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Anael

All God's angels come to us disguised.

0 · 398 views · located in Ruyn

a character in “Ruyn Chronicles: The Winds of Fate”, as played by Sylwyn

Description

Image
Name: Anael
Gender: Male
Age: 10,000+
Race: Avani
Alignment: True Neutral
Weapons: Claymore

Appearance
Metamorphosed: Anael, well muscled with a 12 foot wingspan, is a towering figure of might and power. He is always seen wearing simple linens which do not impede his ability to fly.

Personality
Anael, one of eight Avani chosen by Naonna to hold dominion over the mortal world, would just as soon smite evil with a swing of his sword as he would sing and make music in the halls of Ther to sow harmony between the planes of existence to all who would listen.

Equipment
Claymore of the Rising Dawn, a weapon powerful enough to destroy the impure and wicked with one strike.

History
There are 8 levels of the sky city of Ther. Anael has governed the second level since the beginning of time as we know it. He cast out the Dreamwalkers, along with Kudokuten ten thousand years ago after quelling the Ruric Rebellion.

So begins...

Anael's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anael Character Portrait: Fade Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Sylwyn
Book One: Elegy


Prologue


"Mystery has its own mystery, there are gods above gods. We have ours, they have theirs, and that is what is known as infinity."

City of Ther
Castle Throne Room
Year 3455, Ruyn Calendar


“Eight, the perfect number,” Naonna’s voice, clear as droplets of rainwater into a shallow pool, resounded in the Great Hall, “A symbol of infinite wisdom, boundless as the stars, for that is why we chose the Avani. But, did we truly think their power alone could harness the fate of an entire world?”

Laonna, staring out one of the arched windows overlooking the city in the clouds below, deliberated before slowly shifting her scarlet gaze to the woman seated on the throne.

“It has been almost ten thousand years since Anael quelled the Rebellion and cast out Kudokuten. The Sleepers, even Drakrelib and his own, dwell deep beneath the surface, and the Dreamwalkers are all but forgotten by the most devout of mortal scholars. One, let alone eight, cannot alter the course of fate.”

“As we speak, Kudokuten already moves, silent as the shadows, spreading her dark influence to all she touches. Surely, the others will not stand for-“

“The others won’t stand for anything,” Laonna interrupted. “You know our sister would never leave the Eytherghymn. Azavar has the countryside, Alavara, the sea.” Lifting sharp white brows, she cast a hand toward the window. “The world will end while they are content to turn the other cheek. Why wait? Do you think the rest will be as forgiving when they learn of the ensuing chaos? Granted, no one knew Ruyn’s energy would be so intricately interwoven with the threads that bind the realms together, but we did what we came to do. It is better to sever ties while we can still count our losses.”

“I would hardly debit mortal lives as a trivial loss,” Naonna uttered the last word with such force, her younger sibling drew back, lips forming astonishment in the shape of an ‘O’. “What of the humans, and your husband?”

“Nimae? Bah!” Laonna gestured heatedly with one hand. “He sits under the My'Bael mountains, getting fat off his charges. He cares not for the affairs of men, and humans are but a pestilence we've allowed to run amok far too long. I regret the day we dragged those slovenly, drooling knuckle-draggers from their homeworld.”

“You would not be so quick to judge, if you saw them as I-”

Both women looked up at the sound of the throne room’s massive steel door sliding into the marble floor.

“Your Grace,” Anael folded ebony wings, his dark hair falling in front of his face as he swept into a low bow at Naonna’s feet.

The two women exchanged knowing looks.

“Rise,” Naonna commanded, lifting a hand to bid him stand before her. “Has the barrier been breached?” she asked, her tone resonating like the strings of a harp.

“No, not yet, my lady,” he replied, “but it has weakened, and Kudokuten’s power grows steadily. She now seeks to gain access to the Vaults and kill the Sleepers before they can be awakened.”

“What of the Guardians?”

“They may only delay the inevitable.”

“Anael, the Dawn is on final approach,” Naonna interjected calmly. “The Ka’ua have been amassing their army and preparing to send an emissary to the surface to investigate the barrier thinning. You know that barrier has separated and protected our realms for eons. If Kudokuten is allowed to destroy it-”

“Forgive me, my lady,” he cut in, shielding his gaze, glancing up only once to see her give the slightest of nods. “Even if we reach the Sleepers before she does, without our forces at full strength, the battle will be lost before it is begun.”

The High Elven stood, considering his words in a moment of silence before answering, “Do not despair, for a hope yet remains.”

“Excellency, do you mean…?”

“You know of whom I speak. Now, go, and see you do not fail.”

“Your Grace,” Anael bowed once more and turned, the trailing edges of his wing feathers gliding along the floor as he exited the throne room.

“Do you not wonder,” Laonna said aloud, when they were alone again, “that there might be something else out there, watching, in all its perfection, amusing itself with our fruitless attempts at playing a role for which we were not meant?”

Naonna swung her gaze away from the window, bearing contemplatively upon her blue-skinned sister. “A vain thought, well-versed, but vain, nonetheless. You know as well as I, even gods are not perfect."

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Excerpt from: A Strange Journal, translated

7th Gysse Aril
3455, Ruyn Calendar


For moments, only moments, the world seemed to quiver beneath me, as though a lover's fingertips swept the treetops. A mild breeze stirred the stray hairs around my face, and sent dewy beads of sweat trickling down my cheeks. I blinked perspiration from my lashes and shaded my eyes. Snow-capped western peaks contoured a celadon-streaked lavender sky. High above the mountains, the goldenrod wings of a griffon glinted like precious metal in the amber sun, Sha. The creature circled the tallest mountain, blocking the hazy light of Fis, Sha's distant blue companion, and dove below the tree line, the tip of its tail licking the sky like a flame.

Hot air shimmered above the worn, dusty road, blurring my view of the trees. Inhaling the bittersweet aroma of aged pine, I detected a sickly sweet, sulfurous odor tinged with a faint, coppery scent I started to cringe, but the buzzing of tiny wings diverted my attention. I glanced across the road at a sapphire blowfly zipping between the trees. The insect landed on my forehead and crawled around my temple, tickling the tip of a pointed ear with its hairy legs. I waved my hand to shoo it, and a drop of liquid plopped onto the ground. I peered down at the steel dagger still clenched in my palm. Crimson vitae interlaced with poison, black as a bruise dripped from the blade onto the gritty dust.

Blood. Nightshade.

I scratched my ear, and the carrion-eater flew away in search of another meal. How long had I been here? Minutes? Hours? Loathing to acknowledge reality, I let my gaze inch forward.

My shadow slithered, like an incorporeal serpent, across the ground as I knelt, reluctant to inspect the lifeless body. The Dark Elf's periwinkle skin, deathly pale against her scarlet brocade, had not yet begun to deteriorate, but the faint smell of decay signaled an early onset in the summer heat. My heart skipped a beat. She had... wanted to die. I tried to convince myself I had ended her suffering, but my hands would not stop shaking. I held tighter to the dagger, pushed back her snow-white hair and stroked the fair cheek of her lineless face. I ran my fingers across her long lashes, shutting gray, unseeing eyes. My kindred, confidante. My sweet sister, what feeling yet ravages me?

I wiped the blade on my breeches and slipped it into its shagreen scabbard. I had to move on. The shadowy wilderness deterred even the guards after dark.

I sifted through the meager provisions in my satchel: a pouch of herbs, drawing salve, a bit of bread and a few possessions. I swallowed the last drops of water from my canteen and emptied my coin purse. Two silvers, some coppers, a handful of gold: not enough for a room at the cheapest city tavern. A bedroll outside the waterfront shantytown would have sufficed; however, I did not intend to return to the walls of the place I called home.
Forgive me. I pressed my lips to the dark elf’s forehead, steeling myself for the inevitable desecration, but shut my eyes and fished through her pockets to retrieve the precious coins. I had looted the bodies of my foes before, but this felt... wrong.

Shouldering my satchel, I set off on the winding dirt road. With no map, I could still track the eastbound sun. Nary a passerby strayed this far north, and I trekked alone for miles, ignorant of the dampness at my neck and the mosquitoes biting my arms for want of ichor. By the time Sha touched the eastern mountains, I was delirious. My body trembled with fever, and I barely remembered to wrap my cloak about me to repel the chill.

Twilight birthed Dho, a luminous silver globe, to the east, with Am and Kan, her counterparts as waxing crescents at either side. The first twinkling stars peeked out at dusk, and crickets began a symphony, furiously rubbing their tiny legs together in the warm air. Above their trilling, I heard the creaks and groans of elder pines as sleepy forest dryads materialized and stepped leisurely from their trunks. Their obscure, bell-like laughter often led inattentive travelers to their doom, but the colorful glowing orbs of flittering woodland sprites marked the end of the roadside, and I managed to steer clear of the woods well into nightfall.

I heard the feathery wing beats of the beady-eyed Namatai overhead as it sought and snapped up dormice in its toothy beak, the black-muzzled Liura howling to their pack mates, and I imagined the Liuras' ear-tendrils and bushy tails fluttering, muscles rippling as they gave chase to prey near the foothills. Aimless but for the sinuous road, I kept moving, until at last, I staggered and collapsed into a heap. Blackness tinged my vision. I blinked, trying to ward unconsciousness, but I must have drifted off, for the sound of a man's voice roused me.

My eyes fluttered open to the flickering red-orange glow of torchlight illuminating a massive, shapeless form. As my vision cleared, I could just make out the shape of a large hoof. I jerked back, startled, and followed my gaze upward along an equine hindquarter to a figure seated atop the mahogany beast. The man extended a muscular arm to offer his hand. In his other, he held a torch over the horse's head. I curled my fingers around his tattered leather gauntlet and allowed him to pull me to my feet.

“Do you need help?” he asked with a note of concern in his voice.

I pushed back my cowl and steadied myself with one hand on the saddle. In the light, I recognized his chain mail greaves and dark green tunic. An Imperial Ranger.

He furrowed his brows upon seeing my face. “Are you... all right?” he inquired, then added, mordantly, “You're a little far from home, aren’t you?”

I felt my face flush with embarrassment, suddenly feeling unclean and out of place. I clutched at the horse's stiff hair, fearing the man would find the taint of death upon my fingers..

But my words sounded unintelligible, even to me. “I'm not... I don’t… on my way to... just looking for... a night's lodging.”

He motioned to his saddle. “There is an inn not far up the road...”

“No,” I abruptly cut him off, and then remembered my manners, though his pity was unwarranted. “Thank you. I-I'm sure I can find the way.” I lowered my head, drawing my hood up around my face.

He sighed, taking up the reins, and clicked his tongue, to which the beast retorted with a disdainful snort and clopped forward.

As I turned, the ranger glanced over his shoulder, tugging back on the bridle. “I advise you to stay on the road,” he cautioned. “These woods are dangerous, even for your kind.”

I watched until the light of his torch vanished around a bend. Any respect I might have indulged him dissolved with his parting words. Your kind. The words etched into my mind.

When at last I climbed the slatted plywood stairs, I leaned against an uneven granite wall to rest and pressed my cheek to the weather-worn door. The fragrant scent of damp cedar found me reminiscent of ancient trees shrouded in silvery mist, but smelling rotted wood and mildew, I pulled away, scrunching my nose in revulsion. Depressing the wrought iron latch, I glimpsed a carved sign hanging above the archway: Accursed Inn.

The heavy door swung inward, creaking shut on iron hinges, and I immediately spotted the innkeeper slouched on a stool behind the counter, his nose buried in a book. I stood, satchel in hand, shifting my weight from one foot to the other until the old man scratched his graying hair and regarded me with heavy-lidded eyes.

“Whaddya want?” he demanded gruffly.

A dank fetor hung in the air, clinging to the dry-rotted wood, and the stale mell of spilled mead wafted up from the floor. I supposed the establishment might have once been a tavern. I removed my hood and crossed the short distance between us, noting a fine coating of dust on the tables and chairs in the far corner and cobwebs dangling from the ceiling, a massive silver labrys hung horizontally above the rear entrance to the kitchen, glimmering in arylide candlelight from a dilapidated brass chandelier suspended from the center of the room.

Maybe coming to such a desolate place had been in poor judgment, but my legs were achy, my heart dolorous. “Just a room for the night.”

The innkeeper swatted the counter with his open tome. “Ten gold, up front.”

He watched with leery eyes as I counted coins onto the counter, and then swiped my gold into a till and gestured toward the left wall. “I got a room downstairs next to my regular. He don't like bothersome folk.”

Glancing at the wall, I hesitated before reaching, and the innkeeper held onto the key a moment longer, fixing me with another distrustful stare.

“Thank you,” I answered, but he had already gone back to his book.

I eyed the left wall, not having noticed a door or stairwell upon entering, but when I turned to question the innkeeper, he seemed disinclined to look up, much less give me the time of day. Did my eyes deceive me, or did he mean to rob me of my coin? My gaze fell, and I spotted an iron handle embedded in the floor. A trapdoor. Too tired to consider the odd placement, I lifted the door and descended a hidden stairwell beneath the inn.

Torches burned low, casting the corridor in a yellow-orange gloom. Three of four shut doors lay to my left. The closest stood partially open, revealing a dark room beyond. To my right, a washroom and a padlocked door marked the end of the hall.

I felt my skin crawl as I crossed the threshold into the cold, vacant room. Feeling along the inside wall for a wooden helve, I grabbed the torch and lit its saturated cloth off one from the corridor and shut the door behind me. An audible click resonated throughout the thin plywood, and I glanced back at the door before surveying my accommodations. A folded rag supported the broken leg of an old nightstand in the corner, and a bed cobbled together with pieces of knotted, unfinished wood and lined with a green wool blanket and sackcloth pillow appeared serviceable.

I could not shake the feeling something unseen observed me. Mayhap guilt had stayed behind to guard the dead and creep upon me as I slept, but sleep had a way of stitching the threads of dreams to weary eyes. Resolving to ensure the security of what little I owned. I tucked my dagger behind my pillow and peeled back the wool blanket.

The torch continued to burn long past a candle mark, but I lay staring at the ceiling as though sleep had plucked the stitches from my eyes. I rummaged through my satchel for the token I had, that, once a gift, would now remind me of that which I had lost. The silver band slipped easily over my ring finger. Studying the onyx insignia, two moonstone serpents wound around a silver pillar, I recalled the last coherent words she had spoken to me almost a week ago.

“Should anything happen to me...”

“No,” I shook my head. “I won't let...”

She pressed the ring into my hand. ”This will grant you safe passage.”

I stared at her, speechless, hesitating to take the ring, but she closed my fingers.

“But, the prince,” I protested.

I searched her eyes for some sign she was bluffing, but she smiled and gently kissed my lips, running her fingers through my disheveled hair. “He only cares for what he can purchase, and all his riches cannot give him me.”


That night, I dreamed tortured souls whispered in my ears as I raced blind through darkness impenetrable save that I knew I must run in one direction lest I slip and fall into an abyss. Mist clung to my skin; my boots pounded the damp soil in time with my throbbing heart. I ran, my lungs bursting, until I realized with growing dread that nothing pursued me. I stopped, and my skin prickled as if claws scraped my neck. Whirling around, I saw the red gleam of feral eyes and fangs. I turned to flee, but the hunter lunged, knocking me to the forest floor. Claws sank into my spine. Spitting out a mouthful of dirt, I drew my dagger and rolled, ripping skin from my back as I tore the fiend off me. I cried out, and raised my weapon to strike out when I came face to face with my assailant. Blood imbrued her midnight lips and snowy locks.

Help me, please, she wailed. You promised. She reached for my throat, and I tried to stay her hand, but she yanked my wrist, and I screamed as the blade plunged into her neck...

A bitter wind awakened me, and as I had dreamed in darkness, so too did I awaken, my heart racing. At first, I thought to have imagined the draft, but the torch's low flame flickered unsteadily. Becoming aware of the warmth of wool and prickly fibers against my bare legs, I pushed away the blanket.

The room had indeed grown cold again, and I started to pull the blanket around me, intending to relight the torch, but something moved in my peripheral… A colorless, almost imperceptible shape, as if on the edge of my nightmare… I searched the darkness, scanning the corner of my room as my eyes adjusted.

There! Movement in the shadows! I snatched the dagger from hiding and leaped up with a start. I leaned over the edge of the bed and glimpsed a glint of light as the torch brightened of its own accord.

I raised my dagger to strike out, but something grabbed my wrist. My fingers loosed their grip, and the blade clattered to the floor. An ethereal blue mist materialized and dissipated into the air, revealing an apparition that was not a ghost at all, but the semblance of a man. The smile beneath the velvet cowl belonged to the face of an angel. Humans referred to them as divine messengers, but my people believe in the eight Avani, ascended beings once belonging once to an entire race of winged elves who dwelt in the mythical sky-city of Ther. Winged, he was not, yet, he enthralled me with his coal-black stare. His gloved hand cupped my chin, and he lifted my face to his.

I felt his warm breath on my cheek as he spoke, his voice fearfully infinite. “For a killer, you sleep rather sound.”

“W-who are you?” I stammered. “What are you doing here?”

He held my gaze for a moment sewn into the fabric of time passing so swift yet deliberate that it was as the world had seen ages past while I lingered fathoms deep in the dark and turbulent sea of his soul. Then, he laughed in a rich, deep vibrato such as could only be expected from a heavenly bearer of music.

“Who am I?” he asked aloud, like a dream fading into the recesses of my mind. “Who I am is irrelevant, but who you are is altogether another animal.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Child, I shed light on the secrets and mysteries of existence itself, bearing hope into the dismal pit of despair; but, there are things of which the mortal mind must come to accept without ever fully understanding.”

And, so began my journey into the light of wisdom, without understanding. Of tenets we are sworn to uphold, there are but three. One: Strive always to preserve the balance of the Empire. Two: Protect the sanctity of our Brotherhood. And, three: Never accept an outside contract in conflict with the first two tenets. We are not always called upon to take a life, we do what must be done, what we have always done for over two and a half thousand years since the empire first staggered like a newborn fawn to shaky footing. We are not murderers or mere assassins; we are children of the light. We are the Tyrnea Drenn.