Hola Hermanos. So sorry for the long leave of absence, but I'm back in business. Senior year in high school has been a blast, but now I'm off to college to continue my career. I've had a really good year, and Prom seemed to especially finish the year off beautifully. However, on Monday I got my wisdom teeth out, so that's a little bit of a bummer. S'alright though, I'm feeling better.
I am so proud of all of you who got the riddle right (most of you did by the way)! Big hugs for all of you! You guys are so smart. To answer a few questions that were raised as of last chapter, no. I'm not making this a Doctor Who crossover. Although, I would like to propose a little game to all of you: since I am MASSIVE Whovian, I will be placing little DW references all over this story. Try to point them all out, and you win!
Now, I know I said I was striking Dragon from the story. Well, he was determined to be in, so I believe this little teaser will prepare you for when the REAL Dragon comes in. Don't worry, he's mostly harmless here. Mostly.
Anyway, without any further ado, here's the next chapter of our saga. As usual, all rights go to the original creators. I just own the angel and Dragon. No one can take those two away from me! THEIR MINE! MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!
Hogwarts was truly a beautiful place at night. The autumn moon hung high in the sky, casting a soft, silvery light across the castle and the surrounding grounds. The Whomping Willow swung lazily in place as it bathed in the moonlight, and off in the Forbidden Forest, untold creatures of the night were going about their nocturnal business.
Within the school, the torches were burning low in their sconces, their magical re-ignition charms about to activate the moment they hit the end of the wick. In the kitchens, the resident army of house-elves were hard at work preparing for tomorrow morning's meal, while also sending out squads of elves to clean the corridors and ensure that all the students' luggage was properly stored (as well as to sew on the new badges to each of the first years' uniforms).
The students themselves were fast asleep in their dormitories, all of them exhausted from their long train ride and subsequent sorting.
Well, all but one.
Harry moved silently through the hallways, his slender form shifting gracefully from shadow to shadow with nary a whisper of his passing. His footsteps made no noise, and his garments did not rustle in the slightest as he moved through the passageways as silent as a phantom.
His mind, however, was constantly at work cataloging the layout of the hallways. His eyes never ceased their incessant motion, the luminous emeralds constantly shifting from the floor, to the ceiling, to the pillar, back to the floor, back to the pillar, ooh!
Look at that tapestry!
Interesting illustration. It appears to be a group of wizards working in tandem with some knights to capture a dragon.
The angel's eyes narrowed as he paused to examine it closer.
The mages in the picture did not appear to be holding wands, but instead were all grasping ahold of wizened looking staffs, similar to the one Matthias had been holding. They were pointing and gesturing wildly towards the rearing dragon as the knights surged forward around them, armed with swords, bows, and a broad net lined with chains and weights.
The dragon was rearing up in response, fire pouring out of its mouth as it roared its challenge towards the oncoming foes. The angel could see several arrows poking out of its dull gray scales, and one of its brilliant green eyes was closed as a sword was impaled just above its eyebrow.
'Funny,' the angel thought. 'It looks a lot like me,'
The angel was alerted when a draft of cold air brushed past his thighs, and his eyes were instantly drawn to the flap of the tapestry as it fluttered. Reaching forward, he grasped the edge of the tapestry and lifted it aside, revealing a secret passageway that led deeper into the castle.
Humming in pleasure, the angel made his way down the passageway and into total darkness. His brows furrowed as the torchlight from the hallway was diminished to the point of visibility loss, and he extended his arm to trail along the right hand wall in order to maintain direction. After a few minute's walk, he came to an abrupt dead end.
The angel yelped in surprise as he ran headlong into the obstruction, eliciting a solid sounding *WUMP* from whatever it was he hit. Shaking his head, he steadied himself before leaning forward, extending his hands to examine the obstacle.
Rather than meeting the rough stone he had expected, his hands instead found their way onto the surface of smooth, warm wood. Sliding his hands around a little, the angel eventually found a doorknob, which he twisted eagerly. With the sound of a lock being broken (due to the angel's prodigious strength) the door opened, revealing a hallway bathed in moonlight from skylights far above.
Soft carpet met the angel's slipper-clad feet, and he paused in his advance to look around at the newly discovered passageway.
Rather than the rough stone the angel had seen before, this hallway was constructed primarily of wood, with portraits of various witches and wizards covering every available inch of the wall. The doorway he had just emerged from appeared to have been disguised as part of the wall, with a small painting resting on it as well.
Stepping forward, the angel allowed for the doorway to slide back into place, admiring the way it seamlessly blended in with the rest of the wall. The man in the portrait resting on it nodded in his sleep, but otherwise did not stir.
In fact, none of the other magical portraits stirred at all, but remained fast asleep, their heads bobbing contentedly in their various sleeping positions. There was no noise to disturb them.
The angel jumped in alarm as the whispered voice broke the silence, his wings flaring out in surprise and his eyes snapping from side to side.
The angel stepped away from the wall, his head swiveling back and forth as he listened for the noise again.
"Psst! Hey, You!" the voice whispered again, this time distinctly coming from his right. The angel pivoted in that direction, his bright green eyes searching for the source. Stepping away from the door, he walked down the hallway, looking back and forth at the sleeping portraits before finally…
"Over here!" the whisper came again, and the angel turned to see a pair of brilliant blue eyes staring back at him from within a portrait.
The painting depicted a starry night sky hovering above a green hill, bathed softly in the light of a thousand points of light shining from above. The hill was bare except for a single, solitary figure clad entirely in white.
The figure was draped with a long, flowing white coat with a hood pulled over his head, concealing his features except for a pair of electrical blue eyes that stared out with an intensity reminiscent to that of the angel's own soul-piercing gaze. However, this gaze seemed different; off, in a way that the angel couldn't quite pin down. It wasn't so much a soul piercing gaze as it was an analytical one, as if the figure was looking at all of him all at once, and trying to determine the best way to attack him.
The figure's pale hands were exposed as he stood up from his seated position, the long, slender digits glowing ethereally in the moonlight. As the figure began to move closer to him, the angel noted that he was clad in dark pants that matched the sky behind him, except for a single white stripe that ran down his left pant leg.
A flicker of motion across the figure's back brought the angel's attention to the area, whereupon his eyes alighted on…
The angel gasped and took a step back, causing the figure in the picture to freeze and narrow his eyes, once again analyzing the angel with a kind of grim curiosity. The angel felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise as he continued to stare at the figure's back, unable to take his eyes away from the wondrous sight.
The figure had wings.
And not just any wings, no. These looked like an angel's wings.
They were not very big: each one only about eight feet long, giving him a sixteen foot wingspan. The feathers were exquisite; beautiful, even. They did not appear to have their own color, though, but instead seemed to refract the starlight to appear all the colors of the rainbow, as if they were made of diamonds. The edges of each feather looked sharp enough to slice through steel, and were clearly not meant for ornamental display.
They looked like they could bisect him with a single swipe.
The figure once again advanced, coming to the very edge of the painting so he appeared the same height as the angel. "So," the figure said, the distinctly male voice clear and cool against the angel's ears. "What's an angel doing in Hogwarts?" he asked, a mischievous little smile spreading across the lower part of his face (the only part the angel could perceive, apart from the eyes).
The angel opened and closed his mouth a few times, unsure of how to answer. His eyes kept flicking from the figure's hooded face to his wings and back again, trying to understand what he was looking at. "Who are you?" he asked, his eyes blinking owlishly as his mouth finally settled on the 'hanging open' position.
The figure let out a small laugh, before pointing downwards to the base of the portrait. "I assume angels know how to read?" he said, a hint of playful humor in his voice. "But then again, the last time I conversed with one of you celestials I managed to convince them that graffiti was a legitimate form of writing, so I'm not too sure about Heaven's literacy rate," he said.
The angel frowned. "I can read!" he said indignantly, before looking down to where the other was pointing.
There, at the base of the painting, was a small brass plaque with small words carved into it. Though the light was dim, the angel's keen vision could still make out the words as if they were written in neon letters.
"Dragon, circa 243 AD. Constant companion and advisor to the Wizard Merlin, First and Last of his name" the angel read, his brows furrowing in confusion.
Looking up, he gazed at the bright sapphire colored eyes curiously, his own emerald orbs glinting with a sharpness of their own. "Your name is Dragon?"
Dragon nodded in affirmation. "Yes."
"That's a weird name," the angel said, the corner of his lips twitching up into a ghost of a smile. Dragon's wings snapped up and down in response, clearly irritated by the mocking tone of the angel's voice, before he calmed and a challenging smirk formed on his face. "Oh yeah? Then what's your name, angel?" he asked.
The angel's smile disappeared immediately. His brow furrowed again, but apart from that his face remained impassive.
"…Harry…?" he finally said, to which Dragon's smirk only widened.
"That's not an angel's name," he said, his hands going to his hips as he leaned forward slightly, as if to get in the angel's face.
The angel felt a shiver run down his spine. Something about this 'Dragon' was setting him on edge, and if he had been able to summon his angel blade he certainly would have at that moment.
"Well, it's the only one I'm going to give you" the angel responded, his impassive face not betraying any of the apprehension he was feeling.
The other was not impressed.
"Is it now?" Dragon asked, raising his hand to stroke his chin thoughtfully. "Well, that's certainly interesting. If there's anything I've learned about angels, it's that you can be quite the chatty little braggarts when the time suits you. So for you to do otherwise is quite odd."
He paused in his speech, before his eyes flicked to the wings on the angel's back and a spark of understanding passed through his eyes. "Unless, you can't remember it because your grace is too fractured. Might explain why your wings are all charred and listless," he said, his lips quirking up again in that damnable smirk.
The angel retracted his wings as if to shield them from the painting's scrutiny. "Their hardly charred, and I told you, my name's Harry, and that's all you're getting!" he spat.
The figure let out another laugh before throwing his hands up in the air and taking a step back, his smile spreading across his face impishly. "All right all right, Harry it is then. A weird name for a weird angel," he said, chuckling all the while.
The angel frowned, feeling a little insulted at having his words thrown right back at him. "Then what is your real name 'Dragon'?" he said, putting air quotes around the last word. "That name doesn't sound very angelic either."
The other cocked his head to the side. "What do you mean?" he asked.
The angel blinked in response, his own confusion rising in response. "What's your real name?"
This time it was the other's turn to react indignantly. "It's Dragon, you idiot! What, did God skip out on giving you a brain when he made you?" he spat, clearly irritated with the angel as his wings bristled, his diamond hard feathers sliding over each other to produce a sound that was reminiscent of a thousand swords scraping across each other, their razor edges glinting dangerously in the moonlight.
The angel frowned.
"But you're an angel, aren't you?" he asked. "Surely Father wouldn't name one of his creations 'Dragon'. That's the name given to a beast."
Dragon actually let out a full on growl, his wings flaring up and once again producing that haunting metallic sound.
"First off!" he spat. "I'm not an angel. And second, Dragon is a great name! In my language, it literally means death! It was humans who named the damn species after me!"
The angel blinked.
"You're not an angel?" he asked, feeling slightly crestfallen.
Dragon rolled his eyes. "Of course not," he said.
"But what about your wings?" the angel inquired, staring longingly at the beautiful appendages as they flashed brilliantly in the moonlight.
Dragon scoffed, before folding his wings closer in to his body, extinguishing most of their luster and hiding them from view. "I told the artist not to paint me with them," he said, his mouth forming into a pout.
"I told him it would be much nicer if I had Kolo out instead. But no! He said 'Oh, but mi'lord, they're so beautiful! Surely you must allow this humble artist the chance to paint such exquisite limbs!'" Dragon huffed as he paced back and forth. His tone had elevated as he spoke, almost to the point where it could be called whining. The angel was quietly reminded of a small child throwing a tantrum.
"Wait, hold on….Kolo?" he asked, his wings rising in confusion.
The other paused in his pacing as he turned to face the celestial, his expression shifting from that of a pout back to flat neutral. "Kolo. My staff. Sentient weapon, about five feet high. Gorgeous curve near the top, completely unbreakable. Little bit of an attitude."
Dragon raised his arm and flexed his hand, as if grasping for something in midair. "If I were real then I would be able to summon her. But instead I get stuck with these stupid wings!" he said, shooting an angry glance at the appendages.
The angel took a step back, his head cocked to the side in contemplation.
"So you're not an angel." he said.
"And you're not human either?"
Dragon let out a short bark of laughter, his grin once again splitting his face.
"That depends…" he said, his hands raising to grip the edges of his hood. "Do I look human?" he asked, before pulling the white fabric away from his head to finally reveal his full visage.
The angel blinked in surprise at what he saw.
Like he had suspected, the figure was young, appearing to only be about sixteen to seventeen human years of age. Ebony black hair adorned his head, the strands spiky and rather messy, going every which way in the manner of a rat's nest.
The rest of his features were actually fairly remarkable. Pale, unmarked skin met the angel's view, along with a small, perfectly crafted nose and flush lips. Deep, unsettlingly blue eyes stared out from his face, the dark eyebrows above them contracted in annoyance.
However, for all the similarity he showed, he did not seem to be human. There was not one single aspect that the angel could put it down to: perhaps his eyes were too blue, his hair too black, his skin too flawless. It was as if a very gifted artist had been told to craft a human and had ended with something almost like it, but not quite. All the parts were there, but they simply did not fit together.
It gave the boy an entirely alien appearance, even more so than the angel's true form.
"No," the angel said quietly, his wings falling from their raised position. "You don't."
The other smiled, his eyes flashing in triumph. "Exactly."
"So what are you, then?" the angel asked, leaning in forward again to peer more closely at the other.
Dragon sighed. "It's not important. Just know that even though I may look it, I'm not an angel. Keep that in mind and we won't have any problems."
The angel nodded in acceptance. He still didn't exactly understand, but he guessed it didn't merit enough importance at the moment. Besides, it seemed that Dragon was already about to speak again.
"You know, we've gotten off topic here," Dragon said as he snapped his fingers, shooting the angel an annoyed glance. "Let's back up to the start of this conversation. Answer me this, angel: What is a celestial being such as yourself doing wandering around a school for magical children in the middle of the night; and in their 'jammies no less? (nice pajamas by the way)"
"Thank you," the angel said, before rearranging his wings so the stood high and proud behind him once again. "You were correct about my name. My grace is fractured and tattered, corroded after years of imprisonment. I am no longer capable of even remembering my name, and my power is nowhere near where it should be. I am here in search of an answer to accelerate my healing process, and hopefully reclaim my lost memories."
Dragon cocked an eyebrow. "And you think magic will help you with that?"
The angel nodded. "Absolutely. Early experience has shown that my theory is sound, as profound contact with magic has already improved my healing rate, as well as returned some of my memories" he said proudly, his wings flicking up slightly higher in response to his mood.
The other simply observed the angel for a short time, his passive gaze cataloging everything about the angel's behavior that he could. He was an interesting little fellow, far too chipper for someone in his position in Dragon's opinion.
'Hmmm…seems I'll have to watch this one closely.'
"Well," the other said, his stance shifting as he raised a hand to his chin. "I don't know about how to help you with that, but if it's names you're looking for, I might have something that could help you."
The angel's face made no change, but his wings flapped up and down at his statement, betraying his excitement. "You do?" he asked, his green eyes flashing from behind his glasses.
The painting nodded. "Yeah. Follow me," he said, before moving to the edge of his frame and passing out to the left, walking straight out of the canvas and seeming to disappear into the wall.
The angel blinked in alarm, before looking around wildly, searching for where he had gone.
"Keep up, Angel!" he heard Dragon's voice call from the hallway to his left, and his head snapped that way to see a flash of white and iridescent wings walk through another painting, taking care not to disturb the occupants.
The angel hurried after the retreating figure, and soon was walking along side the figure as he passed through paintings, occasionally disappearing into the wall for brief intervals whenever there was no painting.
"So, what exactly are you?" the angel asked, his interest mounting as he watched the other reappear yet again in another portrait.
"You mean me, me, or the one I'm painted of?" he asked as he skirted around a sleeping wizard lying beneath a painted tree.
"You, you. I think. Whichever one it is you are, right now!" the angel replied, increasing his step size to keep pace with Dragon.
"Think of me as a mass of moving arcane energy. I can exist anywhere within the castle, but I can only manifest myself within a painting. Also, I can only leave the castle if someone has a painting of me, also magically enchanted, somewhere else outside the halls of this castle. And seeing as how the real me as pretty much a recluse, with all the social graces of, well, a dragon, I highly doubt that such painting even exists," the other said, turning to shoot a mischievous grin at the angel as he skirted around yet another painted scene, this one depicting a group of sleeping monks all lounging around a dinner table.
"Don't you ever get lonely?" the angel asked. He knew he would get lonely if he could only move around one building for the entirety of his existence. Heck, he was already lonely; if it wasn't for Hedwig (and he supposed Hermione now) he would have no friends whatsoever, and be even more miserable. But that's not really his fault: angels are hardwired to seek the presence of their fellow brethren. To be alone like this was very trying for the angel, especially when he was suffering and weak.
"Not really, the people here are all relatively nice, and enough interesting stuff happens here that I don't get bored very often. Although, it has been rather dry for the last couple years. Finding you was probably the most exciting thing that's happened in a while."
The angel hummed softly, not sure how he felt about being referred to as entertainment.
"But seriously, this place is HUGE!" Dragon continued, his eyes getting an excited glint to them as he strode around a sleeping woman that looked suspiciously like a banshee. "There's got to be thousands of rooms in here, and it's got information on pretty much everything. Which is exactly what I'm about to show you."
"I've been meaning to ask," the angel said, drawing a look from the other. "How is this place so big?"
The other paused to shoot an amused glance at the angel. "Well, aren't you just full of questions?" he said, chuckling slightly as a small smile graced his lips.
The angel jolted and looked down, his wings shifting in embarrassment. "Sorry," he said. "I don't mean to be a bother. It's just that this is all so new to me, and I'm glad I finally found someone who could explain it all to me."
Dragon shook his head, before once again stepping out of the frame and continuing down the hallway. "It's alright. You're young. You're inexperienced. I get it, that's all fine and dandy!"
Dragon paused in an empty frame to shoot the angel a meaningful look. "It's all right with me, but just be careful when you're with the rest of the students. Wizards, especially the Slytherins, can be rather… cruel," he said, his eyes flashing ominously, before once again turning away from the angel and moving down the hallway.
The angel snorted. As if humans posed a serious challenge to a being of his caliber. Even weak as he was, he could probably still take on this whole school and win. With the exception of the headmaster, that is; that man had shown an unbelievable amount of magical power! It was actually rather intimidating.
"And to answer your question," Dragon continued, his voice interrupting the angel's brooding. "I have no idea how this school works. To quote an old friend, 'It's bigger on the inside!' Though I have my guesses," Dragon said.
The angel frowned, not quite satisfied with that answer, but he let it drop. This Dragon seemed to have a very frustrating way of providing information while at the same time withholding much of his true thoughts.
"By the way," the other said, once again interrupting the angel's train of thought. "We're here."
The angel paused and looked around. There was nothing of particular interest here, just more paintings of wizards, witches, and magical beasts. "Where is here?" he asked
Dragon let out a small laugh, then gestured with his finger around a corner in the hallway.
"I think you'll find these paintings to be very…enlightening" he said.
The angel shot him a questioning glance, before once again looking back to the corner. "Well go on," Dragon said, making a shooing motion with his hand.
Harry nodded his affirmation, before moving forward again and stepping around the corner.
His eyes widened in awe.
The moonlight cascaded beautifully through a series of windows running along the right hand side of the hallway, along with several burning torches that provided a flickering light to see by. On the left hand side of the wall were paintings of all different colors, but they did not appear to be like the others. While all the rest of the paintings of people, creatures, and everything in between, these were far different.
The paintings were full of angels.
Some were in their true form, others within vessels; but they were all undeniably angelic. Harry felt his mouth drop open as he stared in awe at the visuals, all painted with exquisite accuracy and detail.
"I thought you might like it," he heard Dragon's voice say from his side, but he did not spare a glance at the painted figure, and instead continued to examine the portraits.
Unlike the rest of the paintings he had seen so far, these were not moving; well, at least not as much as the others. They seemed to be on loop, going through a few regimented motions over and over again with no apparent free will.
It was quite peculiar.
"They were all painted by one man you know," Dragon said, floating into one of the pictures and admiring one of the angels (a tall man with two huge black wings and sparkling blue eyes). "A 15th century Italian wizard by the name of Niccolo da Salvo. Painted them at the height of the Renaissance. Apparently, the poor old coot kept having blinding visions that would leave him bedridden for days, and afterwards he would paint these pictures. What you see here is also one of the first attempts at moving paintings. The spell may seem primitive now, but I assure you it was quite ahead of its time back then."
The angel turned to shoot the other a look. "And how did you come about that particular detail?" he asked.
Dragon smirked before sending him a mischievous glance, his devilish blue eyes flashing in the moonlight.
"Because I was there."
What? That doesn't make sense! "How old are you, exactly?" the angel asked, his wonder momentarily forgotten as he stared at the intriguing stranger.
Dragon shrugged before turning his back to the angel, his iridescent wings twinkling their rainbow light back at Harry as they refracted the moonlight, like the crystals they resembled. "Old enough," Dragon said quietly, his eyes (or what the angel could see of them) turning glassy for a moment. The angel felt another chill run up his spine, and once again he was reminded of just how alien this boy seemed.
"Older than you'd think."
And then the moment shattered as Dragon flashed a grin at the angel. "Seriously, enough about me! I'm not the important one here, you are! You're the protagonist of this story after all."
The angel blinked. "What?"
Dragon jumped, his mouth forming an 'Oh' shape as his wings snapped in and out, as if some unseen force had just admonished him. "Right. Fourth wall breaks, I forgot I shouldn't do them. Arudon gets mad at me."
"Who's Arudon?" the angel asked
"What, my Father?"
"No, he's…oh just never mind! Go back to looking at the paintings, seriously, it's not important!" Dragon shouted, moving out of the painting and disappearing from view.
He popped up a little ways down the hallway, in another portrait of what appeared to be a representation of Heaven's garden. "To make a long story short, this is pretty much the only place in the world that you're going to find wizarding knowledge on angels. You want to find out what your name is, this would probably be the best place to start."
Dragon then jumped up and grabbed something outside the confines of the frame, before hoisting himself up and disappearing into the upper part of the picture. "Call me if you need anything explained," his disembodied voice said, startling the angel as it appeared to come from both the far end of the corridor as well as right by his ear. "And remember, read!"
The angel nodded, before moving off to examine the hallway.
The angel stopped before a picture, his eyes wide with interest as he examined what looked like an angel being branded with a fiery sword while several more looked on. The placard at the bottom of the painting read "The Punishment of Gadreel," and the angel appeared to be in great pain. As the picture progressed, the suffering angel was wrapped up in chains and dragged away, before the painting reset itself to replay the scene.
"Dragon?" the angel called, his quiet voice echoing throughout the hallway. Instantly, the other's head popped into a nearby picture frame, his eyes once again twinkling with a mischievous glow. "Wassup?" he asked.
The angel gestured to the painting in front of him. "What is this?" he asked.
Dragon disappeared for a moment as he moved from his own painting and into the one the angel was examining, reappearing with his back to the angel as he admired the scene in front of him. After a minute, he turned back to face the angel, his expression flat and unreadable, like the stony face of a mountainside.
"The placard says Gadreel, right?" he asked, his bright blue eyes locking with the angel's own vibrant green.
The angel nodded in affirmation, and Dragon let out a long suffering sigh. "This is not a happy scene at all," he said, glancing back at Gadreel before turning to fully face the angel. "Do you know the story of Gadreel?" he asked.
Harry shook his head back and forth.
Dragon frowned. "I thought not. He was the guardian of the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were still frolicking through the place. However, he was tricked by Lucifer into letting him into the garden, thereby allowing for Lucifer to create the original sin. He was punished severely for his error, and was locked away in heaven's dungeon, supposedly until the end of time."
The angel felt a shiver run up his spine as Dragon spoke, his eyes once again tracing over the picture as he watched Gadreel screaming in pain.
Could that be him? Was he Gadreel?
"Thank you," he said quietly, before turning away to continue his examination.
The angel stared at another painting with interest, his bright green eyes taking in the miraculous shapes painted out across the canvas. Before him lay an angel in its true form, its massive body wrapped securely around another, smaller angel that appeared to be resting comfortably in its embrace.
The larger one was incredible! It was huge, at least twice the size of the other, and was composed of all kinds of different scales and furs. He had no defining color, but instead appeared to be all sorts of different brilliantly colored shades, creating a dazzling light show, like that of a rainbow. Interesting patterns swirled all over him, ever shifting as they formed letters and symbols in Enochian, all spelling out words of power, purity, and grace. Whoever he was, he was seriously powerful. Like…Archangel powerful.
His body was quite interesting as well. Rather than the usual two pairs of limbs, this angel had three: two legs in the back and four in the front. All six were obviously muscled, only adding onto his already pressing power level.
The hind pair of legs were incredible! Larger than the rest of the limbs, they looked very similar to that of a giant wolf, and were covered in glowing, brilliant white hairs that sparkled with the light of his grace. As the angel watched, the fur rippled, shimmering from white to gold, and back to white, in waves of energy.
His eyes moved up its torso to admire its belly, which was covered with beautiful, gem encrusted scales that glistened and glowed like mother-of-pearl. Just like the rest of him, they were incredibly bright and multicolored, like that of a rainbow.
Above his belly were his broad, fur covered shoulders, where the two sets of front limbs connected. The larger primary limbs were stretched out across the ground, the bright white and black striped fur rippling with all sorts of colors, and appearing to be similar to those of a tiger's, if the claws at the end were anything to go on. They were also positioned just right for the other angel to gently rest its head on, eerily reminding the angel of the painting of the lion and the lamb.
Its second pair of limbs were much different from the others, appearing to be much more humanoid in design. They were long, thin, and very pale, and they seemed to be draped in what looked like the sleeves of a robe, which attached at some point to the shoulders of the angel. Sparkles spiraled out across the bare skin of the arms, providing a myriad of patterns and shapes for the angel to watch. The arms were wrapped tightly around the other angel, holding it close to his chest while he nuzzled the smaller one's head.
However, a single mark marred the whole image of the angel's arms: there, on the angel's right arm, was a bright red tattoo like mark that was neither Enochian, pagan, demonic, or even arcane. It was shaped like an L, with two small apostrophe-like marks sprouting up from where the two lines intersected.
Whatever it was, it was pulsing with a dark power that set Harry on edge, and his feathers ruffled uncomfortably behind him. However, as he watched, the other, smaller angel reached up and placed a paw over the mark, instantly calming it down and dissipating its presence.
Behind the angel loomed a myriad of wings, all beautiful like the rest of him. They were almost too many for the angel to count, and they took up almost the entire upper half of the painting. There were probably close to a thousand of them, and they were all sparkling with dancing, rainbow colored grace.
A movement had the angel's eyes sweeping to its back end, where his viridian eyes landed on a long, sweeping wolf's tail that easily half as long as the rest of the angel's body. It was covered in fine, coarse hair that sparkled and crackled with energy. However, poking out from the tip, the angel could see another two feet of scaly flesh, ending with a wicked looking blade that was easily a foot long and razor sharp.
The manifestation of his angel blade.
Looking back up, Harry's eyes were brought to the angel's face.
The angel had a long, thick neck, covered in scales and smooth, pale skin. It ended in, surprisingly, only a single, solitary head shaped like a wolf. No other faces sprouted from the head, but instead a lion's mane wrapped around the wolf head, encasing it with diamond like shards of crystalline fur. As the angel turned its head towards Harry, three eyes peered back at him: two bright red eyes were set in the normal position, while a third, blindingly white eye peered out from the middle of the wolf's forehead. The third eye practically glowed in the dim light of the hallway, as if the radiance of the angel's grace was shining through it to peer out into the world.
All in all, the creature was beautiful. The most gorgeous, exquisite, perfect angel he had ever laid his eyes on. His wings alone put his sorry excuse for wings to shame.
The smaller angel was, for lack of a better phrase, the complete opposite of the larger angel. As previously stated, the angel's body was only about half the other's size, and rested easily in the larger's embrace. And while the other seemed to practically radiate light, this one was instead covered from head to toe in jet black scales that soaked up the light of the other.
He was shaped like a dragon, just like Harry himself; however, there were several key differences between them, besides the lack of color on Harry's part. While Harry only had twelve wings, with two primaries, the angel in the picture had three times that number, with three large black primaries. The wings themselves were all black, except for a single pair that sported a white lightning bolt stripe up the underside of each wing.
In fact, it seemed the only place on the angel that wasn't black was the angel's underbelly, which was partially exposed to reveal soft, downy white fur that the angel was sure was incredibly soft (as well as sensitive, if his own stomach was anything to go on).
Also, his face was nowhere near the blank slate Harry's was. While Harry's was straight white and expressionless, this angel's face was fully draconic, along with several other faces branching off on either side. However, the same bright green eyes peered out from the dark angel's face, piercing and very familiar to the gray-winged angel.
Looking down at the base of the painting, he scrutinized the plaque. Written in intricate cursive were the words, "The Morningstar and His Mate," with no other explanation.
"Dragon?!" he called, his voice once again echoing through the hall.
"Yo!" Dragon responded immediately, his white clad figure popping into the frame right above the angel was examining.
Harry jumped in surprise, not expecting the answer to come so quickly. "What is this?" he asked as he recomposed himself.
Dragon cocked his head to the side before looking down through the floor of his own painting. "Hold on, I'll be right down," he said, before crouching down and grasping the edge of the painting.
Jumping a little, Dragon swung himself like a monkey towards the bottom edge of the picture frame, his two dimensional body disappearing from view for a moment as he slid from the bottom of one painting into the top of the other. Shooting his feet down, Dragon landed without a sound before the angel, before casually brushing imaginary dust off of himself as a superior smile appeared on his face.
"How do you do that?" the angel asked incredulously, to which the other responded with an even wider grin, this one bordering on Cheshire-Cat-grin status. "Well, when you're a two dimensional entity, you have to learn how to make do with what you're given," he said, before turning around to examine the painting.
The angel noted with mild interest that Dragon's wings almost matched the larger angel's color, although Dragon's still seemed much more lethal despite being drastically smaller.
"Ahh, I haven't seen these two lovebirds in a long time," Dragon said, crouching down to watch the animation replay again as the larger angel cuddled the smaller one. "Sure does bring back memories…" he mumbled, drawing a questioning gaze from the angel.
"What?" he asked.
"Never mind. Anyway, I'm guessing you don't know who are what the Morningstar is?" Dragon asked, turning to fix the angel with an inquisitive stare. Upon Harry's shake of the head, the other nodded before standing fully erect and leaning on the side of the picture frame, his entire form relaxing casually as he prepared himself for a long story.
"Well, when God first came into being, he had to beat off something called the Darkness. They were a pseudo-primordial race of spectral beings that simply wanted to keep everything dark forever. They were pretty fun once you got to know them. Even snagged one for my own personal servant; but that's another story. Now, God did manage to beat the Darkness off, and in doing so he sealed them away in a pocket dimension, and turning the key into a brand that would later come to known as simply, 'The Mark', or, most recently, the Mark of Cain."
The angel felt a sudden jolt of something inside him as the other said those last words, as if some part of him had recognized that term as meaning something, and had physically recoiled.
"Of course, God couldn't keep the Mark on him; he was too busy making heaven, Earth, and angels. He couldn't deal with the Darkness constantly whispering through the cracks and into his ear, slowly eating away at him. So, instead, God entrusted the Mark to his most trusted lieutenant: his second born son, Lucifer, aka the Morningstar, aka the Peacock Angel by the Yazidi. I particularly enjoy that last name…I used to tease him about it all the time, he hated it!" Dragon said with a laugh, his smile once again breaking out onto his face.
The angel was not amused. Crossing his arms, he glared at the other, silently telling him to get a move on.
At the angel's impatient look, Dragon quickly shut his mouth and got back to the story. "Now, as you can imagine, having the key to an entire universe branded into your arm (through which a sentient and thoroughly evil force was whispering cruelty, not to mention), Lucifer gradually became a little…unstable,"
Well…that doesn't sound ominous.
"Lucifer was considered to be the purest of all the angels, so it took a very long time for him to exhibit any symptoms. But there certainly were signs: increased aggression, violence against his fellow angels, a rapid development of jealousy, and a whole plethora of undesirable traits. God knew something had to be done, and fast. His problem, though, was what that something was to be.
"He didn't have to wait for very long though. See, while he was preparing to make humans, he sealed away the four horsemen to ensure that they did not inflict any damage on his garden. This included the oldest horseman: Death, who was not very happy on the idea of leaving this world void of his presence. So, he demanded that God aid him in making a successor should the presence of death on Earth be required. Basically, an angel of death. These were Death's terms to allowing himself to be sealed away.
"Obviously, God was rather nervous about this. An angel of that magnitude would have a great deal of power, something he had only granted his archangels up until this point. But, after a month of arguing between the two, God finally agreed. Now, if you'll please look to the right, you'll see what I mean."
The angel's eyes followed Dragon as he pivoted in place, turning to walk out the right side of the picture frame and into the next one over. Taking a few steps in the same direction, the angel was face with a vast landscape portrait of a bubbling pool of water, with two enormous figures, one black, one white, standing on either side of the painting. As he watched, darkness floated off the black-clad figure, while swirling white grace spiraled off of the other, presumably God, and met the energy of Death before sinking beneath the water of the pool.
Sparks suddenly lit up the background, and the water was set on fire as the two energies mixed, swirling and writhing against each other as the water and fire began to solidify.
Finally, in a flash of lightning, the fiery water snapped into a shape, solidifying into the black-scaled angel he had seen in the picture before. Raising his draconic head, the newly born angel let out a silent roar of triumph as he flexed his many wings, one of his primaries rising to show off the thin lightning-bolt-like white stripe from before. Energies of both grace and death seemed to float off of him, surrounding him in a cloud of energy as the angel settled down, looking between the two entities with adoration and love.
"God and Death both christened the new angel 'Azrael,' before Death was sealed away, leaving his new son to tend to his own affairs. God took the angel back to heaven, where he introduced the fledgling as one of his own."
Dragon stepped out of the picture and back into the original one, while Harry followed him with an intrigued look upon his face. 'This was all so incredible,' he thought. 'An angel that has absolute power over Death? Unbelievable!'
"Lucifer, of course, met the new angel as well, and boy, let me tell you, fell in love on sight." Dragon said.
"He instantly asked permission to court Azrael, and God happily granted him permission. He was so happy to finally have Lucifer showing interest in something again. Michael, of course, cautioned him to take it slow, as the fledgling was still, well, just a fledgling!"
Dragon shook his head, gazing reminiscently off into space as a fond smile spread across his face. "But, if I remember correctly, Azrael was quite the little minx if ever there was one. He must have teased Lucifer half to death with all the flirting he did with him, and all right in front of Michael or any of the other disapproving angels! I don't know if he was mad at Lucifer for not having the balls to just do what he wanted, or if that was just his nature, but damn, he was vicious! And he always had this look in his eye too, like he knew exactly what he was doing and what it was doing to Lucifer. I swear to…well, not God, he knew all about it, but I swear that Lucifer was this close,"
He held up his hand to show his index finger and his thumb not a centimeter apart. "From knocking him down and taking him right there in the street. I'm telling you, it was that bad."
The angel took a step back, his face heating up curiously with another embarrassed flush.
I seem to be doing that quite a lot today, I should really work on controlling my face. I mean, it's great that I'm doing it more, but still, I'd rather not have it if I'm going to blush this much. It's very…unprofessional
"Anyway, it wasn't long before Lucifer had enough and chased after Azrael, and by the night was over, the two were mated. And I cannot think of a more appropriate use of the title, 'a match made in heaven.' Because seriously, they were perfect for each other! Lucifer was just the right amount of protective and loving, as well as very eager, and Azrael was kind, gentle, but still very controlling. He knew exactly how to keep Lucifer in line."
Dragon chuckled as he imagined the prideful angel on a leash, the other end firmly lodged in Azrael's mouth.
"Everything was going fine until… God made man."
Dragon let out a sigh of exasperation, as if the memory alone was painful. "After that, everything just went to shit."
He then continued to cross the picture, stepping out of the frame and into the one left of it. Harry followed him, and was met with a horrible sight: a tapestry of Lucifer's fall. In the upper left hand corner was Lucifer sneaking into the Garden, followed by his punishment. Then there was an image of the Morningstar screaming and crying out in rage for some unknown reason, while an army of fellow angels backed him up against the rest of the Heavenly Host. And then finally at the bottom of the painting was an image of Lucifer being cast into hell along the rest of his supporters, his wings and power in tatters.
"Lucifer downright refused to bend his knee to Adam, and even snuck into the Garden and tricked Adam and Eve into eating the apple. God was furious at that, but Azrael managed to calm him down, lessening Lucifer's punishment.
It was at this point that something inside Lucifer drastically changed. Azrael became the most important being in the universe to him, his anchor, if you will. He was constantly shadowing the Angel of Death, and vice versa, using him to keep himself stable."
The other closed his eyes, his wings wrapping around his body in a reflexive defense. "No one knows how it happened, but one day, Lucifer barged into the main hall screaming bloody murder and saying that Azrael was missing. He took four entire garrisons of angels to Earth in search of him, but all they found was a patch of Azrael's grace, some of his feathers, his angel blade, and a lot of his blood."
Dragon tilted his head up, his eyes reopening to focus on the final frame in the tapestry. "Lucifer, in his crazed mental state, somehow convinced himself, and many others, that it was the humans who had killed Azrael. And so he led a rebellion against God and his angels, which ultimately failed and resulted in his banishment to hell."
The angel looked on in shock, staring at the body of the falling Lucifer, still so beautiful even in disgrace.
"Let that be a lesson to you, angel. Don't get to prideful," Dragon said, before moving away from the tapestry.
"But that's not fair!" the angel said, his wings flaring high in indignation. "Father knew what the Mark was doing to Lucifer, it wasn't his fault! Why did he punish him when he wasn't even in his right mind?!" He cried indignantly, his eyes gaining a murderous hue as his grace flared, causing his whole body to glow a brightly in the darkness with the brilliant white light of his grace.
Dragon just shook his head. "Life's not fair, kid. Trust me, I'm the poster boy for that story. But even if we don't like the cards we're dealt, we still have to play. I don't know if I would have handled it any differently than God did," Dragon said, before turning fully to face the angel, his eyes glowing with an unreadable expression.
"But I do know this: God was merciful, even to the end. He couldn't bring himself to kill Lucifer, so he merely locked him away. Hell was just a side effect of the Mark's influence on him, a swirling vortex of rage and pain. It wasn't until Lucifer passed it to Cain that he finally began to heal, but by that point it was far too late for him to try to seek redemption. So he sat alone in hell, with the rest of the fallen angels, until the Apocalypse begins, where he shall fight Michael and end the world as we know it."
The angel's wings fell as he heard this, his grace dying back down to his usual radiance. Taking a few steps back, he looked between the three paintings that Dragon had shown him: the birth of Azrael, the two mated angels, and the fall of the Morningstar into the Pit. Truly, this was a tragedy. The angel felt his heart ache in sympathy for the two, and he couldn't help but wonder what would have happened if Azrael had lived.
Suddenly, a thought occurred to him. "Do you know what happened to Azrael?" he asked. Dragon locked his eyes on the angel, before shaking his head slowly. "I tend to think that he died. After all, that would explain why the Reapers have gotten so sloppy, leaving so many ghosts behind. It used to be that Azrael commanded the Reapers, giving them extra power to force dead souls to pass on. Nowadays, though, Reapers can only take souls if their willing. This can cause quite a few problems, as many hunters will testify to."
Dragon turned away from the angel and stepped out of the painting, walking into another frame as his wings fanned out from his back again, a ponderous look on his face. "I think I'm done for the night. There are a few things I have to do now that I'm awake. So please, feel free to continue your exploration. This castle is very large, and it'd be good for you to get a hang of the layout. Just don't be late getting back to your dormitory, the house elves will notify the staff if they find that a student's bed is unoccupied," he said as he continued to walk away.
"Wait!" the angel called out, causing the painted boy to stop in his tracks and look at him. "Yes?" he asked.
"Will I see you again sometime?" Harry asked, his wings flicking a little in uneasiness.
The other let out a chuckle, his grin back on his face as he pulled his white hood back up over his head. "Absolutely!" he cried. "Like I said, you're the most interesting thing to happen to this school in the past hundred years or so. I would consider it an affront if I didn't get to speak with you again. Come by this hallway again sometime, I've got a lot of stories to share with you about your kind."
"Ok," Harry said, nodding his head while a small smile appeared on his face.
The other grinned, before lifting his hand in a wave and dashing off, leaving the angel alone in the dark, moonlit hallway.
The angel let out a sigh before casting his eyes back over the paintings. That was certainly an interesting experience. He would most certainly be coming back here, if only to speak with Dragon again. He looked so young, yet spoke with a wisdom that far outweighed the angel's own.
"I still don't like being called a kid," he muttered to himself as he moved out of the hallway, a little irritated at the other's passing remark.
"Awww, is the ickle angel upset!" came a voice from above him, causing the angel to jump in surprise.
"What the-" he said, his eyes darting back and forth as he summoned his wand from its metaphorical sheath, relaxing slightly when he felt the warm, rune covered wood slide out of his sleeve and into his waiting hand.
"Who are you!" he called, raising his wand threateningly while his other hand began to glow white with power. "Show yourself!"
"As the ickle angel commands!" the voice called again, before a strange creature popped into existence before him.
The angel took a step back as a leering face appeared inches away from his own, a full set of grinning yellow teeth dancing before him in a rather perverse smile.
That smile belonged to, of all things, a floating, portly man with bright orange curls, a top hat, and a petticoat that seemed to be stretched to accommodate his bulging stomach. A malicious twinkle was present in his eye, similar to Dragon's, but far more malevolent. A bright red bowtie was also tied around the man's neck, seeming entirely out of place on the creature.
"Ello Darling!" the man said, his ghastly gray skin only serving to pronounce the yellowness of his smile.
"…Hello," the angel replied, his eyes narrowed in distrust as he regarded the stranger, his wings still raised in attack position.
"Naughty angels shouldn't be out of bed so late, neh?!" the man said, flipping upside down to float up towards the ceiling.
"Who…or what…are you?" the angel asked, tilting his head back slowly to track the man's progression. The man stopped his ascension when his flabby bottom smacked the ceiling, whereupon he spun around to face the angel vertically again, his yellow teeth flashing once again in the darkness.
"I'm Peeves, the poltergeist!" he cried, sweeping his hat off his head in a bow, revealing a shiny bald head that was as gray as the rest of him.
Suddenly, with a swoosh of air, the poltergeist dive bombed the angel, forcing the celestial to duck at the last moment to avoid a collision. "WHERE THERE'S STRIFE AND WHERE THERE'S TROUBLE; CALL ON PEEVES AND HE'LL MAKE DOUBLE!" the poltergeist shouted, his manic grin beginning to actually glow as fire filled his mouth.
The angel pivoted in place, his wings raised once again and his palms now burning with power. Peeves too pivoted about in the air, his wicked sneer spreading wide across his face as he snarled at the angel, flames whipping about in both his hair and his eyes. "Oh, ickle angel wants to play rough does he? Little pipsqueak looks so tough and ready, yes he does!" he said with a growl, flames appearing in his hands while curiously colored smoke began to pour out of his ears.
"Maybe Peevesy should give him some trouble!" the ghost snarled, balling his hands up into fists.
The angel flared his grace in preparation for an attack, his wings raising in fury and power. His eyes glowed a deadly, luminous green, the same color as a killing curse.
He was a soldier of god, ready to smite down the evil before him.
Peeves's eyes narrowed slightly, and he lowered himself down, placing a hand on his chin.
"NAAAAH~! I'm gonna go tell on him instead. WHEEEEEEEE!" he cried, before doing a loop de loop and shooting down the corridor, cackling and giggling like a madman.
No, WAIT! He can't give away my cover! I can't be discovered so soon, not when I'm so close!
"Stop! STOP! WAIT, PLEASE, COME BACK!"
And so the valiant warrior of god went running off pell mell down the hallway, screaming bloody murder and chasing after a ghost that was laughing so loudly he could wake the dead.
From a portrait hanging on the wall, a boy clad entirely in white and with two iridescent wings hanging off his back facepalmed in embarrassment. "What am I going to do with him?" Dragon asked himself, before turning about and moving deeper into the castle, disappearing from both sight and mind until the next time he and the angel crossed paths.
Part 2 of Night Adventures will be coming very soon. Next chapter will include conclusion of this night's events, first day of classes, and a very special visit from a certain Trickster/Pagan God/Archangel that we all know and love. I hope you've enjoyed this chapter as much as I have, so please, let me know what you think by typing in a lovely little review. Thank you all. I do this for you.
OH! REAL IMPORTANT! REEEEAAAD!: Guys, I have posted a new story called I am Pi. It's a Red vs Blue story, and it's based on a little dream sequence I had. Please, if you guys would be great, could you go check it out. It's not going to take priority over his, but it would be really nice to hear back on that one. Thanks.
(You know you want to)