Chapter 30 (Everin)

The monks had vacated the garden, which had been trashed by the angels’ attacks. Since there were no bystanders nearby, Everin decided that he would channel their fear next. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see electrifying green fear pouring from the windows of the building, waiting to be absorbed. He figured that most of the people in the monastery were congregated on the top floor, as that was where most of the energy appeared to be gathered.

It was Kyzella who made the first move. She raised her hands and another wall of golden light bloomed in front of her. She didn’t take her hands away, and the barrier of light grew horizontally. It raced to expand along both sides of Everin. He realized what was happening too late. He spun around just in time to see the two ends of the wall close behind him. Kyzella had trapped him in a ring of her glowing energy.

The light thrummed with a dangerous power behind Everin. The ring had a radius of about forty feet that separated Everin from the ominous yellow light. It was as tall as he was. There would be no jumping over it.

“We’ve got you, Everin. Come peacefully so we can make this quick,” he heard Kyzella call from behind the shimmering light. He couldn’t see her, as she and the other two angels stood on the other side of the wall.

“No!” he shouted. He wasn’t being brought in that easily.

Everin lowered his walls and let the suffering from the people in the monastery flow into him. They were scared. Not in mortal terror, but they were fearful. There were at least a dozen monks of Stalin, along with Cora and Ford, whose auras contained more green energy than anyone else’s, as their fear for his safety manifested itself into the green light he absorbed.

Emerald light streamed into his body from the top of the monastery. The fear was sharp, but he was ready for it. His heart began racing, and he thought he could sense his pupils expand. Everin fought the claustrophobia that the ring induced on his unstable emotional state and kept his composure long enough to release some of the light he’d absorbed.

Green lightning arced across the inside of his prison. It snapped and hissed as fingers of energy connected with the wall of yellow light. Sparks flew, but Everin’s lightning wasn’t able to punch through the barrier.

Saphine’s voice carried over to him.

“You’re not getting out, sweetie. Might as well give up before you get hurt.”

To Everin’s horror, the blazing ring that surrounded him began to shrink. He stepped forward to avoid touching the blisteringly hot walls of energy. His own fear, mixed with the terror he’d already absorbed, threatened to overwhelm him. His eyes darted erratically from spot to spot, searching for a way out of the shrinking ring.

He released the rest of the green energy that had been pent up inside him, directing it as best he could towards a single section of the barrier. A bolt of electricity exploded from Everin’s hands. There was a sharp clap of thunder as the lightning was released. The bolt stabbed into the shrinking wall, breaking into a million tendrils of energy that poured their green light into the sea of gold.

The ring of energy around Everin faded to semitransparency. For a moment, the three angels came into view. Saphine and Ichoron were watching the ring around him. Kyzella had her hands raised, a look of determination on her face. In another second, the ring of golden energy flickered back into existence, even smaller than before. A shriek of terror escaped Everin – partially due to the residual fear he’d absorbed and also a result of his own horror at being captured by Kyzella in her supernatural prison.

The ominous hum of the golden light reached a crescendo as the walls drew tighter. Everin reached out with his mind. Trying to sense and absorb the auras of the angels. Before he could begin to intake their toxic energy; however, he heard a shout from behind him.


He turned and glanced upward just in time to see several archers on the roof of the monastery shoot their arrows into the sky. The archers all wore long red robes. The monks of Stalin, Everin realized. Beside one of the archers stood a boy and a girl. Everin recognized them instantly as Cora and Ford. Cora waved to him from her position on the roof. Everin had never been so happy to wave back at someone.

The monks’ arrows speared through the air. Their gentle arcs curving them downward to a deadly rain on top of the three angels. Instantly, the ring around Everin disappeared. He looked to Kyzella, who had abandoned her prison in order to summon a shield of her golden light. She raised it above her head just in time to incinerate a pair of arrows that had been on track to bury themselves in her skull.

Saphine rolled away from a cluster of falling arrows. Her hands glowed sapphire again as she fired a beam of energy into the sky, evaporating another arrow that had been headed her way.

“Not cool,” she hissed as she glanced upward at the monastery roof.

For his part, Ichoron looked annoyed as the pointed projectiles bounced off the plate armor that covered his body.

“You dare fire upon servants of King Valen?” Kyzella roared at the monks on the rooftop.

A voice that Everin recognized as Castro shouted in reply, “Nobody who attacks a place of worship unprovoked is safe from reckoning. Being King Valen’s pets doesn’t put you above morality. Not in Stalin’s eyes and not in ours.”

Kyzella frowned. “Saphine, take care of them.”

“With pleasure,” she snarled.

The angel rose to her feet and began to gather the deadly blue light around her hands. Everin realized what was happening a moment before it occurred.

“Watch out!” He shouted, as Saphine fired twins beams of her condensed blue light at the roof. The lines of energy flashed through the air and struck. One beam crashed into the edge of the roof. Wooden supports cracked, and fragments of material exploded from the point of impact. The other beam of blazing light struck one of the robed figures. The beam shot right through him. Everin didn’t look away in time to avoid seeing the man practically cut in half. He’d heard stories of how brutally the angels tore their enemies apart. Seeing it happen in real life and being forced to listen to the scream of a man who knew he was doomed, that was something else entirely.

Saphine’s right hand glowed, and she released another beam of energy towards the archers. This one blasted into the shingles on the roof sending them flying. The point of impact was dangerously close to Cora and Ford. Everin looked at the space on the rooftop where his friends and the monks stood. It already looked unstable. It couldn’t take much more of Saphine’s onslaught before collapsing. The monks began to retreat back into the shelter of the monastery.

Everin grimaced. He knew what he had to do. He closed his eyes and slowly inhaled. He tried to remember something happy, so he could have something to cling to once Kyzella and Saphine’s sadness ravaged his mind. Everin scanned his memories. The ones of his parents were all bittersweet. They wouldn’t do. He didn’t have many positive experiences that weren’t tainted by the death or his parents or the loss of his friendships.

Finally, he selected a memory of Cora. They were both ten. Everin had been sent to buy bread from her father. When he’d arrived, she’d volunteered to show him how bread was made. She’d guided him into the kitchen and together they’d made a small loaf of bread with leftover dough. Cora had guided Everin’s hands over the thick wad of dough, helping him knead and shape it. They’d put it in the oven and spent the next hour talking while they waited for it to bake and cool. It had been nice, Everin remembered, to just talk to someone. He’d known Cora from seeing her around the village before that day, but afterwards, that was when they’d truly become close friends.

Everin struggled to maintain the memory of baking bread with Cora as he let the blue light from Kyzella and Saphine flow into him. His efforts were in vain. The melancholy energy overwhelmed him, leaving no space for even a single joyful thought. Everin felt his lower lip tremble. His breath hitched as he fought the urge to cry. Grim determination alone allowed him to look up at his target.

Saphine hadn’t taken her eyes off the rooftop as her hands began to glow again. Anticipating more beams of her energy, Everin extended his hand forward. A horizontal pillar of blue light extended from his outstretch limb, careening into Saphine. She was knocked off her feet into a row of flowering bushes. She groaned and didn’t immediately get up. Evidently, she wasn’t as durable as Ichoron.

Kyzella and Ichoron looked at their partner and snapped their heads toward Everin.

“I’ll take care of him,” Kyzella said. “You get those archers off the roof.”

Ichoron nodded. He scanned the garden around him and picked up a large rock that had been resting near his feet. The stone must have weighed as much as Everin did, but the angel hefted it like a toy. He pulled his arm back and violently hurled the rock at the rooftop.

“Move!” Everin tried to scream a warning to the figures above.

He heard the crash as the stone made impact with the top of the monastery, but he couldn’t look to see the damage. Kyzella had his attention again. She’d reformed her wall of golden light and was quickly expanding it on either side to surround Everin again.

He tried to think, tried to figure out what to do. It was so hard to focus with the gut-wrenching despair blanketing itself over him. He just wanted to curl into a ball and cry. Everin turned and ran, trying to escape the area that was being enclosed by Kyzella’s prison.

Everin wasn’t fast enough. He stumbled to a stop to avoid burning himself alive on the glowing barrier. He whipped his head around, looking for a way out. The ring was complete, leaving no gaps for escape. It was different this time, however. It wasn’t a solid wall of yellow light. Now, it was slightly transparent. Everin could make out the shape of Kyzella pressing her hands to the ring on the other side. Why was she using less energy? Was he wearing her down? Maybe draining her anger and sorrow had weakened her resolve?

Everin stopped asking questions and started moving. The sadness that he’d absorbed from Kyzella and Saphine felt like it was burning a hole in his chest and crushing his ribs at the same time. He’d been holding it inside himself for too long. It needed to be released.

Everin pushed his hand forward, sending an offshoot of blue energy extending from his palm, similar to the one he’d attacked Saphine with. The energy resembled a horizontal cylinder about two feet in diameter. It kept growing longer and longer until it crashed into the wall of gold light.

Everin’s energy punched through the barrier of light and the entire ring flickered out of existence. Kyzella looked dazed. She stared at her open palms and shook her head violently. Now that Kyzella was momentarily dealt with, Everin was free to turn on Ichoron. The angel had just picked up another stone to throw at the monks on the roof, who were scrambling to take cover inside the monastery. Saphine had also recovered from Everin’s attack and resumed her assault on the archers. Everin noted that her beams of light appeared to be moving slower and with less explosive impact when they struck the roof.

Kyzella and Saphine were two broken individuals. They’d given Everin plenty of blue energy to work with, so he had a lot left within himself, even after using it to fuel two attacks. Everin raised his palm towards Ichoron. This time, a beam of energy, nearly identical to the kind Saphine used, materialized and flashed toward Ichoron.

The armored angel was sent flying backward, but he was on his feet again in an instant.

“You’re proving to be more trouble than I expected,” he growled.

Everin didn’t answer. There was no point in getting into an argument with the beings who were trying to capture him. He shot another beam of energy at Ichoron, but the angel dove to the side, avoiding the blast. Ichoron jumped to his feet and sprinted towards Everin, massive broadsword raised.

Instinctively, Everin dropped to one knee and pressed his palms into the dirt. A ring of transparent blue light faded into existence around him. Ichoron struck at the pulsating barrier, but he couldn’t break through.

“Ichoron, stop.” Kyzella’s voice cut through the air.

The angel turned and looked at her. “It’s too much work to capture Everin. It’s time for plan B. Prepare to move.”

Ichoron growled dangerously and glared at Everin through his metal visor. Everin didn’t move, preferring to focus on holding back tears as he channeled the sadness within him into the glowing barrier. Ichoron jogged over to Saphine. She took his hand, and Ichoron helped her to climb onto his shoulders. Everin stared at the angels. Were they giving up? Just like that?

Kyzella’s golden wings appeared on her back. She took to the sky. Now that the monks were all hiding inside the monastery, she had no need to fear arrows being shot her way. With a few graceful flaps of her wings, Kyzella lofted herself a hundred feet into the air. Then, she angled herself toward the monastery.

Everin felt a sinking feeling in his gut. They weren’t giving up. They were trying something else. Kyzella raced toward the building, picking up speed. Her body was nearly horizontal at this point. She raised her hands in front of her face and created a small glowing shield. As she streaked toward the top floor of the monastery, Kyzella tightly folded her wings, pressing them to her back as she crashed through a window.

The angel vanished. Everin didn’t know what to do. He was powerless. The second he stopped channeling his stores of blue light into his barrier, Ichoron would be on top of him. All he could do was watch the monastery and hope that the monks could fight off Kyzella. From inside the building, he could hear shouts and crashes. After several agonizingly long moments, Kyzella shot back out the window.

Her wings spread to slow her down as she lazily circled over Saphine and Ichoron. Something was different about her now. When she slowed down, Everin saw what it was. Kyzella had her arms wrapped around a struggling figure. Everin’s blood ran cold when he realized who it was. Kyzella dangled Ford above the trashed garden in front of the monastery. She had her arms hooked under his armpits and wrapped around his chest. Ford squirmed and flailed in her grip.

“Stop fighting, unless you want me to drop you,” Kyzella snapped at him.

Ford locked eyes with his friend. “Everin! Help! Please!” He begged. He didn’t answer Kyzella, but he must’ve realized how high up he was, because he stopped fighting her.

“This is what you get for being such a pest, Everin. If we can’t take you to our master in Doronhine, we’ll just bring your companion instead,” Kyzella called to him from above.

Desperately, Everin tried to use the last of the sad energy inside him to save Ford. He channeled it into two long cords that extended from his arms – the same technique he’d used to stop Kyzella last time. She was prepared, however. She flapped her wings harder and floated out of reach of Everin’s tentacles.

“Let’s get out of here,” she said to her two fellow angels.

Saphine was riding on Ichoron’s shoulders. The weight didn’t seem to bother him. He took off like a stone from a slingshot, sprinting after Kyzella who’d begun flying north, away from the monastery.

“Stop!” Everin shouted.

He reached for the two angels with his lines of glowing blue light, but Ichoron was too fast. He moved with the speed of a horse at full gallop, armored legs churning beneath him. Saphine, who must’ve been unable to travel with the same speed as Kyzella or Ichoron, let the angel carry her along for the ride.

“Everin!” Ford screamed as he and Kyzella began to shrink in the distance.

The last of the energy Everin had absorbed was drained from him to produce the tentacle-like arms. Normally, he would’ve felt relief to have rid himself from such a traumatic emotional experience; however, his own feeling of despair was even worse than what he’d siphoned from the angels. They’d captured Ford. They were already so far away and gaining distance with every passing moment. Everin had entered the fight thinking the worst outcome would be his capture. This was ten times worse than that.

Everin sprinted inside the monastery. He yanked the front door open and came face to face with Cora, who’d been about to run outside.

“They’ve got Ford,” she said, panic creeping into her voice.

Everin nodded frenetically. “They’re taking him to McCarthy, I think.”

Cora shuddered. “We can’t let that happen. Are you strong enough to ride after fighting those monsters?”

Everin nodded again. A look of grim determination mixed with frantic desperation crossed Cora’s visage. “Then let’s go after them. The horses are out back.”

Everin didn’t even wait to respond. He took off running. He hadn’t completely failed yet, but every second wasted gave the angels more time to get away.

Everin and Cora raced to the stables behind the monastery. They saddled and mounted the two brown horses that they’d captured from the ghosts as fast as they could. Normally, Everin would have felt bad about leaving the monastery in the state that it was, but they needed to move fast. He hoped the monks would understand. He made a promise to himself to pay them back for the damaged caused by the angels after they’d rescued Ford.

He and Cora threw saddles onto the horses and clambered onto the animals’ backs. They kicked them into a frantic gallop. The figure of Kyzella soared through the sky above them. By Everin’s judgement, she and Ford were only about a mile ahead. He leaned forward, egging his horse on to run faster. However hard he pushed the horse; though, the flying angel maintained her position ahead of him.

Everin felt his panic slowly molding itself into the familiar feeling of despair and misery. Kyzella was becoming smaller and smaller in the distance. The outline of Ichoron carrying Saphine on his shoulders had already disappeared. His horse was beginning to slow as it was totally exhausted from the maddening sprint. A scream escaped Everin. It sounded for miles across the empty, rolling hills that surrounded them. They were losing Ford, and there was nothing he could do about it.

Soon, the speck in the sky that was Kyzella had vanished completely. Everin’s eyes darted over the entire horizon, searching for the cruel angel, but he couldn’t see her anymore. They’d lost Ford.

Next chapter:

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