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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 : 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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TCOL : Eden : Homecoming Pt.2

In its current state Eden was unwelcoming. Eidolon could barely recognize it as the home they shared so long ago, but it was still painful to be returning after so long only to cover the gates in blood. Even if this pale illusion of their home was only a silent breath of Eden, it was still a part of it and it was unpleasant to taint the beauty of it this way.

He almost regretted leaving Kage alone with Lilith. He could only imagine the pain he felt further agitated by Lilith’s provocation. Even love of Lucifer would not stay Kage’s temper forever.

“That’s not it at all.” Eidolon laughed at himself as he cleaned blood from his blade. He was cursed with an overly active mind and his thoughts never left him at peace. It was only when he was alone that it bothered him. He had left Eternity to look after his brides and leaving Kage in Lilith’s hands left him to slaughter on his own. He realized that his concern for Kage was his way of making excuses to go back so he would not be alone with his thoughts and he muttered to himself as he moved onward. “When did you become so selfish?”

“I thought all you Watcher types were selfish.” Donovan smacked away a branch and noticed his sleeve was torn. “Damn it. I like this jacket.”

“I can fix it.” Mala grinned and bowed his head politely to Eidolon. “I don’t suppose you left us anything in that direction, Lord Falcon?”

“I see that Gabriel’s Lancers are in no way lacking for their years of inactivity.” He was glad for the distracting arrival. Eidolon smiled at the blood covered twins standing beside their adoring companions and felt completely overwhelmed by Gabriel’s talent for creation. The two of them were marvelous. Aesthetically divine and trained to be deadly, but there was a kindness in the two of them he could feel even now as they stood dripping with the blood of angels. “Nothing, I’m afraid. I would not mind the company moving on.”

“How many of these poor souls did she call?” Myrt sighed as he leapt in sync with his brother to end the life of another naïve soldier. As it dissolved at their feet they turned to hear the deathly scream of a second angel that had attacked from behind them and was meeting a rather violent end. Myrt shifted to Caleb and pulled him into his arms as he watched. “Are you okay?”

“I’m good.” Caleb nodded but kept his eyes fixed on the vampire that had managed to wrestle the Power to its’ knees. When it lunged at Caleb he thought it was over, but in an instant Donovan had broken its’ wings and tore into its’ throat. Now he had sliced open the creatures abdomen and bled it while he fed. “He got to it before it got to me.”

“Messy.” Mala drove his fingers into the wound Donovan had opened and claimed the chaos, obliterating the angels form. He crouched in front of Donovan smiling and grabbed one of his ears. “You are such a brute.”

“Lucifer does find some interesting choices for his Circles.” Eidolon sighed. He had watched quietly to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of his new team and found them to be unexpectedly impressive. “Well done, Donovan.”

“You could have helped.” Donovan wiped his face and sighed knowing it had been a sort of test of their abilities. “I’m not completely useless in a fight, but Caleb…”

“I’m not…” Caleb started to protest until he found himself silenced by the warmth of Myrt’s kiss.

“No one expects you to fight.” Myrt whispered against Caleb’s lips. “I just want you here with me.”

“What made you all accept this risk?” Eidolon smiled and turned to continue onward.

“We couldn’t let the boss go alone.” Donovan explained. He didn’t want to get sentimental over it with a stranger. They were a family in Nihil and he didn’t need the acceptance of another Watcher to validate it. It had always been his way to mask his deeper emotions with a colder wit and he was not about to change it now. “E would get him into trouble. Trouble for the boss is trouble for us.”

“I came for Mala.” Myrt shrugged off the question easily as if it should never need to be asked.

“I go where he goes.” Caleb smiled as he clung to Myrt’s arm. “What about you, honey? This worth the risk for you?”

“Protecting Tsuriai?” Eidolon laughed. “Undoubtedly.”

“That yea.” Caleb frowned. “But I meant playing what is obviously a game. If your buddy Lucifer can move this whole place into Hell, why couldn’t he just….”

“Don’t.” Eidolon stopped and turned to face Caleb. His own thoughts had already wandered into the darker corners of grim possibilities and he did not need the help of a child to see the obvious. “I have known Lucifer all my life. He has his reasons. At the moment our only task is to rid Tsuriai of Sachiel and that is what we are going to do.”

“Without questioning?” Caleb pouted.

“Without question.” Eidolon nodded. “If you all came in support of Vikarr, who has taken a place on the Council and agreed to this course, then honor him by doing what is necessary.”

“Come on, angel.” Donovan sighed as he took Mala’s hand and moved onward. Eidolon followed once Caleb nodded his understanding and they continued through the Garden on their slaughter.

“Has anyone else noticed.” Myrt asked suddenly while wiping Caleb’s cheek clean.

“Yes.” Eidolon sheathed his blade and closed his eyes. The gates of Eden were quiet. “Presia’s song has ended.”

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Nihil : Changes Pt.2

“I’ll be back.” Maefyl had his fill after another hour of petty bickering. He headed down the table and snatched Sanguine off of it to sit her on his shoulder giggling. Then grabbed Brig and Raziel by the arm. “These two are going home. Nothing is getting accomplished here, and the hall is probably flooded with tears at his point.”

 When no one complained Maefyl shifted them into the hall and got caught in the embrace of relief. He didn’t bother trying to push his way out of it, but sent Bezer and Azazel in to give their own hugs to Asura and Nikolai.

 “Kaneko, you can go in.” Maefyl smiled as one of the fargoyles ran across his shoulders to make sure they were hugging everyone. “Those three don’t need babysitting anymore.”

 “Nyaa.” Kaneko giggled. “They were nice and quiet. Make sure you give them treats.”

 “Take them home, Raziel.” Maefyl didn’t want the questions starting while they had an audience. It was going to be hard enough on all of them. “Take a few days, if you need me to check on Vex I will.”

 “I’ll take care of it.” Raziel let Maefyl wriggle his way out of the tangled reunion. Maefyl had fought on their behalf, risked punishment for a swift act of vengeance and confronted Lucifer to a painful end. Even in Council he spoke for them. Maefyl had access to all of Raziel’s secrets. His knowledge, his memories. Maefyl had only glimpsed a few of them, but few as dark and shameful as those he now knew. As soon as they had been taken Maefyl had found dozens of them locked away in Raziel’s mind. The many debts he paid for Galik, and now for Brig. This time Brig paid with him and Raziel hated that he had let it happen. Maefyl should have been furious with him, but as Raziel looked at Maefyl’s sad smile, he heard only sympathy and compassion. Maefyl understood and appreciated the freedom he had given Brig and did not leave any blame with Raziel for what had occurred. “But, thank you. For everything.”

 Maefyl nodded and waited for them to leave. He would go to see them soon and give them all the words of comfort they needed. For now they just needed each other and he had a few other things to settle before he could go and relax himself.

 “Thanks for not sentencing me to hard labor.” Maefyl put his arm around Eliza’s shoulders and looked at Donovan and Mala. “If you are dead set on asking; go ahead, but I wish you would leave well enough alone.”

 “What about an alternative?” Sanguine suggested. It had been her slip up that made Mala so determined. She fluttered into the Council hall and emerged with Azazel. “Show them.”

 “Are you starting trouble out here, asshole?” Azazel pounced on Maefyl’s back and stretched his arm over him to show off his wedding bands.

 “Always, pussy cat.” Maefyl grabbed Azazel’s hand to point out Sanguine’s clever alternative. The wedding bands of Golod. “She means this. They all have them.”

 “Those are pretty. Why is one white?” Eliza leaned closer to look and Azazel hissed at her. “What was that for?”

 “Only Nikolai and the pussy cats have that one.” Maefyl sighed ad realized he would probably working a bit of magic on Eliza and Donovan, but for now he didn’t have the patience for it. “It used to be black, too.”

 “You lost someone…” Eliza lowered her eyes. “I’m sorry.”

 “Lucifer helped them with the magic and bound them all together equally.” Sanguine decided it would be best to move on and make the point to Mala.

 “But he is collared as well.” Mala tapped the delicate black band coiled with green that wrapped Azazel’s wrist.

 “It’s more recent, but we all are.” Azazel looked at Maefyl confused and started to get frustrated. “Why does it matter?”

 “Mala is the one that wants the collar.” Maefyl tugged at the longer bits of Azazel’s hair. “Donovan doesn’t have magic going for him, which means one of Lucy’s little gifts. On another vampire it might be reliable…”

 “Useless on a demon.” Azazel nodded and poked at Donovan. “Are you sure he’s completely useless? Have you asked Raven?”

 “I am so completely lost.” Eliza ducked away from Maefyl’s arm around her and left them to discuss confusing things about people she didn’t know. The door to the hall was still open and she peered through it to look at Vikarr. She wasn’t sure the open door was invitation enough to step inside, but thought if she could get his attention he would clear that up. “Psst, Vivi.”

 Samael had gotten bored and taken Shiroi and Azrael home. Promising to visit Golod and Nihil soon to continue and to establish friendships. Once the Wyrms left Gabriel lectured Nikolai on the caution he should take with them and insisted he would be reinforcing and strengthening the magic that protected them. He couldn’t dictate the friends Nikolai or Asura kept, but he could insist on barriers that denied any malicious intent to enter their home.

 Eidolon was chatting with Lucifer over a stubborn friend who was procrastinating over something important. He had a bride on each arm; one seemed to be a vampire, the other a demon. Kage was explaining some of the simpler details of the changes Vikarr would have to adapt to. Gabriel had moved into Maefyl’s seat and was apologizing for their recent neglect.

 It was Nikolai who noticed Eliza at the door first, because he was watching it for Azazel’s return. He just gestured for her to come inside and Eliza took the invitation assuming the powwow was over and this was just coffee hour.

 “Vivi, I’m going to need to get home.” Eliza told him quietly as he leaned beside his seat at a table that gave him all new reasons to be arrogant. “I’m thirsty.”

 “Vikarr, can you do us all a favor and keep your bride fed?” Kage scolded him. “After you called on the Council to rid your city of vampires. It would be an insult to all of us to let your own bride continue to take innocent lives in Nihil.”

 “What are you talking about?” Eliza looked across the table and pouted. “I can’t help that I need to eat.”

 “I think my Lord Kage is suggesting that you use my own blood as a means to keep your thirst satisfied.” Vikarr smiled up at her. “You are welcome to it.”

 “It’s also less of a suggestion and more of an unspoken rule.” Nikolai added as he looked up at Vikarr’s bride. “There is not a vampire on this Council that still hunts unless there is benefit in it for our Circles. Asura and myself included. Bezer and Azazel give generously, I imagine your Master will as well.”

 “Eew.” Eliza grimaced. “You are kidding right? You feed on your spouses?”

 “They love it.” Asura giggled and Bezer leaned over her grinning.

 “So much.” Bezer nodded excitedly. “Are we going home soon?”

 “Very soon, my pet.” Nikolai looked back toward the door. “I am waiting on Azazel.”

 “I had to steal him for a minute.” Maefyl leaned over the back of Asura’s chair and pushed her hair in her face. “Sorry I’ve been missing your messages.”

 “You just have to visit tomorrow to make it up to us.” Asura grinned as she fixed her hair. “Are Shana and Brig okay?”

 “They’ll be alright.” Maefyl was more concerned for her at the moment. Nikolai had befriended the Wyrms. “Nikolai I have no business telling you who to hang out with, but you are keeping a couple risky comrades.”

 “I realize they are dangerous, Maefyl.” Nikolai stood and pulled Azazel in front of them. “So are you. They have not given me any reason to believe they mean any harm to me or any of my pets. The only one I doubt is Shiroi, and aside from polite greetings and partings she spends most visits silent.”

 “I don’t like her any more than before.” Asura grabbed Maefyl’s hand and leaned against his arm. “But at least now when she goes home it isn’t to make you miserable.”

 “See you tomorrow.” Maefyl kissed her forehead and sent her off with Nikolai and the cubs. He still had to deal with a few things before he could get home and talk to Gabriel alone.

 “Did that obnoxious white haired girl live with you or something?” Eliza regretted the question when the few remaining in the hall fell silent and stared at her. “Never mind.”

 “I’m not getting into that today.” Maefyl forced a smile and tried to solve a few problems at once. “I’ll come by for Q & A in a few days if you do me a favor. Go back to Nihil, take Vikarr up on the offer.”

 “I’ll think about it.” Eliza smirked. She had tasted his blood only once when she bit him to defend herself. She had been too angry to remember it until now; there was something strange about his blood that left her feeling almost euphoric. She could only liken it to the way she had seen drugs affect the patrons at her club. “I’m not thrilled with the idea of giving him something else to hold over me.”

 “I’m not thrilled with vampires killing when it isn’t necessary.” Maefyl insisted that she give it serious consideration and made the same demand of Donovan. “That goes for you, too. I don’t want either of you to be the next reason I am called to Nihil.”

 “I’ll work on it.” Donovan sighed. Mala’s blood was amazing, but he didn’t like putting the demand on him any more than he enjoyed the drunken state the blood left him in. Donovan noticed Mala’s smile growing more hopeful and he clung tightly to his arm and started to pull him toward Lucifer. Donovan was not sure this was the best time for such things, but he had promised to ask. “Lord Lucifer, Mala and I recently wed…”

 “Congratulations.” Lucifer grinned as he interrupted. “I assume from your pitiful expression that you are looking for a favor.”

 “Only because I want to give Mala a bond that reflects his nature as much as mine.” Donovan realized when he looked at the blissfully wedded members of Council that the rings were sweet, but did not give Mala the permanence he wanted. Donovan was heartbroken that he couldn’t give Mala all he wanted on his own, but he was prepared to swallow his pride and ask Lucifer for help if it meant they had a bond as recognizable to Mala’s kin as it would be to humans. “I wouldn’t bother you if it didn’t mean so much to him.”

 “Mala, you must realize your difference in strength makes what you want difficult.” Lucifer explained. “Even if I were to create something for him… Donovan does not have to power required to collar you. I can only give you a compromise. A visible, physical and emotional bond between the two of you. It will give neither of you power over the other. Beyond that, Donovan will have to ask Maefyl to make you something nice to wrap around Mala’s pretty neck.”

 “Why me?” Maefyl laughed.

 “Because you and your meddlesome friend are responsible for my part in this.” Lucifer grinned. “Who else would suggest a marriage like the one in Golod?”

 “Busted.” Sanguine giggled.

 “We already have rings.” Mala pouted quietly to Donovan. He didn’t want the bands thy already had devalued by the magic Lucifer could use to bring them closer. “It’s enough.”

 “Just come here and stop wasting my time.” Lucifer grabbed their left hands once they were close enough and laid them together on the table in front of him. As he held their hands in place he drew a dagger into his other hand and drove it through both their hands. The two of them cringed but endured the pain as he forced a powerful magic through the blade into the wounds. The magic used their blood, moved it through each of them and created a powerful bond with their love for each other as its guide. Donovan held Mala tightly in front of him as the watched dark mists flow into their hands and felt a burning around their wrists when a snakelike coil of the blackish spells wrapped them tightly together. Lucifer withdrew his dagger and the magic finished its work leaving around each of their left wrists a braided band of black, purple and silver. Their simple silver wedding bands had been burned into them, permanently sealing the symbols of their marriage. “Satisfied?”

 “Apparently.” Gabriel smiled and answered for them. Mala had seen the final product of the magic for only a second before he turned his face up to Donovan’s and kissed him.

 “Good.” Lucifer pushed the two of them and forced their shift to Nihil. “They can go enjoy it elsewhere.”

 “We should go as well.” Vikarr stood beside Eliza and bowed his head to excuse himself as he took them back to Nihil

 “Before you bother ranting, Maefyl.” Lucifer raised his hand to prevent the incoming screams. “I am more than willing to discuss whatever gripes you have. Just not at the moment. Go home with Gabriel, make good on your promises to look in on your friends and join me in a few days. You are not the only one who is frustrated and I don’t care to fight with you at the moment.”

 Lucifer vanished before Maefyl had any hope of refusing. He took Lilith and Kage with him to prevent any conversations that would lead to a change of heart regarding his decision. Lucifer knew they were both too angry to speak with any purpose other than to wound each other. It was better for both of them to cool off so they could have an actual conversation instead of another battle.

 “Go ahead and ask, Eidolon.” Maefyl leaned onto the table beside Gabriel. He couldn’t read the Falcon, but both of his brides were waiting for him to ask the same question.

 “I know how you feel about it.” Eidolon sighed. “I don’t want to ask the favor of you. I was only curious if you thought Kaneko would be capable. When Kryss decides to give Nat the option, I don’t want to tell him it could end in her death. It’s what we are trying to prevent. I like the girl; Kryss and Aurora adore her. She is part of our family.”

 “Death is always a risk.” Maefyl looked at his fingers on the table. He had broken a promise to himself several times over and his only comfort had been that those he fathered were all living on willing Masters that adored them. He liked Kryss and Natasha, but knew neither of them well enough to break the promise again. “Kaneko is probably strong enough, but it isn’t just a matter of how strong she is. So many die trying to accept this curse, what it does to a body does not always go well. If the change itself doesn’t take cause death, the pain often does. I made that even more likely to prevent vampires from spreading more than they already have. I’m sorry, Eidolon, but if Kryss accepts the offer it’s a risk he’s going to have to take.”

 “You did it for me.” Karla pouted. “Why not for Nat?”

 “I knew you for years, Rose.” Maefyl sighed. “I watched you grow up with Asura.”

 “Don’t call me that.” Karla turned her face to Eidolon’s chest. “I don’t use that name anymore.”

 “Right, sorry.” Maefyl could see his slip up aggravated Eidolon as well. “I trusted you, and I trusted Eidolon and Kaneko to look after you.”

 “With your gift, you know Kryss and Nat just as well.” Eidolon was disappointed with Maefyl’s stubborn refusal. It would put him in a position that put Nat as risk and jeopardized Kryss’ faith in him. It could prematurely deprive Aurora of her mother, Kryss of his bride and the guilt would fall on Kaneko. Eidolon wanted none of them to suffer. “Have either of them hid some dark secret that makes you doubt they would live well?”

 “This changes people Eidolon.” Maefyl defended his decision. “I don’t want to be a part of ruining someone else.”

 “Who exactly do you think you’ve ruined?” Gabriel rubbed Maefyl’s back until he stood and wrapped around him crying. “Asura is as sweet, generous and loving as the day I brought her home. Shana is a charming girl…”

 “That swore to love Brig and look where that ended up.” Maefyl interrupted.

 “And each one of them love each other.” Gabriel was sure there was more to the relationships in Vex that he was not privy to, but it was clear to him that there was no harm in any of it. There was something else that had Maefyl bothered. “You can’t fault any of them for it.”

 “You can’t mean me?” Karla whimpered. “I didn’t do anything.”

 “No, kid.” Maefyl regretted trying to explain himself at all. ‘No’ should have been enough and it would spare him the misery. “It’s not you. I only regret one, and I don’t want to risk it happening again.”

 “Snowflake?” Kaneko hopped onto the table and scrambled across it to hug him. Kaneko had his blood, too. But it had been Lucifer who tricked him into spilling enough to give it to her. While she often wished Maefyl had turned her himself, he had become more than a vampiric father. He was like a brother to her and one of her closest friends. She knew why he was upset, and it was something that had bothered her too. “Maefyl, Kaneko doesn’t think it was your blood that made Snowflake like this. Kaneko did not stop being Kaneko. Asura is still Asura. Karla is still Karla. Whatever is going on with Shiroi has nothing to do with you. You didn’t make her bad.”

 “Not a word, Sanguine.” Gabriel knew she would only make thing worse when he felt her angry flutter in Maefyl’s hair.

 “I should not have asked.” Eidolon bowed his head to Gabriel. “Let’s go, Kaneko. We will deal with it.”

 “Kaneko will do her best.” Kaneko laid her hand on Maefyl’s back before she stood on the table. “Kaneko isn’t mad at you.”

 “Just let it wait.” Maefyl grabbed her tail as she turned to run back to Eidolon. “I have other things to deal with, but I’ll take care of it.”

 “Thank you, Maefyl.” Eidolon said quietly and left as soon as he had Kaneko back on his arm. There was little point in continuing the conversation for now and it was clear to him that Maefyl needed time with Gabriel.

 “I should go to Itami and make sure Nikumu and Fukushu are…” Maefyl stopped when Gabriel lifted his chin. “What?”

 “The only place you are going is home with me.” Gabriel kissed him and took him to Osore. When they arrived he pulled Maefyl to sit with him on the couch and set one of the game controllers in Maefyl’s hands before he wrapped his arm around him and pulled him back to lay against his chest.

 “I try to do my job for a change and you want me to stop.” Maefyl sighed. “Thank you.”

 “Don’t thank me.” Gabriel smiled. “I just thought this would help you relax while you talk. You can stop hiding your eyes.”

 “I wasn’t hiding them from you.” Maefyl turned to face him and was about to start defending his decision. Gabriel smiled and brushed the side of Maefyl’s face with his fingers. “I don’t know what he has done to me Gabriel, but I hate this. I don’t even know what I’m looking at in the mirror any more. I don’t know how you stand the sight of me.”

 “You are more beautiful than ever, you don’t ever need to hide things from me. Nor should I have hid this from you.” Gabriel blinked and the calm pools of blue expanded as he released the magic he had been using to cover the fact he had been touched by similar magic. Even without the confined iris, Gabriel’s eyes were soft and expressive, rivers of silver running through pale blues. Maefyl’s eyes had been entirely black, but stirred with shades of blue as he looked at Gabriel. “We have a lot to talk about.”

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Nihil : Complications : Friends & Enemies Pt.1

‘I want that foul creature and his pets out of my city.’

“It seems our new friend misses our company already, kosha.” Samael laughed and dropped his phone in Azrael’s hand before he went back to rubbing his shoulders. Shiroi was sleeping beside them after a long discussion of the part she may play in their plot. “I hate to wake her when she is so sleeping so peacefully. Do you want me to go ahead?”

“Hak.” Azrael pouted. Vikarr was amusing, but Azrael was not ready to trust him. Azrael nudged Shiroi until stretched out her arms and wrapped them around him. “Drakubi nu, Welak Isa. Deseka kaat voneka na Nihil.”

“So soon?” Shiroi pouted. “Samael, I still don’t think…”

“Shh.” Samael hushed her. “Get dressed and trust me.”

“I do.” Shiroi went to change.

“This will be hard for her at first.” Samael pulled Azrael by his hair and kissed him. “I’m counting on you.”

“De supas, kosha.” Azrael smiled. “Ha shent koga se.”

“Tell me you love me, Kaleka Samael.” Shiroi leaned against his back and tried to believe he knew what was best. She had wanted to be a part of everything they did; now she was getting her wish and it scared her.

“De kosh sek, Shiroi.” Samael took her hands and kissed them. “Now stop your worrying.”

“De kosh sek, nus.” Azrael pulled aside her hair and kissed her neck. “Danve?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be.” Shiroi smiled and told herself that she would do whatever was necessary to make them proud. “I love you, both.”

Samael took them to Nihil and knocked on Vikarr’s door. As it opened Azrael ran past him and Shiroi chased him inside. Samael smiled as he followed them and took a seat as they started to entertain the tiny Doma.

“So what are your troubles?” Samael took the glass of wine Vikarr offered and explained the limits he was bound by. “I can not just ask Raziel to leave the city. You asked for Council, he is here on your behalf with the Council’s support.”

“This does not involve the Council of Lords.” Vikarr was surprised to see the change in Shiroi. He devotion to her Master’s and her efforts to obey their wishes was beautiful. She was accepting Vikarr as a friend because they had and she wore a smile for this visit he could have not pictured before. “It is personal.”

“What did he do?” Shiroi asked and hoped it was a crime worthy of the risk Samael and Azrael would take. She knew they were looking for the smallest excuse, but she wanted to know it was enough to satisfy the rest of the Council when they had to answer for what they had planned.

“Aside from the tragedy of existing at all?” Vikarr laughed cruelly. “When I asked he depart to keep his pet and my bride from unnecessary trouble, he not only refused but called her character into question.”

“Unfortunately it will take more than that to legitimize my revenge.” Samael winked at Azrael. “But you have given us a good place to begin.”

“Saba Maefyl stava lana Nihil?” Azrael wanted to be sure they would not be interrupted. “Saba Gabriel?”

“I assume Maefyl is still at it if Raziel is here to harass you.” Samael swirled the wine in his glass. “Do you know if Gabriel is with him?”

“Maefyl’s only escorts at present are his small friend and my Second.” Vikarr slid a list to them of the remaining work Maefyl would be tending to. “Raziel seems to stay clear of him as he works, by Maefyl’s own request.”

“I realize Raziel is impossible to gauge, but his pets are not.” Samael grinned. “How angry did you make them, Jester?”

“They are agitated.” Vikarr finished the wine in his glass. “Not just over my words. Something passed between the Keeper and the half-breed. There was tension before I even spoke.”

“I don’t want to give them time to cool off.” Samael let Azrael finish off his wine as he stood. Shiroi clung to him nervously and Samael stroked her back to calm her as he made it clear to Vikarr that there would be no trouble for him. His complaint would only be the spark. “I will speak with my colleague about his demeanor. We can’t have members of the Council acting so vulgarly. Give your bride my apologies for his insult.”

“My thanks to you, Lord Samael.” Vikarr smirked as he bowed. “Most of the Council has been most helpful.”

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Nihil : The Keeper & The Council Pt.2

“If you would, Raziel.” Lucifer had been folding the paper in front of him into a small plane and tosses it down the table at Raziel. He winked as Galik caught and crushed it. “It was you that requested this meeting. Lead it.”

 “The information is there.” Raziel stood. “Approximately fifty vampires need to be hunted and destroyed to keep the secret and bring a modicum of peace back to Nihil.”

 “Work you could have done yourself.” Samael smiled. “Why bother everyone with this nonsense?”

 “I will not be made a villain in this.” Raziel explained with all the feeling of a brick wall. “There are vampires on this Council to consider as well as in the families of the others. I was not going to eradicate so many without the full consent of the Council.”

 “I doubt there are any on your list that matter.” Kage hissed. “This is a waste of time, Keeper.”

 “I disagree.” Raziel stated his position bluntly. “I have the burden of most of your hatred. Many of you will use any possible reason to find fault in my decisions and use them against me. I will not give any of you the pleasure of demanding my punishment.”

 “Still so clever.” Lucifer laughed. “I’m sure your shadow appreciates that you take such caution in your decisions.”

 “Yea, but what exactly is the question here?” Sanguine fluttered her wings. “’Do we kill them?’ Or ‘Who will kill them?’”

 “One, then the other.” Gabriel suggested as he glanced up from the page at Maefyl. “Though I imagine both are simple enough to answer.”

 “If I go; I’m not sticking to this bullshit list.” Maefyl warned of what his involvement would mean for Nihil.

 “Meaning?” Eidolon could see Maefyl still had an intense hatred for his curse and those that carried it.

 “Meaning their Third better stay in bed that day.” Maefyl grinned. “I’ll clear the city my way. If it has fangs it dies.”

 “That isn’t very nice, Dad.” Asura pouted playfully. “Some of my best friends are vampires.”

 “His as well.” Gabriel gave Maefyl a disapproving look and pushed the page aside. “He won’t be doing anything unnecessary.”

 “Raziel, I suggest you tell Vikarr to safeguard any vampires that have done no real damage.” Lucifer laughed. “But I think you have your answer.”

 “De haka na salek.” Azrael interrupted.

 “Excuse me?” Maefyl glared at him. “I don’t need an audience.”

 “De vonekas na salek den ze fetnakalu lana Nihil bret raze keka’tach.” Azrael folded his arms in front of him and pouted.

 “You would vote ‘no’ if I don’t let you tag along to piss me off?” Maefyl laughed as the others went silent. “Then let Nihil deal with it’s own shit. I’m not hunting with one of you following me around.”

 “I could try it.” Asura offered.

 “Absolutely not.” Gabriel scolded. “I will not allow it.”

 “Nor will I.” Nikolai sighed. “You’ve never done this sort of thing on your own. I can’t risk losing you, my pet.”

 “I had hoped you would do this as a favor to me, Maefyl.” Raziel remained calm and considered alternatives. “If Azrael is so interested in the deaths of vampires…”

 “Don’t even suggest it.” Samael cut him off. “We won’t be doing you any favors, Raziel. It isn’t their deaths Azrael is interested in.”

 “If you are suggesting his interest is in Maefyl we are going to have a problem.” Gabriel stood and turned to glare at the Wyrms.

 “Sit down, Gabby.” Lucifer stepped onto the table and walked along it. He crouched to address the Wyrms. “Saba det kaluha bol gansat? Sek axahaka na kobenwasi det kaluke?”

 “Ha saba gansat.” Samael pulled Shiroi over the arm of his chair into his lap and kissed her to keep her from voicing her opinion on the matter. As she relaxed in his arms, Samael rested his fingers on Shiroi’s lips and looked down the table at Maefyl. “Azrael was only curious. Let him join you for only one of your hunts and he will leave you to the rest of your work.”

 “I’ll take care of it.” Maefyl reluctantly agreed. “I’ll meet with the Circle and take out the dark dwellers in a few days. The others will take time. That many disappearing too quickly raises questions. And if the freak is coming along, so is Kage.”

 “Don’t drag me into this, half-breed.” Kage hissed.

 “Don’t be a nuisance, Maefyl. Just take Gabriel.” Lucifer glared at Azrael. “Everyone satisfied?”

 “I will tell Vikarr to expect you, Maefyl.” Raziel glanced at Van and Galik as he sat. “I owe you another debt.”

 “What the fuck ever.” Maefyl lit a cigarette as he stood. “Just give me a day or so, Raziel. Let’s go, Sany.”

 “Hey!” Asura rushed over to Maefyl before he could leave in a huff. “Don’t I get a hug?”

 “Sorry, sweetheart.” Maefyl wrapped his arms around her and kissed her cheek and he lifted her and swayed her legs. Her place on the Council gave her more protection, but it was still frustrating that she was exposed to some of the darker sides of Tsuriai. “No more volunteering yourself into trouble, okay?”

 “Deal.” Asura laughed as Gabriel joined them in a warm embrace. “You guys are squishing me.”

 “Most of you can go.” Lucifer stepped off the table beside Kage and pushed him back into his seat. “You stay and Eidolon I have a few questions about your wolves. Will you wait for me in the hall?”

 “There is not much I can answer, I gave Kryss his options.” Eidolon held Karla beside him. “He has not made a decision.”

 “I’ll just catch up with you later, then.” Lucifer waved him off and as Eidolon left with Karla the others began to leave. “Maefyl, if Vikarr is a problem Kage will join you.”

 “You don’t need to send half the round table, your highness.” Maefyl scoffed a Lucifer’s constant need to provide meddlesome protection. “I can handle myself.”

 Maefyl left with Gabriel, leaving Kage alone with Lucifer and his bride.

 “I was in the middle of something, my Lord.” Kage spoke softly as Lucifer sat on the table in front of him.

 “Not anymore.” Lucifer grinned at him as Lilith crawled over the table and draped her arms over his shoulders. “Do we have a problem, Kage?”

 “No.” Kage moved forward to take Lucifer’s hands. He kissed each finger as he spoke. “It was only one night. I will make it up to you.”

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Nihil : The Keeper & The Council Pt.1

“You will stay silent.” Raziel led Van and Galik into the Council Hall and took his seat. Frikk nodded her understanding from Van’s shoulder and Frakk did the same as he clung to Galik’s arm. “A single word from any of you and this will be the last time you join me here.”

 “We could do with a little more notice, Raziel.” Asura pouted as she entered the hall with Nikolai. She had been entertaining some students with Azazel when she got the message. “I was having fun.”

 “Why the urgency?” Nikolai led Asura to her seat as he questioned the emotionless demon. He had been more intimately engaged with Bezer and the interruption did not go over well with his bride.

 “You can give your pet my apologies for interrupting.” Raziel rested his fingers on the table and a page appeared in front of each chair. “This should not take long.”

 “It had better not.” Fukushu fumed as she arrived and took her seat. As she read over the page in front of her she glanced up at the mask the Keeper wore with little sympathy for his cause. “I care nothing about this. If I yield any decision on this to Azrael, can I get back to my children?”

 “It doesn’t work that way.” Eidolon sighed and pulled Karla to his side as he sat. “We all agreed to this for better or worse, Fukushu. Suffer with the rest of us.”

 “Hi Karla!” Asura bounced in her seat.

 “She is not to speak here.” Eidolon put a finger to Karla’s lips. “I only brought her because Kaneko was otherwise occupied. The short notice made it necessary, I don’t want her involved.”

 “Gotcha.” Asura nodded. “Where is Kage?”

 “He was seeing to a project in Tsumi with Nexus.” Eidolon looked over the page in front of him and laughed. “He will be along shortly. I had forgotten Vikarr was in Nihil. I’m sure that was fun for you, Raziel.”

 “It was not.” Raziel answered coldly. “Fortunately for him I can separate myself from the past and do as I’ve been tasked to do.”

 “Who is Vikarr?” Nikolai let his curiosity get the better of him.

 “A former subordinate.” Kage took his place at the table and nodded his greeting to Asura. “The Jester served Eidolon and myself in Lucifer’s court. Raziel is only bitter because Vikarr has the good sense to hate him.”

 “Being unfriendly already?” Lucifer laughed as he escorted Lilith to her seat. He kissed her as she sat and walked the long way around the table. He patted Van and Galik on their heads as he passed. “I see we have guests.”

 “Kasuk saba se, det Vasun?” Kage looked up at Lucifer as he stopped by his seat. His Master masked his anger with a wicked grin but his eyes burned into Kage’s soul and he knew he had made a grievous mistake.

 “One of my sides was cold last night.” Lucifer whispered at Kage’s ear as he leaned over him. “Why are you being difficult?”

 “De seta wazet’tach.” Kage closed his eyes as Lucifer slid his fingers behind his neck. “De shent vade bevalak.”

 “Yes, you will.” Lucifer grinned before he bit Kage’s ear. He knew that Kage had spent the night giving Nexus his unique comforts. They had used their work in Tsumi to spend time together, but had overstepped by letting it continue into time Lucifer had demanded. “If you choose her over me again I will not leave you the option.”

 “De supala.” Kage bowed his head slightly and accepted the angry kiss from his demanding husband. When Lucifer walked away Kage turned his head away from the others to collect his dignity.

 “We still seem to be short a few bodies.” Lucifer lounged into his chair and kicked his foot over the arm. “Asura, have you heard from your family?”

 “This morning.” Asura nodded. “Well, morning in Golod. Maybe they are taking a nap.”

 “Gabby rarely sleeps.” Lucifer laughed and focused on their presence. They were bickering but on their way. “I don’t suppose anyone has heard from the Wyrms?”

 “They are in Parasek.” Nikolai offered his knowledge cautiously. “It has been a year since…”

 “Thank you, Nikolai.” Lucifer smiled. Samael decided to latch onto human concepts after all; he had taken Shiroi to celebrate their anniversary. “I’m glad to see you’ve accepted their friendship.”

 “I really hope this is worth it, Raziel.” Maefyl flicked ash to the floor on his way inside and Sanguine fluttered off to take her own place on the table in front of her chair. “Some of us lead busy lives.”

 “He was playing video games.” Sanguine whispered across the table to Raziel. “You made him mess up and lose.”

 “It looks as if he plans to replace your entertainment with something requiring more than your thumbs.” Gabriel looked over Raziel’s evaluation of the problems in Nihil and knew why Raziel had called them together.

 “My thumbs have mad crazy skills.” Maefyl glanced at the page. “Mala… sounds familiar.”

 “One of Gabby’s.” Lucifer flicked at the page in front of him. “Pretty, quiet, and rather deadly with a lance.”

 “Mala served the horsemen.” Gory added. “Not Gabriel.”

 “Shh.” Sanguine hushed her as Lucifer laughed softly at the quiet interference. “You’ll get in trouble.”

 “He is also unaware that I created him and I prefer it stay that way.” Gabriel tapped his fingers against the table. “Mala owes me no service.”

 “How is that girlish wreck pretty?” Kage hissed. He had little fondness for the demons who would still cling to the title of angel to begin with, hearing Lucifer refer to one so casually as attractive was infuriating.

“Is that jealousy I hear, Viper?” Lilith giggled. “Quite bold for someone who has forgotten where to lay his head at night.”

 “Not another word, my love.” Lucifer grinned down the table at her as Kage fumed over her insults. Lucifer was thanking her more than scolding her and Kage knew it. “Kage is entitled to his opinion of Mala, but it doesn’t change the fact the angel is indeed pretty.”

 “As entertaining as your bickering is; I have things to attend to in Itami.” Fukushu scratched the table with her talons. “I ask again. Can I yield this matter to my shadow and be done with this nonsense?”

 “If no one is opposed.” Lucifer nodded, as did most of the table. “Raziel?”

 “I have no complaint.” Raziel answered. “Fukushu is free from my call to Council. It is unlikely any call I make will affect Itami or the creatures it protects.”

 “My thanks, Raziel.” Fukushu stood and bowed her head. “Then at Raziel’s call Azrael and my guardians share my voice at this table. If there is conflict I will return to speak on my own.”

 “If anyone else tries to follow her example I’ll nail them to their seats.” Lucifer clarified as Fukushu left. “I excuse her only because the form required for her presence here is torture and her guardians already sit on Council and confer with her regularly.”

 “So is this going to be like in Vex?” Asura was looking over the page. “Just wiping the slate clean.”

 “Not quite, sweetheart.” Maefyl pulled back his hair and waited impatiently for the Wyrms to show up so they could get the pointless discussion over with. “These aren’t all gathered dark dwellers. It requires a bit of discretion.”

 “So I can’t help?” Asura pouted.

 “Help with what?” Samael came through the door smiling. “You wouldn’t be discussing things without us, now would you?”

 “I’m sure you’ll catch up.” Asura waved at the Wyrms and the quiet bride between them. “I was only asking little questions.”

 Raziel had kept silent and waited; taking in the thoughts he could and knowing Maefyl was doing the same. His Master and pupil had been adjusting well to his new skills and he was glad to see Maefyl had reclaimed himself. It wasn’t until they each heard Shiroi’s anxiety at the sight of Maefyl that Raziel noticed a reaction in Maefyl that would hint at his gift. He watched as Maefyl raised in eyebrow in aggravated silence and quickly looked to Gabriel for comfort.

 “Voldrak, Nikolai.” Samael sat across from his shadow.

“Hello, Samael.” Nikolai smiled back at him. “And to you Azrael.”

 “Wabel saba Fukushu?” Azrael situated Shiroi between their chairs before he sat. “Det kagesa saba kaen.”

 “Fukushu gave her vote to you.” Eidolon explained. “She has children to look after.”

 “Kasuk saba besek?” Azrael picked up the paper in front of him and held it out to Eidolon for an answer.

 “The reason for Raziel’s call.” Eidolon knew Azrael could read it if he chose, but he was persistent in his hatred of Tsuri. Eidolon took the edge of the page in his fingertips and translated the script into Zakesel. “Look it over, Azrael. None of us want to be here.”

 “Kabil, Eidolon.” Azrael smiled and settled into the chair to read as he stroked Shiroi’s arm with his finger.

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