Chapter One: The Archangel

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"when the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness."
-alexis de tocqueville


I stare out into the abyss of darkness, my arms wrapped around my legs. With my hair billowing behind me, my eyes wander around the canvas of shadows, finding the pinpricks of light carved into the sky by the stars. The distant roll of thunder echoes in my ears, strangely soothing my bewilderment.

How can she still be alive?

The cold air of the cliffs encircles me, which mirrors how the perplexities of my life have encircled me internally ever since Adrian said those words.

"Hypaeria Aesyph...your mother is still alive." The words ring in my head, each echo growing more and more ominous.

I still remember my initial reaction vividly, given that it only happened an hour ago:

I recall my heart sinking, my entire body shivering in disbelief. "T-that can't be! I watched you kill her!" I shouted.

"Yes, that is correct. But remember, Hypaeria, remember what your mother is."

A Celestial Paladin. An immortal Celestial Paladin.

The realization of it all caused the blood to drain from my face, my entire body going numb. "But why did you stab her?"

"It's a long story, Hypaeria. I can't explain all of the complexities of it now, especially in the current circumstances. We've got to leave, now."


"No questions. Get ready to leave."

I was still shivering with astonishment—supplied by both elation and fear—when I walked outside into the darkness.


"Where are we going, anyways?" I ask Adrian as we board his car.

"The Gate of the Magi," he replies.  I remember Saphiria mentioning that when I first arrived, which now seems like eons ago.

As we drive down the mountainside, I can't help but listen to the radio, which contains the voice of a news reporter.

"Seventeen-year-old Hypaeria Aesyph and her band of friends have just recently defeated Cerielle in a valiant duel in the Underworld.  I am here with a witness to talk about the battle."

Another voice comes on, this one extremely familiar.  "I'm honored that you've asked to interview me, Octavion."

The voice belongs to Pyris.

In a rush of excitement, I crank the volume up to here his voice. Adrian looks at me like I have three heads, to which I ignore.

"So, Pyris, what do you remember happening after that explosion ripped apart the battle?" asks Octavion.

"Well, I remember seeing a flash of light overcome my vision, and then darkness. Then I'd awoken back in Nacheron, in the palace of the Celestial Paladins. Along with me were my friends January, Saphiria, and Sylvia. However, Hypaeria was no where to be seen. We descended back to the surface and returned to Kaskeylia, and have been waiting for Hypaeria ever since."

At the mention of my name, Adrian glances at me, one eyebrow arched.

I don't take his confusion into consideration, for I am focused on seeing my friends. "Where is the Gate of the Magi?" I ask eagerly.

"It's an ever-moving portal, so it can be summoned anywhere. But to summon it, you must use a lot of magical power and strength; it's undoubtedly an exhausting task. So, I have decided to go to where it was last opened."

"And where's that?"

"In the outskirts of Kaskeylia."

As soon as he says "Kaskeylia," I am overwhelmed by a rush of hope. "I have to get to my friends; they're in Kaskeylia, too!"

"And that guy on the radio is one of your friends, I assume?"

I nod.

"We really don't have time to meet up with your friends..." he says, his voice fading away. "But if you can make it quick, I can compromise."

"Oh, I'm sure they'll be willing to come with us," I say, not even realizing that I'm jumping to conclusions by assuming Adrian will allow them to come along.

He looks out and the landscape in front of us, and after a deep breath, he says, "Alright. They can come, too."

And with that, silence ensues as we drive into the abysmal night. I am not fully certain my near future will be any good, but my instinct is telling me to trust Adrian, which is an ordeal given his past actions. But if he compromised to allow me to meet up with my friends, I feel the obligation to pay him back—by trusting him.

It isn't until a few minutes later that either one of us speaks.

"You know, Adrian, you're very kept to yourself," I say, looking over at him. "I'm sure you know a lot about me—as everyone usually does—but I want to know more about you."

"You'll soon find out you know more about me than you thought you did. But nonetheless, I'll tell you a few things about my background. I have lived in Eravale my entire life—the Aerithia region, to be exact. I always knew there was something odd about the way magic affected me. I soon realized that whenever I was angered or grieved, a new form of myself would show: a more capable, magical, valiant form. I would grow wings and wield a sword of pure light. I had no idea what it was or meant, but after months of performing the biddings of the Celestial Paladins, I found out that it was because I was an Archangel—"

"The same thing happens to me! I grow wings and a heavenly sword appears in my hand whenever I am pained or enraged. I never knew there were other people who shared similar abilities."

"Your case is different. You're a demigod, and your Archangel form comes from birth—it's a hereditary thing. In my case, it was earned by serving the Celestial Paladins."

"So, what else can you tell me about you?"

"Would you like to know how I retrieved you from the Underworld and brought you back to my house?"


"Okay. So after that finalizing explosion—which was caused by your conduit—ended the battle, everyone was left lying on the castle floor.  I had gone down to the Underworld earlier that day to do a bidding of Aelia the Enchantress when I snuck into the battle scene.  It's somewhat ironic, because the bidding Aelia had ordered me to do was to save you from that battle, to retrieve you and bring you to safety, for she thought that battle would decimate your entire being.  Luckily, it didn't, and I retrieved you and brought you to the refuge of my house where you had further awoken in."

"Interesting," I say in awe, noticeably eager to hear more about him.

But before I can ask him about how he got involved with the Celestial Paladins, we arrive at the site of the Gate of the Magi, and as his car slows down to a stop, the sight I see in front of me is phenomenal enough to take my breath away.


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