Angels and Man-Beasts
T.L. West © 2017
All Rights Reserved
“Are we safe?” asked Grant. He looked at his twin brother, Brent. They were in a forest, hiding behind one of the numerous wide trees. They had been on the run for hours now, and Grant wasn’t sure if he could keep going any longer. He couldn’t understand why this was happening to them. They had done nothing wrong. He looked at the full moon shining in the dark sky above him. He could feel its power inside him, but it wouldn’t be enough to defeat the creature that was after them.
“Shhh!” Brent instructed him, not taking his eyes off the path the creature would come through. Grant saw Brent’s elongated fingernails digging into the tree trunk. Grant could sense his brother’s emotions, and it worried him. He knew Brent was thinking of fighting their pursuer.
“Don’t,” whispered Grant as he placed his hand on Brent’s arm, trying to calm him down.
“What choice do we have?” Brent answered through gritted teeth. “We’re dead either way. Might as well put up a fight against that thing!”
“But we’re nearly there, aren’t we?” asked Grant. “We’re near to—”
“Those humans don’t care about the likes of us!” Brent cut through. “If the Rockfort Paranormal Department really did care for us we wouldn’t be running for our lives right now.”
Grant stayed quiet. A part of him wanted to believe his brother, but he also didn’t want to give up hope. He had seen his pack and some officials from the Rockfort Paranormal Department, or RPD, interacting quite respectfully with each other. Both Grant and Brent belonged to a registered werewolf pack in the area. They were under the protection of the department as long as they followed RPD’s rules.
But where were they when your whole pack was massacred? The question shot into Grant’s mind. He and his brother were out scavenging for food when they’d felt something occurring. They immediately knew their pack was in danger. They had hurried back but weren’t able to reach them in time. Their alpha, their friends, everyone lay dead in front of them. It was Brent who saw the attacker first, hiding in the shadows of the forest, and he pointed it out to Grant.
Grant had never seen such a creature in his life. In the few seconds he was able to look at it before the two ran away, Grant could only make out a silhouette of a humanoid form with large wings, and a flash of silver that could’ve been a sword.
But what supernatural being had such large wings and carried a sword? thought Grant. He couldn’t make sense of what was happening right now. He just wanted everything to end. It all felt like a nightmare he wasn’t able to wake from.
“It’s here,” said Brent, and he walked away from the tree.
Not wanting his brother to fight alone, Grant also came out of hiding. The humanoid form in front of them slowly walked near. Grant couldn’t see any wings as the creature shone under the moonlight. He was sure it had wings when he had seen it before. The humanoid creature wore a silver cloak, its face covered with a hood, but Grant could still make out long strands of silver hair from underneath. What is this creature? The only thing Grant was sure about was that it wasn’t human. It smelled different than anything he had encountered before.
“What do you want from us?” Brent growled. He bared his fangs at the enemy, and his eyes flashed orange.
The being stopped a few feet away from the twins.
“Answer me!” Brent growled again. “Why did you attack our pack?”
The being didn’t answer. It reached around its back and took out a long sword. It held up the sword and pointed it at Brent.
“Take that thing away from my face!” yelled Brent, and he dashed headfirst to attack the enemy. Grant hesitated for a moment but followed his brother. Brent raised his claw to strike at his opponent. There was a sharp sound of a sword slashing through the air.
“Ahhhhhh!” cried Brent as he dropped to his knees. Grant couldn’t make himself say anything to his brother. Brent’s cries of pain spread throughout the forest. The being had cut his hand clean off with a single swipe. Finally forcing his body to move, Grant came between his brother and the sword-wielding creature.
“No! Grant! You need to run!” Brent growled through the pain.
“I’m not leaving you,” said Grant, not taking his eyes off the attacker.
The creature raised the sword again. It came down at him, but through sheer luck Grant was able to dodge it. Making the most of the opportunity, Grant body-slammed the attacker.
“What the heck?” Grant’s eyes opened wide in surprise. He had used all his might against the enemy, but it hadn’t moved an inch.
“Grant!” Brent called out before pulling his brother away from the attacker.
Grant immediately got up on his feet from the place his brother had thrown him. “No! No! No!” Grant shook his head at the image in front of him. His brother had been cut in two. He died saving him.
The being looked at the sliced-up body of the werewolf on the ground and then slowly turned its head to stare at Grant. It’s over, thought Grant as the being walked toward him. It’s all over. He saw the sword in the air and closed his eyes to embrace death. Will it hurt?
The sound of metal striking metal made Grant open his eyes. Another humanoid being stood in front of him. It too was wearing a silver cloak that hid its face, and it also carried a sword. Grant quickly crawled away from the two strange beings as they continued their sword fight. Neither spoke a word as the sound of their sword strikes filled the forest around them.
Grant looked at his brother’s dead body. He couldn’t make himself leave without him. He had to give his brother a proper burial. “Run away!” cried the being that had saved his life.
“Huh!” Grant snapped out of the trance he was in.
“I said, run away!” yelled the being again. It was a man’s voice. It sounded human, but Grant knew better. Whatever those two were, they were definitely not human.
“The followers of Fenrir cannot escape my blade,” said the being that had murdered Grant’s pack. His voice seemed to hit Grant’s soul, sending a chill down his spine.
“Not all shape-shifters follow him,” answered the other being.
“I will not risk it,” said the enemy.
Making a promise to come back for his brother’s body, Grant got to his feet. He was about to run away when something sharp pierced his body. His rescuer yelled in anger, and then Grant fell to the ground, moving no more.
“I will make you pay for that, Adriel,” yelled the being. He wanted to keep yelling in anger, knowing that the young werewolf he had just tried to save was now dead.
“When will you learn, Barachiel?” Adriel smiled at his opponent as they blocked each other’s attacks. “They are all lost souls. They are beyond your help or anyone else’s.”
“No!” Barachiel swung his sword at Adriel, who easily dodged it.
“You are wasting my time.” Adriel didn’t care to hide the boredom in his voice. “If you feel love for these wretched beings, then you shall join them.”
There was a quick flash of silver, and pain surged throughout Barachiel’s body. His sword fell from his hand. “I will stop you,” he managed to say through the blood in his mouth.
“And I’ll be glad to see you try.” Adriel smiled at him. He walked toward Grant’s body and pulled the dagger he had thrown to kill the young werewolf from where it protruded from his back. “You are too young to understand the grand plan, my dear Barachiel.”
“What grand plan involves murdering the innocent?” asked Barachiel. He was on his knees. He couldn’t understand what kind of power Adriel had used on him. He wasn’t healing properly. The large wound on his chest wasn’t closing up the way it was supposed to. Barachiel looked at his sword. If only he could reach out and grab it.
“Unless you side with us, you are a disgrace to us all,” said Adriel. He looked at Barachiel’s sword on the ground. “You do not deserve this weapon.”
“I deserve it more than you,” Barachiel answered before spitting out more blood.
Adriel let out a laugh. “Fool,” he said looking at the sword in disgust. “Until next time, sweet Barachiel,” he added and walked away into the darkness of the forest.
Barachiel wanted to yell at him. He wanted to make him stop what he was doing, but he felt too weak. His eyes began to lose focus. I… I have to get up, he thought. He looked at the two dead werewolves near him. His heart ached at the sight of them. He could never forgive himself for not being able to save them and the rest of the beings Adriel had killed in cold blood. Mustering all of his energy, Barachiel forced himself to stand. He picked up his sword and started to walk slowly through the forest. I should’ve healed by now, he thought. What did Adriel use on me?
Barachiel remembered a cabin he’d seen while on his way to rescue the werewolves. He decided to go there to rest and heal himself. He tried not to think about the other innocent beings that Adriel was on the hunt for. He couldn’t understand how the fear of Fenrir, the wolf god of blood and chaos, was enough for Adriel to go to such lengths. He too feared the revival of God Fenrir, but that didn’t mean his kind should go and kill every werewolf and shape-shifter in sight. That was not the purpose of their kind.
Barachiel remembered his birth as he made his way toward the cabin. He was made out of pure light along with numerous others. Angelic beings like him were born as either young males or females. But they could also choose the gender they preferred. They stayed young and served their Gods as immortals. They were only able to be killed by a God or a supernatural creature.
He was only a few days old when the war among the Gods occurred, and he didn’t want to experience it again. Darkness filled the realms and all of existence was at the brink of destruction. He didn’t fight during the war. He was deemed too young by his creator, Perun, one of the many Gods of thunder and lightning. But he still remembered the countless lives that were lost. But now, being 2030 years old, and after years of study and combat training, he knew he had what it took to stop such a war from occurring again. He couldn’t let a wound keep him down.
Barachiel opened the wooden door of the cabin. He walked in. He could see cobwebs on the ceiling and even on some of the old pieces of furniture. The single window was covered in…fungus? Grease? Moss? Barachiel didn’t have time to make sure. There was also a fireplace and a small kitchen. It wasn’t large, but it would have to do for now.
He smiled when he saw the bed a few feet away. He took off his cloak and placed it on an old chair near the door. He walked the short distance across the room and placed his sword next to the one-person bed. It disappeared, waiting to be summoned again. Without wasting time, he sat on the bed and then lay down to rested his head on the pillow. Things like dusty sheets didn’t bother a being like him.
A few strands of his blond hair fell on his forehead, but he felt too weak to brush them away. He closed his eyes to rest and give his body time to recuperate, knowing that as soon as he regained his health he would go after Adriel and do his best to stop another war from occurring.