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.
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