Tag Archives: Book VII

TCOL : BTG : Motivation Pt.2

“Ifre!” Twaer slipped into her feminine form and landed on the back of a beast of flame. A puff of steam rising from her cool skin meeting with the heat of his. She tugged at his fiery hair and kissed her fingers before blowing the smooch toward him. A smooch that departed her fingers as a mist of rain. “I think maybe you can ease off.”

“What for?” Ifre settled into his chosen form and let Twaer wrap her legs around his waist as he carried her to higher ground. Black tendrils of chaos were spreading over Eden, closing in on the remaining soldiers. He sighed, reluctant to let go of the temporary boost to his strengths. “Oh, I see.”

“Time to join Li’da for a better view.” Twaer hugged him. “We have a few guests to look after. Just in case.”

“I don’t trust them either.” Ifre took them high above the fray and let Twaer to her feet beside Li’da. He looked down over the battlefield. Smaller now then before and smirked. It wasn’t just because of the loss of Sachiel’s soldiers. As they fought Lucifer had pulled the noose tighter. The barriers over Eden had grown smaller, releasing Eden slowly into his realm as it closed them all into this small corner of the garden. “And this part of the plan makes me all the more skeptical.”

“We have assurance, Ifre.” Li’da smiled coyly. “Ria is no fool.”

“If it comes to it.” Ifre spoke quietly as he looked back at Lucifer’s little treasures. “Spare the pretty songstress.”

“She is the least irritating of our guests.” Li’da nodded.

“You two need to lighten up.” Twaer blew one of her ringlet curls out of her face. She wanted to believe the promise they were given. And she wanted to believe that there strange guests were worth more than bargaining tools. They had watched the world quietly from Eden for so long that they had become bitter and distrusting of everyone without having met anyone, but Twaer reminded herself that they had also seen good in the world. She wanted to be a part of it. She left the two of them to mull over schemes and wandered around trying to find a place to mingle.

“Can I help you?” Eliza looked aside at the bouncy girl and grinned.

“Which one has you so entertained.” Twaer stepped closer and nudged at the strange fairy.

“The freakishly tall one.” Eliza pointed him out, somehow relieved by KiKi’s giggling. “Over there with the weird feet.”

“Ah!” Twaer smiled and hooked her arm through Eliza’s hoping to capture the feel of friendship she had seen in the others. “So, not one of Zakesalek.”

“Just a normal watch-a-ma-jig.” Eliza laughed. “I don’t think I could take his ego if he were any greater.”

“Oh so the boss is great now?” Donovan pinched her leg. He and Caleb had been watching their spouses when Twaer came close and Donovan instantly gave his attention to the situation. Whenever Vikarr was not there, Donovan had become a sort of guardian to her. A big brotherly, bully of guardian; but a guardian none the less. “I’ll be sure to let him know.”

“Shut it, baldy.” Eliza kicked him gently and went back to watching Vikarr. He was more than great. He was amazing. This tragedy was giving her the opportunity to see that in new ways. “Vivi doesn’t need your help.”

Donovan didn’t like the sudden appearance of the strange new friends that should have been below with the others. His unease was furthered by the quiet exchange between the one who had been watching over them and the one with hair like flames. Li’da had already expressed herself rather clearly. She was unimpressed with the lot of them and her friend seemed to be even more skeptical of the alliance. The two of them gave a silent nod to one another and smiled as they heard Lucifer call for an end to Sachiel’s hiding.

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TCOL : Eden : Children In Eden Pt.3

“You are seriously scary, doll face.” Brig laughed and helped Karla to her feet while he watched Kaneko lick blood from her hands. She had massacred dozens of angels while they searched for her sister, only stopping when the winds forced them to slow their pace. “I guess the hubby needed sugar and spice.”

“Nyaa.” Kaneko giggled. “Karla smashed a guys face once.”

“Don’t tell people that, Kaneko.” Karla scolded. “I didn’t mean to.”

“Wow.” Brig shook his head and looked over their options. Slim tunnels cut through the otherwise impassable winds. “So which way.”

“Oww.” Karla rubbed her arm where something struck her and looked for an assailant.

“Who’s there?” Kaneko growled when she heard what sounded like sighing. “Kyaa! Come out and play with Kaneko!”

“What the shit…” Brig felt a nudging at his foot and crouched to inspect what seemed like nothing but a pile of stones. Cid and Tali started flapping wildly on his back when the pebbles moved around his fingers. “Settle down, you two.”

“It’s a spirit.” Demise offered as she fluttered down to his hand. “Came to help out?”

The stones jittered and a path formed through one of the tunnels. Large stepping stones at the entrance to guide them and smaller ahead.

“So we go that way?” Karla leaned close.

“Yes, girl.” The air sighed. “She will guide you.”

“Where is Kaneko’s sister?” Kaneko growled at the more talkative wind. “Kaneko is not following the rocks until she finds Neka.”

“Kagami’s other kitten seems to be in good hands.” The wind laughed. “Hurry along and you’ll see them both.”

“Quiet rocks and talking windstorms.” Brig shook his head and gave the stones under his fingers a gentle pat before he stood. “Lead the way, doll… uh… yea.”

“You okay?” Demise crawled up his sleeve. “You handled that pretty well. Outside of talking too much and embarrassing yourself. ”

“Thanks, doll face.” Brig followed close behind Eidolon’s brides afraid that they would be followed. Cid and Tali had proven themselves useful for defense and made spectacular lookouts, so he preferred to keep his eyes forward while they watched everywhere else. Demise was also lending a hand when needed and Brig realized more and more how far removed he was in potential from the company he kept. “I just felt like I could trust it… her.”

As they walked the stones behind them vanished and the tunnel closed behind them. More stones appeared to lead them and the violent storm opened a path to let them pass unscathed. Brig felt it when he touched the stones. The cool surface that emanated an indescribable warmth. A feeling deeper than words, like the blissful moments of silence being held in a compassionate embrace. The spirit had given no words but it asked to be trusted and offered protection. Brig accepted.

“There are so many now.” Karla hugged Kaneko’s arms as she watched uncountable angels trying to fight against the winds only to be knocked violently back into the garden. “How can they beat so many?”

“Trust Master Eidolon.” Kaneko purred. “He squishes even better than Kaneko.”

“Besides.” Samael stepped into their path as he interrupted. “He will have help.”

“Kaneko.” Shiroi’s eyes welled at the sight of her still alive and well. “You’re okay.”

“Hmmph.” Karla sneered.

“Kaneko is always okay.” Kaneko just walked ahead with Karla to avoid screaming. “Are you coming, Brig?”

“Welak Isa, nepu.” Samael took Shiroi’s face in his hands and gave her a quick kiss before he pushed away the coming tears. “De danbol sesa zan ba sekni zekusi’tach.”

“Kono.” Shiroi tried to look away.

“Hak ‘kono’.” Samael held a finger in front of her. “Nepu. Baat.”

“Tek, Kaleka Samael.” Shiroi inhaled deeply and kissed his finger just before he darted away shouting.

“Sekni jer.” Samael narrowly snatched Eidolons brides out of harms way as attacking angels broke through protective winds and went for what they assumed were the weakest targets. Instead they met with a crushing blow from Samael’s tail and his blade relieved them of their heads.

“Let go.” Karla slapped at Samael’s arm.

“You are so very welcome.” Samael sat the girls to their feet.

“Maybe if you spoke in Tsuri you wouldn’t have had to grab them.” Brig pushed past Samael to check on Kaneko and Karla. Angry that he could do nothing to protect them. “Of course you get off on touching other people’s things.”

“Do you truly want to stir things up again, boy?” Samael offered his arm to Shiroi before resuming their hike. “It’s been a while since your last visit and I’m certain I have a nice box to keep you in when I’m otherwise occupied.”

“Leave it alone.” Eternity advised as she saw Brig’s temper flare at the sound of Shiroi’s laughter. She was surprised to see it was Kaneko that drew her blades first. “Both of you. If our guide will let them keep a bit of distance between us…”

“Gathering you all together is entertaining.” The wind giggled as it strengthened its protection. “And I apologize for that momentary lapse. This is somewhat of a new trick, but no more will get through.”

“How far are we going?” Brig pulled the hair over his face as he wiped his eyes.

“Nearly there.” Samael called back to them. He could smell the air ahead of them opening up into Eden. He could smell Gabriel. He could hear the wailing of hundreds of angels. “I do hope you’ve saved your strength, children.”

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TCOL : Eden : Children In Eden Pt.2

Raziel guided his puppets through the sudden storm, following the unnerving laughter of a trickling stream that had appeared suddenly and sweetly demanded they follow. In the surrounding winds the howls of a growing army of choirs could be heard and Raziel’s own worry for Brig was echoed in the minds of the loves still at his side.

“Come, quickly.” The stream that hurried in front of them demanded. It’s flow disappearing behind them making it appear more like a snake than a body of water. “Hurry, hurry.”

“Raziel, I’m scared.” Shana shuddered as she spoke. The others seemed so calm to her, but it was taking everything she had to focus on keeping pace with them instead of bursting into tears. “Where is Brig?”

“You’ll all be together soon.” The water answered sweetly. “Don’t be frightened. We are here to help.”

“Help?” Raziel answered coldly. ”Time has changed you.”

“What happened!?” Shana ran ahead when she saw another path converging with theirs and Presia carrying Nei in her arms. “Is he going to be okay?”

“His heart was pierced.” Presia answered quietly as she continued to follow a flame that flickered wildly in front of them. “He is weak, but I am hopeful. My Lord Frost is not one to give up easily.”

“He was defending me.” Bishop looked away ashamed as he carried Neka. “Those damn things came after Neka.”

“Have you seen Brig?” Shana interrupted. “He went looking for Neka.”

“Neka is sorry.” She turned to Shana with sad eyes and quivering lip unsure of how to deal with feeling of guilt and remorse. She stiffened up and bunched her fingers into fists in Bishops shirt. “Neka will ask Daddy to make it better.”

“She is just a kid.” Bishop fumbled over the apology. “She, I didn’t mean for this to happen… I got lost… We would have…”

“We haven’t seen him.” Farren laid his hand on the nervous vampire’s head and simplified the answer for Bishop. “She ran off and he followed. I’m sorry it led to the rest of you getting separated.”

“Where are these weird things taking us?” Van demanded impatiently.

“To Lucifer.” Raziel eyed the flame and the water that now moved serenely below it. “Though, I’m curious as to why.”

“Well, detour for me and the pretty lady.” The flame danced aside opening clearing where the residents of Golod had just stopped a moment to rest. “You can handle these stragglers.”

“Hey.” Asura sighed and approached the edge of a large glassy pond where strange critters frolicked. “The rock just said we could rest.”

“Where did that thing go?” Bezer looked around for their quiet guide. “Did you kick it Azazel?”

“No.” Azazel laughed and snatched Asura up before she could lean over and stroke one of the critters. “Come on. Break time is over.”

“It’s best not to pet the Vicern.” The water warned. “Tricky little cuties.”

 Nikolai took one last look at the creatures. Like white otters with the black spines of porcupines. He could not begin to imagine what horrible poison tipped those quills and the thought of Asura so nearly finding out first hand made him feel ill. He took Bezer’s hand to quietly comfort himself and followed after the others, stopping a moment to give a nod of compassion to Presia as she stayed behind with her flickering guide.

They’ll be okay.” The water spoke again once they were on their way. “I just know it.

“These guides…” Nikolai looked to Raziel for answers. “Angels? Demons?”

“Neither.” Raziel was uneasy explaining the nature of their host while their current situation relied so heavily on them, but there was no harm in a few simple truths. “We gave them no real name. They could be called manipulators, elementals, djinn.”

“Ooo, Djinn.” The water laughed. “I like that one. Sounds fancy.”

“Use it.” Raziel responded emotionlessly to acknowledge her remark before he continued. “They are, to my understanding, the most powerful magic locked away in Eden.”

“A puddle and a rock?” Azazel laughed until he was suddenly hit by a wall of water that knocked Asura from his arms and held him against the wall of wind where he struggled not to inhale the force of the torrent.

“Enough.” Nikolai helped Asura to her feet and attempted to keep his temper. “Humor is Azazel’s way. He meant nothing by it.”

“Gotcha.” Bezer caught her brother as the wave subsided and let him choke out the attack over her shoulder. As she stroked his back she winked over to Asura to let her know he was okay. “Just be glad we weren’t still with the rock, stupid.”

“Fuck off, Bezer.” Azazel pushed away and shook his hair dry. ”Let’s just keep going.”

“What about Brig?” Shana took Raziel’s hand. “Aren’t you worried?”

“I am, puppet.” Raziel squeezed her fingers. “I think we are all being led to the same destination. We will see him soon.”

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TCOL : Eden : Children in Eden Pt.1

“This Garden may as well be dead.” Sanguine sighed as she kept herself comfy in Maefyl’s shirt collar and watched him slay countless angels. She would occasionally have to wipe the blood from her face and lick her hands as he splattered her with his efforts to rid Hell’s newest Garden of pests. “There is nothing here but these stupid Choirs.”

“I don’t think that’s true, Sany.” Maefyl felt the pulse of newly claimed souls and blood running through him and the power he had been struggling to control was weaving itself into chaos that had always been his. He felt the sting of it penetrating every muscle, the tickle of it running along his skin as if it was breathing the air around him and strengthening him and itself. “And neither do you.”

“No.” Sanguine giggled. “I smell it, too. So many spells to conceal things, so many secrets, and Lucifer hasn’t been very forthcoming with everyone. He’s been here.”

“Yes.” Maefyl grinned. “And he knew damn well Zakesalek would know it the second they got here. So why not just say so?”

“Because he is up to something as usual.” Samael ripped apart the angels between him and Maefyl and stopped in front of him. “I need assurance from you, fetnakalu.”

“Pretty sure we’re even.” Maefyl spit at Samael’s feet and stared past him at Azrael pleading with Shiroi. “Get her out of here.”

“Listen to me.” Samael grabbed Maefyl by his coat and laid a hand on his chest as he calmed himself. “I am not asking you any personal favors and I am not here to agitate you with Welak Isa. This is important. IsaAnku does not want the seals broken.”

“Since when do you care what anyone else wants?” Maefyl laughed.

“Deseka kosh IsaAnku.” Azrael pouted.

“I’m not listening to this shit.” Maefyl pulled his coat away. “Go bother someone else.”

“Maefyl, please just listen to them.” Shiroi whined at him. “They are trying to help.”

“Welak Isa!” Samael scolded her sternly and she shied away. “Danbol seldak na ken.”

“Maefyl…” Azrael stepped closer with Shiroi hiding at his back. “Sek danbol truk de. Shent sek truk det fersupani?”

“I don’t want to see any more of your past Azrael.” Maefyl saw enough sincerity in the offer to spare a moment and listen. “Just say what you need to and go.”

“Don’t let your temper get the better of you here.” Samael took over the explanation. “Everything you see now it only the door to Eden. The gates that IsaAnku mentioned. We sealed away powerful manipulators of elements. Over time those barriers seem to have been eaten away. It would take little more than stray magic and our blood to trigger the deterioration.”

“You’re asking me not to pick any fights?” Maefyl laughed and walked off. “Just stay the fuck away from me. Problem solved.”

“It’s not me you always fight with.” Samael sighed as he watched Maefyl’s back. “Welak Isa, stay with me. Fervas ken, kosha.”

“Tek.” Azrael kissed Samael before he followed quietly after Maefyl to watch over him.

“I thought you hated him.” Shiroi pouted.

“Don’t question me, Shiroi.” Samael held her tightly and shifted quickly through parts of Eden they had covered to deal with stray angels.

“Go with them, Azrael.” Maefyl insisted as he pressed on. “I don’t want company.”

“Hak.” Azrael pressed onward with him quietly. They dispatched the angels they came across quickly, exchanging smirks over their skills and moving onward without much chatter until they heard something out of place. “Kalu?”

“Quiet.” Maefyl hushed Azrael. “And stay here.”

Azrael nodded and Maefyl went off after the sound of whispers. The soft voice of a child, a girl. He followed it to a rocky crevice that he squeezed his way through until into a quiet spring. Across the water having a conversation with no one was a young demoness that was undoubtedly Farren’s child. She shared his blonde hair with its striking red streaks.

“Lucky!” Sanguine whispered. “Just don’t scare her off.”

“You must be Farren’s kid.” Maefyl sighed and sat on the ground hoping to make it clear he didn’t have any intentions of coming after her.

“Who are you?” Evadia jumped to her feet holding a stick in front of her feeling slightly foolish. She would have run if it weren’t for the mention of her father. “You aren’t like the other ones.”

“The angels?” Maefyl laughed. “Because I’m not one. We are here killing those fucks.”

“Maefyl!” Sanguine scolded as she fluttered out and kicked his nose. “Don’t curse. She’s a kid.”

“Whatever.” Maefyl winked and patted his shoulder before he looked back to Evadia who had lowered her guard. “Also here to rescue you if you’re interested.”

“You know my Daddy?” Evadia tapped the ground with her stick. “Can I trust you?”

“That’s a tough question to answer.” Maefyl sighed. “A terrible person is going to say yes because they want to lure you in. I could say yes, but then I might be disappointed if you trust me too easily. Or pissed off that you don’t and you’re making things difficult when I’m tying to help. But what I’m going to do is be honest with you.”

“Okay.” Evadia waited.

“My friends and family are here on unpleasant business.” Maefyl began and hoped it was the right decision. “Your mother, Sachiel… She has done terrible things and hurt a lot of people. We came to kill her and save you.”

“Why save me?” Evadia had wanted to escape and had no love for Sachiel so the news didn’t really cause her much distress, but there wasn’t much logic in rescuing a child no one had ever met. “If she is terrible, I might be.”

“Farren begged us to.” Maefyl shrugged.

“That’s it?” Evadia sighed. “You said you were going to be honest.”

“Cheeky kid.” Maefyl laughed and jumped to his feet. “Okay, I have another reason to want you safe. When I wandered in you were talking to someone. If I can guess his name, will you let me take you somewhere safe?”

“My ghost?” Evadia considered the offer with a shiver as she heard the sounds of fighting in the distance. While she thought over her options she noticed another uninvited guest creeping into her hiding spot. Tall and pale. No, not pale. White. Evadia covered her gasp with her fingers. “A tail!”

“Besek saba har?” Azrael sighed and rested his hand on Maefyl’s head. “Labelsi.”

“Of course she is small, you idiot.” Maefyl sighed in frustration. “She’s a child. I told you to wait.”

“Demon!” Iesu shouted and scowled at them. “I knew I recognized you.”

“Calm down.” Maefyl stood slowly. “Iesu, please. We are here to help.”

“You stood by the Fallen and asked me to betray my Father!” Iesu screamed and clutched the stick in Evadia’s small hands. “Now you stand with another of Hell’s loyal.”

“Bet talish vodosel’tach.” Azrael laughed. “Sek sesa ise vodo wavala, fetnalkalu.”

“You aren’t helping.” Maefyl muttered before stepped slowly toward the child unfortunate enough to carry Iesu’s soul. He had failed to save him once and now there was another life in the balance. “Let me take the girl somewhere safe, Iesu.”

“Safe? With you?” Iesu swung the branch at Maefyl when he was close enough and ran past him only to end up caught in Azrael’s arm. “Let go of me, Demon!”

“Ha sankul sek.” Azrael nodded toward Maefyl’s hand as the shrieking became more feminine and child like. Panic seemed to send Iesu back into hiding in Evadia’s mind.

“It’s just a scratch.” Maefyl dropped the branch and shook the blood from the wound that had already healed. As the droplets hit the ground he watched Azrael’s silver eyes grow wide and heard the winds that tore through Eden laughing as the Garden woke.

Finally…” The wind spoke as it hurried over the trembling landscape of a realm expanding within Hell. “Welcome to Eden…”

 “Maefyl, I think we should find everybody else.” Sanguine tugged his hair hopefully. “This doesn’t seem like a good thing.”

“Ench har.” Azrael shoved Evadia into Maefyl’s arms excitedly. “Sek drakubi Eden. De sesa na kaka Samael.”

“Let go!” Evadia squirmed. “What’s going on?”

“I’ll let you go as soon as you’re safe.” Maefyl spread his wings and shielded her from the winds as squeezed close. “Your ghost doesn’t trust me, I need you to.”

“Uhm, Maefyl?” Sanguine tugged his hair and pointed him toward a path through the winds. A narrow path that cut through the sudden storm that seemed to hum and wait for them. “I think you are being challenged to a little blind faith, too.”

“Wait here.” Maefyl sat Evadia to her feet before he stepped into the vortex.

Interesting. No worry for yourself…Only the girl. You are a noble sort, that is comforting.” The wind whispered. “Hurry now. All of you.”

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TCOL : Eden : Inherited Venom

“We shouldn’t have wandered off.” Bishop picked Neka up and looked around hopelessly for something familiar to lead them back to the others.

“Neka didn’t like them.” She pouted and rubbed her face on his shoulder. “Don’t be mad at Neka.”

“I’m not mad.” Bishop sighed. “I’m lost.”

“We’re all lost.” Farren offered his outlook as he cleaned himself up. He had managed to keep the young vampire and his Master unharmed from any attacks this far, but they had been lucky. “No one knows this place. I can’t say I would have done any differently than the girl, though. Raziel is unpleasant and his family unfriendly.”

“That’s not true.” Bishop sighed. He knew them only briefly but he had liked each of them. “I think its this place making everyone uncomfortable.”

“Neka thinks they are just useless.” She insisted as she sniffled. “Daddy says the Keeper is nothing but trouble.”

“He probably thinks the same about me.” Bishop frowned. It was not that he was particularly wounded by the fact Kage disliked him, but the fact Neka was so willing to accept her father’s ideas as her own.

“Neka loves you, though.” She squeezed around his neck and licked his face. “Daddy will like you someday.”

“How fortunate for you.” Farren patted Bishop’s back.

“Lay off.” Bishop muttered not wanting to turn the comment into another argument. “Didn’t you live here with this woman? Can you find your way?”

“I did not wander the Garden.” Farren shook his head.

“There’s something up ahead.” Vafera fluttered her wings and tugged at Bishop’s hair. To get his attention. “That way.”

In the distance there were stone structures and a clearer skyline so they started toward hopeful to put themselves on a course that would cross with their companions. Being lost in a Garden newly relocated to Hell was not high on Bishops list of things to try and he would gladly give it up the adventure quickly. He was also afraid is they were attacked by more than a few of the armor clad angels, Farren would be overwhelmed and there was no way he could protect the girl on his own.

The structures were in ruins, but what remained sat around a large circular center and Bishop hoped they could wait there for the others and sped his pace.

“Carefully.” Farren pulled Bishop by his sleeve. “Someone is nearby. I smell blood.”

“That’s disgusting.” Bishop answered quietly.

“Don’t even pretend that you can’t smell it, too.” Farren smiled and shook his head as they moved into the courtyard. “Vampire.”

“Oh. It’s just you.” Nei smirked at them and rested his arms around Presia.

“We ended up separated.” Bishop explained sheepishly. “Do you know where anyone else is?”

“You look like shit.” Nei raised an eyebrow at his young vampiric child in disappointment. “You haven’t fed.”

“No.” Bishop looked away embarrassed and not even sure if that was an appropriate emotion to be feeling. “It didn’t seem like a priority.”

“Well, it is. You have to feed, you hopeless fuck.” Nei shook his head and lifted Presia to her feet as he stood. “You aren’t going to be useful to anyone if you don’t.”

“You be nice to Bishop.” Neka hissed at Nei and shot blades of chaos in his direction, pouting when arrogant vampire dodged aside with Presia. “He can eat when he wants to.”

“So how bad is the pain?” Nei ignored the attack and continued his fatherly chat with Bishop.

“I can deal with it.” Bishop ran his fingers through Neka’s hair and tried to smile. “I don’t really want to talk about this in front of the kid.”

“In front of that kid?” Nei laughed. “The Viper’s daughter? In a year she’ll be deadlier than you or I could ever hope to be.”

“I would never hope to be deadly.” Bishop shuddered. “I don’t want to be.”

“You hurt, Bishop?” Neka looked at him with her mismatched eyes and tears fell down her cheeks. “Neka doesn’t want you to hurt. Why do you hurt?”

“Because he won’t feed.” Nei explained plainly as he started to head out of the courtyard with Presia on his arm. “And if he doesn’t want my advice, he doesn’t need my company.”

“Wait.” Bishop just fell to his knees and held Neka tighter as he tried his hardest not to cry. He wanted to protect her and couldn’t on his own. He hated to cave to an obvious manipulation and he wanted little to do with the ‘feeding’ that they wanted to push on him, but it was becoming unbearable just to stand and he needed to look after Neka. “What am I supposed to do?”

“Lucifer made it easy for you.” Farren kneeled beside Bishop and squeezed his shoulder. “You don’t have to be deadly. Just thirsty. I’m here when you need it.”

Bishop had been struggling for hours. So much that he was scaring himself with how well he could smell the blood in Neka’s veins. He couldn’t fight the thirst anymore with an offer made so plainly. He covered Neka’s eyes with the fingers of one hand and with the other pulled Farren closer by his shirt and bit into the side of his neck.

Farren held Bishop through it. He was amused that it was the attacker and not the victim shaking. Further amused by the little girl peeking through Bishops fingers with an excited expression and a tail twitching behind her enthusiastically.

“Now, was that so bad?” Nei laughed.

“What is this place?” Bishop didn’t want to be taunted over it. He wanted to forget what he had just done and that he liked it. He gave Neka a quick squeeze to pre-empt any inquiries and jumped headlong into a discussion he hoped would provide adequate distance from the topic of his fangs.

“I believe it was part of some sort of complex.” Presia admired the crests on the ground. “A large communal estate of sorts. Their home. Or at least part of it. But it seems detached. Like a mask.”

“Or a doorway.” Farren offered quietly.

“Seems too obvious for that.” Bishop used Farren’s shoulder to steady himself as he stood. He felt like he had been drinking, the world shifted in the wrong direction as he walked and his feet seemed too heavy, his head too light. His mind was astonishingly clear however and he gave them what reason he could see for moving on. “It’s more like a distraction. If there were a door to something in this place it would be subtle.”

“Could be buried eighty feet deep or standing eighty feet tall and surrounded in flashing lights, it doesn’t matter a bit of a fuck to me.” Nei grinned. “Presia says a door is going to open. A door is going to open. In the meantime, your little kittens’ Daddy and his friends are off having all the fun without me.”

“You find this shit amusing?” Bishop held Neka’s hand as they followed. “What is wrong with you?”

“With me?” Nei giggled. “There is nothing wrong with me. I find battle exciting, what I find amusing is that you managed to sell yourself into slavery to the Viper’s kid. You clearly weren’t looking for my gift, so what did you get out of the bargain?”

“Bishop is Neka’s friend.” She hissed and kicked the back of Nei’s legs until Bishop picked her up and she cried against him. “Neka loves Bishop.”

“Love?” Nei turned and grabbed the thin leash that she had wrapped around her hand that led to Bishop’s collar. “Is that what this is?”

“He is Neka’s.” Neka tugged the cord away. “Bishop has to stay with Neka forever.”

“Leave her alone.” Bishop insisted softly. “It isn’t her fault. And doesn’t your girl call you ‘Lord’? Isn’t that just the way it is with you people?”

“Enough.” Presia smacked Bishop across his face. “It is not the title or even the leash that my Lord Frost has taken issue with. I am by all rights his property. The greatest Master however is one who loves and respects his pets. The companionship born through that mutual respect can be very powerful, very beautiful.”

“She is just a little girl.” Bishop defended.

“With a very well informed mind I assure you.” Presia smiled and turned her attention to Neka as she spoke her advice. “Still young enough to make decisions that will forever affect her. Ask yourself little Viper, do you want a slave? Or a friend?”

“Neka wants Bishop.” She gnawed on the cord nervously.

“Neka, I’m not going anywhere.” Bishop hugged her close as he stopped a moment to sit and comfort her. He pulled the leash from her mouth and tapped her chin with it. “Don’t do that. You’ll make your Father mad. I don’t want you in trouble. You don’t have to listen to them.”

“Thrones!” Farren unleashed his attacks on as many as he could before he lifted Bishop and Neka to safety from a second onslaught.

“May I join you, my Lord?” Presia giggled as her attire changed and a matching set of sheathed blades appeared at her hip and on her back. Nei backed up to her and drew his blades and she could feel his heart racing.

“I’ve missed this.” Nei spoke through a wicked grin. “Stay close.”

“Always.” Presia nodded and a thick blue ribbon lengthened between them and wrapped their waists. A physical reminder in the heat of battle of the limit to their bond before they would cause one another pain.

“Wow!” Neka flushed as she watched Presia fighting beside Nei. They moved like water together. Even though they were so close and fighting so many different enemies, never stumbling over each other, never hindering each other.

Farren fought those he could when they were close enough, defended Bishop and Neka when they were attacked. The sudden surge in attackers was bothersome. He was sure there had not been this many before. Sachiel must have gotten unsure of herself and doubled her forces. He had feared for his daughter in the hands of Sachiel’s madness, now he worried for the girl being caught in the battle they had brought to Eden. He watched Bishop holding Neka and desperately hoped someone was protecting Evadia.

“Not a great time to get distracted.” Nei taunted Farren as he and Presia came to their aid.

“It’s like they are after her.” Bishop gratefully accepted Presia’s arm around them and the shield of protection she spread over them.

“These are newly called Choirs.” Farren pulled Nei into Presia’s protection before unleashing a mist of rot into the air that quickly worked it’s decay on the coming attackers. “Likely sent to find a child in Eden…”

“Meaning your daughter is lost out here, too.” Bishop sighed. “We should look for her then.”

“No, we should do what we came here to do.” Nei corrected him quickly. “Your pal is gonna sniff his way to his old girlfriend so I can quit this miserable Garden and go back to Drifa.”

“I was only ever in the estate.” Farren turned away.

“Which should make it the easiest fucking place to find.” Nei chuckled and sheathed his swords. The break in the attacks had made them all relax just enough to get sloppy and he noticed the last of the attackers a second too late to do anything other than prevent it from hurting the others. He squeezed Presia’s fingers as he watched the angel’s blade emerge from his chest and only scratch Bishop’s face.

“Lord Frost!” Presia took him in one arm and set fire to his attacker with the other. “Hold on, Nei. Please.”

“Why did I do that?” Nei stumbled from the loss of blood as Presia pulled the blade back through the wound. He could see fear and gratitude on Bishop’s face and silently wished the best for his unfortunate son.

“To save your child, my Lord. And the one he holds dear.” Presia spoke sweetly and filled his wounds with magic as tears ran down her face. “You did well.”

“It was fucking stupid.” Nei closed his eyes and listened to the sounds of life returning to Eden.

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TCOL : Eden : Broken Locks Pt.2

With the strength Presia had given him over the centuries Nei protected her as they walked. As she gave the others the protection of her song he slayed the attackers that came to end her melody. His every slash and her every note were a beautiful harmony that moves through the gates of Eden spreading a sweeter silence than there had been before.

Presia’s song ended abruptly when they reached the edge of a courtyard and an augury took hold of her. As Nei pulled her close her eyes darkened and he listened to her eerie forecast.

This is where the gates were closed 

Six gathered around one. 

Closed, but not forever sealed. 

Another will see the veil lifted. 

As the locks are broken, My Lord will be a savior.

“I am a little tired, my Lord.” Presia smiled.

“Quick break, then.” Nei sheathed his sword on his back and gathered Presia up in his arms before he kissed her cheek. “Why are we here, you beautiful thing?”

“Because you have to be.” Presia ran her fingers along his cheek. “I don’t fight fate. It was kind enough to bring you to me.”

“Fair enough.” Nei sat and cradled her in his arms. “Mind telling me what it has in store.”

“It has not been quite kind enough to share all those details.” Presia giggled. “Though I doubt we will be waiting long to find out.”

“If I ever meet this ‘fate’ you go on about…” Nei trailed off when he noticed movement and reached for his sword. He relaxed when familiar faces stumbled into view. “Oh. It’s just you.”

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TCOL : Eden : Broken Locks Pt.1

“Confident are we?” Gabriel leaned against a large broken pillar and sighed as he watched Lucifer blink a dozen thrones out of existence. “Is there even a point to this farce any longer?”

“Whatever do you mean, Gabby?” Lucifer chuckled. “Can’t I enjoy this? We swallow pride and defeat, but only taste victory? Seems like a poor dietary decision. I can’t stomach the idea of it. I’ll feast on my accomplishments and anyone foolish enough to get in the way of them.“

“And what are you trying to accomplish, Lucy?” Gabriel sighed. “What great victory will there be in this?”

“We are defeating a villain and saving the world, Gabby!” Lucifer clapped his hands together as he spun to face Gabriel and three angels behind him burst into flames and fell to ash. “What better victory could there be?”

“You still intend to lie to me?” Gabriel scowled. “I can smell you in every corner of this place. You’ve broken your promise to me. To all of us.”

“Not so much broken.” Lucifer walked past Gabriel smiling. “Those promises hinged on a truce that we have all broken. Besides I only said I would leave the rest of your seals in place, not my own.”

“You left yourself a back door?” Gabriel rested his forehead against his fingertips.

“Did you honestly think I would give up Eden?” Lucifer laughed. “I just need one of you fools to bleed here.”

“Try it, Lucy.” Gabriel held the hilt of his sword tightly, ready to draw.

“I’m not going to attack you.” Lucifer shifted behind Gabriel and hugged him. “I doubt I’ll have to. I imagine Raziel will manage to make himself useful and stupidly get himself mangled protecting one of those lovely morsels of his, but I don’t understand why you are so opposed to seeing Eden restored.”

“Don’t you mean unleashed?” Gabriel smirked. “How strong have they gotten?”

“They are wonderful, Gabby.” Lucifer chuckled. “And they still won’t behave for me.”

“You are a fool, Lucy.” Gabriel sighed.

“I prefer foolishness to boredom.” Lucifer listened as Sachiel barked her orders to find the child. “Though prudence has its merit, until that little asset has been acquired we let Sachiel wait. I like knowing where all the pieces are before I make my move.”

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