Matt brushed his sweaty hair out of his eyes. As much as he hated to admit it, he knew that they needed Anna on their side. It was with greatest regret that he had persuaded her to remain at the house.
“You can’t make me stay at home like a little kid!” she had said, her chin jutting out. “I won’t stay, I won’t!” Laughing to himself at how she seemed just like a little kid then, Matt forced himself to appear serious.
“Anna, it’s for your own health.”
“I’m perfectly capable of fighting for a bit longer!” she objected. “I can see no reason for you to make me stay behind.” He half expected her to stamp her foot, but she didn’t.
“After this fight you collapsed,” Matt had reminded her gently. “It’s not good for you to be using this much of your power in one day. You need to rest. While we’re gone, and the Celryn are distracted, why don’t you try and call Aelvyn?”
“I don’t know how.” Her pout made it clear that she wasn’t happy about that.
“You’ll find a way,” said Matt, smiling. He kissed her gently, and then led the Telcontar out of the house. “We’ll come back,” he promised her, as she stood outlined against the doorway, her hair blowing in the wind.
“I know you will,” Anna called after him, although the breeze tried to steal the sound, to prevent it ever reaching Matt.
Now he wished that he had not made her stay behind. The Telcontar were winning, but it was slow work, and tiring. It took about twice as long as the fight at Anna’s house had, though there were far less Celryn now than there had been back there.
But they were determined, and they fought for what they loved, not for what they hated. Love always wins, especially when you’ve got a mysterious force working for your side.
In the middle of the fight that blinding light appeared again. The Celryn were dazzled; the Telcontar had an advantage, and they took it. A single feather floated to the ground, and although Anna had said it belonged to a dove, Matt was sure that really it came from the wings of an angel.
The Celryn were retreating, but the Telcontar would not let them escape. They fought mercilessly until the only demon-creature left was a young one, who had been human until less than a year ago.
“Please,” it said. The pleading sounded odd with its harsh, reptilian voice. “Please, let me go free.”
Matt placed the tip of his sword at its neck, and it did not resist.
“I deserve to die,” it said. “But I’m asking you for mercy, in the hope that one of you will show it.” The words were so human - so innocent - that Matt almost relented. But he remembered that this creature was his enemy, and raised his sword to kill it.
“No!” called another Telcontar. It was one of the older generation, who were wiser and more experienced than any of Matt’s age. “Do not kill him. He should live.”
“We can’t leave him to start the Celryn race all over again!” he objected.
“Turn him,” suggested the Telcontar. Matt reached slowly into his pocket for his last silver cross but they stopped him. “Don’t make him Telcontar. Make him human.”
Eyes widening at the thought, Matt concentrated. He laid his pure white hand on the Celryn’s brow, ignoring the revulsion that flooded through him. Instead, he filled himself with a pure love and light, which overcame the Celryn’s evil.
“What’re you doing?” it started to say, until the power hit its brain and truly registered. He fell to the floor, spasms wracking its whole body.
Matt and the Telcontar stood silently in a ring around the creature, and watched as its wings shrank and retracted, his skin turning back to a soft olive-pink, and his tail vanishing. A moment later his eyes started to change, returning to a blue the colour of the sky. His face soon followed, becoming human once again, and handsome.
The light shone brightly and vanished, as though in appreciation of the kindness they had shown.
“Thank you!” whispered the Celryn-Human.