Whenever Dariuse saw an angel spread her wings, his heart fluttered. A sudden rush of adrenaline would course through his cold veins; the thrill that accompanied his observation of the angel’s majestic flight was immeasurable.
The wind whistling through the angel’s feathers was an ethereal melody, playing softly as if in tribute to her own grace and beauty. The sky above belonged solely to the angel and nothing else. The clouds were her personal plane of reality; wispy tendrils of white cotton encircle her, and glistening beads of moisture cling to her lustrous golden skin. Her wet lips are spread in a soft smile, and her eyes closed against the tainted world floating below.
Weaving a haphazard pattern through the clouds, she darts about like an energetic child. For moments at a time, she simply sails along gracefully, randomly interjecting her flight with long swoops and dazzling turns, and then finally hovers still. Her snow-white wings are spread wide. Remarkable warmth emanates from them and kisses the ground far below, as soothing as the showering rays of the sun.
It is at this moment, when the angel’s perfect form is silhouetted against the sky, that Dariuse knows he must turn away or risk entrapment. His eyes are special, and can see nearly as far as heaven if he concentrates his focus. But to continue to watch the angel one moment longer would mean surrendering his mind to the glamour that is continuously expelled from the heavenly being. Had Dariuse been human, his consciousness would already be lost, doomed to envision the aerial dance even long after the angel had returned to her haven in the cosmos.
Therein lied the primary danger element in hunting angels. They were creatures of striking beauty and magical elegance, but dare to watch them for too long, and you are transfixed by the vision.
Dariuse knew this not just because he was extremely knowledgeable about angels. He knew this because he was nearly defeated in this way during his very first hunt. It was only his severe hatred of angels that enabled him to summon the willpower to break free from the spell, and even for days afterwards, the effect lingered on, forcing him to continually concentrate deeply in order to avoid slipping back into the recesses of oblivion.
The angel hunter drew a black arrow from the quiver slung across his back, and reached for the bow he had placed in the branches beside him. From his perch high in the trees, he kept the angel in sight out of the corner of his eye, not daring to chance looking at her directly.
The angel remained motionless, her ivory hair floating about her seemingly with its own life. Her physique is quite remarkable, the object of every man’s fantasy, the living embodiment of sexual desire. Her slender arms were spread wide, allowing a soft breeze to run through her long, nimble fingers. Each finger was capped with a white nail that was as sharp and as deadly as a hawk’s talon.
Dariuse nocked the arrow. It is exquisitely crafted; the shaft is long, polished and smooth, and nearly unbreakable. It is finished with the feathers of a slain angel and stained with her blood. The feathers will enhance the propulsion of the arrow and keep it on course. The arrowhead is sharp enough to penetrate the most solid mountain and bury itself deep within the mass of stone, but that would be an extreme waste. There are only nine more arrows such as this one in the world, and though Dariuse has only ever needed to use no more than one in each of his kills, he took great pride and pleasure in crafting them, and would not care to lose a single one.
The bow itself is fashioned from the bones of an angel’s wing, which Dariuse was delighted to find both strong yet pliable. It is in fact the wing bones of his first kill, which was quite difficult without the aid of this superb instrument of death, to say the least. The angel hunter smiled with amusement every time he reflected upon how the remains of one angel have since aided in securing the deaths of so many others.
In one fluid motion, Dariuse leapt to the tallest reaches of the tree, rising out of his leafy enclosure to reveal himself to the sky, and drew back the bowstring.
Dariuse let loose the arrow, and it streaked into the clouds with barely a sound, straight and purposeful. The hunter could almost see the trail of heat left in its wake.
The angel is oblivious until it is too late. Her eyes snapped open and she sighted the point of the shaft barely a moment before it struck her body. In that split-second, there was confusion on her face as she struggled to comprehend the unnatural object speeding toward her.
The angel hunter is constantly amazed at the speed possessed by angels. In that one miniscule moment of clarity in which the angel realized the danger, she was able to twist her body just enough so that the arrow missed her heart, probably by no more than a mere fraction of an inch.
The arrow made no sound as it sliced into her, and neither did she. Dariuse imagines that it was likely the shock of a strange new emotion called pain that overcame the angel first. The arrow ripped through flesh and bone as effortlessly as it had cut through the air. A portion of the shaft emerged from the angel’s back almost directly centered between her wings. A pure, unblemished white only moments ago, they were now spattered with blood.
Miles away from the tree in which Dariuse sat, the angel began her plummet to the earth, trailing feathers and red mist behind her.
For more information regarding the fantasy series, The Tales of Tanglewood, please visit the website to learn more about Colin and the other characters in the 'wood, and to download a sample of the first few chapters of each book for free.