TCOL : Epilogue : It’s Time We Talked

Maefyl was still reeling from his own emotions and his return was met with waves of worry and relief that were nearly crippling. Gabriel jumped to his feet and Sanguine and Gory flew to him and snuggled against his neck.

“He hurt you.” Gabriel spoke sadly as he made his slow approach. “I should have gone with you.”

“He didn’t.” Maefyl caressed Gabriel’s face with his fingertips and smiled. “Stop worrying so much.”

“I feel your every pain, Maefyl.” Gabriel sighed.

“Sorry.” Maefyl leaned in and kissed him tenderly.

“Did you get your answers?” Sanguine sniffled. “Was it worth it?”

“Hardly.” Maefyl rubbed at Sanguine’s legs. “Only more questions as usual.”

“What now?” Gabriel wrapped his arms around Maefyl’s waist and pulled him close.

“Don’t hate me for this Gabriel.” Maefyl closed his eyes. “I pushed you for truth and no I have to deny you the same.”

“More family secrets?” Gabriel looked at him crossly. “The longer I know him the more I hate him.”

“I don’t blame you.” Maefyl forced a smile. “But please bear with me until I know what is actually going on.”

“I don’t like it.” Gabriel yanked on Maefyl’s hair and smiled. “I do however trust you. I expect you will at least inform me before you do anything stupid.”

“If he doesn’t; I will.” Sanguine nipped at Maefyl’s neck. “Can we talk now? In private?”

“I promised didn’t I?” Maefyl kissed Gabriel and slid out of his coat leaving it to lie on the floor. “We’ll be in my office.”

“I’ll be waiting at home.” Gabriel laughed as Gory muttered her complaints about Maefyl being a slob. He collected the coat from the floor and watched Maefyl leave with Sanguine before returning home.

“I’m sorry I’ve put this off so long.” Maefyl made himself comfortable on the couch and frowned when he saw Sanguine pouting on his knee. “I mean it Sany. I wasn’t trying to ignore you.”

“I know that.” Sanguine sniffled. “Have you read any of my thoughts?”

“Here and there I get a glimpse.” Maefyl admitted. Strangely fairies were naturally about as guarded as the Six. At first he could see nothing at all. As he grew stronger there were bits and pieces, but it had been hazy at best. It had been getting clearer but there was still only a flash here and there and Sanguine’s thoughts were always peaceful and loving when they made their quick dance through his head. “Why? You keeping secrets from me?”

“Sort of.” Sanguine flittered her wings nervously and sat there trying to decide if this was such a good idea. Such a secret could forever change their friendship. “It’s nothing bad.”

“Of everyone I know, you are the last soul alive I thought would ever hide something from me.” Maefyl searched his mind for clues. For some answer to her worries. “What has you bothered, Sany? Do you want to go home to Itami?”

“No, no, no!” Sany shook her head and wildly protested the idea. “I’m home wherever you are, Maefyl. I said you are stuck with me forever. I meant it.”

“Then what is it?” Maefyl picked her up and kissed her face before setting her back on his knee. The only secret she could have kept that would have broken his heart would have been wanting to leave. With that matter closed he was sure he could handle anything else. “Sany, you’ve been with me almost my whole life. As long as you aren’t planning to leave nothing you say is going to upset me. If I did something, tell me.”

“Do you miss being with a girl?” Sanguine looked away almost frightened to see his reaction.

“If this is about Shiroi just let it go.” Maefyl laid his head back on the cushions. “She isn’t your problem anymore.”

“It’s not.” Shiroi rubbed her nose and realized she was about to sound very silly. “I meant the sex part.”

“That isn’t your problem either.” Maefyl laughed. “I’m happy with Gabriel.”

“I know that you stubborn idiot.” Sanguine shouted at him as she flushed. “It was a serious question.”

“I thought you were glad to see her go.” Maefyl stroked Sanguine’s back with his finger. “What’s this about?”

“Do you miss fucking a girl or not?” Sanguine glared at him angrily.

“What are you so mad about?” Maefyl hoped these questions were not something Gabriel had inspired, but Sanguine seemed far too upset to be doing this for someone else. “Not that it matters, but yea. Sometimes. I guess. I don’t know, Sany. I don’t think about it. I love Gabriel. I don’t care what he is.”

“I know you love each other. I know you’re happy and I’m not blind, you enjoy every second with him…” Sanguine fluttered up in front of him as the natural glow to her skin intensified. She could see him beginning to panic as she used a magic that had never been cast, a spell known only to a handful of her kind who had been cursed and blessed with it. Maefyl had covered his eyes as she drew on the power of her awoken heart and the light of it spilled around her. He only opened his eyes when he felt her on his lap again and she spoke. “I just thought you should know you have the option.”

“Sany?” Maefyl panicked at the sight of her. The tiny fairy that had been his companion for thousands of years now five feet tall and straddling his legs. He shifted across the room and backed into one of his shelves knocking things to the floor as she pouted at his reaction. He wasn’t sure what he was seeing but the second he heard Sanguine’s whimpers and saw her cry into her hands he no longer cared if she was five inches or five feet tall, he just rushed over to stop her tears. He leapt over the back of the couch and hugged her. “You just startled me. Don’t cry, Sany”

“Am I ugly this way?” Sanguine cried against his shoulder. “Do you hate me now?”

“Never.” Maefyl squeezed her gently and she wrapped her arms around him. “Might be a little awkward to carry you on my shoulder now.”

“It’s the first time that’s hard.” Sanguine sniffled and pinched his neck. “I can change when I want now, you big bully.”

“Good.” Maefyl laughed and rubbed his neck. “This is not a good size for pockets.”

“Don’t make fun of me.” Sanguine pushed back a bit to look at herself. Her deep reddish skin had taken a far subtler hue, were it not for her eyes and wings she could nearly pass for human. “Do I look strange?”

“No.” Maefyl lifted her chin with his knuckle and sat back against the corner of the couch. “You’re gorgeous. I had no idea you could do this.”

“Most fairies can’t.” Sanguine inched closer and took his hand. “Only the awoken can do this.”

“You lost me.” Maefyl smiled.

“Fairies that have fallen in love.” Sanguine whispered and looked at her hand in his. “We aren’t supposed to be able to. Most think it’s a myth. The awoken are special. When the race is in danger we’re supposed to renew it.”

“In love?” Maefyl squeezed her hand nervously. “With me?”

“Who else, dumbass?” Sanguine snapped but couldn’t look at him after her confession. She was terrified to see hatred on his face. “I know you only want Gabriel and I want the two of you to be happy always. I just thought maybe if you need a girl sometimes I could do it and not hurt Gabriel’s feelings.”

“I am just not allowed to have a simple life.” Maefyl rubbed her fingers with his thumb as he stood up. “Give me a hug, Sany.”

“Maefyl I’m so sorry.” Sanguine leapt up and hugged him tightly until she felt a familiar magic embrace her and she looked down at the dress that covered her. “What’s this for?”

“We need to talk to Gabriel and I’m not letting you walk around naked.” Maefyl took her hand and kissed it. Sanguine and Gabriel were the constants in his life. He couldn’t bear losing either, but this new complication could cause tension and he wasn’t going to start it off with secrets. “I just think we need to tackle this one together.”

The apartment was filled with the sound of Gabriel’s violin. A bittersweet melody reflecting the relief of his beloved returning and his sadness over more lies and deceit. Sanguine’s confession was not coming at the best time, but their lives seemed to leave very little room for good timing.

“Hey.” Maefyl stuck his head through the door as he hid Sanguine with it. Gabriel was standing at the side of the bed with his violin but had stopped playing to turn and greet him. “You might want to sit down. We have a bit of a…”

“Damn it, Maefyl.” Sanguine kicked his leg angrily. “Don’t you call me a problem.”

“Don’t kick me, Sany.” Maefyl laughed and opened the door to let her in. “Apparently this isn’t a problem.”

“Bolveku.” Gabriel stared unbelieving at the sight in his doorway. “Sanguine?”

“Sanguine!” Gory shouted at her sister in outrage. “We agreed not to do this!”

“I changed my mind.” Sanguine crossed her arms and pouted.

“You can’t just change your mind, you selfish twit!” Gory screamed. “They were finally happy. What have you done!?”

“Nothing.” Sanguine shouted. “I’m not stupid and I’m not selfish. I was trying to help.”

“Both of you stop.” Gabriel insisted quietly as he sat on the edge of the bed. “Calm down and explain. Help with what, Sanguine?”

“Don’t be mad, Gabriel.” Sanguine ran over and sat in front of him, squeezing his hands on his lap as her wings fluttered behind her and tears filled her eyes. “I just thought Maefyl would still want a girl sometimes. If it is me you don’t have to worry, right?”

“How is this even possible?” Gabriel rested a hand on her head as she sobbed on his knees.

“Because she loves Maefyl” Gory sat on Gabriel’s shoulder to explain. “She loves him more than anything in the world. It unlocked a light inside of her that she has kept hidden, should have continued to keep hidden.”

“Shut up, Gory.” Sanguine cried.

“Be nice, Sany.” Maefyl crouched beside her and rubbed her back and rested another hand atop Gabriel’s. “We’ll figure this out without being at each other’s throats. We finally got rid of the fighting in this house. I’m not welcoming it back.”

“Is she right?” Gabriel asked quietly.

“Doesn’t matter.” Maefyl smiled up at him. “All yours; remember.”

“Stop being impossible and answer the question.” Gabriel slid his fingers along Maefyl’s face into his hair. “Have I been depriving you of a part of yourself?”

“I’m not getting into this fight with you.” Maefyl laughed it off and patted Sanguine lightly on the back. “Sanguine, you are stunning. I’m flattered, and it would be a lie to say I’m not tempted. You know I love you, but I love Gabriel and I made him a promise that nothing was coming between us anymore.”

“I know.” Sanguine cried. “I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have done this. Please don’t make me go away.”

“I would never send you away.” Maefyl wished he could give her the answer she wanted. “I’ll always love you, but you’ll have to settle for hugs”

Sanguine knocked him backward as she leapt to take him up on the offer and Maefyl returned the gesture with the warmest hug he could muster. Unfortunately it was very short lived as Gabriel laid back on the bed in a solemn silence prompting an angry response from Gory.

“See the mess you’ve made?” Gory scolded her sister coldly. “I told you we should never do this.”

“We?” Maefyl laughed. “Seems I’m not the only one with an admirer.”

“Don’t belittle my love for him.” Gory pouted. “I’m just smart enough to know it’s impossible and in Sanguine’s case… pointless. It’s not as if you can fulfill any purpose.”

“Shut up!” Sanguine screamed. “I don’t care what we were meant to do. I just love Maefyl.”

Gabriel listened to them arguing and put the pieces together as he laid against the blankets. The years of devotion, friendship, love and companionship that had never faltered. Every joy and pain the two of them had shared, the best and worst of their lives, Sanguine and Gory were with them. Every step they took was followed by the soft flutter of wings that silently loved them and asked for nothing in return. When the arguing ceased and Maefyl was trying to soothe Sanguine through the last of her tears, Gabriel sat up and looked at each of them.

“Bring her to bed, Maefyl.” Gabriel broke his silence with his decision.

“I just got her to calm down.” Maefyl pouted and nervously watched Gabriel for something past his calm expression. “I don’t like where this is going. I’m not putting you through that again. And if you so much as think about touching Gory… I’ll kill you both.”

“He wouldn’t, you fool.” Gory protested the remark. “I’ve known longer than you have that Gabriel wants only you.”

“Do as I say.” Gabriel insisted as Maefyl shook his head defiantly. “Maefyl, it is clear you were meant to have a bride. This time it is on my terms. Gory, I can not apologize enough for what I can not give you; but if you wish, Maefyl will collar you as well.”

“Have you lost your fucking mind, Gabriel?” Maefyl glared at him. “I’m not making slaves of them.”

“It’s not an offer.” Gabriel calmly issued his order and knew from his own pain that Maefyl could feel his insistence. “You will do this. The decision to bed either of them is yours, but it will never be done without my consent. You belong to me; there will never again be a part of your life that I am not a part of. I am not forcing this to be cruel to any of you. You have desires I haven’t fulfilled. Despite your protests you want this. I’m choosing brides, allowing you love that I know will never come between us. Leaving you free of guilt and allowing you to indulge your every thirst. I am doing this because I love you. And in light of more recent events, I think I am being more than adequately reasonable and patient about this.”

“This is the single most fucked up conversation we have ever had.” Maefyl screamed at him. “They aren’t fucking toys.”

“I am well aware of that.” Gabriel continued with unerring calm. “They have been with us through every misery and triumph. They have been more loyal and loving than we could have ever asked. Our closest companions and dearest friends. I was already sharing you with Sanguine before either of us had the nerve to confess our love to you.”

“Gabriel, I love you.” Maefyl took a deep breath and tried to think things through. “ I think you just need to take some time to process this. I know you’ve been worried about what is going on in my head, there has been a lingering guilt between us regarding Shiroi, and with Lucy constantly playing games…”

“This is your fault.” Gory shouted and light filled the room and she unleashed the strength of the awoken and took a larger form to lunge at Sanguine. She tackled her sister to the floor screaming. “They were happy! Rid of that bitch and now you take her place in making them miserable again!”

“Don’t compare me to that awful slut!” Sanguine screamed as they fought and clawed at each other.

“This is fucking perfect.” Maefyl grabbed each of them by the back of the neck and pulled them apart. “Quit it. Sany is nothing like Shiroi. If this is anyone’s fault. It’s mine.”

“This will not hurt us.” Gabriel shifted in front of Maefyl and took his face in his hands. “Don’t fight me on this decision.”

“I don’t need to act on my every damn urge.” Maefyl defended himself as he let the calmer fairies go and wrapped his arms around Gabriel. “You don’t need to cater to them either. Don’t drag them into this. I only need you.”

“You’ve never been able to lie to me.” Gabriel teased and pushed Maefyl against the closest wall. “But I want this for you. I want your urges fulfilled. I want to own the moments you choose to fulfill them.”

“That’s sick.” Maefyl would have protested further but his will to fight was quelled by a blood filled kiss that seemed to make the world disappear.

“I’m sorry.” Sanguine took Gory’s hand and squeezed it apologetically. “I could have ruined everything.”

“We just need to change back and pretend this never happened.” Gory suggested as they watched a violently passionate kiss. “Neither of us is ready for that.”

“I am.” Sanguine clutched the edge of the little dress Maefyl had given her. Even if only once she wanted him, but she had risked his happiness in trying to get that chance and she hated herself for it. I want this too much. When the thought filled her head she returned to her tiny self and caught the dress by one of its straps; carrying it with her as she left a trail of her tears behind on the carpet. “Goodbye, Maefyl.”

“NO!” Maefyl pulled away from Gabriel to stop her but she was gone. He rushed into the next room and grabbed his coat with every intention of leaving immediately but Gabriel caught his arm before he could shift away. “I need to go after her.”

“We go together.” Gabriel pulled him close. “And we bring her home.”

Breakseal

 

“Your plan is to wander Itami shouting?” Gory sighed.

“Yes.” Maefyl listened to the winds for guidance, but Itami protected it’s own and nothing here would betray a fairy. “How many of you are there? Awoken, I mean?”

“Four that I know of.” Gory answered quietly. “I shouldn’t be sharing this.”

“Four.” Maefyl took Gabriel’s wrist and pulled him further along as he called out again to Sanguine. “And I’m responsible for breaking two of your hearts.”

“Three actually.” Gory pointed out coldly. “Demise is one of us.”

“Fantastic.” Maefyl shifted them to another part of the garden he enjoyed hoping that she was hiding somewhere familiar. “Sany, please come talk to me! I want you to come home.”

“I could just go and look for her.” Gory offered.

“No.” Maefyl wiped his face. “I won’t force her to come back to me. If she does… Gabriel.”

“Bring her home, Maefyl.” Gabriel smiled. “As your bride.”

“Sany!” Maefyl called for her again. “Don’t make me embarrass myself.”

“You are already doing that.” Nikumu roared over the trees from his den. “You are also disturbing my nap.”

“I’ll go explain.” Gabriel went off to clear things up with the dragons and Gory accompanied him leaving Maefyl to continue his search alone.

“Sanguine, please.” Maefyl wasn’t sure he could explain it. He had accepted losing Shiroi so easily, but the thought of not having Sanguine with him was a knife in his heart. He felt twisted and lost. Gabriel was his life, but she was a part of that life, a part of that love. Without her they were incomplete. “I love you, Sany. You promised me forever.”

“Will you do what Gabriel told you to?” Sanguine was sitting on a rock nearby snuggling a fold of the black dress she had taken with her.

“I just want you to come home.” Maefyl shifted to her and dropped to his knees. “If it takes a collar to prove I want you to stay with me then I will call you bride and do so proudly.”

“Hold this up for me.” Sanguine grinned and pulled at the dress.

“You two are going to drive me crazy.” Maefyl held up the dress with his fingers under the thin straps as Sanguine flew up through it and changed. He laughed as she stretched her arms up through it and trapped her wings inside. “Nice. Didn’t think that out, did you?”

“Help.” Sanguine turned and he ran a finger down her back leaving an open zipper and letting her free her wings before he zipped her back into the dress properly. She spun around and hugged him tightly. “You are already crazy, Maefyl.”

“Obviously.” Maefyl nervously kissed her cheek. “Don’t ever leave me, Sany.”

“I would have come back.” Sanguine noticed the sky filling with her curious sisters. “You’re lost without me. I think I should have changed at home.”

“Attracting a bit of attention?” Gory laughed as she returned with Gabriel. “They are calling you Princess Sanguine. How is that fair? I’m older.”

“Gabriel?” Maefyl looked to him for some idea of how to handle things. There had been enough heartache between them and there was certainly more trouble on the horizon, he didn’t want tension growing at home. “Do we have two princesses?”

“If she will have you.” Gabriel smiled.

“I know I am second best for you.” Maefyl created an identical dress for Gory as she fluttered beside Sanguine. When she filled it just as radiantly he reached behind her and pulled up the zipper. He leaned close to whisper his comfort when he felt her shaking. “This just let’s us stay together. All of us. You can stay with him like you always do. I’m just a warm body when you want to close your eyes and pretend.”

“Thank you.” Gory kissed his cheek as she hugged him. “You should know you are more than that to me. Gabriel may have opened my heart, but you will always have a place in it.”

“When you are all through soaking up praises…” Gabriel laughed quietly at the spectacle. All of Itami had called Maefyl friend and Guardian, even savior. Now the fairies were calling him hope. The Guardian of Itami held the hearts of the first Awoken. Those with the potential to renew the race and save their future. Nikumu, Fukushu and thousands of nearby creatures roared and sang praise and approval. Gabriel didn’t want their legend ruined by a less then pleasant bit of ceremony. “We should continue this privately.”

“I agree.” Maefyl rubbed each of their cheeks gently. “You’ve seen how this works. I wouldn’t want to ruin their fairytale.”

“I should kick you for that.” Sanguine grinned and jumped into Maefyl’s arms. “Take us home.”

“Princess…” Maefyl offered his hand to Gory. “Let’s leave your sisters to spread the gossip.”

“This news will travel quickly.” Gabriel sighed and held Maefyl’s shoulders as they began to make the shift back to Osore. “We are never going to get any rest.”

 

Now available on Amazon >> Tsuriai VII : The Council of Lords << FINALLY!!!

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TCOL : Epilogue : Wandering Djinn

“How do we fit in?” Threa looked up at Ria after watching the humans for hours from a quiet rooftop. She thought of the stone like scales on her skin and frowned. “We don’t look…”

 “The demons manage.” Ria leaned and kissed her forehead. “And I think you are simply beautiful.”

 “Ifre may ruin this for all of us.” Threa clutched at Ria’s suit jacket and looked down over a strange city, their first taste of freedom.

 “I doubt that.” Ria chuckled and brushed his fingers back through her hair. “T’waer will keep Ifre in check. Besides he seems to have a fascination with the Siren. If there is trouble it will come from Li’da.”

Breakseal

“It’s cold here.” T’waer pouted. “I don’t like it.”

 “I’m pretty sure this is where they live.” Ifre created a large cloak and wrapped it around T’waer as he watched the Circle building from a distance. It had been quiet but he was sure he felt the familiar presence.

 “So what if it is?” T’waer cuddled up in her new gift. A needless gesture but she was flattered by it. “You like her or something?”

 “I just want to know more, T’waer.” Ifre looked back at her and laughed at the flakes of snow gathering in her bouncy curls. He pushed aside a handful of them from her face and smiled. “You don’t have to stay with me, you know.”

 “I want to.” T’waer blushed and the second she noticed his grin she kicked him in the shin. “Quit being a pest.”

 “What’s the big deal, Lord Talon?” A dark haired demon bounced beside another through the courtyard interrupting the Djinn in their playful exchange. Ifre quieted T’waer and listened intently. “So the twerp got roughed up. You don’t even like him.”

 “The ‘big deal’ Karas is that the twerp is mine to protect.” Talon grabbed his second by the shoulder and looked down at him sternly. “Nei may not be close to me personally, but he is our colleague. Lucifer snatched him away on personal business and sent him back useless. That witch of his wont even let me near him.”

 “So let her nurse him back to health.” Karas answered quietly. “It’s not as if he is dead. She said herself he would recover.”

 “Stand at his door.” Talon pushed Karas away in frustration. “I want to see him the second he does.”

 “No problem.” Karas straighten himself up and gave a quick respectful bow before he ran off.

 “And don’t think for a second I can’t sense you hiding there.” Talon looked in Ifre’s direction and immediately caught his gaze. “I have no patience for cowards.”

 “Cowards!?” T’waer rushed at him on a wave conjured in a rage but was stopped a few feet from him by Ifre and a well placed wall of fire. “Damn it all. Out of my way, Ifre.”

 “We were not hiding.” Ifre wrapped T’waer in a heated swirl of her own torrent and pulled her close as he spoke to an unmoved Talon. The demon had just looked on with his arms crossed casually in front of him as if he had no care in the world. “We were looking for someone.”

 “This is boring me.” Talon turned away and headed for the building.

 “We’re friends of Nei and Presia.” T’waer shouted after him.

 “That I find hard to believe.” Talon stopped at the door a moment. “Frost has no friends.”

 “We only just met.” Ifre explained.

 “Then I suggest you leave.” Talon scowled at them. “As Nei was very recently returned in a rather unpleasant state, I can only assume you mean him harm. Advance and I will destroy you.”

 “We can’t start trouble.” T’waer pulled on Ifre’s arm. “Let’s go.”

 “Another time then.” Ifre bowed his head and left Drifa. Momentarily discouraged but determined to return.

 Inside the Circle building Talon smirked and as he headed for his office shouted down the hall. “The second he wakes.”

 “I got it, Lord Talon.” Karas sighed and slumped against the door to Nei’s office once Talon was out of sight. “Well this is fun.”

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TCOL : Epilogue : Beneath

As soon as Maefyl arrived Lucifer sat aside his journal and smiled warmly. The company was expected and he was genuinely surprised his son had the patience to wait this long, further surprised when the arrival was not accompanied by shouting. Maefyl simply took a seat across from him and quietly finished his cigarette.

“I’ve sent everyone off.” Lucifer leaned forward to grab his tea and gave a soft laugh. “Go on and ask.”

“You didn’t move an entire realm for sake of nostalgia.” Despite the accusation present in his tone Maefyl answered calmly, reminding himself that his temper would only serve to make things difficult. “So what was worth hiding?”

“Protecting.” Lucifer corrected with his usual charm and a mischievous grin. “You make it seem so criminal.”

“You specialize in the criminal.” Sanguine muttered.

“Send her home Maefyl.” Lucifer stood and approached them solemnly. “I will share this only with you.”

“Sany…” Maefyl struggled with the decision. The idea of sending her off was not one he ever enjoyed and rarely even considered unless it was for her own well being.

“I’ll make you a deal.” Sanguine huffed impatiently seeing the impossible situation as a possible opportunity. “I’ll let you wander off on your own if you promise not to get into any trouble…”

“Thank you.” Maefyl whispered his gratitude. He remained as always in complete awe of her ability to see through his pain in any dilemma and do everything in her power to take some of it away.

“I wasn’t finished.” Sanguine stomped her feet angrily on his shoulder before she continued, her tiny voice cracking with emotion. “AND when you are finished here we are going to have our talk. You have been blowing me off long enough.”

“Deal.” Maefyl laughed as Sany tugged at his hair. He was starting to dread this conversation she was so insistent on having, but he imagined he was long over due for a lecture about how he had been ignoring her through all the distractions lately. “It’s a promise, Sany.”

“And you.” Sanguine fluttered up to Lucifer’s face and pouted. “Don’t make him break that promise.”

“He will be back to bother you shortly.” Lucifer smiled and waited for her hesitant departure.

“Satisfied?” Maefyl snapped at Lucifer and kicked over the neatly set table. The heartbreak evident in Sanguine’s goodbye was enough to make him lose control of the temper he’d been keeping well in check until now. “Now just spill it.”

“Come along then.” Lucifer righted the table with magic as he led Maefyl from the room. A few silent descents through the labyrinth and he opened the way into Eden; only then did he start to explain. “I want you to understand before I show you this that it has been for the good of everyone that I have kept this secret. I am entrusting it to you in hopes that you will embrace that fact.”

“I rarely agree with your idea of what is best for everyone.” Maefyl scoffed. “And your secrets have a tendency to cause an awful lot of trouble.”

“Then consider this.” Lucifer stopped over the great seal in a newly restored courtyard and faced his doubting son. “What I will show you could destroy everything.”

“Why is it never easy with you, Lucy?” Maefyl sighed. “Just once I would like to be wrong about you and…”

“That would be terribly boring.” Lucifer laughed and the seal beneath his feet glowed in a myriad of brilliant shades, pulsing brightly and growing in intensity until the light seemed to envelop them only to deposit them seconds later in darkness. “I should have probably warned you to close your eyes a moment.”

“Fuck you.” Maefyl took a moment to let his eyes adjust but it was not just the shock of the light that needed to be adjusted to. The cavern they had moved into had an atmosphere so tremendously powerful it could have crushed mortals to dust. He could taste the magic in every breath, giving a further sense of dread to the ominous setting. The cavern was like a jagged black wound in Eden, carved deep into its core and hidden away like a secret shame. The only light emanated from a strange moss covering the slick black walls, the pale greenish hue making the enormous cavern seem nearly sickly. “It reeks of magic in here.”

“This way.” Lucifer pressed onward. “The magic here is both necessary and inevitable. There are few that could even walk this hall without my protection.”

“It’s like standing in the chaos.” Maefyl noted as he walked. Speaking the fact aloud as much to keep the conversation open as to keep himself centered. The magic here clung to him and he was focusing on every detail that could help him keep control of the different flows of energy pouring into him. “How did no one notice this right under their feet?”

“The magic conceals itself.” Lucifer touched a wall in front of him and the cavern seemed to shift. “Some things seem to understand they should not be found.”

“Could you skip the theatrics?” Maefyl forced himself to grin as the air grew thicker and his head throbbed like he was hearing a million thoughts, but there were no voices here. Maefyl followed Lucifer down another twisting vein of the cavern he was certain hadn’t been there before.

“There is just one more thing you should know.” Lucifer paused suddenly.

“What is that?” Maefyl sighed impatiently.

“That I love you.” Lucifer didn’t wait for a response. The slight flush of his sons face was reward enough as he passed and touched the wall behind him. As he pressed his fingers to it the wall vanished and opened into a chamber he lovingly referred to as the Vault. He entered and beckoned Maefyl to follow. “Voldrakena Maefyl.”

“What the fuck…” Maefyl’s head was spinning. Inside the chamber were several crystal like cells held at floor in ceiling in black stone. Each of them glistening with the same dense dew that covered every surface of the room, magic so thick in the air it had condensed. The cavern was wet with it. He had only been inside for a moment and already felt it collecting on his skin, but the atmosphere so like the sea of chaos was far less disturbing the crystal cells that he stepped towards. Inside in a liquid like suspension which he could only imagine to be a more potent concoction of the magic assaulting him now were stunning creatures. As he moved closer to inspect the multi-winged mysteries he noticed the slightest hint of movement, of breathing and gasped in horror. “They are alive?”

“Of course.” Lucifer turned and stroked one of the tanks.

“What are they?” Maefyl tried to ignore his father’s grin and looked up at one of the sleeping giants. Partially concealed by their own wings folded around them, but visible enough to see that each of them was perfection. Nearly eight feet at the tallest and each with two sets of wings, save for one who had been blessed with the third set. Long, slender limbs and tails complimented each of their uniquely detailed complexions and Maefyl quickly began to realize as he admired their divinity that he knew each and every one of the seven peacefully sleeping secrets. He looked at his father sadly. “What have you done?”

“I did as you asked and showed you what was worth protecting.” Lucifer grinned at him and leaned against the tank the held his own double before he ran his fingers over a series of claw marks that marred the otherwise perfect view. “I wasn’t quite finished though. Should I continue?”

“I should kill you where you stand.” Maefyl glared at him.

“But you wont.” Lucifer tapped on the cell and the sleeping creature opened its wings enough to reveal another of it’s kind held tightly in its arms. “This one was a bit of a surprise. A pleasant one. But a surprise none the less.”

Maefyl looked up at the cell, the inside had been badly clawed but whatever tension had caused the attempts to escape seemed to be, for the moment at least, put at ease. In the arms of Lucifer’s divine double was a younger sleeping giant who bared a remarkable resemblance to him.

“No.” Maefyl stumbled backwards and slipped on the wet floor landing on his back. He stayed there staring at the ceiling and denying to himself what he had seen until Lucifer came to stand over him shaking his head. “I want answers.”

“And I’ll give them to you.” Lucifer chuckled. “But do be more careful. If you injure yourself in here, Sanguine will surely blame me.”

“What are they?” Maefyl closed his eyes and tried to forget that part of him might be floating a few feet away.

“Secrets.” Lucifer laughed. “And if want more than that out of me I need to know this is staying between us.”

“I don’t keep anything from Gabriel.” Maefyl sat up and sneered at his father.

“You will keep this.” Lucifer kicked him across the face. Maefyl hit the far wall of the cavern hard and was starting to get to his feet in a defensive manner but Lucifer ended the bravery with a swift approach and a knee to his gut leaving him again on the floor. “Or I will have to break my promise to Sanguine. Now, I’m going to trust you and send you home to Gabby. Once you’ve had time to cool off we can discuss this further.”

“That thing…” Maefyl used the slick wall to steady himself as he got to his feet. He was aching but the blows were not meant to hurt him only to make a point and Maefyl was far more focused on this room of secrets than the pain of suffering his father’s discipline. He managed to keep the tears burning his eyes from falling as he passed the sleeping creature that bore the face of his beloved and strode up to the clawed cell once more. “Lucy, is that thing…”

“You?” Lucifer squeezed Maefyl’s shoulder and rested his hand on the smooth wet surface in front of them. As he did the creature inside retracted its wings and kneeled in the tank in front of them, bringing its child into better view. As Maefyl started to weep the divinity touched the glass in front of him and Lucifer smiled. “A part of you. As much as that is a part of me. I want you to rest. We can discuss this anytime you wish. I will not lie to you, but you can not share this. Not yet.”

“I hate you.” Maefyl pulled himself to Lucifer’s chest as he slid to the ground in tears.

“I love you as well.” Lucifer held his son in an embrace of comfort and gave a nod to the god that looked on wanting to do the same. “More than I will ever be able to explain.”

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TCOL : Epilogue : Debut

“Thank you for this.” Kryss sat with Natasha on his lap as he beamed with pride and waited. His tail wagging beside him on the stool as he expressed his gratitude to Eidolon and looked over the newly erected performance stage in Feeding Darkness. “This is all so amazing.”

“Think nothing of it.” Eidolon smiled warmly as Karla hugged herself tightly against his chest. Kage was beside him still fuming that he had been coaxed into coming and Neka was bouncing excitedly in a chair in front of him as she chattered at the leashed vampire at her feet. “Kaneko is thrilled and I believe we have earned the time to celebrate.”

“I still don’t get why Taranis gets to play and I don’t.” Levina pouted. “I thought we were friends.”

“None of that.” Ansel tugged at Levina’s ear. “You both tried to do it.”

“It’s stupid.” Levina pouted and leaned on the table with her ears turned back. “And it’s not fair.”

“Some things never change.” Kryss giggled. The rivalry of siblings made him all the more grateful they had only Aurora. “The two of you bicker endlessly.”

“Cheer up.” Luka hugged Levina tightly. “You can help with clothes.”

As the club music softened and lights focused on the stage, the exuberant crowd howled excitedly for the promised new distraction of the evening. Kaneko bounced onto the stage and the cheering grew louder until she calmed them with a quieting gesturing and a grin.

“Nyaa.” Kaneko tapped one foot and beckoned Taranis to an impressive array of keyboards and synthesizers. As the crowd began to roar again she quickly shushed them. “Kaneko said to be quiet. Kaneko will tell you when to get excited.”

As the crowd began laughing one courageously loud spectator called out above the others, “Poochy is plenty exciting! Can I take him home?”

“Taranis is not Poochy.” Kaneko shook her head as she corrected the mistake. “AND we need him here for our special debut.”

Taranis sighed and laid his fingers on the console in front of him. He pushed two sliders forward beginning an ambient intro that he joined on the keyboard. He had been practicing since he beat out his sister for the part. A part he worked very hard to win.

“Okay folks.” Kaneko purred with excitement as Aurora started her guitar intro offstage. “Welcome to the stage, in her Tsuriai Debut! Aury Fox!”

Hours of nervous tension melted the instant she started to play and as she walked onto the stage Aurora felt like a fish in water. This was what she was meant to do. All the feelings she could hear her whole life that she spilled onto the page until now had the true outlet they needed and she had her calling. The ambient tones shifted into a darker more surreal melody and Aurora’s debut truly began.

 

Infection

“Just like a dream I never want to wake from,

you’re a thousand fairytales come true.

Now If I can just survive all the damage these kisses do…

A corruption of my soul;

A wicked violation of my heart

‘they’ say ‘take care’ that ‘love is poison’

but I was infected from the very start.

In all my sweetest nightmares

You’re the knight who rescued me;

I can’t help but love that wicked grin

Once you get your chains on me.

A corruption of my soul;

A complete surrender of my heart.

I’ll gladly drink this poison,

I was infected from the start…”

 

 

There was a short silence as the song ended. Just enough to cast the slightest doubt and then it was blown away by an explosion of whistling applause and catcalls. Aurora was overjoyed and she smiled over at her parents before she went into another song with the knowledge that she was no longer just Aurora, the awkwardly different member of the pack. She was Aury Fox : Singer.

“She is amazing.” Natasha squealed with delight. “My little Rock Star!”

“Not bad.” Maefyl teased to announce his abrupt arrival. He hadn’t wanted to miss the occasion anyway, but there had been something weighing on his mind. He poked Kage gently on his shoulder. “Family night?”

“If you came to mock…” Kage began but as he turned he could see the lack of amusement present on Maefyl’s face. He had only wanted to be sure he wouldn’t be interrupting elsewhere. “He is at home. Tread lightly, Half-breed. None of us are in the mood for more trouble.”

“Tell him that.” Maefyl shrugged and vanished.

“Dobenu?” Eidolon asked quietly.

“Lucifer’s business.” Kage answered coldly. “I am keeping myself firmly out of this until he says otherwise.”

“I think he prefers we all adopt that course of action.” Lilith added as she pulled up a chair and joined them. She settled in quickly and showed her support for Aurora.

“You’re unwavering loyalty is at times appalling.” Kage hissed. “You know he is keeping something from you.”

“Not his love.” Lilith smirked over her shoulder at Kage. “That is all that matters to me.”

“Unbearable…” Kage muttered.

“You both are.” Eidolon laughed. “Can you just try and enjoy the evening, Kage? Please?”

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TCOL : Epilogue : Pt.1

Kage stood beside Eidolon as he looked over residency forms and made no attempt to hide his agitation. As his daughter played in the corner with her toy, the unfortunate wretch it dragged with it wore a look of hope that Kage wanted to tear from his face. While he was glad Eidolon had decided to include him in the decision, it was farce. Lucifer had already told him not to interfere.

 “I’m not certain I understand your choice.” Eidolon leaned back in his chair and sighed as he looked across his desk sadly. The situation in Eden was still a fresh wound and seeing part of walk through the door to his office had been making it bleed. “Of all the Circles in Tsuriai…”

 “Well, I couldn’t very well raise the dear girl in Heaven.” Geoffrey smiled warmly and squeezed Evadia’s hand gently. “We agreed together that we should settle somewhere looked after by those we could count on.”

 “Why not Osore?” Eidolon questioned the decision on Kage’s behalf, it was most obviously an attempt to keep the girl closer to Farren and it seemed Kage was prohibited from making any noise about the request. “I would think your friendship with Gabriel would make it a better choice.”

 “My affiliation with Lord Gabriel is exactly why Osore would be a poor choice.” Geoffrey smiled and confidently gave them his rehearsed logic. “If there were to be any problems, with either myself or Evadia, Lord Gabriel will be lenient and protective. I’m sure you will agree that this is a delicate matter, but one that requires there be no bias if a problem should arise.”

 “It is your charge to prevent problems.” Kage leaned onto the desk with both hands and looked at the angel crossly. “If you doubt your ability to keep this child in line you should not have accepted the task. It is not a matter of where you reside.”

 “Can we please just stay here?” Evadia clutched the edge of the desk and looked between Eidolon and Kage hopefully. “I’ll be good. I promise.”

 “Tch” Kage slapped the girl across her face. “You come in here with the Angel’s lies and dare make such promises?”

 “Kage!” Eidolon stood but made no move against him as Kage turned away fuming.

 “She’s just a kid.” Bishop quickly injected as he jumped to his feet. “Why is it so damn hard for everyone to win your approval?”

 “You are crossing a dangerous line, boy.” Kage shot him a sideways glance before he smiled at his daughter. “Silence your pet, Neka.”

 “Be good for Neka, Bishop.” Neka tugged on Bishop’s thin leash and looked up at him with a wide smile. She would never defy her Father, but she liked that Bishop had stood up for the kid and when he smiled back at her and plopped to the floor she knew he understood her approval. She hugged him tight and whispered in his ear. “Neka doesn’t want you to be in trouble, too.”

 “Have you nothing to say?” Eternity sat at the edge of Eidolon’s desk and directed her query at Farren. “It was your child he struck.”

 “And what would he do if I were to speak out against him?” Farren had clenched his fists so tight his blood ran through his fingers and drenched the knees of his pants. “I have no say in any of this.”

 “Is everything going to be this difficult?” Gigi asked quietly form Geoffrey’s shoulder. “Perhaps we should have stayed in Heaven.”

 “I think I may have been the one to make this difficult.” Geoffrey sighed. “I should have been more candid.”

 “Your intention was very clear.” Kage hissed.

 “And I should have never tried to make it anything else.” Geoffrey lowered his head shamefully. “Though I was not dishonest. I do find Tsumi a safer option should there be any incident beyond my capabilities, however it was no small part of the decision that living here would give Evadia at least some chance to see her Father on occasion.”

 “I’m sorry.” Evadia bowed deeply toward the desk. “It was because I asked if it would be okay. Don’t be angry with him.”

 “Kage, ze seneda saba sekni.” Eidolon looked at his friend with a sense of compassion he wasn’t entirely sure he deserved at the moment, but they had each crossed too many bridges together to start burning them again. “De bara bresa farvak sek. Bol ba besek.”

 “Wen Isala ze seneda kaatas tresedet.” Kage laughed. “Ze kalu en har fanke shentus shepi vokeku. Wabel dekeha fakara dana bol wazuni de.”

 “I get the feeling we are being ignored.” Gigi huffed playfully. “I guess they don’t like us.”

 “I apologize.” Eidolon stood and gathered magic into his hand that settled into neatly folded pages that he offered across the desk. “Your sudden arrival did not give us much time to discuss things. These matters are usually handled privately. Welcome to Tsumi.”

 “My thanks to you.” Geoffrey accepted the paperwork with a smile as wide as his face and bowed his head as he squeezed Evadia’s hand happily. It was as much a triumph for her as it was a first step in a new adventure for him. “To you both. And to your third of course.”

 “Who will be along shortly to scold you.” Eternity giggled at Eidolon’s ear. “This little distraction has made you late.”

 “I’m afraid we will have to accept your thanks quickly, Geoffrey.” Eidolon smiled. “Kage and I have other matters to see to.”

 “I’m certain I already declined that invitation.” Kage hissed. “I’ll not be made a spectacle of.”

 “Kaneko will be disappointed.” Eidolon sighed playfully with a barely hidden smile as he nudged Eternity. “She enjoys it when you visit, and this is a big night for our growing family.”

 “Neka wants to see Kaneko.” Neka’s ears twitched as she snapped to attention at the sound of her sister’s name. “Why can’t Neka go, Daddy?”

 “Damn you, Falcon.” Kage sneered.

 “I think we should see ourselves out.” Geoffrey smiled down at Evadia and she nodded. As they turned to leave she gave a subtle wave to Farren and his smile in return was enough to make the gamble worth it for both of them. Even Gigi fluttering against his neck seemed overwhelmingly happy with the situation and they all left smiling as they listened to the sounds of playful arguing over the visit to some night club in Tsumi.

Breakseal

One lesson I still have yet to learn properly is to never be too content with my victories.

I may have won a small battle in freeing the Djinn and in fact I look forward to what will unfold as they embrace their new lives,

But I have tilted my hand

And someone will be clever enough to notice.

This day I my have started down a path with no return and I fear what it means for Tsuriai.

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TCOL : BTG : All Over A Child

Asura slumped into her chair at the table feeling more exhausted than he could ever recall. The strain of seeing so many suffer had been overwhelming and she could still se the toll it had taken on the faces around the table. Her anxiety was only growing with the deafening silence, but she was given a sense of calm when she felt Nikolai’s soft fingers on hers and he rescued them all from the miserable quiet that filled the space between them.

“I’m not usually one to start proceedings…” Nikolai held Asura’s hand gently as he spoke. It was for her that he found the courage to live up to his role here. “I see little point however in prolonging this. What has been done, needed to done. There is no question the goal we were meant to achieve has been accomplished. The only matter left unresolved, that is, the only matter I imagine is pressing enough to keep us detained her is the girl.”

“And her father.” Vikarr nodded in agreement. He was not certain Lucifer’s decision to make this decision now was a wise one. Certain individuals at the table were still biting their tongues over the last decision made and Vikarr would have been far happier with a long recess before making another. “What’s to become of them?”

“Not one of you wants to discuss what Lucifer just unleashed?” Samael slammed his hand against the table as he stood. “Just destroy the traitorous angel and his whelp. We have other concerns.”

“Sit the fuck down, Sammy.” Maefyl butted a cigarette against the table as he exhaled. The last bit of smoke danced across the table into a scene of Maefyl slaying a dragon before it faded away in front of Samael. “We aren’t killing a kid and you seem to be the only one with an urgent need to hunt down Lucy’s new friends.”

“You will leave them alone, Samael.” Lucifer added calmly. “You all will. If they do no harm they have every right to their freedom.”

“And they…” Maefyl pointed to Farren and Evadia. “Have every right to live.”

“Quite a change of heart.” Kage hissed. “You were more eager than most to end his life.”

“So Farren gets a pass.” Lillith saw Maefyl’s smirk and interrupted what was sure to be a childish argument between the two of them to move on to bigger concerns of her own. “The girl however…”

“Is what?” Maefyl laughed but he was getting agitated with the situation already. “Dangerous? She’s a child.”

“Children grow.” Eidolon had wanted to avoid any part of theses discussions but forever found himself needing to be the voice of reason. “It is not so much the girl but the soul within her that is the problem. Iesu in name alone carries weight in Heaven. You have seen the damage…”

“Fuck you, Eidolon.” Maefyl scoffed. “The kid is just stuck with a crazy ghost. She can manage.”

“This isn’t about the girl, Maefyl.” Eidolon lowered his eyes and sighed when he realized there was no way to make it sound any better. “Don’t misunderstand me. If there was another way I would gladly hear it, I don’t wish harm on any child, but I will not stand by and watch another rebellion take hold on the hope that she holds a new god inside her.”

“No one outside this room even knows that, Uncle Eidolon.” Asura hoped to argue her father’s side. She had seen enough senseless death for one day. “Why does anyone ever have to know? Just keep her secret and let her live like a normal kid.”

“How long until you think she is discovered?” Eidolon countered quickly and felt terrible for sadness he saw in Asura and his own brides. “I am sorry, but Iesu has already displayed a tendency to surface in times of stress and turmoil.”

“She’ll be here though.” Asura groaned and pleaded her logic. “Since Farren is stuck with Bishop anyway. It’s not like she won’t have people watching her. What harm would there be?’

“Absolutely not!” Kage shouted. “I’ll not have that traitors child spoiled in this estate.”

“Arrogant bastard.” Maefyl sneered at Kage. “Why?”

“I don’t want her here either.” Lilith snapped coldly before Kage had a chance to answer. “End of discussion.”

“But you’ll make Farren stay?” Asura pouted as she looked aside toward Farren. It felt strange to pity the villain, but seeing him as a father about to lose his child she could no longer see the man they hunted. All she saw was vulnerability and pain as he smiled warmly at his daughter and gave her comfort and encouragement. “That’s not fair.”

“These people don’t do fair.” Bishop muttered to himself and went back to trying to ignore things he couldn’t help but hear.

“If Evadia is alive and well I can accept the pain of separation.” Farren answered humbly. He knew it was a risk to speak at all but there was no point in fighting their decisions, and he had been talking with Evadia to help her understand. “I entrusted my life to this Councils mercy for her benefit. I just ask that she is safe and cared for.”

“Why don’t one of you just adopt her?” Caleb giggled to himself forgetting that his playful whispers would be heard.

“Sorry.” Myrt quickly covered Caleb’s mouth and embraced him. “He’s talkative.”

“All suggestions are welcome.” Raziel made the decision to join the conversation and was amused that his cold response chilled Caleb even though he had meant to comfort him. “While I doubt anyone at this table is gracious enough to take the suggestion, it is not an altogether ill conceived idea. We have colleagues more than adequate for caring for a child until she can be left on her own.”

“You want to just drop some half-crazed demon kid in someone’s lap for a year or so?” Maefyl slid down into his chair and covered his face with his hands. It was absurd, but it was probably the best idea they were going to come up with. “Who the fuck do you suggest?”

“Opportunity knocks.” Raziel gestured to the doors as the tapping came from behind them.

Lucifer just laughed as he willed open the doors and a potential foster father stepped inside smiling sheepishly as he dropped several of the parchments he was carrying and GiGi started to help him collect them as her friend nervously blushed with the sudden feeling he was the center of attention.

“Fuck.” Maefyl sighed. “If he agrees, whatever.”

“Geoffrey.” Gabriel stood somberly and closed his eyes after receiving nods of approval or looks of complete disinterest from the Council. “How do you feel about children?”

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TCOL : BTG : The Problem With Promises

“What bargain did you make, Lucy?” Gabriel had been concerned about involving these ‘friends’ to begin with but with Sachiel now disposed it seemed his concerns were once again well founded. The barriers over Eden were still in place, meaning Lucifer was still protecting his realm from potential danger. Moreover he had closed them in tighter and now Gabriel wondered if it was just for the sake of cornering Sachiel.

“Freedom.” Ifre explained plainly. “We help you and he opens the door.”

“Free roam of Tsuriai.” Li’da added. “We have now done our part.”

“Hak! Hak! Hak!” Azrael shook his head and grabbed Samael by his wrist. “Danbol kabak besek na baknit, kosha.”

“I don’t wish to be the one to start another war.” Samael chuckled as he laid his fingers over Azrael’s in comfort. “But have you gone entirely mad Lucifer? The destruction any one of them are capable of…”

“My bargain was with Lucifer.” Ria smiled as he interrupted the smug protest of the Wyrms and stepped closer to the Dark Lord of Tsuriai. “Not his Council. I would not want this to become unfriendly.”

“Ria.” Eidolon entered the conversation carefully. He had wished to avoid it entirely, but if the scales were going to tip he preferred they tip in a reasonably harmless way. “I doubt any one of us would ever deny you freedom; we simply wish to protect what is dear to us.”

Yet with no remorse you locked us away for how long?” Ifre sneered back at him. “Fuck what is dear to you.”

“Settle down, Ifre.” Twaer sadly approached and tried to be the voice of reason for their side. Like Eidolon she preferred a more peaceful approach. If they were going to leave Eden she would rather do so without having to spend the rest of eternity staring over their shoulders. She looked to Eidolon and gave a clearer answer. “What he means is that you’ve all had the chance to find things that are dear to you. We want that chance.”

“Out of the question.” Samael clenched his teeth as he spoke. “You are dangerous. All of you. You care for nothing. Bow to no one.”

“Coming from you that’s beyond ridiculous.” Asura shook her head at him. “You can’t just lock someone away for fear of what they might do. They deserve a chance.”

“It’s no longer a matter of what we deserve, child.” Ria interrupted sternly. “We were made a promise.”

“I have every intention of rewarding you all you have done.” Lucifer smiled at Ria unblinking. “I told you from the beginning that there would be resistance to your request. I have not yet denied it. I just have other promises to consider. Promises I’ve made to each of them.”

“What you should consider is their fragile nature.” Ifre scoffed and walked off quickly creating a path of flames behind him that started to create separation in the group.

“Don’t threaten me.” Lucifer laughed. “I may forget whose side I am on.”

“There should be no side to choose.” Li’da listened to the whimpers of panic as the weakest among Lucifer’s companions clutched to those close to them. “Honor your word.”

“What have you done?” Eidolon held Karla to him as she shook. Had she not been so in need of his comfort his fury would have pushed him to a more violent course.

“We deprived them of light.” Li’da’s child like voices nearly singing together as she waved a hand over the others weeping. “Taken their sight. For a start.”

“They are not in any pain as of yet.” Ria assured their angered hosts as he continued smiling at Lucifer. “Deny us much longer and they will be.”

“You dare threaten what is ours and ask freedom?” Eidolon stroked Karla’s hair and held Kaneko tightly around her waist. He watched as Nikolai extended leashes from the cubs collars to keep them close as they stood defensively beside their Master and Asura. Raziel stood expressionless with his pets quietly suffering at his feet; Galik dutifully checking each of them to ensure they were okay. Each ‘family’ was dealing with it. Even the usually hotheaded and quick to provocation were treading carefully. For that Eidolon was grateful. “It is this abuse of your strengths that makes us hesitant, Ria.”

“None of you have ever abused your power to get what you wanted?” Ifre scoffed. “Be thankful I didn’t just set your pretty friends ablaze.”

“That’s enough, all of you.” Twaer had stood by watching the companions of Zakesalek suffer patiently and couldn’t take it anymore. She shouted for an end to it. “Li’da, this is cruel. They are children.”

“We have not affected the children.” Li’da gestured toward Neka and Evadia as she giggled over the technicality. “Though our patience wears thin.”

“If you harm my child, freedom will be of no concern.” Kage hissed and shifted closer to Neka. She looked up at him sadly from Bishop’s lap where she had been wiping the tears from his sightless eyes.

“Bishop is broken, Daddy.” Neka sniffled and tugged on the shirt of her surprisingly patient pet. “Fix him for Neka.”

“Your toy will be fine.” Kage pet her hair and looked back at Lucifer. “If this is to be a Council vote, I suggest you release them. They can do no more harm than any of us ever have. I would prefer them as allies.”

“As would I.” Gabriel sighed. “There is no reason Tsuriai can not welcome all of you, but as we live by its laws…”

“Cram your laws.” Ifre laughed. “We aren’t looking to upset any kind of balance.”

“We don’t hold any grudge against Zakesalek.” Twaer added. “We just want to be free.”

“Does your release from Eden ensure freedom?” Raziel stepped away from his frightened puppets to confront the Djinn. “It was my understanding you were created to serve.”

“That worked out well.” Samael scoffed and pulled Azrael into his arms as he pouted over the sudden change of heart the Council seemed to be having. “They have no respect for the power that brought them to life.”

“Because they were not created to serve that power.” Presia answered softly as she looked after her wounded Master but her words found every ear and they turned to hear her explanation. She smiled up at Lucifer. “This is why you requested our attendance, is it not? To show them their path?”

“What more beautiful example could there be?” Lucifer grinned. “How is he?”

“Alive.” Presia rested her hand over Nei’s heart. “Thanks to Ifre.”

“She is like us.” Li’da looked to Ria for guidance and let her spell fall away from the young vampires. “But not like us.”

“Yes.” Ria smirked. “With a similar curse.”

“Nonsense.” Lucifer laughed. “Presia is entirely unique and not one of you was cursed. She and each of you were given a gift, a choice.”

“Choice?” Twaer crouched and looked at the relief of the Council’s treasures as they regained their sight.

“We were created to serve a master of our choosing.” Presia smiled as she explained their gift. “Without that bond we are forever incomplete.”

“You sneaky fuck!” Ifre shouted at Lucifer. “That’s why we only reach our potential paired with you.”

“It is also what makes our long years in Eden all the more cruel.” RIa dropped his eyes sadly. “We were wronged more than I realized.”

“Not entirely my decision.” Lucifer looked at his nails as if completely disinterested in the newly discovered pain of his Djinn. “I have also not left you entirely alone. Lets not be melodramatic, Ria. It is not as if any of you were in a cell. You had all of Eden. I visited frequently.”

“We’re supposed to what?” Ifre howled at him. “Start bowing out of gratitude? You promised us we could leave Eden and live as we pleased. Now we’re supposed to pick one of your friends to serve?”

“Have I once suggested you swear loyalty to anyone here?” Lucifer answered angrily and Eden shook beneath their feet. “My delay in your release has nothing to do with you. I have other troubled minds to consider and I won’t lift this veil until I am certain there will be no war over this.”

“So you do intend to put this to a vote?” Eidolon cringed at the thought. He feared the divide it could cause. “Lucifer, this bargain was yours, just honor it. Delaying this further is cruel, and Maefyl and Sanguine are still absent.”

“We also still have to discuss what’s to become of the girl.” Gabriel whispered to Lucifer. “I may regret this, but just give them their freedom.”

“It was your intention, my Lord.” Lilith quietly agreed as she squeezed close to Lucifer. “We can deal with the Wyrms discontent later.”

“So much for your Council.” Samael sneered at Lucifer. “When it should matter most, you will always just assume authority.”

“When it matters you are often no where to be found.” Maefyl seemed distracted as he arrived, but was well enough informed of the conversations to join them without hesitation. He paced through the gathering with an awkward confidence and gave Samael a wink before he continued. “But despite the hypocrisy, Samael has a point.”

“You suggest I risk them?” Lucifer pulled Maefyl by his shirt and gestured to their fragile loved ones. “Don’t be foolish, boy.”

“Don’t be modest, Dad.” Maefyl laughed and glanced fiercely back at Ria as he pulled away. “I’m merely suggesting we make it clear that we are on more equal footing than they seem to think.”

“You?” Ifre burst into a fit of laughter before breaking into several small fires and spreading at Ria’s feet. There was a crackle of laughter in the voice of the flames as they mocked him. “Zakesalek couldn’t control us, what can you do?”

“You pose no threat.” Li’da added as auras of white and black spread around her. She cast a glance at Ria and he became the wind and they resumed their vicious threats. The young vampires started to gasp for air and Li’da smiled cruelly at Maefyl. “You can not catch the wind, or hold a raging fire in your hands. You could never contain Twaer’s tides…”

“No! Stop this!” Twaer ran to Vikarr and Eliza and wept over the girl trembling in his arms. “I won’t be a part of this.”

“Maefyl…” Gabriel was relieved Asura had been spared the pain the others were in, but she was nearly in shock from the horror of it. Each of them under the spells of the Djinn convulsing, their skin dry and red as if they were burning from inside. They had been careful not to assault the direct family of Zakesalek, but these were still their friends. Still their loved ones. “I know you have a point to make, but at what cost? Enough of this.”

“Agreed.” Maefyl grinned and suddenly slammed his fist into the ground at his feet breaking through it until he could feel his fingers around the frightened throat. Threa screamed as he pulled her into proper form and he held her in front of him. “I can most definitely crush a stone. Care to test that?”

“Threa!” Ria released the others and hastily took form in front of Maefyl. He dropped to his knees and reached for Threa’s fingers. “Please. Give her to me.”

“You threaten my family again and I will destroy yours.” Maefyl tossed the trembling Djinn into Ria’s embrace before casually lighting a cigarette and returning to Gabriel for an embrace of his own.

“Understood.” Ria watched Maefyl in awe as he gentle comforted Threa. “We managed to over estimate our position.”

“Just remember that.” Lucifer sighed. Maefyl’s interference had not been at all planned, but it could not have been more effective. “You will need to settle eventually and inform the Council of where. In the meantime, have a look around and follow the rules.”

“You’re letting us go?” Ifre was certain their plans were finished when they stumbled upon a champion that could exploit their weaknesses. “Just like that?”

“That’s how he does everything.” Samael grumbled. “I want it known that I am opposed to this.”

“Noted.” Lucifer smiled wickedly before dropping the veil and permanently making Eden a part of his own realm. He walked to Ria and pulled him down by the hair for a final word. “One more thing before you go…”

“As you requested.” Ria answered softly. “Safely protected as always in the womb of Eden.”

“Enjoy Tsuriai.” Lucifer turned to the others and sighed as the Djinn left Eden. “I don’t imagine any of you are up for a picnic so I’ll see you in the Council hall.”

“I am taking my Lord Frost home to recover.” Presia wasted no time on unnecessary partings. They had played their part and she wanted to return to Drifa with Nei.

The others just waited quietly. Some still trying to take in the full scale of events that happened so quickly, others agitated by another of Lucifer’s quick Exits, some just relieved to be unscathed and with the ones the loved after a journey they had embarked on with no real certainty of either fact.One however had a sense of dread that deeply stained his relief and he could not stop his tears as he held Evadia in his arms for what he was certain would be the last time.

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Filed under Book VII, story, The Council Of Lords