Matt is ten years old. That is how long he has been part of the Celryn, at least, he has had an existence for far long than that.
He is a strong leader, and powerful. The Celryn follow him as they have followed no other leader, and he has led them against the Telcontar many times.
Soon, there will be no more Telcontar left. It is the day that all Celryn dream for, Matt included, but inside him he cannot help but pity the beautiful creatures as they lie, destroyed, in front of him. He knows it is wrong, and he quashes the feeling. Feelings are weakness.
Once, he was human. An ordinary boy, who had nothing to recommend him to the Celryn but his prowess in a boxing ring, which brought him to their attention. When he saw past their disguises, which he did remarkably quickly for a child of his age, he fled from them, in hiding for many months.
Matt, as he trains for this fight, tries not to remember the long nights of sleeping rough, the ice-cold terror of being caught by the nameless demons that pursued him. He tries not to remember the days of running, trying to outwit those who were on his trail.
And of course they caught up with him, only a week later, for no human can outrun the Celryn, not with their skills are resources; not with their methods of hunting.
He pushes this from his mind, erasing the excruciatingly painful recollections of the day they Turned him, and focuses instead on the job in hand. It would not do to dwell on that moment of blackness, the burst of blood red light that cast its dark sense over him, piercing his very soul with its pure evil. And then the gut-wrenching pain of the transformation his body went through, from human to demon … but he would not think of that, not now.
Matt has a job to do, now. If he loses his concentration too much will be lost. But it is time, at last, for a disaster to strike the handsome – at least by Celryn standards – young Commander. A disaster or a bolt of divine lightning, sent to change his life for all of eternity.
For this last battle against the Telcontar, the war that will wipe them out, once and for all, is about to fail.
The Telcontar have reinforcements – reinforcements that the Celryn have not predicted, for there were supposed to only be thirty Telcontar left alive. Where are they from? The thought invades the minds of every soldier in the army, causing them to break ranks in their panic.
The Telcontar take Matt. As Commander, he is a valuable prisoner, and they drag him away from his soldiers, bound hand and foot with fire so that he cannot move. He is struggling, but not hard. Maybe he has sensed the direction his life is about to take, or maybe inside him there is something that is repulsed by the evil of the life he now leads. Whatever it is, it compels him to let himself go, to give up.
They take him back to their base, dumping him at the feet of their leader. Matt looks up, his black, devil eyes pleading in a way that they have never been before. The leader turns towards him, and takes from his pocket a cross. It is burning with a holy, cleansing fire, and Matt whimpers with the terror.
They place it against the place where his wings meet his stubby, black body, and it burns into him. He almost cries out, but he does not, because he knows what is happening and in a way, he is grateful.
His wings start to burn, to dissolve. He can feel the holy fire in his heart, and it is burning away all traces of the evil that resides there. His body is burning – the black skin buckling under the heat until he is sure that he is going to die.
Then the leader steps towards him and places a gold cross, imbued with silver, on his tongue. This is unheard-of – the Telcontar that surround them start to murmur in disbelief, for the leader has given Matt the greatest gift that he could.
Matt stretches his new, white wings, and he feels a rush of the same power that he had before, but inverted. For normally, Celryn that have been Turned are weaker than they were before, just soldiers of the Telcontar, and nothing more. But the leader has returned Matt’s power to him, naming him as a great leader. A Commander.
The death of Matt’s old life is now over. His new life has begun, but no one can foresee where it will take him, for Matt is a wild card.