a/n: thank you empath89, Goddess-Minerva and Shadow Gryphon for you reviews. So sorry it took awhile to update. Hope you enjoy this chapter!
8/12/04: This chapter has been edited, but it won't or shouldn't affect the rest of the story.
Chapter 2: Meeting with the Angalo
Her mind felt separated from her body, like an outer body experience, only this felt like more of a vivid division of body and mind. She moaned in pain as she tried to open her eyes, but to no anvil so she just rolled over onto her side and curled up into a tight ball on the stone cold and hard floor, oblivious whimpering she cried out. Abruptly, she heard a faint rustling of cloth and light footsteps stopping beside her. A gentle had laid itself against her arm and soft soothing whispers of nothingness enveloped her mind and brought it back to her body. Aeolyn turned over again and her eyes flickered open, using her arms for support. An arm snaked around her shoulders for extra assistance. Startled, Aeolyn looked over to her right at to her supposed savior.
He sat beside her with a slight smile on his face, hesitant and sorrowful. His black hair fell gently sweeping just slightly above his kind dreamer's hazel eyes. Stray hair fell lightly against the faintly high-bridged nose flecked with freckles. His straight white toothed smile and stubborn chin gave his face a handsome. A single scar ran from the lowest part of his left temple to the middle of his strong jaw line. His face was open and friendly. Oddly, he wore a white cloak around his shoulder and grey tunic with a darker gray wide sleeved cotton shirt. The light coming from the source above them gave him a handsome touch.
Her mind was still sluggish, as she tried to remember what had just transpired. All she could remember was that man, the man with bat-like wings. He had said that she was the one he was searching for, as if she was his lover. But what he had said bemused her. Who was he? And then the feeling of heights, being flown high in the sky in someone's arms. And the nauseating feeling he had drugged her with. All the while, Aeolyn stared at the man next her as she contemplated. And then suddenly she remember that feeling of being dropped from the sky, the arms of another catching her in midair. The word kidnapped formed in her head, when she realized that she was in a small cavern. On three of her surroundings were rock walls, glistening with dew from the waterfall in front of her. The water gushed down quickly down the cavern mouth. Above her was a high ceiling, dripping with water from the waterfall. Along with the water was faintly glowing material shedding light on herself and the other person with her.
She directed her gaze back to the person beside her, not knowing what exactly to do. "W-where am I?" she asked, hesitant.
He had been looking over at the water falling when he turned his attention back to her. "The heart of River Run, don't you remember? You were the one who told me of this place, Aeolyn."
Aeolyn looked at him, contemplating on whether she should trust him or not. Thoughts formed in her head, revising the last events she experienced. The remembrance of someone catching her in midair wove its way into her mind; the feeling of being in the arms of a fabled angel up high in the sky, knowing that she would always be safe. She recalled being told everything was well. He whispered in her ear, sounding like an old friend who came back to prove his love. Was he the one who saved her? She remember the beating of dove-like wings, but this man bore no such wings.
"Who brought me here?"
He smiled purely. "I did."
She stared at him for a few seconds, moving away from him slightly. He dropped his arm; the small frown in his eyes was completely masked again with amiableness.
"How do you know my name? And just who are you?" she asked cautiously.
Abruptly, he looked away from her gaze, but not before she saw a look of pain and revelation. "It's me, Aeolyn," he answered and looked back at her; his smile was distressed and sorrowing. "Remember me? Mikhail?"
Aeolyn caught the first of his words with suspicion as she edged even farther away, trying to calm her aching head. "What do you mean 'do I remember you'? I've never seen you before." Her eyes narrowed in mistrust. How did he know who she was? Was he stalking her? But Aeolyn did not move as far as she could from him. There was something about his eyes that told her that he would never dare to hurt her.
Mikhail stood with his back to her. "How could she not remember anything? Who she was?" he said to himself.
Aeolyn stood too, using the wall against her back for support. Who she was? What is he getting to? But there's something about him. Aeolyn watch as Mikhail paced back and forth around the cavern, a worried and contemplating look on his face was faintly masked behind his calm demeanor. Then he turned back to her, towering over her.
He seemed to have turned to formality rather than his earlier openness. His eyes and face were masked. "I'm sorry." He bowed low to her, sweeping back his cloak with practice. "I should have been more courteous to such a lady as your self."
Aeolyn stared at him as he rose with a pained look on his face. What was with the sudden change of mood? Aeolyn looked down, as though in shame. Feelings of remorse and ruefulness inched its way into her heart. She felt responsible for this awkward situation. She watched as he turn to the entrance of the cavern. He slowly ambled, his cloak billowing behind him as he turned a sharp right before the falls and leaving Aeolyn to her won thoughts. She stood there for several more minutes, hoping she was more stable now. Gradually, she moved away from the wall and toward the waterfall falling graciously like a river crying. Then she noticed the path to her right leaving the cave and the darkness of the night. Deciding nothing could be worst than leaving the cave, she walked the path and was awed by the sight.
The waterfall flew elegantly down the side of a straight cut cliff filled with greenery. The flowing water cried its way into a large lake, its water so pure, it could have been the tears of angels themselves. Around the lake was a clearing of grass flowing freely in the gentle wind. A misted forest surrounded the open clearing. Aeolyn suddenly gasped when she recognized the scenery from her dream that night. Standing beside the lake was Mikhail; his eyes were empty.
Aeolyn crept up beside him, not knowing what to say, but knowing fully this was probably her fault. Was anything ever not because of her? As Aeolyn stood beside Mikhail, she could not help but try to think something of comfort to say to him. But there was still a ghost of resentment she felt toward him, for was it not his fault that she was here. Did he not bring her here? She felt torn between disliking him and pitying him. But it was impossible to dislike such a dishearten person.
"I-I'm uh sorry if my presence pains you, but why did you bring me here?" Aeolyn winced inwardly, just realizing how resentful her words could have been taken, but she did not apologize. Instead, she stared into the lake. Deep down in its depths, something drew her attention. Her attention waned when Mikhail touched her arm gentle to avert her attention.
Aeolyn wrenched her gaze from the waters to Mikhail again. He wore his mask, but he was not looking at her, but beyond her shoulder. Aeolyn turned to look over her shoulder. Behind her she saw the same person who had taken her from her house. He hovered at some distance away, but not far enough for her not to distinguish his features. He loomed closer on his bat like wings. She jerked her gaze back toward Mikhail.
"Hide quickly. I'll see what he wants," Mikhail directed, as he brushed past her, his cloak flowing like a white shadow.
Aeolyn slowly walked backwards, keeping her eyes on the flying form, oblivious to the direction she walked in. Aeolyn continued her gaze knowing fully that the winged man knew who she was; she could feel his piercing eyes on her. Suddenly, she could feel the land below her give away and the slickness of the mud below made it hard to keep ones balance. Aeolyn wheeled her arms, searching for support and balance, but found none. Aeolyn felt herself plunge into the icy pure water, a reenactment of her fall into the icy lake not two days ago. But this time was different. She could not feel her lungs burn from the lack of air, her limps did not freeze as they had, and her mind did not check. But instead, she found herself wondering who Mikhail was and how he knew her. She wanted to know why he and the winged man had abducted her and who the winged man was. Aeolyn fought to rise back to the surface, but the force of the water pulled her down farther and farther down into its icy depths. Invisible hands clutched at her, forcing her lower and lower, until she fainted from the mere lack of oxygen. All she could see was the darkness of the water, and then nothing.
Was it a dream? All chaos around her? People dying all around, an ancient old war, an ending that could only bring darkness to one and a beginning to another; then again, she was probably delusional. Had her father not already claimed that he believed her delusional? Aeolyn moaned at the thought that everyone losing faith in her sanity. Slowly she rolled over onto her side and shifted her body under the covers of her large and comfortably bed. She sighed inwardly, knowing that her parents would come any minute now to wake her up for she still had to go to work and she promised Jasmine to help her rearrange her room today. Aeolyn groaned when she heard the door creaking and flung her head under the covers when she heard the blinds of her bedroom shades being pulled to let in the morning sun.
Aeolyn peeked her head from the covers and rubbed her eyes. "What time is it?" she asked, taking her time waking up as she fell back to bed, eyes closed against the unwelcoming sun.
"Why, my lady, 'tis neigh nine o'clock," an unfamiliar feminine voice answered, belonging to no person she knew.
Aeolyn erected her body, sitting straight up, her eyes wide open now. Before her was not the room where she believed she was in. The room around her was more lavishing than any she had ever really seen. To her right was a nightstand holding an oddly shaped sphere holding a dying light shining blue and pearly white. Beyond were tapestries and other wooden tables, all of a foreign and archaic style unknown to Aeolyn, yet the furniture held a mystical sensation that made her wonder. Off to a corner held a large redwood dresser, near it was a special table with a large mirror in front of it. On to table held many various brushes and cosmetics. Large windows on the left allowed millions of morning sunlight rays into her eyes, blinding her momentarily. On her far right was a door made of yellow-gold with carvings of an old tree. The bed which she sat on was larger than her own bed and the cover of the blanket contained intricate designs of purple and blue swirls and tiny flowers, a design that themed the rest of the room on pillows and furniture.
By the window stood a young woman in a simple gray dress that hung loosely about her arms and legs, tightening with a brown belt around her wrist. She wore small black slippers worn into lighter shades. Her black hair was pulled back into a simple tress. She looked surprised at Aeolyn.
The young woman dropped a deep curtsy. "My apologies, my lady, I did not mean to be very frank," she said hastily, keeping bowed.
Aeolyn sudden realized the woman would not rise until Aeolyn gave the woman permission to do so. Aeolyn cleared her throat. "Um, its okay. But where am I?" Aeolyn twisted her fingers in her shirt, noticing that the clothes she was wearing wasn't wearing the clothes that she was wearing earlier, the clothes she was wearing the night she met Mikhail. The blood rushed from her face, leaving her pale as a ghost.
"My lady, this is the most renowned Hold of Eyerie. 'Tis the home of the Angalo Obadiah, the great Immortal."
Aeolyn stared dumbfounded. Immortals? What could this woman is talking about? What the hell are immortals? Who is the Angalo Obadiah? She rested her head in the cradle of her hands, trying to comprehend. First, a man named Mikhail who has an obvious conflict with the winged man abducted her. Then she woke up in – what did Mikhail call the place? The heart of the Run River? The last thing she remembered was falling into the river. Where was Mikhail now and where was she? Wasn't it supposed to be a dream? "Where did you say this place was? The Hold of Eyerie? What is an Immortal?"
"Yes, the Eyerie Hold, my lady. Um, it is not my place to answer your questions. The Angalo will answer any question you have."
"And this 'Angalo', when may I see him? And just who are you?"
The young woman made a sweeping curtsy again. "My lady, I am honored that you wish to know my name. I am Saleeya, maid of the Eyerie Hold. The Angalo Obadiah is awaiting your arrival, my lady. My lady is to join the Angalo for breakfast."
Aeolyn nodded as she shifted to sit more comfortable on the bed, crossing her legs under the covers. Then suddenly she climbed out of her bed wearing only a shift provided by those of the Hold. She passed around the room, torn between bewilderment and panic. Where was she? Wasn't this all but a dream; Mikhail, the kidnapping, the drop into the river. It did not make any sense that she would have been abducted by mysterious people; fallen into a river; and wake up in a strange place. This was more excitement she had ever in her life.
"My lady, I was sent to serve you and to make sure that you arrive promptly to the dinning room," Saleeya said, her head ducked from her blunt words. She stood now by the large wardrobe. "Does my lady need assistance in with morning donning?"
Aeolyn stared for several seconds, not full comprehending. The thought of someone helping her prepare for the morning appalled her. No one had helped her dress since she was old enough to go to school. The last thing she needed right now, on top of everything happening around her, was for someone to make comments about her scrawny and pale body. Aeolyn shook her head at Saleeya, but the maid insisted on pulling a dress from the wardrobe and draping it courteously on one of the smooth wooden tables before showing Aeolyn the water rooms and curtsying out of Aeolyn's room. Finally alone, she decided to go to the water room, seeing to if she could clean up the morning dew of sleep from her body. The handle of the door of which she laid her hand upon felt the coolness of the silver metal. Slowly, she turned the handle and gasped at the moderate water room. It was unlike any she had ever seen in either her old home or anywhere else. The walls were white washed and the floor was made of gray-black. Off to the right and center of the room was a beautifully crafted pool of clear water that flowed down from the far corner of the room into the pool of water. To the left was a vanity and a well made white marble sink and toilet. On the farthest wall were shelves holding towels and several other bathroom products.
Aeolyn stared in amazement, but grimaced when she saw her disheveled reflection in the vanity mirror. Quickly she changed out of the shift she wore and placed her hand in the pool, testing the water's temperature. To her relief, the water was of a comfortably warm temperature. Swiftly, she stepped onto the pool's first of three steps. At the bottom, the water was no higher than the height of her chest, but deep enough to allow her to clean her body thoroughly. She dived into under the water, letting the water run through her hair. Surfacing again with a gracious sigh, she spotted soaps along the wall on shelves. Each bar of soap had its own unique scent of floras and fruits. She selected the soap that was scented of lilacs, making a lather of white and purple soap bubbles. Hastily she lathered the soap into masses of bubbles that shined in the light from the light orb suspended from the ceiling. It felt so good to cleanse her body of morning grime.
She dove under the water several more times, wondering and anticipating the meeting with the Angalo Obadiah. What would he be like? Is he anything like the man who had kidnapped her, the man with bat-like wings or like Mikhail, a man with an air of mystics? Her thoughts of what was to happen was ended with fear; a fear of what might happen to her; a fear of never going home. With one final rinse, Aeolyn walked out of the bathing pool, pick out a large white fuzzy towel from the towel shelf, and wrapped it around her. Thoughts found its way into her mind again, this time about Mikhail. He had seemed so set on the mere fact that he knew her, as though she was his closes friend. A feeling of remorse pierced her heart when she remembered the pained look upon his face when she told him that she did not remember who he was or who she was suppose be. Aeolyn tried to shrug off such thoughts, struggling to cope with the past few events, telling herself that none of this was her fault, was is?
Aeolyn toweled her body dry, then reached for another white fuzzy towel to dry her dark autumn brown hair dripping hair. For the rest of her time in the water room, she concentrated on drying her hair as much as she could and not on anything else. Once she was finished, she wrapped a third towel around her body and crept out of the water room, making sure no one unwanted was in her room.
Once she deemed it acceptable to change into the dress that the maid Saleeya. The dress was of a purple and rose pink hue. It had a moderate neckline that was shaped in a rectangle cut low just below her collarbone with small purple flowers lining the cut. When she slipped the dress on, thanking the goodness of fate that the dress did not require much lacing in the back, she looked at her reflection in the full length mirror beside the wardrobe. The dress sleeves hugged the upper part of her arms and flowed more freely and openly toward the end, cutting short of her knuckles. The bodice hugged her upper body a bit too tightly for comfort. The bottom of the dress was wide, open and draped down her legs freely. The hemming of the lower dress consisted of several embroidering of flowers. Around her waist hung a loose belt that seemed to be for decoration rather than use. Aeolyn smiled in satisfaction of her reflection, reasoning it would be something she might wear to meet someone important, though the style was foreign to her all together. She had only Saleeya's opinion, albeit it wasn't much of one, to judge whether what she wore would offend someone or not.
Then, she spotted a comb among the many cosmetics that stood on the table with the mirror. Seating her self in the cushioned stool, Aeolyn picked up the wooden smooth comb and began to attack her tangled hair, trying to make some order of her dark brown hair. By the time she finished straitening her hair out and letting it fall down over her shoulders in any old way, a knock on her door startled her, making her dropped the comb on the wooden floor. Stiffing, Aeolyn hesitated long enough for her visitor to question if anyone was in the room.
"My lady? 'Tis, um, Saleeya. The Angalo wishes for your presence within the next few minutes."
Aeolyn relaxed and rose to cross the room, opening the door. Saleeya stood there, her eyes to the floor, but her head was leveled with Aeolyn's. Aeolyn smiled slightly before she slipped out of the room, shutting the door behind her. Saleeya looked up and curtsied. "My lady's dress looks very elegant," Saleeya approved and admired.
Aeolyn was bothered by the fact that she was titled as 'my lady.' It seemed as though she was being address as someone of status. But nevertheless, she was uncomfortable with the new title and she wasn't too sure if this title was a misnomer. "Saleeya, you should not feel obligated to call me "my lady" for I am no lady," she stated, following Saleeya as the maid began to walk down the hall to the right of her room.
"Um, I am not entitled to address you as you or I please, for the Angalo will have me fired from my job, or maybe more," Saleeya answered, leading Aeolyn down the grand hall.
Aeolyn nodded, feeling her stomach begin to tie in knots. A leader who did not allow such freedom to his workers? What would such a person want with a young woman like herself? Aeolyn visibly shook her head, trying to rid her self of such thoughts. It did her no good to broad on something as enviable as this situation. Instead, she turned her attention to her surroundings. The hall she walked though was populated with very few people save for the maids like Saleeya, dressed in what she supposed was the regulated servants attire. The walls on her right and left were covered with a mahogany colored wood panels as well as red and gold wooden doors. Decorating the walls were paintings of landscapes of places she had never seen. Some were of waterfalls and waters, others were of valleys and mountains. One or two of the paintings were of places that were of an artist's imagination. As Saleeya and Aeolyn continued down the rather long hall at a slow pace, Aeolyn looked down at the flagstone floor, which was cover with a long, luscious, deep red carpet that ran down the center of the hall. On the white washed ceilings, there were hanging globes of glowing light.
After quiet a few twists and turns, Aeolyn gave up on trying to remember the path she walked and admired the paintings on the wall. Finally, Saleeya turned left, and came up to a pair of double doors made of a blue tinged wood with handles of silver. Saleeya turned to Aeolyn before opening the doors. "Do you know how to act before the Angalo? No? Well, you must curtsy to him the moment you enter, greeting him with a simple 'good morning, Angalo Obadiah' or or something of such. You will be expected to answer most of the Angalo's questions and he will answer yours. Oh, forgive me for speaking so frankly," Saleeya apologized, her face flushing as she dropped a curtsy.
Aeolyn smiled ruefully, embarrassed of her ignorance. But Saleeya's first question caught her attention. "Do who I am, or where I supposedly come from? Or something of such?"
Saleeya smiled shyly and nodded before opening on of the doors and ushering Aeolyn into the room, murmuring the word 'remember' to the young woman. Aeolyn turned around to ask the maid how she knew, but she only met a closed blue hue door, which nearly smashed her nose. A clearing of throat caught her attention and made her twirl back around to the direction of the voice. Before her was a room made for a noble's casual meal. The table ran long enough for Aeolyn to be unable to count the chairs in a single heartbeat. The room was larger than she thought any casual dinning room could possible be. Along the wall were large windows that allowed the sunlight to shine in and brighten the room. The walls themselves were bare of any ornament. The floor was covered with beautifully crafted mosaics and tiles of somber colors in hues of blue, gray and red. At the far end of the room was a swinging door made for servants to serve food to guests and anyone else willing to dine in the room. The table itself was covered with a white embroidered cloth covered with designs of leaves and feathers. The chairs were cushioned with white but the backs were oddly shaped, running rather thinly; almost as thin as her forearm.
At the head of the table were a few people with wings of natural shades protruding from their backs. Their wings were not made of the bat-like material like the man who had kidnapped had. Instead, these people bore wings of birds, with each pair as a different shade of brown, gray, white and gold. But the man closes to her, who now stood, had winds of a bluish white. Aeolyn stared, forgetting her manners, yet remembering the fear of what could happen. But when Aeolyn realized that no one was coming to greet her, Aeolyn dropped a clumsily curtsy, and murmured what Saleeya had said to her not a few seconds ago.
"Good morning Angalo Obadiah," she said, addressing the only person she semi knew in the room. When she rose again, Aeolyn kept her gaze to the floor for fear of what might happen to her if she showed disrespect. Was it wrong and rude to not address anyone else?
"Ah, my lady, so you have arrived well, I presume. Come join us for I know you must be ravenous," the only man who stood greeted. "I am the Angalo Obadiah of the Eyerie Hold."
Aeolyn looked up again, and was surprised when the Angalo can forth and took her hand, placing it on his arm, and escorting her to her seat. Aeolyn looked up at him and then back at his great wings with an arched of the top wing, nearly a foot above his head. The large feathers near the lower bottom half of his wings just barely brushed the floor. The spans of the each wing were an easy five feet long, maybe even six feet. Aeolyn turned her attention back to her escort. He seemed taller now than he had before, now that he walked side by side with her. White blond hair brushed the back from a small widow's peak and came down to the lower part of his ears, framing his strong boned face. His grey eyes were set under a pair of darker blond eyebrows. A straight-bridged nose was slightly larger in proportion to his face but was balanced by a grinning mouth made to smile broadly. His attire, like her own and the others of the Eyerie Hold, were foreign to her. He wore a somber blue tunic that was cut short just below his waist and brown belt tie. Under the tunic was a pale tan cotton buttoned shirt with wide sleeves that ran down half was past his hands. The loose long pants he wore were of the same cotton material, only thicker with a grey hue. The shoes he wore were of something new to Aeolyn. They were a cross between boots and regular shoes, only coming as high as his ankles and cut to fold downwards.
When Aeolyn and the Angalo made their to the table, the Angalo pulled out a chair beside his and diagonal from another man with wings of silver and white. Aeolyn sat down hesitantly, keeping her eyes to the table, not wanting to meet anyone's scrutinizing gaze. She heard the Angalo sit beside her, clearing his throat, causing her to look up once more. Next to the Angalo were two more dove-winged people, one male and another female. Both of them each had their own unique coloring of wings. The woman's wings were of a tawny gold color, where as the man's had a white grey hue. In front of the man and woman was an older woman, with her hair fading into a white color, instead of her regular blond color. Directly in front of the Angalo was another man with wings of a silver white. He look to be the youngest of the group with hair of a coral black. He wore a loose plain tan shirt with wide sleeves under a fitted dark brown tunic. Leaning against the table with his elbows on the table, he eyed her with his dreamer hazel eyes over his cup of steaming tea. A slight welcoming smile formed on his lips when he caught her gaze. Aeolyn smiled hesitantly in return, but her smile froze and her eyes widened when she noticed the same fall of black hair over hazel eyes as she saw of Mikhail.
"Mikhail," she blurted out quietly, but loud enough to catch the Angalo's attention, who was conversing quickly with the elderly woman. The man in front of the Angalo stared at her, his smile faded.
(The next update won't be for a while, there's something wrong with my computer that won't let me on and other things)