One the Twelfth Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…

Welcome back to the twelve days of Christmas, fantasy style. So far, we’ve had a god with a secret, two changeling cats, three fearless hunters, four lightning birds, five gold rings, six members of the Battalion, seven of the Elite, eight greedy goblins, nine brave soldiers, ten borrowed shapeshifters, and eleven Noble Shields. If you’re just joining the story, a small estate within the mortal realm has collapsed. All twelve days relate to the rescue effort.

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…Twelve Fallen Guardians.

Orion sat beneath the large tree in the centre of the newly built site. He studied the tidy structures that were so different to the original design, but sturdier – harder to crumble. Not that he would allow his asinine cousin to make a repeat performance.

His attention was caught by a small group of children racing across the path above him. They were laughing, a sound that felt good and right. It drifted into the night, relieving some of the guilt that still weighed heavily in his gut.

The children couldn’t see him. He’d used a cloak to conceal his presence. It would risk his mission to be seen here, not to mention his reputation for being a cold-hearted bastard. The ice had cracked a long time ago, and the damn thing wouldn’t stop thawing. It was good that his acting skills were as flawless as his complexion.

Orion rose to his feet when he heard a heavy crash, followed by sound of shattering glass. A horrified gasp, had his attention returning to the group.

It took him a few seconds to figure out what happened, and he had to smile. One of the children had been carrying a jug of liquid – that smelled of summer mornings – and had stumbled. The boy had tried so hard to save their treasure as he fell, but the jug had dropped from his grip and now lay shattered on the ground.

Unable to help himself, Orion donned a disguise and dropped his cloak. He watched four sets of eyes widen as they spotted him.

“Shh,” he put a finger to his lips, glancing around to make sure they were alone.

“Are you Santa?” one of them asked, voice so low he barely heard it.

Orion almost laughed out loud as he looked down at the red tunic he was sporting. He’d meant to come across as unassuming, and had chosen an elderly, grandfatherly skin. The white beard did feel rather long, but the effect was purely coincidental.

The thought of all they had been through, stopped him from denying the character they cast him in. He preferred a different kind of magic, but if this was what they needed, then so be it.

He winked, but didn’t say another word. He didn’t need to. The excitement was palpable. How easy they were to please. How wonderfully innocent they were. It made him feel lighter, almost giddy with shared delight.

Taking a step forward he used his power to gather and lift the broken shards. When they were hovering before him, he chanced a glance at the group and saw he had their undivided attention.

He let the glass spin in front of him, faster and faster until it fractured into tiny splinters. They twinkled, like tiny specs of light, and it gave him an idea. Turning, he slowed their progress and blew hard.

Now, almost as fine as sand, they drifted through the air and coated the tree he’d rested against.

A collective gasp rippled through the group as the glass settled, shimmering against the branches.

“Cool,” one of the children murmured, and Orion grinned. He sounded like Blade.

Moving back to the group, he snapped his fingers and a jug appeared in his hand – this one plastic. He handed it to the clumsy child with another wink, and searched his memories for something appropriate to say. Something befitting of the legendary figure.

“Go. Share your drink, and go quickly to your beds,” he whispered, conscious that he felt an adult presence close by. A mother worried for her children.

Before they could respond, Orion disappeared. Or rather her used concealment magic to hide himself from view.

Several hours later, and still firmly cloaked, he watched as the community came out on masse to witness the Christmas miracle. A large, sparkling tree, with a pile of brightly wrapped presents beneath.

“Are you going soft on me?” a voice said beside him, a beat or two before Lucas showed his angelic face. The Guardian, the angel on his shoulder, liked to make an entrance.

“If I am, then you made me this way, brother.” Orion shrugged. “This eases some of the guilt for what happened here.”

“You’re not responsible for your cousin’s actions. And you’ve been acting on that guilt all along. For you, this is overkill.”

“And you always have my back.” Orion smiled when Lucas feigned an innocent look. “Do you think I don’t know about the Fallen?”

“It’s their job to protect,” Lucas countered, as though he hadn’t gathered them to watch over the small community. A temporary assignment or not, they had done more than protect. They had soothed, eased and in some cases healed.

The Fallen were former Guardians. Angels who chose to fall from Empyrean to take a more proactive role. Orion counted twelve among the gathering group. It was their job to blend in, but he saw them. Saw the light shining from each of them. It was almost as strong as his brother’s blinding energy.

“Perhaps we both got a little carried away.” Lucas’ mouth twitched. “Perhaps it’s the spirit of the season.”

“Ho, Ho, Ho,” Orion muttered and transported himself home. Lucas’ laughter followed closely on his heels.

And that concludes my Twelve Days of the Fractured. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Have a wonderful Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by

Mel

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On the Sixth Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…

Welcome back to the twelve days of Christmas, fantasy style. So far, we’ve had a god with a secret, two changeling cats, three fearless hunters, four lightning birds, and five gold rings. If you’re just joining the story, a small estate within the mortal realm has collapsed. All twelve days relate to the rescue effort.

On the Sixth Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…Six members of the Battalion.

Blade stretched his aching muscles before moving to the next bed. Zachariah was way ahead of him. He was already pumping his happy juice into a young girl who had so many broken bones in her leg it would be a miracle if they saved it.

The vampire couldn’t heal, but he could ease her pain, and it was all they had right now.

Staring into her wide blue eyes, his cat pushed against his skin. He wanted out. It wasn’t a surprise, the damn fur-ball had charmed Louise, and she adored Blade’s animal half.

Giving in, Blade shifted. He ignored the grunt from Zachariah and placed his big head on the stretcher, nuzzling Louise’s cheek.

She giggled and wrapped her arms around his neck. Blade’s cheetah lapped up the affection, purring into her ear.

The happy sound she made pleased the man, too. Anything to distract her from her injuries.

“We have company,” Logan said, sticking his head into the tent.

With one last nuzzle, Blade left Zachariah to it, and followed his partner out.

In his cat form, Blade had excellent vision, so he spotted their visitors immediately. Of course, he’d have to be an idiot to miss the fact that all eyes were on the sky.

He shifted again, letting out a low whistle. “Woah,” he said, as his suit snapped into place. Gone were the days he had to scrounge up a pair of pants. Thank the gods for elfin magic. “We must be doing something right to deserve a visit from the Battalion.”

Logan flashed a wicked grin. “I don’t know. Some would say we belong on the naughty list.”

His cat huffed at that. “Maybe we have V and Joshua to thank.”

The Battalion were Empyreans finest soldiers. Warrior angels, who were sent in at the start of a war. Blade and Logan had the honour of working beside two such warriors, Joshua and Nevaeh. It was the first time members of the Battalion had taken on a more active role.

Actually. I’m responsible for the reinforcements. It’s customary at this time of year to exchange gifts. Is it not?

Logan growled beside Blade, which meant Orion was in his head, too.

And we’re responsible for cleaning up your mess. Blade said, watching as the Battalion drew nearer. Consider us even.

Does that mean I should send back the rest of my gifts?

“Don’t listen to him,” Logan said, lips quirking. “Besides, I like surprises.”

Blade decided it was a sorry state of affairs when he began to miss Orion’s presence. He’d expected him to show his face the minute he got rid of his cousin, but then, being a silent member of the Collective meant he couldn’t advertise his involvement. Pity that didn’t extend to the voice in their head, because, man did the god love the sound of his own voice.

“That looks like a pretty big surprise,” Zachariah said from behind them.

He was talking about the large container the six members of the Battalion were carrying. The thing was huge, but the angels made it look easy. Each warrior had a modified harness strapped around their chest. It attached to the crate in a way that left their wings free to do all the heavy lifting – so to speak.

“Want to make a wager about what’s inside?” Logan asked, as they moved to intercept.

“I’d win that bet,” Zachariah answered, but didn’t elaborate.

Blade studied the crate. The angels were making slow progress, and appeared to be treating their cargo with a little too much care. Even when they lowered it to the ground, they unburdened themselves with practiced skill, settling the crate on the outer edge of the site without so much as a tremor.

A tall, dark skinned angel, with wings a vibrant turquoise, stepped forward. Her harness dropped away as she moved. “You must be Logan,” she said, inclining her head.

It was the hair that did it. Even in wolf form, Logan’s coat was the purest white. An anomaly within his family, due to the absence of darker tones. In human form, his hair fell in thick waves, making him stand out like snow on a mountain top.

“It’s an honour,” Logan said, rolling his shoulders.

Blade snickered, which earned him a sharp look from his partner. It was just too damn funny to see Logan play the role of ambassador. Sure, his brother had a wicked sense of humour, but he overcompensated for his lack of social skills. Blade preferred Logan’s surly side. At least it was honest.

“I’m Celestia.” The angel flicked a glance at the warriors flanking her. “This is my team. We were told you’re in need of medical assistance.”

No sooner had she spoken the words, the front of the crate fell open.

“Surprise,” Zachariah muttered, making Blade laugh.

It was a surprise. A pleasant one. There were a least five medical personnel, each strapped to a seat, and so many supplies they could cure an army.

“We’re at your disposal,” Celestia said, tucking her glorious wings into her back. “It’s my understanding you want to secure the community.”

Which of course meant that was Orion’s plan. Blade couldn’t fault him, but he doubted they could restore the peace the humans had found here. They were no longer safe in their obscurity.

“Let’s start with healing the sick,” he said, thinking of Louise and so many others who needed help. He met Celestia’s pale green eyes. “You can rest up and then get a lay of the land. It’s good to have you on board.”

He didn’t wait for a response, he moved around the team and went to introduce himself to the medical staff. They had their work cut out for them.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 1: Fantasy Squad – Angels

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It might be an obvious choice, but in terms of a Fantasy Squad, angels are up there with the best of them. Certainly in terms of fictional beings, we have a variety to choose from. We’ve had the good, the bad, and, the devilishly handsome (yes, that’s a reference to Denzel Washington). The characters who stand out, do so because they challenge our preconceptions and, wings or no wings, their appeal shines through like a carefully crafted halo.

Let’s start with television and perhaps one of the most infamous angels, played by Michael Landon in Highway to Heaven. I got to see reruns of the show growing up and fell hook, line and sinker for Michael’s probationary angel. The show was emotionally charged, and dealt with some pretty major issues, but it was the character – the essence of Jonathan that really stayed with me.

Similarly, Touched by an Angel was a show about angels who were assigned to Earth to inspire people – assignments which usually involved a crossroads of sorts. The show had a definite feel good factor, with a strong message and an interesting viewpoint on how angels interact in human form – highlighting their own fears and insecurities.

Sticking with television, Teen Angel was a light hearted comedy following the adventures of Marty, who died after eating a six month old burger, and was assigned as his best friend’s guardian angel. The jokes might have been corny, but it was a lot of fun!

Misha Collins, who plays Castiel in Supernatural, is a popular choice. Not only did he pull Dean Winchester out of Hell, he ultimately chose humanity. He is someone the brothers can rely on, and who fans of the show have grown to love – warts and all!

Turning to film, who can forget John Travolta’s interpretation of an archangel on his last jaunt on Earth. Love him or hate him, Michael – the wise-cracking, cigarette smoking, angel was at least memorable. Then we have Denzel Washington, an angel on a mission in The Preacher’s Wife – did I mention the devilishly handsome part? Angels have been used in a variety of ways. To affect calm in emotional situations (as seen by Nicolas Cage in City of Angels), to intervene, serve or protect. But not all angels are on their best behaviour.

Take, for example, exiled angels, like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (aka Bartleby and Loki), who turned the stereotype on its head in the satire, Dogma. Tilda Swinton made a formidable Gabriel in Constantine, on a mission to ensure we earn the Lord’s love. This was a darker, slightly unhinged interpretation, but a lot of fun.

Edgar Allan Poe used humour in his short piece of fiction The Angel of the Odd. I’ve found the story works best when read aloud, and slightly inebriated doesn’t hurt!

In terms of literature, there is so much to choose from I’d need the entire month to get through it all! Fantasy writers like Nalini Singh and Larissa Ione have produced some truly memorable angels. Nalini uses wings to great effect – she gives each of her angels a unique skill, and has established a world where archangels rule. Perhaps one of the most interesting concepts in the Guild Hunter series is the fact angels are responsible for the creation of vampires. In the Demonica series, Larissa creates a force to be reckoned with in Reaver -Warrior of Heaven.

Indie authors like Patricia Lynne (Patricia Josephine) and Sierra (S.R. Carrillo) have pushed the boundaries and entertained us with angels who carry the burden of great responsibility. They are definitely worth checking out.

But how about you? If we were to create a fantasy squad, what would your angel be like; a guardian, a warrior, lovable rogue, or champion of the Heavens? Which representations stand out for you?