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10 months ago

Sitting on a small hill overlooking a war torn village, Malachi Aurelia watched the crowd of people below him. They gathered around a large truck which had come to deliver food and supplies and did what they could to push themselves to the front. Rations were scarce and tensions ran high. People screamed and cursed at each other, shoving and hitting anyone who was too close to them. They reached out to the two women distributing food from the truck and tried to snatch away other villagers' rations. A huge, dangerous-looking man grabbed one worker by the arm and violently shook her, threatening that he'd rip her arm off if she didn't give him enough food for a month. Several soldiers stood by the truck and did what they could to manage the crowd, but they were exhausted and worn and didn't seem to have the energy to counteract the crowd's sheer force. They'd seen too many horrors to care anymore.

As he watched this scene unfold - watched the tired, broken soldiers, the hungry mob, and the two workers who had threats and insults lobbed at them daily - Malachi couldn't help but feel a sense of disgust rise in him. This was the species he had defended? These people were the reason why he was banished from the Underworld? He'd rather cut his own legs off than admit he was wrong, but Malachi certainly didn't see the things he had valued in humans anymore. They seemed to have died along with the planet.

Eventually, the crowd below had become too violent. They tried to board the truck themselves and grab what they could carry, knocking down and trampling people who got in their way. The soldiers were finally forced into action and beat back the mob as far as they could, shouting orders for the truck to depart. It drove away in a hurry, along with half of the town's rations, leaving behind an angry, starving village.

Before his very eyes, Malachi already saw small children sneaking food out of baskets people had made the mistake of setting down for a moment. A man knocked over an elderly woman and tore a loaf of bread out of her arms; the woman cried out in pain and struggled to get up, but no one even looked in her direction. They were too busy either taking what they could or getting away with what they had. It was a scene of pure selfishness and violence, and it left a sickening taste in Malachi's mouth. He hadn't fought for this. He didn't sacrifice everything he had for animals. 

"It's very sad, isn't it?" 

With a start, Malachi turned to look behind him and the bad taste suddenly got much worse. Standing behind him in a black and red suit, with his hands behind his back, was none other than Ash Greyson, one of the Lords of Hell itself. Malachi was surprised he didn't sense him approaching, but perhaps he was even more surprised by the fact he was there. He didn't really know Ash; he had only seen him enough times in either the Underworld or Hell to recognize his face. But he did know that he always came to people for a reason, never by chance.

The demon gave Malachi a smile and sat down next to him. An involuntary shiver running down his spine, Malachi started to move away from him. Ash seemed to notice this and laughed.

"Oh, come now, don't be like that," he teased, "We're on the same side, Malachi."

"You know my name?" Malachi asked, narrowing his pitch black eyes. Ash's smile suddenly seemed to switch to something a little more sinister. 

"You could say that I've ... taken an interest in you. You've been all Hell can talk about after your little fight with Hades ..."

At that, Malachi stood up and started to walk away, his pale face flushing with anger. He knew exactly what Ash was up to and he would have no part in it. He had heard that there was a banished Reaper walking the Earth and he only wanted to take advantage of him. Well, he knew better than to tangle with demons and there was nothing, not a single thing Ash could say that would make him change his mind ...

"I just wanted to tell you that you were right."

Malachi froze. His whole train of thought came to a screeching halt. With his back turned to him, he didn't see the satisfied smirk on Ash's face. 

"I bet you thought that no one else agreed with you," he continued, standing up and slowly approaching the petrified Reaper, "That you were all alone. But I understand you. I was human myself once, as were you. No one else can imagine the anger and the despair that you're feeling, but I think I can relate ..." 

"No, you can't," Malachi hissed, clenching one fist, "You're a demon. You don't feel anything."

"Oh, now that's a little harsh, don't you think? You're directing all your anger at the wrong person. You can be mad at him, you know. He hurt you, and it wasn't really your fault, was it? You tried to protect these humans and he turned you away because of it."

Malachi suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder. He recoiled a bit at the touch and wanted to jerk away, but his body wasn't moving. He didn't even know what he should be feeling right now. Angry? Scared? Both? Neither? Something else? Was Ash doing this to him? Was he doing it to himself? What was he supposed to do? He wasn't used to doing things for himself yet, not when he spent two hundred years admiring and serving someone who hated him now ... 

"You looked up to him," Ash murmured into his ear, "You worshipped him. And he just threw you aside like you were nothing."

"Stop it!" Malachi yanked himself away from the demon and glared at him, his eyes burning with rage. "You don't know anything about me. Now get out of here before I --"

"Before you what? As I recall it, you don't have any powers anymore. Are you sure you want to make me your enemy? I think we can benefit quite a bit from each other ..."

"I don't want anything to do with you," Malachi spat, balling his hands into fists, "Just leave me alone!" 

For a few brief seconds that felt like an eternity, the two of them were silent. Malachi could only glower at Ash while the demon stared calmly back at him. He knew better than to listen to anything a demon said, especially one like Ash Greyson. All they did was corrupt and abuse people. He didn't want to "help" him, and he certainly didn't understand him. No one would ever be able to understand the pain and rejection he had been through. After their two hundred years together, after everything Malachi had done for him, he had meant nothing to Hades. He was nothing.

He didn't have any reason for living anymore, and he couldn't think of a worse punishment than that.

Before he knew it, Malachi felt hot tears running down his face. He quickly tried to wipe them away, but it was too late. As if things couldn't get any worse, now he was crying in front of a demon. His face flushing with embarrassment, he waited for Ash to make some snide comment or laugh. But instead, without saying anything, Ash took a handkerchief out of his pocket, took a step forward, and, lifting Malachi's face up, dried his tears. He felt himself redden even more and he wasn't sure whether he wanted to punch him in the stomach or mutter a thanks. Instead, he settled for crossing his arms and looking away. 

"It's okay to be upset, Malachi," Ash said gently, putting away his handkerchief, "You've been wronged by someone you cared very much about, and it turned out that what you were fighting for wasn't worth it. You've just been let down by everyone, haven't you? That's a shame ... I never would have done that to you ..."

Despite himself, Malachi found his gaze trailing back up towards Ash. Apparently very pleased, Ash flashed him a charming smile.

"You say I don't know anything about you," he continued, "but you don't know anything about me either. I can help you, Malachi. I want to help you. Don't you know what you're capable of? If we could only work together, why, we could change this world for the better, don't you think? I have a plan, you see, but I can't do it by myself. And I thought if anyone would understand, it would be you ..." 

Malachi pursed his lips and thought hard for a moment. He should know better. He should never, ever listen to a demon. That's what he had been taught. But maybe ... Ash was different. Maybe ...

"What is it that you're trying to propose?" Malachi tried to sound indifferent, but even he could hear his curiosity shining through. With a triumphant grin that made him feel like he had just made a very bad mistake, Ash looped an arm around Malachi's shoulders. He stiffened, but otherwise didn't try to break away. Malachi Aurelia had just made his first decision for himself - he chose to trust Ash Greyson.

"I'm very glad you asked, my boy. Why don't you come with me? I think you and I have a lot to discuss ..."
If you didn't hate Ash before, you probably do after that, amirite :dummy:

Introduction of yet another new OC, who I will give more information about later o:

Malachi, Ash, Hades (mentioned) (c) Avenger-In-Training 
Trickno Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Avenger-In-Training Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
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August 1, 2016
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