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   Chapter 0 Prologue

An Uncertain Present By Grace Estellar Characters: 23489

Updated: 2019-12-11 13:07


Daniel can still remember the day he first met the Dark Order.

He had been fourteen years old at the time, so it was about a decade before even the Shadowhunters came to be. Daniel had not known what kind of danger they would bring back then, but he understood just what kind of monsters they were now.

The fallen angels responsible for sending his twin sister to her death. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

And now, he was almost certain they have returned, the thought making his blood run cold.

SEVERAL HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO....

*****Daniel's POV*****

The sky was a soft pink that day, and laughter filled the air. He and his little brother Harry had been sent to the Marketplace earlier that day to pick up some bread, cheese and chicken for tonight's dinner. For the sake of preventing Harry from gnawing on bread (the staple food of the eight year old at that time) Daniel was carrying that and the cheese. The pungent smell of the yellow hunk made his nose itch, so he had to force back a sneeze.

Meanwhile, Harry was busy doing chicken impersonations with the very much raw chicken he carried. Quite horrible ones too if he must say, the blonde's high pitched voice as he attempted to give the chicken a voice was like chalk screeching down a chalkboard. The urge to slap the other boy was very evident, but Daniel reminds himself that as they were flying so that could likely knock the youngest out of orbit. Besides, it wasn't likely he'd be able to hit him anyways. Especially not without dropping the delicacies he was holding.

Mother may not be the most powerful between herself and Father, but that in no way meant that he wanted to invoke her wrath. And considering how easily Harry would start crying, he would not be surprised if that led to him getting in trouble.

That did not mean however that he could not tell Harry to stop, even it was highly unlikely that it would work.

"Har, can you please cut it out." He says with a small moan.

His wings flapped agitatedly behind him, a red hue popping up amidst the deep black-blue abyss of them. Out of all the four siblings, Daniel had been the only one to receive Da's power of sensing the lines connecting people and controlling emotions that they brought. Or as Father liked to put it: sensing the ties that bind. He did not have much control of this ability yet, but he was hard at work to learn.

And as he does have this power, it was no surprise that a flicker of his emotions could be spotted in his wings. The red signals the irritation/anger that he feels now. He wills the hue to disappear, not wanting to be angry. The darkness of his wings hid all the occasional bursts pretty well, but if he dwelled on a feeling too much, well, there would be no way to hide them then.

"Bawk bawk bawk BAWWWWWK!" Harry crows in his best chicken voice seemingly not hearing Daniel. So the eldest tries to grab his attention again. Thankfully, he is successful on the second attempt.

"Harry, can it!" He growls out.

Harry huffs. "Fine fine fiiiiiiiiiine. But I'm hilarious, right?"

Knowing that the God awful sound will only continue if he says otherwise, Daniel reluctantly agrees. "Yes. You are a lot of things." Such as annoying. He leaves that part unsaid.

The two boys land right in front of their home a few moments later. Dust swirls around them in a puffy orange cloud as their wings collapse against their backs. Harry waves the offending cloud away with his free hand, the other clutching at his designated basket of victuals that their Mother had them retrieve from the Market Place. Daniel hefts his basket over his shoulder with ease, being cautious to avoid the contents spilling out.

"I can't wait for dinner tonight! What do ya think Mom will make this time?" Harry chatters on like the ever inquisitive little boy that he is.

"If you'd paid attention this morning you would know." Daniel says with an incline of his head.

"Yea. But I was busy eating breakfast, and besides, we both know you're gonna tell me anyways so..." he trails off, giving Daniel an excited nudge in his rib cage.

The eldest resists the urge to groan. He had been out doing battle practice with his father the other day and had managed to bruise his right side when he had a harsh tumble down the hill. Daniel wishes he could say it had happened in an attempt to try out a brand new fighting move, but in reality it was only from tripping over a tree root.

Normally, his father would have stopped him from getting injured, but the archangel had known that learning from experience would be the only way his son could learn not to make the same mistakes. Daniel reluctantly agrees with this, knowing that he now will pay much more attention to detail in the future.

The two boys shuffle towards the door, careful not to drop their baskets. Daniel is just about to push open the door when he hears a voice. It made him freeze in place, right after he had knocked on the door with two resounding thumps of his fisted left hand. Beside him, Harry also froze in place, his wings quivering behind him.

"Veriziel look what we have here: aren't you two boys a little too small to be angels?" A man's voice asks.

"Hmm Hmm hmmm. Yes Arkanekiel I believe they are." The other stranger says with glee.

Daniel yanks Harry in front of the door before turning around. He flares his wings out protectively as soon as his little brother is safely out of view. Blue eyes narrow at the two figures standing before them now, their leering forms silhouetted by pitch black wings.

He cannot put his finger on why he finds these two strange men so disturbing. Perhaps it was their uneven gates, the way he could count each individual rib from underneath their cloak like garments that clung to their skin. Or maybe it was the crooked smiles they gave himself and Harry; smiles that were filled with what looked to be slightly yellowed teeth and puffy gums. Or it could even be the color of their eyes, the pitch blackness of them unnatural on any human, an endless abyss of nothingness that had no light in them. And he need not forget the even greater abyss of their inky wings, trimmings of a dull gray slipping out of them every so often reminiscent of a ticking clock.

No matter what it was that frightened Daniel, he found himself shuddering regardless. Judging by the quivering in the space behind him, Harry was doing the same as he buries his face against Daniel's back.

"We're not angels." He levels the men, no, the fallen angels with what he hopes is a stern glare. "We are nephilim."

He found in a small moment clarity as he said those words that he understood what these men exactly were. Father had told them in his stories about evil angels who had fell from Heaven long ago because they had committed wicked deeds. Their once beautiful physique and wings had become ugly in the process, a sign of the light they once held within their graces withering away into nothingness.

The one called Veriziel barks out a laugh, some flecks of spittle sticking to his lips. There is a manic look in this guy's abysmal eyes, a look of absolute darkness. Daniel feels terror gripping him in a vice, forcing him to meet that gaze head on.

Father did always say not to show fear to the enemy.

"How adorable that you speak to us in that tone little one. We are your elders." Arkanekiel snaps at him, dragging what looks to be lifeless fingers through the matted brown locks of his hair.

"You should treat us with respect." Veriziel agrees. Unlike his companion, this fallen angel is slightly better groomed. His ice white hair is about as albino as it can get, as is the pasty skin he has.

Daniel knows he shouldn't, but he still finds himself opening his mouth to utter a snarky retort. Luckily, his action is halted as the door behind himself and Harry finally swings open. Veronica-their mother- takes in the scene with confusion, that quickly sharpens into a serious concern with the narrowing of her eyes.

Her hands reach out to grab her sons in a vice-like grip before tugging them behind her. Too surprised to know how to react, Daniel finds himself going along with the yanking gesture. He and Harry end up stumbling into the house. While the youngest flounders to the ground Daniel manages to keep upright. He refuses to lose sight of these two fallen angels for even a second. Who knew exactly what sort of dangerous things they could cause.

There was a reason Father told them to avoid the fallen at all costs.

Mother seems to have the same feelings he has. Her fierce green gaze bores into the fallen angels, and shockingly there is no visible fear rolling off of her, though Daniel can see it in the way that the lines connecting her to Daniel and Harry flare with tinges of protection and rage and overwhelming worry. She was afraid, just not for herself.

Daniel understood the feeling. He expresses it now in the careful grip he keeps on Harry's right wing. The bronze feathers there are soft to the touch. As Harry is only eight years old, several spots along his wings were still covered in fluffy down, and plumage that would likely molt away as he got older.

It made the little boy a rather adorable sight to look at, although the upkeep of such new wings was rather arduous and annoying. Harry ended up having to have the most grooming sessions per week out of all the winged members of their family. And as Harry is not well-versed in such practices, it was left to their parents to do the hard work of straightening lopsided feathers and teasing out the rift raff that Harry would get in his wings every time he decided barrel rolling down a hill was a good idea (which was a lot more often then one might think).

Veronica's voice is firm as she begins to talk to the fallen, her hand resting readily on the sword lying on the walk in table. Father had left plenty of his weapons lying around the house, claiming that you never could know when something dangerous could attack you in your own home. Daniel supposed that today his point had finally been proven.

"Hello there. I don't think we've been introduced. My name is Veronica Windimiere, and if I see you lay a hand on either of my sons you can be sure there'll be hell to pay." She snaps icily.

Veriziel raises his hands placatingly. Daniel notes once again how lifeless they seem, and with the sliding back of the dark robes the fallen angel wore he is also able to spot the scrawling black veins on his arms. The way they bulged and appeared swollen gave off the impression that they were most certainly infected. Though there is the question as to what per say the black veins were infected with.

"Now now Ms. Wi-"

"Mrs." She corrects with a growl.

"Mrs. Windimiere, " He corrects. "We are only here to see your husband. We don't....have to hurt you or your sons or..." he licks his lips hungrily, his eyes seeming to darken even more if that was even possible. "Your daughters, but we need to find Remiel. So tell us where he is and we should be on our way."

Daniel feels disgust worm it's way through him at the hungry look Arkanekiel also sends their way. The two were definitely the worst kind of fallen there was: only someone truly sick would thinking that assaulting young children was okay. Fear continues its sauntering down his spine, and he once again has to keep himself from shuddering in terror.

"And I say that you no. You both better get out of here. NOW!" She snaps.

"My my, someone is being difficult. I guess we'll just have to do things the hard way then." Arakenekiel smirks, his wings fluttering behind him despite the lifeless look of them.

Daniel can see the way his

mother tenses up even further. The sword she gripped in the hand she held behind her back held a dull gleam in the shadow of the doorway. Her knuckles whiten from gripping the hilt for so long. It would seem that she might have to use the blade, and even though father had taught her how, Daniel didn't find their chances promising.

"I think not." A voice booms.

Daniel peers up from behind his mother to see his father swooping down. Remiel was dressed in casual wear, his blue eyes narrowed with an expression he could only describe as absolute rage. Veriziel and Arakenekiel also seem to recognize that anger, and Daniel feels a grim satisfaction at the way they cower away from his father.

"R-Remiel. We-we wa-as looking for you." Veriziel points a shaky finger at him, his wings quivering behind him shakily.

Remiel gives the two men a bored frown, rolling his eyes in the way he always did when he was annoyed. Daniel usually saw that look whenever the debtors came by, or at the marketplace where people tried to sell father overpriced goods. Both times were viewed as unnecessary hassle. Daniel wonders if Remiel views this situation the same way. The way the archangel clenched his jaw so hard that his teeth ground together spoke a different story though.

Perhaps this situation freaks him out too?

Daniel figured that if his father was unnerved, it would be about his family being in danger. He thanks God in this moment that Pippa and Sara aren't here. They were supposed to be spending the day with their uncle Samuel. Apparently he and his girlfriend were getting awfully close. Father had said that it wouldn't be surprising if the pair were to get married soon.

"I already told your organization that I'm not interested. And I'm not giving you my power either. So put an egg in your shoe and beat it." Remiel fists started to glow, the light of heavenly fire consuming them.

Daniel, who was still behind his mother and protectively in front of Harry, could feel the power emanating from his fists. Heavenly fire was no joke. Daniel knew from watching his father in previous fights the kind of damage it could deal. It was why the Archangel Michael used heavenly fire inside his most prized blade, just as Remiel kept the same fire inside his heavenly bow and arrows.

Arakenekiel took a threatening step forward. Daniel noted the hunger that was still in those dark eyes. In front of him, Veronica clenches her weapon even tighter.

"You know that we're going to keep coming back for your gift Remiel. Your resistance is futile." The fallen angel said this with a smirk.

Daniel felt the threat was a lot less effective with Veriziel still shuddering with fear. It was almost as though the fallen angel hadn't grasped the gravity of power that Remiel possessed before coming here. Now, when faced with the Archangel, Veriziel could see how dangerous of an opponent they were truly facing.

It only took one raised hand on Remiel's part. Said hand was bursting with heavenly light as he glared daggers at the two fallen. The light reflected in the archangel's eyes, the blue of them gaining a white sheen.

"LEAVE!!!" He thunderously roars. The two fallen angels hastily make a retreat, not once bothering to look back as they go.

Yet Daniel can easily see that this is far from over.

BACK TO PRESENT DAY...

Daniel lands on the ground, his wings swishing closed behind him. The ground crunched underneath his combat boots, though he wasn't the slightest bit concerned about damaging the grass. After all, it was already long dead anyways.

The scenery around him was nothing like the first time he had ever been here. The trees swayed lifeless in the breeze, the pine needles and leaves all fallen from the branches. Any greenery on the ground was brittle and withered away, the only thing remaining was the unnatural white sand that permeates demonic energy. A foreboding fog eclipses the air, preventing Daniel from seeing most of the stars.

Luckily, what he was searching for wasn't something that made him need to look up.

In front of him stood two tall oak trees. Both were so tall that their tops rose up into the sky, impossible to see from the fog that lingered on the ground and in the air. Unlike the other trees in the area, these two were alive. Though, it wasn't in the traditional sense per say

"I see you two haven't changed at all since the last time I was here."

Daniel runs an idle hand down the bark of one of the trees. The pattern of the trunk here was swiveled and curled. Oak trees were meant to be tall, and just as important: straight. The former was a successful continuation of trend. The latter on the other hand.

The two trees swiveled to form a perfect oval, the circular pattern unmistakable even in the terrible fog. The gap was easily twelve feet wide and eight feet tall, perfectly encompassing any of the combatants that had fought in front of it on that fateful day. Even Daniel himself (one of the tallest in the mix) would have been swallowed whole by the portal that had once been active their.

Sara had created this portal. Sara gave everything for this portal to work, even her life.

The portal had succeeded in sending a vast majority of the Dark Order into the nightmarish world of Thule, where no light could survive. Their numbers had been so badly damagednthat it became apparent the group would have no choice but to disband permanently. This should have been a cause for celebration.

But all we were left with was the fear we lost much more than we gained.

Daniel had felt hollow after the disappearance of his twin. An emptiness he had never experienced before encompassed him, leaving him lost and alone. Five years may have passed, but the pain in his heart still remained in its depths, just waiting to be dredged up again.

He sighed.

There are important things to do here.

And so he carefully scoops up a few blackened gray feathers. These were the remains of the fallen angels Daniel and his siblings had so bravely fought that day. Slowly, he drags the evidence he found on the High Grounds- a place that should've been safe from penetrating darkness- out into the open. He examines the two feathers side by side, sensing the energy from within. Daniel could feel the way this energy pulsates from each fiber of the feathers, he immersed himself in it so they could resonate with his own wings.

He lets out a surprised gasp as the two feathers disintegrate in his palm, the darkness of them flaring up before being extinguished with a firm finality. Daniel had figured this would happen, especially after what Harry had told him, but this...this...

This was unbelievable.

These feathers should've lost their ability to disintegrate long ago, as the beings they had been attached to were long dead. Being able to do so now should've been impossible. And yet it had still happened. The dark energy had reappeared for a few brief moments.

This could only mean one thing. He didn't dare to voice his thoughts aloud.

Daniel's heart pounds in his rib cage as fiercely as though it were knocking on Heaven's door. He can feel the blood rushing in his ears in a way that made his hands twinge and an all too familiar pain rise in his gut, the sting of it forcing him to the ground as he dry heaved shakily. Numbly the winged nephilim keels over on the ground in a fetal position to brace himself against the pain.

"Ha....ha....ha..." he pants, a bead of sweat rolling down his temple. "Why....this shouldn't...be happening....so why....?"

Unceremoniously he lifts his right hand to yank up his shirt. Daniel lets out another shuddering exhale as he sees the rune on his abdomen. What was supposed to be a rune meant to bring him happiness, care, loyalty, faith, teamwork, and friendship now only served as a bitter reminder of what he had lost, the flare of pain he felt now a burning echo of the initial devastation that loss had given him.

"When will this end? Will you ever stop hurting me?" He groans as he coughs up a small wad of blood that lands as a dark puddle on the ground. Numbly, Daniel swipes his mouth clean with his jacket sleeve. This blood had been a recent addition to the pain he occasionally felt. Daniel still was unsure why it was happening.

Not to his surprise, the eerie forest does not provide him with an answer. The rune continues to glow a dangerous ruby red, so bright that he can imagine blood flowing from it freely. Small, wiry like black veins bulge out from it slightly, the spidery veins an infection that could not be cured. These little marks had risen a short month ago, around the time he had started to have nightmares again.

Daniel had hoped that he would be able to skip the horrid dreams that came with the upcoming anniversary of Sara's death each year after his father had returned, but apparently nothing would be able to make them falter. But at the very least, the mark did begin to die down with its fierce light, leaving behind a hurtful puffiness that sizzled to the touch.

After the pain patters away for a temporary retreat, Daniel's blue eyes find themselves traveling upwards to look up at the sky. Fog blots out what would be a clear sky, but that does not stop him from picturing a starry night with laughter and pearlescent wings; a final moment of peace before unending suffering.

"I still want to believe.....but no one else does..." Daniel gets back onto his feet, dusting off his pants.

He'd dressed for training today, his wings fluttering behind him. The presence of them was a reminder that he could not stay here long, there was work to be done. Flight practice was supposed to be today after all and it was best not to keep Alec and the others waiting.

"I'll be back." He promises to no one in particular. Daniel takes off into the sky, his large wings propelling him up into the air.

*****Armando's POV*****

Little did Daniel know, his dear friend had been watching him the entire time. Armando lets out a weary sigh as Daniel disappears into the fog. He had a feeling that this issue still needed to be resolved.

The question is: will it ever be?

To that, Armando had no answer. What he did know however was that he has work to do. Best to try and help Daniel out later when he was free then to fall behind on orders. Considering his network of associates, he might be able to help and get work done too.

Still, Armando does take the time to scan over the old battlefield. He had been here a few times with Daniel before, back when Sara's death had been a recent wound to the heart. They had found nothing then but the same sense of loss they only felt.

This time however, things were different.

Armando cast his orange hued magic into the air, letting it run rampant as it sought out each nook and cranny of the clearly dead landscape. He expected it to swirl back to him to report negative results. There had been no negative signaling energy here for almost six years now, so why should this time be any different.

Yet it was.

Armando shudders as his magic returns to him. The once purely orange light is entangled with a sickly black twine of energy that is nothing but evil in origin. It had been a long time since Armando had last seen this darkness. He had hoped that it would never grace him with its presence again.

"Hmmm, it looks like I have something to look into after all."

He opens a Portal behind him back to his shop, taking the small band of entrapped energy with him. When the Portal whooshes closed only an eerie landscape was left behind. A landscape that wouldn't remain so empty for much longer.

"The Darkness will return....."

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