“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.”