episode one. season one. angela. eternal.
The shimmering pool in front of me is surrounded by a ring of fire. Literally. The shimmering water of the pool remains untouched and perfect, but the flames around it seem to glow in a heavenly way, large and hot at first, but tiny flames a silver of a moment later.
"Come on, Angel." I mutter to myself, walking up to the flames. At once, the flames burst up again, covering the pool from my view. The only way to reach the pool is to control the flames. That's the only way to know if you're worthy of it.
Scrunching my eyes, I try to revert all the energy I can muster into controlling the flames. Nothing happens at first, but then I am like the fire, blazing and hot, but somewhat controllable.
"Move out of my way." I whisper. I can feel the flames move to the side, and the heat starts to ebb away. Opening my eyes, I see the flames still surrounding the pool – but there's a small spot where the lames don't burn. It's for me.
Stepping up, I look into the pool, just staring for a moment. I see me – the Angel. White downy fur, glossed down. I look like a normal cat – well, except for one thing. My eyes.
Instead like the usual blues or greens, or ambers – or even the lavenders, which are very rare – I have gray eyes. Like a thunderstorm, the clouds churning. Or the rain pouring down in sheets soaking everything beneath.
But I'm not normal – I can tell that. I was born without a twin, without a counterpart. All my life, I've always been alone, even when I'm surrounded with others. I feel as if a part of me is missing; something I need to look for.
I let the details flit away as I whisper the invocation that will activate the images of the pool. Closing my eyes, I chant softly:
"Look into depths
Of everything below
Let everything out
Let everything show
Don't keep anything away
For everything I need
I will not use this in vain
Or out of any type of greed"
Opening my eyes, I watch as the water starts to ripple. And then the image changes – I can no longer see my reflection. But I can now see what I wanted to see: The Home.
The Home is made out of ten villages that are scattered across the valley underneath where I live, in The Dwelling. The cats there are mortal, and they usually live in harmony. Every village works together to make sure that the best comes to everybody. In this way, everyone is safe.
I'm in Village Six. I can tell that immediately, but what I see isn't what I was expecting. The dens are ripped up and broken. Trees are uprooted, and all the fresh-caught prey turns to crowfood the second it hits the ground.
The cats are yelling, their eyes wide with terror. Dens catch on fire, and soon the whole village is blazing, the smoke almost fully clouding the image in the pool. I just stare, perplexed – there's nothing I can do right now anyway.
But who's doing this? What's happening? Why is someone doing this? And most importantly, what's their motive? All my questions seem to be simultaneously answered when I spot something.
I make the pool focus on it. It's like mist, but it's pitch black. It also has a purple tinge, and it rolls away from the village. I watch as it comes together to form a cat – and I can tell that it's living. It's not a shadow, it's real.
The cat turns around, and as I fully recognize her, I nearly fall backwards, and into the blazing fire. It's her – the pitch black she-cat, with her blazing gray eyes – she's back, somehow. She's escaped her prison, and come to The Home.
But how did she do it? How did she – Night – escape her heavily guarded prison? For some reason, I actually don't want to know. That's probably a bad thing. I focus back on the images in the pool, and I feel even worse than before.
The smoke seems to be overwhelming the cats – not enough are escaping. I wish I could do something – but I can't. I can only sit and stare at the pool. Cats are dropping, and I can see the life leave their eyes. It's not a pretty sight.
"Angel?" Sighing, I look up to see Gabriel. I hastily wave my tail, and the images close.
"Hi Gabriel." I say, sighing, and I walk out of the ring to meet the tom. His eyes are blue – a color I wish mine were. But no. I'm stuck with gray. Nasty gray, because no one knew cats made fun of one another because of their eye color.
"Chartreuse wants you." He says apologetically, and I groan.
"Why?" I moan. "What did I do this time?"
"Same thing as all the other times, Angel." Gabriel says, cracking a smile. "Absolutely nothing." We start walking towards the main part of the Dwelling – the pool is away from all the main activity, which suits me just fine.
"But why does Chartreuse hate me so much?" Chartreuse is the head of The Dwelling. She makes all the decisions and makes sure that nothing happens to us, and that we don't accidentally get seriously injured by someone like Night.
Gabriel shrugs. "I don't know." He flicks my ear with his tail. "But all I know is that she's angry. Worse than ever, actually." I'm at the large den now, right at the entrance.
"Well, I guess I'll be going now. Bye Gabriel." He nods his head and walks away. Taking a deep breath, I walk into the den of Chartreuse.
"Angel!" Chartreuse is at the front. Her pale green-golden eyes are blazing. "Please come forward." I walk up to Chartreuse, trying to focus on only her – the narrowed green eyes, the silver and white fur. But it's hard, when I can feel so many pairs of eyes watching me intently.
"Stop." I stand quietly in front of Chartreuse, who waves her tail, and the cats on the sides sit quietly. "Sit, Angel." I sit down where I am, but Chartreuse remains standing. She paces around the den, and I don't make a sound. I don't move either – anything can provoke Chartreuse. All I really want is to be on my way, and get back to the pool.
"Angel." Chartreuse says again, though this time she isn't shouting.
"Chartreuse." I greet her, and quick as a flash, she's hovering over me, angrier than before.
"You. Do not. Speak. Until you're told." She says her teeth clenched. I don't reply.
"That's better." She walks a few steps back and sits there, staring into my gaze. "Now. I'm assuming that you know that we have business here?" I nod my head. "Very well then."
She stares into my gaze, and her eyes narrow once again. "Gray. Just the same color as Night's." She says softly. I open my mouth to speak before remembering Chartreuse's rules. I clamp my mouth shut.
"Now, Angel. You may know that Night has broken out of her prison." I nod my head.
"You may speak, Angel." She hisses softly.
"Yes, Chartreuse." I say obediently.
"Very good." She looks around the room and the 12 cats in the room – toms on one side, she-cats on the other. They are her advisors, the ones who help Chartreuse make her important decisions.
"Angel – Angel!" I snap into focus, muttering my apologies. She stares at me before continuing.
"Angel, we have all come to a decision." I blink at her, perplexed.
How do you come to a decision if you don't even speak? There's no such thing as "reading minds" here in The Dwelling. To know something, someone else has to tell you. If I had known that Chartreuse had wanted me, I wouldn't have gone to the pool in the first place.
"The Council and I believe that you should go and stop Night."
"What?" I ask in disbelief. I hope I heard them wrong. Night is bad. Night is evil – how am I supposed to "stop" her?
"You will go down to The Home and help the cats there, Angel." I nod my head, panic coursing through me.
"Yes, Chartreuse." I whisper.
"Do you understand the importance of your mission Angel?" Chartreuse's voice has a hard edge to it.
"Y-" Chartreuse waves her tail impatiently, and she cuts me off.
"You must defeat her, Angel." She hisses. "You must win."
"Yes, Chartreuse." I say, my hopes plummeting. Trying to defeat Night is like walking straight into Death. I've seen cats do it before – it's not a pretty sight.
"Any questions?" I nod my head slowly. She won't like my question very much – I'm sure of it. But I really want to know anyway.
"Why did you pick me to go after Night? Why not someone more experienced."
"Well, that's a good question, Angel." She glances back at her advisors. "Well, you are the essence of good, right?"
"And Night is the essence of bad."
"It's obviously fit that good should battle evil." Chartreuse's eyes glint. "After all, that's how everything around here works."
"Alright, Chartreuse." I say with a sigh. "When am I going?"
"Right now." She smiles, and I take a step back.
"N –Now?" I ask, and Chartreuse nods. "But what about my immortality?"
"It will still be intact, as Night's is." She nods her head and walks over to me.
"Say the words of the invocation."
"Invocation?" I ask blankly, before remembering what it was. "Which one?"
"The invocation for the pool." I nod my head, closing my eyes.
"Look into depths, or everything below. Let everything out, let everything show. Don't keep anything away, for everything I need. I will not use this in vain, or in any type of greed." I say the words slowly. As soon as I'm done, Chartreuse says an incantation of her own – but this one is something I've never learned. I open my eyes, staring at her.
"Let her out, let her go. Bring her down, but immortal so. Light must go, and defeat the dark. Or Night shall win, and leave her mark."
At once, I feel wind rushing in my ears, and I'm in a tornado. Everything swirls around me, and I can't hear anything. But for some reason, only Chartreuse's voice is clear.
"You will be known as Angela. You will go through each village and find Night. She will be known as Nyx from now on. After every visit, ask for Gabriel, and he will come. You must defeat Nyx, Angela. That is the only way to prevail."
"I understand, Chartreuse." I whisper.
"If you win, you shall be honored – gray eyes or not. You shall be one of the Antecedents." That's a big honor. You have to be one of the best to be part of the Antecedents. And to be this young... I'll be finally respected for once.
"Thank you." I say gratefully. But Chartreuse isn't done. Her voice booms around me once again.
"Night – Nyx – won't be an easy enemy. You must use your wits and talents to defeat her. Always remember what will happen to The Home and to the cats below before you make any kind of drastic move."
"And always remember what it means to be one of The Dwelling. You are immortal – you cannot be killed. But you can be injured, Angel- Angela. Think everything through and make sure to fight your hardest."
The tornado rises and I rise along with it. The wind blows loudly in my ears, and the tornado starts moving – fast. When it stops, I realize that we've come to the pool. The ring of fire blazes suddenly in front of me, but it suddenly parts, and the tornado moves again.
It doesn't stop until I'm right over the pool. Looking down, I don't see my reflection, like I should've. Because in the place of the pool is a hole. A hole that would fit a cat precisely my size. Something's wrong – I can feel it.
At that precise moment, the wind suddenly stops. And I'm falling.