Defiance: Birth of the Renegades

Prologue: Nighttime flight

"All illusions break eventually... time or trust twist and the illusion dies, and when illusion goes... well in it's breaking it is very probable that it will be us that breaks right along with it." Kratos Aurion,

Yuan trembled in rage. Yggdrasil's purple wings fanned the air lazily and the half elf pulled a strand of blue hair out of his eyes that was plastered to his face by the breeze. He met those unreadable storm hued orbs of the angel lord. Dressed in almost skin tight pants and long sleeve shirt Yggdrasil stared at him, unblinking, unmoved. Running long fingers, slender graceful digits through long golden locks the lord of Heaven's lips turned down just the slightest around the edges. It was a frown; few people lived very long after that gesture. He ignored the gesture, blinked through the blinding light at the supposed being that was purity incarnate.

"I gave you a command Yuan."

"Mithos..." Yuan gritted his teeth, "you've never told us to kill."

"Not you, never you. YetKratos has, he takes up all the killing when he can. But he is currently escorting the Chosen of Tehte'alla at the moment and this may not wait."

"K... Kratos has been killing?"

"When they fail he kills them, an effective practice." Yggdrasil smirked. "It cleans up the bloodline for us, so that only the closest matches survive."

Yuan shivered at that, the images of Kratos's Flamberg shearing through the flesh of half angel half human beings. Of children, for non older then twenty were allowed to go on the journey... Tormented by minds that would never cease yammering, or eyes that could never close and seek slumber. It would be a kind of mercy, a dark mercy. Still... had he been mortal bile would have rose to his lips, as it was his stomach writhed on nothing but air and he felt a emptiness along his face and hands. The blood receding from those places went to dwell in the heart and other secret homes of his body. It pulled away so that he may not see nor touch the evil before him. Had he been mortal he would have been cold, shaking from that bitter cold. As an angel, unable to feel hot or cold, he just was empty.

A man can go crazy being empty for so long, when his sanity echoes on the walls of thought and finds nothing to touch. Kratos had said that to him, a year ago a decade? Who knew or cared? But the man had said it and perhaps now he understood that Kratos was right. It was a slow insanity, in this game, in this waiting.

Old words, his, Mithos', both, it was both their litany against the madness, they came to him.

It was all for Martel, all of this for her, nothing else mattered save her, the world could end, it didn't matter... nothing mattered...

Once as a half elf he's have licked his lips and took in the bitter taste of the tears born by his sins, now if did not bother. For he could taste nothing.

"What must I do?"

Mithos smiled a child's smile then laughed rich warm laughter. It was in perfect harmony, rich and warm to him and it was a sound he liked a great deal, because it was the closest things to the old Mithos that he ever saw these days and was rarer then a Roc with teeth.

X

"Kill the failed Chosen, her parents are dead, non will care, she lives on the outskirts of the town of Ozette, located in..."

"Mithos I know Tethe'alla, I was born there."

"The worlds have changed, greatly, after all it's been five centuries since you left Derris Kharlan, humans are antsy, filled with motion and plans, they build and break, re-build, all at mad whim."

That they did. Yuan glided over the trees, a pink aura shed by his wings stained the over glorified children's tree houses below a multitude of fanciful hues. He glided on wings of a child's dream, like a omen of light he would bring peace upon those who saw him, like a nightmare he would bring horror upon one soul. But it would only be one who suffered, on child, and then he would go back to Martel.

"And what will you say, beloved I killed a child in your name, she'd be horrified..." Yuan growled to himself, kicking off one of those annoyingly low branches and spiraling higher.

Ironic how the poor lived higher up, while the wealthy made do at the bottom and built their homes amongst the roots, in other societies the rich favored the higher perches so they could lord over their properties with more ease. Still the better off had more space, they had sturdier structures and were nestled between living walls that cradled them against the elements. Plus it would take them very little time to up and leave in case of a fire...

For the poor, well, let them burn, that was the unspoken motto of the Ozettians.

"Two thousand years and you'd think we'd have done something about the damn social class stigmas in the world. If Mithos had even listened to my twist on the propaganda we sent out last century they might have been significantly lessened..."

Grumbling about the stupidity of humans, one of his favorite subject to discuss with Kratos over a game of Trava, Yuan entertained himself with polishing up a few more mental barbs for their debate next century. While doing so he decided to consult the map Mithos had provided, fumbling through pouches, thinking on a future conversation, it was a strain on his Angelic mind but not by much. He could handle both tasks; it was managing the third that was what went too far. He should have considered the more important of the three.

He should have watched where he was flying.

Finally, he had the map, unrolled it and looked down at the mess of homes below. "Ah, there's the street now if I follow the-"

There was a curious crunch, a span of disorientation, and a bit of pain in his skull. He blanked for a moment, than found himself spiraling down, his wings, smarter then the rest of him, disappeared. Before the vanished with a puff of pink smoke he saw a branch about the size of a small tree falling besides him.

That's what happened

The branch beat him to the roof, opened a nice sized hole that he fell through. He smashed his stomach against the branch, and weakly rolled off of the damned thing, falling onto a gasping heap in the center of what was some type of communal greeting room. Moaning he rolled over, his cape a tangled mess of fabric under hm, leaves marring his blue hair and falling away from the points of his ears.

Trying to move, or speak, or anything was too much at the moment, so he panted and watched the stars flash in his vision. He would have cursed when he heard a door open, but cursing took air, which was a precious commodity at the moment and could not be wasted.

"Hello?"

Closing his eyes Yuan tried to roll over and get up, his hand slipped on the slick silk cape and he managed to fall on his stomach. Which was more abuse, which his belly did not like, and told him so by aching.

"Oh Sweet Martel, are you alright?"

A child's voice, a very young child's voice by the sound of it. Yuan opened his eyes as small hands checked his pulse then rolled him over so he was on his back. Strong little kid, he endured the rolling over and looked into the cat green eyes of his child savior. She was small, not exactly gaunt but there were some shallowness of the face where better lurked the night shadows as they filled in the few gaps left by a few hard nights of not eating.

Huh, this kid couldn't be no more then eleven, twelve... Mithos had been that old once...

"Who are you, do you have a name?"

Yuan winced, he did not like children, hated them with an unholy passion, and decided to close his eyes and make the nightmare go away...

"Are you the nice person who comes down chimneys and give presents?"

"No..." Yuan managed to croak.

"Hmmm are you a burglar?"

"No."

Go to sleep, it's all a nightmare, you'll wake up with Martel and be able to tell her all about...

Martel was dead.

Angels do not sleep.

Sighing, telling himself to just face reality he opened his eyes and firmly swatted the small hand that had lifted up his cloak.

"What in Gods name are you doing?"

"Lookin' for your wings."

Yuan blinked, and the girl laughed at his expression, it was a shrill grating laugh that made his teeth clench at it's total lack of discipline.

"Well you aren't a squirrel, you don't have a tail. You aren't a bird, you don't have a beak. You aren't a burglar cuz you said so. You aren't a Sandy Clause because you don't have reindeer... So that means you're an angel... but you don't have any wings."

Observational little beast... Yuan smiled slightly despite himself.

"I'm... an in training angel..." Yuan grunted, rubbing his stomach. "My wings come and go..." At their own sadistic will which is why I should have just damn well walked... but no I had to practice flying again just to prove that I'm better then Kratos... He managed not to say that last bit, but it was a trial.

"Oh... are you lost? I know everywhere in Ozette!"

Considering the fall he was a little disoriented, he decided to trust the little urchin to point him in the right direction. After all the Chosen's House was probably a damn monument to the people of this town.

And he could give the child some gald or something to pay for the roof repairs if nothing else...

"Where are your parents?" Yuan decided to fight to his feet, he was given a small hand and he decided that for a child, the helpful girl wasn't all that bad.

"They died." He blinked at that cool tone, a little alarmed by it. "The Shiny Heads took them."

"Shin... Ah the Desian's." Yuan coughed, a bit uncomfortable by that steady green gaze. Martel had had eyes like that, shining emerald pools that he felt he could just drown in, shelfing that memory, because thinking of her would make this harder then it should be, Yuan changed the subject. "Do you know where the Chosen lives?"

"Yes." She looked nervous now, shifted from foot to foot and danced in place. "Are you here to take me home?"

Yuan stared at her for a long moment, not comprehending. He was no student or author of the holy writ, that title fell upon Mithos who had crafted most of the rituals and stories of the "Martel faith".

"The Angels take the Chosen to her home, is that why you're here, to take me home?"

Rage boiled in him, anger, this was a child, not a Chosen. This girl was a babe in arms. And she was looking at him with a mix of terror and hope. The Angels brought salvation, initiated the ritual of the Chosen. They brought death and pain to the Chosen but through the trials of the Chosen saved the world. This girl had been reared to believe that, little wonder she was scared.

"Y-" Yuan stared into those innocent eyes, he had been ordered to take a sizable sample of flesh so that Mithos could study the genetic code and see where the flaw was in this girl. "No, I am not."

"Y-no?" She frowned.

Observant and curious, not over awed though she knew the truth, he was impressed at the child's cool headed nature.

Even as it repulsed him that Mithos wanted this baby dead. She may not be in her cradle but compared to the being before her who would have lived for a thousand years or more had he been allowed a normal life span.

"I am uncertain of my course at the moment." Yuan said slowly, not quite believing what he said as he was saying it.

"Oh... Can Angels be confused?"

"I guess we can." Yuan said slowly, rather uncomfortable at being addressed as an Angel. In Derris Kharlan he was known as Lord Yuan by the lesser Angels, addressed as Yuan by Mithos and Kratos, or "annoying pointy eared bastard" if Kratos was in a spectacular bout of bad humor.

She was about his height when he was sitting down, when he stood she would be about up to his waist. Shaking his head in wonder of it all, he pulled out that annoying lock of blue hair that always fell into his eyes every chance it got. He stared at the child in her ragged brown clothes and mentally shook his head. Even Kratos, for all his coldness, could not have killed such a young child, not even Mithos, there had to be a mistake somewhere in all of this.

He'd just have to find it, to discover what it was.