Tag Archives: Twins

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 : A Silent Garden Pt.2

“Finally!” Bezer ripped through the torso of an angel and tossed the corpse to the ground and she consumed the remains of its life. “We get to do something fun again.”

“And just look at those two.” Azazel growled excitedly as he leapt over his sister and tackled an Power to the ground. His purr gave a warmth to his savage howling as he watched his bride and husband battling along side him. Though it could hardly be called battle. The angels unfortunate enough to encounter the four of them were being slaughtered and every splash of their blood excited Azazel more. He ripped the head from the angel he had attacked and watched a moment as Nikolai ripped through a creature that seemed more confused by what had killed him than the fact he had actually lost his life. A look Nikolai must have caught as well from the satisfied smirk he tried to hide before he returned to his new found gift of flight. “Just amazing.”

“And all ours.” Bezer swung Asura into a short, sweet kiss before she continued past her smiling. She couldn’t agree more, of course. Azazel and herself had waited for a long time for someone worthy of both of them and since the first ‘I Love You’ they were both glad they did. “Neat how they keep getting better.”

“We have to keep up with how remarkable the two of you are, my pet.” Nikolai smiled as he listened for more of their prey. He opened his arms as he landed and folded his colorful wings to his back as the area quieted and he accepted a short embrace. “Come along now. We still have work.”

Nikolai was confident enough in his pets he declined Raziel’s offer to escort them. He had enough to look after on his own and if there was trouble they all knew how to call on one another. What surprised Nikolai was that his time with Raziel had done exactly what Lilith and Eidolon had hoped. He was no longer standing idly while his pets had their fun. He was a part of it and with each soldier he helped destroy he could feel their admiration growing.

“Master Nikolai, I think you might be enjoying all this violence.” Bezer purred and wiped blood from her face as she teased him.

“Not our Master Nikolai.” Asura teased and lengthened her blades through a dying angel as Azazel ripped the soul apart. She looked over to Nikolai and flushed at the sight of him, the long dark hair falling down his back between the lovely wings he had learned to create for himself. Wings that carried him now into higher branches for a better look at their surroundings now that their most recent attackers were out of the way. “He is too sweet for these things.”

“So are you.” Azazel grabbed Asura around her waist and shifted into the tree beside Nikolai. Bezer scrambled up beside them and Azazel smiled. The garden seemed to go on forever under the light of Hell’s sky and he could hear the distant battles of the others. He could hear them almost too well, even through the eerie song Presia offered to calm Sachiel’s magic. As if Eden held no life but the soldiers they were slaughtering. “This place is almost creepy.”

“It’s so beautiful, though.” Asura looked out over the lush forest and smiled until she remembered her father’s concern. She tugged Azazel’s tail gently and hoped for insight. “Any idea why they are so worried about this place?”

“This all happened before my time.” Azazel shook his head. “It wasn’t any of my business until now.”

“Lets keep it that way, my pet.” Nikolai pulled Azazel by his collar and kissed him. “I don’t like putting any of you at risk. I just want this ordeal over with.”

“So do I.” Bezer yawned. “I have new vodka to try.”

“Heroic motivation.” Blondie laughed.

“I wonder where Dad wandered off to?” Asura muttered as they started off again. Maefyl had run off on his own and that usually meant he was about to get into trouble. She almost hoped the song covering Eden was able to keep even his temper from getting the best of him.

“He’ll be fine.” Bezer hugged her before she dropped to the ground and took off running after another pack of pests.

“Back to work.” Azazel purred and flipped backward out of the branches to follow after her. “Don’t start without me, Bezer!”

“Those things aren’t looking for us.” Asura held tightly to Nikolai as he lifted her to him. “Do you really think my Dad is okay?”

“I think that Maefyl is going to make us all look bad as usual.” Nikolai smiled as they joined the fray, letting her slip from his arm and press against his back as they each took blades from the chaos. “How about we make sure he doesn’t have as much to gloat over?”

“Deal. I’ll soften them up.” Asura smirked until she was interrupted by the dismembered arm Azazel tossed at her. “Hey!”

“Look up.” Azazel grinned.

Asura raised her eyes to catch a glimpse of two dragons flying overhead. Beautiful, enormous creatures. The haunting white and deep red scales of the crimson dragon beside a darker more sinister looking beast.

“Lord Lucifer and your Father.” Bezer licked some of the mess from her hands. “They need to piss off. We were playing here.”

“Pay attention, my pet.” Nikolai shifted past Bezer and pierced through a Power with his blade and smiled as Azazel pounced on the creature’s shoulders as it howled.

“Yea, yea.” Bezer yawned and stretched as they tore apart the loner that had tried to attack. “These things are squishy and that damn singing is making them useless.”

“Let’s go find the nasty ones.” Azazel pleaded.

“Behave, my pets.” Nikolai smiled as he looked over his blood covered loves. Each of them so eager to play their brutal parts in retaking Eden. Each of them enjoying it. “All of these creatures are equally foul and need to be destroyed.”

They all laughed as they heard Kaneko screaming her victory over the trees and several of her companions calling after her. It seemed Nikolai’s family was not the only one embracing the chance for vengeance.

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TCOL : Connections : Curiously Courageous

Nikolai had been leaning over the counter in the kitchen listening to the ones he loved celebrating what victory they could. At least the immediate threats to Tsuriai’s cities and residents had passed and they deserved the time to relax after all their patient efforts. Zakesalek had nearly insisted the remaining problems were left to them and Nikolai chuckled at himself for not accepting it as the gift it was. He would not only enjoy the time away from the Council; it would leave Asura and his cubs out of harms way for a change and he would be grateful to be spared the damaging winds of the coming storm.

“What’s up?” Bezer wriggled between Nikolai’s arms and hugged him.

“I am always the first to turn my back on conflict, aren’t I?” Nikolai opened his eyes to the accepting smile and laughed as she gave him a puzzled look. “Do you think I’m a coward, my pet?”

“No.” Bezer wrapped up around him tightly. “Master Nikolai, you try to talk things through, but how many times have you run head first into the impossible for us? You are not a coward.”

“Maybe a bit of an idiot.” Azazel leaned in the doorway with Asura on his back. “Are you in here thinking about getting us all into trouble?”

“I’m afraid so, my pet.” Nikolai hugged Bezer as he stood. “As much as I want to sit this out, I can’t allow them to face it alone. Maefyl and Gabriel have always stood with me when I was in need.”

“We were going to ask anyway.” Asura grinned at him. “You know how much trouble they get into. Someone has to look out for them.”

“And we need to get justice for Blondie!” Bezer poked at the smallest member of their family.

“Sure.” Blondie stomped on Bezer’s head. “Use me as an excuse.”

“There’s a kid to save.” Azazel shrugged. “I’m in.”

“Listen to the two of them trying to sound all noble.” Asura teased. “You know they just want to get elbow deep in angel guts.”

“Only elbow deep?” Azazel scoffed. “You know I’m better than that.”

“You know my rules, my pets.” Nikolai took his phone from his pocket. Even as part of Lucifer’s Council he was not Zakesalek and if they moved on their own he would never be informed. He dialed his phone in hopes he could ensure Golod’s invitation. “We do this together and protect each other, I will not lose any of you.”

“Who are you calling?” Blondie fluttered up to his shoulder.

“I hate to disturb you…” Nikolai smiled and hung up the phone as it became unnecessary. He smiled at the arrival of his Council shadow.

“It is no trouble, Nikolai.” Samael gave him a wave and a warm smile. “I expected your call and I’m glad for it. Azrael is already in Nihil with Vikarr to agree to what I imagine is a similar favor.”

“Sounds like we won’t be the only ones in trouble.” Blondie giggled.

“Hak.” Samael shook his head as he offered his hand to Nikolai. “But I can’t very well get into trouble without my shadow, now can I?”

“I hate to admit this, but I am looking forward to it.” Nikolai took Samael’s cool fingers in his and laughed. “I’m intrigued by this long hidden Garden you once called home, eager to see justice done….”

“I just want to see if these super Watchers can keep up with me.” Azazel taunted playfully. “When do we leave?”

“That is unfortunately up to our dear Vasun Lucifer.” Samael sneered. “This waiting is his idea. I will collect you when he calls.”

“This is exciting.” Asura leaned back into Azazel’s arms and he spun her and kissed her while Nikolai and Samael exchanged a few final words of understanding and reaffirmed his promise to take them all along when the time came.

“You still feeling cowardly?” Bezer kissed Nikolai before she emptied half a bottle of vodka.

“Anxious.” Nikolai tugged Bezer by her collar until she purred. “And thankful; for each of you and the life we have together. Let’s go play a while, my pets.”

“I’m a little worried, Azazel.” Bezer quietly confided in her brother. There was more to the coming end to Sachiel waiting in Eden. “What do you think is in Eden?”

“No idea.” Azazel whispered with a grin. He was no less worried, but his anxiety drove his motivation. He was excited by the unknown and the prospect of slaughtering Sachiel’s guardians. “I just don’t want to miss out on the fun.”

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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 : What We Are : Fathers & Husbands Pt.3

“Don’t expect this to change my mind.” Gabriel sat beside Maefyl and waited for the inevitable arrival of Lucifer. “If he becomes a nuisance I will be leaving.”

“This is work, Gabriel.” Maefyl shrugged. “I’m not asking you to have a sleepover.”

“So I take it you and Uncle Lucifer are fighting again?” Asura sighed. “You guys never stop.”

“Nothing for you to worry about.” Maefyl smiled at her. “It will blow over eventually. It’s more of a cold war this time.”

“Excellent.” Nikolai said sarcastically as he stroked Bezer’s hair. She had purred herself to sleep in his lap and Azazel sat between him and Asura drinking Vodka between stints of cuddling against them. “Instead of all out fighting, your tension will make everyone else suffer. The mood in Council was noticeably dark.”

“In all fairness that is not all our fault.” Maefyl pulled his hair back before he pulled out a cigarette and lit it. “I think at this point there are ample reasons for a shitty mood and Lucifer is not exactly a ray of sunshine to begin with.”

“I have a perfectly cheerful demeanor.” Lucifer arrived and sat on the floor at the end of the coffee table. “There are however a number of things souring it at present. What is it you wanted to discuss?”

“Several issues.” Maefyl laid back on the carpet frustrated. “But Asura can pick your brain first. I don’t want to be the one to share your bad news.”

“You changed all of this stuff.” Asura pushed her computer towards him. “I know I’m not supposed to mention some of it, but what happened?”

“I am simply putting my family in order.” Lucifer smirked. “Association with me comes with a lot of burden and responsibility along with a lot of benefits and gifts. I am ensuring that all who share a place in my family are both capable and deserving. I’ve made it clear that my children, that is the children of my bride and husband, are to have the respect and protection my loyal would give me. That of course extends to their families and most definitely their children.”

“Okay. I’m flattered.” Asura shook her head. He had written Shiroi off and wanted nothing to do with her. Asura never cared for what Shiroi had put her family through so it was easy to overlook the loss, but there were other changes she found more upsetting. “But Nexus is listed as deceased.”

“The cost of being a failure and a pest.” Lucifer leaned back on his arms and looked at Gabriel hoping for any reaction at all that would lead to conversation, but he just kept his attention on Maefyl. Lucifer sighed and continued to explain. “Nexus was causing far more trouble than she was ever worth, I had Kage end her misery.”

“You made him do it?” Azazel grinned. “That’s fucking cold, Lord Lucifer.”

“It served to make another point clear.” Lucifer returned the wickedness in Azazel’s smile. “I don’t tolerate disobedience.”

“Quite the man of honor.” Maefyl sat up to join in Asura’s next query. He leaned over and poked back through the family tree until he found the second child listed to Lucifer’s husband Kage. “You want to explain this one? Did you have another one hidden away to threaten him?”

“I did not.” Lucifer laughed. “Nexus was with child and gave him Neka as a parting gift.”

“This kid is a baby?” Maefyl laughed. “Kage must be going out of his mind.”

“Kage is already very attached to the girl.” Lucifer answered matter of fact-ly. “He is in Tsumi with Eidolon, spending time with both of his daughters.”

“I guess that’s kind of sweet.” Asura sneered. “In a super gross ‘I just killed your mom, kids. Let’s go get ice cream and I’ll tell you all about it’ kind of way. Is the kid at least cute?”

“She is beautiful.” Lucifer slid her his phone, displaying a picture he had taken before he left.

“OML!” Asura was amazed by how much the baby resembled Kaneko but the distinctly demonic features were mostly reversed. She was also surprised by a rare moment caught in the photograph. “Kage is actually smiling.”

“He does that on occasion.” Lucifer let Asura hand his phone off to share the image. He felt a bit of a sting when Gabriel gave it hardly a glance while it was in Maefyl’s hand, but he let it go for the moment still hoping Maefyl’s inquiry would open the door. “Did you have other concerns? Or was this just to make sure we don’t need name tags at the family reunion?”

“There are plenty of concerns.” Nikolai interrupted before Maefyl could respond with what would have been a very justified insult. “For all of us. If they are all pieces of the same puzzle it may be wise to gather everyone. When Raziel and I faced Farren he was arrogant enough to mention that the dealings in Tsuriai were a distraction.”

“There is more to look into before there is any point in gathering Council.” Gabriel spoke for the first time since Lucifer’s arrival but made a point to direct his explanation toward Nikolai. “There has been trouble in Heaven, until we know more sitting at the Council table is a waste of time. As you say, some of the recent turmoil may be related, we need to know more. Asura can pass on necessary details without the need for quarreling over information we don’t even have.”

“Which is another reason I asked to see you.” Maefyl looked at his Father. “We need to do some poking around. I don’t want you getting offended that we are playing in your backyard.”

“Play as you would like.” Lucifer grinned. “Which yard specifically?”

“Potentially a lot of them.” Maefyl tapped on the table. “Starting with the Lost.”

“Then we might go Garden hopping!” Sanguine walked down Maefyl’s arm.

“What exactly did Heaven misplace?” Lucifer laughed.

“Iesu.” Gabriel sighed.

Maefyl just rested his head on the table as Lucifer laughed uncontrollably. He expected about as compassionate a reaction, but it didn’t make it any easier. Even knowing he was barely a brother to him. He had believed him to be for so long that it hardly mattered. After all, what was family but a bond created by those that love one another? Maefyl felt Gabriel’s hand on his back and smiled.

“Ease up, would ya?” Sanguine scolded Lucifer. “You know it bothers him.”

“Why does it bother him?” Asura reached across the table and grabbed Maefyl’s hand. “Who is Iesu?”

“My brother.” Maefyl gave his frustrated answer to the table.

“Hardly.” Lucifer snapped. “Barely even a half-brother. It’s insulting to even think of him as that much.”

“Look, I get it.” Maefyl turned his head to look at Lucifer. “You are my Father. I’m not arguing it; I’m not insulting you. But the kid has nobody else. Can you just let this go?”

“Just don’t expect my help with him.” Lucifer crossed his arms. “You can look for the Forgotten Child. I won’t get in the way.”

“Thank you.” Maefyl sat up.

“Now, I have a request.” Lucifer stood. “I’d like a word alone with you, Gabriel.”

“In regards to?” Gabriel looked up at him. “I’ve told you I have no interest…”

“I’ll narrow your search.” Lucifer offered. “The soul is not with the Lost. The lessers and guardians there monitor for oddities, I would have been informed if that divinity drenched waste found his way there.”

“Resorting to bribery already?” Gabriel chuckled. “Fine, Lucifer. We’ll talk.”

“I’ll have him back soon, Maefyl.” Lucifer took Gabriel’s arm and vanished with him.

“Do you think they’ll make up?” Sanguine pulled at Maefyl’s pinky finger. “Gabriel is really angry this time.”

“I hope so, Sany.” Maefyl understood Gabriel’s desire to be done with Lucifer’s games completely, but turning his back on the Dark Lord only made him more determined. Sometimes it was just easier to play along. They had also been friends for so long it was near heart breaking to see them this way. Even Asura was bothered by the silence.

“While they are gone, can we just talk about anything else?” Asura smiled sadly. “I don’t want to think about them fighting.”

“Sure.” Maefyl grabbed the tablet from the end of the table and forced magic into the stream of data. He had done it before on a much smaller scale, leaving numbers in phones and such, but he had never tried to manipulate the entire system the way Lucifer did. He smirked when he saw the magic start to work in more impressive ways than he had anticipated. He had unlocked not only an entry for Farren, but also more information than even he knew himself. He would have been satisfied with just the image Asura had wanted. He spun the screen and pushed it to her. “You wanted to know what the bastard looked like.”

“He is… different.” Bezer sneered at the image. “I don’t like his eyes. He looks shifty.”

“This guy can just make disease?” Asura read over the dossier a bit disgusted at the list of skills. “And has a thing for bugs?”

“Looks like a loser.” Azazel growled.

“Acts like a loser.” Maefyl laughed. “But he’s still managing to give most of us a headache.”

“Well maybe it’s about time we try and give him one.” Nikolai suggested. “Asura, my pet. See to it every Circle has this information. They’ve been made aware of our search, but if names have been escaping the minds his face might remind them.”

“Do me a favor and don’t draw too much attention, Nikolai.” Maefyl knew Nikolai had been improving himself, but without knowing how Farren would react to taunting he didn’t want Nikolai inadvertently putting Asura in danger. “Let Raziel handle things for a while.”

“Out of the question.” Nikolai smiled. Maefyl had seen the encounter in his mind and the mistakes he had made. “But I will be more careful with my words. I let my temper speak when I should not. I am doing my part, as we all are.”

“Most of us any way.” Maefyl shrugged. There was a definite lack of equality in the division of labor in the Council. “As I kind of doubt Farren is going to wait for you to make phone calls, I hope you all remember to call for us properly.”

“Like I need your help.” Azazel jumped onto the table in front of him swinging his tail and grinning. “You should just let me and Bezer start mopping this mess up. We can take care of the bug problem.”

“Take care of my problem instead.” Maefyl pulled Azazel’s tail and sighed at the state of his nails. “Go steal me some of Asura’s nail polish.”

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TCOL : What We Are : Becoming Stronger Pt.2

“Don’t waste time, seamstress.” Raziel sat and held Nikolai. “Teach him to convert the poison quickly or he will die.”

“Sweet Nikolai, give me your trust.” Raven held his face and swiftly delved into the frightened soul. Even in fear Nikolai gave her his trust and she easily found the paths of magic within him. So much he had learned since his first spell, and the magic in him now was stronger. With no difficulty at all she gave his soul and the magic in it the knowledge it needed to overcome the poison that was quickly eating away at him. Before she had even finished her work he was beginning his and she marveled at his control over the unfamiliar. She broke from her spiritual bond with him and smiled.

“Sorry for the trouble, Raven.” Nikolai took her thin bird like fingers and kissed them. With her aid he learned to change the decay in his blood to power he could utilize.

“Still such a gentleman.” Raven looked to Raziel. “He’s out of danger. Explain.”

“I had forgotten Farren was one of Michael’s early creations.” Raziel pulled Nikolai to his feet as he stood. “The horsemen served as wrath. They created dark followers to ride with them. Farren was once known as pestilence. Though he abandoned his Master quickly, he retained the power he was given.”

“I’m certain Maefyl will be thrilled to know we are fighting biblical myth.” Nikolai sighed. “Sadly I am not so well versed in it.”

“Nothing you would have learned as a man would have been helpful.” Raziel laid a hand on his back. “Most of what humans believed was a lie and the rest horribly inaccurate. I should take you back to Asura and your cubs.”

“I can make my way home from here, Raziel.” Nikolai embraced Raziel a moment and Raven sighed at the Keeper’s hesitation to accept it. “Thank you. I’m going to convince Raven to accept an invitation to join me.”

“I’ll inform the others of our work.” Raziel knew from Nikolai’s thoughts that he had intentions beyond the gratitude he meant to offer. He wanted to improve himself for the things to come and his friendship with Raven would likely help him with some of the simpler steps he needed to take. “Enjoy your evening.”

“He’s so manipulative.” Raven took Nikolai’s arm and rushed them to Golod. “And you are too trusting.”

“Raziel is earning my trust.” Nikolai told her. “He is manipulative, but we are establishing an understanding between each other. He brought me to you for more than help. He could have likely cured the damage on his own, but he wanted me to do it. And he wanted to involve you because he knew it would make me realize that I need your help.”

“If it is help I can give, Nikolai.” Raven smiled. “You know I don’t give access to strength I don’t believe someone is ready for.”

“I would never ask you to.” Nikolai laughed and showed her inside. “For now I just want to thank you.”

“Master Nikolai!” Azazel pounced into his arms purring and whispered in his ear. “I love you.”

“I love you, my pet.” Nikolai squeezed him in one arm and waved Asura and Bezer over to him to comfort them as well. “I love all of you.”

“Hi Raven!” Bezer grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her into their hug. “Is he okay?”

“I am fine.” Nikolai laughed and pulled Blondie out of her hiding place in his hair. “In fact, your little spy can impress you with my adventure.”

“Whoops.” Blondie giggled as she sat in his palm. “You were pretty amazing.”

“How amazing?” Azazel bit Nikolai’s ear.

“Maybe enough that Blondie should tell you about it after we entertain our guest for a while.” Nikolai tugged Azazel back by his hair and smiled at him. “Bring Raven some wine.”

“I’ll get vodka.” Bezer invited Raven to sit and let Asura hold Nikolai a moment longer. Of the three of them she had felt the pain the worst.

“Don’t cry, my pet.” Nikolai lifted her as she started to sob against his chest. He sat on the couch to hold her in his lap and caressed the collar at her throat and kissed her cheeks. “I was careless and caused all of you pain, forgive me.”

“I don’t care that it hurt.” Asura whimpered. “I was scared for you. I don’t want you to go with Raziel anymore if you are going to get hurt. I thought he was taking care of you.”

“We have both done our part.” Nikolai sighed and pulled her close. “I am hurt that you have so little faith in me.”

“It’s not that.” Asura wrapped her arms around him. “But you don’t fight. They have all done this before.”

“We all start somewhere.” Azazel handed Raven a glass and filled it for her before he sat the bottle beside her and crawled onto the couch with Nikolai. He rubbed Asura’s leg and tried to convince himself of what he was telling her. “Both of you have gotten stronger. You are both on Lucifer’s Council because he believes in you. So believe in each other.”

“Not just stronger.” Raven added. “The two of you are gifted. You don’t just use the magic within you. You’ve made it a living part of you; you embrace it and in return it gives itself to you unconditionally. Each of you has learned to draw on chaos beyond what anyone thought you would ever be capable of. Lucifer’s gifts to each of you have not gone to waste.”

“I just don’t want to lose you, Master Nikolai.” Asura rubbed her face on his shoulder.

“You will not.” Nikolai smiled. “Now smile for me or I won’t let Blondie tell you anything.”

“No fair!” Bezer jumped on the couch behind Asura and hooked her fingers into Asura’s mouth to pull her into an awkward grin that made Azazel laugh until tears ran down his face. “She’s smiling. Tell us.”

“I’m interested as well.” Raven sipped her wine as she gracefully crossed her legs and waited for the laughter to subside and the story telling to begin.

Blondie told the tale with the enthusiasm of a child. Darting here and there to mimic the adventure and leaving explosions of her dust as she excitedly told of burning mechanisms and newly freed pixies. Nikolai was trapped in the loving embraces of his pets as they listened intently and pawed at him affectionately. As Blondie told of humans massacred for their crimes, the cubs purred excitedly over the violence. A vibration that grew as the story pressed on and the pride in their Master grew to new heights.

Blondie quoted the chatter and imitated Raziel as if he were a zombie, breaking tension with laughter, but even Raven was hanging on every word as the fairy told the story she had snuck along to see. When she reached the entrance to the climax of her tale the questions started.

“What does this guy look like?” Asura asked. “I don’t think he’s in Uncle Lucifer’s database.”

“Have you bothered to look?” Bezer laughed.

“I was telling a story!” Blondie pouted. “And it was the good part. Play with the computer later.”

“I was listening.” Raven smiled. As impressed as ever with Nikolai’s ability to adapt. His endless curiosity kept him very perceptive and his levelheaded approach to things gave him an edge when others let their tempers take over. He deserved every bit of the respect and devotion he had smiling at him. Raven poured herself another glass of wine. “And I want to hear the rest, so please continue, Blondie.”

Nikolai smiled. Raven spoke so sweetly that her jab at their behavior met with no resistance. They just settled back onto the couch and curled up with him to hear Blondie finish her story. He was glad with Blondie’s very edited version of the end, making it more of a quick after thought in which there were mere seconds between the time he was bitten and Raven’s aid. It was not that he wanted to seem heroic; he just wanted to avoid giving Asura any more reason to panic. Raven knew the end well enough and Bezer and Azazel knew from the pain that what had happened was more grotesque than Blondie let on. But Asura let herself accept the short version and focused instead on what led to it. Nikolai had been amazing and each of them was proud to call him Master.

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TCOL : What We Are : Ready To Live Pt.1

“Hey.” Myrt ran after Eliza when he saw her heading into the Circle building and fell in step beside her. “Eliza, right?”

 “I prefer, E.” She nodded as she swung a bag beside her. “What’s up?”

 “E, then.” Myrt smiled. “Is Lord Vikarr in?”

 “Yea.” Eliza pouted. “He sent me out for cat food.”

 “Lord Vikarr had work to do and she was distracting him.” Vale giggled. “He should be through with most of it.”

 “I was not distracting him.” Eliza giggled. “I was just sitting there. You might as well come in, Myrt. I think he’s kind of expecting you anyway.”

 Myrt followed her wondering why he was expected. He had been careful not to cause problems during his stay and had told Vikarr when he arrived that he had no plans on becoming a burden to Nihil.

 “Company, Vivi!” Eliza grinned as she strolled into the office. She frowned when she found the office occupied only by Doma. “Where did that freak go?”

 “Does he handle the work if I want to live in Nihil?” Myrt asked.

 “I think they can all do it.” Eliza shrugged as she dropped the bag on Vikarr’s desk and noticed Doma darting after a fuzzy critter way larger than the mice Vikarr usually left for her to play with. Eliza leaned over the desk for a better look and squealed. “For the love of rainbows! Doma don’t play with that!”

 Eliza snatched Doma off the floor as the critter hopped after her and Eliza ran over to one of the chairs and climbed onto it screaming. The long furry rodent followed and climbed up around her feet and she whimpered.

 “Get it away from me.” Eliza whined to Myrt and cuddled Doma for comfort. “How did a rat get in here?”

 “That isn’t a rat.” Myrt laughed and stepped over to help but Eliza’s new friend climbed up her legs and she screamed.

 “Get it off! Get it off!” Eliza let Doma run off as she jumped off the chair and the long rodent climbed over her shoulder and into the front of her dress. Eliza grabbed Myrt to beg for his help. “It’s touching me.”

 “Hold still.” Myrt sighed and carefully grabbed the end of the ferret that was trying to befriend her and pulled it from her clothes. He sat the mischievous critter on his shoulder and rubbed Eliza’s arms. “It’s just a ferret. Calm down.”

 The ferret giggled as it walked behind Myrt’s neck and stepped out onto his other shoulder to wink at Eliza.

 “Damn it, Vivi!” Eliza snatched the ferret from Myrt’s shoulder and held it up to look at it. He snickered again as she looked him over and Eliza laughed as she sat him on the desk. “I guess it’s almost cute. I think Myrt wants to talk to you, though.”

 “I have already taken care of most of it.” Vikarr returned to himself as he moved to his chair. He spun the tablet in front of him to face his guest and pushed it to the edge. You will just need to tell me when you’ve found a home and if you decided to work. Lucifer provides well for his Circles and those that serve them. Your decision to make your own way will leave you on your own, but Gabriel has set up something to give you an easy start.”

 “I had hoped to do it all on my own.” Myrt sighed as Vikarr slid a package to him.

 “More difficult than it sounds.” Vikarr smiled at him. “This was just waiting for me when I returned, but it should be everything you need to find a place of your own.”

 “I should talk to Mala.” Myrt lifted the thick strangely folded envelope and flipped through cards, documents, letters and money. “And take some time to figure a few things out. Thanks for your trouble.”

 “It was no trouble.” Vikarr grinned. “Just don’t cause any for me. The extra help in Nihil would have been appreciated. I don’t for an instant want to push you into work you don’t wish to do and I am elated that Mala will have a chance to see more of you, but another demon in Nihil that has no affiliation with Lucifer or his Circles is a cause of some concern. With my place on the Council I can not afford leniency because of your affiliations. You will need to follow the laws of Tsuriai and of Nihil as any other resident.”

 “You don’t have to be shitty about it, Vivi.” Eliza opened a can of food for Doma and pet her as she attacked the contents. “He’s been nice.”

 “I know, lovely.” Vikarr giggled. “I like him. Which is why I want to be sure there will be no problems.”

 “There won’t be.” Myrt smiled.

 “Welcome to Nihil, Myrt.” Vikarr stood and offered his hand. “As Mala’s brother I expect we will see a lot of you.”

 “That would be nice.” Myrt flushed as he shook the Watcher’s hand. “As long as it doesn’t involve pulling you out of her dress again.”

 “Next time you can just leave me there.” Vikarr laughed.

 “Vivi!” Eliza stomped her foot and Vikarr shifted to her and pulled her into a tight embrace, ending her rant with his kiss.

 Myrt took their sudden flirtatiousness as a cue to leave and slipped out quietly. He left the Circle building with the beginnings of a new life in his hand and wondered if a stack of paper neatly tucked into a thick envelope was enough to truly find a new way. He had never lived among humans, had only known a life of training himself and training others, following orders and serving those he thought were his Masters. He had accepted all he had been taught as truth only to find he had been misused based on lies.

 He made his way to the door of Donovan’s apartment and just stood outside of it. Whether lies had led his life or not, there was still a deep chasm between him and Mala. He still felt abandoned by the brother who saw the truth before him and he couldn’t shake the thoughts of seeing angels bleed under Mala’s feet. Myrt loved his brother but there was so much damage that needed to be undone. It would take time and patience.

 “You can come in.” Donovan opened the door and stood there smiling as he wiped his hands on a towel. “Mala should be here soon, I am just making him snacks.”

 “Hello, stupid.” Dodo greeted Myrt’s arrival.

 “He was a bit upset that you wanted to run off on your own.” Donovan continued as he went back to the kitchen and let Myrt show himself inside. “He wants to spend as much of the week with you as he can.”

 “I needed to think about a few things.” Myrt stopped to pet the bird that squawked at him. “I still do, but I sorted enough out that I think I should have a talk with him.”

 “If you need me to leave you two alone to talk I can go get something accomplished once he gets here.” Donovan stacked the last of Mala’s pancakes and doused them in syrup before he started to clean up. “I know you aren’t thrilled with who and what your brother married, but I love him. He wants you in his life, if that means giving the two of you some space I can back off once in a while. Just don’t expect me to do it all the time.”

 “I don’t expect you to do it at all.” Myrt sighed and walked into the kitchen. “I’ve been rude to you and for that I am sorry. This entire visit has been overwhelming. I can see that you love my brother and that he loves you. You are married and I will respect that. There is no reason for you to leave when I talk to him. Mala trusts you. I should at least give you a chance.”

 “That will mean a lot to him.” Donovan smiled. “It means a lot to me.”

 “I smell something delicious!” Mala ran into the kitchen and grabbed Donovan by his ears to give him a quick kiss before he took the plate of pancakes the vampire offered. “Where have you been, Myrt? I was starting to think you went home.”

 “I had to talk with Gabriel.” Myrt laughed as Mala dug a huge wedge from his meal and shoved it into his mouth. Myrt shook his head as he wiped the sticky syrup from the corner of Mala’s mouth. “I’ve missed how much of a mess you are.”

 “I have a few hours to make a mess.” Mala grinned. “Stay and talk a while.”

 “I have somewhere to be.” Myrt followed them into the living room. “I only stopped to tell you that you don’t have to worry so much about trying to change my mind in a week. I’ll be staying in Nihil.”

 “Myrt, that’s fantastic!” Mala sat his plate aside and hugged his brother. “We can work together again.”

 “I’m not staying to work with the Circle, Mala.” Myrt tapped Mala on the head with his documents. “Don’t be upset. I miss the way we were, but you moved on. It is about time for me to do the same. I hope we can find a way to be a part of each others lives, but I plan to live my own.”

 “That is even better.” Mala squeezed Myrt tighter until he returned the embrace. “You’ll need a place to stay, I never use my home here…”

 “Thank you, but no.” Myrt kissed his brothers cheeks. “I am going to figure this out on my own. I’ll let you know when I find a place.”

 “Do you have a phone?” Donovan asked as Mala leaned back against him.

 “Still figuring it out.” Myrt pulled it from his pocket and Mala snatched it to make sure they could all contact each other. Mala handed it back and smiled before he reclaimed his pancakes and snuggled back against Donovan. Myrt just shook his head. He wanted to ask his brother so many questions about his time with the vampire, but was worried it was going to seem judgmental and start another argument. He thought it was better to leave on a more peaceful note and go fulfill his promise to be somewhere else. “I’ll see you both later.”

 “He must have had quite a day to have made that decision. He was so against even being here before.” Donovan held Mala and started a movie to pass the time and Dodo started dancing along his perch and whistling. “I wonder what Gabriel told him.”

 “I don’t think it was just Gabriel that changed his mind.” Mala licked his fork before cutting himself another chunk of syrup-covered mess. Myrt had been so infatuated with the impossible that he denied himself any chance at being happy. In this new leaf he was turning Myrt could finally be himself; he could let himself find friendship and a simple happy existence. Mala smiled to himself because he had seen the spark of a new beginning for his brother, as he opened his eyes to a life free of imagined chains he was letting his heart open to a life filled with unimaginable love. “I think Myrt is just ready to live.”

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