Points for Ares~
_______________________________________________________________________In the past tattoos were considered marks of pride. Only the toughest chose to get them and wore them proudly because back then the technique used wasn't refined to be as painless as possible and the fainthearted could never stand to get one. For Mikhail, he didn't have a choice.
There had been too many close calls where people had tried to use the 4th Book of Truth for evil deeds that harmed thousands. The Guardians had decided the information needed to be hidden so that the casual scholar couldn't be corrupted by it's charm. Their chosen method was to encrypt the entire book twice; once by translating it to an ancient language only a few Guardians were fluent in, and again through a common system of switching the letters around, but in accordance to a highly complex system of which required the key to make any progress at all. The encrypted book would then be hidden within someone's mind, and only one copy of the key would be kept. As a member of a race that didn't age as well as a telepathic with a strong mind, Eliza had been asked and had accepted to be the one to keep the book. As her Guardian, Mikhail automatically took the key in order to ensure no one else got the information.
From the beginning Mikhail was not the kind of person to get a tattoo for any reason. Not only did he think they were stupid, but his unusually over sensitive nerves made it impossible for him to have a high pain tolerance. While most of the time there wasn't that much of a difference, his wings and back were the worst when it came to heightened feeling. Simply tapping a muscle knot in his back felt like getting punched with brass knuckles to him.
Having lived with this his entire life, Mikhail and his siblings still figured he'd be able to handle getting the tattoo if they hired one of the best tattoo artists around. As much as he complained and didn't like the idea, Mikhail didn't actually really try to get out of it. He may not have a approved of all the methods and decisions his older sister and fellow Seraphim made, but he respected and trusted her enough to go along with it and she had done extensive research and ignored the high costs in order to make sure getting the tattoo would be as safe as possible. With all that effort it was hard for Mikhail to be such a baby and refuse.
Through all the preparation though, they hadn't been able to predict the complications unique to Mikhail. Because of the type of ink used and the necessity of the design staying vibrant and whole for possibly thousands of years, the tattoo artist informed them that he'd have to stick the ink further into Mikhail's skin than normal to make sure it stayed. He wanted to do only pieces of the large tattoo in short sessions because of this, but as Mikhail realized this he told them to do the entire thing in one session, otherwise he most likely wouldn't allow them to continue again. The session ended up taking an entire day to finish the tattoo since the artist had provided breaks for Mikhail under the guise that they were necessary to let the ink dry, or because he needed to prepare something or clean Mikhail's back again. With each stab Mikhail's back bleed and the tattoo artist was constantly dabbing it away in order to continue. Because of the constant movement ink would drip from the needle and the water spread the extra ink and blood to the sheets and practically everywhere else. This was admittedly one of the messiest tattoo's that artist had ever done and he used several needles in order to allow for the others to be cleaned and sterilized while he continued working.
With her hand raised hesitantly to knock on the door, Eliza's brow was furrowed in worry. She hadn't been allowed to be in the room while the tattooist worked, but because of her telepathic abilities she always had some sort of link with Mikhail and had a small idea of how much pain he'd been in the entire day. Consequently she'd spent most of the day humming and working on anything she could get her hands on. She still didn't know why it was taking so long, they were only doing part of the elaborate design today right? That's what they had told her anyways. Eventually though she was told that they were almost done and if she just waited fifteen more minutes she could go see them. Her feet had taken her there early though, and she was hesitant to intrude before they wanted her too, but before she realized it she'd already knocked on the door.
She heard the tattoo artist's voice. His name was Rheysen right? Taking a breath, Eliza placed her hand on the doorknob and turned it slowly. She had been told that Mikhail had bled after being stuck, so she was prepared to see it, but she still couldn't help the tiny gasp as her hands flew to her mouth. There was ink and blood everywhere and as Rheysen was dabbing a damp cloth on Mikhail's back he was also sitting on the back of the angel's thighs. The ink wells had been closed with corks and the needles were stored away so she knew they really were done for the day, but as she looked again she noticed that the entire design was already stenciled into Mikhail's skin. The angel himself looked as though he'd fought off a small army. He was completely limp but his hands were still intertwined in the bed sheets and his breathing was heavy. Not only that but he looked extremely pale and his damp and red eyes betrayed the fact that he had cried. Occasionally as Rheyesn dabbed at his back in order to clean it enough that he could apply the bandages, Mikhail winced and his fingers twitched, but he otherwise didn't move much more.
"What are you doing?! You were only supposed to do part of it today!" Eliza demanded, angry, and moved quickly to the bed to sit down near Mikhail, not caring if ink or blood soiled her pretty dress. One hand was placed on Mikhail's head and the other over his hand.
Rheysen looked up from his work with a startled and confused expression. Didn't anyone tell her the change in plans? His mouth opened to respond but all that came out was "Uhhhhhh. . . ." Luckily for him Mikhail spoke up for him.
"It's okay Liza. I told them to do it all." Linking his fingers around two of hers weakly, he offered he a tired smile and Rheysen returned to bandaging the new tattoo up. Eliza's mouth pressed tight in disapproval and a little bit of guilt, but she remained silent then. After a few more seconds Rheysen told her to help Mikhail to sit up enough that he could wrap the dressings around him better but to be slow since he'd lost a lot of blood. While he did so a few others entered the room to check up or help and Rheysen explained that the tattoo would definitely stay as is was for a long time and that Mikhail would probably feel sick for a few days because of the amount of ink, but would otherwise be fine. He proceeded to give them instructions on how to take care of the tattoo properly then, but it was cut off when Mikhail decided to stand up so that the bed sheets could be changed. He had only felt a little dizzy when sitting up, so he figured he could handle getting on his feet.
However, even though he was sluggishly slow at rising, Mikhail's vision instantly grew extremely hazy and as one hand waved in the air to try and find the nearby table that was supposed to be there the only thing he managed to say was "Oops." before he completely blacked out.
With the key already tattooed to Mikhail's back the only thing left was to actually transfer the text into Eliza's mind. The book itself wasn't all that big and the magic that would be used was safe and painless, people had used it before to transfer information over the continent without having to worry about carrying the books or files and getting them damaged. However, as they were reaching the last four hundred pages Eliza's mind began to reject the material. While normal text that she understood wouldn't have been a problem, the double encryption was too much and her mind could no longer accept it openly.
Mikhail wasn't supposed to be there for the process. Only three days after getting the tattoo the angel was still weak, constantly sick to his stomach and down right pissy at anyone even touching him. However, by some chance he'd dragged himself out of bed to make sure they didn't screw up with his charge and proceeded to monitor the event with a perpetual scowl on his face. At first he thought it was just his own head complaining about the flashy lights, but as the headache only grew he realized it was from Eliza. Even though the link they had wasn't strong enough for them to talk without conscious effort from Eliza, they still could feel a fraction of each other's emotions and hurt. Jumping to his feet Mikhail started to move towards Eliza when his head suddenly throbbed with a sharp pain and he staggered slightly before running to her side, just as she reached up to press her hands to her head.
"Shut it off!" Mikhail shouted, clutching Eliza to his chest and eyes wide in panic. He couldn't hear their answer exactly over the spell and the headache, but he could see enough to know they couldn't. It was the last part of the book and by that time they couldn't safely stop the spell without risking loosing the information or hurting Eliza more.
Without thinking too hard and as Eliza started to scream, Mikhail reached up a hand and punched his fist through the glowing ring circling Eliza's head. He didn't give a damn if the information was lost and if they let it continue Eliza would most likely get hurt worse than if they stopped it. Mikhail gasped in shock when the gold arcane letters started curling around his arm and he vaguely heard the spell casters shouting before his vision flashed the same gold color before a sudden migraine caused him to black out. When he woke up again he was face down on a soft bed like the mornings always were the passed few days and for a long time he simply stayed there, wondering if it was all a dream. A sudden flash of text in front of his eyes and searing headache that followed told him otherwise though and it took him only a few minutes more to realize the rest of the information had been put into his own mind instead of Eliza's. She was quite well as well but as the days wore on they quickly began to realize her mind was gradually degrading in it's attempt to adjust to the encryption.
With in a day they were able to find multiple possible solutions, but a lot of them were temporary and Mikhail would soon hear wind that they were running out of time.
Whether because of Eliza's ability or Mikhail's own inherent curse to learn things he shouldn't, Mikhail had obtained information that the newest Goddess was going to seal away the Caelius and Ares factions and lands away from Zion. By chance he only learned of this less than a day before the eclipse. Without thinking too hard, Mikhail had already planned to get Eliza and himself out of Caelian territory before they were sealed away. Talking to the other two would take too long and there were many Guardians who lived with their charges in this new land called Earthra who he was afraid to leave behind. Before he headed for the Earthran territories, Mikhail had stopped by the Guardian's sole village to take a starter branch from the Ethereal Willow there. This tree was the one place where enough of the material that made a Guardian collected, and while it did have seeds they were rare and not as reliable as a start. Without the tree no other Guardians would be born for who knew how long and Mikhail didn't know anything about where Caelius was being sent. The other Seraphim would rage at him for what he was doing, but he knew they had already accepted the idea of establishing another village in Earthra for the rest of the races. They just weren't quite ready to actually do it yet and Mikhail also knew they wouldn't be as upset as they would have pretended to be if they'd caught him. Entrusting the branch to Eliza to hold onto while he flew to the closest Earthran land as fast as he could, Mikhail was only miles away from the edge when Caelius was sealed away.
His back searing in protest against the use of his wings before his tattoo had fully healed, Mikhail started with wide eyes at the vacant ocean the had replaced Caelius along with many others who had run across the border in time. Slowly the realization dropped over the Cealian natives who had escaped that they were now homeless and there was also the thought they would never seen their homelands again. Panting, Mikhail's expression fell and as he tightened his hold on Eliza he couldn't bring himself to look away. As though if he did he would be sealing the possibility that he'd never be able to see his other siblings again, to see Raphea or Gabrella again. Even though they argued a lot and Mikhail disapproved of almost every method Raphea used to lead their race, she was still his big sis and the thought of never being able to pull a smile, or rare laugh from her, or the listen to little Gabrella's muffled giggles again made Mikhail's heart sink low. Gritting his teeth, he slowly shifted to turn away and gaze out at the Earthran lands that remained behind. With a glance down he saw that Eliza was tired, but otherwise alright and had also kept a hold of the branch, around which small glowing orbs were already gathering.
"S. . . Seraphim Mikhail?" The heart sore angel's thoughts were interrupted by a small, scared voice and as he looked for it's source he spotted a group of four moving closer to him. It was two pairs of other Guardians with their charges held close to them and Mikhail realized they had managed to escape being sealed as well. However, they were completely afraid and had no idea what would happen next, so after seeing their leader they had naturally reached out to him.
"Is Caelius really gone?" One of them asked after Mikhail offered them a weak smile in acknowledgement. Giving a hesitant nod at first, Mikhail grew more affirmative and nodded again firmly. It was no use pretending this might be a dream, or might not be permanent. Caelius was gone. Their home was gone. Sugar coating it wouldn't make any of them feel better.
"What are we going to do?" Came the next and ultimately most important question came next. They were scared now, as he was.
Looking down again, Mikhail saw the branch with it's collecting orbs again and another smile tugged his mouth, which he then gave to the other two. "We're going to start again." He answered, the same firmness in his voice that had been in his prior nod. "We're going to build a new home, and we're going to keep living."
Within a few weeks they had already started to establish the new Gaurdian's home in Earthra and life was starting to return to some semblance of normalcy. In that time Mikhail would also find the solution to help save Eliza's mind from degrading completely, however it was a series of complex spells and would place her in an induced coma while other spells helped keep her mind intact as well as help it adjust to the Doomsday Book. After promising to still be there when she woke up again, Mikhail cast the spells himself and at present time that is where she has been all along and will still be for an unknown time longer. While everyone knows Mikhail's charge is a woman named Eliza, very few have actually seen her.
Sometimes I can't tell the difference.
Sometimes. . .
there isn't one.
Motivational Song: Anthem of the Angels by Breaking Benjamin
He wouldn't leave me alone until I finished this, but I can't say I didn't enjoy it.
Yes Mikhail is at least 1000 years old, but I'm not going to say how much older than that he really is |D
Text is pretty choppy because I typed it in 3 hours before work and needed to keep it short.
Everything else © me,
, usual disclaimer