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TCOL : Eden : A Warm Welcome

The moment Eden burst to life torrents of winds went swept over it to protect Zakesalek and their families and Lucifer grinned at the panicked reaction as Sachiel called for hundreds more of her pathetic choirs to fight on her behalf. While the coward exhausted herself he waited quietly beside Gabriel for the others to be brought to the cliff overlooking the estate where the once feared ghost hid away.

“Admit it, Gabby.” Lucifer spoke softly. “You’ve missed this place.”

“I have.” Eidolon interrupted and gave a quick nod to the silent shadowy wisp that had led them through the maze of assaulting winds. He watched it disappear before he smiled at Lucifer and listened to the others heave sighs of relief to be through with at least part of their journey. “I enjoyed it more without the obstacles.”

“We took care of what obstacles we could before the elements decided to lend a hand.” Mala grinned and bowed slightly to Gabriel. “They could have given a warmer welcome.”

“Have you seen the others?” Gabriel questioned him sadly.

We are leading them all to you Jakyl.” The wind assured him as some of it coiled in front of him and coalesced into a tall slender form dressed in a well-tailored suit and smiled at him. “Only one of your followers has fallen, and he was struck before our release. He is being cared for. You have no need for worry.”

“You’ve taken forms.” Eidolon moved beside Gabriel astonished by the sight of the element mimicking their demonic perfection. With long white hair that ran down his back until it was nearly clear at his waist and eyes that shifted in pale blues and greens, but surrounding the iris was as black as the entirety of Lucifer’s eyes.

“And names.” Lucifer added as he continued to watch the estate below for Sachiel. “This one likes to be called Ria.”

“You said you were released.” Gabriel asked with instant regret. Knowing release meant blood had been spilled. “Which of us gave you this new freedom, Ria?”

“I was surprised as I am sure you will be that it was not one of you that broke the last of your damnable spell.” Ria smiled at him and started to fade into a breeze again so he could continue his task of gathering the others. “It was the blood of the one called Maefyl.”

“Maefyl is not hurt.” Gabriel caught Lucifer by his arm when he turned with rage evident in his expression. Despite his tendency to be cruel on his own, the thought of his son in jeopardy agitated Lucifer like little else could and Gabriel knew well enough to end the worry. “At least not badly enough to be concerned over. Whoever has fallen; it is not Maefyl. Do you think I would be standing here watching you gloat if he were in any danger?”

“This is an odd gamble.” Eidolon thrust a blade into the ground in front of him and tapped his fingers around it’s hilt. “Even with the numbers the ghost is calling, do you expect a hoard of angels to stand against us? I don’t mean to deny any soul it’s freedom, but you are releasing an unpredictable element into a world we have yet to stabilize after so many changes.”

“Doubt is unattractive, Falcon.” Kage hissed softly as he arrived and stood beside Eidolon watching the raging angels as Sachiel rallied them with her magic. He smirked when he heard Lilith cooing over her attention from Lucifer and decided to leave her to enjoy the reunion while he focused on the matters at hand. “When did you start questioning our Lord?”

“I was merely making conversation, Viper.” Eidolon smiled . Neither of them gave each other a glance as they spoke. They just exchanged odd pleasantries as they watched and listened. Myrt and Mala quietly gave words of comfort and confidence to their husbands while Lucifer fawned over his blood covered bride and taunted Gabriel with the cleverness of his plans. Ria had guarded them and Eden, Lucifer had Eden surrounded in a barrier of his own to protect his own realm from the battle to come and caught between the film of chaos and the violent winds angels screamed a harmony of violent intentions conducted by an angry ghost. Still they stood smiling at an army that would be on them soon, friends after all they had been through and realizing as they listened the cruel genius of their Lord.

He brought them together. All of them.

“Thanks.” Brig kneeled and stroked the pebbles that rolled softly in front of him as they finally made their way to others. He pouted a bit when he realized he was the first from Vex to make it. “I don’t suppose you could tell me if ShaSha is okay?”

The pebbles rolled against his fingers and warmed. He was too relieved to even notice Eidolon had walked over to him and fell over startled from the tap on his shoulder sending Cid and Tali into fits of laughter.

“I apologize.” Eidolon leaned and offered his hand. Kaneko clinging to his back with a wide smile on her face and Karla clinging to his arm giggling. “They tell me you looked out for them. You have my thanks.”

“I think they were the ones looking out for me.” Brig blushed and pulled himself up with Eidolon’s hand. He had taken it in greeting before, but this gesture seemed warmer. When he was on his feet Eidolon sat another hand over his. “I didn’t…”

“You stood up for us.” Karla smiled.

“Kaneko doesn’t give her praise lightly.” Eidolon squeezed Brig’s hand before releasing it. He turned his attention to the Wyrms and sneered. “Nor just she leave out details. I am inclined to thank you for sparing them any harm, Samael.”

“I have no interest in your brides, Eidolon. Save your breath.” Samael scoffed and walked past him, dragging Shiroi along with him by her wrist until he was stopped a few feet short of Lucifer by Kage. Samael clenched his teeth in his grin when he met Kage’s chilling glare. “De naze na seldak hala sekni kevas.”

“Then I suggest you calm yourself.” Kage’s nails lengthened and his fangs fell into his smile. “You won’t be going near him when I can smell death in your intent.”

“If there is death in my intent it has far easier targets.” Samael smiled past Kage. “It merely occurred to me that our guides through this battleground were so very convenient. I wanted ask our dear Lord who we should thank for the sudden cooperation.”

“ShaSha!” Brig ran to his family interrupting the tension for a moment with their reunion. As they kissed Brig felt Raziel’s fingers in his hair and smiled. He held Shana’s face as he whispered. “I’m glad you’re all okay.”

“And we found the lost kitten.” Van beamed proudly as she hung on Galik and pointed to their traveling companions. Neka was cuddled up on Bishop’s back as he walked quietly beside Farren. Behind them Nikolai and his pets lovingly congratulated each other on their progress.

“Daddy!” Neka giggled and swung her feet at Bishop’s sides as he walked closer to take her where she wanted to go. Her excitement was enough to soften the air between Kage and Samael and they both smiled to greet her. “Daddy, the air talks here!”

“Sweet girl.” Samael patted her as she slid to her feet. “The air speaks everywhere if you are listening. What you heard was something far more irritating.”

“And Bishop was so bwave.” Neka grabbed the leg of Kage’s pants, ignoring Samael’s lesson to tell her Father about her adventures. “So was Fawwen.”

“You were to stay with Kaneko.” Kage glared at Bishop as he picked up his daughter and stroked her hair.

“Everyone was upsetting her.” Bishop hung his head. “I made a mistake and put her at risk. That damn vampire got hurt trying to keep us safe. I’m sorry.”

“You’ll have to annunciate, Neka.” Kage grinned at his daughter. “You were telling me about your pet…”

“Bishop kept Neka safe.” Neka hugged Kage tight and rambled on about Bishop and his bravery. “Neka was brave, too.”

Until Kage was certain Bishop had finished wiping away unnecessary tears he held Neka and let her inform him on every detail of their adventure. The fact she insisted on including Samael kept another issue from arising between themselves. As everyone reunited and took time to recover and strengthen themselves. Even as the army around them grew wilder, their faith in each other and their confidence swelled.

“What has you smiling suddenly?” Lucifer watched Gabriel’s somber, contemplative expression melt into a sense of peace. “I assume that my son is finally going to join us. Nothing else seems to distract you so completely.”

“Kosha!” Azrael ran at Samael and leapt into his arms. He grabbed Shiroi and pulled her into the embrace as he bit Samael’s ear and mumbled his exciting news. “Se seta Maefyl, kosha. Ken blekasa.”

“De supas.” Samael held Azrael close and stroked his hair as he watched Maefyl’s quiet arrival.

Samael’s were not the only eyes on him as he carried Evadia into the midst of strangers. All of the Council watched anxiously as Maefyl sat the girl to her feet and took her hand. Gabriel met him and took his hand as he walked toward Farren.

Farren fell to his knees as they approached and nervously spread his fingers in the grass as he watched his daughter blush and start to smile. He wanted grab hold of her and never let go, but he had made a bargain for her safety. His life for hers. He just smiled at her and hoped she could understand. “Hello, Evadia.”

“Daddy!” Evadia leapt forward and embraced him. “I knew you would come.”

“Thank you, Maefyl.” Farren wept as he held his daughter.

“Let him look after her while we put an end to this.” Maefyl patted Kage on his arm. He could already see the aggravation building over another complicated guest and it was unnecessary. Lucifer wasn’t going to allow her to stay. They should at least have this time. “It is time to end this; right, Lucy?”

“Sachiel!” Lucifer’s voice rose over Eden. “Face me!”

Presia’s song began again as she was escorted into the field of Watcher’s by a dark haired young man with eyes like fire who gently carried Nei as he walked beside her. She sang sadly as the winds calmed to reveal a gathering army and her escort laid her Master in her lap for safe keeping. He took her hand and laid it over Nei’s heart. “Sing for him, miss.”

“Is that flirting?” A giggling current of water that had guided them took form beside Presia’s rescuer and pinched him. Her ringlet curls bouncing as she playfully scolded him. Presia’s song was brightening and the skies of Eden were clearer with every note. “Make friends later, Ifre.”

“I want to make sure we actually have friends here, T’waer.” Ifre righted himself as he put his arm around her. “Ria and Lucifer made this agreement, but I remember a few of these angry faces.”

“Don’t be bitter.” Ria scolded as he took form. He let his barriers of wind begin to wane; a gesture that silenced Ifre’s doubt. “For Eden.”

“For Eden.” Ifre nodded.

Angels that were scattered across Eden now converged on the estate were Sachiel hid herself away. Forming threatening ranks and screaming songs of war to combat Presia’s melody.

Fruitlessly. Presia’s song was being amplified by Eden itself and by the magic of those who never left it.

“Ifre.” Lucifer grinned. “Burn that eyesore to the ground.”

“Boring.” Ifre yawned as screamed erupted from the rapidly crumbling estate. Twaer and Ifre laughed as Sachiel shouted curses and hid amongst dust and her army of angels. “Nice work, Threa.”

“Thank you.” Barely a whisper came from behind Ria as a girl barely more than half his height peeked around him.

“Shall we begin?” Ria smiled at Lucifer.

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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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TCOL : Eden : Those Who Will Stand At The Gates Pt.2

“Bret deseka vonek na Eden, baat?” Azrael tapped his foot impatiently.

 “Palak, Azrael.” Gabriel waved off the eagerness of the Wyrms to destroy and stepped toward Lucifer. “I have one last concern. I asked that you stay behind, Lucy. Hanseka. We helped you close the gates for a reason.”

 “I’m not going anywhere, Gabby.” Lucifer had decided to honor Gabriel’s request… in part. They all felt the trembling as Lucifer started the massive undertaking. Hell shook, but it was not a threatening tremor but a warm pulse of energy. “I won’t have to.”

 “I don’t like this, Vivi.” Eliza clung to Vikarr as if he could stop the shaking himself.

 “Myrt…” Caleb clutched his husbands sleeve and trembled as Myrt pulled him into his arm and drew a lance from the air, ready to protect him. He didn’t say a word but smiled when he saw his brother similarly standing as guardian to Donovan.

 “Is this really a time for games?” Eidolon held his brides in his protective embrace and noticed that Neka’s pet had nearly enveloped her in an embrace of his own. “We came ready to fight for you. Stop this.”

 “Show some faith, Falcon.” Kage grinned.

 Lucifer laughed as his magic completed and he gloated over his success. All of Golod watched him; Asura and Bezer giggling over what they were sure was going to be another argument. Raziel’s puppets stood silently at his side, so intent on making their Master proud that it didn’t even seem to occur to them to be afraid. Nei just fawned over Presia and yawned mockingly over Lucifer’s spell. Vikarr smiled at his worried bride and assured her there was nothing that would harm her. The lot of them were truly remarkable.

 “Done showing off?” Maefyl clapped slowly and laughed. “Now tell the class what you did.”

 “Remodeling.” Lucifer grinned.

 “You’ve brought Eden into Hell?” Raziel stroked Galik’s back. The most eager of his puppets to indulge in the coming fight was growing more impatient.

 “More specifically into my estate.” Lucifer grinned. He could feel the astonishment of the entire realm stroking his ego. Outside his estate they would marvel at the swell of power without ever knowing what had caused the realm to nearly double in size. They would simply see the superficial growth of Lucifer’s castle and know he had once again grown stronger. Once again done remarkable things. “Lilith does love her gardens. Who would like to help rid it of some vermin?”

“I just can’t go a day without saving the world.” Maefyl tightened his ponytail and jumped onto Gabriel’s back. “Stop looking so agitated. You knew he was going to do something obnoxious.”

 “This is not merely obnoxious.” Gabriel stepped up to Lucifer’s throne and rested his fingers against the arm. “Lucy, are the gates contained?”

 “Of course.” Lucy nodded. “I wouldn’t bring Eden only to let those nuisances run about making a mess of my home. Until we’ve destroyed them there is no way out of Eden.”

 “And then?” Gabriel asked quietly.

 “One thing at a time, Gabby.” Lucy stood in front of him and smiled. “Let’s get on with this.”

This is not an end… The gates will open.

 

Presia’s momentary augury brought an eerie quiet to the room and troubling questions they were trying to avoid finally ate away at Maefyl’s patience.

 “Why gates?” Maefyl kissed Gabriel’s face in an effort to calm him. “You said Eden was your home.”

 “And it was.” Gabriel rested his hands over Maefyl’s wrists. “It is also largely inaccessible.”

 “More accurately, locked away.” Raziel explained. “To protect the magic there from itself and our own abuses.”

 “What magic could you possibly not control, Razzy?” Van giggled.

 “Not all magic wants to obey the ones who call on it.” Vikarr smiled at her and Van stepped behind Raziel for comfort. Vikarr was saddened that she was still unwilling to accept him as family, but in no way wanted to push her. “You were fortunate that the magic in you embraced you as it did.”

 “Don’t harass the girl, Vikarr. Even you could not understand this magic.” Eidolon tried to explain further when he realized Karla was waiting so eagerly for an answer. “This magic was more than just beyond us as young Watchers.”

 “It took the six of us to seal the damn things away.” Samael laughed.

 “Vasun Lucifer seta ise benus kenun.” Azrael added as he covered his eyes feigning fear. “De seta kowaksi.”

 “It was an experiment.” Lucifer shrugged. “I think it went beautifully.”

 “This is not a laughing matter, Lucy.” Gabriel snapped at him. “The gates remain locked.”

 “The seals stay, Gabby.” Lucifer grinned. “At least for now. There are other concerns and I have no desire to make an enemy of you over this.”

 “We are going to talk about this later.” Maefyl whispered as he slid to his feet and lit a cigarette. “For now can we do what we came to do?”

 “For once we are in complete agreement, Half-breed.” Kage felt the familiar flutter of Kagemusha’s wings as she whispered her encouragement and praise. “My Lord Lucifer, we have trespassers to remove from Lilith’s newest garden…”

 “Come along then.” Lucifer was waiting suddenly by the door in the back of the hall. “What are you all waiting for?”

 “This should be interesting.” Azazel purred as he walked proudly beside Nikolai until Nei nearly knocked him over on his way toward Bishop. Azazel hissed and clawed toward the vampire but found himself holding a small bouquet of wildflowers and accepting the warm smile Presia offered in apology as she looked back at him. “Fucking weirdos.”

 “Let it go, my pet.” Nikolai snatched the flowers from Azazel’s hand and tossed them to the ground as they walked. “I want you focused. Keep each other safe.”

 “We will, Master Nikolai.” Bezer assured him as she took his hand.

 “At last this Council is living up to expectations.” Lucifer led them inside with a twisted sense of confidence in his dragons and their beloved treasures. In tragedy they were always at their best. “You’ve earned some time to play. Let the games begin.”

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TCOL : Connections : Strength In Nihil

“I think we could both use a distraction.” Vikarr held Eliza on his lap and rubbed her tears away. “If you can handle the Keeper and his deviants slinging insults, we can visit them and make my offer more properly.”

 “What about Vale?” Eliza whimpered and tried to look away but he held her face and smiled at her sweetly. He had been just as angry, she could see the hurt in his eyes and he was doing what he could to distract her. His offer would likely mean humiliating himself again on her behalf. Eliza hugged him suddenly. “I think we should just stay with our friends here.”

 “As you wish, my lovely.” Vikarr smiled as she clung to him. “I can play Father another time. I’ll have everyone meet us.”

Breakseal

“Obviously.” Donovan sighed and put his arm around Mala to pull him close. When Vikarr sent word he wanted company, the others were already gathered together discussing what little they knew. “It wasn’t a question of willingness. I just doubt I would be more than a spectator.”

 “Cheer squad!” Caleb forced himself to be cheerful even through his overwhelming terror over the situation. “Don’t underestimate the support team. They need us, Donovan honey.”

 “From the sound of things we all may fall into those roles.” Myrt tugged Caleb’s hair until he settled back into his arm. “I don’t think we are even invited to this fight.”

 “We can’t let Vikarr go alone.” Mala insisted. “He is like family to us.”

 “I’m flattered, Mala.” Vikarr cackled. “You can all stop worrying. I’m not certain even I will be going. Seems the Six want to keep the fun to themselves.”

 “So don’t let them.” Eliza pulled out her phone as she wiped her face. “For the love of rainbows, I have to do everything…”

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TCOL : Connections : Surrender Pt.2

“Can you feel that?” Maefyl looked at Raziel.

“One cluster of thoughts still very well guarded.” Raziel nodded. “Sachiel abandoned him but still has secrets she wants kept.”

“Farren.” Maefyl grabbed him by the back of the neck. “Stop making the kid feel like shit over saving your skin. There is something in your head we can’t see.”

“I don’t know what you have seen.” Farren stumbled backward and Maefyl let him fall.

“Let’s see how long your leash is.” Maefyl grabbed the blonde hair and started to pull him away until Farren gasped for air. Maefyl kicked Farren closer so he could catch his breath. Farren still had nothing of value to share and Maefyl almost felt guilty for the pain he had put him in. Almost. “Well you don’t have to share a bed.”

“You’re welcome, Kage.” Lucifer looked up at him and winked. He had been generous enough to allow for Farren to be locked in another room if need be.

“Tch.” Kage looked away. He had too much to be furious over and couldn’t decided which slight against him to react to first, but he wanted the crowd to thin quickly so they could get to work. “Myrt, you and your companion are no longer needed. Leave.”

“Gladly.” Myrt held Caleb tightly and bowed his head to Gabriel. “I still have nothing but respect for you. You and Maefyl are our friends and I love you no less then the friends I have found in Nihil. This was a waste of time, but I would ask that if this Council has any further requests to make of me, you make them. I don’t want to come here again.”

“Geoffrey, you may want to excuse yourself as well.” Gabriel suggested. “The Council will handle the rest of this.”

“Don’t run off just yet.” Maefyl flicked through the phone he had taken from Farren and questioned him. “Are any of you little friends still hanging about to cause us problems?”

“No.” Farren came to the realization that they had followed him from place to place more than they had safe guarded any one of the facilities. “I think they were there to watch me. She called most back to Eden with her. At worst there may be a few lingering Powers.”

“Get yourself some exercise, Geoff.” Maefyl tossed him the phone. “If you want help, see if Nikolai will lend you the pussy cats.”

“Can we?” Bezer bounced into Nikolai’s arms excitedly. “I want to break things!”

“If you look out for one another.” Nikolai grabbed Azazel’s collar and pulled him close to whisper. “And if you behave. Don’t think I didn’t notice his eyes, my pet.”

“No worries, Master Nikolai.” Azazel purred and turned to kiss him. “Angels are boring.”

“And no one is more fun than the two of you.” Bezer leaned over to Asura and tugged her into their awkward huddle.

“Just stay in touch, okay.” Asura held Bezer’s face and kissed her. “I don’t like this.”

“We’ll be back before you can miss us.” Azazel winked at her with a sweet smile and blushed as Nikolai pulled him up by his collar and kissed him.

“Just behave.” Nikolai reiterated sweetly. “And be quick about it.”

“Will do.” Azazel grabbed Asura and kissed her until she was relaxed against him. “Don’t worry. Humans are squishy and Powers are pushovers.”

“Let’s go play!” Bezer jumped on Azazel’s back and he carried her to join Geoff as he bowed his head to accept their help.

“Get going.” Maefyl insisted.

“Please.” Lucifer added. “Now that this problem will not be growing I want it cleaned up rapidly.”

“Why are we still sitting here, Lucy?” Maefyl barely waited until Geoff had left with the cubs to launch into an impatient rant. “We have the name and place.”

“Do you tell him nothing, Gabby?” Lucifer rested his head on his fingertips. “Kage…”

“Fighting any war requires strategy, Half-breed.” Kage rested his arm on the throne and closed his eyes. “This is one the Council will be fighting alone. We can not call on others for help in this. The garden Sachiel has chosen to defile with her presence is not one many will set foot in.”

“Eden carries with it more than whatever horrors Iehovah stained it with.” Gabriel laced his fingers through Maefyl’s. “He used its serenity for privacy, it was once a piece of Tsuriai, of Earth, made into a garden because of its significance.”

“Not in the mood for riddles, Gabriel.” Maefyl sighed. “Just tell me.”

“It was where Watchers first tread.” Lilith offered what she knew of Eden solemnly. “Sacred because it was the first ground graced by the creators.”

“Pardon my rudeness, Mistress.” Samael laughed. “You should hardly be the one to explain. You have no real knowledge of Eden.”

“Eden saba kuraxa.” Azrael smiled and his eyes glossed as he remembered happy moments of their earliest days.

“Home?” Maefyl looked to Gabriel for clarity.

“Of Zakesalek.” Gabriel nodded. “Where we first brought magic to this world. And for a time where we managed to live without trying to destroy one another.”

“Home before we separated ourselves from the realm of the creatures we guided.” Eidolon added. “It holds a sentimental significance, but only to the six of us and Lucifer. It is tragic to learn it was used for so foul a purpose and to be darkened once more as a sanctuary for the Ghost and her schemes.”

“Schemes…” Farren sat and hugged his knees. “I think I know part of the plot she wanted hidden. Kava; Sachiel, she only wanted to have a child so she could force another soul into it.”

“Is she completely mad?” Kage shouted.

“I think we may know what became of the lost carpenter.” Lucifer rushed to help Gabriel restrain Maefyl as he began to scream. “Listen to me you stubborn child. I told you I would help. Stop your screaming.”

“This is unforgivable.” Eidolon snatched Farren up from the floor and struck him with the back of his hand. “You allowed this to be done to your own child? You have no right to beg us to save her on your behalf.”

“Didn’t you once request the head of a friend under the powerful influence of love.” Samael taunted Eidolon. “Really, Falcon. How can you judge him for being used as a pawn after you so easily fell into Kage’s trap.”

“And your excuse for cruelty?” Raziel tilted his head as he looked at Samael. “You have needed no such influence to do the dreadful things you have done.”

“I enjoy it.” Samael smirked.

“Kyaa.” Kaneko screamed and pulled at her hair. “All of you stop it. You are making Kaneko angry!”

“What the fuck, Galik?” Brig shouted as he clutched the fresh claw marks on his face and watched Galik licked blood from his fingernails.

“Don’t stand so close.” Galik grinned.

“Calm down, lovely.” Vikarr held Eliza as she struggled to get away intent on attacking Kage. “I won’t lose you over this.”

“I want to rip him apart, Vivi.” Eliza screamed and scratched at his hands. “Let me go. He killed Vale.”

“Master Nikolai.” Asura clung to Nikolai for comfort and wished the cubs had not gone away. She wanted them together. She watched a room full of friends and lovers suddenly turning on each other irrationally and was herself overcome with an unexplainable sense of dread. “What’s going on?”

“Tch.” Kage shifted suddenly across the room and slapped Shiroi across the face. “Control yourself. It is your anxiety that is doing this.”

“Uncle…” Shiroi rubbed her face and looked at him with wide eyed understanding as he laid his fingers against hers and realized what had happened. She had let herself get swept away in her own emotions. So troubled by the state of things that her gift touched even her; her fears and anger caused old grudges to surface and spill out into spiteful words and her sadness at seeing Maefyl in agony put her in a strange state of shock. Shiroi lost complete touch with the power in herself and could only stand there helplessly as it swept across the room infecting others. Kage had managed to keep his wits about him and realized what had to be done. Shiroi felt the arms of her husbands close around her gently as the shouting in the room softened and she gave Kage a trembling smile of gratitude. “I’m sorry. Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me. Learn to use your skills properly.” Kage hissed at her and turned away quickly to rejoin the others. His own calm was broken by the sight of Neka snuggled into the arms of her pet and he drew his sword, bringing the edge to Bishop’s neck. “And you should explain very quickly why you have laid your hands on my child.”

“She told me to pick her up.” Bishop sighed. “Just doing what I’m told.”

“Kevas.” Lucifer chuckled as he helped Gabriel settle Maefyl. “Let Neka play with her toy. We are a little busy at the moment.”

“Hardly.” Kage sighed. “There will be no rush into Eden. Most of this Council is ill prepared.”

“Then Zakesalek should go alone.” Eidolon suggested. “There is no risk to us.”

“What about the kid?” Karla looked up at him and whispered. “You aren’t going to let the crazy bitch hurt her are you, Master Eidolon?”

“Language.” Eidolon ran his hand over Karla’s short hair and sighed. She squeezed against him to apologize and he held her close as Kaneko took his opposite arm. “As much as I would like to avoid it, sacrificing the child to rid Tsuriai of Sachiel’s madness is not altogether…”

“Unfortunately I promised Maefyl I would see to the safety of Iesu.” Lucifer interrupted Eidolon and started to pace. “If what Farren has told us is true and his daughter now holds that soul, then the child will be spared.”

“Thank you.” Farren whispered his gratitude to no one in particular.

“I don’t think it’s for you, buddy.” Bishop quietly muttered his response when he saw Farren wipe away his tears.

“As long as she is safe.” Farren offered a weak smile before he hung his head and thought of his daughter.

“You’re funny, Bishop.” Neka hugged around his neck and giggled. “Neka likes you.”

“I like you, too.” Bishop smiled and gave a light squeeze. “Your Dad is scary though.”

“You haven’t even seen him angry, yet.” Lilith whispered suddenly from beside them. As Bishop started to jump away she wrapped an arm around him and giggled. “Don’t worry, the rest of her parents like you.”

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TCOL : Connections : Surrender Pt.1

“They are all kind of pretty.” Caleb whispered to Myrt. “What are they going to do with this guy they are bringing?”

“I should dig out your eyes for that.” Myrt grinned. “I have no idea.”

“Both of you shut up.” Asura scolded them and cuddled between Azazel and Bezer. “This isn’t funny.”

“Rest, my pet.” Nikolai stroked her hair as he stood behind the three of them and waited. “Your Father will return shortly.”

“Vivi…” Eliza woke disoriented and cradled in Vikarr’s arms. His sad eyes told her that what she remembered had not been a dream and she wrapped her arms around his neck and wept quietly on his shoulder.

“We will mourn her properly later, lovely.” Vikarr told her softly and tightened his embrace. The strange fairy that had been hanging about in his ponytail slid to one of Eliza’s arms and walked to her shoulder. “Why are you still hanging about?”

“To make you feel better.” The fairy stroked Eliza’s neck. “It’s okay pretty girl. Cry it all out and we’ll make you smile again.”

“Is Kiki going to go with them?” Neka sniffled and tugged on Lucifer’s hand.

“Neka, you’ve been given a pet.” Lucifer tussled her hair and lifted her onto his lap. “Kazeishi has to decide for herself which company she keeps.”

“It should not take this long.” Kage paced in front of the throne. “I should have gone.”

“It has been minutes, Kage.” Samael laughed. “You used to be more patient.”

“I find that hard to believe.” Shiroi mumbled.

“Devana, Welak Isa.” Samael wrapped his tail around her ankle. “There is enough to worry over without another misunderstanding between the two of you.”

The room went silent as Eidolon arrived holding Farren by his hair. He pushed him to his knees as the others gathered near the throne. When Eidolon went to join them Farren looked up at more than a dozen faces filled with pain and rage that he had caused and deserved.

“Maefyl will join us in a moment.” Raziel walked past Farren to join his loves.

“Azrael?” Samael grinned.

“Is with him.” Raziel explained coldly.

“Don’t react without reason, Gabby.” Lucifer kissed Neka’s cheek and lifted her as he stood. He set her beside Kage and walked toward Farren. “Welcome to Hell, angel.”

“I’ve had warmer invitations.” Farren felt tears on his face and laughed at himself for being overwhelmed with fear. “Just bear in mind; Lucifer, that I am here because I accepted it.”

“A surrender.” Lucifer crouched in front of him and smiled wickedly. “And why would you do that?”

“Because he’s tired of living.” Maefyl winked at Gabriel to get his focus off of Azrael’s behavior. “Just get what we need out of him.”

“Myrt, if you would.” Gabriel sighed.

“You won’t need the dream weavers.” Farren hung his head and sat back on the floor. “I’ll tell you what you want.”

“The catch?” Nikolai asked. “You can’t possibly expect us to trust you.”

“I’ll give everything I know to the Keeper if my honesty is in doubt.” Farren wiped the tears from his face. “My only request in exchange is that you save Evadia.”

“Evadia?” Maefyl lit himself a cigarette and reminded himself not to attack before they had answers as he leaned into Gabriel’s arms. “If that’s Kava, no deal. No one here is that forgiving.”

“Evadia is her daughter.” Farren cringed at the thought. “My daughter.”

“Not the name we have been waiting for, angel.” Lucifer grinned. “Myrt, we may need you to inspire the walking corpse after all.”

“I said I would give you the name.” Farren pleaded with every ounce of his sincerity. “I’ll take you to the damn woman myself and accept any death you give me, Lucifer. Just give me your promise you will save the girl.”

“I’m bored with this.” Kage hissed. “What would you have him do with this soon to be orphaned child? It should die with it’s troublesome parents.”

“That’s unfair, Kage.” Asura retorted angrily. “Should Kaneko have just killed me?”

“Nyaa.” Kaneko grinned. “Not a chance, Squirt.”

“We can figure out the spawn once we’ve dealt with parentage.” Lilith insisted. “Give him a sweet lie or have Myrt do what we called him for.”

“Myrt is unnecessary at this juncture. With or without his agreement we will have his knowledge.” Raziel explained. “His mind is opening rapidly as Kava’s protection fades. She has truly abandoned her pawn.”

“Lord Lucifer, a guest.” A large gargoyle stood at the doors to the audience hall with his eyes closed and the doors barely cracked. “A strange angel.”

“Did you have a yard sale, Gabby?” Lucifer stood and laughed his response to his sentry. “His name?”

“He says it is Geoffrey, Lord.” The gargoyle continued quietly. “He wishes to speak with you and my Lord’s Maefyl and Gabriel.”

“Geoffrey?” Lucifer turned to his son and took the playful grin as a challenge. “Send him in.”

“What would make him come here?” Gabriel whispered.

“Nothing good.” Maefyl sighed and knocked ash from his cigarette. A moment later Geoffrey wandered in with an arm full of old books. “We’re in the middle of something, Geoff.”

“Yes, excuse the intrusion.” Geoff smiled. “Dove told me this was a terrible idea, but she was equally angry with what I stumbled upon and insisted I see Gabriel before the horsemen discovered my… indiscretion.”

“Yummy. I don’t remember the Seraphim being quite so… ” Vikarr cackled when he felt Eliza’s fangs in his neck. “Gently, my lovely. I was only looking.”

“He is no ordinary Seraph.” Gabriel brushed off Vikarr’s more perverse interest. “He is a free Seraph.”

“Lord Lucifer, In a trance Presia mentioned a free angel.” Eidolon noticed the strange fairy on his shoulder and remembered Presia’s augury. “And a newling. How did you come by those books, Geoffrey?”

“We sort of peeked.” Gigi giggled.

“I took them from Iehovah’s study.” Geoffrey admitted. “They are disturbing.”

“Don’t.” Kage caught Lilith around her waist as she leapt toward the angel screaming. He kept her restrained as she shouted curses and demanded the books be destroyed. “At least not yet.”

“I won’t touch that filth.” Lucifer sneered as he turned away and shifted to settle his bride. “Burn them.”

“Imbecile.” Raziel slid one of the books from Geoffrey and read through it quickly before dropping it to the ground as ashes. He continued through the stack retaining only one which he carried to Farren and opened. He sat his finger against a name on the page and held it in front of the angel who had gone into a silent shock The gesture snapped Farren back to his focus and he read the page and wept. “Familiar name, is it not?”

“Please.” Farren looked up at Raziel. “I saw your promise to the children in Vex. Don’t let them kill Evadia.”

“I promised that they would not suffer.” Raziel walked away. “Not that they would not die.”

“Give us the name, Keeper.” Lucifer smiled victoriously.

“Discuss it with your prisoner.” Raziel held the last book to his side and let it fall to dust beside him. “You asked that the knowledge in the books be destroyed.”

“Leave it alone, Lucy. Kava is Sachiel.” Maefyl rushed to Farren the second his mind opened itself and kicked him to the floor. He smiled as he brought his sword against Farren’s neck. “You just lost your leverage.”

“She’s in Eden.” Farren closed his eyes and begged his daughter for forgiveness.

“Don’t just kill him.” Bishop shouted. “Fuck. He has a kid. What is wrong with all of you?”

“Keep it silent, Neka.” Kage hissed. “Or I will kill it.”

“NO!” Neka stomped her feet. “You said Neka could keep him.”

“And you repay that with insubordination?” Kage raised his hand to smack her and Bishop stepped in front of her.

“I thought you were supposed to be better than us.” Bishop stood there trembling but looked Kage in the eye as he spoke. “You aren’t angry at her, so don’t take it out on her. Look at all of you. At each others throats and ready to kill each other, kill children for their parents mistakes, you killed a woman for nothing, without batting an eye, while your own daughter watched. How is this any better than the assholes you are supposed to guide? How are we supposed to achieve any kind of greatness if the ones who are supposed to have it all figured out are still fighting it out like selfish children?”

“Neka is sorry, Daddy.” She hugged Bishop’s legs and peaked around at Kage. “Don’t hurt Bishop.”

“Save your rage a moment, Kage.” Lucifer insisted and tapped Maefyl’s shoulder to stay his attack on Farren. “You as well. Our enemy is the Ghost. Raziel, tell me what was in those pages.”

“Filth. As you said.” Raziel denied the request. “It would be of no interest to you.”

“Deal with him, Maefyl.” Lucifer pulled Lilith onto his lap as he sat. “I’m very quickly losing my sense of humor for this nonsense.”

“You do not want these thoughts, my Lord.” Raziel looked at Maefyl as he approached and knew the warning would make little difference. “But they are yours if you insist.”

Raziel opened his mind and watched Maefyl suffer through months of thoughts left hidden before he finally came to the moments Lucifer wanted. Maefyl clutched Raziel’s shirt as he tried to shake off the sick feeling of reading the printed thoughts of a man who had lived a life more disgusting than most could fathom. In the few journals Geoffrey had brought…

Maefyl broke away from Raziel’s mind and vomited.

“Fucking asshole.” Maefyl shouted as he righted himself and glared at Lucifer. “Geoff read these fucking things, why didn’t you ask him?”

“Must have slipped my mind.” Lucifer laughed.

“You are a menace.” Gabriel scolded Lucifer and went to comfort Maefyl. “I hope there was at least something worth suffering through that.”

“I hope you didn’t know about any of it.” Maefyl pulled away and kicked Farren. “Congratulations you fucking idiot. You fathered a child with the jilted whore of Iehovah.”

“Jilted?” Farren had known they were lovers. Sachiel had told him as much.

“That can’t be true.” Myrt interrupted. “Iehovah had no lovers. He only… for a child.”

Myrt had to shift himself away from Lilith’s barrage of needles as she screamed. Lucifer held her and kept her from continuing her assault, but there was no avoiding Maefyl. He tore Caleb away and tossed him into a small crowd of the others as he pinned Myrt to the wall with a dagger to his throat.

“You need to be very careful what you say right now.” Maefyl cut just slightly into Myrt’s skin. “I like you. Gabriel cares about you and Mala. Don’t insult me or Lilith by defending that waste of life. I just saw him bragging over….”

“Maefyl, please.” Nikolai shouted. “Do we need to hear this? Does Asura?”

“I want to hear it.” Azazel grinned.

“Hush, my pet.” Nikolai pulled Azazel close. “We can guess at the horror of it. Keep it relevant to our prisoner and the one we have yet to capture.”

“Go give him a hug.” Bezer nudged Caleb toward Myrt when Maefyl let him go.

Caleb ran crying and knocked Myrt back against the wall as he jumped to embrace him. Maefyl patted Caleb’s head as Myrt held him. They both understood the outrage and had already let the attack go. Myrt was struggling to accept another lie that he had wasted so much of his life on.

“What now, Maefyl?” Sanguine whimpered on his shoulder.

“Where is Eden?” Maefyl asked.

“It is the refuge Iehovah used for his outings.” Raziel explained blankly. He heard the aggravation in Maefyl’s mind before the expression even had the chance to change. The anger focused at him for hiding what he knew. “You asked that I not share everything with you, Maefyl. I am sorry. Yes, I knew of Iehovah’s habits. Of the many that suffered his lecherous depravity and those that died when it went to far. Eden had long been taboo, deemed sacred by his own command, he took his victims there for privacy. Sachiel shared many of his twisted interests, she frequently went to his bed. Until he grew bored with her.”

“You say victims.” Asura chanced the curiosity. “What kind of sex was this guy having?”

“Asura, why don’t you go play with Neka?” Maefyl sighed. “Please.”

“No, Dad.” Asura shook her head. “I’m a member of this Council.”

“As am I.” Raziel answered her request. “I choose not to offend the senses of everyone here.”

“Perhaps I can give a less graphic summary of the now lost entries?” Geoffrey offered. “I did come to offer help.”

“Go for it, Geoff.” Maefyl sat on the floor and laid a sword across his knees as he stared at Farren. “I’ll be deciding how to fillet this fuck.”

“In the relevant entries, Iehovah spoke of Sachiel’s growing obsession.” Geoffrey saw Lucifer’s bride react violently again to the name. “My apologies, dear lady. I will try to be more delicate. She had fallen for him and demanded a union. When he responded with giving a child to the human woman, Sachiel became further obsessed. Not only with Ieh… with her lover, but with his son. She desired a seat beside him.”

“It was just power all along.” Farren muttered. “I’m such a fool.”

“The Ghost has a unique talent for warping the mind.” Raziel corrected Farren’s assumption. “This Council’s demand for your head is almost injustice. Sachiel found your weakness and preyed on it. You are her victim as much as the humans you used in your demented distractions were yours.”

“Like a spell or something?” Bezer asked. “That’s cheating.”

“Essentially, yes.” Raziel nodded.

“Just get Evadia away from her.” Farren saw how eager Maefyl was to stain his sword. The level of his guilt no longer mattered. “Spell or not, I made the mistakes. Be careful in Eden.”

“You’ll still kill him knowing it wasn’t his fault?” Bishop wiped his face on his sleeve when he saw Maefyl move toward him with his sword.

“Tell him you aren’t worth crying over.” Maefyl sliced Farren’s face. “You were causing pain long before Sachiel flashed her bare ass. Tell him how you kill. How you decided to clean up those pawns you were finished with.”

“Dry your face, human.” Farren shook as he smiled. “I hope your decency is catching.”

“For fuck sake.” Maefyl drove his sword into Farren’s knee. “Lucy?”

“Going soft on me, Slayer? What do you want me to do?” Lucifer laughed. “Let him go? He is a walking disease.”

“No one wants to take responsibility for letting him live, Half-breed.” Kage hissed. “Kill him.”

“Or let Azrael do it.” Samael kissed Azrael’s neck. “He’s so beautiful covered in blood.”

“I suppose I could look after him.” Geoffrey offered. “If letting him live is an option.”

“Or I could.” Bishop raised his hand slightly until he felt stupid for doing it. “I don’t see why anyone else has to die.”

“Are you daft?” Eidolon laughed. “You are not capable of looking after him.”

“It is brilliant idea.” Lucifer grinned. “Sorry, Kevas. This will be irritating for you. Neka, bring Bishop to me. On your feet, Farren. You may have just earned a fate worse than death.”

“If I didn’t know that this clever idea came from the mention of that blasted seer of yours I would be very amused.” Lilith inched aside and bit at her pinky so he could work his magic. “Still, it is a brilliant idea.”

“Presia is not mine.” Lucifer formed a thin chain of chaos around Farren’s neck that closed with a small lock and took Bishop by his arm. As the boy fell on his knees in tears Lilith soothed Neka’s worry with quiet words of comfort as Lucifer started to explain. “I’ve had to alter the magic a bit. I’ve only used this once before, but since you offered to take responsibility I couldn’t resist. Farren is all yours now, Bishop. Good luck.”

“I don’t even want the human around her.” Kage hissed. “You can’t expect me to let this deceitful angel remain here.”

“I’m human.” Bishop was not sure why but his mind went straight to logical complications. “What happens when I die?”

“You are my death sentence.” Farren sighed. “He turned your kindness against you. He wraps it up like mercy, but in reality I’m a prisoner waiting to die.”

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TCOL : Death & New Life : The Needed Chemicals Pt.6

“Why even ask?” Maefyl flicked ash from his cigarette. “If he agreed to it I am not jumping up to defend him, but I think it’s bullshit and you know it.”

 “I wasn’t looking for your permission.” Lucifer sighed. “More of a favor.”

 “Don’t.” Maefyl laughed. “Just let the kid go home.”

 “But Neka likes Bissop.” Neka pouted.

 “Neka, Bishop is a person.” Maefyl sat in front of his step sister and took her hands. “He isn’t a toy.”

 “It’s okay, man.” Bishop intervened quietly as he fiddled with the leash. “It’s just a few years until she gets tired of me. She could use the company and I can take the break from reality.”

 “You could lose most of your short life before she tires of you.” Maefyl sighed. “A demons idea of a few years is not the same as yours and this won’t be the passing fancy of a human child with no attention span. You signed on for a lifetime the second you set foot here.”

 “We do tend to be rather possessive creatures.” Lucifer grinned.

 “You can’t possibly be okay with this.” Maefyl looked up at Kage.

 “She can have Lilith’s gift.” Kage hissed. “I’ll destroy it when it becomes a nuisance to me.”

 “Kage’s biggest complaint is also going to be a problem for Neka eventually.” Lucifer stood on his throne and wrapped his arms around Kage. “Which brings me to my request. Keeping a human here is difficult. Fix him for me.”

 “Go fuck yourself.” Maefyl walked off to join the others without hesitation. There was no point in even continuing an argument over it. There was nothing going to make him change his mind.

 “I suppose he was not the best one to ask.” Lucifer chuckled.

 “I’ll be no more comfortable with her pet craving blood.” Kage whispered to his Master in agitated defeat. He wanted to be angry but knew the gesture was meant to make the situation easier for him.

 “It’s a simpler pet to care for.” Lucifer whispered to him. “Admit it. The boy is charming.”

 “Are you going to be more difficult after his ranting?” Kage directed his concerns at Bishop who had fallen back into a submissive silence. “Is your resolve as strong now, even knowing Lilith spoke in half truths?”

 “Neka will take good care of you.” She looked at him hopefully and struggled to make sure she got his name right. “Please, BiSHop.”

 “Sure thing.” Bishop wiped his eyes on his arm. “Someone has to sing with you.”

 Neka lunged forward and hugged his legs tightly and he paused and looked to her fathers before he laid his hand on her head. As she snuggled against him Bishop wiped the last of his tears on his shoulder and smiled. If a lifetime of making a little girl happy was his atonement for failing to save the lives of others he considered himself lucky. Bishop doubted he would survive the wrath of her caretakers long enough to worry about the length of his captivity; he just hoped when he overstepped like the now dead and forgotten dust on the floor that was once a beautiful winged girl, that Neka would not have to see his end.

 “With that much resolved only the problem of longevity remains and there are a few problem solvers in the next room.” Lucifer walked past the others laughing. “Bring your pet, Neka.”

 “You get to watch my Daddy work.” Neka grinned up at Bishop. “You have to be quiet though. Only Lords talk in there.”

 “I will not need much of a reason to end your life.” Kage stood at the door and watched Neka bounce through the door dragging along her new toy. “I do not care for this arrangement.”

 “Understood.” Bishop stepped inside and swallowed what was left of his pride. He had never felt so small. It had nothing to do with the leash and the child that held it. Not even her cruel Father and his vicious words. It was taking a place beside a table filled with creatures that made it difficult to breathe. Each of them and their companions had a presence that he felt he would drown in and they all looked at him with such varied emotions that he couldn’t even figure out how he should feel. Even those he had met now seemed more intimidating as they sat around Lucifer’s table wearing worry on their faces. Neka stood beside het Father proudly and smiled back at Bishop as she swayed her tail oblivious to the tension in the room.

 “Can we get on with this?” Asura sighed. Raziel’s remark was still weighing on her and seeing Neka lighting up over her toy was almost painful. She sent a message to Karla’s phone to ask her opinion on the matter and was furious to see Eidolon pluck the phone from her friends fingers and lay it face down on the table. “Hey.”

 “Not now, young Asura.” Eidolon scolded her softly. “It is not a Council matter.”

 “Yea, well the rest of the damn Council isn’t here.” Asura pouted. “And sitting around staring at each other is accomplishing a whole lot of nothing.”

 “Agreed.” Gabriel stood and approached Myrt and Mala. “This much at least can be discussed before the Wyrms arrive. Neither of you are obligated to me or this Council, but both of you have skills that may be of use. I regret making the request, but our options are limited.”

 “Lord Gabriel.” Mala bowed his head a moment and gave a smile filled with pride. “If my skills are of use to you all you need do is ask.”

 “Now wait a minute.” Donovan pulled Mala to him. “What makes you regret asking, Gabriel? I’m not letting Mala risk himself for this damn Council.”

 “The one we need answers from is dangerous.” Gabriel confessed the risk before explaining that it was minimal. “But I would not leave any of you to face him alone. We only need your persuasion once he is cornered.”

 “After you get him talking he isn’t going to be dangerous to anyone.” Maefyl muttered as he extinguished a cigarette on the table. “Nikolai, call your damn shadow and get him here.”

 “I’ve already sent him a message.” Nikolai shook his phone at Maefyl before he slid it back into his pocket. The response had been an image Azrael captured in a moment of ecstasy and Maefyl’s gift meant he had seen it as well. Nikolai well understood the eagerness to get things underway and the growing tensions made it seem all the more vital to unify their focus.

 “Is she okay?” A tiny voice pulled Vikarr from his focus on the sleeping bride in his arms.

 “My lovely will be upset by the loss.” Vikarr glanced at the strange fairy that looked more like one of Raziel’s fargoyles then glared across at Kage. “As am I.”

 “She’s very pretty.” Kazeishi flapped her way up to Eliza’s shoulder and walked along Vikarr’s fingers where he held her. “I’m sorry about your friend. Want a new one?”

 “Vale is not replaceable.” Vikarr twitched his fingers to shake her off. “And I doubt the creatures in my home will be to your liking.”

 “Are you letting those wingless twerps make camp in your walls?” Sanguine laughed. “Not like it matters. She smells new. I doubt she even knows well enough to dislike them. If you want one without a tail though, Maefyl has a freeloader looking for a home, too.”

 “This is not an orphanage.” Lucifer slammed his fist on the table. “Lancers. Will you aid the Council?”

 “Mala has an obligation to Nihil.” Myrt answered. “I’ll do it.”

 “Myrt…” Mala looked at him sadly.

 “Go home, Mala.” Myrt insisted. “You do enough.”

 “Settled.” Lucifer grinned and created a chair near the brave angel. “We only need one of you. Myrt, sit. The rest of you are excused.”

 “Caleb stays.” Myrt sat and offered his lap to his husband. “Or I go.”

 “Just stay quiet.” Lucifer smirked at them and watched the vampire gloat over the small triumph Myrt had won as he took a seat and squeezed himself close. “Consider my leniency a favor you will be repaying.”

 “You consider his presence a favor.” Gabriel leaned onto the table and scowled at Lucifer. “There will be no debt held over him.”

 “Easy, Gabriel.” Maefyl pulled Gabriel by his sleeve when he stood. The two of them were still nursing fresh wounds of their friendship and none of them could afford falling apart over it now. Knowing Lucifer’s current dilemma made it easy to diffuse the situation on his own. “Myrt is fine and as for favors, neither he nor Caleb can give Lucy what he wants from them.”

 “Disappointing.” Lucifer grinned. Maefyl had at least saved him the trouble of a failed attempt that would leave Neka crying over her lost pet. “Sit down, Gabby.”

 “Look at all these sour faces.” Samael strolled through the door ahead of Azrael as he playfully carried Shiroi into the room under his arm. “Have we had another set back?”

 “You are jeopardizing my reputation with your behavior.” Nikolai scolded his shadow. “Please, Samael. Join us so we can finish this.”

 “Always so proper.” Samael walked around the table smiling. Still reeling from earlier passions and gloating over the fact that several seated at the table knew it. “We have guests.”

 “We have more important matters to discuss.” Kage looked to Samael for a sense of decency. “I’ll explain our guests later.”

 “Kasu saba ha zuku`tach?” Azrael stood Shiroi beside Samael and leaned onto the table to question his own shadow that held his often noisy bride in his arms in a silent slumber.

 “The dream weavers had to quiet her after I ended the life of her pest of a servant.” Kage hissed. “Can we please get on with this?”

 “Bet zakben, Kage.” Azrael slid into his chair and nodded. He wanted to finish this business as much as any of them. The attack on the gardens was still a fresh wound on his heart and he was eager for vengeance. “Wabal saba Farren?”

 “Finally all on the same page.” Maefyl lit a cigarette and watched Vafera walk onto the table for a better look at everyone.

 “Good thing I am organized.” Asura sent files to their computers to sync all the current information available from the Circles. “Let’s talk agenda.”

 “Find him, find Kava.” Maefyl grinned. “Kill them both.”

 “For such a clever child you have a very disappointing habit of oversimplifying things.” Lucifer tapped the table. “If you want my help with that ghost; sit up straight and pay attention.”

 “I already earned that.” Maefyl slouched further in his chair and laughed. He was certain the behavior was about to start another fight, but instead it was overlooked for a welcome interruption.

 “No fucking way!” Asura stood up excited and slid her tablet down the table to Lucifer. “We’ve got him!”

 “Then the games are about to begin.” Lucifer grinned as he looked at the message from the Circle of Drifa. “Lilith, my Love. You may want to sit this one out.”

 “My Lord?” Lilith gave him a puzzled look.

 “The message is from Drifa.” Lucifer grinned. “It was Nei who apprehended our little problem.”

 “For fuck sake.” Maefyl banged his head against the table as Lilith stormed off.

 “Who is Nei?” Asura whispered to Gabriel. “Is he a problem?”

 “No.” Gabriel sighed. “Lilith is not fond of his servant, Presia.”

 “Another time, Asura. We aren’t going to be social. We are collecting that cocky shit and bringing him here to loosen his tongue.” Maefyl stood and flicked across the screen of his computer. “Who is coming?”

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