Monthly Archives: November 2014

TCOL : What We Are : Council Pt.3

Maefyl crashed into the wall of the apartment; breaking through the shelves of a bookcase and sending clutter to the floor around him. He protected Sanguine from the falling shelves and books as Gabriel rushed to his side.

 “You okay, Sany?” Maefyl opened his hands and she climbed up his fingers.

 “What a mess.” Sanguine nodded. “I’m fine, but whatever crawled up Lucifer’s ass must be about as friendly as a harpy in heat.”

 “Should I have stayed?” Gabriel pulled Maefyl to his feet and set things back in order with a quick wave of his hand.

 “It wouldn’t have helped.” Maefyl picked up Sanguine’s computer and tossed it onto the couch. “He has decided to disown Shiroi and ordered Kage to kill Nexus. I have no chance of talking any sense into him before it is too late for Kage. This is going to crush Kaneko. It will drive Kage and Eidolon apart again.”

 “You can’t be sure of any of that.” Gabriel wanted to believe that, but it was nearly inevitable. Nexus may never have been well liked, but the few that loved her were pillars of a fragile structure and while her death may only dampen a few faces, the tears that would follow might drown them all.

 “What I am sure of is your fight with Lucy is going to be a problem for more than just us.” Maefyl rubbed Gabriel’s back a moment before he headed past him. “I am not about to ask you to forgive his bullshit, but if you plan on being stubborn about this things are just going to get worse for all of us. You should have heard him, Gabriel.”

 “Let someone else deal with it.” Gabriel sat on the floor and tucked his violin under his chin as he called it into his hand. He pulled the bow across the strings and made it clear he had nothing else to offer on the subject. He continued to play as Maefyl answered the door to greet Asura and the Circle of Golod.

 “Are you in trouble with Uncle Lucifer again?” Asura had insisted on the unannounced visit after the abrupt end to the meeting. It had strangely been one of the less hostile discussions for the Council. Decisions were made quickly with little debate and there had been little of the bickering and name calling that usually took place, but the tension in the air was almost crippling and the final moments that ended the meeting left Asura worried for Maefyl.

 “Hello, sweetheart.” Maefyl messed up her hair and invited the others inside. “No. I’m not in trouble.”

 “Lord Lucifer was scary today.” Bezer flopped on the couch. “What happened?”

 “I doubt it concerns us, my pet.” Nikolai sighed. “If it did, he would not hesitate to let us know. I would prefer to stay out of Lucifer’s affairs.”

 “A wise decision.” Gabriel offered his opinion quietly as he played. “Just focus on the work that needs to be done.”

 “I need a work out.” Asura grabbed Maefyl by his hands. “You feel like fighting a bit?”

 “We’ll be in the hall.” Maefyl spun her into his arms and took her to the Circle building. “I could use a stretch myself.”

 “Good.” Asura laughed as he kissed her cheek and waved to Dove. Asura smiled up to the balcony where Dove sat on the railing poking at the screen of her tablet. “Hi Dove, is it going to bother you if we play down here?”

 “Not in the least.” Dove smiled and stood on the railing. She walked along it and slid down it as it followed the stairs to the floor. “It will be a welcome distraction and I have finished for the day.”

 “Eidolon tells me you have been learning new tricks.” Maefyl drew his blades as he walked a few paces away. “Let’s see what you’ve got.”

 “You asked for it.” Asura giggled as she pulled chaos into her hands and clutched her daggers confidently. She grinned as she raised one in front of her and decided to show off a few of her growing talents and continued to pull on the chaos. “You don’t mind if we amp this up a bit do you?”

 “This is new.” Dove smiled as she watched the priceless expression on Maefyl’s face. An odd smile that conveyed a fatherly pride slightly twisted as his skin went pale from the shock of what he was seeing.

 “Not bad.” Maefyl smirked as he looked at Asura. She was radiant with confidence and pride as she manipulated chaos in a way that should be entirely impossible for her. Gathered around her wrist and ankles, thin ribbons twisted and spun around her limbs in brilliant greens licked with deep orange flames. Her skill with magic was growing rapidly and her control over it was astounding, but as proud as Maefyl was of his daughter he knew this power was a gift from Lucifer and it made him wonder why she was being so favored. Lucifer did not give gifts without reason, and this was not a small gift. “At least it’s pretty.”

 “Pretty impressive.” Asura laughed as she lunged forward and slashed at him with her daggers, as he deflected them with his blades she twisted the ribbons around them and attacked again.

 “Very nice.” Maefyl laughed as long cords of his own restrained her and she pouted. “Don’t assume an advantage. You aren’t the only one with new tricks.”

 “In battle if you are going to bind someone so close, you should attempt to disarm them first.” Dove suggested. “You left him his hands. Even without the aid of magic he could have abandoned the blades and pulled another.”

 “Or this.” Maefyl reclaimed his swords and lifted her with soft cords of magic and tickled her sides as she laughed and struggled. As Dove shook her head and laughed Maefyl hugged Asura and reclaimed his magic. “You’re doing great with all of this. I’m proud of you.”

 “Really?” Asura hugged him tight and smiled until her face started to ache. “I’ve been trying really hard, but I’ve been busy with other work and Uncle Eidolon has been so busy, too.”

 “You are super awesome!” Sanguine pulled on her hair.

 “You did start out learning with me and your Dad.” Maefyl kissed her head. “You could just call one of us when Eidolon is busy. What else have you been getting up to?”

 “All kinds of stuff.” Asura hugged him. “I still suck at most of it though and I want to show you and Dad together. So I’ll keep practicing.”

 “That’s enough mushy stuff! And no more magic you cheaters!” Sanguine insisted. “Round two! Fight!”

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TCOL : What We Are : Council Pt.2

All guilty will be held accountable.” Maefyl clarified. “Tsuriai law governs every realm. Lucifer rules over all of it and named this Council his sword. His laws have always governed every realm, ours are no different. Unprovoked violence against a human is no more forgivable than violence visited on the dragons, or the pixies, or Azrael’s nymphs.”

“And how do you account for the law of nature, fetnakalu?” Samael smiled. “Is it violence for a lion to kill a gazelle? For a dragon to stomp out the weak to feed its children? How many humans die at the fangs of your kind?”

“There is a very clear difference between necessity and wanton violence and over indulgence, Samael.” Nikolai hoped his shaky friendship would sway Samael quickly. “No one can be punished for pursuing what is needed to survive. The numbers of our kind have been monitored and those who are grossly indulgent or kill for pleasure are dealt with. I imagine any creature that chooses to make a life in another realm will be held to the same standard and given similar leniency within the bounds of reason.”

“Vikarr, there was never really any law that kept the creatures out of Tsuriai.” Asura had been doing her homework and always paid attention to her fathers’ stories growing up. “I doubt the self imposed segregation is going to sudden collapse all at once. The reserves in the human realm are full of majestic creatures, but aside from the Circles and the lessers the cities are still predominantly human. You are arguing a point that is still years from becoming an issue and right now we need to deal the problems we have. Like Dad said, we can adapt as we need to. For now, this makes sense.”

“Monarchy was simpler.” Lucifer stepped up on the table and walked along it until he reached Asura. He snatched the computer from her hands and quickly went over the details and manipulated the information into the proper channels. He handed the tablet back to Asura and looked further down the table. “It’s done, Sanguine. They would all agree eventually. They are just wasting your time.”

“You’re more of a dictator than a monarch.” Maefyl laughed.

“And you are an unending source of irritation.” Lucifer glared at him as he walked back to his seat. “Have you heard any more about these angels?”

“Nothing substantial.” Maefyl shrugged. “They are clever enough to keep the humans working for them in the dark, Farren’s mind was guarded and Kava’s name just seems to cloud the minds of those that do know it.”

“The only help we did get was from Myrt.” Sanguine added.

“Mala’s brother?” Lucifer crossed his legs and sat in his chair. “I’m not sure I would trust someone that loyal to Heaven.”

“He is starting to realize that loyalty was misplaced.” Maefyl chose to keep his explanation short before he started defending another angel. “At the very least you can trust the information and what little good it does. He mentioned your Rise prompted some Watcher’s to take new names.”

“Cowards.” Samael sneered.

“Some hid from Lucifer’s wrath.” Raziel had heard enough wandering thoughts in heaven to be well aware of the changing names. He was upset with himself for not considering it as a reason behind the elusive nature of the target of their hunt. “Most only wanted to leave the stain of Iehovah behind.”

“That is not a name that should be used in this estate, Keeper.” Kage hissed. “Especially in the same breath you use to defend those too ashamed of themselves for following him to even use their own names.”

“Ha.” Asura covered her mouth when she realized she had not laughed to herself. She was looking over the changes Lucifer had made. Not to the law he pushed through to the Circle but to the more personal alterations to the profile he had left open on her screen. He had her listed as his granddaughter, which had always been a sort of understanding between them so it was just a nice gesture to see it made official. It was following the rest of the family tree that made her embarrass herself. Lucifer had two children he was claiming as family. Maefyl the son of his Lilith and Kaneko the daughter of his husband Kage. “Sorry, I was reading.”

“Cool it, Asura.” Maefyl sighed. He had been trying to ignore what he had seen in Lilith’s mind. Hoping he could talk some sense into Lucifer before it was too late. But seeing the changes Lucifer was making through Asura’s thoughts was troubling. Kage was suffering silently and had only spoken briefly to defend Lilith’s hatred of Iehovah and the air was cold with the cracks growing between Gabriel and Lucifer. As much as Maefyl understood Asura’s long-standing frustration with Shiroi, he didn’t want her to start a war with her sense of smug satisfaction over something she didn’t fully understand.

“Will Myrt be joining us in Nihil on a more permanent basis?” Vikarr slid away his phone after checking updates from Mala and Donovan.

“He will be asking for residence.” Gabriel answered with a smile. “He has decided to live in Nihil, but not to serve the Circle. He does not desire to leave one life of servitude for another. Will that be a problem?”

“Not at all.” Vikarr smiled and squeezed Eliza’s fingers. “Mala will be delighted that he has decided to stay.”

“In the interest of moving things forward.” Lucifer tapped the table. “If either Myrt of Mala are willing to work with one of our Keeper’s you may have a method of lifting the veil the obscures Kava’s identity.”

“How so?” Maefyl pulled a cigarette from his pack. He was surprised Lucifer was willing to offer advice at all considering his insistence that the Council handle the whole situation alone.

“You’ve seen what they can do.” Lucifer smirked. “Get them close to Farren. He could use a nap. It might inspire him to be more open-minded. Does that cover all your concerns, Sanguine?”

“Yep.” Sanguine nodded. “I do want to remind any one helping rescue the pixies that going home shiny isn’t the only worry anymore. The choirs might show up, so be careful.”

“Lilith, my love.” Lucifer stood and gestured for her to join him. As she joined him he whispered at her ear and she nodded and left the hall. Lucifer walked around Gabriel to stand beside Kage. He slid his fingers under Kage’s chin and clutched his jaw tightly. “De kosh sek. Ench vaku elt se en vade na de.”

“Tek, det Vasun.” Kage stood and looked at Lucifer a moment. He had no expectation that Lucifer would change his mind; Kage just wanted even a trace of remorse for the order he gave. What he saw in Lucifer was deeper than he imagined and he could feel the heartache through the bond they shared. Lucifer may be without regret for Nexus herself, but he was tortured by the pain he was causing. “De kosh sek.”

“Sutabanvol, Kage.” Maefyl tossed his cigarette as he stood. He shifted across the table and grabbed Kage by his arm to keep him from going and looked to Lucifer. “Meeting is over, Lucy. Can we talk?”

“Everyone out.” Lucifer leaned against the edge of the table and crossed his arms to wait for the departure of the Council.

“I will meet you at home, Maefyl.” Gabriel started away from the table and vanished.

“I’ll talk to him, okay.” Maefyl grabbed Lucifer by his shirt as he saw his expression getting colder. “He’s upset. You’re upset. You’re both stubborn.”

“What did you want, Maefyl?” Lucifer glared at him.

“You are about to make him do something horrible.” Maefyl returned the angry gaze. “Do you really want him to live with it?”

“This does not concern you.” Kage pushed Maefyl’s fingers off of his arm. “I do appreciate that you have made such effort, but there is no point in involving yourself.”

“Lucy, you can’t make him do this.” Maefyl pleaded.

“Go home to Gabby, Maefyl.” Lucifer took the tablet Sanguine carried by its edge and handed it to him. “I am and always will be your friend, but I am also your Father. You will learn to respect that. As this Council and all of Tsuriai will remember whom it is they have been fucking with. Leave.”

“For fuck sake, Lucy.” Maefyl made one last attempt to reason with him as he tucked the computer under his arm and settled Sanguine on his shoulder. “Will you listen to yourself?”

“I said leave!” Lucifer kicked Maefyl in the chest and forced his shift to Osore before he pushed his hair back and looked at Kage. “He’s fine. I just sent him home. Do you want to leave Malice and Kagemusha with me? I at least owe you the time alone for this.”

“I’ll join you when I am through.” Kage bowed and let Malice wander her way to Lucifer. Kagemusha just hid herself away in his hair. He had a feeling she would refuse to leave him for this. As he started to stand Lucifer kissed him and Kage felt the slightest trembling in Lucifer’s lips. It was hidden by the time the kiss ended in a smile that vanished along with Lucifer himself, leaving Kage alone with Kagemusha in the Council hall. Kage shifted to his estate with a mind at war with itself. He was clutching at the frailest hopes and crushing himself with the weight of reality. His time with Nexus was once again meeting a tragic end, but there would be no scheme to return her to his bed. This would be the last he held Lucifer’s gift and he knew in his mourning there would only be further loss.

“I’m with you, Lord Kage.” Kagemusha whispered. “Always, but I can wait in the shadows…”

“Stay close.” Kage laid his hand on the door to the bedchamber. “But leave me these last moments alone. I have given this woman a life of misery…”

Kage let his thought trail off as he pushed open the door to Nexus smiling as she welcomed him home with a newly born child in her arms.

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TCOL : What We Are : Council Pt.1

“Why does everyone look mad?” Asura took her seat at the table nervously. Lucifer looked more intimidating than usual at his place at the head of the table and both Lilith and Kage sat silent and somber at their places. Kaneko had barely managed to smile when they arrived and Eidolon just held Karla quietly as she slept in his lap. “What’s wrong with Karla?”

 “She is just sleeping.” Eidolon answered quietly and raised his head to smile across the table at Asura and the others from Golod. “Nothing to be concerned over.”

 “You both know to stay silent here.” Nikolai pulled them each close by their collars to give them a word of caution. The tension in the air gave him a feeling of dread. “Something is bothersome today. Make me proud, my pets.”

 They both nodded and as Nikolai took his seat, Bezer stood behind him and Azazel stood behind Asura. They noticed the ill feelings as well and were ready to grab Asura and Nikolai at the first hint of danger and pull them away from the hall.

 “Quiet, puppets.” Raziel stopped the chatter of his family at the door before he walked inside and they followed in pairs. They all stood quietly as he took his seat and he quickly found the source of the tension in Lilith’s thoughts. Lucifer had disassociated himself with his daughter and ordered the execution of her mother. Lilith had little remorse for the coming death of Nexus, but had a surprising amount of grief over the pain Kage was in over it. She was also torn apart by the ice in Lucifer’s aura since he last saw Gabriel.

 “Eidolon, schedule in a Circle meeting by the end of the week.” Lucifer demanded coldly. “I will give Kryss a proper welcome as your Third. Until then you will have to pass on my congratulations. I have other matters to deal with.”

 “As you wish.” Eidolon answered. “It will take him time to adjust. I’ve given his bride permission to join him in his work.”

 “Which we will discuss at another time.” Lucifer cut him off.

 “This is a sad sight.” Samael grinned as he and Azrael entered with Shiroi walking confidently between them. “I thought the progress the Keeper’s have made would have improved the mood of this Council.”

 “Banusek.” Azrael ran over to Kage and held out a hand full of berries he had been eating. Kage looked broken. As if part of him had been ripped out. Azrael squeezed Kage’s arm and stooped beside his chair. “Kage, salek sansan de.”

 “You eat them.” Kage took one of the dark shiny orbs from Azrael’s hand and fed it to him. He forced a wicked smile and tugged gently on Azrael’s ear. “We can talk later. Go sit.”

 “Not much later, Kage.” Samael patted Kage’s arm as he sat. “Don’t shut me out.”

 Kage just nodded. He had no intention of shutting Samael out, but it was too painful to even look at his dear friends. His attempt to spare their bride had let Lucifer’s rage chose a new victim and would now cost him his own.

 Vikarr rushed through the door pulling Eliza along with him and sat quickly. He had lost track of time teasing Eliza and hoped he could beat at least someone to the table. He gently straightened the edge of Eliza’s dress and he smiled; relieved to see that the one who called the meeting had not yet arrived.

 Eliza waved to Brig and he and Shana gave her a quick nod. Everyone in the room was unusually quiet. She knew that she was supposed to keep her mouth shut, but it was odd that those seated at the table were not chatting with each other while they waited for the others to arrive. She stood as close to Vikarr as she could and rested her hand on his shoulder to take some comfort in the warmth coming off of him. She couldn’t have been more grateful when he laid a hand over hers and his arm around her waist.

 “Fashionably late.” Maefyl flicked ash from his cigarette as he kicked open the door. “And what the fuck difference does it make, Sany? You called the damn meeting to begin with.”

 “Slide me my computer.” Sanguine kissed his cheek and laughed as she flew down the table to take her place. Maefyl laid her tablet on the table and slid it down the table and she stopped it with her foot before she opened her proposal and sent it to the Council. “I don’t think this will take long, but I hope this will help all of us clean up within the deadline.”

 “It should also be a decent example of how this shit is supposed to work to begin with.” Maefyl slid into his chair. “If we had the foresight to keep on top of the simple day to day routine most of us see to on the Circle’s anyway, we might have noticed before this got out of control.”

 “You wish to modify the law of Tsuriai?” Raziel read over her proposal. A deterrent method. To decrease the demand for HiPi and any substance like it, by making its use, possession and sale punishable by death because of its known link to the death of the innocent.

 “It is my understanding that it is not only the right of this Council to do so, but its responsibility.” Gabriel answered Raziel’s query as he entered the room. “We are to protect and govern the creatures of every realm. To look after the innocent and punish the guilty, part of that responsibility is to uphold the law Lord Lucifer set forth when he brought a calm to the world. As the realms, and their occupants, change it is also our task to grow with them. To adapt to each change and modify law to better serve the needs of everyone. Sanguine has my support in this. Her desire to protect her nether kin aside, the law is valid and it will do well not only to solve our current problems, but to prevent similar problems of such a scale in the future.”

 “Gabby.” Lucifer stood and greeted Gabriel quietly.

 “My Lord.” Gabriel gave him only a nod and took his seat.

 “You’ve got my vote, Sanguine.” Asura looked over the proposal and assumed her father, Gabriel had helped write it. “I’ll help push this to all the Circles once everyone agrees.”

 “I see no reason why any one would disagree.” Eidolon nodded.

 “Besek shent fervas det nymphs en dragons ek fez?” Azrael asked as he poked at the screen Eidolon had translated for him.

 “It will protect all the creatures in Itami and Parasek, and every other realm and reserve.” Maefyl told him. “We’ll be holding the guilty accountable and giving the critters of myth their freedom back. The gardens were meant as homes not prisons.”

 “Vet de sefitek kalu elt blekasa.” Azrael ate the rest of his fruit.

 “He agrees, Lady Sanguine.” Raziel translated. “As do I.”

 “Asura, you should begin preparing information from the Circle.” Lilith suggested. “This will need to be made public quickly to be of any use.”

 “This protection you are offering will extend an invitation to many demons and the stranger inhabitants of other realms to venture into Tsuriai more regularly.” Vikarr offered his concerns to the table. “While I am in no way opposed to such things, there needs to be an understanding in both directions.”

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TCOL : Hearts : A Thread Of Red

“At least he made this little slip up before Iehovah began his meddling.” Eternity was already spinning a strong magic around them seeking out the soul that would begin their search. “This part of the realm is much easier to deal with.”

 “I agree.” Eidolon held Karla’s hand and smiled as she marveled over the sight of the world around her. These older districts of the realm of the blessed were pleasant enough and as they walked he answered her innocent queries and listened to Kaneko explain her understanding of the realm.

 “What was that?” Karla swung around to watch a winged creature dart out of sight. It was like another world, but most of the residents seemed remarkably human. They seemed to go about their lives peacefully and didn’t pay much attention to their strange living visitors. The thing that had flown by was the first creature that seemed unusual and at the same time it was the only thing that seemed to belong in a world where everything had an eerie glow to it.

 “Cherabim.” Eidolon explained. “Gabriel has them look over this realm, but they spend most of their time in areas where they are more familiar. The souls here don’t have much of a need for angels. They had simpler beliefs in life, so their eternity is a calm one. They aren’t bothered by a need for glory or enlightenment, they just accept the way of things.”

 “Do they remember being alive?” Karla asked.

 “Some of them.” Eidolon told her. “Each soul deals with things in it’s own time and in its own way.”

 “The little girl that died.” Karla looked at her feet. “I mean the one who I ended up being. Do you think she is here?”

 “Most don’t come to this place anymore.” Kaneko leaned over and smiled at Karla. “They go to the realm of the Lost. It’s nicer.”

 “Careful, Eternity.” Eidolon lifted his arm and let out a length of the thread he had created from Vikarr’s blood. As he started to infuse it with magic particular to his cause Eternity guided the end with her magic. “I don’t want to stir any of them.”

“That’s her?” Karla whispered as she stood beside Eidolon and fixated on a young woman that had caused him to stop their stroll. Eternity was leading the thread through the girl and Karla saw the thin line of blood glisten.

 “It is.” Eidolon felt the thread react and watched as it ran its course through two nearby souls. “And it appears, Vikarr’s daughter did have children.”

 “It is always touching to see the souls of family so close.” Eternity returned to Eidolon with a warm smile. As the thread departed the two of them it split and pulled itself violently spreading a web over the district. “And quite a family.”

 “He must have passed on the love of getting naked.” Kaneko laughed as she climbed into Eidolon’s arm.

 “This might take a while.” Eidolon pulled Karla into his other arm and spread his wings to follow the threads more efficiently. The bloodline grew and spread for generations. In several districts it thinned and disappeared, families that had branches and died out. In others it thrived and split, then oddly converged again. What had covered nations started to gather and form a tight family line. Like wealth and royalty protecting a pedigree of sorts.

 “What’s wrong?” Karla asked as Eidolon landed suddenly.

 “This is somewhat strange.” Eidolon plucked at a few of the threads and sighed as the souls turned to give him dirty looks. “Mages.”

 “All of them?” Kaneko giggled. “Vikarr sired a line of wizards?”

 “Most of them were probably oblivious to it.” Eidolon continued following the threads. He started to pay closer attention to the traces of magic as the family became more elitist and smaller. It was as if enough of them noticed the faintest hints of power and tried to breed it back into the line. Unfortunately the threads offered a violent tug and pointed Eidolon elsewhere.

 “Where did they go?” Karla yawned.

 “Not a religious family.” Eidolon laughed and caught Karla as her legs nearly gave out. The sky was heavier with the Cherabim and the songs of praise that should have fell silent ages ago could be heard in the breeze created by the wings of angels. “The rest will be found elsewhere. You need a rest.”

 “You have a meeting.” Eternity reminded him.

 “Not what?” Karla curled up to Eidolon as he took them into Lucifer’s audience hall.

 “Religious.” Kaneko explained. “We just hit a point in the family tree where history went stupid. Vikarr’s family must not have caught the crazy. Lord Lucifer took care of their souls.”

 “Oh.” Karla mumbled as she started to drift off to sleep. “That’s good. When are we going…?”

 “Nyaa!” Kaneko hugged Karla tight against Eidolon. “She is just so cute. Do you want Kaneko to hold her?”

 “Come stand by me.” Eidolon smiled and kissed Kaneko’s cheek. “We’ll let her rest so she can enjoy the rest of her adventure.”

 “Voldrak, Eidolon.” Kage greeted him quietly and pulled Kaneko into him arms and held her tightly.

 “Voldrak.” Eidolon instantly knew Kage was in pain. The Viper rarely allowed himself to be bothered with any affection in the company of others and his expression was more often filled with disgust and rage than the bizarre calm that covered him now. Malice and Kagemusha sat silently with him and held each other as he wrapped his daughter in his embrace. “Kage, if something has happened…”

 “Kaneko loves you, daddy.” Kaneko hugged him as tight as she could. “Are you okay?”

 “I regret that I was not a part of your life for so long.” Kage pushed Kaneko’s hair back and kissed her forehead. “And that I have been difficult. If you can forgive the things I must do, I will be the Father I should have been. Know that I will love you always.”

 Kage continued past them without explaining and Kaneko clung to Eidolon’s sleeve as they watched him go through the doors to the Council hall. Kaneko had never blamed Kage for being absent. It was a secret she had helped keep herself out of loyalty to Lucifer and she loved them both. She couldn’t understand why he was upset, but it scared her to see him that way.

 “What happened?” Kaneko wiped the tears off of her face. “Kaneko loves hugs, but he never hugs Kaneko by himself.”

 “We’ll have to ask him later.” Eidolon sighed. He wasn’t certain he wanted to know the answer at all, but it was clearly a personal matter and the Council was no place to bring it up.

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TCOL : Hearts : The Jester

“Couldn’t you just tell them you can’t go?” Eliza pushed Vikarr back by his shoulders. “You are still tired.”

 “I just have to sit in a chair, lovely.” Vikarr smiled at her. “You are worrying over nothing and you know I have to go.”

 “I don’t want you to.” Eliza pouted as he sat up and put his arms around her. “They will all be angry because I made you hurt yourself.”

 “I don’t think any of them like me that much.” Vikarr laughed. “Besides, don’t you want to see if Eidolon has any answers for you?”

 “I guess.” Eliza hugged him. “Don’t do anything like this again, Vivi.”

 “I will try to bleed only when you want me too.” Vikarr giggled as he simplified his attire and picked her up. Eliza always enjoyed it when he wore the more casual, and fashionable black clothes that suited their time in her club and he enjoyed teasing her. As he changed his clothes he changed hers, leaving her in a short, tight black dress and strapped white heels. He sat her to her feet and pulled up her hair into a stack of curls and tied them with white ribbon and a delicate sprig of white flowers that fell against her cheek. “You are so very beautiful.”

 “You are such a flirt.” Eliza flushed and reached up to lace her fingers behind his neck and giggled as he fondled her backside. “And a pervert.”

 “Me?” Vikarr laughed. “You aren’t wearing panties. You naughty thing.”

 “For the love of rainbows!” Eliza tugged at the dress. “Come on, Vivi. This is really short.”

 “I know.” Vikarr shook his head grinning and headed for the door. “It’s positively shameful.”

 “I mean it.” Eliza followed after him pouting. There was a smile hidden in the quirky little frown. His obnoxious prank was embarrassing, but Eliza was relieved by the levity. He was getting his strength and color back and he was back to his usual giggling. “Don’t be an arse.”

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TCOL : Hearts : Without Light

I am without a doubt one of the most selfish creatures to have ever taken a breath, but I feel I have given as much as I have ever taken. Is it so much to ask to be forgiven for a decision made to protect?

 Yes, I have kept secrets, but damn it Gabriel have your lies done any less damage? How dare you turn on me when I give you more of my trust? You hold my son in your arms. Will you take him from me as well?

 Zakesalek at each other’s throats, the Wyrms scheming, my daughter is a disappointing waste, and my loves bicker over the existence of the other. I give you my trust, my strength, and you turn on me when I need you most.

 I’m staring at a portrait of myself and there are pieces torn and faded. A puzzle with pieces lost. My patience and compassion slip away and I am starting to lose my will to even care. You’ve broken me and left me in darkness, Gabriel.

 As I claw my way free of this abyss alone I will remind myself of my love for you and try not to blame you for the dead I leave in my wake.

***

After hours of Circle meeting that left him bored and frustrated, Lucifer had only gotten angrier over the way Gabriel had left. The longer he went without word the more bitter he was getting over the cold words. He tossed his journal across the room angrily and kicked over the side table.

“Stop lurking outside the door you two.” Lucifer shouted when he lost his patience with his loves presence lingering just outside the room. “I won’t have the two of you hiding from me. You belong at my side.”

“An honor we both hold dear.” Lilith said as they walked inside. Her hand still clutching the locket and Kage’s fingers wrapped firmly around hers. “We know you are already troubled.”

“Delivering more misery is not a task either of us wants to accept.” Kage bowed his head as they kneeled in front of Lucifer. “We are sharing the burden, but I beg you to direct your rage at me. I am less frail and more expendable than your Lilith.”

“Kage…” Lilith lowered her head and whispered. “You fool.”

“Your sudden alliance would be welcome if you weren’t wearing despair on your faces.” Lucifer held out his hand and waited for the trinket they concealed. “I don’t have the patience for your hesitation.”

“The insult was meant for me, my Lord.” Lilith laid the locket in his hand as tears fell down her face.

“Give me the memory, Kagami.” Lucifer opened the locket and looked at the image with an ache in his chest. Shiroi as a child with him and Lilith, an adoring child on the laps of those who loved her. Spoiled her. Sent her away. “Now, Kage.”

“Tek, det Vasun.” Kage slipped his fingers into Lucifer’s hand over the locket and closed it as he shared the visit to Parasek. Each second of the short recollection adding to Lucifer’s fury and tightening his fingers until the bones in Kage’s fingers started to break. “I am truly sorry. I should have taken more care in her upbringing. The fault for her behavior lies with me.”

“Shiroi insults the both of you.” Lucifer kicked Kage to the floor as he stood. The fireplace raged with new flames as he stepped past Lilith. He threw the necklace and locket into the inferno and watched the flames. “Stop apologizing for her. You gave her more than I asked you to.”

“She was left too long without guidance.” Kage rose to his feet and approached Lucifer slowly. “In time she will learn her place. She is your daughter after all.”

“I don’t recall my Lilith bearing a daughter.” Lucifer sneered as he turned to Kage. “Kill the girl.”

“Please don’t ask me that.” Kage took Lucifer’s hand and fell to his knees. “Disown her. Renounce her. Don’t ask me to kill a part of you. I can not. Just leave her to Samael and Azrael. Deny her your name, even the kindness of your voice…”

“Then you will bring me the head of the one who corrupted my seed.” Lucifer grabbed Kage’s neck and pushed him to the floor. Before Kage could speak he lifted him enough to slam him to the floor and break every rib in his back. “This is not negotiable. You will sit in Council, and then you will end the miserable existence of that whore. I’ll leave Shiroi to the Wyrms. If I hear anyone refer to that child as my daughter I will have their tongue nailed to the wall of my throne room. I will not tolerate disappointment. You will both join me for tea in the Council hall.”

“Just go.” Malice fluttered in front of Lilith to halt her advance. Lucifer had left a painful silence and when Kage finally sat up he just pulled up one knee for Kagemusha to sit and stared into the fire. “He doesn’t want to talk.”

“Lucifer will only be angrier if he does not join me.” Lilith brushed the tears from her eyes.

“I will be there in a moment, Lilith.” Kage had already healed the physical damage, but as he looked at the flames he felt the helpless ache. There was no way to stop a moth from stupidly diving into the fire, burning its wings and dying for the love of the light that drew it in. Kage thought that he had spent his whole life with his wings engulfed in flames. An immortal moth in an endless spiral of pain. He smirked as he heard Lilith leave the room. They likely both had wings of flame, but at the end of the day their light did not send them to their deaths. He embraced them, caressed them, and loved them. He gave all of himself and while the fire may burn; it did not destroy their wings. They only burned brighter. Kage lifted Kagemusha and sat her on his shoulder as he stood. Malice joined them and he was grateful they knew him well enough to know he needed their silence. There were no words that could provide comfort for the task he had to do.

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TCOL : Hearts : Unsettling Calm Pt.2

“I was so angry with the order to leave Lord Michael’s service.” Myrt sat at the end of the couch nervously and watched Maefyl return to the room with several thin books and two giggling fairies. “Now I’m ready to tear my head apart trying to understand why I was there to begin with.”

“I gave you the week to give you time with Mala.” Gabriel smiled as Maefyl touched the table and left a pot of tea and a single cup on the surface before falling into the cushions beside him. “If you want to serve the Circle and stay in Nihil, you don’t have to return to the service of the horsemen. I gave you a choice.”

“I don’t want to serve either.” Myrt hung his head. He hated to hear himself say these things. “I feel like I have lived a lie, my Lord. One that has left me with nothing. I don’t want to return to Heaven a slave, but I don’t want to stay in Nihil only to become a slave to Lucifer instead.”

“You are not a slave, Myrt.” Gabriel lifted the angel’s face. “You and your brother were never meant to be treated as such. It hurts me to see you so conflicted.”

“I have so many strange thoughts.” Myrt admitted shamefully. “I know they are wrong. I’ve been punished for them. I try to rid myself of these feelings, but I see others free and happy…”

“You shouldn’t be trying to suppress what you feel.” Maefyl wished he couldn’t see the tortured mind at the end of the couch. Gabriel was going to be furious. Maefyl tossed one of the comics into Myrt’s lap. “There’s nothing strange about your thoughts.”

“It’s filth.” Myrt looked away from the open book in his lap afraid to even touch it.

“That filth made your face all red.” Sanguine giggled. “I think that’s the best kind.”

“Maefyl, don’t be crude.” Gabriel closed the book and handed it back to Maefyl before turned Myrt’s face to look at him. “His books may be inappropriate for this conversation, but they are not filth. I assume his gift gave him the insight, you are attracted to men?”

“I… No.” Myrt looked away a moment and weighed one sin against another. The idea of lying to the most respected of angels made him ache. “Yes.”

“You know that Maefyl is my husband.” Gabriel smiled at Myrt. “Your own brother has a husband. Gender does not govern ones heart. Why do you want to cage your desire?”

“You might not want that answer, Gabriel.” Maefyl sighed. “He had a little more than a lifetime of lectures.”

“You said you were punished.” Gabriel frowned. “By who?”

“It was nothing.” Myrt pulled away. “Servants are punished for disobedience.”

“Michael?” Gabriel clenched his teeth. “Myrt, you were not meant to be his servant.”

“Raphael and Uriel seem to have missed that point.” Maefyl flipped through his books and offered the truth Myrt was too embarrassed and loyal to share. “They and your friend Michael had him running stupid errands and washing their feet between more dignified work.”

“I did not create you and your brother to amuse the horsemen.” Gabriel tried not to scream and storm off in a rage. “You were both well-trained, capable fighters with amazing skills beyond combat.”

“Created?” Myrt’s eyes widened until they stung. “You? Lord Gabriel? We are yours?”

“Damn it.” Gabriel shifted to the center of the room and started to pace. “Yes. I was content with neither of you knowing that. I wanted the two of you free of any forced devotion to me. Placing you with the horsemen was meant to teach you to utilize your skills, not to enslave you to their will or ideals.”

“It was certainly not to get bullied and butchered by an arrogant Watcher.” Maefyl poured a cup of tea and took it to Gabriel. “My opinion probably means nothing to you, Myrt. You can take this advice or ignore it, but you came here for advice from Gabriel because you had no one else. I want you to take a step back and take a good look at what you have in front of you. Gabriel isn’t going to turn his back on you, but he is not all you have. You’re only here at all because Mala wanted you back in his life so badly. You’ve got shit to work out, but he’s there.”

“I won’t just go to work for my brother either.” Myrt protested quietly. “It would be humiliating.”

“So don’t.” Maefyl shrugged.

“I don’t have to return to the horsemen if I refuse to serve Lucifer’s Circle in Nihil?” Myrt watched Gabriel finish a cup of tea.

“No.” Gabriel sat the cup in Maefyl’s hand and kissed him before he walked over to Myrt and sat on the table in front of him. “Find what makes you happy. My only request is that you attempt to repair things with Mala. I care for both of you.”

“I will, Lord Gabriel.” Myrt bowed his head. “With your permission, I want to stay in Tsuriai. In Nihil. I’d like to keep my home in Heaven, but if it is not selfish of me…”

“You don’t need my permission.” Gabriel shook Myrt gently by his shoulders. “Live as you please. Law needs to be followed, but not long dead ideals.”

“One thing.” Maefyl sat beside Myrt. “Do you know the name Kava?”

“It seems familiar.” Myrt pondered it a moment. The more he sought the source of the familiarity the vaguer it became. He offered the only help he could on the matter. “If it is any help, many of the Watchers loyal to Iehovah took new names after his fall. Some to hide, others to distance themselves.”

“Not to interrupt, but your meeting is very soon.” Gory sat on Gabriel’s shoulder. “It does promise to be a difficult one.”

“I thank you both.” Myrt stood to excuse himself. “I won’t keep you from your work.”

“Have your friends in Nihil teach you how to text.” Maefyl patted Myrt on his back and forced the shift to Nihil. Gabriel gave him a disappointed look and Maefyl smirked. “Sorry, that kids head is a mess and I need mine on straight before we go.”

“Let’s get this over with.” Gabriel checked the watch in his pocket.

“We’ve got enough time for a quickie.” Maefyl pulled Gabriel onto the couch with him and ripped his shirt before he kissed him and bit into his tongue.

“It better be super quick.” Sanguine sat on her computer and tapped her fingers on the glass. “This is my meeting. Don’t make me late.”

“And just like that the world goes away.” Gory cuddled up to Sanguine. “Off to a quick start at least. I can’t tell if that’s cute or brutal.”

“Sounds like it feels good.” Sanguine cocked her head to the side as she watched. “And they are smiling.”

“They broke the lamp again.” Gory laughed. “Why do they not just use the bed?”

“Watch this.” Sanguine giggled wickedly.

“Stop!” Maefyl laughed and kicked past the edge of the couch causing him and Gabriel to fall on the floor. Maefyl kept laughing as he wrapped around Gabriel. “Not you. You’re not allowed to stop.”

“Does this make it more challenging?” Sanguine went back to tickling Maefyl’s foot making him laugh and try to escape the torture. She giggled when Gabriel just held Maefyl tighter.

“I love your laugh.” Gabriel smiled at Maefyl. “We are going to be late.”

“Not to my meeting!” Sanguine kicked Maefyl’s foot. “Finish being naughty.”

Gabriel touched the edge of the table leaving a tasty distraction before he went back to enjoying a distraction of his own.

“Strawberries!” Sanguine fluttered her wings happily and hopped along the table to share a treat with Gory. “I guess a few minutes late is okay.”

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