Authors: Jaymin Eve
Tags: #love, #adventure, #gods, #alien, #mate
For Cody, I only have one
brother, and I’m glad that it’s you
Copyright © Jaymin Eve 2014
All rights reserved
First published in 2014
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The white mist rolled in over the flat
plains of Neol, the training grounds of the Nephilius tournament.
Delane could feel the cold coating her skin, but her body remained
an even temperature. She endured in her statue-like pose, wings
tucked in at her sides, breathing smooth and both hearts pumping at
a steady rate.
facing two different flocks at the moment and needed to keep her
wits sharp. There were five flocks on Nephilius: black,
purple, white, green, and blue. And they all
fell under the banner of Angelica. Each flock was separate and
distinct in their abilities, and the color of their wings dictated
where each belonged.
flashed as someone came in
from the side. Delane dropped to the ground and the shadow passed
over her head. She moved and in an instant her black wings spread
out and she used their serrated edges to tear through her opponent.
Flickers of dark maroon blood formed a dramatic contrast to their
cloud surroundings. Delane’s pitch-black hair, which was shoulder
length, flew around in an arc as she moved back into fight
“Lane! You just tore the hell out of
the exasperated voice of Jesile, her training partner from
purple flock. It was unusual for a
black-wing like Delane to be close with any of the others. But the
two females had been friends a long time.
flock were the more elite fighters and they were respected but not
really liked; mainly because they governed the five flocks of the
Purples were in general
underhanded and manipulative, but Delane had found Jesile to be
Delane’s eyes shone as she
observed her surroundings. The iris of each eye – which were black
and blended into her pupils – reflected back the scene. She smiled
at Jesile when she limped into view. Her friend had a large gash
down one of her wing planes, but it was already starting to heal.
The females moved back to back, their wings
standing many feet above their heads. Two males from the white
flock were circling them, biding their time and using the mists to
blend in. The white controlled the cool mists and could use it for
very advantageous camouflage. Each of the five flocks had unique
Delane switched her eyesight across to
intense vision, and she was able to make out the shadows of the
other Angelicas within the mist.
“Down and second quadrant to the right.” She
barked the order at Jesile.
Simultaneously they hit the ground, rolled
two spaces across to the right and emerged on either side of the
whites, who had been creeping closer, hoping for a surprise
Delane and Jesile formed a high dome with
their wings and, spinning rapidly in a circle, they cut into their
opponents, taking their legs out from under them. The serrated
wings were enough to injure an Angelica but not seriously, so they
relied on the strength in their winged muscles to pummel the whites
into the ground, tiring them out for a future attack.
The skirmish lasted for many minutes until
the loud horn sounded, followed by the chime of the harps.
Training was over and it was time to return
to their zones.
“Farewell, Lane.” Jesile gave an incline of
her head, before turning away. “See you in the morn.”
Delane saluted before tucking her massive
wings against her body and moving toward the black zone.
black-winged Angelica fell under the name Gaa. Their ruling
was situated in the center of a
cloud field. From there they discussed events, tactics and the
tournament which was to start in a short while.
Delane was young to be a council member. She
had earned her place through her many accolades, including being
champion of the tournament. So now when she wasn’t fighting she
helped with the meetings.
Upon entering the council room, a
mist-walled dwelling, Delane sheathed her weapons and left her
armor at the entrance.
We have big
news, Delane.” Her mentor, Galern, with his charcoal-colored skin
and masses of white hair, rushed forward to her. “We have an
outsider competing in the tournament
the first time in a millennium,” Galern continued, tendrils of his
hair flying forward as he gestured with large
Delane paused before turning to the other
ten council members.
“How is this possible? Do we even allow
outsiders in? Where do they stay? They have no flock or
The oldest of all black-winged Angelica was
Steva, a wizened woman with more opinions than any other Delane had
“Of course we let in those who are not from
Nephilius. How can we call ourselves a race of warriors if we are
not truly tested? They assure us that they do not need to stay here
for rest. They will just come for the battles.”
“Did they only meet with our council?”
Delane’s voice dropped. She leaned her upper body forward. “And
where was I?”
“You were training, Lane,” Galern said. “And
we called in representatives from all five flocks.”
Delane’s features hardened. She was not only
the youngest black-winged council member, but she was also the only
one to still battle in the tournament. Which meant on occasion she
missed the meetings.
There didn’t seem to be any point arguing
and, if she was honest, Delane was interested in testing her skills
against others. The tournament started in fourteen eclipses of the
sun-cloud, the ball of energy which shifted across their sky, and
she couldn’t wait. It was her favorite time on Nephilius. Closely
followed by the energy blast and the battle of the demons.
The energy blast: when members of all five
flocks sent out their collective magicks to form the next
generation. Their young grew on the Isle of Birth, emerging from
the garden wingless and vulnerable. Two representatives from each
of the flocks tended the young for the first few months, until
their wings developed and their flock membership was revealed.
And the battle of the demons: the first true
test of strength on Nephilius. Upon maturity an Angelica would
venture to Stormhaven to battle the shadowy demon spawn, monsters
from mythical time that the Angelica engaged in long, bloody
There were ten different lands – cloud
masses – on Nephilius. Stormhaven was one; the Isle of Birth
another; five that were the flocks’ territories; Neol, the
tournament grounds; one was empty, its clouds too fragile to
support life; and the last was –
“The Isle of Souls.”
Delane focused back on the room when Galern
mentioned the souls. The Angelica had been trying for a long time
to lift the curse that plagued their race. They were long lived but
not immortal and, upon final death, their souls were supposed to be
released back to the mother. But for the last thousand cycles of
the sun-cloud, the dead had been trapped on the Isle of Souls. And
they couldn’t figure out how to free them.
“The Walker promised they would look at our
souls and see if there was a way to lift the curse,” Galern
continued. “It’s as good a chance as we’ve ever had. His power was
strong and he disappeared into a swirling portal. Things beyond our
Delane again held back words of protest. The
situation with the souls was fast becoming desperate. The balance
on Nephilius had been thrown out, because the dead should be
leaving to be reborn, not trapped on the isle. And in any situation
in nature where the balance was skewed, sooner or later something
happened to right the natural cycle.
“Remind me again what you believe will
happen if we don’t free the souls?” Delane asked her council
dead will draw the energy of everyone on
, and all of us will walk in the
shadow world with them,” Steva answered without
Delane was still having trouble trusting
this. The elder woman was prone to dramatics, but she was also very
wise. So it was hard to know.
“How much time do we have?” Galern asked,
his brow furrowed. He was much more inclined to believe Steva’s
feel the draw,” she said, her eyes lifting skyward. “Don’t you find
your energy scattering more frequently? We have less young
emerging, and are weaker in battle. These are the signs from the
four prophets of the end of days.”
were trained soldiers, and one thing they did was obey
s. Written at the dawn of their race
was the book of life. It was filled with rules and prophecies. Most
of them were obscure and open to interpretation. Often, Delane
interpreted their meaning differently to the rest of her race, and
that wasn’t her only difference.
stronger, faster, and her wings more lethal than those of her
brethren. She knew that she was an anomaly on Nephilius: she was
the only Angelica born of flesh – her mother had somehow grown and
birthed her many years before, and the
purple council members had reacted to her birth by killing
her mother soon after.
War had almost erupted then, and Delane
still wished it had; she held a grudge against the others for their
It was lucky
she was still a babe when they came for her mother. As a fully
grown Angelica, no one wanted to test Delane, especially if she
lost her cool and released the molten lava of energy inside her.
Energy that controlled the very air that flowed through the cloud
lands. Delane often used the air as an aid in battle. She could see
minute details through the vision of air particles. She could use
the air to knock objects away or bring
them toward her. She could steal the breath from an
Angelica, but not sufficiently to kill them; there was too much
“I want to see the Isle of Souls.” Her voice
rang out across the space.
“Why?” Galern asked. “What do you hope to
“I want to use my senses. It’s one thing to
be told something and another to experience it yourself.” Delane
wondered if her advanced senses would clue her into something that
others had missed.
Galern.” Steva waved her hands, already turning away to consult her
charts and pages of
Delane’s mentor studied her for a moment
before nodding once. “Okay, let us leave now so we can return and
still have plenty of time for your training before the tournament
No more words were spoken. Galern simply
donned his armor, as did Delane, and they left the mist-dwelling.
And then with a burst of energy her mentor’s powerful wings
extended to the side, and with a few hard thrusts he moved up into
the mists, Delane following closely.
for many hours. The higher they were from the cloud lands, they
clearer the air was. They crossed
than half of the ten lands of Nephilius. Each of the five flock
zones was similar to the one before. The only thing that
differentiated them was the assortment of mist buildings and the
colors woven into the outer areas, colors which matched their
wings. The Isle of Birth was quiet. Most of the last group of young
had grown their wings and were with their flocks now.