The Purification of the Fallen

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Naois walked the littered streets of the polluted mortal city. His elegant wings had been pulled into his back, a power that all angels possessed so that they might walk Earth inconspicuously. A box of cheap mortal dye colored his hair a chocolate brown, at least until it rained. Angel hair wouldn't hold the dye as a mortal's would. Gone were his white robes, replaced by a leather jacket and jeans that still felt awkward. His normally bare feet were covered by fraying sneakers.

A woman with dark hair walked slowly before him, and he began to pass her without a thought. When she grasped his arm he stopped to find out what she wanted. Her dark eyes caught his gaze and she smiled wickedly.

"Come, let me show you something," she cooed.

Everything inside Naois wanted to fight, wanted to get away from her, but her spell had taken him already. He walked with her down the dark street to a hidden bar. There they sat at the counter, and Naois regained himself slightly.

"Here," the strange woman murmured, handing him a glass of clear liquid.

"What is it?" he asked, knowing it a sin to drink, especially mortal alcohol.

"Only water," she assured him, gently placing the glass in his hands.

Had Naois truly been in complete control, he would have been more cautious, but he took a sip, and knew instantly that it was not water. He wanted to throw the glass to the wall, but the odd controlling spell stayed his hand.

She smiled at him, and he swore he saw fangs, but his mind was clouding even more. "Come with me," she breathed, caressing his hand.

Naois fought the spell. "No," he managed to reply, his voice shaking.

The woman frowned. "Yes," she hissed, and grabbed the glass from his hand. Naois knew then what she was as she forced the rim to his lips and forced him to drink. She was a Vyzza, a demon with an innate sense for Pure angels, their enemies.

He knew what would become of him as he left with her, his entire mind within her control, save for one small bit of consciousness. She led him through the night to a rundown hotel, where his consciousness fought every act, but could not overcome her spell. Only when he had passed out from the potion, more powerful than any form of mortal alcohol, did she retract that horrid spell. She left him, smiling so wickedly that her fangs protruded.

When Naois awoke he was more than confused. As he looked around for an explanation he saw black feathers strewn about the filthy mattress. When he sat up, he was shocked to realize the feathers were attached to his wings. He ran to the messy bathroom across the room and splashed the tainted water on his head. His hair was black, too. Panicked, he pulled on his pants and, ignoring his pounding head, jumped out the window into the dull dawn light.

Naois jolted out of his dream, his heart racing in fear. Immediately he was relieved to find himself in his own bed. His wings, spread out around him, were still black though. Beside the bed stood Avichai, Conan, and Ara. When he tried to sit, Conan pressed a hand to his shoulder.

"You need to rest," he stated. "The potion hasn't had time to neutralize all the Killdark. You could send it circulating again if you move too much."

Naois leaned back, remembering the drama from that morning and his dream. "Conan, I remember what happened to me," he declared.

"Wonderful," his brother replied, a bit sarcastically. "No more problems now."

"It was a Vyzza," Naois went on, "that forced me to Fall."

Conan snorted. "Doubtful. We killed them all off a hundred years ago in the war." He took a glass of water from his wife and handed it to his brother.

Naois took it. "Well, this one obviously survived."

"You have no marks," Conan pointed out. "If you had been with a Vyzza, he would have left a claimance mark."

Naois swallowed most of the water, then shook his head. "It was a female," he clarified. "They don't leave marks because they become pregnant. I'm not completely stupid." Then he added, under his breath, "I hope I'm infertile. Stupid demon."

Conan's eyes narrowed. "Females are extremely rare," he reminded him. "Even before the war."

Naois finished his water. "I know what happened to me," he stated, beginning to feel annoyed. "I was attacked by a Vyzza."

His brother took the empty glass. "We both know you weren't."

"You can't even believe your own brother?" Naois demanded, finally snapping.

Conan glared at him, then left the room without another word. Ara followed, closing the door behind her. Naois, frustrated, grabbed handfuls of feathers from both his onyx black wings and ripped them out. Without noticing the pain, he tossed the feathers into the air with an incoherent growl. Replacement feathers had already grown in by the time the first ones floated to the floor. Naois turned over onto his front, pulling his wings in around himself. He'd forgotten that Avichai was there.

The apprentice cautiously approached the Fallen. He said nothing, but laid a hand gently on a great black wing. Naois flinched, suddenly embarrassed. He moved one wing aside and looked at Avichai.

"I'm sorry," he said awkwardly. "You probably think I'm moody."

Avichai smiled easily. "It's not hard to understand why you're upset. Sometimes siblings just don't take the time to try."

"You have one?" Naois asked curiously.

The Pure nodded. "The only reason I moved here was to stay out of my sister's way. She had just married, and it was getting a bit crowded."

"Maybe that's the problem here," Naois sighed, then he felt a dull pain in his chest. "I moved too much," he moaned.

"Don't move anymore," Avichai commanded, sounding concerned. "The potion will keep working on it."

"Will you stay here?" Naois asked quietly, forcing himself to relax.

Avichai smiled slightly, then nodded. "Until Conan wants me to work, I'll keep you company."

"Thank you," Naois whispered, closing his eyes. It felt good to have one person who seemed to trust him, and who seemed to want to help, even if they hadn't even known each other the morning before. 

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