One creature chose the knowledge of good and evil and was called man. The other creature chose life and was called malakim. For thousands of years, the elder brother race has protected the fallen, younger race from the darkness released upon the world by his own choosing.


The angry wolf snarled, and the girl choked out an involuntary, terrified cry. Her back found the base of a tree, and she slid herself against it, trying to envelope herself in the strong wooden arms. The wolf pressed in as the child curled against the tree roots, one tiny foot raised to strike the beast again. The protector's chest heaved with pride as he witnessed the courage of the overmatched child. Her other foot lie twisted on the ground, slowly becoming saturated with fluid from her mangled flesh. The fight was almost over, and the wolf innately understood the way it would end. The protector's sword emerged. But he was still too far away. He would be too late. In the slow instants of time and space, he knew that this child was beyond his immense speed. The wolf was out of reach of the beautiful power of his upraised sword of lightfire. Then a brilliant flash shattered the darkness.

--D.W. Rucker

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