• Central United States 2012, Eden:
    The night was humid and full of tension, like the calm before the thunderstorms of spring. The moon was just beginning to wane still full, but not quite. Clouds speckled the sky around the moon, giving hints at the storm to come later that night. Every so often you could see the world around you by the flashes in the sky. With those brief flashes I could see the target’s house. A two-story building with a balcony leading out of the target’s sleeping quarters made this assignment a breeze. I glide in on my wings and landed as softly as a spider spinning down its web. With four quick steps, I am in front of her door. Inside, in a drawer by her computer, was where she stored what I was supposed to steal. Somehow she had amassed a compilation on what a Bahamut is.
    Perhaps I should back up a bit. Bahamuts are creatures with extraordinary gifts. We can, when trained, do anything possible and almost anything impossible. It is how we look naturally that really sets us apart from you humans. Our skin is covered in fur of varying lengths. Short on the face longer on the back. We have tails though they differ per Bahamut. Mine is like a foxtail, I am peppered with white spots on my mostly black pelt creating a starry sky appearance. Most all if my coloring is like that. Even my wings, though they are little bit more white than the rest of my body. My ears are that of a cat, with sensitive hearing to go along with them. My feet look like rabbit feet, though mine only have three toes. I am part of the Veira tribe. Veira being the word for “animal” in Bahamut. There are four types of Bahamuts; Pyros, Aquis, Terrans, and Veiras. Each tribe has complete control of one element and some control over the others. Veiras over the air, Pyros over fire, Aquis over water, and Terrans over the earth. I am Eden DeMarlo, usually I just go by Eden but human society requires a last name.
    We, the Bahamuts, were worshiped as gods once. Nature sprits by pagans, gods by the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, and the Celts, and we have absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, to do with most modern monotheistic beliefs. We now live in hiding and have since humans became afraid of anything they could not understand or make sense of.
    That is what I am doing here at this house, because this human girl has a detailed description of what a Bahamut is. How I know that, I will explain later.
    I know that she has files both on her computer and hard copies in a drawer under a false bottom. Since the humans were out for the night I could do this in peace. I crept silently up to the sliding glass door and attempted to open it. No one can ever say that a human was unprepared, so of course, the door was locked. No problem for a Bahamut or a desperate human thief. A little telekinetic downward force on the unlocking lever and with a satisfying click, the door slid open easily. After I sashay into the room, which looked like the inside of a kaleidoscope, I closed and locked the door. That was for a just in case some one walked in and saw the door unlocked. I turn and walk up to the computer desk and open the bottom right drawer, pull all the stuff out and peer inside at the false bottom. The bottom was locked with an electronic five-digit pass code lock. Just as I am reaching for the keypad I hear a noise, it sounds like a faucet, coming from the bathroom. I sigh and put every thing back the way it was, make my way to a corner and blend. Focusing light around me does that. The only drawback is that, should I move, I would create a ripple that is kind of like a heat wave off a hood of a car. A few seconds
    after that the faucet stops, I hear footsteps heading toward the room I am in than the door swings open and in walks Newell herself. She sits down at her desk and I hope for her to hit the key code so I can observe it and retrieve the hard files. For a few minutes I have no luck, she starts her computer. She is about five feet eight inches tall, so about six inches shorter than myself; she has longish black hair and gray eyes. Unlike normal human eyes she had more than one variation in her eyes like depths-of-a-storm cloud gray. She has a medium build, no fat at all, but not grossly skinny either. I have seen trillions of humans over the centuries. They come and go, constantly changing, but I remain the same. But even immortality has drawbacks. Such as watching humans you may have grown attached to fade and die. Other drawbacks include having to pick a different name every eighty years or so. Eventually she gets up and looks around the room and apparently I must have moved because she squints at where I am. She moves closer and suddenly thrusts hand forward at chest level. Too late to avoid it, her hand connects with the fur on my chest. She abruptly starts screaming and without hesitation I drop the illusion, grab her, spin her around, and cover her mouth with my hand. With her still screaming though it is muffled.
    I whisper, “I am not here to hurt you Newell, so please stop screaming so we can have an intelligent conversation.” She stops trying to scream and remains silent. So I ask, “If I remove my hand will you start screaming?” she shakes her head and with that, I let go. She takes two steps then turns and sees what I look like. When she sees me I half expect her to start screaming again. Thankfully, she refrains from doing so and looks thoughtful.

    “Are you a Bahamut?” she asks, almost like the question it self was absurd.
    I answer without hesitation “Yes, I am here because you know that.” She seemed a little taken aback at that. It pains me to ask this of her So I continue on.
    “I need you to give me any information you have in relation to Bahamuts, and also to delete any file on your computer about them.” She, almost in a trance, walks over to her computer, pulls up file after file and erases them. She then opens her desk drawer takes everything out and inputs the code. Newell then takes the notebook therein and gives it to me. Then it hit me.
    “This means a lot to you doesn’t it?” I ask, indicating the notebook. She looks at me and almost imperceptibly whispers, “Yes.”
    I nod and say, “I cannot pretend that this will make up for all of it but perhaps it will make up for some of it.” As I say this to her I extend one wing and pull a feather. This I then hand to her while saying, “I know this notebook only contains a story, but tell me you have never looked for signs after reading a story that has unbelievable things integrated into society. People would look for signs if you had published this,” I exclaim while brandishing the journal, “and having found signs some people would have pursued them, because you have the details down, and they are somewhat accurate, believe me!”
    Then she says something that surprises me, “I have heard your voice before, haven’t I?” she nods like she is more sure, and continues, “You addressed me by name and your voice is familiar, so now the question is, who are you to me?” she then looks at me expectantly. I stare at her for a moment and then the laugh that had been building in my gut suddenly bursts out of my mouth. I was not going to tell her that the reason I
    know all I do about her is because I go to her school. Which is how I know about her writings, she told me herself. Now Newell looks more than a little hurt by my laughter.
    “Why do you taunt me?!” she shouts indignantly. I shake my head. Guilt weighs heavily on my conscience, betraying her just feels wrong.
    “I do not taunt you, Newell, I am merely amused by the fact that you can’t connect the dots. I grow tired of this conversation, now sleep!” I back up that command with a subconscious message and she falls, with near perfect accuracy, onto her bed. I then walk to the door, open it, walk out, and then close it. I take one last fleeting glance before I jump off the balcony and take flight.

    Later that night, Newell:
    A bright flash startles me awake, and just when I start to think that the flash was my imagination, the thunder rolls in. Soft at first then growing in a crescendo of sound. Then the rain begins to fall. I think about what I last remember.
    “It must have been a dream,” I yawn with a stretch. I feel something in my hand at the top of my stretch. I bring my hands down and open the right hand. Nestled within, is a feather. The feather is large and bent, but it straightens out. So black and peppered with white, it looks like the sky at midnight. I then rush to my computer desk and open the bottom right drawer, inside is just a void. My head throbs as I lean back in my chair.
    “It was not a dream.” I whisper breathlessly. My first reaction is one of shock as in, I-can’t-believe-that-Bahamuts-are-real, kind of reaction. My second was one of triumph, and my third one of extreme displeasure.
    My name is Newell Brusk. I am eighteen; I have long black hair and a love for nature that has no equal. I have always loved a good story, being the school reporter is part of it, possessing great curiosity is another and yet another is my love of writing. My room is known to give people motion sickness, and I enjoy long hours of mindless game time. That is basically my bio.
    Getting back to my extreme displeasure, if I ever find out who that Bahamut is to me I am going to hit him so hard his children will be born with a hand shaped birthmark on their left cheek. I’m talking about the face. With that I quickly ransack my room looking for my phone. I knew exactly who to call, someone who understood me, one of my best friends, Eden DeMarlo.
    I have known him for three years. In that time I have found out next to nothing about him. His phone seems to ring forever, but finally he picks up.
    “Newell, do you have any idea what time it is?” he demands, sounding like he just woke up but I know the truth.
    “Well I figure a night owl such as yourself wouldn’t mind a slight interruption into your busy schedule for something this interesting.” I say teasingly, knowing what reaction I would get from him.
    “Stop beating around the bush so I can get back to Donkey Kong.” He sighs, and since I have known him for a long time, I know that he is interested, but he plays hard to get. I have been trying to get him to ask me out for a couple of months now. He’s attractive, he has washboard abs, and gentle eyes that look as if they have seen the rise and fall of a millennia.

    I huff, “Well fine, then I guess it is not that interesting then.” This is how most of our conversations play out until one of us becomes bored.
    I can almost see him smile as he says, “Hanging up in Five…Four…Three,” His usual line begins with “Becoming bored in…”
    Just as he gets to one I swiftly say, “I will tell you in school.” And then I hang up on him. A minute later I get a text from him with a picture attached.
    I answer and it reads, [U interrupt me in an epic Donkey Kongquest, tell me I have something important 2 tell u, then hang up, WTF?] The picture is a shot of his eyebrows, with one quirked up.
    I quickly text back, [hav 2 tell u in person u will not believe me otherwise.]
    To that I receive, [U interrupt my Kongquest u tell now!!]
    I decide to use one of his jokes and send, [Shh, Im about to defy u.]
    I don’t receive anything for a couple of minutes then I get, [better b good, c u in the morning.]
    With that I lean back in my chair and glare at the feather on my desk. I reach forward to pick it up and as my fingers wrap around it my vision smears and suddenly I am somewhere else. It is like I am looking through some one else’s eyes, and I am just along for the ride. I think I am seeing the past memories of the Bahamut that stole my story. Maybe this will give me a clue as to who they are. The Bahamut is walking down my school hallway and turn the corner. The hall is packed with people and the whispers of everyone permeate the air around him. I recognize the area he is in as it is near my
    locker. Right on cue he looks at my locker and, seeing me sitting there, makes eye contact with me and slowly closes one eye in a wink. After that the memory fades to black.
    I jolt awake in my chair, still clutching the feather. Strangely it’s morning already, I glance at the clock and it reads Seven-oh-eight in the morning. It makes sense seeing as how the sun is just peaking over the horizon.

    The same morning, Eden;
    I rang the doorbell and waited, a few seconds later Mrs. Brusk opened the door.
    “Good morning ma’am, is Newell ready to go?” I inquire politely. Of course I already knew the answer because I could sense her coming from the kitchen, with her backpack, ready to go.
    Mrs. Brusk smiles and says, “Yes, she was just finishing her breakfast.” Right after she says this Newell squeezes past, and with a quick, “love you mom,” she and I rush out to the car, and drive toward school.
    Once in the car I ask, “So, what won’t I believe?” I know that the question was expected of me.
    She looks at me and asks, “Do you remember that story I told you I wrote about Bahamuts?” She looks at me and I feel her thinking something was off, and I knew that it was my voice. If I allowed her to think on it to long it would click and she would be the Hulk standard of angry with me.
    To that end I reply, “Yes, what of it?”

    She explains excitedly, “They’re real, one invaded my room last night and demanded everything I had ever written about them either be handed over or deleted!”
    I look at her with what I hoped to be a skeptic look and ask, “Are you ill?”
    She then looks at me with a triumphant smile and says smugly, “I have proof.” With that she takes a plastic bag out of her backpack with my feather in it.
    I glance at it, defeated, and sigh, “That is too large to be a bird feather so now I will believe you until proven wrong.” Just as pull up to school I add, ”We will talk more after school.”

    He believed me! With that thought I strolled into school, as Eden parked the car. As I walked to my locker I contemplated whether or not talking after school would as a date. I just sit down in front of my locker as Eden walks around the corner. He stops and makes eye contact with me and slowly closes one eye in a wink.
    That brings back the vision I had when I touched the feather. I stand quickly and start backing away down the hallway. He advances on me with a confused look and his eyebrows crinkled down. Suddenly he stops, and I also stop.
    We stare at each other, suddenly he sighs, “At least allow me to explain, will you?” I feel outraged with the impossible thought that he might be the Bahamut that invaded my home. He betrayed my trust.
    I laugh, “Do you honestly expect me to believe anything you say after what you did?” I ask incredulously. He looks at me with such sad eyes that I feel my heart melt, so I add, “You have ten minutes to give me a reason to trust you.”

    He nods and begins what I expect to be a pretty good apology, “First let me express my heartfelt request for forgiveness, just know that I was told to find out just how accurate your story is.” He then takes off his backpack and pull out something familiar, my notebook, and continues, “before I give this back to you I have some conditions. One, I would like you to change some details, descriptions and,” he sighs and looks at me with an expression of apology, “change the name Bahamuts to something else, but that condition is applied only to anything you may publish. Next you may keep this the same but no one can ever see it, and lastly,” he turns his gaze to the ground and whispers, “You have the choice, I am not going to force you, to become a Bahamut.” He looks at me hopefully.
    I utter a little shriek, as I can’t believe my ears. He just asked me, indirectly, to be his forever. The possibilities flash through my head, and all I am doing in the mean time is gawk at him oh so stylishly. After a minute of two I march toward him and slap him across the face. His head just turns sideways, then he turns back to me with a smile and says, ”I guess I deserved that, didn’t I?” I just give him an irked look.
    Finally, I hug him and ask, “Since you basically just asked me to marry you in a Bahamut type of way, can I move in with you?” I peer up at him hopefully.
    Just then I hear an oily voice behind him say, “How sweet…”

    “How sweet, like a modern day Romeo and Juliet, two lovers doomed to die.” Unfortunately I knew that voice, so I turn toward him while keeping Newell behind me.
    I smirk at him and say, “Why, hello Ga’Branth, long time, no…beat into the dirt.” That gets the reaction I want, it must just burn him up that hit him with an island. I actually just made the island rise up a few feet, knocking him off balance. Both the effect, and the look on his face were entertaining.
    He sneers and says, “I am here to kill her, and either capture or kill you.” He smiles like the insufferable slug he is and asks, “What do you think of that?” I just start laughing at him and he just stands there looking confused.
    Finally manage to say, “If you think that in five short years you have managed to become better with your blade, your more deluded than I previously imagined!”
    He looks at me with a smile and shakes his head as he explains, “That is true, I would be deluded wouldn’t I? That’s why the council sent me with a full contingent of soldiers.” That shuts me up and, seeing the look on my face, he continues, “So, if you value your continued existence, you will hand her over and go quietly.”
    I turn and face Newell, I gaze into her eyes and when I do I see everything that I have come to love over the past three years. I see her love, I see her ambitions, and I also see her desire. In those orbs I see a friend, and also I see a person who wants to keep on living.
    I turn back toward Ga’Branth and say with a passion unknown to me, “If you want to kill her, you will have to go through me!”
    He sighs and growls, “So be it!” With that he stomps his left foot. That must’ve been the signal, because a couple of seconds after he did it thirty warriors marched around the corner.
    Ga'Branth stops them and says, “He has proclaimed that if the girl is to die, he must die first, now KILL THEM!” With that order they all rush forward. I have to admit they were well disciplined if not well trained, no shouts or barbaric cries. Though I did see some that were afraid of what I could do. Some I had even trained myself. Such a pity that for my wants to go undenied, I must do the unthinkable.
    My favored weapon is a double bladed staff, lots of moves available like a chess game, and in conflict I flow from one foe to the next. All I have to do is imagine it in my hand and presto, it appears. That is the simple version of the explanation. The complex version is I transfer the object I want through a separate dimension where the space between objects has no meaning. The physics lesson is over today, time to kick some tail, and in this case I mean that literally.
    I shove Newell into an office and shut the door so she does not see what I do to these young Bahamuts. I calmly wait for them to come to me, if I went for them I would cut into the center and be surrounded by them. They slow, as they get close, not wanting to be first to reach me. I can’t say I blame them for their fear; I wouldn’t want to fight me either. I have always said that most of the older generation of Bahamuts sends the junior generation to do their dirty work, and have been disgusted by it. One of the more zealous warriors lunges forward, I sidestep and clothesline him. He stumbles another couple steps and falls and as he strikes the floor his head separates from his torso. As he hits the ground I hear a sound, sort of like gas escaping from a pressurized container.
    That broke the spell that was holding them captive they all rush forward and surround me. Again I am going to point out that they are not well trained, because now all I had to do is dodge long enough and they would kill each other. With each one that falls I hear the same sound and also a sickly sweet smell is starting to saturate the air. It takes exactly three minutes and twenty-seven seconds for all but their leader to be incapacitated.
    Ga'Branth and I circle each other like wolves waiting for the other to spring. I know he is not going to act first so I send an illusion of me lunging forward. He spins to the left and brings his sword down on the illusion’s back. As his blade strikes the ground, I bring mine up to his neck.
    “You don’t deserve to live,” I tell him calmly, “For what you have done, so I am going to give you a choice. Either you get out of my hemisphere by the next sunrise, or you won’t live to see the one after that. Do you understand?” He says yes because a nod of the head would have been very unwise, not to mention painful. With that I transport him to the nearest lake, or rather above it.
    Of course my next concern is for Newell. I rush to the door of the office and in my excitement I break it of the hinges. Inside Newell is staring at me with an intensity to match the sun.
    She stumbles forward and I just barely catch her, she wraps her arms around me and says quietly, just above a whisper, “I knew you loved me I just wasn’t sure how much.” After Newell says that she promptly feints.

    I wake in a bed, not mine. The blanket is too smooth and too warm for my bed. I open my eyes and look around. I make out Eden reclining in a chair just of to the left of the bed. He is sleeping, so he must have fallen asleep waiting for me to wake. I get out of bed and notice something strange. I have over sensitive feeling on all of my body, like the inside of my cloths have fur in them. I reach up and touch my face, and to my surprise I feel fur there. Out of the corner of my eye I notice a full-length mirror. I rush to it and gaze at the creature that meets my eye. Black with tiny white spots, like the sky at midnight. I feel like my center of gravity is higher. I turn around and see my wings folded as neat as could be, against my back almost indistinguishable from back fur.
    As I stare Eden comes to, and noticing me in front of the mirror, says, “I hope that you are not mad at me for what I have done.”
    I turn and smile and ask, “While I am not mad, why did you?”
    He whispers quietly, “Ga’Branth left a fragile canister of poison gas on each of his warriors. The poison only affects humans. I had to turn you to save you.”
    I stare at my feet and ask, “What if I am not meant to be a Bahamut?” In response to this he smiles and says something I will never forget.
    “I like to think of destiny as a train speeding along the tracks of fate. You can choose to stop and let destiny pass you by. You can choose to try and cross and maybe escape destiny, or maybe get hit by it in the process. You can choose to run away down the tracks from destiny but it will catch up to you eventually. You can choose to race toward it and embrace it with all your being. But no matter what you do, whatever happens to you is your destiny. Destiny is undeniable.”