In the black of night, an angel fell from the sky.

He fell and fell, tumbling down to the mortal realm where the sun no longer touched. The white wings he had prized were now a tangle of broken feathers and bone. Down and down into a stone town until he collided with a house. Groaning as he lay splayed on the roof, he vaguely thought it wise to get out of sight. So he dragged his quickly numbing body over the edge, swiftly kicking in a window below.

The room he landed in was plain. A simple cot and dresser, a small wardrobe in the corner. Behind him stood a tall mirror that he leaned against. Glancing over his shoulder at his reflection, he couldn't even summon a smirk for the sake of irony. The Unbreakable, they had called him. Yet here he was.

They would be coming for him. So would the mortals that had seen his fall from the clouds. Slumping down, he could only hold his head in his hands.

"What's wrong, angel?" a small voice inquired.

Looking up, he found a small girl crouching before him. Long blonde hair cascaded around her slim frame in waves, moonlight making it glow. She looked at him with her big blue-gray eyes, hardly blinking. Reaching out toward him, her small fingers were quickly covered in crimson liquid. She didn't seem to mind. Or maybe she didn't notice, gaze fastened on his face.

He smiled gently at the child. Despite his broken and bleeding form, he was still handsome. Some mortals believe that there were a race of angels that are warriors. How wrong they were. They exist to spread word, but not to fight. Not to harm. Not to bleed.

He reached a shaky hand out to the little girl who gazed at him with such awe.

"What is your name?" he asked quietly.

She tilted her head inquisitively, then gave a bright smile and said, "Ariadne!"

A pulse rippled across the town, undetectable to anyone other than him. It was sinister. The lust for destruction sent quivers through his body when the ripples touched him. Looking at the child, he grasped her hand.

"Ariadne," he whispered. "You must listen closely." She nodded vigorously. "A bad... person is coming to find me, I can't protect you, but I can give you a gift that will keep you save from them." Her eyes were wide, fear tinged the edges, but she didn't let it win. "Come, if you want to accept it."

Scooting to the angels side, she held out her hands. Between them appeared a glass cup, filled with a clear liquid the smelled of roses. The angel lifted his hand over the glass, letting a few drops of blood drip into it. When the liquid had turned pink, he withdrew, and gave her a nod.

"Drink it, and she won't be able to harm you." She gulped down the drink, giving a little sigh as it warmed her. "Now go. Go to the street and run somewhere safe." She got to her feet and stumbled to the doorway. Whatever the drink was set her head spinning and body tingling.

Ariadne paused to look back. The angel sat with amazing stillness, his blood smeared down the mirror. His face framed by deep red hair. The white of his tunic and dark trousers splotched with red. Beautiful wings crumpled around either side of him. The sad smile he gave her left a hollow pit in her stomach. She would never see him again.

Making it to the font door, she slipped out on silent feet. And froze. Town folk gathered at the bottom of the stairs. A line of men in black with caps pulled low stood in front of the crowd, mumbling about what they had seen. A woman looked up and gasped.

"Ariadne! What are you doing back here?" the woman cried, trying to push through the men. The woman was her aunt, Ember Hawket.

Street lamps cast a soft glow over everything, illuminating the blur of motion that streaked overhead. Not more than a shadow, yet it went crashing threw the wall above with an explosion. A small cry escaped Ariadne as bits of stone rained down around her.

The men dressed in black surged forward, shoving past her and into the house. She gaped up at the jagged hole that gutted the room. Part of the creeping ivy had been blasted through. She paused a moment to morn the loss of the ivy. It had been one of her favorite ways to enter the her former home.

One of the men stayed behind. He grabbed Ariadne's arm, trying to pull her away. Heart leaping to her throat, she let out a scream, thrashing in his grip. Grunting, he merely clamped a gloved hand over her mouth. It felt as if an invisible claw and slashed through her innards as he pulled her back. True fear, like none she had felt before, tore her to ribbons.

"No!" Ember cried, lunging toward the man. "Let her go!"

Looking up, Ariadne could see just under the brim. Unrelenting, cold eyes, stared down at her, mouth a grim line. Before her aunt could reach her, she was pulled into the shadow of the house.

Skidding to a stop around the edge of the wall, Ember strangled the cry trying to rip from her throat. She ran down the narrow alley. Moonlight and street lamps reflected off the pale stone of the homes, making the path visible.

Bursting out the other side, she whipped her head side to side. The streets were empty. Ember trembled in horror. Her sister and brother-in-law had been away for weeks, their daughter in her care.

A roar shook the ground. No human, no animal, could have made it. Slapping her hands over her ears, Ember dared to look up. The shadow from minutes ago burst from the back of the house, shooting like a dark star over the town, and vanished into the forest beyond.

The quake rattling her body didn't stop her as she made her way through the streets. Walking and walking for hours. She didn't care what the shadow had been, who those men were. She just ran and ran through the town until dawn broke, searching for her niece.

Embers dull hair had gone limp, and frizzed around her. She stumbled towards the peacekeepers office, the rising sun at her back. Dark circles had formed under her eyes, exhaustion trying to pull her to the ground. Sleep, sleep, sleep, the benches seemed to call as she passed.

She made it to the office and made her report on the events that had transpired in the dead of night. The desk man smiled at her kindly.

"Go home. Get some good rest now," he said. "We will find her."

Nodding her gratitude, Ember wandered back down the stairs. Finding the nearest bench, she finally sat. A lump had formed in her throat. It choked her until she began sobbing.

Ariadne was gone.