Many apologies for missing a chapter last week. I was coming down with a cold and knew the chapter would be terrible if I wrote it then so I opted for for no chapter at all because you, my dear readers, deserve better than a crappy chapter.
Without any further ado...
Chapter IV. Ends and Beginnings
Etho sat in his room reading, he was trying to relax after Blame had been particularly difficult that day. His master was a pain at best, killable at worst. Etho couldn't kill him, though, literally couldn't. That was thanks to the contract that had been made over seventy years ago. If Etho had known how long Blame would hold onto him he wouldn't have agreed to the contract.
So there he was, avoiding his master.
The fallen angel ran his calloused hand through his messy white hair. When he'd just been kicked out of Arcadia, Etho had wanted so desperately to belong that he'd jumped at the chance to serve a mortal human. Little did Etho know, Blame was not a mortal human, he was barely human at this point. The man was insane and anything that made someone human had been stripped away long ago to leave the monster that was Blame Connors.
For the first couple of decades it had been okay, Etho had got along well with everyone. But after over twenty years with the Erizul Guild, Etho had begun to questions their morals. He'd been kicked out of Arcadia because of his own skewed morality, but these people took it to another level. Etho was now forced to carry out horrible deeds that he didn't feel comfortable about doing.
He shook his head and tried to focus on his book. A good amount of time past before Etho heard his name being called from elsewhere in the manor. Etho let out a loud sigh and closed his book, it would have to wait. He summoned bittermist around him to transport himself to the voice.
Once the mist had cleared he found himself outside Blame's office, of course it'd been Blame's voice. Etho knocked once and was called in immediately.
Etho pushed open the black door to find that the room was occupied by Blame and a man Etho didn't know. He had greying hair and was smartly dressed in a suit with a tailcoat. The man smiled at Etho and he felt chills run down his spine, this man was bad news.
"Aah, there you are, Etho. I would like to introduce to this charming gentleman, Joseph Greenwood, this is Etho, Etho, Mr Greenwood."
Greenwood walked towards Etho and extended his slim hand to Etho, "Pleasure to meet you," he said coolly.
Etho shook the man's hand warily, "And you, sir."
"Mr Greenwood was telling me about some research he was about to start and wanted some advice on the angelic, I told him that I just so happened to have a fallen angel in my care."
Care, Etho thought, that's one word for it.
"Yes, it is quite the coincidence," Greenwood said smoothly, his eyes remaining fixed on Etho. The chill ran down Etho's spine again. What was this man planning?
Blame put his feet up on his desk, "Feel free to ask Etho any questions, he's happy to answer any query you may have, isn't that right Etho?" Though Blame's tone was light and cheerful his eyes were stern. Etho now had no choice but to answer any question Greenwood had truthfully.
"Might we go for a walk? Alone?" Greenwood asked Blame.
Blame gestured to the door, "By all means, do, Etho won't get up to any trouble, I assure you." Another command.
"Marvellous," Greenwood clasped his hands together.
"Take Mr Greenwood to the gardens, Etho, it's a lovely walk." Three commands in a minute, not a new record, but still an annoying amount.
"Certainly." Etho said with a small bow of his head. He led Greenwood out of Blame's office through the halls to what they called the garden. It was really an underground woodland Blame had used magic to conjure from the earth. It was quite beautiful in a creepy sort of way.
Greenwood remained silent until they reached the garden, then once they were inside he spoke, "Are you happy, Etho?" he asked.
Etho had to speak, he didn't have a choice, "To be perfectly candid, as I have no option to be otherwise, no, I am not happy."
"Would you like to be happy?"
"Of course, I think most people want to be happy," Etho said simply.
"And what do you think would make you happy?"
"Not being here," Etho said, "I don't see how these questions can help you learn about angels."
"You are an angel, are you not?"
"There then, you are an angel and I am learning about you, the matter is quite simple." Greenwood explained.
"Why are you asking questions about me? And why did you lie to my master?"
Greenwood stopped walking and Etho stopped to stand next to him, "Because I can get you out of your contract with Mr Connors."
"Can you? How?"
"I found a loophole," Greenwood walked over to a bench made from knotted roots, "I found that if you ask the right questions to an angel who has been commanded to be truthful, they will be freed from their contract without needing to end their previous one first."
"How do I know you're trustworthy?"
"You don't, I cannot tell you any reasons to trust me, you just have to. It's a feeble reason, but if you are as unhappy as you seem, do not you think the chance worth it?"
Etho nodded, "I think so. Or at least I hope so." He sat down next to Greenwood and looked him in the eye, Etho's first instinct was not to trust this man, but perhaps he would bring a new meaning into his life and break him out of the depressive state Blame had put him in, "I will trust you to take over my contract."
"Very good," Greenwood smiled wickedly, "let us begin." And so Greenwood began to ask Etho questions that would eventually break the contract. Greenwood explained that the contract would only break for a few seconds, so he'd have to sign the new one as fast as possible.
As the questioning went on Etho worried that this was a bad idea, but he had to go on with it, something made him continue. It felt right, he could tell there was an adventure on the horizon and that it would be greater than any other adventure he'd been on in his life. Something world changing.
"Etho," Greenwood looked at him pointedly, "after all these questions that I have asked, would you like to destroy the paper that binds to you Blame Connors and sign yourself to myself, Joseph Greenwood, instead?" He asked grandly."Yes." Etho signed his name on the page in front of him and as soon as his pen left the paper a bright, golden light erupted from the page, enveloping both men and transporting them away from the garden.