Chapter Sixteen: Watching the Middle World
I starred down on the middle world, but from this distance I could only get impressions. Amelia felt safe while James felt torn. His depression was an issue I should've recognised, he can't allow himself to slip into it's grip so easily. Not when Amy's life was on the line. I just had to hope he saw that too, because no amount of words will make a difference I suspect.
“So this is where you're avoiding your duties,” Cieran said from the doorway. When I didn't respond he laughed to himself and stepped onto the balcony. The sun instantly lit up his red hair and showed the sword at his waist, he also had a crossbow on his back. The stone arch where he'd stood had a pattern of stonework that laces around the balcony and below it.
“Is that the new nephilim the elders sensed?” he asked, putting me on edge.
“What do you want Cieran?” I asked, putting as much irritation as I could muster into my voice. And I'd been told that was a lot. Cieran smirked at me, seeing through my guise straight away.
“I wanted to talk. I haven't seen you in a long time old friend. You rarely come here anymore, instead you hide away in purgatory of all places,” he said, concern evident. I continued to stare out, through the invisible plane that separated our world from the next. I had a feeling I should return there and soon. I still remember taking the two souls, learning how close he had come to getting Amy. Only one went to the upper worlds, the horrors of what happened to the other leaving their soul trapped in purgatory and unreachable. The third body had no soul, whoever had preformed the ceremony had stolen that. But the other two remaining souls proves it was unsuccessful.
“Stop thinking and tell what you're up to,” Cieran said, interrupting my thoughts and throwing an arm over my shoulder.
“Since when were you interested in the morbid works of a dark angel?” I asked, knowing any attempt to get out of the friendly grip would be pointless.
“You weren't always a dark angel,” Cieran said with a sigh, “You used to be fun,” he added. I glowered at him a little for the comment but he was right. I'd changed a lot when that had happened, Cieran was the only one still attempting to talk to me. Everyone else had given up and moved on.
“Guarding the gates to the upper world wasn't that good an alternative,” I said, which was a lie. Those who proved talented enough to be warriors didn't just guard. They fought the demons who overstepped their boundaries. And if the elders had cared for Amelia in any sense, this whole mess wouldn't be happening. But all they see is an unnatural creation, not her as person.
“Maybe, but we could use you in the ranks again,” Cieran said. But we both knew why I left. When the elders had given the orders to hunt her down I'd broken laws. Becoming a dark angel was my punishment.
“Wait a minute...that's....Darius, what are you doing?” Cieran asked, understanding washing his features as he saw Amelia. I gripped the balcony tighter and met his gaze head-on.
“Are you going to stop me?” I asked, because he hadn't been wrong about being an old friend. And having him against me would be difficult. He hesitated, removing his arm from my shoulder, then burst into laughter.
“I should've realised you were up to something,” he said when he calmed down, he turned back to me with a grin plastered on his face.
“This is a bit more on the insane for you though,” he said with a raised eyebrow and a furrowed brow.
“I made a promise,” I replied and he nodded. He wasn't there, but he was the first to see me after. He understood this was important to me.
“I won't say anything. And if I think the elders are on to you, I'll try to give some warning,” Cieran said. He hesitated before opening his mouth again.
“Be careful. And if you get in serious trouble with a demon let me know. I'm not as rusty as you are,” he added the last part with a smug smile, making me roll my eyes. He left, leaving no sense of a lie as he did. I glanced back into the middle world and closed my eyes to go there.
“Gah, don't do that!” James said behind me. He obviously still wasn't used to me materialising out of thin air. The incompetence of the boy was somewhat astounding, but at least his intentions were good.
“How's the shoulder?” I asked, aware of the battle he'd dived into. He hesitated, lowering his arms.
“It's fine, though the ichor took me by surprise,” he replied. I nodded, I should've explained better the changes he would go through.
“Don;t worry, that should be the only surprise, I've slowed the process down to an almost standstill. You should have access to some magic. But for now you just need to learn hand-to-hand combat,” I said. James stood up and withdrew his sword, he'd adjusted quite quickly to having it hid on his person. Most nephilims struggled with that sort of thing for months.
“Not that I object to the training, but it sounds like something bigger than the guy I scared away is coming,” James said. So. they hadn't been ignorant of what the ceremony meant. The door opened and somewhat came into the living room, collapsing onto the sofa without seeing me.
“Did you learn anything?” James asked the strange looking boy.
“A name,” he replied, then looked up bleary-eyed and saw me. The reaction couldn't have been more instantaneous, but his tiredness slowed his movements. I easily avoided the fist he threw, James stepped in before he tried anything else.
“Tom, calm down. He's okay. He's the one who made me,” James explained. 'Tom' still didn't look happy about me, if the glare was anything to judge by.