Tag Archives: Kat ‘Nox’ Jordan

TCOL : Epilogue : Wandering Djinn

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

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

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

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

Breakseal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 “We only just met.” Ifre explained.

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

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

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

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

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

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TCOL : Epilogue : Beneath

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

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

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

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

“You specialize in the criminal.” Sanguine muttered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What is that?” Maefyl sighed impatiently.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TCOL : Breaking The Ghost : Faith

“Now then.” Lucifer turned to his friends and their companions, but more than any he spoke to Gabriel and Maefyl. They impatience and uncertainty from the two of them was more troublesome than any threat Sachiel could make and with strange new allies standing amongst them they would all want questions answered he simply did not have the time for. “I will answer the questions behind those inquisitive glares another time. For now I am asking you all for blind faith. Ria and the others are here to help. Trust them. Trust me.”

“What’s faif?” Neka blinked up at Bishop and tugged at his hand. He only sighed and looked to Kage fearful of answering a question that fell under parenting.

“Faith is believing in someone when you have no logical reason to.” Brig interrupting before Kage could put some awful slant on such a simple concept.. “Lucifer wants us to trust these friends we’ve never met, to give them a chance because he trusts them.”

“Neka doesn’t have to be blind for that.” Neka crinkled up her nose. “Neka trusts Daddy and Lucifer. Neka likes their friends.”

“I….” Brig smiled. “I have no way to argue that. You win, doll face.”

“Beaten by the logic of a child.” Demise sighed. “Brig, you are impossibly soft.”

“Maefyl?” Lucifer waited for an answer from his uncommonly silent son who had been listening to most of the exchanges with his eyes closed in an almost haunting serenity.

“Let’s see what your friends are made of.” Maefyl smirked as he flicked his cigarette and drew his blades. “I want those fucking angels out of my way. Sachiel is mine.”

“His aura is terrifying.” Threa whispered behind Ria.

“It’s magnificent.” Ria replied and reached back to tussle her hair. “It isn’t as if you haven’t seen an aura like this before.”

“Both of you should mind your voices.” Lucifer spoke to their minds and cast a cold glance that stiffened the both of them.

“With your permission, Lucifer.” Ria bowed to the Dark Lord. “We would all benefit from the use of…”

“For this alone.” Lucifer cut him off coldly. “Don’t think for a moment that I can’t rip the privilege out of you.”

“Of course, Dark One.” Ria rose and took Threa to join the others. The kneeled together and began a strange chant that sent them into a trance like state as their bodies started to change. Their skin taking lustrous and deepening tones, some almost translucent until they were almost completely constructed of the elements they had dominance over. When they spoke again it was in perfect unison.

‘We open ourselves to the strength of the Sleepers of Eden. Creator, unleash your wrath through your servants.’

The Djinn screamed in what seemed like agony and vanished. For a moment there was silence, but before the onlookers could respond to what they had seen and heard they felt a tingling in the air and a soft rain fell over them that made Presia laugh and resume her song with a renewed vibrance. An enormous beast covered in flames leapt over them and jumped off the cliffs edge into Sachiel’s army, followed by an immense eel like dragon that seemed to create it’s own river as it moved. Sachiel’s curse began to echo through the ranks of her soldiers as the demigods smashed through them.

Lucifer and his Council stood at the cliffs edge as their companions rushed to watch the fray. They saw dozens of Sachiel’s angel’s struggling to free themselves from arms of stone reaching from the ground. Eden itself fighting the trespassers on it’s sacred soil. So many of the frightening aerial warriors were now flightless as well, ice crusted their wings, fire singed their feathers and the wind itself refused to carry them. They had no means of escape, they were disoriented and bewildered by often unseen attackers but they fought on singling their hymns and hiding Sachiel as she darted through them spreading more of her hatred.

“That’s only four, Lucifer.” Eidolon remembered those they had locked away and that his guide through the storm had not been among those who went to fight below. “Where are the other two?”

“We are flattered to be remembered.” Child-like voices in perfect unison. When Eidolon turned to see her the girl bowed. “We are one now. We were ever so lonely apart. We are Li’da.”

“Lovely.” Eidolon bowed his head slightly.

“We do not require your flattery.” Li’da smiled. “We are uninterested.”

“Kyaa!” Kaneko raged at the calm demeanor of the insult and would have been clawing at the girls face had she not found herself in Eidolon’s arms instead. “Master Eidolon isn’t interested either you creepy….”

Eidolon kissed her to keep the insult from becoming worse.

“Your friends have already joined the fray.” Li’da remarked as if she were completely unaffected by the conversation.

“Nyaa!” Kaneko licked up Eidolon’s face and wriggled free. When she saw the others fighting. “Let’s go!”

“Go.” Karla kissed Eidolon sweetly. “I’ll be here cheering you on.”

“I am to keep them safe.” Li’da gave Eidolon a quick nod and watched him take his more capable bride over the edge into the battle below.

“Not so close to the edge, Neka. Please.” Bishop pleaded with his excited owner as she hopped around watching the slaughter. He was as bothered by her putting herself in danger at the edge of the cliff as he was by having to drag Farren and his daughter closer to seeing what could be the end of family. Though neither of them seemed all that bothered by the idea. They had just been sitting quietly looking at each other since they met like they were having a conversation without words. “Are you two okay?”

“It’s cute how much you worry about everyone.” Vafera fluttered on his shoulder. “I like you, Bishop.”

“I can’t help it.” He sighed.

“Neka wants to see better.” Neka jumped onto Bishop and climbed into this arms for a better view. “There’s Daddy!”

“That’s fucking crazy!” Van exclaimed as she saw the spectacle that had caught Neka’s attention. Kage and Vikarr had unified in an attack through a wave of attackers, spiraling through them so perfectly that the force created a whirlwind of blood.

“For the love of rainbows, Vivi.” Eliza shook her head. “Who are you showing off for?”

“My guess is you.” Kiki laughed from the top of Eliza’s head. “He seems to adore you.”

“He fucking better.” Eliza smirked as she watched him shake blood from his speckled wings and noticed he had abandoned shoes to utilize his creepy features in battle. “See. I told you he had weird feet, Baldy. Baldy?”

“I can’t see Myrt.” Caleb was digging his fingers into Donovan’s arm as he scanned the calamity below for his beloved.

“He’s one of the twins?” Brig pointed off in the distance and watched the panic melt away as Caleb and Donovan watched their angels with pride and relief, but he could still see the sting Donovan felt from being left behind. He understood it all too well. “Cheer up, cupcake. They left us up here because they are good at this.”

“And you are not.” Li’da finished the thought coldly. “You would have been a liability.”

“Yea.” Brig frowned. “Thanks, doll face.”

“You are in trouble like my mother.” Evadia spoke suddenly with her eyes welling as she started to put things together. “They won’t let us stay together will they?”

“Evadia.” Farren held her fingers softly in his and told himself the truth was best no matter how painful. There had been enough lies. “I offered them my life in exchange for yours and in recompense for the damage I’ve done. They were kind to let us meet. Even if only once.”

“No.” Bishop slapped the back of Farren’s head. “They could have killed you and they didn’t. Don’t sit there and tell your kid you won’t see her again.”

“I won’t fill her head with lies.” Farren scowled at Bishop; angry at the boy for the first time since they had met.

“I would never tell you to lie to her.” Bishop crouched down to talk to the girl still holding Neka and smiled. “I would never lie to a kid. I just don’t see the point in smashing hope. I mean look at this mess. We are sitting here in the middle of a war, but you just met your Father. There is a girl over there singing because she believes in the ones fighting. Believes this will end. I have to believe it too. That guy she is holding saved my life today, and I plan on thanking him.”

“He might…” Evadia glanced back and stopped herself. She suddenly understood what he meant. When Neka had asked earlier about faith she had nearly chuckled at the simple explanation Brig had given, but she was getting a nearly identical lesson in hope from Bishop. Believing in a chance no matter how small. Evadia smiled at her father. “We’re going to be okay.”

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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 : 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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Filed under Book VII, story, The Council Of Lords