Home > Starlight (Angels of Elysium #3)

Starlight (Angels of Elysium #3)
Author: Olivia Wildenstein

 

 

DISCLAIMER

 

 

Starlight takes places 18 years after Feather. I’ve taken the historical liberty to transform a presidential republic into a kingdom for story purposes. Please remember that this remains a work of fiction, and although not dystopian, it is paranormal.

 

 

“Not a fan of parties?”

I glanced at the angel who’d sidled up to me in a corner of the starlit atrium. Dark blond hair swept artfully up and to the side, trimmed beard, gray eyes, gold wings. Although he kept them tucked in, I didn’t miss how they weren’t just tipped but entirely metallic, as though he’d dunked them inside a vat of molten metal. I also didn’t miss how full they were.

I returned my gaze to the swanning crowd. “Not a fan of guild parties. But I’m guessing you are, since you’re attending one.”

The ascended smiled. “I didn’t come down from Elysium for the festivities.”

“Then why’d you come? To flaunt your pure verity heritage?” My wing bones thrummed from the taunt, but astoundingly, no feather deserted me.

Two years growing and losing the downy black barbs on my back, and I still hadn’t grasped the ishim’s tolerance threshold.

The blond angel’s smile grew wider. “Believe it or not, I made the trip to meet you, Adam.”

He’d had my partial attention; now, he got my full one. I drained the glass of spiked pineapple juice Noah’s current squeeze had smuggled into the London guild for the party and pressed away from the ivy-covered quartz to face my visitor.

I liked surprises as much as I liked strangers, which was to say, not in the plucking least. An Elysian citizen seeking me out made my feathers bristle.

I crossed my arms, glad that at sixteen, I was already as tall as this ascended. “Who are you, and what is it you want?”

“My name’s Dov, and I want to recruit you.”

“Like the bird?” I was still processing the second part of his answer.

“Without the -e.” He held out his arm for a rainbow-winged sparrow. Usually skittish, the chanting guild mascot landed and pecked Dov’s knuckle. Finding no food, it sprang off and resumed its concert.

“Recruit me for what, Dov with no -e?”

“For a clandestine project I’m spearheading.”

My feathers still hadn’t smoothed. I glanced toward Noah, but my friend was busy testing how far his tongue could go down his girl’s throat to pay me and my Elysian visitor any mind.

Dov pushed away from the glowing quartz wall. “Our system has malakim, ishim, erelim, ophanim, but no shorhim. Did you never find that odd?”

Although I wanted to pretend he hadn’t lost me with the Angelic lingo, curiosity got the better of me, and I caved. “Shorhim?”

“Guardians.”

My pulse ticked faster.

“Humans talk about guardian angels all the time and yet guarding humans isn’t one of our prerogatives.” Dov stared around the vast room, pausing from time to time on one of the hundred or so teenage fletchings stockpiled around the seven fountains. “I believe humans would benefit from being guarded.” He returned his attention to me. “My proposal, however, garnered no traction in Elysium, which is the reason for my trip down to the guilds. After studying thousands of profiles, I found you fit every criterion a guardian should possess.”

I couldn’t help the snort that escaped me. “Don’t guardians need to be selfless?”

“And you’re not?”

I used my holo-ranker to find my next hookup. And yeah, I eventually reformed the sinners I signed up for, but my primary intention was utterly selfish.

“I’ve studied you, Adam. You aid many of your peers in their missions, without it benefiting you in any way.”

“Experience benefits everyone.”

“What I meant was . . . you’re aware and you care. Those are the qualities I’m after for my guardians.” Dov squared his shoulders, making himself look bulkier in his toga-like gray uniform that was so at odds with my generation’s denim-and-tee attire. “I’m an ishim, Adam. I know everything that happens to our fletchings. Everything.”

It sounded more like a threat than an encouragement, nevertheless I asked, “You said guardians. There are others?”

“You’d be the first.”

“For how long?”

“Until we decide to bring in new pledges.”

“You’d make their selection a shared decision?”

“I would. Unless you prefer I—”

“I’d like to have a say in it.”

A satisfied smile curled the edges of Dov’s mouth.

“Would I still need to go on human-reforming missions or will you just snap your fingers and make my feathers grow?”

He chortled. “I like you. I really like you.”

That made one of us.

“Not even seraphim possess that sort of magic, so you’ll still have to sign up for missions. You’ll just draw them out longer. And once you’re done, you’ll stay signed on for a few more weeks. Months, would be even better.”

“If you know all about me, then you know all about my fathers. Weeks might fly with them, but months . . . no dice, Ish.”

“Then weeks, it’ll be. Anyway, I expect you to be guarding humans in tandem with your missions. I’ll bring you files on ill-intentioned sinners, and all you’ll have to do is keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t harm other beings.”

My heart palpitated, my extremities tingled, and my stomach bottomed out. The last time I’d experienced such a rush was when my wing bones had finally drilled through the flesh along my spine two years ago. “Tell me more.”

“I’ll tell you everything, but only if you’re in.” He held out his hand.

I stared at it, stared at him, stared at his solid gold wings. “Any catch?”

“That this stays between you and me until I’ve built my case that shorhim have a place in our worlds.”

I could work with that. “Last question. Would I be breaking any rules?”

“Has that ever stopped you?”

A slow smile spread along my mouth. “I suppose not.”

Dov nodded to his hovering hand.

I shook it, marking my last day as a bat-winged fletching and the first as a black-winged savior.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Adam

 

 

TODAY - 2038

 

 

The elusive Elysian heiress was here, in London, standing opposite the human I was about to courteously dump.

Naya Moreau.

Angels didn’t have last names and yet Seraph Asher’s daughter had one. I snorted, which dragged both girls’ attention my way.

“Moreau, huh?” The name rang familiar. I’d probably seen it on a holo-ranker. It wasn’t a completely uncommon name. “Got that from your father or mother’s side?” I taunted the blonde with the sparkly black wings.

Sure, it was a tad low. Even for me, but how in Abaddon had she gotten away with lying without losing a feather? Did they have a special scale in Elysium for the Seven’s progeny? That would explain the density of her wings. I didn’t doubt she went on missions—I’d heard all about them, and not only from my fathers but also from my fellow fletchings—but accumulating over nine-hundred feathers in five years was a feat no one before Naya had ever accomplished.

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