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So many people yearn for immortality. Eternal youth, flawless minds, freedom from pain and suffering. The concept has grown through literature and the arts, both light and dark. Those of us who have it know that it comes with its own set of limitations and liabilities. Indeed, the drive for what we do not have is often as strong in us as a mortal's is for life everlasting. So strong, that some of my brothers gave up everything only to regret gaining that which they should not have.

We have existed since the beginning of time. How long that is, even we have forgotten and the Great Creator has not seen the need to remind us. And so, we carry on through endless days fulfilling our purpose - that of caring for his younger children. They, so short lived, require a great deal of care. For millennia we have guided and nurtured, protected and disciplined these wayward ones. They are curiously beautiful, in their way--free in a sense we cannot be.

Some of my brothers, though--so long ago--could not contain their urges. Enchanted by the fragile humans, they took it upon themselves to take human form and interfered in the lives of men. The delicate bodies and perfumed blood of humans was intoxicating, and my brothers abandoned their duties to follow their desires. The Creator, in his wisdom, decreed that, as the fallen ones wished to override his laws, they should have that which they craved for a specified time. They would be condemned to dwell amongst those they could not resist, leaving behind the lives they had known. For most, the infatuation faded, and the realization of what they had lost caused them to despise that which they had loved too much. They blamed the humans for their downfall and shame. In time, disgust turned to hatred, and yet still, they did not see their own transgression. Now, they punish the innocent.

The rest of us have intensified our commitment to our office. We labor to counteract the atrocities committed by our former brethren. We are Immortal - We are Guardians - We, who are called Angels.

One of the primary assignments among us is that of Guardian. Our responsibility is to watch over and defend a human throughout their lifetime. The major precept is that we are not to directly interfere. We can, however, use our innate gifts to lead a mind along certain paths through a gentle nudge of memory or a moment of pause. We stimulate that which is called "conscience". The charge given to me at the moment of her birth, Sasha Riversong, was an easy subject. Her parents were decent people and attentive caregivers. Her upbringing in rural South Carolina brought her no serious emotional or physical trials. From time to time, the Fallen would attempt to muddle her notions of right and wrong, but she seemed unaware of their calling. My presence, as well, confined them. They dared not risk my wrath.

Sasha had her share of small hurts, the angsty pains of adolescence, but weathered them well. She had grieved over the death of a beloved Grandparent, known the heartbreak of losing her first love. These are common miseries among humankind and necessary even, for their growth. And of course, I was always there, to hold her close, assuaging her miseries until time eased them, and they were all but forgotten. Though she could not feel or see or hear me in the natural sense, I knew my presence comforted and strengthened her in those unavoidable times.

I know her gentle face better than my own--the line of her jaw, the curve of her cheek. I imagine the feel of her long, silken hair, white as snow. The dark lashed violet eyes, so expressive! Her voice, her laugh, are embedded in my memory as no other human's have ever been. How happy I was for her when she graduated! I fed her hope and encouragement when her parents moved to Texas, far from the little farm where she had been raised, and where she chose to stay. I mirrored her excitement on her first day of college and was concerned over the loneliness she tried to hide. In all ways, her life was going so well, and I began to relax. All was according to plan, until that heartbeat. One deciding moment during a robbery at the restaurant. All was satisfactory until the bullet lodged in her throat and she died.

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