Chapter One – Where Angels Fear to Tread

17 March 2009 at 00:24 (Artwork, Dreamsong, Kid Icarus, Kid Liquorice, Random Randomness)

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I always dream myself to somewhere else each night / I dream in colour, cos I live in black and white / I know I dream much more than other people do / But I can’t see / How anything can be / Better than a dream…
~ Mike Batt, Better than a Dream


Despite life’s being good, Callimachus always found something to dream about.

Aside from the squabble between Palutena and Medusa, things had been quiet in Angel Land lately. Callimachus was off-duty a fair bit these days, which gave him more time to spend at his woodwork. Right now he was carving toys for the younger angels at the Children’s House, which always earned him some brownie points. It was nice that Angel Land was at peace. But one needed some adventure.

Of course, there was always Pit.

Ever since their captain had gone missing, the Icarus Army had been running around like headless chickens. Charis, while a good second-in-command, had shown herself totally inept as captain and strategist. Already she’d sent out some of the Centurions on a find-and-rescue mission and none of them had returned.

Callimachus’s dreams these days usually revolved around his searching out Pit and rescuing him single-handedly.

But until he got permission from Charis, it looked like he was stuck here whittling. He sighed and began to pack up his tools. The sooner they got their captain back, the better.

‘Huh?’ He started, straining his ears, as he heard the faint call of ‘To arms! To arms!’

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He heaved open the window and saw Jayce flying past at high speed. He was shocked by the look of terror on the messenger’s face. ‘Jayce, what’s happening?’

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‘The Sky Palace is under attack!’ his friend gasped, without stopping. ‘We need all troops there now!’ His voice faded away as he flew off, calling ‘Skyworld, to arms!’

Callimachus didn’t waste a second. He grabbed his weapons and headed straight for the Sky Palace, expecting, on his arrival, to hear the clamour of battle – the clash of steel and the twang of bowstrings.

Instead, he was met with an eerie silence.

There seemed to be no angels there at all. And then he realised.

The people of Skyworld were turning to stone.

This was too much for Callimachus. He took one step backwards, then another.

He, Callimachus, veteran warrior, sharpest archer in Skyworld and slayer of a terrible sea serpent, was shaking too much to even nock an arrow. Throwing dignity to the winds, he turned and fled Skyworld as fast as his wings could carry him.

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Afterwards, he was at a loss as to how long he’d flown – it may have been two days, it may have been two weeks – the important thing was to get as far away from the trouble as possible. But eventually, he arrived on a deserted island in the Overworld.

It seemed everywhere been completely overrun by Medusa’s army, but no one seemed to have bothered with this little stretch of Angel Land.

Callimachus was too worn out to worry why. He ducked into the cave and promptly fell fast asleep.

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It was late the following evening when he woke. He staggered out of the cave, bleary-eyed, and surveyed his surroundings. The strange silence seemed to have pervaded here as well – and then he realised where he was. This was the so-called Demon Island, only a short distance from the former dwelling place of the Loknessos, the terrible sea serpent that had been the scourge of Angel Land’s sailors for thousands of years.

In spite of himself, Callimachus laughed. Two hundred years ago, Palutena had ordered a small band of warriors to dispatch the monster – which they did, and Callimachus had been the one to land the final blow. Strangely, Pit had ordered that word of the monster’s demise not get back to the Overworld – and presumably, it never did, for there was no sign that Medusa’s army had been in the area at all.

And during the assault, their base had been right here, on Demon Island. Which meant –

Provisions!

He checked himself – what on Earth was he thinking? My fellow angels have been turned to stone, and Palutena – Palutena –

He must go back, he must –

But something was stopping him. What was it? He had his bow, he had his arrows, he had a couple of daggers strapped to his belt, and he sure knew how to use them. Go back and fight for your queen! Better to die as a hero than to live as a coward.

Callimachus gazed sadly out to sea.

And the choice was made.


In the months that followed, he eked out a miserable existence. As he suspected, no one ever came near the island – Pit’s idea to let everyone else believe the sea serpent was still alive was a good one, he decided. Callimachus spent his time staring at the sky and feeling sorry for himself. And still, he couldn’t bring himself to go back.

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The days passed slowly on, and eventually, the light returned to Angel Land; Medusa must be defeated and Palutena restored – and still Callimachus couldn’t find it in himself to return to Skyworld. He was a deserter; how could he go back now?

And so he prepared himself for a permanent existence on his little island home. The cave itself was fairly comfortable, and enough supplies had been left behind by the Icarus Army to keep him going. In the meantime, he gathered timber and worked away at carving himself some furniture, then he made various wooden toys and trinkets – once life returned to normal on the mainland he could sell them at the market.

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After a few months, Callimachus had adapted to his solitary life. Using the money he earned from his woodwork, he was able to buy himself a small flock of sheep. Being a shepherd was a big comedown from being one of Palutena’s most seasoned warriors, and he felt the sting, but there was nothing wrong with being a shepherd, he told himself. After all, even Apollo himself worked as a shepherd at one point.

Yeah, as a punishment.

It didn’t matter. There were worse things.

But all the while, he yearned for a bit of company. The people of the Overworld were suspicious of angels coming down to their land; it usually either meant someone was in trouble, or there was going to be big trouble. For the moment, let them think of him as one of them. So when he went to the agora on the mainland, he always went by the name of Aristarchus and was careful to hide his angel identity. He had to ensure he didn’t make himself familiar – after all, sooner or later people would notice he wasn’t ageing and his cover would certainly be blown. Making friends would be far too risky.

The upshot of all this was that Callimachus was very, very lonely indeed.


Callimachus looked up at the clouds and sighed. It was almost two years since he’d left Skyworld. Somewhere up there was his home, his friends. His life was up there somewhere.

As he sat down to eat his evening meal – late, for he had whiled away a couple of hours daydreaming – he heard footsteps approaching from behind. Startled, he turned –

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– and was met by the most radiant vision he had seen in all his life. His eyes widened as he tried to get a grip, and he pulled his cloak around him tighter. Who – what – ? This must be some beautiful but vengeful goddess from Olympus, come to punish him for his crime. Callimachus was frightened now, and shaking visibly.

But the delightful apparition only smiled. ‘Good stranger, do not be frightened. I am merely a wanderer and hoped that you might spare me some food, for I am hungry.’

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Callimachus wasn’t sure whether he could trust the mysterious young lady, but since his hide-out had been rumbled, the best thing was to go along with her request. Perhaps she was telling the truth after all and – and – and really, she was very beautiful.

‘You may share my meal, though it is only poor fare I can offer you.’

‘That will do very well, and I thank you kindly.’

Poor Callimachus! He had been starved of company for so many months now that any distrust of this stranger was forgotten. He spoke to her of his solitary life, and the beauty of the sky, and many other things, and he noticed that while she listened attentively, she said very little herself. But Callimachus wasn’t bothered by it at all. Finally, after 2 years of effective solitude, he had someone to talk to! And – he blushed – she was so beautiful.

She took her leave after a couple of hours and Callimachus accompanied her back to her boat. She politely refused his offer to row her back to her dwelling and he watched sadly as she drifted away to whichever mysterious place she’d come from. He never thought how unlikely it would be that an ordinary Overworlder – and a young lady at that – would be wandering around this area unaccompanied. And as she disappeared over the silvery waves, he thought of her and smiled.

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Far from feeling relieved that she had left and he could now remain undisturbed, Callimachus found himself wishing that she’d return. It was unlikely she would, he thought, if she was just a traveller, she would be long gone by now. But having someone to talk to reminded him of just how lonely he was and he craved company of a fellow being – someone, anyone, just not those blessed sheep all the time. And – sweet Palutena! – she really was so beautiful.

Callimachus, you are pathetic.

But if she would only come back, just for one day…

And he wasn’t disappointed. Two weeks later, she did return, and Callimachus, in anticipation, had a better meal to offer her than last time.

‘You are very kind to me.’

He smiled.

Callimachus was too smitten by now to worry about any suspicions. Somewhere in the back of his mind was the thought that something was highly strange about the whole thing, but he wasn’t sure just exactly what – and more importantly, he didn’t care. He asked her if she would be so kind as to visit him again and she said she would try.

He was well and truly roped in.

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She began to visit more frequently, and although she asked many questions about him, she volunteered very little information about herself. Callimachus didn’t mind this, until one day she asked him something he wasn’t expecting.

‘I wish you would tell me what your name is, for I don’t believe Aristachus is your real name at all.’

Callimachus didn’t know what to say. Angels couldn’t lie.

She smiled, kindly. ‘Well,’ she said. ‘I suppose it is unfair to ask so much about you, when I have never told you my name, even.’

Callimachus gulped.

She laughed. ‘My name is Asteria, and I am the youngest daughter of Selene and Endymion.’

This revelation deprived Callimachus of the power of speech for some moments. ‘Not – not that Selene and Endymion?’ he eventually croaked.

‘Yes. That Selene and Endymion.’ She smiled shyly for a moment, then her expression dimmed and she sighed. ‘For many years I have been wandering through the Overworld looking for a friend. I tire of life on Olympus. My sisters are dreary and frivolous, and care for nothing but ridiculous parties and filling their empty heads with thoughts of empty men. My mother is too busy with her own thing, and so I would spend most of my time talking to my father.’

‘But isn’t he asleep?’

‘Yes, he is asleep, and it would tell you just how interesting they are up there that I prefer his company to theirs.’ She sniffed contemptuously, then brightened. ‘But you are interesting and you always have something intelligent to say.’

Callimachus blushed deeply and was glad for the glare of the fire.

‘And now, my dear friend, I would know why an angel is hiding out alone on a supposedly haunted island.’

Callimachus wasn’t expecting that. Asteria laughed. ‘I admit, I have known all along that you are an angel. Your disguise is not very good.’

Callimachus said nothing.

‘Unless, of course, you are on a secret mission for Palutena, in which case, you needn’t tell me anything.’

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‘No, I’m not on a mission at all.’ Callimachus stared into the dying embers for a few moments, before looking up and speaking. ‘Your friendship means a lot to me, Asteria,’ he said sadly. ‘And since you have told me of your history it is only fair that I tell you of mine, though when you learn of how I came to be here I fear you will no longer wish to associate with me.’ He took a deep breath before continuing. ‘Know then, that I am Callimachus, formerly a warrior in the Icarus Army.’ And he told her all about Medusa’s invasion and his subsequent flight.

‘And now,’ he murmured, ‘I dare say you will never come to visit me again.’

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But Asteria only laughed. ‘On the contrary, I shall visit you as much as ever.’

‘But I’m a base coward,’ he said wretchedly. ‘I deserted Palutena when she needed me most -‘

‘I think you are too harsh on yourself, Master Callimachus. If you had stayed you would have been turned to stone and possibly destroyed. It would have made no difference in the grand scheme of things. Skyworld is safe now and I for one am glad you came here.’

She went on to tell him what had happened in Skyworld since he left. ‘Most of the people of Skyworld survived the invasion. Some… didn’t. Many warriors had been pushed over after being turned to stone. Some landed on clouds and were unhurt… others… hurtled all the way down to the Overworld and were shattered.’

Callimachus felt a stab of pain for his lost comrades. Asteria said nothing for a while. Then –

‘They are sure you are amongst them…’

‘Oh,’ he said flatly. ‘They think I’m dead.’

Asteria laughed.

And Callimachus thought, I could listen to that laugh all day and never tire of it.


‘Mother, I wish to get married.’

Selene was not amused by her daughter’s request.

‘I’m afraid I can’t allow it.’

‘What? But why?’

‘It would not be good for you, my dear. Do you know who he is? And what he did?’

Asteria scowled. ‘Yes, and I don’t care, what’s more!’

‘It would not work, dear heart,’ Selene looked at her daughter concernedly. ‘I am thinking only of you. Angels are – different from us. They are more like birds than anything; he can never give you what you want.’

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‘But he can give me what I need and that is enough!’

‘You are only a child, whatever you may think,’ Selene said with an air of finality. ‘Moreover, you do not know what you would be letting yourself in for, Asteria. I’m afraid I am not able to let you marry him and I have nothing more to say on the matter.’

Asteria felt stung. Child, indeed! She stamped her foot. ‘I don’t care what you think! I hate you! If you won’t let me then I shall go to Father, that’s all!’ Turning, she began to stomp away.

Selene sighed. For all her sweetness, her daughter could be incredibly hot-headed when she didn’t get her way. ‘Come back here, Asteria,’ she said calmly. Asteria looked at her warily. Selene looked at her daughter in silence for a few moments before speaking.

‘Asteria, there is a reason why I do not wish for you to marry this angel of yours.’

Asteria, arms crossed, simply stared at her in stony silence.

‘Zeus is aware of your friendship with this Callimachus – and he is not happy about it.’

‘You suppose,’ Asteria said scornfully, ‘that I care for Grandfather’s pet prejudices.’

‘There is more to it than that.’ She took Asteria’s hands in her own. ‘My darling, Zeus has declared that if you were to ever bear Callimachus a child you shall lose your immortality and die.’

Asteria was shocked. ‘He wouldn’t…’

‘He has. Please think about it, Asteria. If you still wish to go ahead with this, I will not stop you, but please understand what a risk you are taking.’


Asteria did think about it. That her own grandfather would curse her in such a way – ! If she were ever to bear Callimachus a child…

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She stopped. That was it! Of course! Angels were made, not born. They weren’t even capable of reproducing! Although, there were a few exceptions, namely when someone from Olympus – in other words, Apollo – had taken a fancy to one of Skyworld’s women, but this was rare and in any case, she’d never heard of an angel being a father.

She stood up. There was absolutely nothing to worry about. Zeus was just an old windbag; he was always throwing about curses and rarely did anything come of it. He probably just had some silly grudge against Callimachus and thought this would scare her away from him.

Asteria smiled.

Really, there was nothing to worry about at all.


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‘Callimachus, would you like for us to be married, and for me to live here with you?’

‘Yes.’


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And up on Olympus, a shadowy figure watched the love-struck couple and smiled.

Everything was going according to plan.

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4 Comments

  1. animeprincess said,

    please put up chapter two. PLEASE. that was such a good story

    Silver’s Reply: Aww thanks! (I hope you didn’t laugh at my crappy pictures too much) I’ve got the first draft written but I’ve still to type it up and illustrate so it might be a while yet.

  2. animeprincess said,

    what happens next?!!! WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! I NEED TO KNOW! PLEEEEASE!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Goldie Lox said,

    it’s amazing! I love your writing and your pictures. : ) if you would be so kind, check into the story i’m writing. i have gotten many views and few subscribers.

    http://www.darkangelseries.wordpress.com

    Silver’s Reply: Thank you! I had a skim through the first chapter; it’s very good! I’ll try to read it properly later, I’m so busy at the moment — too busy to even illustrate the latest two chapters of this story *sigh*

  4. Anonymous said,

    NEED… MORE… STORY! CAN’T LIVE… WITHOUT CHAPTER TWO!!!! Best story EVA!

    Silver’s Reply: Hold up, Skippy 😀 (That last sentence is going too far). Hey, I’m glad you like it :mrgreen: I’m not really sure what to do with this; now that Uprising’s coming out, this story is kinda superfluous and won’t match up with the official storyline at all *It was nice to dream. Sigh*

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