I woke from blackness and everything was fire and ruin around me. There was a massive hole in the roof and I could see the stars above. It looked like a little cabin that I was sitting in, although it was mostly cinders and ash after what had happened to it. Whatever that had been, it had somehow not happened to me. I got to my feet and started to walk through the mess. It was at this point that I realized that I had forgotten my name. In fact, I could not remember much of anything. No memories of what had happened or really who I was. I looked down at my body and realized that I was armored.
The armor was elaborate and it had been well-crafted but now much of it was damaged and hanging off of my body. My chest was mostly exposed and I carefully tore myself from the armor around my torso. It was not doing any good anymore so why not remove it to check my body for injuries. There were no injuries to speak of. At least, none of the injuries were of an urgent nature. There were too many scars to count across my chest but the most prominent and seemingly most fresh was a burn scar in the shape of a hand print over my heart. The mark was the dark gray of ash and it looked to small to be a grown man’s hands but it was hard to really tell. Was I some sort of warrior? Some sort of renaissance faire employee?
There was a small house not far away and I started toward it with purpose. I reached up and touched the hand print as I walked and as I touched it, my fingers started to tingle and then burn. I jerked my hand back to my side and flexed my fingers until they felt closer to normal. I looked at those fingers and realized that whatever the gray ash was, a little of it had rubbed off on my fingers. Some sort of chemical weapon? Why wasn’t that tingling, burning sensation on my chest? The thought crossed my mind that the nerve endings might have already been fried and that stuff was going to eat its way inside of me.
I kicked in the door of the house and stomped through it until I could find a bathroom. I fumbled for the light and when it came on I looked in the mirror and nearly had a heart attack. I thought somebody was coming up behind me but as I turned and turned again and looked in the mirror, I realized there was nobody there but me. Nobody there but me and the black, feathery wing coming out of my left shoulder. I focused and it flexed and stretched and then went back to a folded position. I leaned hard against the sink and tried to slow my breathing. This was amazing. People do not just have wings sprouting out of them. I reached and felt my right shoulder and there was nothing there, not even a stub. Why only one wing?
I washed the ash off of my chest and watched it slide down the drain. I hoped wherever it was headed it would not harm anyone else. My chest looked fine so I headed back out into the sunlight to get my bearings. Thankfully this place looked like it was in the middle of nowhere so it might be some time before the residents complained of his break-in or noticed the smoke from burned out cabin. Hopefully, the cops or worse were not on their way. I had no idea where I was and I began to feel silly for thinking that I could pick out my location by randomly spotting the right rock or tree. I went back into the house to look for some sort of evidence about where I was.
“Confused?” A man said from the darkness behind a makeshift bar. In the darkness, bright red veins suddenly pulsed through a human body. At least, I thought it was a human body.
“Of course, I am. Who are you?” I asked as I turned on the lights. This was no human. Their skin was jet black with what looked like neon glowing veins just below the skin. As I watched, the skin pulsed from jet black to ivory white and back again.
“I am Xolotl.” The thing grinned, its teeth looked they were carved from ruby.
“Bless you. What are you?” I asked. It laughed in response. I was so tired of this already.
“Bless me? Not usually something one says to demons.”
“What are you talking about? Is that what you are? A demon?” I asked.
“If you want to get technical, you’re a fallen angel too though it looks like you were pushed.”
“Are you just here to taunt me? If you’re a demon and I’m an angel. Shouldn’t we be fighting?”
The demon laughed again. “It’s a long story but demons are actually much, much older than you angels. Somewhere along the way, you guys got yourselves twisted around. Now sit down, Yoriel. We have a lot to discuss before the end of the world begins.” He said and my headache got that much worse.