It was the year 2056, nearly twenty eight years to the day since the Great War had raged through the land. A once divided nation rallied together under the banner of the human King Ellyll rising up to victory. The young man, barely old enough to be called a man, had made a foolish decision according to all who once stood beside him. He was the first of his people to take a daemon as his bride. When he did so the human people turned against him, demanding that the daemons remain in their place, as slaves, beneath the humans.
When the war ended and the daemon people stood with the humans as equals, the king felt that together they had won a great victory. But it was not without severe costs. Although wounds healed into scars, and the land grew into wealth and beauty, it was not without much tragedy and loss. Countless lives were sacrificed on both sides, including those belonging to the Lucifary household of daemons. The king’s wife also died suddenly while giving him his only child, Calypso. To help raise her, he found a woman amongst his own people, choosing a wife that he thought would be kind, and trusting, that would help raise his daughter up properly.
The once strong king died quite suddenly leaving behind his only daughter, Calypso Ellyll, and her step mother Ashie. The love that had once brought the people together soon faded away revealing the truth. The king that loved the daemon people as if they were of the same breed did not marry a woman that shared his vision. She was of pure human descent and full of the ancient hatred of the winged ones.
Ashie’s lust for power and control washed over the land returning it to darkness once more. Only seventeen, Calypso was powerless against the changes. In daemon tradition, she was not yet a woman until she underwent the ceremony marking her eighteenth year. Her access to the ancestral powers was limited until then and her step mother intended to keep it that way.
In the first few months after the death of the king, Ashie became the regent ruler of the land. Laws were changed and new ones were written, quickly turning the proud and free daemon people back into slaves. Those that did not run were captured and shackled. Their wings were clipped and the stubs burned to keep them from growing back. If they refused to obey the laws they were tortured and branded with a device that caused great pain.
It soon began being called the ring of servitude by those unfortunate enough to be marked by it. To Ashie this was her greatest accomplishment and she wielded it without mercy.
Calypso was the first and an example to the entire nation. She remembered that night as if it were only moments ago. Two men burst into her room dragging her out of her bed as she slept. She cried out in fear and surprise as they carried her down the hall and into the throne room. Her bright silver hair fell in a tangled mess as the men pressed her face first into the table at the center of the room.
Calypso clawed at the men trying to break free as another figure came into view. The only light in the room was the fire place, blazing with hot embers that sparked as flames danced over them, died out, and sprang back to life. She could hardly believe her eyes as they focused on her step mother.
“Not one will be spared,” Ashie spoke in a haunting tone as she picked up the blade.
The silver reflected the light as Ashie turned it over in her hands examining it closely. A hand pressed firmly into Calypsos spine between her wings as another pulled her right wing tightly away from her body. The blade came sweeping down. It was followed instantaneously by pain as she watched her wing fall to the floor.
Calypso wept. Ashie took the blade sliced through her left wing and smiled as it fell away. The man that held her wings as they were cut away returned with a blazing hot iron. As he handed it to her step mother the woman paused slightly and chuckled.
“Your father might have had a soft spot for your kind. But his time is over.” She said with a smirk.
The hot iron pressed against the bleeding stubs on Calypsos back. She wanted to vomit as the searing pain swept through what was left of her wings. As if losing them wasn’t painfully humiliating enough, Ashie wasn’t finished. The men turned her over and tore her nightgown away.
As the hand closed down over Calypsos throat, Ashie reached for her stomach. In a single swift moment her naval was pierced with the ring. When the men released her she fell to the floor.
“You serve me now child. Do not disobey me.” Ashie said as she reached out with her hand.
Ashie pressed the button located on her ring. Calypso’s eyes went wide as electricity shot through her abdomen. When she was finally able to breathe again she pushed herself up onto her knees and bowed amidst the pain.
“I will not disappoint.” She replied through the tears.
Calypso cried for days. She thought for certain that her wings were gone forever. She treated her wounds with a paste she created out of herbs grown in the garden. It took nearly a week before she realized that her wings had begun to grow back. She continued to treat the wounds with the salve until the growth became visible to more than just her.
Again, Ashie clipped and burned them before shocking her into submission. Although she wouldn’t admit it Ashie found herself in awe of Calypso’s raw talent for healing. When she gave up using it though, Ashie knew she had won. So she moved on certain the daemonic people were going to make perfect slaves.
As the laws became a matter of public record, the great migration began. Guards were sent to every home in the city of Ellyllfa known to contain a daemon family. Their orders were to bring them in for enslavement. But word had spread quickly that the princess was the first to endure the torture of enslavement causing uproar amongst the people. The riot within the daemonic people too quickly turned into a revolt against the new government under Ashie’s rule.
Aryian Lucifary, the last remaining Lucifary, took it upon himself to put a stop to the revolt. As the princess endured at the castle, he took several of his closest friends and began going home to home trying to reach his people before the guards did. Each home that was still occupied he ordered to be abandoned, demanding they take nothing with them that they couldn’t carry.
For months this went on, under the very noses of the guards until the last night when everyone else had gone but Aryian. He stayed behind, ensuring that he could not reach those that had already been captured, and having his own plans in mind. As he watched the last of his people fly away toward the mountain ranges that were once the home of his family, he sat himself down to wait.
It wasn’t a long wait before the guards found Aryian lounging back in the market square. He snickered at them proudly, held out his hands, and stood up tall spreading out his grand white wings.
“Take me to your leader,” He laughed defiantly.
The guard, not sure how to respond, stood there silently for a moment. This was the first daemon that didn’t argue or fight back. They stood there looking at each other for what seemed like an eternity before Aryian spoke again.
“Are you just going to stare at me all night or are you going to do your job, coward.” He prodded.
Angered, the guard lashed out breaking Aryian’s nose in a single blow. Aryian did not flinch as he swung his wings back quickly, using the force of the wind behind them to knock the guard to the ground. That was more than enough to get the man’s attention as he pushed himself up from the earth. He shouted louder, bringing more guards to join him in the square.
Aryian was chained at the wrists without any further struggle. He let the guards lead him straight to where he intended to go, right into the heart of the royal families keep.
As the daemons retreated back to the cities of their ancestors the humans pursued them relentlessly. Soon the human cities filled up with those that were enslaved. Ashie and the other lords and ladies of Ellyllfa sent out search parties daily until all were driven from their borders or enslaved within them.
And so it continued on spiraling into darkness. Ashie dedicated a whole building just outside of the market square to study the magic of the daemon people. If they were going to have a fighting chance against the monsters, she wanted to know everything about their ways.
The daemon homes were raided, their personal items taken away by the wagonload for this purpose. The soldiers in charge of the raids gathered everything they could find. There were books, charms, crystals and statues in tribute of the history.
The men in charge of the study couldn’t make sense of the rules or rituals written in the language of the beasts. They poured over the books and trinkets for weeks with no results. In frustration, Ashie turned on the daemon slaves for answers.
Bree had worked in the Ellyll family keep’s kitchen nearly half of her life. Her father, grandfather, and grandmother resided in a home not far from the keep until the culling where they were sold off to work in the homes of other lords. Bree remained on as head cook and without resentment or resistance toward the change in laws. She had managed to keep her wings and avoid the ring of servitude for her compliance.
Bree’s family was amongst the first to take up residence in the city. Being members of the council of elders, Ashie figured that if the information could be gathered from anywhere, they would be a good place to start. So she ordered the return of the grandparents and father to the keep.
The basement was converted from a wine cellar to a dungeon in the matter of a few hours. Cages lined the far wall and in the center of the room, chains hung from the ceiling and attached to large hinged clasps on the floor. Seyah, the grandmother, Osef, the grandfather, and Fahre, Bree’s father, were all brought into the basement and locked into separate cages. Completely unaware, Bree continued her duties upstairs without interruption.
Seyah, Osef, and Fahre were left in their cages for two nights and a day. They were offered no food, no water, and no explanations. On the second day, two men came into the room. The darkness was suddenly interrupted by a bright light as the torches were lit across the vast room. It was the first time the three of them could see their surroundings. As their eyes adjusted to the change in light they focused on the men before them.
It was apparently obvious why the first of the men was there. He was dressed all in black, blending in with the shadows as he arranged several tools on the table he set up beside the chains. He tied his hair tightly back behind his head and put on a white apron that was stained a red-orange shade in several places. He was the torturer, they decided to themselves, and silently prepared mentally for what was to come.
The other man was obviously an intellectual. He was so strangely out of place in the surroundings. They found his presence odd and confusing as they watched him take a seat at the edge of the room and pull out a notebook, ready to take notes on the events. They weren’t given much longer to ponder the immediate future.
Seyah was wretched free from her cell and dragged to the center of the room. She did not protest as she was attached to the chains by her wrists and ankles. The man pulled the chains tight and let her hang there for a moment as he looked over the items on the table snickering.
“Where shall we begin?” The man asked her as he picked up a small blade and turned it over in his hands.
Seyah did not reply. The man put the blade down and picked up a larger one with a curved blade. He walked around her silently and let the blade graze against her clothing. The sharp blade tore through her shirt without touching her flesh. It began to fall away from her, revealing her intact wings. She closed her eyes and sighed deeply, praying silently.
“There is no need for anyone to get hurt here.” The intellectual man said from his position at the side of the room.
“Although this man before you excels at this, I am more interested in words above bloodshed.” The man continued.
“I just have some questions that need answering. If you would do that for me, we can all go back to what we were doing and this nightmare can end.” The man stated as he placed his pen to the paper.
“I have nothing to say to you humans, so do as you will. I will speak no more.” Seyah replied harshly.
“You haven’t even heard the question yet.” The intellectual man laughed.
Seyah’s wing was pulled tightly away from her back by the torturer. She uttered a hiss as the intellectual man posed the first question.
“Tell me the secret to unlocking the magic of the daemons.” The man asked.
“Stealing our freedom wasn’t enough for you? Now you want our heritage?” Osef howled from his cage.
“Release my wife, we have nothing of value to tell you.” Osef demanded.
“I doubt that, or you wouldn’t be so quick to backtalk.” The intellectual replied.
“It looks as if it’s my turn.” The torturer grinned. “One way or another you will speak.”
The torturer took his blade swinging it with ease. It sliced through Seyah’s wing bone taking it completely off at the skin. He reached for the second wing, pulled it tight, and cut it free as well. He threw them to the floor at her feet as the blood poured down her back.
“You monster!” Osef howled.
Seyah went limp as the pain sent her into darkness. The loss of blood from her old frail body made her faint almost instantaneously. The torturer sighed, realizing there was no further point in continuing on with her and released the bindings. He threw her into the cell and left her to lay there unconscious in a pool of her own blood.
“The old woman is defiant to a fault. Perhaps, if you want to see her live, you will be more cooperative.” The torturer stated as he pulled Osef from his cell and strung him up.
Osef had already lost his wings in the struggle to take him alive in the first culling. There was nothing left for the torturer to take off but stubs. So the man moved onto a smaller blade and cut away Osef’s shirt letting it fall to the floor.
“What is it we need to know to unlock the secrets of the books we gathered from the homes of the daemons?” The intellectual asked Osef as he hung there.
“There is nothing I can tell you. Our ways are not for humans to know. Learn your own ways and stay out of ours.” Osef replied coldly.
The torturer went straight to work. He slowly carved off one piece of flesh from Osef’s chest before he gave him the opportunity to speak again. When he did not, another piece was peeled away from the muscle beneath it and cast aside. He moved onto Osef’s arms carving away piece by piece, but the man still refused to speak. As his blood flowed away from him, it mixed on the floor with the blood that belonged to his wife. In frustration, the torturer released him and returned him to the cage.
They did not go straight for Fahre as he thought they were going to do. Instead, they extinguished one torch after another until the room was washed in darkness once again. The two men left them there, in the silence and the knowledge that without treatment the wounds would not heal.
“Father, can you reach me?” Fahre asked as he made his way over to his side of the cage.
“I believe so,” Osef replied as he crawled over and took his son by the hand.
Fahre spoke a few words in the darkness. Osef’s pain began to fade away. The blood clotted and sealed the open wounds closed on his arms and chest. When finished, Fahre leaned back in exhaustion. The healing took more energy from him than he had to spare.
“Do you have the strength to pass it on to mother?” Fahre asked worriedly.
“I have enough to stop the bleeding, but I believe her wings are lost forever.” Osef replied sadly as he took his wife’s hand.
Seyah’s bleeding stopped and she awakened briefly enough to squeeze Osef’s hand. The three of them sat there in silence together as another night passed.
In the morning, the torches flared to life bringing light back to the darkness. Fahre remained awake for the entire evening watching over his father and mother as they rested. He looked at the torturer with hate in his eyes as the man approached him.
“It occurred to me late last night that you won’t speak if tortured either.” The torturer said to Fahre.
“Your assumption just might be correct.” Fahre replied as the door creaked open.
The intellectual entered, followed by someone just outside of Fahre’s line of sight. They walked into the room slowly as the one that followed spoke up.
“I’m sorry sir, I don’t see what good I can do down here. The wine cellar hasn’t been used for ages.” Bree questioned as she looked around.
“No,” Fahre hissed. “Bree, run!”
“Father?” She asked confused.
It was too late for Bree to heed Fahre’s warning. The torturer wrapped his hands around her arms and dragged her across the room. She screamed in surprise as the man chained her wrists and ankles. The cages then came into view as the man lit the last torch.
“Father, grandmother, grandfather, what is going on?” She whimpered.
“I will kill you, you son of a bitch.” Fahre screamed as he rattled the bars on his cage in anger.
The commotion woke Seyah and Osef from their slumber. They saw Bree chained up before them and could do nothing but weep. Fahre growled as the torturer grabbed Bree by her wings.
“You will talk now, or I will carve your precious child into pieces.” The torturer stated firmly.
The intellectual picked up his pen ready to take notes as he watched quietly from his place in the corner.
“What do you want?” Bree asked.
“We want to know the secret to unlocking the magic of the daemons.” The intellectual spoke in response.
“But, I was never taught these things. How am I to help?” Bree wept. “I would tell you if I knew!”
“Your family has the answers. If you want to blame anyone, it’s them. They had their chance to speak yesterday. Now you will pay for their silence.” The torturer whispered in her ear.
The man went straight for Bree’s wings. There was no hesitation as the blade sliced through the joints. Her once beautiful lilac colored wings fell to the floor stained red with her blood. The pain was almost too much for her to take. She fell to her knees and hung there weeping as Fahre howled out in protest.
“Enough! I will tell you what you want to hear.” Fahre promised. “Just let me free so I can heal her please and you can have what you want.”
The torturer turned to him and smiled, “Speak the words and I will release you. If it’s not the truth, I will take more than this child’s wings.”
“The power is in the blood and the language. I will teach your people all I know. Now let her go.” Fahre stated.
The torturer moved over to the cage that held Fahre. As he unlocked it, Fahre raced over to his daughter and took her by the hands. He muttered the words under his breath. The intellectual marveled as Bree’s wounds healed over and the blood stopped flowing. As the last of his strength faded away he hit his knees, the darkness ready to take him.
“Father,” Bree wept. “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s not your fault my daughter. Follow your duties to the queen. I will take no more sorrow from you.” Fahre replied.
“I will father.” She replied, tears streaming down her eyes.
The torturer and the intellectual pulled Fahre up to his feet. As the intellectual led him out the door the torturer returned to the cages for Seyah and Osef.
“You two will be returned to the homes of your master. But your silence will not go unpunished. It will be up to your masters to decide your fate.” The man stated.
The torturer turned back to Bree, leaving her grandparents in their cage. He released her bindings letting her fall to the floor. Her dress became stained by the blood of her fallen wings. She stared at them for a moment, terrified and saddened that they were gone.
“Return to your duties child and no more harm will come to you. Defy your queen, and I will see you again.” The torturer snickered.
“Yes sir,” Bree stammered.
Bree stumbled away up the stairs. She raced to her room where she changed her clothing and dried her eyes. Hope was lost to her that day.
The intellectuals took Fahre back to their building dedicated and determined to learn everything he had to teach them. Once they deciphered the basics the humans began learning. Books were rewritten and passed around and soon magic bred more chaos as those who learned were overwhelmed with the changes.
They now had a way to fight back against the daemons and their magic. Many followers of the old ways came out of hiding to show their appreciation of the laws and the education that restored and breathed new life into their old ways of living.
It had been many months of servitude and silence for Calypso as she watched her mother’s people brought to their knees. Oh how her father would have wept at the state of affairs and how quickly the daemons had fallen under Ashie’s rule.
The large man sat chained to the floor in a room at Ellyll keep. His clothes had been torn away and his wrists bled from trying to pull free of his bindings. He had been left that way for a long time before he was granted an audience with the new queen. She entered, appearing smug as she stared at his naked body. He looked at her with animosity and distaste.
Ashie marveled at the grand white wings folded behind the man that rested on the ground before her. She approached him without caution reaching for the torch that hung on the wall. She struck a match to it and casually walked up behind him.
“You must have been a marvel of a beast amongst your people. Do you have a name?” She asked.
He spit in Ashie’s face. She wiped it away with a smile and placed the torch at the base of his wings. The feathers quickly went up in flames. When nothing was left but smoldering skin and bone a guard threw water on his back and put out the remaining embers.
The man howled and struggled against the chains nearly ripping them free of the binding into the concrete floor. The guard jabbed at him with a spear several times as more guards entered to assist. It took four of them to hold him down as Ashie clipped the ring of servitude around his member. When they released their hold she pressed the button bringing tears to his eyes.
The pain wouldn’t end. Ashie held the cursed button down until a low growl emanated from deep in the man’s chest. He lashed out with what was left of his wings connecting with her face, leaving a deep gash under her eye. She howled out in surprise and anger storming quickly out of the room.
Calypso felt the burn in her mind long before the electricity shot through her abdomen. When the pain subsided, she could feel the call coming from a second floor corridor. When she reached the main hall she could hear the howls of rage and smell the incinerated feathers of yet another enslaved daemon.
Calypso could see at the center of the long hallway Ashie, as she paced back and forth in a furious rage. She called forth her healing ointment and bowl as she timidly walked up to her step mother.
“Beat that beast into submission!” Ashie howled, wiping the blood from her cheek.
“I don’t want it able to move for at least a month!” She continued as the guards closed the doors to the room.
“Calm yourself your majesty. You’ll get wrinkles. Those I can’t heal as effectively.” Calypso said calmly.
“What took you so long wench? Fix this now before it scars!” Ashie demanded.
“Perhaps I could calm this one for you, your highness.” Calypso spoke carefully to her as she placed the ointment on her cheek.
“Yes, that would do. You do seem to have a way with those beasts being a half breed and all.” She hissed as the skin tightened and sealed over.
“Be warned though child. He is a mean one. I can’t afford to lose such a considerate servant as you.” Ashie stated as she turned away.
“Yes, my queen.” Calypso replied.
Ashie spun on her heel and darted down the hall to escape the pounding rage permeating from the room before them. The doors swung freely on the hinges and slammed on the walls behind them. Two guards wrestled with spears stabbing the great man before her.
His wings must have been massive before the burning. The tips of the wingspan fell just below his knees. His chest was bared to its full strength although his broad arms were shackled to the floor. He snarled at the men not at all seeming to admit to the pain that was inflicted upon him for doing so.
The guards stood stunned for a moment as Calypso’s figure appeared standing in the door way. She looked at them with severe distaste as she made her way across the room. Her loathing of the way the man before her was being treated seemed to seep from her very core as she approached.
“Everyone out now!” She boomed.
They raced for the door and closed it behind them. The man watched as the guards disappeared and the woman made her way toward him. He didn’t know what to make of her at first, if she was friend or foe. But her presence had been enough to send the guards racing out into the hallway. That fact alone was enough to peak his curiosity.
Carefully she walked up to his naked form and kneeled in front of him. She examined the skin around where the ring had been placed on his member. It was badly scalded from repeated usage.
He hissed and snapped at her as she went to place the ointment on. She looked at him sternly.
“You want it to rot and fall off?” She snapped back at him.
He quit moving and settled for a low growl as she began her healing.
“What’s your name sir?” She asked casually as she moved around to his wings.
“Aryian Lucifary.” He stated coldly.
She drew in a deep breath and decided to leave that to think on later. He marveled at the craft and skill of her healing casting an eye in her direction.
“Who are you? You’re too good to be a servant.” He asked as their eyes met.
“So are you Master Lucifary.” She set the bowl down and carefully called forth a blade.
Aryian jumped at the sight of the blade. She rolled her eyes and gently sliced her hand. She went to mixing the blood with the ointment before turning back to him.
“I can bring them back but pray you’re gone before then or she’ll burn them again.” She placed the mix on his wings and turned to go.
As Calypso walked away, Aryian could see the outlined stubs of what was left of her wings through her dress.
“Why don’t you have yours?” He asked.
“For as many times as I have brought them back her highness has taken them away.” She turned back to look into his deep green eyes.
For a moment, Aryian thought he could see a tear forming in the corner of her soft blue-green eyes.
“I can’t bear the agony of losing them again.” With that said, she turned and walked away.
“Wait! You didn’t tell me your name!” He called after her.
“It’s best to do as she asks. You can live to fight later that way.” She closed the doors between them.
Calypso quietly made her way to her room. Her mind wandered off in wonder as she lay down on the straw mat that she called a bed.
Aryian Lucifary was rumored to be the last remaining child of Coribus Lucifary. The war of 2028 was won on the great sacrifice the Lucifary’s made. Although Calypso had yet to be born her father told her the story.
The combined efforts of the first born Lucifary children along with their father Coribus rode out from Ellyllfa to the center of the battle field. In the eastern field they met the humans with their weapons of war. The Lucifary’s gathered forth all their strength and power, drawing from the northern homelands now abandoned, and the mountains that the power dwelled within still. With this they opened a mighty portal destroying everyone and everything in sight.
Aryian must have been but an infant at the time. There wasn’t much recorded about what had happened to him after the war. What she did know was that the Lucifary’s had lost everything after that day. Their home and their legacy, nearly all destroyed but for the one child and the family that raised him.
Calypso’s father had always spoken highly of Aryian’s family and of the daemon people. The sacrifice they had made had saved more than just the daemons. When he had ridden out with them into the battle field, barely a man himself, he couldn’t have pictured the freedoms they would share in the coming years. Her heart ached thinking of her father now and how outraged he would be at the destruction of those freedoms, and enslavement of the daemon people.
Even now, with his flowing black hair wild, knotted, and full of blood, and the wounds pouring his blood out of his strong muscles, Aryian’s manner screamed defiant pride. If he was indeed the last of the Lucifary family line, he carried the Lucifary blood and name well. What she didn’t understand was how he ended up in the servitude of her stepmother. He should have been free, with the rest of his people planning the revolt that would save all daemon kind.
Calypso sighed, rolled over on the bed and slipped into dream. She stood in front of an endless wall. Two doors stood clearly defined in front of her. She opened one and glanced into the endless darkness.
Calypso could see death and destruction taking that path. Her people, and the humans would go to war once again and the land would be stained with blood. She turned to the other door, closing the one before her.
The second door flooded the room with a brilliant light. So bright, that Calypso had to shield her eyes from being blinded. There was nothing she could make out in the sheer brilliance of it. There was no way for her to tell if it was her own end or a new beginning. So she turned away from it as well.
After closing both doors Calypso turned and walked back the way she had come. The time to make choices would come soon enough without her rushing into things. She let her mind and everything in it go empty and just rested.