Mastema and his peers in control of the Legions shook with an inner shiver when they sensed the new course of actions. Mastema had slain his enemies with a renovated fury as they moved in a nearly instinctive coordination to take over the five points of power the summoning ground held, but Azazel’s power pushed them away; the monstrous energy caused the ground to shake, startling all fighters; Mastema held his position and he didn’t realize he was uncovered for a few seconds.
Stunned, Mastema cried out in despair. It was obvious Belial was unable to break free and he was slowly fading – Mastema and his peers could read what the spell was about. The Fallen was dumbfounded.
//No… It cannot be!!!//
Moloch snarled. “Damn you, brat of hell,” she whispered beneath her breath. “He was mine, no matter what allegiance to you believe he broke… He swore to your father. I swore to you.” She dove back onto the battlefield. She would get some measure of revenge, even if she could no longer hope to take Belial for herself. Her voice was a growl that mingled with the thunder of evil-looking clouds she slowly dipped beneath, dark-red wings that seemed to drip tarnished gold like blood gripping the air like vicious talons.
It was bad enough that Azazel stole her energy, destroyed her home, and used it for his personal catalyst. But to steal the one thing that reminded her of happier times- the one thing she could keep forever- the one thing she could avenge herself upon…
The next best thing- Belial’s servant, Mastema, was before her in clear view, obviously stunned at the sudden loss of his leader. The one she had assisted in restoring to full working health so long ago, the crippled one that represented all the latent weakness in life that she despised and loved to destroy in others. She fell from the air, wrapping herself in the rage that had sustained her for many years, that had eaten away the wonder of living and healing so long before that all she enjoyed, all that was left to her, was pain.
“Take this to your master in Hell,” she snarled, savagely raking the metal whip across his prone flesh in a glory of red-streaked flame. Her burning eyes watched him fall and slump with a mixture of hateful joy and pained regret, her white-knuckled hands clutching the handle of Scorpion like the twisted claws of a hawk. “I hate you,” she murmured, unsure as to what she referred to. “I hate you all. I hate you.”
Turning her back, she summoned her Legions to follow. It was no use fighting the Legion of an army whose leader had been torn from the tapestry; no use to fight the Legions of an enemy she did not care for; no use to assist the Legions of a slave master she despised and still loved as a son. She shot into the sky with her army of demons and devils and Fallen behind her in orderly regiments, silent above the violent, wretched crimson and soot clouds. The screaming of the earth’s bowels being raped by Azazel’s magick, the roaring of the skies being torn by his hate, was enough of a voice for them all.
All colors had bled to red; Mastema fell to the ground with a sickening thud. Blood and dirt splattered around him; the Fallen blinked in a mix of perplexity and dismay. He hadn’t sensed Moloch coming, but the energy of her whip was unmistakable. The whip had cut his flesh to the bone; Mastema did not need to see it to know. The Archdemoness’s words startled him but at the same time, he was not surprised to hear them. I don’t trust anyone, Belial had said; Mastema knew nor that nor trusting his brethren would work forever. He clenched his teeth, his fist closed around Argentus, but the energy on Moloch’s whip was infected of her hatred and her bitterness; Mastema laid there in a world of red which was steadily growing cold.
From her lookout, Azrael watched Moloch flee the battlefield. When Belial was summoned by Azazel, the Archangel remained immutable, yet her eyes narrowed. Azrael did not care to pursue Moloch and what was left of her legions; her Time was yet to come. Azrael rose Filos in the shape of a spear and stomped it on the platform; the ground shook and the angels chant took grave, mourn tones. Azrael stood there, a grim archangel in black robes and black armor with eyes deep as the night sky.
“Listen to me”, Azrael spoke, her voice cold and clear like a bronze bell. “Belial is gone. He will not be able to lead you in a second rebellion. All you can do is surrender to me – there’s no other choice. Most of you once were part of my Legions – you know the Rule. If you surrender you’ll live to be judged. If you persist, we’ll take your souls and you’ll be damned.”
“If you wish to be judged and repent, you’ll be heard. If you choose otherwise, your Fate is already written. I am Azrael Archangel of Death and Destruction and I speak the will of the Council.”
Azrael’s wings shook slightly. Souls awaited, and others would need her soon. Azrael had missions to complete.
The angels and demons faces were inscrutable. Both sides were grim and now silent – the numbers had diminished. Agonizing, Laying in a pool of his own and others blood, Mastema heard Azrael’s announcement and he had a bitter grimace that could almost be a smile. A hard kick landed on his side. Mastema coughed out a gush of blood; he barely distinguished the enraged face of Malchiressa. The demoness, a Legion Commander like himself, was furious, her face streaked with tears.
“You idiot! The Necromancer should be dead by now… and we’re doomed!” Malchiressa would have had continued and she took impulse to deliver another kick; Mastema spoke coldly.
“Save your energies, if you wish to defy the Dark One”, he coolly said. “After all, she’s given you a choice.”
Malchiressa froze in place, shaking with anger. Mastema laid his head down and looked around.
“Rashiel.” One of the angels of destruction came to his side. Mastema moved his head, trying to focus. “Rashiel, the Were are not bound by soul. They are free. Give them a chance to choose.”
Rashiel scratched his nose, mainly to brush away tears from his eyes. “Azrael spoke for all; they have the choice, too.”
Mastema relaxed. He closed his eyes. Rashiel did not add a word, but he remained by his side.
An orderly mass of Were sat nearby on their haunches, all in their lupine forms. They were silent, unmoving, watching the exchange between the Others without a sound.
At Mastema’s words, a shiver ran through their ranks. The wolf-warriors, even the hideously wounded, stepped aside as a huge female wolf strode ponderously between them.
As she neared the group of Legion Commanders, her form shimmered and shifted as she once more became human. Although naked, she walked with a graceful, proud air that did more to clothe her than the thickest of wools.
“Belial is gone. Our reason to fight is over- we remain loyal to his memory, but it is not enough to risk destroying our presence. I do not think he would wish it so.” Her voice was low and soft, the musical growl of a predator. “We will leave the battlefield, unless Mastema, his second, chooses to continue with or against you. It is his choice, he who was closest to the Archdemon.”
Mastema seemed to doze off, then fight to regain his consciousness, laying on the soaked ground. He opened his eyes to look at Luna, but his sight seemed strangely off. “I won’t be going anywhere from here, most likely”, Mastema murmured. “and I don’t have the right to decide for you. If Belial were here, he’d tell you to leave and fight to survive. I bet he told you that ‘choose to be a Master or a Leader’ speech, sometime…” Mastema snickered with some sarcasm. “If you thought he himself was a Master… the truth is, he was a Leader. There’s an important difference.” Mastema coughed. “I can tell he thought you have all you need to be a Great One. Go and be one. That’s all I have to say.”
Azrael landed without a noise, her huge black eagle-like wings barely moving as the archangel set foot on the ground, not far from where Mastema laid. Azrael examined the ground where the summoning pentagram had been visible. Her black armor seemed to absorb all light, but the sigils of power curled and uncurled like melted gold and fire markings on the unearthly metal. Azrael turned her head to look at the small group around Mastema. Her dark night sky eyes were immutable as ever.
“We are Executers, not Judges”, the Archangel coolly said yet her full lips did not move. “I will not stop you, for your hour is not this one. We will be there when the Time comes.” A cold calm and inexorability emanated from Azrael, a feeling alike to that of the full moon in a black night; alone, unyielding.
“Belial is not dead yet. He is my responsibility.” Azrael motioned to a high-rank angel of her Legions. “Lead on. Wait for the signal.” The angel took a bow. Azrael tilted her head, as if listening to a voice from afar.
Luna nodded solemnly, her gold eyes catching the red-lit sky like a brass mirror. “I understand.” Her pale form hesitated for a second, and then she knelt beside Mastema. She found a sharp fragment of gleaming silver and cut her palm- the pain made her hiss. She streaked it across his pale sweating face, beneath his eyes. “In the old ways,” she murmured, and took his blood and marked her palms.
She bowed her head and, after a moment, stood and paused. She turned to Azrael, in her terrible beauty- even colder than Belial had been, in the beginning. Something clicked within her- Belial must have adored this angel, this Angel of Death. Luna stepped forward and touched an ebony feather, her face quiet and serious. “If there is such within you, find compassion for the dead today. There will be many more. It makes no difference in Time, but it does to the souls of the passed.”
Luna morphed back into her lupine form; it was far warmer. The cold air, generated maybe by the aura of fear, had prickled her skin. One by one, slowly, her Pack followed suit and dipped cold noses into the dying demon’s blood, to honor him. The survivors.
Azrael’s gaze met the Lupa’s as the Were spoke; she tilted her head in a slight nod as the Were took her wolf form and lead her people, bidding a last honor and farewell to Mastema. Azrael watched thoughtfully and kept all she saw in her heart, yet there was no trace of emotion on her face. The Archangel spread her mighty wings and took off, flying into the darkness of the night, quickly disappearing at incredible speed.
Azazel snickered evilly, allowing his arms to fall at his sides once the summoning was complete; Belial laid at his feet inside the pentagram whose power would hold him inside of it. He noticed he still held grip on his Staff, but Azazel cared not about it. It’d be useless. However… Azazel frowned. During the last stage of the Summoning, he did perceive a double nature in the Archdemon. Now as Belial regained his corporeity… Azazel narrowed his eyes. The faint aura of power that flowed from Belial was hurting his eyes… Azazel watched Belial emotionlessly as a memory flowed within his mind.
Azazel opened his eyes. He felt curious and amazed, blinking owlishly in a strange Light that hurt his eyes. Loving arms pressed his body against a female body; he rubbed his hands on his face. A small, soft and pale white hand; a rough, scaled claw. He wriggled and the female swayed him lightly.
“You say this is my son?”, a skeptical voice asked. Azazel shivered, a strange terror creeping within his soul. He looked up; three angels were looking at him, surrounding the female that held him. The light that hurt his eyes came out of them; strangely, the light was a dark force, bright but dark at the same time. The female’s face was beautiful, but shadowed by a dark anxiety. The angels he knew, but it was like seeing them by first time. One of them had white hair and a sly, crooked smile; he was more interested in his mother’s body than in him – for Azazel know now it was Lilith who held him. The other angel had raven-black hair and shimmering silver eyes open wide in wonder and piercing curiosity. The third one…/p>
Azazel’s lip curled in a dark smile. Where would you go, Moloch? Where will you find rest in my domain? The best place for you to be is in the center of the whirlwind. Didn’t you say you are a kind hostess? It’s too bad you refuse to tend to Belial now. May I point out… I’d be sad if I needed to summon you as well when I think of you again. With a smirk, Azazel spoke to Autumn, his back still to her.
“I told you… I have someone who is able to make a human immortal. Someone who can rise the dead to true life.” Azazel laughed evilly. “He was my teacher once; the Necromancer of Old, the one being who can make you immortal for me!” Azazel flicked his hand disdainfully. “As you can see, Teacher… you taught me well. You should be proud of yourself!” Azazel hissed a spell. Bolts of energy ran through Belial’s body, causing him to twitch like a lifeless doll. “I have a task for you… Your life will last a few minutes more – you should be happy.” Azazel narrowed his eyes and his malevolent smile widened slightly.
Raziel crept ever-so-slowly into the broken stone chamber, gliding silently over the cracked floor as mad Azazel hammered his plan out into physical ‘perfection.’ He noted Belial sadly; there was no hope that Raziel could rescue both his student and Autumn, the human who had strengthened such odd sensations of protection that had been birthed by the hybrid Rishta. He flitted like a gust near to Autumn’s shoulder.
//The ring, Autumn. You must take the ring. It is your only hope.// He reached out to brush her hair, to touch it for the first and last time before he was obliterated.
He dropped his cloak of invisibility, sure that Azazel had already sensed him by now, even through his distraction and preoccupation with the Necromancer, his former teacher. “Fool,” he spat, summoning Sapentia as his staff and bringing it before him in a position of defense, enabling a shield just strong enough to last a few moments. “You do not understand the forces you speak so blithely of trifling with. Do you truly think you’ll succeed in this insane plan?” His voice was deliberately disrespectful and contemptuous; an attitude he could only maintain artificially.
Azazel’s brow twitched as he sensed an intruder in his improvised sanctorum – not an stranger. Suspending Belial’s torture for an instant, Azazel turned around with an eyebrow arched in contempt. It was Raziel, one of the Elders in the Angelic Host, the Keeper of Sapentia. Azazel’s eyes narrowed as he cast a sideways look at Belial. Thanks to Moloch Azazel strongly noticed Raziel had been his Teacher’s Teacher – what a nice detail. Azazel smiled with inner evil mirth.
“Oh, what an honorable visitor”, he slyly murmured. “What a remarkable guest has arrived – my Teacher’s Teacher. I should be delighted to receive your advice… Sadly, you force me to point out your wrongs, Angel of Knowledge.” Azazel’s eyes blazed like infernal carbuncles in his pale face, his lip faintly curled in a disdainful, mocking smile. “I do know the forces I’m talking about. I am the living proof!” Azazel’s smile widened slightly. “Belial can alter the basic balance between the human soul and its shell – he can make Autumn immortal for me! Of course after I watch and learn his procedures, he’ll be able to follow you into the chasms of non-being. I’ll keep the Black Scroll and Sapentia to mourn for you two and for future use. It’s too bad such excellent scholars must have such a bitter end.”
Azazel’s eyes blazed more intensely and his aura lit up in red flames. “Walk away from my wife if you are so kind, Raziel Angel”, he hissed.
Belial writhed in agony, refusing to scream in pain as Azazel’s unbearable power flowed through his body, unable to push the burning energies away.
Suddenly, the arc or energy ceased; the pain diminished. Trying to catch up his breath, Belial opened his eyes as faint curls of smoke rose from him. He heard a familiar voice, but he still could not make out the words; his senses were numb. Belial was terrified inside, but even though he bore no hopes, he refused to let his emotions be apparent. The Fallen saw Azazel was talking and looking to someone else; he closed his trembling fingers around the Staff of Simara. Belial used a spell of will to try to canalize and make some energy usable to regain some of his strength, but the evil brute force that was Azazel’s power was too crude and savage to control; the sigils on the summoning ground held on. Belial redirected his aim to the sigils of his Elements, desperately trying to revert them.
Then he saw to whom Azazel spoke. It was Raziel! Belial cringed inwardly, aware that Raziel alone was no match for Azazel in a power fight. Something long ago asleep seemed to awaken in the Fallen’s heart. Belial bit his lip. Would Raziel try to take the ring by himself? //He is a monster; you should go away this minute!//, he mentally hissed. //You are not a fighter! He’s too powerful for you alone!// Belial tightened his grip on the Staff till his knuckles went white.
It was madness! The plan he had concocted was pure madness! Did he mean to kill her and bring her back as the undead? Autumn would have preferred death itself to spending an eternity with such a man. The ease at which he summoned, and slowly tortured his own man had her frozen in place. He meant to have his own, despite the obstacles, how was she going to contend with that?
Raziel’s voice and the soft touch through her hair gave her a sudden flood of relief before it quickly turned into a more overwhelming fear as he revealed himself to Azazel. His warning temporarily forgotten as she looked around the ruined house for signs of the other angels. He couldn’t have been so foolish to come here alone, he wouldn’t survive! The fiery look in Azazel’s eye were proof enough of that, confirmed by his less than subtle threat. “Raziel,” Autumn breathed quickly as she leapt from the onyx throne. “Please don’t! You need to leave. You can’t stay here!” She warned him away, hoping he’d pay heed. Unaware Belial was giving him the same message.
“Will you kindly hurry up, Morris!” Samael snapped. “I can understand being late to dinner or some such, but this is the end of the world! And there is no being late to the Apocalypse!”
Johnathon glared up at Samael through his bangs. “Well, perhaps if somebody had remembered how to make a Seal Sigil, I wouldn’t have had to drag along your accursed grimoire!” Johnathon looked over his shoulder and into his pack, where the corner of a tome nearly as thick as his forearm was resting uncomfortably on his back. “Oh, God, my kingdom for a horse!”
The two occultists trudged along, moving more than halfway across town, until they reached the source of where Johnathon’s extra sense called him. Johnathon moved to the edge of Moloch’s house, and blinked in amazement at the rear yard. “Funny, I don’t remember there being a sinkhole filled with evil the last time I was here.”
“There is an army below,” Samael whispered, kneeling down next to the edge and peering into the crevice. “I can see the Baroness, and several others with her.”
Johnathon set down the huge book, and joined Samael. .”..that’s Azazel,” he muttered. “I’d recognize him anywhere. Lord Silvan… I mean… Belial is also with him, as well as the angel, Raziel. But, this is Moloch’s home… I wonder where she is?”
“Perhaps she’s been killed,” Samael said.
“I doubt we’ll ever be that lucky,” Johnathon replied. “I sense more very powerful beings, off in the distance. Perhaps she is there, commanding her armies.”
Samael nodded. “Look, there. That’s a summoning circle, and a very potent one at that. That Belial fellow must have been dragged here.”
Johnathon pulled Samael’s book close to him, and continued to stare down into the abyss. He had brought along a few trinkets of his own, but they were, thankfully enough, light enough to fit in his pockets. “Raziel is here. We’ll wait up here, to see if the others arrive. Then we can make our move.”
A message full of white-hot pain seethed and flickered into his mind. A warning. //I know this. I also know there is no hope unless we can succeed in our mission. Gabriel is already dead. As is Uriel, and the young Fallen Tabris. Cadmiel’s soul has been taken. Your legions are falling.// Raziel’s measuring gaze examined Azazel’s face, his wings, his clawed hand.
“You may breathe the air around you and never understand the mechanism that allows you to do so. Likewise, you may be resurrected and not know the consequences of doing so. The Book was altered- you are living proof. But you neither know how nor what will happen because it was so. I repeat, son of Lucifer, that you are a fool. A dangerous fool, but a fool nonetheless.” Now came the time where he prepared to die. Sending a brief prayer to Azrael, that she not forget their arrangement, he cast a spell imbued with as much holy power as he could straight into Azazel’s wicked eyes.
“I pity you, boy,” he whispered as he allowed his resources to pour into the quick, clear blast. As Gabriel said. It is a good day to die. The splintering rock walls, the sound of spells and the dying- all highlighted by the complete silence around Raziel’s words, his spell. All the dark shadows in the room crystallized into razor-sharp edges against pools of liquid radiance as the heatless energy sought to make Raziel’s first and final attempt at harming Azazel. Raziel’s six sky-blue wings were spread wide; he could sense the occultists and wondered if they were so foolish as to believe their presence here would accomplish anything. His silver robes flowed like water in a surreal breeze, his face stark and beautiful in that one prolonged moment it took to seal his fate.
Azazel roared in anger as the pure Light struck his eyes; the Demon instinctively rose his clawed, red scaled hand to protect his sight; the energy seemed to burn him without a flame. Azazel’s aura was lit in flames and the flames grew; the beam of Light came through his fingers like a bundle of swords, diffracting in all directions around him. Azazel pushed his hand forward, the heatless power being pushed back by the dark power of Lucifer’s son. Azazel had been forced to close his eyes, but as he did in Westminster he relied on his other senses to keep track of the world around him.
“Fool! In all your wisdom, is this the best you can do?”, Azazel snickered evilly, his voice seeping sarcasm and venom. “Where are your Legions; where is the so called Army of the Heavens, that they send a single Elder to face Azazel The Warlord? You all will be defeated.” Azazel’s voice changed slightly as he summoned his Voice power, to weaken and destroy the angel’s confidence and faith. “You are alone in the end, Raziel. No one will help you and you’ve not been of any help! You have wasted your Life and my precious time!”
Azazel flicked his hand: the onyx throne detached from the floor and slid to the side at great speed, carrying Autumn away from Raziel and to the other side of the altar; it stopped just before reaching the edge of the platform on which the sanctorum was, the chasm below swarming with fire and demons. Azazel closed his scaled fingers and the outline of a great sword became visible. Azazel’s eyes shot open again, pools of red and blazing bronze; he flourished Lufernatia and the blade burst in flames.
“A waste of time and power; you should’ve known better”, he said in a sinister voice before shooting a beam of infernal power to the source of the blinding light. The light was diffracted, torn to blades of light by the power of Azazel, piercing through Raziel’s body. Blue feathers were consumed in flame.
Held down on the summoning ground by Azazel’s magicks, Belial’s eyes widened as Raziel’s life came to an end; Belial’s eyes filled at the terrible sight. The Fallen was horribly pale, his fingers clutching the Staff. Belial pressed hard a hand on his forehead in deep, stunned despair.
I told you to leave… Belial gasped for air, his throat closing. It’s my fault… I should have let the Seal of the Abyss Alone! I should’ve left Azazel rot in Hell forever! But to free the others… What for? Mastema was agonizing or dead by now; his Legions slain by Azrael; he was a traitor to both sides – Moloch’s words still burn his mind. Azrael would never forgive him. Azazel was going to kill him… and he’d be destroyed, erased forever from the Book of Azrael. Belial had a shiver. Scattered beams from Raziel’s last shot touched him and burned his flesh, yet the summoning ground repelled it, some still touched him. The holy energies burned his flesh but were also absorbed and canalized by his dual system. Belial had a bitter, faint smile.
“I will never make your wife an immortal for you”, he muttered. “Shall she die and scape from within your grasp!”
//I never claimed any strength beyond what fate granted me. I never claimed any knowledge beyond what duty gave me. I always took responsibility beyond what life bade me. You can never say the same.// Raziel’s mental voice flickered and faded as his body was consumed. It was curious; he felt no pain. His energies and heart were elsewhere, he was separate from his burning body. It was ironic- both he and Gabriel died of demon fire. One last duty… Raziel’s spirit, Sapentia, flickered out from solidarity and into a pale gray and gold orb of light, darting this way and that, seeking escape from Azazel’s spells. He would hold on to his last hope, that Azrael would find him and follow his request. For now, he must evade the Son of Lucifer. //The Ring!//
Azazel narrowed his eyes incredulously as Raziel’s soul darted about in the shape of a small orb of golden light, seeking a crevice in the Sanatorium’s wards to scape from Azazel’s power. Azazel swatted once at it irritably as the small orb zoomed about like a nasty fly. “You won’t scape!”, he growled. “I’ll get Sapentia – my wards are not to be taken lightly!” Azazel didn’t look at his wife yet, busy as he was.
Azazel’s eyes widened in fury as he heard Belial’s voice. Tears mixed with blood fell from his eyes due to the damage Raziel had caused; Azazel swept the moisture away and winced, for the marking across his left eye suddenly burned his flesh again, everlasting curse his father had given him.
“Annoying creatures! It’s impossible to deal with you.” Azazel lazily shot several blasts after Raziel’s darting soul. “Teacher, I’ve not asked for your opinion. You will make Autumn immortal for me. Look how thrilled she is at the idea!” Azazel scowled in angry sarcasm. “Set to work!”
Azazel again made the evil power flow through Belial’s body like a voltaic arc, causing him to twitch and cry in pain. Azazel fixed his nightmarish gaze on him for an instant. The pattern of energies was different. Belial had had some time to recover as Azazel dealt with Raziel, and his aura yet still weak was lightly stronger. The dark splendor from him hurt his eyes; The light that hurt his eyes came out of them; strangely, the light was a dark force, bright but dark at the same time… Azazel was stunned as the energies ripped through Belial’s helpless form. The Warlord frowned and recalled the memories Moloch had shown him; Fallen and their previous life as Angels.
“Where’s the boundary…?”, he murmured as Belial screamed. “Damnation! You’ve betrayed yourself and all of the inhabitants of Hell!”, Azazel yelled. “Your aura denounces you! You are nothing but a miserable angel!!!” Azazel’s eyes widened in hatred and anger. “I shall kill you as I killed your Teacher!” Azazel’s fiery, mad gaze spied Raziel’s soul trying to scape by the corner of his eye. Azazel slashed down with Lufernatia, breaking the bounds that held Belial pinned to the summoning ground, then the Demon flourished the sword to burn the orb with it, but the soul once again scaped. The suddenly freed Fallen’s body shook and bounced with a sickening thud; the arc of energy ceased. “Get on your feet!”, Azazel demanded. “Or else you’ll die on your belly like a ran over dog!”
Samael nearly jumped out of his skin as Johnathon shouted down into the pit. “Stay quiet, you fool!” he snapped, pulling Johnathon back. “If they hear us down there, we’re as good as dead!”
Johnathon squeezed his eyes shut, and slunk back until he could no longer see into the abyss. “Damn… damn it all…!” he growled, punching at the ground. “How can you sit there and watch this? An angel is dead because of us! An angel, Samael! One of the most powerful servants of God, and it’s all our fault!”
“Quit dwelling on the past! What’s done is done already!” Samael replied bitterly. “If you truly want to make it up to that man, then stay quiet and wait here. You can do him no good if you’re dead.”
Samael waited for a moment, and continued to look down. “We must work together, if we are to overcome this terrible evil. The last thing we need is to go half-cocked into danger with a full head of steam. Ah–look there! The angel’s spirit is…” Samael looked back over his shoulder. Johnathon, however, was gone, and so was his book.
“Blast it all…” the doctor growled. “Such a shame that such talents are wasted on ignorant youth.” Picking himself up off the ground, Samael dusted himself off, and followed Johnathon’s footprints into the house.
He had had to scream; he couldn’t control the need to anymore. Belial tried to ignore the pain as the objects before him went blurrier by the second; his inhuman senses were numb. The Fallen felt intense nausea once the torture suddenly stopped again. The trauma of the form of summoning Azazel used on him plus the torture had caused important damage to him but he refused to realize to what extent they had. He was sweating blood; his fingers and his wings were going numb, yet a chilling shiver kept them shaking like those of a drunk one. Feathers of his own laid around him, charred. The smell in the acid, loaded in sulfur air he breathed was sickening, even for a necromancer; the spot where Raziel died was still burning in flaming rage. Azazel’s yelling painfully rang in his ears. Belial’s feverish forehead met the cold stone ground as a gush of blood came out of his bluish, trembling lips. When will this be over…? When will it be…?
Belial blinked, trying to focus. Then somehow his brain put together the scattered words he perceived in his torment; Belial was frozen in shock.
Belial felt as if the world were spinning wildly around him; those words pierced through him like a spear. In that second he came to realize what he had been denying to himself ever since he split in Angel and Aramis; he realized… and with the realization, once his darkest secret had been found, he lost all hope and with it he lost all fear.
Belial struggled to push himself up from the stone floor, first supporting his upper body with his elbows, then using the Staff he still held to finally sit up shaking, his hair damp in blood stuck to his face; his feathers stained and ragged. Belial sat on his legs, leaning on the Staff; he rose his eyes to look at Azazel with a madman look in his silver eyes. A disdainful smirk curled his lips. Belial slowly forced himself to get on his feet with visible effort. Leaning on the Staff, Belial’s shoulders trembled lightly. The Fallen shook with laughter, the shocking sound echoing on the live stone of the chasm below, mixing with the war battle cries and the clashing sounds of the Armies below.
Belial smirked. “I taught you”, he slowly said, “you ought not to use a summoning ritual if you are not fully certain on what lays on the other side.” Belial withdrew his Darkness, allowing the Light he so carefully hid and restrained all those Centuries to flow freely, forming a bright aura of white light around him. He was weak now; he was on the verge of death, but the Light was still enough to give Azazel a nasty surprise.
Azazel roared in fury and took a step back as the Light seemed to cut its way into his eyes like splinters of white-hot silver. The Demon instinctively protected his eyes with his scaled hand yelling curses that made the stones crack and the very flames from Hell in the Hell Gate wither. Belial was too weak to cause much damage, but he added to Raziel’s work. Azazel’s anger was quickly increasing.
“Enough, miserable creature!!!” Azazel flourished Lufernatia, which at once burst in flames again. “I’ve had enough of you, despicable spawn of Heaven!” Azazel shot a beam of infernal power to Belial, piercing his armor and his body in a single blow. Belial staggered back, bleeding profusely. Azazel smirked darkly.
“I’ll crush all your bones”, he muttered, raising his fist; he began casting a spell.
The raven emerged from the darkness Moloch’s mansion, traveling through the shadows; she appeared in a dark corridor, swiftly flying over Samael Norse’s head and straight in the opposite direction. The bird emerged from the ruins and reached the sanctorum atop the cliff in the blink of an eye in a silent flight. Without a warning, the raven went through the bonfire where Raziel died, darting to the side with cold precision; the gold orb of light which was the soul of Raziel met her in flight like a perfect aerial dance; the raven took it in its claws, where it seemingly disappeared. Without pausing, the raven squeezed its way into the deactivated summoning ground and touched the stone floor between the Demon and the Fallen; the Archangel of Death and Destruction appeared before Azazel with Belial at her back.
Belial’s eyes opened wide in amazement as his paleness increased, if that was possible; a piercing, desperate feeling of shame paralyzed him, almost making him forget the bleeding wound he had just been delivered; Belial was speechless.
Azazel abruptly lost his concentration upon Azrael’s arrival – for an instant he believed the Heavenly Armies had arrived; but he quickly noticed no other angelic presences were perceivable. The Archangel had a total absence of fear; being a living being, Azazel cringed instinctively at her sight. However he quickly regained his self-control.
“Azrael, the Dark One herself”, he murmured. “What will happen once the Death dies? If you are Death itself – but we’ll see!” Azazel’s aura lit up in flames again, ready to strike the immutable archangel; her demeanor was unnerving but he was sure of his victory.
Azrael was a pragmatic archangel; she didn’t lose time in threats or futile words. As Azazel snapped out of his shock and spoke, Azrael was already moving. She rose her hands in the air, her index and thumb fingers meeting before her eyes; Azrael projected her aura like a dark surface before Azazel’s eyes and on the black surface, an image formed. Strange lights came out of the image and Azrael murmured cold words. Azazel’s eyes went wide in terror and he howled before staggering back with such panicky that he fell off the cliff. Without losing a second, Azrael turned and took the Staff from dumbfounded Belial, then seized him like if he were a sack. Azrael turned to Autumn. If the woman had been able to see what she showed to Azazel, Azrael didn’t bother to mention.
//Remember Raziel’s words.// Azrael darted off as the wards faltered, their Master’s mind in confusion. She flew into the next shadow, leaving Autumn alone with Azazel.