Tag Archives: Malice

TCOL : Epilogue : As It Ends, So It Begins ~Fin~

Kage walked away from a frustrating evening only to have it spill over into a frustrating night, he loathed the idea of parting however briefly from Neka on such cruel terms but he simply needed time to himself.

“The discussion is over, Neka.” Kage stood firmly beside the locked door behind which her pet would spend the next few hours and pointed across the hall. “Your room. Now.”

“Daddy…” Neka whimpered. “It’s not fair. Neka will be lonely.”

“Thanks, kid.” Malice pouted as she fluttered nearby. “We’ll be fine, Lord Kage.”

“See to it she stays occupied.” Kage patted Neka on her head softly. “I am not going to apologize for teaching you obedience, Neka. You would not respect me if I did.”

“Neka will behave.” Neka hugged his legs abruptly and went to her room sniffling. Malice followed after her and Kage walked down the hall as the door closed.

“Settled?” Lucifer asked without looking up from his feverish scribbling into one of his journals.

“I don’t enjoy the fact she is already starting to fight my decisions.” Kage claimed a seat near Lucifer but stayed distanced enough to leave his writing undisturbed. “How did you handle Kaneko?”

“Kaneko was never a problem.” Lilith interrupted casually as she handed Kage a glass of wine. “She is a child, Kage. Neka will start to see the good in your decisions eventually.”

“Is that so?” Kage grinned cruelly. “When should we expect this miraculous understanding from your child? At least mine have respect for their parents.”

“That’s enough, Kage.” Lucifer continued writing.

“You must have had an eventful evening.” Kage sipped his wine. Lucifer had not even raised his voice to stop the quarreling. He had not once looked up at either of them since he arrived. “Should we be jealous?”

“You should still your tongue before I tear it out.” Lucifer looked up at him coldly. “I’ve never given either of you cause to doubt me. Don’t insult me again, Kagami.”

“Tek, Vasun.” Kage bowed his head in understanding. “I didn’t mean to say that you would…”

“My evening was spent with Maefyl.” Lucifer closed his journal and it vanished, finding its place on one of hundreds of shelves around the room. As he folded his hands he smiled at Kage. “Considering the efforts I made to keep you both, and the continued efforts I make to sate you both, I do not want to hear even the passing thought of jealousy. Is that clear?”

“Kryss has quite the talented daughter.” Lilith quickly changed the subject.

“I doubt Kage battled so long with Neka to rehash the evenings events, my Love.” Lucifer shifted playfully into Kage’s lap and started to gather up the long, dark hair of the blushing Viper in one hand as he pulled himself close. “Did you want my attention?”

“If you can spare it…” Kage’s fingers shook on his glass until Lilith was kind enough to take it as she walked by on her way out. “I did not realize you were still writing, I would not have interrupted.”

“Shut up, Kagami.” Lucifer grabbed Kage’s hair tight in his hand before he kissed him. While his mind had been elsewhere, he promised himself and his loves that he would make time for them. It was a promise he meant to keep. It helped that it was one he enjoyed keeping. Worry melted away when he was with them and while Kage wrapped his arms around him, Lucifer could almost forget the living words pulsing with the riddles of all existence on the walls around them.

 

It may have been a touch too early,

But his soul is a restless one.

Maefyl was always meant to have this secret.

I trust him with it.

It is not his knowledge of their existence that has me worried, but he still has so much to understand.

I only hope that he can fully accept it before any of the others realize what I have done.

There should be time.

So many distractions now.

Even for myself it seems.

But I am looking forward with enthusiasm.

Embracing the unexpected is rejuvenating.

Disaster can be therapeutic.

 

“He seems content.” Lilith smiled as she came to bed and saw Kage slumbering beside Lucifer. “Is it okay to join you?”

“Of course.” Lucifer welcomed her warmly into his arm and kissed her as she settled against him. “In fact he would probably sleep right through it I tossed you on his back and had you right now.”

“He would be mortified.” Lilith giggled.

“He is not that asleep.” Kage hissed and turned over hoping to ignore their cooing.

“Oh, Kage.” Lilith tugged a bit of his hair. “Stop being difficult. Let him enjoy us.”

“He can enjoy us all he wishes.” Kage turned enough to glare at her. “Separately.”

“Leave him.” Lucifer took her wrist and kissed it until she dropped her hold on Kage’s hair. As Kage relaxed back to bed, Lucifer pulled Lilith beneath him. “You are going to have to stop teasing him, my love.”

“But I so enjoy it, my Lord.” Lilith smiled up at Lucifer adoringly. “I think you do as well.”

“Let me do the teasing.” Lucifer grinned. He had a thousand wicked thoughts run through his mind, but he decided Kage still needed time to adjust and instead focused on pleasing Lilith. As she moaned he kissed her and did Kage the favor of putting him to sleep.

 

 

I imagine this excitement I feel is somewhat akin to what a child feels embarking on the unknown.

I feel renewed and inspired.

Ready to take on the unwritten chapter.

I have yet to be defeated by an ending.

I do not plan on bowing out just yet.

-L

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TCOL : Death & New Life : Sisters Pt.2

“Now this place I like.” A strange tailed fairy flew into a small garden and spied on a few creatures chasing each other up one of the trees. It wasn’t that Itami had a shortage of tailed creatures, but she seemed to be the only fairy that had one and her wings were more like those of these pretty demons than her sisters.

The fairies were accepting as they could be of their strange new family, but in the wake of so much loss they were having trouble giving their new sisters a place. Now each of them, the oddlings created by new magic, either with aid or on their own was off to find a place. As Blondie years ago had left with Nikolai, Vafera sought guidance from her accidental creator Maefyl immediately after she had sprung to life, Gigi had quickly found herself a place in Heaven. Kazeishi had given Itami a chance but was jumping wildly through the realms trying to decide where she was going to make a home.

“Enjoying the sights?” Raven whispered behind the hiding fairy as she nudged her with her slender bird like fingers. She had been enjoying the quiet of her small estate’s garden when she noticed the small visitor and decided to introduce herself. “I am Raven.”

“Yes.” Kazeishi hugged Raven’s hand and smiled. “Kazeishi. What are those?”

“Fargoyles.” Raven explained as she marveled at the fairies resemblance to the race Raziel had given life to. “They are a young, but beautiful race.”

“How young?” Kazeishi blinked her black eyes at Raven and smiled hopefully. She may have finally found her spark. It had never been an active search on her part, more aimless wandering and leaving things to chance as she just looked for someplace enjoyable to spend her days. Now suddenly the idea of seeing what gave her life seemed so important. “I might be… I mean they might… Where did the first ones come from?”

“Clever little thing.” Raven giggled. “Looking for your origins? The first were created near here, by the Watcher Raziel.”

“Can you take me?” The fairy flapped her gargoyle-like wings excitedly.

“I don’t want to intrude on his home.” Raven frowned slightly, as much as she wanted to help the creature, interrupting the Keeper at home was not something she was inclined to do. “I can however take you to Lucifer. He can help you find your way.”

“Sounds good.” Kazeishi nodded her agreement and Raven sat her at the back of her neck before she changed into a big black bird and headed for a large castle. Kazeishi squealed as she held handfuls of feathers. “Wow! You have shiny feathers!”

Raven was such a frequent guest at Lucifer’s estate that the guardians of the doors held them open at her approach and let her fly into the audience hall without question. She had expected to find it empty and wait patiently, but she was surprised to find it quite pleasantly occupied.

“Biwdy.” Neka giggled.

“Annunciate, Neka.” Kage stepped beside her. “Greetings, Raven.”

“And to you, Lord Kage.” Raven resumed her form and landed gracefully in front of him before she bowed deeply. “I seek a moments audience with your Lord.”

“Lord Lucifer will be returning soon.” Kage had been indulging Neka’s eagerness to learn and saw no reason to end her lessons because of Raven’s presence. “Neka, introduce yourself.”

“Neka is Neka Kagami.” Neka curtsied. “Nice to meet you.”

“You as well, Lady Neka.” Raven returned the graceful curtsy and smiled. “She is beautiful, Lord Kage. Forgive me for interrupting.”

“Come along, Neka.” Kage backed away a few paces and Neka concentrated on the dark mist she gathered at her feet. Kage raised an arm in front of him to offer a target. “Focus.”

Neka gave the slightest nod before she forced the magic she was calling to her will and tightened a formless cloud into countless cords that danced around her tiny legs. She saw the tiny glimmer of pride on her father’s face as he hid the grin that tried to take his lips and she swelled with confidence. The magic grew stronger as she knitted and lengthened the cords until she could control each individual strand on it’s own.

“Nyaa!” Neka set several of the cords forward to grasp Kage by his forearm as she shouted. They wrapped his wrist and he grabbed their lengths and laughed wickedly. “Neka got you!”

“And I’ve got you.” Lucifer lifted her by her waist and turned her into his embrace before he kissed her cheek. “Now bring your Daddy over here.”

“You make it difficult to teach her.” Kage hissed.

“I think she is doing remarkably.” Lucifer grabbed ahold of the cords of magic Neka still had wrapped around her hand and Kage’s wrist and he pulled the Viper to them. “So are you for that matter.”

“I don’t wish to interrupt a tender moment.” Raven interrupted quietly. “I will be brief.”

“You aren’t interrupting.” Lucifer tapped Kage on his lips. “This is my audience hall and I do love an audience.”

“Neka, don’t forget to take the magic you call into yourself.” Malice walked down her forehead and stood at the tip of her nose to distract her from the way Kage glared at Lucifer.

“Sponge!” Neka balled up her hands and concentrated on bringing all the magic inside. “Nyaa. Neka is full.”

“Tell me about this tiny guest you’ve brought, Raven.” Lucifer set Neka to her feet and patted her head as he smiled at his seamstress.

“Kazeishi.” Raven held out her hand and the strange fairy fluttered to it and stood there proudly.

“Beautiful name.” Lucifer stepped forward for a better look at the creature who had chosen to name herself using one of his favorite old languages. Like all fairies her eyes were devoid of the white and hers were a shiny black set into the soft grey of her skin. Her white hair trailed between her wings to the middle of her back and a thin devilish tail whipped excitedly behind her at his compliment. Wide set fangs glistened in her proud smile and her skin darkened in a dust of charcoal as he brushed his fingers down her side. “Such a well chosen name.”

“Why?” Neka pulled at Lucifer’s pants as she joined him and stood on her toes hoping to see the fairy better.

“Kaze means wind.” Kage lifted Neka and explained. “Ishi is stone.”

“Flying Rock!” Neka grinned. “Can Neka have her?”

“As much as I hate to deny you anything, I have to check the shadows as it is with Kagemusha and Malice now living here.” Lucifer grinned. “I won’t have another fairy making a home here.”

“But she has a tail.” Neka pouted. “Like Neka. Please?”

“Don’t beg, Neka.” Kage scolded her. “It is unbecoming.”

“Okay.” Neka laid her head against Kage’s shoulder. She was disappointed, but wanted to make him proud.

“Malice will be your companion.” Kage offered a compromise that Malice had already agreed to. She had been growing more and more attached to the girl with each passing day and taking part in all of her lessons.

“Forever and ever?” Neka looked up at him skeptically and waited for him to confirm. When he nodded and Malice settled onto her shoulder Neka purred and swung her tail. “Thank you, Daddy!”

“Our tails wouldn’t match anyway.” Kazeishi shrugged. “Yours is fuzzy.”

“You can still be Neka’s friend, Kiki.” Neka smiled.

“You’ve got a deal.” Kazeishi laughed. “Kiki, huh? I like it.”

“Kazeishi was interested in meeting the Keeper.” Raven finally got to the point of her visit. “Which is the reason I came to you, my Lord.”

“I was about to call on my Council.” Lucifer sat his hand beside Raven’s. “Raziel will be among them.”

“Good timing.” Kazeishi hopped onto Lucifer’s palm.

“For you perhaps.” Lucifer sighed. It was never good things that brought them together. He hoped that would change. “Thank you, Raven. I am as always glad for your loyalty. I still owe you for the help with Nikolai.”

“It was my pleasure, my Lord.” Raven bowed. “Think nothing of it. Your help for the little one is payment enough.”

“Thank you, Raven.” Kazeishi waved. “Can I come visit?”

“I would like that, Kiki.” Raven grinned and quickly took her avian form and flew off to leave Lucifer to his business.

“I think our daughter has renamed you.” Lucifer sat the fairy on his shoulder.

“It’s cute. I can work with it.” Kiki laughed. “Is this Raziel a nice guy?”

“No.” Kage hissed.

Lucifer laughed and took Kage’s arm to lead him back to more private quarters to wait for Lilith. Messages were sent to the Council to warn of a gathering and they all started to prepare themselves for the work to be done.

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TCOL : What We Are : Fathers & Husbands Pt.2

“Do you want this Council to fail, Lucifer?” Eidolon leaned on his desk and Karla clutched his arm. “You set it up without proper guidance, set ridiculous deadlines to undo damage that you allowed to occur and are making no effort to aid with any of it. Now this? Why sow this unrest among us? I have long been your friend, long been loyal to you. Like every other time you have broken my heart I will find a way to forgive this. Do you think the Wyrms will be so forgiving when their bride begins to mourn this?”

“It is because I don’t want this Council to fail that I have given little aid to your current dilemma. I expect you to put bickering and nonsense aside and work together to solve the problem, but before you insult me further I have already started to restore my protection where I had removed it. All the twelve of you need to do is clean up the mess.” Lucifer created several tablet computers in his hand and slid them across the desk. Each was engraved on the back with the name of the intended recipient so there would be no more questions on the matter regarding his acceptance of Eidolon’s decision to let Natasha play secretary to the Third. He also included one for Kaneko and simplified versions without access to Circle or Council data for the entire pack. “As far as your accusation that I am sowing unrest, my recent orders are unrelated to the work the Council has been doing and quite frankly none of the Council’s business. If the Wyrms take issue with it, they are free to bring it to the table, but they will regret the intrusion into my personal affairs and I don’t care how their bride mourns. If her tears leave her a dried out husk she’ll make good kindling for their fireplace. I’ll say this only once, Eidolon. Do not mention her to me again.”

“Understood.” Eidolon had let himself say too much and was grateful the response to it was as benign as it was. He was barely scolded at all for his insult and Lucifer instead seemed to reward what self-control he had managed to use. Eidolon neatly gathered the computers into a stack and sat them aside. “And thank you.”

“How can you thank him?” Karla sniffled and wiped her face dry before she looked at Lucifer and pouted. “And how could you do this to Kaneko? You pretty much raised her, didn’t you? This is just mean.”

“Quiet, Karla.” Eidolon lifted her chin and pulled her to look up at him. “I know you mean well, but you also know better.”

“Okay, Master Eidolon.” Karla did know better. Yelling at Lucifer never ended well and he was trying to protect her from herself. As angry as she was over the situation, she had to be patient and hope for the best.

“You hate Snowflake now, too?” Kaneko sniffled and turned to look at Lucifer. “Do you hate Kaneko? Kaneko is always a good girl.”

“Yes, you are.” Lucifer pulled out his phone and he stood and shifted beside Kage. He pulled up his own little biography before he stooped to rub Kage’s back and show her. “You and your sister Neka are our beautiful girls. Your brother is a bit of a nuisance at times, but Kage, Lilith and myself love all three of you. We are a family, Kaneko. A proper one, like you always wanted.”

“But Kaneko is still sad.” Kaneko pouted. “Kaneko didn’t get very much time with her mother.”

“You have had plenty of time with my Lilith.” Lucifer brushed the tears from Kaneko’s face. “You always wished for this, don’t hate me for granting your wish. You know that granted wishes always come at a high cost.”

“But…” Kaneko couldn’t find a good way to protest. She had wished for it. She wanted to be his daughter more than anything when she was small. She was always jealous that Shiroi had been the lucky one. But Kaneko felt just as lucky when she came to Tsumi and met Eidolon. She had love and happiness. Spending her days with Eidolon and Karla brought her so much joy and she had made so many friends. She still missed running around Lucifer’s estate and napping with Lilith, she loved them both, but her time in Tsumi gave her something else that she adored. Kage. As much as she had been brought up to hate the things he had done, Lucifer still told her stories of how he had once been so great and when she met him that was all she could really see. Her great father. Unfriendly, antisocial, generally unlikeable and in her eyes: perfect. He was strong, feared and always smelled like magic.

“Shh.” Lucifer tussled her hair. “Set a good example for Neka. You have always made me proud, Kaneko. Accept that this was for the best.”

“Neka.” The baby grabbed a fistful of Kage’s hair and yanked it making him cringe.

“I hope this fascination of yours ends quickly, child.” Kage kissed her face and rubbed Kaneko’s back. “You have every right to be angry. I have something to give you before you run from me.”

“Kaneko doesn’t run from anything.” Kaneko sat in front of him and held out her hands. “You told Kaneko you would be a good Father if Kaneko could forgive you. Kaneko is going to try really hard so Kaneko can make you keep your promise.”

“I want you to have this.” Kage pulled one of the bracelets from his pocket and laid it in Kaneko’s hands. As her lip quivered he knew she recognized it and he closed her fingers over it and held them tight. “It split in two as she passed. I believe she wanted each of you to have one.”

“What about…” Kaneko started to wonder why even Nexus would exclude Shiroi but realized in her last moments she must have been thinking only of her life with Kage. The only children she wanted were the ones she had with the one she loved. “Was she happy? Were you nice?”

“I…” Kage was going to tread lightly to avoid the frustration it would cause Lucifer but decided Kaneko deserved the truth. “I took her life as she asked me to, Kaneko. Nexus died in my arms knowing she was loved.”

“No!” Malice cried as Neka grabbed her legs and shook her like a rattle. “I’m not a toy.”

“I told you not to get so close.” Kagemusha scolded her quietly. “You twit.”

“Neka, that’s bad.” Kaneko slid the bracelet onto her wrist and inched closer to help. She gently took the babies hand and opened her fingers to let Malice crawl onto her hand. “Be nice to fairies. Malice is a friend. Kaneko will show you. Put your hands like this.”

Kaneko sat her hands together like an open book and let Malice dance on her fingers. Neka smiled and started to wiggle around until Kage sat and let her rest in his lap and she mimed her sister’s actions. Neka kicked her feet excitedly as Malice bravely fluttered over to the infant’s hands. The blanket Kage had her wrapped in opened enough to expose her long white tail as it swayed.

“Good kitty.” Kaneko patted her sister’s head.

“Neka kitty.” The baby squealed and startled Malice. Neka was still just as happy with the shimmery dust the fairy left behind and her new friend. “Neka kitty.”

“Nyaa!” Kaneko smiled and grabbed her tail to show Neka. “Kaneko is a kitty, too.”

“She’s going to talk like Kaneko.” Kagemusha sat on Kage’s shoulder and leaned against his neck.

“What’s wrong with the way Kaneko talks?” Kaneko cocked her head to the side and twitched her tail along the floor.

“Nothing at all.” Kage smiled. “Would you like to hold her?”

“You haven’t even let me hold her.” Lucifer smirked. “You haven’t let go of her at all.”

“Naked Neka!” Kaneko lifted the baby and hugged her closed. “Can Kaneko make her not naked?”

“You would know better how to dress her.” Kage nodded.

“You worried for nothing.” Lucifer pulled Kage to his feet as he whispered to him. Kaneko was raised in Lucifer’s care, taught to respect his orders without question. He knew that she would accept the end of Nexus in time regardless of the pain it caused. The promise of a more perfect family and a younger sister to look after would help her move forward quickly and spare Kage the hatred he feared. “Your daughters will both adore you.”

“I’m glad she will grow fast.” Malice smiled at the baby as she sat on Kaneko’s head. “Babies are a little scary.”

“Neka is not scary.” Kaneko laughed as she stood and carried her sister over to Karla and Eidolon. Now dressed in a frilly white dress, black tights and shiny red boots, Neka giggled and pulled at the lacy frills. “Neka is so pretty. Look, Master Eidolon. Like a backwards Kaneko.”

“She is!” Karla tightened one of the tiny bows on Neka tiny boots before she pet her tail. “She’ll be a white kitty.”

“You will be raising her together?” Eidolon asked and let Kaneko rub her face dry on the jacket of his suit as she held her sister. “The two of you and Lilith?”

“Is it not fitting that I am Father to my husbands children?” Lucifer grinned. “Or is it that you find me unfit as a Father at all?”

“You raised Kaneko brilliantly, my Lord.” Eidolon smiled. “I don’t question the ability. Only the decency of it.”

“It was Nexus’ desire that both Lucifer and Lilith become family to her children.” Kage informed them. “She was humbled by the care they took with Kaneko, she would want no less for Neka.”

“It was always in tragedy that woman managed grace.” Lucifer muttered to himself. He realized Kage’s interruption was meant to help, but it only served to make Lucifer look villainous. Lucifer had no problem with a prolonged visit to fawn over the child, but he wanted an end to the sympathy for Nexus so he decided to force a change in topic. “How did you enjoy your trip through the realms of souls, Karla?”

“Some of it was a bit sad.” Karla let Neka grab her finger and chew on it as she continued. “But it was mostly amazing. The second place was better, they were happier. Why bother having two?”

“Most of them seem content where they are.” Lucifer explained. “Perhaps some of the older souls would accept a place with the Lost, but most the Blessed have a certain attachment to the idea of the ever after that keeps them clinging to the realm they found their way to.”

“You would make room for the ones that would go?” Karla asked. “I mean if someone were to make the offer?”

“I would.” Lucifer grinned. “Talk your husband into bringing it up when some of our larger concerns are dealt with. It would make an interesting project.”

“Would I be able to help?” Karla smirked. “Since it was kind of my idea?”

“I’m certain we can find a role for you.” Lucifer laughed. “But be patient and yield to your Master’s decision.”

“They always do.” Eidolon smiled proudly. “Neither of my brides give me trouble.”

“You want her back?” Kagemusha rubbed Kage’s neck gently and he gave a quick nod. She had noticed him tense as Kaneko carried the baby away and he had been watching quietly with no interest in the conversation. Kaneko and Karla were playing with the girl and she could see that there would be plenty of affection for Kage’s second child, but her Master was not ready to share Neka so soon after losing the one who had left her in his arms. “Just ask.”

“I think Neka might miss her Daddy.” Lucifer shifted behind the girls and put his hands around Neka. Kaneko and Karla pouted and hugged Eidolon as Lucifer walked away with the baby. “Don’t pout you two. You will see plenty of her.”

“It was fine.” Kage took Neka into his arms and cradled her lovingly. “Kaneko is entitled to time with her sister.”

“You are welcome.” Lucifer grinned as Kage smiled at the girl in his arms. He checked the message from Maefyl on his phone and chuckled. “I am going to leave you to spend some time with the girls. It seems my son wants my attention.”

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TCOL : What We Are : Council Pt.2

All guilty will be held accountable.” Maefyl clarified. “Tsuriai law governs every realm. Lucifer rules over all of it and named this Council his sword. His laws have always governed every realm, ours are no different. Unprovoked violence against a human is no more forgivable than violence visited on the dragons, or the pixies, or Azrael’s nymphs.”

“And how do you account for the law of nature, fetnakalu?” Samael smiled. “Is it violence for a lion to kill a gazelle? For a dragon to stomp out the weak to feed its children? How many humans die at the fangs of your kind?”

“There is a very clear difference between necessity and wanton violence and over indulgence, Samael.” Nikolai hoped his shaky friendship would sway Samael quickly. “No one can be punished for pursuing what is needed to survive. The numbers of our kind have been monitored and those who are grossly indulgent or kill for pleasure are dealt with. I imagine any creature that chooses to make a life in another realm will be held to the same standard and given similar leniency within the bounds of reason.”

“Vikarr, there was never really any law that kept the creatures out of Tsuriai.” Asura had been doing her homework and always paid attention to her fathers’ stories growing up. “I doubt the self imposed segregation is going to sudden collapse all at once. The reserves in the human realm are full of majestic creatures, but aside from the Circles and the lessers the cities are still predominantly human. You are arguing a point that is still years from becoming an issue and right now we need to deal the problems we have. Like Dad said, we can adapt as we need to. For now, this makes sense.”

“Monarchy was simpler.” Lucifer stepped up on the table and walked along it until he reached Asura. He snatched the computer from her hands and quickly went over the details and manipulated the information into the proper channels. He handed the tablet back to Asura and looked further down the table. “It’s done, Sanguine. They would all agree eventually. They are just wasting your time.”

“You’re more of a dictator than a monarch.” Maefyl laughed.

“And you are an unending source of irritation.” Lucifer glared at him as he walked back to his seat. “Have you heard any more about these angels?”

“Nothing substantial.” Maefyl shrugged. “They are clever enough to keep the humans working for them in the dark, Farren’s mind was guarded and Kava’s name just seems to cloud the minds of those that do know it.”

“The only help we did get was from Myrt.” Sanguine added.

“Mala’s brother?” Lucifer crossed his legs and sat in his chair. “I’m not sure I would trust someone that loyal to Heaven.”

“He is starting to realize that loyalty was misplaced.” Maefyl chose to keep his explanation short before he started defending another angel. “At the very least you can trust the information and what little good it does. He mentioned your Rise prompted some Watcher’s to take new names.”

“Cowards.” Samael sneered.

“Some hid from Lucifer’s wrath.” Raziel had heard enough wandering thoughts in heaven to be well aware of the changing names. He was upset with himself for not considering it as a reason behind the elusive nature of the target of their hunt. “Most only wanted to leave the stain of Iehovah behind.”

“That is not a name that should be used in this estate, Keeper.” Kage hissed. “Especially in the same breath you use to defend those too ashamed of themselves for following him to even use their own names.”

“Ha.” Asura covered her mouth when she realized she had not laughed to herself. She was looking over the changes Lucifer had made. Not to the law he pushed through to the Circle but to the more personal alterations to the profile he had left open on her screen. He had her listed as his granddaughter, which had always been a sort of understanding between them so it was just a nice gesture to see it made official. It was following the rest of the family tree that made her embarrass herself. Lucifer had two children he was claiming as family. Maefyl the son of his Lilith and Kaneko the daughter of his husband Kage. “Sorry, I was reading.”

“Cool it, Asura.” Maefyl sighed. He had been trying to ignore what he had seen in Lilith’s mind. Hoping he could talk some sense into Lucifer before it was too late. But seeing the changes Lucifer was making through Asura’s thoughts was troubling. Kage was suffering silently and had only spoken briefly to defend Lilith’s hatred of Iehovah and the air was cold with the cracks growing between Gabriel and Lucifer. As much as Maefyl understood Asura’s long-standing frustration with Shiroi, he didn’t want her to start a war with her sense of smug satisfaction over something she didn’t fully understand.

“Will Myrt be joining us in Nihil on a more permanent basis?” Vikarr slid away his phone after checking updates from Mala and Donovan.

“He will be asking for residence.” Gabriel answered with a smile. “He has decided to live in Nihil, but not to serve the Circle. He does not desire to leave one life of servitude for another. Will that be a problem?”

“Not at all.” Vikarr smiled and squeezed Eliza’s fingers. “Mala will be delighted that he has decided to stay.”

“In the interest of moving things forward.” Lucifer tapped the table. “If either Myrt of Mala are willing to work with one of our Keeper’s you may have a method of lifting the veil the obscures Kava’s identity.”

“How so?” Maefyl pulled a cigarette from his pack. He was surprised Lucifer was willing to offer advice at all considering his insistence that the Council handle the whole situation alone.

“You’ve seen what they can do.” Lucifer smirked. “Get them close to Farren. He could use a nap. It might inspire him to be more open-minded. Does that cover all your concerns, Sanguine?”

“Yep.” Sanguine nodded. “I do want to remind any one helping rescue the pixies that going home shiny isn’t the only worry anymore. The choirs might show up, so be careful.”

“Lilith, my love.” Lucifer stood and gestured for her to join him. As she joined him he whispered at her ear and she nodded and left the hall. Lucifer walked around Gabriel to stand beside Kage. He slid his fingers under Kage’s chin and clutched his jaw tightly. “De kosh sek. Ench vaku elt se en vade na de.”

“Tek, det Vasun.” Kage stood and looked at Lucifer a moment. He had no expectation that Lucifer would change his mind; Kage just wanted even a trace of remorse for the order he gave. What he saw in Lucifer was deeper than he imagined and he could feel the heartache through the bond they shared. Lucifer may be without regret for Nexus herself, but he was tortured by the pain he was causing. “De kosh sek.”

“Sutabanvol, Kage.” Maefyl tossed his cigarette as he stood. He shifted across the table and grabbed Kage by his arm to keep him from going and looked to Lucifer. “Meeting is over, Lucy. Can we talk?”

“Everyone out.” Lucifer leaned against the edge of the table and crossed his arms to wait for the departure of the Council.

“I will meet you at home, Maefyl.” Gabriel started away from the table and vanished.

“I’ll talk to him, okay.” Maefyl grabbed Lucifer by his shirt as he saw his expression getting colder. “He’s upset. You’re upset. You’re both stubborn.”

“What did you want, Maefyl?” Lucifer glared at him.

“You are about to make him do something horrible.” Maefyl returned the angry gaze. “Do you really want him to live with it?”

“This does not concern you.” Kage pushed Maefyl’s fingers off of his arm. “I do appreciate that you have made such effort, but there is no point in involving yourself.”

“Lucy, you can’t make him do this.” Maefyl pleaded.

“Go home to Gabby, Maefyl.” Lucifer took the tablet Sanguine carried by its edge and handed it to him. “I am and always will be your friend, but I am also your Father. You will learn to respect that. As this Council and all of Tsuriai will remember whom it is they have been fucking with. Leave.”

“For fuck sake, Lucy.” Maefyl made one last attempt to reason with him as he tucked the computer under his arm and settled Sanguine on his shoulder. “Will you listen to yourself?”

“I said leave!” Lucifer kicked Maefyl in the chest and forced his shift to Osore before he pushed his hair back and looked at Kage. “He’s fine. I just sent him home. Do you want to leave Malice and Kagemusha with me? I at least owe you the time alone for this.”

“I’ll join you when I am through.” Kage bowed and let Malice wander her way to Lucifer. Kagemusha just hid herself away in his hair. He had a feeling she would refuse to leave him for this. As he started to stand Lucifer kissed him and Kage felt the slightest trembling in Lucifer’s lips. It was hidden by the time the kiss ended in a smile that vanished along with Lucifer himself, leaving Kage alone with Kagemusha in the Council hall. Kage shifted to his estate with a mind at war with itself. He was clutching at the frailest hopes and crushing himself with the weight of reality. His time with Nexus was once again meeting a tragic end, but there would be no scheme to return her to his bed. This would be the last he held Lucifer’s gift and he knew in his mourning there would only be further loss.

“I’m with you, Lord Kage.” Kagemusha whispered. “Always, but I can wait in the shadows…”

“Stay close.” Kage laid his hand on the door to the bedchamber. “But leave me these last moments alone. I have given this woman a life of misery…”

Kage let his thought trail off as he pushed open the door to Nexus smiling as she welcomed him home with a newly born child in her arms.

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TCOL : Hearts : Without Light

I am without a doubt one of the most selfish creatures to have ever taken a breath, but I feel I have given as much as I have ever taken. Is it so much to ask to be forgiven for a decision made to protect?

 Yes, I have kept secrets, but damn it Gabriel have your lies done any less damage? How dare you turn on me when I give you more of my trust? You hold my son in your arms. Will you take him from me as well?

 Zakesalek at each other’s throats, the Wyrms scheming, my daughter is a disappointing waste, and my loves bicker over the existence of the other. I give you my trust, my strength, and you turn on me when I need you most.

 I’m staring at a portrait of myself and there are pieces torn and faded. A puzzle with pieces lost. My patience and compassion slip away and I am starting to lose my will to even care. You’ve broken me and left me in darkness, Gabriel.

 As I claw my way free of this abyss alone I will remind myself of my love for you and try not to blame you for the dead I leave in my wake.

***

After hours of Circle meeting that left him bored and frustrated, Lucifer had only gotten angrier over the way Gabriel had left. The longer he went without word the more bitter he was getting over the cold words. He tossed his journal across the room angrily and kicked over the side table.

“Stop lurking outside the door you two.” Lucifer shouted when he lost his patience with his loves presence lingering just outside the room. “I won’t have the two of you hiding from me. You belong at my side.”

“An honor we both hold dear.” Lilith said as they walked inside. Her hand still clutching the locket and Kage’s fingers wrapped firmly around hers. “We know you are already troubled.”

“Delivering more misery is not a task either of us wants to accept.” Kage bowed his head as they kneeled in front of Lucifer. “We are sharing the burden, but I beg you to direct your rage at me. I am less frail and more expendable than your Lilith.”

“Kage…” Lilith lowered her head and whispered. “You fool.”

“Your sudden alliance would be welcome if you weren’t wearing despair on your faces.” Lucifer held out his hand and waited for the trinket they concealed. “I don’t have the patience for your hesitation.”

“The insult was meant for me, my Lord.” Lilith laid the locket in his hand as tears fell down her face.

“Give me the memory, Kagami.” Lucifer opened the locket and looked at the image with an ache in his chest. Shiroi as a child with him and Lilith, an adoring child on the laps of those who loved her. Spoiled her. Sent her away. “Now, Kage.”

“Tek, det Vasun.” Kage slipped his fingers into Lucifer’s hand over the locket and closed it as he shared the visit to Parasek. Each second of the short recollection adding to Lucifer’s fury and tightening his fingers until the bones in Kage’s fingers started to break. “I am truly sorry. I should have taken more care in her upbringing. The fault for her behavior lies with me.”

“Shiroi insults the both of you.” Lucifer kicked Kage to the floor as he stood. The fireplace raged with new flames as he stepped past Lilith. He threw the necklace and locket into the inferno and watched the flames. “Stop apologizing for her. You gave her more than I asked you to.”

“She was left too long without guidance.” Kage rose to his feet and approached Lucifer slowly. “In time she will learn her place. She is your daughter after all.”

“I don’t recall my Lilith bearing a daughter.” Lucifer sneered as he turned to Kage. “Kill the girl.”

“Please don’t ask me that.” Kage took Lucifer’s hand and fell to his knees. “Disown her. Renounce her. Don’t ask me to kill a part of you. I can not. Just leave her to Samael and Azrael. Deny her your name, even the kindness of your voice…”

“Then you will bring me the head of the one who corrupted my seed.” Lucifer grabbed Kage’s neck and pushed him to the floor. Before Kage could speak he lifted him enough to slam him to the floor and break every rib in his back. “This is not negotiable. You will sit in Council, and then you will end the miserable existence of that whore. I’ll leave Shiroi to the Wyrms. If I hear anyone refer to that child as my daughter I will have their tongue nailed to the wall of my throne room. I will not tolerate disappointment. You will both join me for tea in the Council hall.”

“Just go.” Malice fluttered in front of Lilith to halt her advance. Lucifer had left a painful silence and when Kage finally sat up he just pulled up one knee for Kagemusha to sit and stared into the fire. “He doesn’t want to talk.”

“Lucifer will only be angrier if he does not join me.” Lilith brushed the tears from her eyes.

“I will be there in a moment, Lilith.” Kage had already healed the physical damage, but as he looked at the flames he felt the helpless ache. There was no way to stop a moth from stupidly diving into the fire, burning its wings and dying for the love of the light that drew it in. Kage thought that he had spent his whole life with his wings engulfed in flames. An immortal moth in an endless spiral of pain. He smirked as he heard Lilith leave the room. They likely both had wings of flame, but at the end of the day their light did not send them to their deaths. He embraced them, caressed them, and loved them. He gave all of himself and while the fire may burn; it did not destroy their wings. They only burned brighter. Kage lifted Kagemusha and sat her on his shoulder as he stood. Malice joined them and he was grateful they knew him well enough to know he needed their silence. There were no words that could provide comfort for the task he had to do.

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TCOL : Hearts : Lilith & Kage Pt.2

“You’re well.” Kage ran to Samael and embraced him.

“No thanks to you.” Shiroi mumbled as she walked out with Azrael.

“Devana, Welak Isa.” Azrael put his hand over her mouth and shook his head fearfully as he pulled her close. “Hak mave.”

“Kasu saba Lilith vana?” Samael returned Kage’s embrace enthusiastically, but was just as bothered by Lilith’s presence as the other creatures in Parasek.

“Deseka kaat wazet’tach paranat.” Kage explained quickly as he held Samael by his shoulders. “I just had to be sure you had recovered. The half-breed said he gave you his aid.”

“Would you please stop calling him that?” Lilith sighed as she waited impatiently for an end to the visit. It was a beautiful garden but the company was souring her ability to enjoy it.

“Kaat sek stava beshaka?” Azrael pulled Shiroi with him as he walked up to Kage pouting. “Dan sek shok de?”

“I’m not angry.” Kage grabbed Azrael and swung him around as he hugged him. Azrael laughed as he returned the affection. “And I don’t hate you. I was afraid the two of you were going to be angry with me.”

“We are not.” Samael pulled Kage’s hair. “Your half-breed friend was kind enough to end my suffering.”

“Maefyl was here?” Shiroi pouted. “Why didn’t you tell me, Kaleka Samael?”

“This can wait, Welak Isa.” Samael took her hand and started to lead her to the table. He kissed her as she sat and patted her head. “Be polite.”

“Hi Lilith.” Shiroi huffed as Samael stood aside and talked with Kage and Azrael. “Since when are you and Uncle all cozy?”

“We are far from cozy, child.” Lilith laughed. “Lord Lucifer bid us to work together today, so we are working together. Some of us choose to compromise to cater to our Masters instead of causing them grief.”

“I’m getting really tired of heavy handed advice from this train wreck of a family.” Shiroi pulled a locket from her pocket and threw it across the table at Lilith. “You aren’t my mother anyway.”

“After all I have done for you…” Lilith stopped the locket and let it fall in her open hand. She wanted to point out the uselessness of Shiroi’s actual mother and all the trouble she had caused, but instead focused on the far more troubling aspect of Shiroi’s outburst. “This will upset your Father.”

“I don’t care.” Shiroi shouted and ran over to the pair of black Pegasus that still looked on angrily. “Feday, do you mind? The company here is vile.”

“Not at all.” Feday let her climb onto his back and looked to Samael for permission. With her Master’s nod Feday and Arrak took flight and carried Shiroi off to relax.

“Go with them, Azrael.” Samael smiled and kissed Azrael. “I’ll join you in a moment.”

“VolVol, Kage.” Azrael jumped and kicked off Kage’s shoulders laughing as he spread his wings.

“Again, I apologize for Welak Isa.” Samael walked to the table and righted the chair Shiroi had knocked over in her rush to be away from Lilith.

“The girl needs discipline, Samael.” Kagemusha suggested coldly. “She will get you into trouble.”

“You have spent too much time on the shoulder of a bully, Kagemusha.” Samael laughed. “I have no intention of using cruelty to reign in my bride. Azrael and I will talk to her. She will see reason.”

“Reason is not one of her stronger qualities.” Kage sneered. “She has always been difficult.”

“She is also not your concern, Kage.” Samael smiled at him. “Now if you’ll excuse me, we have a meeting soon and I need to settle Welak Isa before then. Come and visit us later when you have less… company.”

“I will.” Kage gave Samael one last embrace and watched him fly off. He stepped behind Lilith and clutched her shoulder as she looked at the necklace in her hand sadly. “Would you prefer that I tell him?”

“He’s already angry, Kage.” Lilith closed her fingers tightly around the locket as she stood. “This will not be a tantrum we can protect each other from.”

“At the very least we can face it together.” Kage wrapped his fingers around her trembling hand and walked with her through Lucifer’s estate. He hoped if nothing else, the unity between them would give Lucifer some comfort and ease the pain of his daughter’s insult.

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TCOL : Hearts : Lilith & Kage Pt.1

“Sometimes I think Gabriel holds a larger part of his heart than either of us ever could.” Lilith sent off the last of the tiny creatures they had freed before she broke the silence that had accompanied herself and Kage on their journey. She floated over to Kage as he maintained his stubborn refusal to speak and stroked the fairies sitting in his palm.

“Mistress, you must know by now the difference in the love Lucifer feels for those dear to him.” Kagemusha shook her head. “Would you compete for the affection he has for Maefyl?”

“Of course not.” Lilith smiled and rested her hand on Kage’s shoulder.

“Lilith.” Kage sighed.

“Yes, I know.” Lilith threw up her hands. “You don’t want me to touch you. It would be lovely if you would accept my efforts to create some peace between us. You are just frustrating Lucifer with this grudge.”

“I have been cordial.” Kage answered quietly. “I don’t see why you feel this need to put your hands on me, but I had not intended to scold you. I was going to make a request.”

“First tell me why you protected me.” Lilith crossed her feet and put her hands on her hips as she waited for an answer.

“Don’t act like a child.” Kage hissed. “You are Lucifer’s bride. I protect what belongs to him. It’s expected.”

“I miss having you obedient and submissive.” Lilith sneered. “Must you be so abrasive?”

“It may be better if we just not speak.” Kage shifted them to another location to continue their task. He immediately went to work leaving Lilith to do the same as they had done most the day. They were efficient and thorough, but by no means a team. They arrived and departed each location together, but silently and managed to avoid each other completely as they handled the business of freeing the innocent and dispatching the unfortunate guilty who picked the wrong time to do their dirty deeds.

“She seems to be trying at least.” Malice mused as she watched Kage dispatch the last of a sad group of humans they found tossing pixies into a van.

“The only thing that witch tries is my patience.” Kage hissed. He had hoped to do this work alone so he could make a quick visit elsewhere, having Lilith along was not only ruining his plans, but irritating him. Kage reclaimed the magic in his blade and grinned as Kagemusha turned the corpses of the useless into compost to feed the nature they had defiled. “She is pushing the limits of what I can tolerate.”

“I could tolerate such a nuisance to have such a love as yours.” Kagemusha calmed the rage that had fed the violence of her attack and fluttered over to the van to destroy it. “The two of you will still have to agree on some dining arrangements for the evening.”

“Lilith can choose whatever she likes.” Kage held his hand beneath Kagemusha and watched the vehicle fall to dust. When the delicate feet landed on his palm he laughed softly. “You think I am being unreasonable?”

“No, my Lord.” Kagemusha turned to face him. “I would make no such judgment. Considering your history with the two of them, your apprehension at accepting her sudden hand in friendship is more than understandable. I was only stating my own heart. For a love as overwhelmingly fulfilling as the one you share with Lucifer, to have the arms of one I love so deeply around me, I could make many sacrifices and suffer all manner of irritating nuisances.”

“You are truly indispensible.” Kage lifted Kagemusha to his shoulder as he smirked. As always she had a way of restoring his confidence while putting things in perspective. Kage leapt high into the branches and made his way through them until he found Lilith sulking her way through the branches below. He dropped beside her and straightened his suit jacket. “I protected you because our Lord would have only been further upset if his rage had caused you any harm. His tantrums over these disagreements with Gabriel are short, but they are very blind and very violent.”

“You had a request?” Lilith looked away and smiled.

“I want to check on Samael.” Kage sighed. “I need to be sure what I have done will not be causing any problems.”

“Where are they?” Lilith took Kage’s arm.

“Parasek.” Kage smirked as he felt her fingers tighten on his arm. He took out his phone and sent a message to each of the Wyrms and shifted to Parasek. As Lilith’s expression of fear softened and she loosened her grip Kage slid the phone back into his pocket. “I had no intention of taking you into Heaven.”

“We don’t like uninvited guests, Kage.” Arrak landed in the grass flapping his great black wings angrily. “Why have you brought this woman?”

“I needed a moment with Samael.” Kage pulled out a chair for Lilith at the patio table and seated her before he let out thunderous roar to quiet the threats from Kranen crashing through the trees. The angry Pegasus was joined by his friend in the clearing and the two of them neighed their protests as Kage approached them. “Feday, Arrak. You have always welcomed me in Parasek. This woman poses no threat. I take responsibility for her while she is here. This visit will be short.”

“Such a fuss.” Samael laughed as he walked out onto the patio. He called out in a dragons tongue to calm the creatures that screamed over the sudden arrival. “Voldrak, Kage.”

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