The woman before me were so beautiful I was sure they had to be angels. They did not look at all similar--not at all--but I got the impression they were sisters. They both stood with a kind of grandeur I had never seen, perfectly straight and elegant. The mist seemed to be part of their gowns, indeed it flowed off the hem like they were of the same material.
The one on the left was slightly taller than the other, with golden-blonde hair that reached her waist. She was far more striking, with a thin, pale face, high cheeks, dark and full eyelashes, electric blue eyes, and surprisingly full lips. She did not glare per se, but her face was fixed decidedly on mine with a set expression that hinted at no kind feelings. She wore a stark, old-fashioned charcoal-gray gown that glinted slightly, as if set with invisible diamonds.
The other was far softer, with long brown hair pulled back in a simple ponytail. She had high cheekbones as well, but her face was rounder, and her lips were pulled up at the corners. Her skin was ivory and she had dark brown eyes, darker than her hair. She wore a flowing white gown that glowed as if by some heavenly light.
The men that stood beside them seemed far less prominent in the wake of the beautiful women, but still had a regal presence about them. One was thin with spiky brown hair, a thin face, and pale blue eyes. He held the same smile as the brunette woman, but it was somehow wilder. The other was somewhat more muscular and slightly taller than his brother, with green eyes and curly brown hair. I found I could not focus on them, though, for the women had started to speak.
"Greetings, Aten," said the brunette, dipping her head slightly as if on instinct. The blonde continued to survey me with cold eyes. "We have waited long for your arrival."
I forced myself to swallow. The kind smile upon the brunette's face was more unnerving than the empty stare of the other. "Who...who are you?"
"My name is Azrale," said the blonde grimly. Her voice was as cutting as her sister's was soft. "This is Chayyliel and Gabriel, my brothers. And this is Regina--" Her voice seemed to hush and she gestured towards the brunette. "--my...sister."
Regina's smile deepened. "Thank you for referring to me as your sister, Azrale. I understand how that would be difficult."
Azrale's eyes flared, but she said nothing. I gaped at the pair, trying to decide which was more beautiful but failing.
"He doesn't know what we are," mused the curly-haired man, either Chayyliel or Gabriel. I forced my eyes away from the women to the men, who were staring at me with slightly mocking expressions.
Azrale spoke again. "Aten...we are angels."
That drew me out of my trance (for their beauty was mesmorizing). I turned sharply and gaped at her. So I was right, then? They were so beautiful because they were angels?
The blonde continued with barely a pause. "I am the angel of death...Regina is the angel of life." Her eyes flared again, in the same way. "Chayyliel and Gabriel are, as I said, my brothers."
Suddenly I remembered the old man's words; "You will find what you seek in the Ryden forest, when twilight blankets the valley and four of great beauty appear to you, as if in a dream..."
Before I could speak, though, the skinnier man spoke. "We don't have the crystal, Aten. Forgive us--it's not in our power. You must find it yourself for the curse to be broken."
I stared at him, not sure what to say. Surely they had to be of help, though...the old man had said I would find what I sought here. Surely he knew...
"Gabriel, I think he's gone into shock," said Azrale, smirking heavily. The curly-haired man snickered, which meant he was Gabriel, and the skinny one ws Chayylien. I was too busy processing this to glare at her, and she was too beautiful either way.
"I do believe he has," retorted Gabriel, a glint in his sharp eyes.