Three

A warm breeze floated from the dessert behind her. Before her were the rolling waves, and the smell of salt. She pushed back a lock of golden hair. A man walked along the waterline, his toes in the surf, yet he left no footsteps. She watched him for a moment, his fire red hair waving in the breeze; his perfect peach colored skin completely umblemished by the sun or the other elements. He was a wonder to behold; yet her bretheren cursed her for commiserating with him. The most remarkable feature about this Golden eyed man, was the large firey wings that protruded from his back. She gulped, he turned and beckoned her to the water's edge. She felt a rush of joy overcome her. Running down the small precipous she hurried in the sand.

All her life Celianne had been unremarkable, she was no great beauty, she had very little money, and her father despised her for not being a son. Yet in spite of these set backs she had become as strong as any man, and just as capable. Perhaps it was her defiance of the ways of her people that made her despised, but her she had one consolation; the love of an Angel. Enemies at first, she had sought to end his life and even lose her own; but something happened. Somehow her meager existance had become a light that altered his feelings and the antimocity between them was transformed into love.

Her legs ran, her feet left prints, and her heart beat fast in her chest. She ran faster as she could and found herself enfolded in his embrace. He smelled of sweet warm things and all her thoughts of being despised and hated fell away. She nestled her head into his chest, his heart beat smooth and calm; beating rythmically like the waves of the great waters before her.

"I missed you, i missed my boys." She said with a soft sigh. Apollonius smiled and laughed.

"Shhh, he's sleeping." The red haired angel said. Celianne knew that nestled in a safe spot on the beach was their little blonde boy. He would be wrapped in a light blanket, with a small lean-to set up to keep out the sun. He was the most mischevious child..she heard him chuckle, a deep low rumble beneath her head.

"What is it?" She asked. The warrior woman always seemed to be out on errands. The couple had been evicted from the local village upon the arrival of their son, but the small family had made due in the outlands.

"He's a smart little fellow. He managed to coax two fish right out of the ocean." He laughed. Celianne looked up at him in disbelief.

"I don't believe you, that sounds rediculous!" She tried to wear a stern face, but the twinkle in his gold eyes changed it into a smile. She pulled away from him and put her hands on your hips.

"It's the truth." He insisted. Celianne rolled her eyes.

"Oh I'm so sure. Just like the time you said you flew to the moon." She waggled a finger at him.

"But I did love!" He looked playfully taken aback. She turned to go.

"Always such stories..." She shook her head and walked down the beach. He trotted after her, his wings closing like a clasp over his collar bone. He was well tanned in the mediteranean sun, his red hair like coral, his body becoming muscular from hard physical labor. He drew close enough to grab at her arm. She swatted at him and he pulled her into him with a firm tug. The pair went down, crashing in the sand. "Appolonius!" She shrieked lightly. He laughed as they rolled around.

"I'm not telling stories. It's true. The boy and I caught tonight's dinner, three hefty fish. He's quite the sweet talker you know, the fish couldn't help themselves...takes after his old man." He smiled as he pinned her into the changing surface of the earth. Celianne smiled wrily, trying not to look into his eyes, or she knew she'd be a gonner, but she did anyways. The blond felt her body melt into the tiny grains beneath her. "Or did you need a demonstration my love?" He pressed close to her about to plant a kiss...she whispered in his ear as he drew close.

"If you keep going like this you'll have to start catching four hefty fish." She said in an invitation. He smiled as his lips moved across her face, gold eyes meeting lavender.

"Mommy?" A soft little voice called. Celianne lost all motivation and burst out laughing under her beloved. Appolonius too could not help himself.

"Son go back to sleep." He insisted. Celianne covered her mouth with one hand to keep quiet, maybe the boy would return to sleep after all.

"What are you doing?" The persistent voice asked. Appolonius gave ehr a warning look to keep still.

"Making you a brother or sister, now go back to sleep or you'll continue to be an only child." He said in a light, but warning tone. Celianne listened to the interaction between father and son, amused.

"I want a sister." The little voice informed them from beyond sight. Celianne watched the expression on Appoloniu's face change to one of affirmation and patience.

"Alright son, I'll take that into concideration. Are you closing your eyes now?" They heard him call back affirmative. Celianne shook and with a strong shove pushed him off of her. The Angel tumbled to the sand.

"Oh don't listen to your father, come here little one." She said climbing to her feet. A small tan boy with silky blond hair came out from the nearest dune. He ran right into Celianne's arms and she felt suddenly complete. "I have missed you so much." She said hugging him and kissing his hair. The boy was nearly three years old now, he spoke well and helped with all of the chores as best as he could.

"I caught some fish." He said brightly. A pair of bright blue eyes looked up at her. She smiled down at him.

"I heard! I'm so proud of you!" She said. He took her hand in his little one and pulled her along the beach. The boys had set up a spit and three fish sat in the low flames cooking. Tucked into the heated rocks were root vegetables she had foraged earlier in the season. "It smells wonderful. Come let us sit by the fire and your father can tell us a story." She suggested, eager to hold him and be in his precence. Appollonius was following behind. The tall man was carrying in his arms more fire wood and a bucket of water.

"But I want a sister...I need someone to play games with and talk to." He pleaded softly in a disapointed voice. Celinne chuckled.

"Don't worry my son, I'll find time enough to grant your request." The Angel said decidedly. "Perhaps after dinner." He could hear Celianne's incredulousness.

"Come Appolonius, eat and tell us a story." Celianne said, seating ehr son beside her near the fire. Appollonius handed her two fish to steak in the sand. She began to gut one for her son and cool the hottest pieces. Appollonius began his tale.

"Long ago before man was even a twinkle in the creator's eye the Angels lived in the sublime realm of Heaven."

"What's Heaven like?" The blonde boy asked. Appollonius smiled.

"Heaven is a flawless realm, where love and peace are abounding, where no one wants for food or drink, and where we all stood in the sight of our Maker and knew our Creator as a parent knows a child. We wanted for nothing, for we had the love of the one who made us, and it made us complete. Imagine my son if you never felt hunger, or thirst, or pain or sickness or death. All of this we did partake of. However our bliss was not to last. For as it is said, all good things must come to an end." Appollonius watched as both Celianne and the boy sat mesmerized in his story.

"And what brought this peace to an end?" Celianne asked, pushing Appollonius to finish his tale.

"The Angels became divided. And we went to war against one another. There were two factions, the side of the Creator and the side of evil, of the serpent..." He saw the boy shiver and knew in his heart that he too felt such a shiver.

"What's a serpent?" The child whispered. Celianne pulled him into her lap and held him. His blue eyes stared fixed on his father. The sun was beggining to set, casting shadows about htem in the growing darkness.

"A serpent is a smooth winding creature, with many legs, and sometimes wings. He is enormous and he devours Angels and humans without hesitation. He is the one who feeds on the darkness of man's hearts and haunts us in our moments of weakness, pushing us to do something we know is wrong. And when we fall and do wicked things he does delight much in our failure. You see when the war ended the Serpent and his army lost and they were banished to the ends of the Earth by the Creator. I do fear for the day when he regains enough power to rise again and claim this world as his own...for you see that was what divided us: The Creator needed a champion to safegaurd man, but when the serpent was not chosen he did wax angry and grew wroth, and he did make war against us, his bretheren." The Angel finished his story and moved to sit beside hiw wife and child. They were not married in the sense that they had performed a human marriage because Celianne's family would not allow him to be claimed as their kinsmen, but in every sense they were married. In Appolloniu's eyes he loved her, cared for her and would continue to work along side her as they raised their family and grew old together. After a long pause she spoke.

"That wasn't a story, that was something true..." Her downcast eyes looked up at his in fear. He opened up his wings and wrapped them around her.

"Yes...it was, and the boy knows it as though he were there, for he too has the soul of an Angel." She stared into the fire. "I fear our greatest threat now are the servants of the Serpent, the ones who spread his chaos and wickedness among man. It is they whom we will fight soon." He leaned in a kissed the top of the boy's golden hair. "But they will never have him. I swear it." Appollonius said.

"I know my love. I know." She said softly. "But I will never let you go into battle alone...never." And at that they grew quiet for a while, watching the stars appear and listeing to the waves and the crackle of the fire. When they retired Appollonius carried the boy to bed in their little hut and Celianne turned the animals into their stalls for the night. She had grown accustomed to performing what were concidered male chores, but she dared not let Apollonius go to market alone or to trade and so that left her to do all but the plowing, tilling and cooking.

Celianne entered the small one room hut and quickly was hed her feet. She could hear Appollonius in the larger section of the hut most likely cleaning. The lithe woman reitred to bed and pulled the blankets up on her son. He stirred a bit.

"Mommy?" He asked, his eyes still closed. She stroked his cheek and shushed him. "We should name the baby Heaven." He dream talked. She smiled and stroked his soft hair.

"I think that's a wonderful name my love." She whispered. Appollonius came to the other side of the bed and turned down the blankets, the boy usually slept between them.

"What's wonderful?" He asked. He was weary and tired from the day's work, but his eyes still held a glow of honest query for her and her needs.

"He's going on again about a little sister. He wants to name her Heaven." She informed him. A gentle smile lit his features in the dark. Celianne could see him in the shadows of moonlight that came in through the hut. She then looked away. It was not that she did not want for more children, she loved her son more than herself, but try as they might she could not concieve another. Appollonius reached across the bed. A tear had slid down her cheek and he wiped it awy.

"There, there. We'll keep trying, but we cannot go against the will of the Creator. If we are meant to create more children then we will, if not then we will just do all in our power to bring this one precious boy up into manhood and love him for all that he is." Appollonius said. She nodded and sniffed back her tears. He was right, and she felt a foreboding in his words that she dared not speak. The warrior wondered if in fact they were not blessed with more children for the knowledge that they would not live long enough to raise them. They laid close together that night, greatful for all that they had and all they were given. The night Celianne tried not to dream about Serpent's and wars among Angels, but then she remembered what Appollonius had said: "All good things must come to an end."