Constantine called it assisting.
Asar called it interfering.
Either way, Asar was stuck with the task at hand.
Eight white chairs set out systematically in a circle within the large domed room. The dark, polished floorboards and whitewashed walls gave Asar the feeling the gathering was more for group therapy than the social chitchat planned. The location of the meeting, chosen by Constantine, was hidden deep in the Bhu-cho forest. Thoughts of Constantine gave Asar a headache. What the guardian angel of Iseth-em had been thinking when he arranged the meeting was beyond Asar’s understanding.
Iseth-em was a world created by the gods to serve as a place where all creatures could live in peace and harmony. The beautiful planet was home to lush green forests, majestic mountain ranges, and fertile fields. Here, every creature could live in a safe environment and always find a place to call home. That was the theory. In truth, the werewolves and vampires continued to dislike each other. The relationship between the elves and fae were no better. The dragons disliked everyone, and the shape-shifters were rarely detected to know how they fared.
Asar, demon and messenger of the gods, stood observing the room. When the guardian angel had first approached Asar with the task before him, bequeathed by the gods, he’d flatly refused to assist. However beautiful, alluring Constantine had used his charm, and the knowledge Asar could not refuse him, to persuade him to take charge of the meeting. A meeting that baffled Asar and left him wondering why the gods would bother themselves with gay creatures and their issues.
Asar let out a loud sigh. He hated being the one assigned to fix the creatures’ problems. However, being a demon, it made sense. Asar would be the only one able to control a room full of creatures who didn’t generally get along.
Had Constantine been the one to take the session it would have certainly ended in bloodshed, they all knew that. He was soft and easily influenced when the situation became too much for him to handle. There had been a few times in the past when the angel had called on Asar to help separate warring creatures. Given Iseth-em was supposed to be a peaceful planet, Asar was often bemused he spent so much of his time negotiating peace treaties.
But what bothered Asar the most was when Constantine looked up at him with his beautiful blue eyes and quietly asked him to take charge? How could Asar refuse? Constantine was everything an angel should be: beautiful, kind, and gentle. His blond hair lay like fine golden threads around his shoulders. His tall thin body, dressed in a soft white fabric draped firmly around his form left nothing to Asar’s imagination. Asar simply could not say no to Constantine, not when he took Asar’s long black hair and wrap it around his finger. When Asar looked down at Constantine during those times, he was often hard pressed not to take the angel and have his way with him.
Asar let out another sigh, sat, and stretched his long lean legs in front of him and waited. He came prepared, wearing black leather from head to toe with knee-high black boots. Chains of varying size and thickness wrapped around his lithe waist and firm chest strengthened his appearance. With his hair down, unrestricted, Asar even went so far as to put heavy black eyeliner around his blood-red eyes to appear more menacing. He wanted the group to be intimidated enough not to make any trouble.
What the gods had been thinking when they decided the session was a good idea was beyond Asar. He’d never had an issue with expressing his sexuality; he was a demon after all. If there was something he wanted, it never required much prompting for him to take it. The exception being Constantine. Asar wanted that man more than any he’d met. Yet an angel and a demon forming a relationship was out of the question.
Which brought Asar’s thoughts back to the meeting before him and its purpose? Those joining the meeting that day were seven gay creatures, all with their own issues, gathering to talk about what it meant to be gay in their culture.
Asar understood why Constantine was so insistent he be there. It would end up with some kind of standoff, Asar was sure of it. At least he could prevent a blood bath from happening. The idea of bringing together gay men from different cultures certainly seemed crazy.
At the designated time of the meeting several creatures appeared in the room without warning. An elf, a vampire, a dragon, and a shape-shifter all looked at each other, then at the chairs, and finally at Asar. Slowly and silently, each found a place to sit.
Well, this was interesting, thought Asar. One from each species. It explained why the gods might be concerned. Much like Asar, each was without another of their species to love and be loved by, and it made for a frustrating and lonely existence.
Through the door walked a large werewolf, and Asar noted all the creatures who could appear in human form had done so. The elf and vampire had no need to shape-shift; however, the dragon, shape-shifter, and werewolf were all in their human forms, which only left two more creatures to come.
A shimmer from behind the werewolf indicated the arrival of two fae, both in their natural form. Standing less than four feet tall, their pale blue skin rarely seen, both appeared wild and untamed. As they glanced around, they clung to each other, looking every bit like two little boys caught by their mother. Asar could understand their fear—the elf was their natural enemy. Furthermore, none of the other creatures took too kindly to the fae and the mischief they created.
Asar indicated the two seats next to him, and the fae came over together, refusing to let go of each other. Asar heard the elf laugh, and the fae watched him warily as they approached the chairs.
Asar was hard pressed not to laugh when both fae sat on the one chair together and continued to hold each other like their lives depended on it. Everyone there knew they had the means to leave immediately and the vibes within the room were electrifying. Asar let out a small huff and gave a forced smile.
“Thank you all for coming today.”
“It’s not like we had a choice, demon,” the elf told him, showing his dominance over the small group. Asar ignored him.
“My name is Asar and I’ve been asked to hold this meeting to help address certain issues you might have.”
“We have no issues, Asar,” answered the shape-shifter.
“The gods think differently, that’s why we’re here. Why don’t we go around the circle and introduce ourselves?” Asar turned to the elf beside him.
The elf, tall and thin like Asar, stared at him before shifting his gaze to eye everyone around the room. His pride was evident and mirrored in his features: high cheekbones, and pointed ears visible beneath his pale blond, almost white hair. He was dressed in gumtree green pants and shirt, with an almost-black vest held firmly against his torso by a leather cord wrapped around his body several times. This emphasised his tiny waist and long legs.
“I am Ellandor of the elven race of Iseth-em. I am third born son of Morsora and Aspendor.”
Asar smiled and then nodded to the dragon.
Dragons too were proud arrogant beasts who believed no other creature was as beautiful as they were. From the spiked, teal blue hair of the human form the dragon took; he would indeed be a magnificent creature in his true form. Their attitude about such things riled the other creatures, but since dragons were the largest of the species, none dared openly challenge them. Shape-shifters could come close to bringing a dragon down; however, they rarely cared to make the effort.
Their dragon form was beautiful and so too was their human appearance. The figure this dragon took was pleasing to the eye. However, that would have been the dragon’s objective by choosing this human form and the manner of clothing he wore. The black silk shirt draped over his torso was held together by a single button in the centre and revealed his smooth chest and collarbones. His black satin pants sat low on his waist, and the small trail of teal hair climbing from beneath was sexually enticing. All creatures were shrewd in their appearance, but the dragons were the most cunning. When the dragon spoke to introduce himself even his beautiful voice, deeper and heavier than Asar had expected, enticed the listener.
“I am Ryrth, born to the dragon race and currently ranked seventh in battle.”
Asar was tempted to roll his eyes. The only thing dragons cared about more than their appearance was how good they were as fighters. Not that such a skill was required on their peaceful world, nevertheless, dragons still practised amongst each other and liked to talk about where they ranked. It was a matter of honour.
Asar nodded his thanks and looked towards the vampire. The man sat with a graceful air around him. His pale white features might have looked sickly if not for the perfectly painted makeup he wore. Much more subtle than most vampires, it gave his features a strong masculine appearance Asar thought the rest of the vampire breed could learn from. His black hair was styled short and suited his small heart-shaped face. He wore a velvet coat of deep purple, with black, tight-fitting pants and knee-high boots. When he spoke it was in a refined voice.
“I am Claude, vampire born to the Bresett breed.”
Asar nodded and glanced at the shape-shifter. As he did so, he realised they had all seated themselves apart from those they disliked the most. Asar smiled and wondered if they’d done this intentionally.
Shape-shifters had no true physical form whatsoever, nor did they have anyone place in which they settled. They took on any form and lived with those whose form they’d chosen. Many shape-shifters were hard to detect, and it was unclear how many existed. Those known were only discovered because the shape-shifter allowed it. Therefore, to have a shape-shifter in their session was the biggest surprise to Asar. If nothing more, the fact a shape-shifter could take on any form made Asar question why one was there. It baffled Asar, but he hoped by the end of their gathering he would have a better understanding.
The human form the shape-shifter took was much like Asar’s lithe body and long black hair. He wondered if the shape-shifter had deliberately made his appearance to mirror his own. When the shape-shifter spoke, his voice was almost as deep and menacing as Asar’s. It was a little creepy for his liking.
“I am Tennan,” was all he said.
“Shape-shifter?” Ellandor asked.
Tennan gave a single nod, and Asar looked around the group. He guessed they were all wondering the same thing. Why would a shape-shifter be confused about his sexuality?
Before Asar motioned to the werewolf, he spoke.
“I am Ralsay, first son of the current Beta from the Nakoa Clan.”
Asar gave the werewolf the once over. He was the largest among them. His facial hair, which he kept short and neat, unlike all other werewolves, grew down the side of his face and under his chin. Asar knew werewolves’ bodies, when in their human form, were covered in coarse hair, and yet from Ralsay’s visible arms it was obvious he was not. Asar thought it strange. If Ralsay liked to maintain how he appeared that was certainly unusual for his kind.
Asar recalled being told by Constantine once that Ralsay had been involved in an accident as a young pup. One which had left him severely scarred. Not that any scars were evident with the large brown shirt he wore over black long pants. However, Asar knew it was also uncommon for werewolves to wear clothing. Even when in their human form, they wore very little. The werewolf before him sat with his arms crossed over his broad chest, almost challenging anyone to say anything, yet he looked like he would hurt no one. Perhaps it was his pale blue eyes and the way his shaggy, unkept hair lent him an innocent air. He really looked like a big teddy bear wanting to be cuddled—at your own risk of course.
Asar turned to the two fae who were still clinging to each other on the single chair next to him. Most times fae were to be avoided and yet doing so spurred the fae to become more mischievous. Elves never learned this lesson. They went out of their way to avoid the fae which only led the fae to torment them more than necessary. The one thing the fae had over the elves was their ability to enhance their appearance. By growing taller and dulling the colour of their skin they were able to make themselves appear almost elf-like. This caused no end of frustration for the elves, often fooled by the fae.
Asar indicated to the fae to introduce themselves, watching the movement of their gaze as their little eyes darted around the group.
“I’m Taro,” said the one on the left. His arm wrapped firmly around the shoulders of the other.
“I’m Hiro.” His arm securely placed around Taro’s waist.
Both squeezed each other tighter.
Asar knew those were not their true names, for to know a fae’s true name would mean a lifetime of servitude, and no fae ever wanted that.
After introductions were completed, Asar smiled and said, “Right then, apparently the gods thought this meeting was needed. Who wants to go first?”
“Do you have any idea how messed up this is?” Ellandor said.
Asar nodded. “Yes, well, I can see how this would appear a little strange, but as fate would have it, you are all gay and the only ones in your species.”
“So what, the gods decided to get us together for an orgy or something?” Ryrth asked.
Everyone made some snide remark, and Asar shook his head. “No, the gods did not bring us together for an orgy. They hoped it might help if we talked a little about it.” Secretly, Asar wondered what any of this would achieve.
“Ah, it. That abnormal condition we are cursed with, making us prefer men to women,” Ellandor sneered.
Asar wanted to roll his eyes, but refrained.
“It’s not a curse,” Hiro said. Then realising he’d spoken out against the elf, he buried his head against Taro, trying to hide.
“It’s fine for you, at least you have someone of your own species you can do it with.”
Both fae looked at Ellandor in shock, then stuttered, “We’re brothers... We would never... That’s disgusting... Who would think that?”
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