first I wasn't sure how, but on that last day I finally realized why.
I sat up quickly and at first I wasn't sure what had woken me. Then the details of my dreams came rushing back to me and I understood. This was the first time in years that I had dreamt of what had happened; of how I met Andre instead of just the moments of his death.
It's because of him that I call myself Andre now, instead of Tyrino. At first it was just because I needed a more modern name, later it was so that I never forgot the past. So that I wouldn't forget the mistakes that I was to foolish to see, the ones that I overlooked or discarded.
I was always slightly disoriented after dreaming about the events leading up to meeting him. Maybe because it was so long ago that it took that much effort for my brain to conjure up the images. Maybe it was because it was one of the few things in my past that I truly regretted. Or maybe it was just because I was overdue for it. It hardly mattered at this immediate moment. There was the much more pressing matter of Ashley to sort out
Normally I wouldn't be too worried about it. But I had fed from his last night and I already felt the pull to feed again. Once again, normally it would be no big deal; I can go a couple days without feeding without any ill effects. It was different this time. I didn't just have the urge to feed, I also had the compulsion to find Ashley, to find him and keep him. To make sure that nothing could hurt him and that he would be there. It wasn't because I actually wanted to protect him or keep him safe, but rather because after tasting his blood my instincts were in overdrive. My possessiveness was out of control and it wouldn't fade for at least a year. If I honestly thought that I could avoid him for a year I wouldn't be as worried. Given that he had found me twice in as many days I didn't hold out much hope.
That slim hope that I had kept was rapidly faded when I turned my head to see Ash leaning against the door frame. Seeing him there only reminded me of the council's interference. I wasn't sure who had put the tattoo on him; I would have to see the full design to be sure. I hadn't thought that there was anyone out there other than myself that could still do it. It was an almost impossible art to master.
The practice used to be much more common, back when there were more ancients still walking the Earth. However it was a secretive art that so few had the talent for and was such a closely guarded secret for those that did know how. It wasn't something that was passed down through the generations; perhaps one child every few centuries would be born with the ability to imbue the magic of a person into a tattoo. Very few of the children born with it did anything with their talents. For as long as I have been alive, there have only been 20 found and trained in the art. I wouldn't have thought that they would be powerful enough to do this. It isn't a talent that grows in strength as you age, you are born with the entire gift that you will ever have.
It was disturbing to say the least that not only had someone been trained in the art without my knowledge, but also that they were powerful enough to do this particular tattoo.
"Hey Angel, sleep well?" I continued staring at the outline of the tattoo that was visible. It didn't surprise me to know that he had broken in over the night. I hadn't expected anything less. I could only hope that he hadn't spent too much time poking around. There were things here that I didn't want anyone finding.
These things were items that I had collected over the years that I kept close to me. When I say items I am not truly being accurate, they are not mere possessions but actual sentient being entrusted to me for safekeeping. Most of them I kept safely hidden away with various enchantments protecting them in hard to find corners of the known world. However these were far too precious to trust with that. Many of them were the last of their kind, and they were entrusted to me. I had no intention of betraying that trust.
It wasn't that I was worried that the demon himself would take them, despite popular belief they actually were quite trustworthy, depending on who you were of course, I was worried of who he might accidently tell the information to. I would have to move soon, better to be safe than sorry. Not that it actually mattered to me, I had been planning on leaving soon anyways. Now I would just put more effort into finding a new city, and with it, a new identity.
"Angel, you're not listening to me are you?" the annoyed voice of the demon cut into my thoughts and I blinked until my gaze focused on him again. I didn't respond to his question, if he had had to ask it then he knew very well that I hadn't been paying attention. An unfortunate lapse on my part but given that he was there to protect me though I wasn't too worried about my safety. My real worry was how I was supposed to get him out and keep him out long enough for the phoenix to finally hatch. I'd been keeping the egg safe for the past 200 years and now that it was finally ready to hatch I couldn't risk anyone finding out about it. It wasn't really the hatchling I was worried about, it was the rest of the cities' inhabitants. They didn't have the best control as newborns and the little one would be more than capable of burning the city to the ground if it got frightened. It would only take a few weeks for it to grow up enough to leave and make its own way. But keeping the demon out of the way for the week was going to be easier said than done.
"Not yet, you'd think that after all this time you would have learned patience." The voice that spoke was amused, this wasn't the first time that his companion had wanted to go charging in, doubtless it wouldn't be the last.
There were five men around him. He considered them all to be his brothers, although one of them was still missing. It had taken centuries, but the six of them had managed to find each other again. The missing link was still there, they had watched him countless decades. But still it was not time to make their presence known. And regretfully it was not yet time to have him join them, no matter how much they wished it. He still had parts to play in the coming months, after he had fulfilled his rule, then maybe he would finally be able to join them.
That is if he could forgive them. He had no idea the true events that had occurred in the past. He would not know until certain events had happened and he must know before other events were to happen.
"If not know then when? When will it finally be time? What is it that we are waiting for?" the one who spoke had asked these questions before. The answers that he would receive each time were not the ones that he wanted.
"You will know when the time is right and the time will be right when the sword has left the ashes, when it rises up to take its rightful place and is struck down with fire and ice. We are waiting for the bells to toll their mourning cries, for the sky itself to weep with the passing of the last one who could be king. We are waiting for an empire to fall, we are waiting to see what will rise in its place." Silence met his words, five pairs of eyes watching him before returning to the scene before them; watching their lost brother with unreadable eyes.
The one who spoke turned away, twin tears fell from eyes. "I'm sorry my brother, with all my heart I wish that I could warn you, however I fear that while it is in my power it goes against the very thing that we all swore to protect. The one thing that you are the last hope for. Peace." The man turned back to his companions.
Not another word was spoken as the six sentries stared down; silent as they watched the events unfold.
"So what is your name anyways angel?" the question surprised me. I would have thought that the council would have at least told him my name. Although it wasn't really my name, it was just what I preferred to be called. I used to go by whatever caught my fancy. I would have a different name for each town. Only those closest knowing my true name. Those times had long since faded.
I'm not sure when it started. Probably when I realized how much power a name truly had. Names aren't just something that people use to identify you. They have power. More than you would think. If you have someone's name then you have a way to hurt them, to make them listen. All spells require a name. However not all names work.
It isn't the name that everyone calls you by that has power. It is your true name. I hadn't told anyone my true name in centuries. Not even Luca knew it. The last ones to know it had been the sentries. But they were gone now. And no matter how much I wished that I could be with them, I knew that that dream would not be achieved in this lifetime.
Looking Ashley in the eye, I told him, "you can call me Adrian."
He looked at me and I could tell that he knew that it wasn't my real name. I could see that he was going to push the matter, but a shot of power came out of nowhere. It wasn't one that I felt often, I sighed. Knowing that now I had to go calm the hatchling down.
I'm not quite sure how exactly it happened. One moment I was glaring at the demon who had taken up residence at my kitchen table. The next I had said demon shoving me into a corner as he pulled out a gun and a dagger.
I blinked a few times, I hadn't been expecting him to be able to move that fast. I had underestimated him, that wasn't a mistake that I like to make. I would really have to call a few contacts and figure out who exactly he was and what he was capable of. Mistakes like the one I had just made would get me killed. And despite what the council thought, I wasn't actually suicidal. I just…. There were times that I just didn't really care to live any more. It was more the promises that I had made that kept me alive. I fully recognize that. However, it doesn't matter why I want to keep living, the fact remains that I have no intention of dying quite yet. Although I'm not sure that the demon would believe me even if I told him so. He seemed like he would be stubborn like that.
I shoved him away from me after it became clear that he wasn't going to move on his own. Pointedly looking at him as I walked into the living room and over to the fireplace. Reaching I moved the vase out of the way and picked up the smooth black crystalline egg that was hidden there. Sometimes it was best to hide things in the obvious hiding places, people never seemed to look there anymore.
I ran my hands over it and let a tendril of power snake out to touch it. The unborn hatchling, now soothed, let out a clear note of power, mimicking the cry that it would make once it hatched. That time was sooner than I originally thought. I guess I would have to change my strategy. Instead of trying to make the demon go away, I would have to keep him with me at all times. If he was next to me than he couldn't tell anyone about the hatchling before it was old enough to look after itself. This was going to be a very long next few weeks.