Morgana had forgotten what it felt like to soar this high. The wind whipping through her hair, the chill of the air on her skin, the total peace of being so far away from the world. It’s just like she remembered, just like she’s dreamt of ever since she fell from grace. Whether the powerful arms wrapped around her waist were an improvement or not, she hasn’t yet decided.

It wasn’t easy convincing Aatrox to take her flying. The man showed little interest in anything that didn’t have to do with battle, but Morgana had come up with a system that seemed to suit them both. Every time he did something she liked to do, she would reward him with a war story from her old world.

“I don’t normally fly this high,” he said, shouting over the wind.

“Why, because there’s no one to kill in the clouds?” she teased.

“Yes.”

Morgana sighed. So strong, so handsome, but not half the sense of humor of a gnat. It reminded her of someone else she knew.

“However, I must admit…it is not unpleasant,” he said.

Well, it was a start.

“I suppose I should tell you that story now,” Morgana said. “That was the deal, wasn’t it?”

“Indeed, it was. You always tell the best ones.”

The fallen angel nodded and closed her eyes, going back in time to a battle long past. She dove deep into her memories, into the sounds of clashing metal, the heat of holy fire and the stench of rising sulfur. She remembered her wings.

“Angels are not born the way mortals are,” she began. “We are forged by the hands of our mothers, as weapons are. My sister was sculpted from molten steel, and when our mother baptized her in cool water, she emerged as a blade of righteous fury. Whereas I was shaped of cold iron and finished under the moonlight, born to be a bane to the wicked and cruel. She intended us to be opposite weights on the scales of justice, holding our world in balance. Unfortunately, our mother succeeded too well.

“As we grew, I found my sister’s tyranny to be wicked and she found my will treasonous. What began as a quarrel between sisters grew into a battle between factions, and finally, a war between legions. But my warriors were outnumbered by hers. No matter how many we struck down, another rose to take their place, while my forces dwindled as time dragged on. I watch my sister strike down my friends and comrades with her own hand until only a fraction remained. Steel clashed against iron again and again, and it was the iron that broke. And then…and then…”

Morgana’s voice cracked as she reached over her shoulder, trailing her fingers over her ruined wings. She had grown used to the pain, but it was still there, every moment of every day. It reminded her constantly of that last battle and fueled her hatred. It was the reason the war would never end for her. It was why she’d gone to the Institute in the first place.

“You don’t have to finish now,” Aatrox said, making her jump. His voice brought her back to the present and made her realize how long she’d been silent for. Then she felt the tears streaming down her cheeks.

“I’m sorry,” she said. She tried to hide her face as she wiped the tears away, but she couldn’t make them stop. “It’s just…I’ve never told anyone all that before.”

“I understand,” the Darkin said. “The forgotten past is often the most painful one.”

“We don’t have to keep flying any longer,” Morgana said. “I know I didn’t keep my end of the bargain.”

“No, that’s alright. We will go until you are satisfied. As I said, it is not unpleasant.”

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