A sharp, rapping knock at the door to his chambers woke Colthäs from his reverie. He sat at an ornately decorated desk, eyes closed, long golden hair spilling down over his shoulders, rubbing his temples. Upon hearing the noise, his eyes opened, revealing two icy, piercing blue orbs, cold, calculating, and empty of all emotion, strikingly beautiful but immeasurably dangerous.
“Enter, Cåmathiś,” he said, and the two large, golden doors swung open as a thin, white-roped figure ran in, a look of urgency on his immaculate face. He was thin, light, and his sandals slapped loudly upon the pristine white tiles of the chamber floor. “Sir,” he said, panting. “We have pressing news that you must attend to at once.”
The room in which the two celestial beings stood was one of unearthly beauty- it was, in fact, enough to drive any true mortal mad were one ever to set foot in it. Within the center of the circular chamber, set into the floor, was a magnificent mosaic of the sun, made up of tiles of a thousand different shades of yellow and orange and which seemed glow with the light of the very cosmic body which it represented. Surrounding the two figures were dozens of floating gold balls, drifting through the air and giving off a warm, heavenly glow. Intricate marble columns stretched up from the ground at four points along the walls until the eye ceased to be able to see them, as the room had no ceiling. No, stretched out above it in all of its glorious, infinite expanse was the universe itself, each world a tiny glowing dot upon the immense black canvas of existence, swirls of astral, otherworldly dust of all colors and hues whirling through the void.
Colthäs turned slowly and calmly, getting up from his throne-like chair and surveying Cåmathiś with those piercing marble eye. When he spoke, his voice trembled with the force of a million suns contained within a calm and composed tone. “What is it, Cåmathiś?” he asked, his long white robe sweeping across the floor, his light, feathery wings folded behind him. They spoke in a language both unknown and incomprehensible by any mere human.
“Sir,” Cåmathiś stammered. “We may have found something- someone- within Vëlaėn that may turn the tide of the conflict.”
Colthäs straightened up immediately, his voice becoming much more forceful. “Take me there at once,” he said.
Cåmathiś bowed his head in respect and obedience, trying to hide the fear on his features, which, though beautiful and flawless beyond anything seen on Vëlaėn, paled in comparison to that of his apparent master.
He followed Cåmathiś down a long hallway made of a substance that was apparently marble, past rows of golden doors and murals on the walls depicting scenes long past. Great battles with the Enemy, events on Vëlaėn, the Realm of Balance, known to its inhabitants as Earth. They passed several other Celestians as they walked, all beings of exquisite physical grace and elegance. Each bowed their gold-haired head as Colthäs passed.
Finally, they arrived at another pair of golden doors, this one larger than many of the others, as well as being the only one to have a guard stationed outside. She was wearing a robe like all the others, but it was much shorter, and belted at the waist with a length of white leather. A silver chest plate was strapped over her torso, and a short yet lethal sword was sheathed within a scabbard attatched to her belt. A silver helmet was perched upon her head, covering her hair, which was very short, unlike all the males within Celestia, and more silver armor covered her wings.
Unlike all the others they had passed, she showed no fear at the sight of Colthäs. She simply stepped aside and bowed her head, the unfathomable expression on her hard yet exquisite face unchanged. The doors swung open seemingly of their own accord, and Colthäs followed Cåmathiś into what was undoubtedly the most spectacular room in any of the three Realms.
There was no floor in the room, or so it seemed, for both Colthäs and Cåmathiś were able to step out into it without any sort of complication. In fact, it seemed as if there were no walls either; stretching out all around them, extending into eternity, was the infinite reaches of space itself. The Earth revolved slowly below them, the sun glowed bright, and the other seven planets could be seen in the distance. The doors closed behind them, and then seemed to melt into nothing, leaving them suspended in space.
“Tell, me Cåmathiś, why you have brought me here,” Colthäs demanded. “You say we may have found something that could turn the tide of the conflict.”
“Yes, my Lord,” said Cåmathiś. Neither of them paid any attention to the mind-boggling sight around them. “It is a boy, born unto two normal people, that may be the key we have been looking for.”
Colthäs raised an eyebrow. “A human boy?” he asked doubtfully. “How?”
“This boy,” said Cåmathiś, “possesses an immensely powerful soul- beyond anything we’ve ever seen in a mortal like him. It seems impossible, but it’s true. As you know, of course, we gain our power by bringing human souls towards the side of Order, the Enemy bringing theirs to Chaos. Therefore, this boy could either be our victory or our downfall- whichever side he falls to could be granted the vital blow they need to finally overcome the other.”
“I see,” said Colthäs thoughtfully. “Show him to me.”
Cåmathiś nodded, and they seemed to be falling as the room shifted, the Earth below them growing larger, turning, seeming to blow up as they moved closer to its surface, spread out beneath them like a map. A large city came into view, and they moved in even closer, moving through the roof of a large building until they arrived in a hospital room, where a young woman was cradling her newborn child, a look of love on her face.
Colthäs felt it immediately- an immense aura of power emanating from the child. Cåmathiś was right, he saw- it was like no other soul he had ever felt- amazingly pure, unfathomably powerful. The child was truly beautiful, and he was not crying as his mother held him. He looked truly happy.
“Enough, Cåmathiś,” he said, and they reappeared suddenly above the planet. “I have seen all I need to see. You have done well. We must bring the child’s soul to our side at all costs. We cannot allow him to fall to the enemy. No doubt they have already become aware of him as well. Despite what they lack in our values, they are equal in our power.”
“But what now, sir?” Cåmathiś asked. “We cannot make our move now, for the child is much too young. If we attempt to do anything, it will surely kill him, and all will be lost.”
“We wait,” Colthäs said simply. “We bide our time, as the Enemy will surely do as well. We wait, and then, when we are sure he is old and strong enough, we will make are move.” He paused, then, on a spur of curiosity added “Tell me, Cåmathiś- what is this child’s name?”
“Niri, my Lord,” he said.
“Niri,” Colthäs said quietly. It couldn’t be coincidence. It just couldn’t- he had seen destiny work in great ways, and this was just one more example. ‘Niri’ was no mere name. ‘Niri’ had a very profound meaning in both the language of the Celestians and of the Enemy- Niri meant war.