Raphael arkangyalt szolgáló Hetek egyik (angyal) tagja, aki képtelen elviselni az érintést.
– Aodhan. – Üdvözölte Jason az angyalt, akinek a teste mintha megtört fénysugarakból állna, hajának gyémánt csillogásától a szárnytollaiig, melyeket mintha törött tükör szilánkja borították volna. Csak a bőre arany árnyalatú csillogása és belülről kifelé ezer szilánkká repedt pupillájú kristálykék szeme miatt nem nézte senki jégszobornak.
"Before the other angel could continue, a butterfly, its wings an unabashed red dotted with saffron yellow, alighted on Aodhan’s shoulder. Another followed a second later, its markings more modest, its wingspan larger. Aodhan looked at them, and for a fleeting instant, he was a young angel again, woefully embarrassed by his most curious of abilities.
“It’s as if they can smell me,” he muttered, but didn’t brush the delicate creatures away. Instead, he lifted a finger, and a third butterfly appeared out of the sky to alight on it, this one with wings of creamy sunset. “Illium says that perhaps I can use them to flutter someone to death.”
– Mintha megéreznék az illatomat – motyogta, de nem hessentette el az apró állatokat, hanem felemelte az ujját, hogy egy harmadik, pasztell naplemente színű pillangó is leszállhasson rá a magasból. – Illium szerint talán felhasználhatom ezt a képességem arra, hogy valakit halálra csapkodtassak a szárnyaikkal.
The two angels were both tall, but Aodhan was perhaps an inch taller, and now his eyes locked with Illium’s for a long, quiet moment before he lowered his head very slightly. Illium raised his hand, the movement slow, hesitant . . . and then his fingers brushed Aodhan’s cheek just below the cut that had almost sealed. The first ray of dawn kissed the tear that rolled down Illium’s face, caressed the painful wonder on Aodhan’s as he lifted his hand to clasp the wrist of his friend’s hand.
That instant of contact, the power of it, stole her breath.
Then Illium smiled, said something that made Aodhan’s lips curve—Elena thought it might’ve been “Welcome back, Sparkle”—and they were separating to sweep off the Tower in a symphony of wild silver blue and heartbreaking light.
“Wave to the nice tourists, Sparkle. I promise it won’t cause pestilence and firestorms.”
Elena bit the inside of her cheek at Aodhan’s glare—she’d never seen anyone crack his reserved shell. “Sparkle and Bluebell, nice.”
“Never,” Aodhan said, hands stubbornly on the girder, “ever repeat that. Illium seems to have forgotten I promised to separate his tongue from his mouth should he utter it again in his immortal lifetime.”
“You have to catch me first,” Illium taunted . . . and fell backward over the edge of the bridge tower.
“Illium!” Elena cried out as he tumbled toward the heavy traffic, his wings tangled.
“He’s playing a trick,” Aodhan said calmly. “He used to do that to his mother all the time, until one day, she did it back to him. I do not think I have ever seen Illium so chastised and white.”
“No, Aodhan, he’s falling too fast.” Heart in her throat, Elena twisted in desperate readiness to take off, try to help . . . except it was too late: Illium was about to be crushed between two trucks. “No!” Silver-blue wings snapping out at unbelievable speed, his nimbleness on astonishing display.
“Ellie”—wicked laughter in the gold when he flew back up—“you look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“I am not talking to you.” Breathless from the fright, she spoke to Aodhan instead. “I’m going to tell the Hummingbird he’s been up to his old tricks.”
Aodhan’s lips kicked up in the slightest, slightest smile.
“Hey! Wait!” Illium tried to get into her line of sight. “Don’t tell Mother. I promise I—”
“I told Caliane that trying to civilize me is like trying to civilize a jungle cat,” Naasir said with a shrug. “We pretend to like people until we get hungry and want fresh meat.” A glance around, a glint in his eye. “I honestly do like you all. I haven’t thought about eating you for at least two centuries.”
Aodhan looked at the vampire. “I am relieved,” he said in a tone as serious as Naasir’s.
“Really, Sparkle?” Naasir moved out of the way with quicksilver speed before Aodhan’s very well-aimed bishop would’ve hit him dead smack in the center of his forehead, the vampire’s laughter as wild and gleeful as when he’d been a boy who’d managed to startle Dmitri by grabbing on to his leg under the desk.
“Don’t worry, Ellie.” Illium bumped a fist gently off Aodhan’s jaw, his skin warm gold against the sunshine-touched alabaster of Aodhan’s. “I sicced Keir on him two days ago when he refused to listen to reason. You haven’t seen a set-down until you’ve seen Keir delivering it.” A wince. “Poor Sparkle.”
Aodhan did something she didn’t quite catch, and suddenly, Illium was on the ground, flat on his back in the snow. The shocked look on his face was almost as good as Aodhan’s studiously blank one. “Shall we go inside, Elena?”
“How about helping me up first?” Illium scowled and held up a hand. “Now my back’s all wet.”
Aodhan hauled him up with his good arm. “Poor Bluebell.”
Naasir had been a hundred and twenty the first time he met the two [Illium & Aodhan]. He still hadn’t been full-grown, but he’d been old enough to know that two tiny angel cubs shouldn’t be diving off a steep cliff into a pond below. When he’d caught them by the scruffs of their necks, the two wet boys had wiggled like squirmy fish in an effort to get away. He’d growled and carried them straight to Jessamy.
“He snuck into Illium’s room while Illium was asleep. Normally Illium would wake at once”—the squirmy cub had grown into a seasoned warrior— “but his mind would’ve known Aodhan was no threat, so he slept on.” (…)
“Waiting until Illium turned over onto his front, Aodhan painted words on the outer surface of his wings with a special ink that soaked in but dried without leaving a sticky feeling. When Illium woke, he didn’t notice anything.”
Andromeda giggled. “What did Aodhan write?”
“Well, when Illium went out to join his squadron commanders for a drill, they patted him on the shoulder and said, ‘Sorry, you’re not my type’.” Naasir had seen it all from his vantage point on a balcony. (…) Naasir grinned. “Free Bluebell kisses on offer.” (…)
“The best part was that the ink didn’t wash off, not for three days. Illium finally hunted Aodhan down and had him ink out the words so it just looked like he had splotches of black on his wings.”