Arthur hesitantly walked towards the door and called for his visitor to enter. The man who entered was not quite a man, for his skin glowed with some inner light and a great pair of white-feathered wings was furled close against his back.
“Ah, Arthur. I was certain you would be here,” the Archangel Michael said in a jovial fashion.
“You can’t be here to tell me the next name!” Arthur replied, somewhat frantic.
The Archangel merely waved the words aside and began looking around. “I’m here to speak to the boy, Arthur. Where is he?”
Arthur was somewhat dumbfounded that he had been wrong and merely pointed towards the couch and the faeries gathered around it. Michael smiled, gave him a nod of thanks and strode over to the couch, ignoring all the worried expression arranged around him. He looked over the back of the couch and down upon the unconscious boy before making a thoughtful sound. “He’s looking a bit paler than I’d imagined, Arthur. Have you been feeding him properly?”
Arthur scowled at the Archangel. “Why are you joking about such a serious matter, Michael?” he snapped, though hadn’t meant to.
In response to the Guide’s outburst, Archangel Michael slowly straightened himself and turned around to look at the ancient faerie. “Arthur, I know more than you that this is a serious matter, but I also know that he will be fine.”
“Why would you come here to speak to him? I’ve told him why he is here and have begun his training already,” the old fae stated flatly, but his expression gave away his confusion.
“I’m here to see how he is adjusting to being not quite alive,” Michael replied calmly. “If I recall,” he continued, “You struggled quite a bit with the prospect of being anything but alive, and you took time to get used to it.”
“I see. Since he cannot speak for himself, I shall do so for him until you can speak to him at a later stage. Llyle has been adjusting well, for his mind is young and flexible, open to concepts adults surely would not accept without proof.”
In hearing that, Michael smiled. “Very good,” he said, but then his smile turned to a frown. “Tell me, Arthur, why you would think I would come to give you a name for a new Guardian? It would be fruitless for Llyle to be here if he was not to be the next Guardian to cleanse the Crystal at the top of the Peak. You would have received someone who would be here until their task is done and their lesson learned.”
“Well, you see…” Arthur began, but then stumbled over his words. “Michael, I was unsure. Llyle was fine and then this happened and I do not know of any incident such as this. I was afraid for him.”
“God would not allow such a thing to happen, if it were to. Llyle will return in substance and presence in time, though when is up to his body and what happens to it. I can promise you that it will not die before Llyle’s task is done and he makes his choice,” the Archangel told him in a calm, kind and reassuring tone.
“I understand. Thank you, Mic-” Arthur was saying before Lizzy cut him off. “You’re sure he’ll be alright? You’ll give us your word that Llyle will be alright?” she pleaded, her eyes shining with sadness.
The Archangel was mildly taken aback by Lizzy’s sudden enquiry. After a moment he smiled down at her and ruffled her hair. “Don’t you worry, Lizzy. Your friend will be fine. You have my word and an Angel’s word is incorruptible.” To this, Lizzy smiled, though the shine in her eyes did not disappear completely. Lizzy then nodded and turned back to resume her watch of Llyle.
With Lizzy a bit less worried and so seemed everyone else in the room, Michael turned back to Arthur with a thoughtful look on his face, as if something had just been brought to his attention. “I believe,” he said thoughtfully, “that you have a task you need to accomplish? Something to do with the equipment downstairs?” he continued, one eyebrow raised and a small smile on his glowing features.
Arthur’s eyes went as wide as saucers. Of course! The Star-weapons and armour in the armoury! Andorin was there, so they could finally be tested. The Guide grabbed his assistant’s arm and pulled him towards the stairs. “Michael, my thanks!” he shouted over his shoulder.
The Archangel just smiled and waved his goodbye, then said his goodbyes to the others and left without another word. The Captain went to the entrance as he heard the sound of something ruffling, which turned out to be the sound of Michael’s wings unfurling. The Captain stood in awe as they spread further than one would think. He then gripped the archway as Michael launched himself upwards, sending gusts of wind as his wings stroked downwards. In three strokes he was out of sight, leaving the Captain alone and blinking in wonder.
The Captain shook his head slowly then went back inside, finding Lizzy sitting on the floor beside the couch watching Llyle for any signs of his recovery. He sighed softly, for he knew how it felt to wait for any sign of recovery when a friend was going to disappear. After a moment of drifting in ancient memories the Captain shook them away and smiled sadly at the young fae. Hopefully she wouldn’t lose him later, or fae she was close to.
He watched Lizzy and Llyle a bit longer before turning and walking towards the stairwell. If anything, he may as well watch whatever Arthur and Andorin were trying to accomplish with the Star-gear below him. As far as he knew, the Stars were basically useless to the faeries of Avalon. A sudden cheer from the bottom of the stairwell caused him to launch off the step and fly down the staiercase until he burst into the blue-lit room. What he saw made his eyes grow wide and he landed quickly beside Arthur.
Andorin was holding a basic round shield and was moving a shortsword around experimentally. Arthur was beside him, looking over a rack of glowing swords as if deciding which one to try next. He was also mumbling to himself.
“Arthur, what in Avalon is happening? How is Andorin touching those?” he asked and pointed at the younger fae, his arm shaking.
“Ah, Captain! Well, not far into Llyle’s training we made an interesting discovery which lead me to suspect that the Star can have allowances placed upon them for use by others as well as restrictions on whom can use them.”
“What are you talking about? Only Guardians can use them: those who made the equipment or others such as with those items where the maker was not selfish.”
“Exactly. You see, I can hold my old sword,” he said enthusiastically as he took hold of his old sword and lifted it off the rack, “but not this one,” he continued and replaced his sword before trying to grasp the hilt of the sword beside it, only to have his hand pass through it.
“Your point, Arthur?” the Captain muttered in mild irritation at being strung along.
“I can touch this mace, but I can’t pick it up,” he replied, though with much less enthusiasm, as he took hold of the mace and struggled to move it, “But I can lift this war axe,” he finished, lifting up the axe with great effort. “You see, Captain, that it all seems to depend on what inherent characteristics the creator of the item gave it.”
The captain stood dumbfounded for a moment, then realised what this could mean for the cleansing. “You’re saying that the fae can, potentially, use Stars-turned-weapons and armour?”
Arthur’s smile and slow nod told him just that. Such news not only meant good news for that cleansing, but all others in the future. The captain sank to his knees and his hard expression softened considerably, for the worry of losing as many fae as was normal had lessened considerably. What happened next, though, was another matter. How long would it be before Llyle awoke? Any length of time would be preparation time lost.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Arthur mumbled while testing other equipment for compatibility and frowning as others failed the test. “We’ll have to wait for Llyle, but in the mean time we can see what’s usable to us and what isn’t.”
The Captain sighed at this but knew Arthur was correct. One other thing was a fact, however. He also knew that Llyle would be getting in a lot of practice in making weapons for the faeries to use on the campaign to the Crown Peak before he inevitably made his own.