“Whoa there Damien, keep your eyes on the road,” I heard Marc’s voice from the passenger seat, though I still could not see him. My mind blown, I had a hard time concentrating, and it only became more difficult as some force began moving the steering wheel for me.
“Dammit Damien! I’m just invisible, get over it. We’ll have a lot less chance of being questioned if they don’t see the shirtless guy riding in the front seat. Now pull yourself together and drive,” Marc’s voice commanded and I took a deep breath before regaining control of the wheel. We drove in silence for the next minute as I tried to regain my composure. Eventually I was at least successful in getting my heart rate down, and I did the best I could to avoid looking over at the seemingly empty passenger seat.
“So…” I began awkwardly, “You’re a demon who can turn invisible and assume human form. That’s cool I suppose. When were you planning on telling me this exactly?”
I heard a sigh and then the window was rolled down. Apparently he needed fresh air in order to be comfortable speaking, because as soon as it was lowered he replied sarcastically, “Yep. Sorry I didn’t tell you. You know, I am totally at fault for not believing that someone who has had zero experience in the occult would accept that I’m a demon with magical powers.”
“Hey, don’t be like that Marc, I’m just getting used to the idea. It’s actually really funny. Either I am in so much shock that the strangeness of it isn’t registering, or something else is granting me some kind of peace on this whole thing, because I don’t find this that weird at all. I am strangely comfortable with this revelation, and I definitely don’t get it. I should be freaking out right now, but I think I’m okay. Maybe when the adrenaline shuts off I’ll realize how crazy this all is,” I returned with as much sincerity as I could muster. The truth was that I was freaked out, but I had always had the ability to maintain my head in a crisis or an unknown situation. I also accepted obvious truths very easily, and I had definitely been presented with evidence that I was either crazy, or demons and magic actually existed. Of course, even if I was crazy, I would believe now that they existed anyway, so I was running with the concept. It would just take awhile to process.
Another sigh came from my right and he replied, “I’m sorry, you’re right. Let’s just get back to your house and then I’ll tell you all about it. I need time to gather my thoughts in order to explain it all to you. Verina forced my hand much sooner than I would have liked.”
“Wait, who’s Verina?” I asked.
“Sorry, you know her as Veronica. Again, let’s just get home and we’ll talk about it,” he replied in a tone that told me to drop the subject. I knew I would get my answers eventually, so I decided to let him have his way, and we drove the rest of the way in silence.
After we had pulled into the garage and I had pressed to button for the garage door to close, Marc startled me by suddenly becoming visible. I wasn’t sure I would ever get used to his ability, but I was certainly glad at the time that he was there. It was comforting that I knew at least one person was on my side.
“Alright, let’s head up to your room. We’ll talk there,” he said simply before getting out of the car. I got out myself and unlocked the door into the house. I went to turn off the alarm but Marc beat me to the alarm box, and before I realized what was going on, he had entered the code.
“Have you been following me while invisible?” I asked, suddenly suspicious.
“Sometimes, but I only followed you enough for me to learn what I needed to learn in order to keep you safe. It’s not like I’ve been stalking you or anything, just keeping tabs on you. Knowing your alarm code was just a contingency, and now that I’m going to explain the truth to you, I wanted you to know what I have been doing. I’m coming clean, isn’t that what you wanted?” He explained sincerely. I nodded slowly, though I was now a bit uncomfortable with how much he had seen or learned about me.
We made our way up to my room and he closed the door. He then moved over to my bed and to my surprise he began to unbutton the tattered remains of his jeans. Within a few seconds his completely naked sixteen year old form was in front of me, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of his gorgeous flesh. Having only known each other for a week, it should come as no surprise that this had been the first time I had seen him nude, and I was certainly far from disappointed in what I saw. His equipment wasn’t particularly large, but rather perfectly proportionate to the rest of him. He was perfectly balanced in any way, and I wondered if he did it on purpose. He could change his form after all.
“Oh, I’m sorry! If you’d like you can let me borrow some clothes or something, but I didn’t see much point in wearing something that was already destroyed and barely covered anything anyway. Plus, in our society we rarely wear clothing except for some types of body armor. It didn’t even cross my mind that you might be uncomfortable, though from the looks of things you like what you see,” he explained with a grin and nodded at my obvious signs of arousal.
“You caught me,” I laughed and then said, “Don’t get dressed on my account. Feel free to be comfortable, I do like what I see.”
He looked surprised, and then smiled as he leaned back on my bed, coming to rest on his left elbow as he held himself propped up to be able to see me easily, “Most people would be embarrassed, but I guess you’re not most people. It seems that the legend might just be true then.”
“Oh, now you’re going to tell me I’m some child of prophecy, huh? Is that why everyone is so interested in me?” I asked incredulously. The reality of the situation was finally starting to settle in, and I knew I was about to be tested on what I would actually allow myself to believe.
“Well, not exactly. There isn’t a prophecy, just a legend, but I hope you’ll forgive me for not starting there. I think it would be beneficial to explain what happened before the legend. We need to talk about heaven and hell.”
“I’m afraid my Christian theology is a little lacking,” I replied dryly. I knew next to nothing about Christians other than that I didn’t like them coming to my door and attempting to teach me about their holy books.
“It’s probably better that you don’t know anything about it, because most of what you would know from a standard education would be wrong. The truth isn’t something that humans will be ready to hear for a long time. The Truth is that both Angels and Demons exist, and while it is true that we are at war, the nature of that war is very different than outlined in the Bible.”
“Angels and Demons?” I asked, confused as to whether or not I had heard him correctly, “Isn’t it usually Angels and Devils?”
Marc shook his head as he explained, “Yes, many people use those terms interchangeably, but they are actually quite different from each other. Demons and Angels are two completely different races, and both races are also distinct from humans considerably. Devils on the other hand are actually a reference to Angels who no longer side with the government of Heaven. Some devils have sided with us, though most are rogue operatives that don’t agree with either side. Hell is actually a reference to a specific group of rogue Devils, led by an Angel named Lucifel. You’ve probably heard the name Lucifer before? Same person, although Lucifel is female whereas Lucifer is generally portrayed as male.”
“If Hell refers to a group of Devils, then does that mean it’s not a place? And what does that mean about Heaven?”
“No, Hell is not a place per se, though if you ask an Angel they might refer to Earth as Hell, simply because this is where Lucifel lives with her small group. It also happens to be where we Demons live, which just makes it easier for them to lump us all together, despite not having affiliation. I suppose it’s fair to say that there are some demons who work with Lucifel, most notably Shatan the Dragon, but in general the Demons follow the will of King Icarus, and we don’t care about the civil conflict between the Angels. The only problem is that the Angels have chosen to make conflict with us.”
“Heaven on the other hand is a place, or more specifically, places. The angels are not natives of Earth, unlike us. They came here on ships millennia ago. Their intention was to colonize our world, and if it had just been humans here at the time they probably would have succeeded. No offense meant to the human race or anything, but they didn’t have the strength to defend from the technological skill that the Angels possessed. We demons on the other hand did have something that we could defend the world with. We had what is now called magic.”
“It’s not really magic though, because there are legitimate scientific explanations for what we can do. For instance, it is my mental control over my own cells that allows me to become invisible. I can polarize my cells in such a way that visible light passes right through them, though if you had an infrared sensor of some sort you would still be able to detect me. I can only become invisible in that narrow spectrum of light, and in all other cases I remain visible.”
“Changing form between my natural state and this human one is based on the same principle. From an early age I practiced at changing my cells to match that of a specific human form that I had picked out, and every time I change into that form I have to build it cell by cell. Changing is second nature to me now because of how many times I’ve done it, and I can do it almost instantaneously now, but most demons require several hours at least to make the shift. Practice makes perfect and all that nonsense.”
He paused in his lecture, and I took the opportunity to ask him, “But if you can become invisible, why would you need to shift your form at all?”
“Believe it or not, the energy necessary to keep up the invisibility is far more taxing than what it takes to shift forms. Once we shift to becoming human, we are human. There is no upkeep of energy, at least not anymore than you would normally require; food and water, sleep, those things that most living beings need. Invisibility on the other hand requires me to keep my cells in a state that is very contrary to their nature, and demands absolute mental control. It is incredibly taxing. I have to say that I am thoroughly exhausted right now. The half hour while I was hiding in your back seat and at the restaurant was bad enough, but then I did it for the entire ride back.”
“That makes sense I guess. So now let’s get to the part I really want to know. You can’t keep me waiting any longer. Why were you keeping tabs on me?”
He sighed and then yawned. He had said he was exhausted, but I wasn’t going to let him off the hook until he explained the truth to me. I was about to restate the question when he said, “There are a few reasons, and your question has more to it than you may realize. We’ll start with the basic answer, which is ‘because you’re important’, or at least, you’re supposed to be. Again, there is no prophecy, just a hopeful legend, but it was enough for my family to decide generations ago that they would do what they could to see that legend come to light. Which is what allows me to answer the second part of the question; what was I doing keeping tabs on you.”
With another yawn he continued, but he was no longer looking at me, and was instead staring off into space. I could tell that what he was about to say was making him uncomfortable, though I couldn’t tell why. “I am the youngest son of King Icarus, a member of the ruling family of my people. My real name is Dae’Marca, and I hope you’ll forgive me for hiding that part of myself too. Such a name wouldn’t fit too well in modern society, plus I’ve gone by Marc for so long that it seems like it’s my actual name anyway. I have been watching you since your birth, Just as it fell upon my uncle to watch over your mother, and your grandmother, and your great grandmother, and his uncle before him to earlier generations of your mother’s line.”
“Wait, what has this got to do with my mother?” I interrupted; suddenly defensive about how this involved the person I had lost so suddenly a year earlier.
“If you would have waited just a moment I would have explained. It doesn’t involve your mother directly, but simply your mother’s line. Your mother was an only child, yes?” I nodded, not quite sure where this was going. “And I’m sure you know that her mother was an only child as well. What you probably aren’t aware of is that your mother’s line goes all the way back to Britain, over a millennium ago, of mothers giving birth to single daughters and bearing no other children. You are the first son born to your mother’s maternal line in well over a thousand years.”
“Okay, while it is somewhat eerie if it’s true, I fail to see how a weird pattern like that is grounds for people to want my neck sliced open at an Italian restaurant, or a demon to need to keep tabs on me,” I replied, still confused at how this all had anything to do with me.
“Do you want to know what the last man in your maternal bloodline said just before he died? He said that the next son in his bloodline would be able to do end the war between heaven and hell. At least that’s what the legend says.”
I was a little annoyed at the revelation. What he said had definitely not sat well with me, and I decided to voice my misgivings. “I thought you said that it wasn’t a prophecy. That seemed awfully prophetic to me. And who is this random ancestor of mine that is somehow important enough that you would invest all this time just because he said it would happen.”
“Well, that ancestor of yours had a propensity for being right, but we wouldn’t call him a prophet. He got things wrong pretty often as well. Why we believed so strongly that this one would come true? I’m not sure, because I was far from being born yet. The only thing I know for certain is that my ancestor, the one who was king at the time, found some reason to believe him. It’s been so long now that most of our people have given up on the legend, my father included, but I insisted that I be allowed to take over the role as guardian to your bloodline. I have always believed that the legend would come true. And sixteen years ago you appeared, the next son in the bloodline.” He finished with a satisfied nod, and I could tell that he had said everything he thought he had to.
I was certain that I had yet to hear everything I needed, and I proceeded in my attempt to learn the truth. “Okay, well that’s all well and good, but you still didn’t answer my question. Who was this ancestor? And how exactly do you expect a sixteen year old human boy to be able to stop a war he learned about today?”
“I will answer the second question first, because it will help me establish background necessary to answer the other. How exactly do we expect a human boy to be able to stop a war? Well, that answer is pretty simple. We have no idea.” My eyes narrowed as he gave a quick shrug of his naked shoulders and went on, “What we do know is that humans have come a very long way since Angels first appeared on the scene. You’ve made great advances in technology, though you are still far from the Angels’ level in that regard. Your numbers have increased, meaning that you outnumber the enemy by a great deal, of course there is that little problem that religion has taken most of your numbers to the Angels’ side, which does unfortunately make that point quite moot.”
“You just listed two points and then contradicted how they would actually be beneficial. I do hope there is more to your plan than for us to out tech or outnumber them,” I replied dryly.
“Of course! I haven’t mentioned the best part. Humans are the real magicians in the world. My invisibility and ability to change my form are parlor tricks to what the human race has been able to accomplish with the power of the mind. Do you remember our discussions on the Druids?” I inclined my head slightly, which Marc took as a nod and continued, “The druids were once one of many groups who held great power. Unlike we demons, who could only affect change on the matter within us, the Druids and others like them had the ability to affect matter outside of themselves. They were psychics, who could wield the powers of telekinesis and telepathy, and could even use their powers to catch glimpses of the future. A druid who had honed his skills was easily a match for an angel, for all the greatest technology in the world couldn’t stand up to a man who could crush a person with his mind. The druids and their allies did battle for centuries, and were beginning to turn the tide of the war in our favor. Until suddenly it all began to change.”
“The other groups began to fade one by one, in the face of a new foe; their own kind. The angels had managed to convince the humans that they were the servants of some benevolent God, and that by serving them they would be saved from some strange concept called ‘sin’. The humans believed, for they saw the wonderful miracles of healing that the angels could produce. They saw the dead rise! For the Angels had the technology to bring someone back even days after they died. They attributed this all to some great god that the humans would be reunited with should they follow and obey. The human race took to it like a small child does to sweets. The angels didn’t even have to fight anymore, the humans would take care of their own.”
“The druids were one of the last groups to make a stand, and they did so valiantly. Your ancestor was chief among them, and it was he who made the greatest difference for as long as he lived. He fought side by side with my ancestors as they waged some of the last few battles in the war. Your ancestor was the greatest Druid of all time. Merlin.”
My eyes widened in shock. I had of course heard of Merlin, but only in connection with the Arthurian tales. To hear that he had actually existed and was my direct ancestor was more than I could accept, and I started to get angry about what Marc was telling me. There was no way that this could all be the truth.
“That’s impossible. I’m certainly not a psychic. You’ve definitely got the wrong guy. It’s obvious that you’re who you say you are, I’ve seen your wings and your scales, and you’re definitely a demon. It’s obvious that people are trying to kill me. I can certainly still feel the nick from where the guy had the knife to my throat, but you can’t convince me that I have some strange magical power that’s going to win you this war.”
Marc started laughing, and I began to get angrier until he looked me straight in the eye and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. You’ve already used your powers and you don’t even realize that you did? Normally it’s the most life changing thing that people never forget, and you’ve forgotten it in barely over an hour! If it wasn’t so heartbreaking it would be the most hilarious thing I had ever heard.”
As he continued to laugh I just stared at him openmouthed. How had I forgotten what had occurred in the alleyway? The angel had his knife to my throat, and suddenly he was flung backward with tremendous force. I had felt something snap within me then, but had forgotten it until now. I had done it. I had been the one to send him crashing into the wall. I started searching deep within myself and I found that small switch that I had become aware of in our earlier melee. I flipped it on and felt the power slowly seep into me. It was far from the vast reservoir that I had felt before, but it was definitely the same type of feeling. I looked over at my desk where my math book still sat open. I focused all of my intent on the book and tried to lift up the one side to cause the book to close. I struggled as I tried to manipulate the power within me, wondering why it was so much more difficult than it had been in the alleyway. I could feel that it was working, and the pages were rustling, but I couldn’t quite get it. With one final hard push the book closed suddenly, and the power faded from my grasp. I turned to Marc and whispered excitedly, “Wow.”
I could barely hear Marc calling my name as my world faded quickly to black.
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