Adriel rushed after Raphael, trying to pinpoint Mastema in the manor grounds with her angelic senses. She noticed while she slept a lot of things had taken place. There was a fight going on and another… Another fight was just over. Adriel took in a deep breath. “Uriel… Tabris…” Adriel’s gold and green eyes filled with tears. The angel of death then sensed Raphael’s power going in an outburst, then he screamed. Adriel rushed and found him just on time to see him stab his own eyes. Adriel gasped. Raphael fell to the floor.
“Raphael…!” Adriel ran to his side and kneeled down, using a cloth she pulled off a nearby table to try and stop the bleeding.
Raphael was barely conscious. He looked around with his eyes but he saw nothing but a wave of crimson red. Raphael moaned softly in pain. He knew what he has done to himself. It was clear that his eyes were not going to see anymore evil from then on. Not anymore. He hated Beelzebub for showing those images to him. He could almost hear Beelzebub taunting him, for he had done Raphael a ‘favor’.
Raphael shook his head in his subconsciousness then. No… he hated Uriel alright… or maybe it was pure dislike…? But he never wanted her dead. It was all talk. He would never hurt Uriel. Raphael felt a familiar presence and was pulled back to reality. Raphael blinked as Strife disappeared from his hand.
“Adriel?” he whispered.
Adriel caressed Raphael’s hair to transmit comfort to him as she tried to stop the bleeding. Her own eyes brimmed with tears. “Yes, it’s Adriel”, she whispered. “We’ll need to get those wounds healed…” Adriel bit her lip. “I’m not a Healer, but I’ll try to help…” She touched his hair and motioned to get up to get medicines and help.
Red tears of blood streamed down Raphael’s cheeks. “It’s alright, Adriel…” Raphael muttered, “At least I can’t see anything now… No more evils…” Raphael’s voice became choked with tears then, and he gazed up into Adriel’s eyes. He couldn’t see with his eyes, but his heart could feel, and see. “Uriel is dead… Adriel… I never wanted her dead… but… but… a voice is blaming me…”
Adriel made a cushion float to her, then put it under Raphael’s head. She gently dabbed at the blood on his cheeks. A bright, crystal clear tear fell from her eyes to his face. “Don’t pay heed to that voice”, Adriel softly said, her voice gentle and comforting. “You’ve not caused her demise… in any way.” Adriel brushed his hair away from his face with her fingers.
Raphael’s face twisted a little and he shook his head, though he said nothing. He felt guilty for some reason. He knew that the feeling wasn’t going to fade away for sometime, or maybe forever. Raphael tried to think up of new ways to deal with Beelzebub. “I need to recover fast…” Raphael muttered, “I have to rid the world of Beelzebub. He’s killing too many innocents…”
Adriel nodded, quickly and discreetly wiping her eyes. “You need to recover soon.” She pressed her hand over her collarbone, feeling her rushing heartbeat.
‘Death still lingers…’ Adriel could feel someone else was going to die. The souls… who’d care for the souls? She couldn’t leave Raphael alone. Adriel hugged herself. //Rishta!//, she called to the girl’s mind. //Rishta, Uriel taught you healing; Raphael needs you. Please come to his aid! I can’t leave him alone…//
Adriel gently touched Raphael’s forehead. “You will be healed soon”, she softly said. “Try to stay still.” Adriel had a soft smile. She was sure Raphael had strong feelings for Rishta; she hoped he’d heal soon under his beloved’s care.
Mastema frowned slightly as Beelzebub left.
He had never liked Beelzebub much. Nothing personal, but he could never trust him any. Besides after what happened with Raphael’s sister, Mastema liked him even less. Adriel was a close friend to that girl.
Angel’s jaw was set. He cast piercing glance at Rishta: a warning for her to stay away from them. Aramis’ melancholic eyes seemed to grow sad. “If you’d take advice, I’d tell you you’d better not come any closer, Rishta”, Angel said, caustically. Aramis stayed relaxed but alert. He didn’t reply to Rishta’s words, but he had a brief nod at her. Angel narrowed his eyes, his silver gaze shimmering darkly. Aramis’ radiance and Angel’s dark aura seemed to coexist without clashing, giving the impression they shared the same space at the same time.
“You have been warned.”
Mastema blinked. Belial was giving rather contradictory signs. Was this girl and enemy or not? She was only half-angel, but still she seemed to be with the Angelic Host – no wonder after seeing who was coming with her! Belial didn’t seem to care, but Mastema was starting to believe Belial was seriously out of his wits.
It was not a surprise though, considering Mastema kind of always thought that ever since before the Fall.
He glanced around keeping his position and his guard on, looking for Cadmiel.
“Are you… sure he’s dead?” Mastema quickly wiped his eyes.
Rishta was slightly hurt by Angels’ harsh response, but understanding. He probably would never trust her. But Aramis… it was so sad that they were so different. They would have made good friends. “Why do you keep pushing me away? What have I done? Besides, this is my home – you are the intruders.” Rishta then walked forward, slipping her arm out of Michael’s, towards them. Keeping her eyes connected with Angel, she dared him to try something. This was her hall, her home, her land – according to tradition and other natural laws: she was right. And with her stubborn nature.
Then she nearly walked right into Mastema.
“I’m very sorry… we haven’t met. My name is Rishta, I’m the Angel of Destiny… may I ask for your name?”
Mastema instinctively grasped Rishta’s arm as she bumped into him. His natural reaction was to move her off the way of a possible attack from Beelzebub, but now that he had caught her arm ands he spoke to him, it was too difficult to let her go. Besides if he did, Michael would certainly attack him! Mastema blinked at Rishta as he sensed Cadmiel was too close for comfort and she wasn’t him, indeed. Then he realized it was only the soul that lingered on the girl and she had Cadmiel’s nose. Nosey family.
“I am Mastema”, he said, pulling her with him nearer the throne. “Legion commander at Belial’s service, and I am not your friend, milady.” His grip was too strong for her to pull away. He frowned as he did.
Rishta blinked as this ‘Mastema’ grabbed her arm. Usually it would be to steady both of their balances’ – for which she would be grateful, except, he didn’t let go. ‘Oh no… Michael definitely should not have come. What have I dragged myself into?’ As he dragged her closer to her grandfather’s throne, Rishta’s mind worked fast. There was no way she could pull away from that iron grip, which was bruising her under the white dress – still stained with Michael’s blood. Amazing how that seemed so far away at the moment. Mastema… she had never heard of him, or if she had, she most certainly did not remember. Strange how helpless one could feel when one didn’t know.
As the demon called by Mastema took a hold of her arm, Michael almost darted forward to wretch her free from his grasp. Something inside his mind held him back, he held his ground giving Mastema a cold stare. The demon knew he wouldn’t attack as long as he held Rishta. By heaven, if she weren’t there now he would sent all three of them back to hell where they belonged. “You better know what you’re doing, cookie.’
“Friend or not, it is an honor to meet you Sir Mastema, but: may I ask you release my arm? I would like to feel my fingers again.” Rishta’s voice was soft, filled with respect that came with medieval raising and touched with a hint of authority. One could say she had been a little spoiled. Then the fool decided to hit her nerve.
“The last Angel of Destiny I met was a nosey one”, Mastema added for Cadmiel to hear with a mischievous grin.
Immediately Rishta’s angelic face became flushed with anger. But then, she realized something, and forced herself to breathe. ‘He dared… but still…’ She could not stop her curiosity, and she stopped, jerking Mastema (as he tried to drag her further) to a halt. Her voice, leashed with tension, rang out.
“Two things Sir Mastema. One: you never insult my father. To insult him is to insult me, and I always wound those who wound me. Secondly…” Rishta’s paused as she seemed to become almost timid, but still holding that spark of fury in her eyes, .”..you knew him?”
But Rishta’s was cut off by the sound of Angel speaking.
Angel had to make a conscious effort not to roll his eyes impatiently. He had the sudden urge to lash out and blast Mastema and Rishta to the moon, just to get rid of these unnerving ones. The nerve that hybrid had! He glared at Michael and suddenly an idea came to his mind.
What was the Leader of the Angelic Armies doing at night alone with a girl in the lonely ruins? Rishta wasn’t bad-looking and maybe her sugary demeanor had got to the Patron of Scapists, he thought in sarcasm. However, didn’t he know her father was included in their romantic date? Angel snickered with a mix of amusement and evil mirth.
Aramis blinked at Michael as Angel’s thoughts flashed across his mind. Aramis bit his lip – things were growing worse by the minute. He was about to say he didn’t want any hostages but he held back his words, knowing Mastema would kill her to please him if he said such a thing at the time.
Angel summoned the Staff of Simara and arched an eyebrow.
“I guess you’re right. We’re intruders. It’s not very wise to greet the demons that happen to invade your house, child.” Angel shrugged. “You should’ve given her some better advice, Michael. It doesn’t matter anymore, I guess.” Aramis swallowed.
Immediately she retaliated. “Do you still qualify as a demon Angel? I didn’t think so. Besides – I told you that I did not mind your presence here, and I am sorry for my recently declared harsh statement.” Cutting herself off, Rishta’s eyes became wider, more doe-like as she saw him raise the Staff. He had barely stopped himself before… and now, he looked a thousand times more angry. As he chastised Michael, the inner soul that had stopped her the first time, did not stop her now.
“Be silent Angel. Michael is not even supposed to be here, and I did not bring him here as a threat. So stop being so stuffy and get off your high horse and face the truth!” She knew she was going to be in big trouble this time.
Mastema grinned. “I can’t release you”, he explained, “or else Michael would attack, which is not convenient. And yes, I met your father. Unfortunately, maybe. He was nicer than many but sometimes the Host would not listen to him.” Mastema’s grin died quickly as if an unpleasant memory would flash across his mind.
“I didn’t insult him! It was only the truth, as many would agree. Oops!” Mastema realized Rishta’s words had considerably increased Angel’s anger; the green eyes blinked with some fear to them. “Nosey family”, he muttered.
“The truth…” Angel’s voice seeped bitter sarcasm. “The truth is I am a Fallen; that’s not hard to see.” Rishta’s words had again stirred his wounds; Belial felt a mix of anguish and rage as she declared she didn’t think he qualified as a demon. What’d she know?! Angel rose the Staff; the outline of his wings showed around him.
“No lo hagas!”(1), Aramis whispered in Spanish, wide-eyed.
“Silencio!”(2), Angel snapped at him in a low, menacing voice. The Staff of Simara gave a strange glow as Angel hissed strange words in an infernal spell. Rishta’s sword vibed in response, subtle fiery lines showing on the metal as the sword floated up, out of its scabbard. The dark around them seemed to close, but Aramis’ radiance didn’t dim any. The Seal of Azrael was clearly visible now on Rishta’s sword. Angel’s eyes shimmered darkly in anticipation. He rose the Staff again and chanted a spell, sigils weaving around Azrael’s seal.
A subtle crack appeared on the Seal; Angel continued on his cantrip.
Aramis’ eyes opened wide. “Ángel!”
Rishta lowered her eyes in sadness as he said he couldn’t let her go – all because he feared for himself. But she knew Michael would not. He wouldn’t… right? “He wouldn’t. I wouldn’t let him… but, but thank you for telling me something about my father. I never knew him.” Rishta was tired of trying to fight, so she let his protests slip over her, as her fingers grew colder and more numb. ‘I cannot help it if I just want to help… does that make me so nosey…’
She even began to ignore Angel – not so good an idea. But she heard him, and although she didn’t want to speak, she allowed her thoughts to be projected. //You aren’t… you were mislead. Mistakes are never mistakes unless you refuse to correct them… DON’T!// Rishta’s head snapped up as she realized the sword was no longer by her side. Instead it was in the air, lines of flame forming an odd pattern on it… it was cracking. ‘Father! No… not you, not now… It can’t be time!’ Slowly, a tear slipped down her cheek, now white with fear for her father’s soul – and for Angel. The pain she once felt was invisible, her body numb at the fact her dad might be leaving her forever.
“Not father… What are you trying to prove Angel…?”
Aramis’ heart sank. Angel was enraged – at moments like this he’d usually let Angel have his will. This time it’d have to be different, though! Aramis rose his hand and touched the Staff; the balance shifted and Angel’s cantrip faltered. The spell could not be completed; Angel was furious. The Seal cracked open but the bound he had weaved around it to capture the soul was too weak; Angel tried to push Aramis away but it was too late. Aramis was pale but resolute. “Es inútil”(3), Aramis said in a low voice. “Ya no importa. Deja que se vaya – no nos sirve de nada”(4). Angel’s eyes flashed. Aramis bit his lip with a nod as the sadness in his eyes went deeper.
Michael remained quiet as Rishta spoke to the Fallen as if it were such a natural thing. His eyes remained trained on Mastema, waiting for him to make a false move, all the while the pieces of Belial growing more angry with every word she spoke. Belial’s anger took the sword from her side, raising it into the air and casting spells upon it… It confused Michael to no end, the sword was a useless piece of metal? Did he mean to trap them all inside? As Belial’s own self ruined his spell and then the sword emitting the blue fire, Michael was faced with a presence he hadn’t even realized was there!
Mastema perceived the weakness in the trap spell and blinked in surprise, even more as he saw Aramis was the responsible for it.
Mastema kept an eye on Michael as he held Rishta, staying close to the throne. The soul was coming out. Mastema sighed. ‘I should’ve stayed in Hell’, he thought.
Rishta stood there, eyes wide, the tears having disappeared, dried: with no more to replace them. Aramis had stopped Angel. How strange… literally fighting himself. Belial was certainly a man of many controversies.
The spell had weakened, and the sword poised there… trembling. Narrowing her eyes and peering at it, Rishta was shocked to see another web of fire appear. Ice blue this time, coming out from under Angel’s spell. Raging like an angry storm, it lashed out at the darker Hell-fire. As the seconds passed, it built up strength, and like a tsunami rushed forward, causing Belial’s spell to explode outward…
The remains hit the ground, seeping into the stone, flashing red before dissolving; while the sword remained upright, the cerulean presence veiling it in mist. Rishta stood there, stunned. The “mist” began to curl and gather, forming a presence besides the sword. It faded from blue to white, as it shaped itself into a man’s form. He was tall, maybe close to 7 feet – but no markings could be distinguished yet.
Cadmiel chuckled as the sun rose, back to the window, smiling at a little girl who laid in her mother’s arms, feeling better after a sick night. “I knew she would pull through…” The man smiled at his wife, who looked tired, but overjoyed.
That night, and for many nights before, the little girl had been sick with a fever. The priest had been called twice, and twice sent home. Even her grandfather had believed she would not live much longer – but longer she had lived.
Cooing at her daddy, the baby reached up to him, doe-eyes sparkling with happiness, the danger she had been in – forgotten. Gurgling and smiling a toothless grin, the child was rewarded by her father by being carried up towards the sun. The man had very similar eyes, both dark brown and deep… the same shade hair, same nose. “My Rosi… I knew you would live.” Cadmiel’s voice echoed, deep and joyful, trusting. The baby giggled in response, squirming. Embracing the child, he handed her back to his wife. “Milady, let us go back to breakfast…”
Rishta blinked as the white, transparent form shimmered. Daddy! It’s daddy… Smiling happily, she pulled her arm away, but to no avail. She did not care though, as the form began to take on features. Dark hair, expanded white wings, several pairs, Armour to make heaven jealous (all in her humble opinion).
Cadmiel was free. Turning, he faced his daughter – transparent, but recognizable. The soul saw Mastema’s grip on her, and he “stepped” forward, feet not touching the ground. As he advanced, Rishta looked on, helplessly stunned and speechless. Cadmiel raised a hand, and placed it on Mastema’s shoulder, telling him to let her go with a mere gesture.
‘Father… you’re back.’
Mastema pulled Rishta closer to him, holding her tightly as the magicks formed a blast and the spirit was unleashed from its shell. Mastema narrowed his eyes, green lights in the dark. The spirit motioned to him to let go of Rishta; the Fallen pulled the girl against him, large wings visible around his body. “Sorry, but no way. You are already dead, Cadmiel, and I do not wish to share your condition.” Mastema’s own staff appeared in his hand; he used it to keep Rishta in his power.
“Cadmiel…” the name of his heavenly mentor was barely a whisper on his tongue as he watched Cadmiel go to Rishta. Rishta’s reaction was even more of a surprise. She knew him? His lady murmured the words father it all suddenly came to him! He knew the soul was Cadmiel was lost… it was sealed in the sword? Rishta’s sword! His mentor was Rishta’s father! “Let her go, Mastema… you won’t die this night.” Michael said through clenched teeth as he took a step towards them. He wouldn’t dare put Rishta in danger, especially now. ‘The daughter of my mentor…’
Aramis’ silver gaze watched Michael’s reaction; it was obvious he hadn’t noticed earlier Cadmiel’s presence, nor had Michael known Rishta was Cadmiel’s daughter. Michael belonged in a different Order than Belial and Mastema once did; the former angels of Death and Destruction had keener senses for such things. Aramis smiled faintly. Azrael kept her secrets well.
“Suéltame!”(5) Angel pulled free from Aramis’ grip. He watched the curious scene before them and the anger in his flashing eyes partially gave way to a dark mirth.
“Well well. Seems like this has been a surprise for you, Michael”, Angel said with a dark smile. “Didn’t you know her father was included in your wanderings across the ruins? Cadmiel always had the gift to be unexpected.” Angel narrowed his eyes. “Unexpected will his end be – Azrael won’t be here to give his soul a second shelter.” He motioned to Mastema to bring Rishta closer.
Rishta was stunned to be so close to her father again, he felt so similar. This was who she belonged with! Not her granddad, not her grandmother, or those so-called “uncles” – just her and her mother and her DADDY. The “ghost” seemed somewhat happy too – smiling at his daughter. But Mastema and Belial were not finished yet. As Mastema dragged her closer and closer, she felt herself panic. What was he planning to do?
“Angel, Mastema, why? Why do you…”
.”.. Have you changed so much that you would hurt an innocent?” Cadmiel’s voice, deep and echoing, filled the room. It seemed to come from somewhere deep within the soul, not natural, shaking the souls of anyone around. He had had a powerful persona, and it came up now in death. His eyes were sad, he had once trusted Mastema, believed him to be a worthy ally. It had pained him when he followed Belial – another soul he had believed would not be tainted. Then again, deep inside: he knew Belial would not resist the ability to shine in Azrael’s eyes. It was a pity.
Mastema kept an eye on Michael and the other on Cadmiel or so to speak. He carefully dragged Rishta along with him towards Angel.
“If I could trust you Michael, this would be a better world”, Mastema said with a grin. “Nothing changes for the better, however. Sorry milady.” Mastema’s green eyes twinkled.
“She has your nose, Cadmiel”, he informed the ghost.
“I noticed. And who said you were going to die? You do not trust my daughters’ word?” Cadmiel’s voice was quizzical, but not foolish. He knew well enough what Belial could and would do. He stepped back, warning them both with a glare. If they dared to hurt his girl he would.
He then noticed Michael. He and Rishta had… well, of course, considering the current events, but he had thought Uriel would have followed. ‘Strange…’
“Michael.” Cadmiel nodded, smiling. A hopeless student, but the man had matured. And in the end, had become a brilliant swordsman.
Meanwhile Rishta stood there, listening to his voice, transfixed.
“He is just as I imagined…”
Anastasia stared out the window over the expanse of the grounds, watching as the flame-haired whore returned to the manor. The deep-set scowl on her face showed pure unhindered fury. She will remove the little whore from this scheme once and for all. Tonight she would die!
Anastasia left from the window, the room around her morphing from her bedroom chambers to the damp stone of her caverns below the home. She wore deep crimson velvet that made the pure pale white of her skin look almost luminescent. The old hag appearance had vanished, replaced by a ethereal yet volatile looking young woman with silvery hair and brilliant coppery eyes. Lilith had taken true form.
Walking over the marbled stone she came to an alter. Above it an incredibly ball of light an energy, flowing and churning waiting for her command.
A sound of fabric brushing against skin cause Lilith to swirl around staring into the dark shadows of the cavern. This was her haven, nothing could enter here! Her suspicions were rewarded by the tall and familiar form stepping from a shadow. Deep bronze eyes boring into her own.
“You…” Lilith gasped, the incredible fear evident in her tone. Her gaze stood transfixed staring at the man. Her plans, her precious plans would all be tore apart…
He didn’t move a muscle, or even blink. Nor did his mouth have motion as his rich voice echoed in the cavern. “With my bare hands took your life when you betrayed me… and I’ll do it again and again for the rest of eternity.”
Lilith knew the tone, the same he used before he killed her for the first time. A sudden feeling of doom weighing heavily upon her. She tried to move her body, to summon her energies for escape, but she remained frozen in place.
The figure moved only enough to sneer in response to her struggles. “You will never escape me, Lilith.”
A blood curdling scream echoed through the night… Anastasia’s last breath.
Angel’s eyes shimmered darkly in a mix of anticipated triumph and malevolent joy. He flashed a dark, charming smile as Cadmiel glared to them.
“What are these things you wonder about? Riddles in the dark…” Angel snickered malevolently. “No one is innocent in this land – things men name as pure and good are illusions of the mind.”
A sudden rupture in the web of presences startled Belial; Lilith’s shriek echoed in his angel of death and destruction senses – echoed and disappeared. Aramis sensed something else, but a thick veil seemed to…
Angel clasped his hand on the Staff of Simara. Behind him, Aramis paled.
“Azrael’s Seal has been broken and your soul won’t be claimed by any Angel of Death, but by me – I am the Necromancer.” With this words, Angel rose the Staff and began to cast a binding spell. “If you wish, your daughter might join you. She seems anxious to spend more time with you.” Angel’s eyes shimmered like silver fire.
Mastema blinked as he sensed the echoes of Lilith’s shriek within his mind – Mastema was surprised she had been around, but he was sure he wasn’t going to miss her at all. When Angel rose the Staff of Simara, Mastema’s own staff gave a note in reply. The Fallen held it tightly as he forced Rishta to stand before him. Mastema didn’t hesitate to follow Belial’s command, but he couldn’t help to wonder why Aramis had interrupted the capture earlier. Mastema kept an eye on Michael. “I don’t want to be offensive… but we must hurry! Beelzebub is gone and he might have as well revealed we’re here or not!”
Michael bellowed with rage as Ezurewrath flashed to life in his hands, blazing brighter than a roaring inferno. “Hold your tongue, devil!” he shouted at Angel, squeezing the hilt of his sword until his knuckles cracked. The shimmer of wings appeared at Michael’s shoulders, but vanished as quickly as they had come. “If one dark incantation leaves those foul lips, I swear, I’ll have your wretched head rolling across the floor before you can blink!”
Michael lowered his blade towards Angel, though he didn’t take a single step. Still, the ferocious glint in his eyes was enough of a signal to show he was not bluffing. Every muscle in his body was tensed; the angel was a coiled spring, ready to launch forward in a torrent of fire and light to strike the demons down. Flame wreathed itself around his body, crawling up Ezurewrath and flickering off into the darkness. “Rishta, step away and come back over here,” he snapped, flicking his gaze over to her for a brief second. “Hurry!”
The soul of Cadmiel glared at Angel – this part of Belial was pure darkness… but his binding spell should not work. After all, he wasn’t a soul… he was just some of his power, plus memories, not even all his memories. Azrael held the rest of him. But he would not take a change and endanger his daughter. “You will leave her be. I am surprised at you, what would Raziel say?”
Meanwhile Rishta struggled against Mastema’s grip. ‘What have I ever done to deserve this…?’ She nearly smiled as Michael told her to come – did it LOOK like she could move? “Let me go, you’re hurting me…” The stone hall seemed so familiar now, but it also seemed accursed. Too many bad things had happened in this place, and another was about to happen. Aramis could not stop Angel. He was too enraged. And Michael… was too furious. ‘Too much anger here… way too much anger.’
Cadmiel saw his girl struggling. ‘If Belial manages to take me… or my spirit loses its potency. I won’t be able to give her…’ Cadmiel moved forward quickly then, startling the demons by daring to come so close. Placing a hand on Rishta’s shoulder, he whispered softly. “You may need this…”
“Father?” Rishta was confused, but the loving feeling she felt was enough to keep her calm. ‘What will I need…?’ His palm began to glow softly, and Rishta felt this sense, a sense of… one could call it awakening. Or maybe it was change. She could not be sure. Something expanded, but nothing changed physically. However, Rishta knew that something had changed within her. She had her suspicions, but they would have to be examined out later.
‘If only there was more time…’
“Eep!” Mastema pulled back and rose his own Staff to keep Cadmiel at bay; the Fallen began casting a ward spell to interrupt the flow of energies from Cadmiel to his child.
Angel went on with his cantrip; Cadmiel reached out for his daughter and Mastema was about to cast a spell of his own to weaken Cadmiel’s soul. Aramis watched, tense; he first intended to stay on the other side of the fence, but this time he knew he needed to do something!
Aramis frowned. He moved swiftly, going behind Angel and around the throne; when Mastema rose his staff Argentus, Aramis summoned his version of the Staff of Simara and blocked Argentus with it.
Angel blinked as he realized Aramis’ intent, but he had to break his concentration to pay attention to Aramis, breaking the binding spell he was performing on Cadmiel. Angel cried out in frustration and slashed down with the Staff at him but the stone throne was in the way. The stone throne exploded, sending the group back.
Rishta gave a small shriek as they were blasted back, Mastema had kept his grip, and her arm twisted. ‘THIS is going to hurt…’
With a sickening thud Mastema hit the ground, with Rishta on top of him. Struggling, she got up and immediately backed away, next to Michael. ‘I cannot believe Aramis would do this. I certainly owe him one…’
Cadmiel gave an alarmed look as his daughter – and the rest of the demon’s – were pushed back by the misdirected blast. He disappeared and reappeared next to Michael and Rishta, and before the demon’s could fully collect themselves, began to finish the transfer. He just HAD to finish… Meanwhile Rishta leaned against Michael, while she relaxed – she knew whatever her daddy was giving her, he wasn’t going to lead her astray.
Mastema was dumbfounded. Things were not looking good at all! Maybe he should take Belial’s advice and leave him on his own… or was it their own?
Mastema landed with a thud, lots of skirts blocking his view. His wings padded the landing some, but it still made him feel as if he had crashed onto a stone cliff after plummeting down a long distance from the skies. The Fallen pushed the skirts and shook his head, but as he lost his grip on her, the hybrid girl rushed and fled from him. Mastema sat up with a blink, rubbing his head and scowling.
“Gwah!” He reached out and grabbed Argentus.
He looked at Angel and Aramis. Aramis was already back on his feet, wielding the Staff; Angel seemed about to try a suicide move on Aramis. Mastema blinked and suddenly realized he was looking at them the wrong way. Despite how different or independent they might look like, they were Belial, only one. Belial, the Fallen he knew, his inner conflict visible. Mastema bit his lip. He had a conflict of his own and when he took that point of view he could see…
Damn… That guy needs a lot of help! Mastema sighed. He decided to stay. He sprang back on his feet and cast a shield spell to cover himself and Belial in case the angels would attack.
Michael flinched backwards when the stone throne exploded, but snapped back at the ready in a heartbeat. Rishta, now free of Mastema, came back to him. The angel looked down at her for a moment, but glanced back at Angel and Aramis when she looked back up. A lazy smile drifted across his face as he turned to Mastema, regarding him like a lord would a rude peasant.
“Well. This is certainly interesting,” he mused smugly. “‘All-powerful armies of darkness’, indeed. Your master can’t even come to terms with himself. You soulless abominations should have stayed in the shadows where you belong!” Ezurewrath blazed with holy fire once again, illuminating every dark corner within fifty yards of the enraged angel.
“There is no power in Hell that can save you now, demon!” Michael shouted, driving a lance of white light wreathed with flame at Mastema.
A sudden light appeared, surprising Angel and Aramis. The two ceased in their fight and turned around just on time to see Michael speak arrogant words and attack Mastema. Without a second thought, Angel and Aramis moved fast; Aramis landed between Michael and Mastema; Angel landed beside Mastema, quickly reinforcing Mastema’s shield. Aramis rose the Staff and intercepted Michael’s lance of white light wreathed with flame; the force pushed him back but Aramis held on, a sudden flash of pure light surging from him, a sigil of silver fire projecting before Aramis. The Light grew, erasing the outline of the objects around them; a sudden wind swirled, hissing with an unheard voice as Belial used the power he had fiercely denied before.
Angel murmured a spell. Dark sigils formed on the ground, hissing with strange voices and a Portal opened. Mastema blinked, momentaneously blinded by Michael’s light; the sudden dark confused him. Angel grumbled.
“I told you to stay away… Now use your other senses and watch your step!” He pushed Mastema into the Portal and motioned to Aramis to follow. Angel’s dark and Aramis light didn’t clash but seemed to coexist, none dimming the other but reinforcing each other.
Aramis swirled the Staff, sending the clashing lance of Light to the opposite wall and using the kickback to impel himself in the opposite direction towards the portal. Already on the other side of the portal and still blind, Mastema cried out:
“Uriel is dead! Tabris is dead, too! I can feel it!”
Cadmiel allowed the transfer to be complete, then released his daughter. //Remember, I love you Rishta… now, do what you have to…// Rishta turned to Cadmiel, smiling at him, and turning to Michael, quickly whispered ‘be right back’ and ran up to Aramis.
“Belial, we need to talk!”
Automatically, Rishta reached out and grabbed his arm, to keep him from disappearing like Mastema. ‘I do not want to know what is in there…’ And pulled him to the side.
“Aramis… don’t push me away, I just want to help, don’t kill yourself by doing this!”
Aramis blinked. From beside the Portal, Angel hissed in impatience. “Your are far worse than the Plagues of Egypt!”, he protested. “Get off Aramis!” Aramis pulled to free his arm from the girl’s grip, startled to see that they could be an easy target for Michael now.
“I can’t see anything yet!”, Mastema protested from the other side.
Angel frowned and stood in the Portal threshold, holding his Staff out at Aramis. “Get rid of her!”, Angel urged him.
Aramis pulled his arm free and reached out for Angel, refusing eye contact with the girl. “Go back to your people”, he told her. “Forget about me!”
Rishta narrowed her eyes dangerously. She wasn’t as powerful as them, that was certain, but she was in a very haphazardous mood. Standing in front of them, back to Michael, she made Aramis look at her. “I can’t forget about those who helped me.” Rishta’s voice was soft yet stern, and she held on to Aramis’ upper arm, keeping her eyes trained on him, then turning to Angel. Her eyes were concerned and hurt, large and an almost soft shade of brown. Tears hung precariously on her lower lashes, though she tried to keep them back.
“I know I am being a pain, and you most probably want to kill me right now, but I don’t want you to die, and I can’t stop worrying. Please… Don’t. Push. Me. Away.”
“You can’t decide my Fate”, Angel fiercely said, his silver eyes flashing. “Cadmiel should’ve taught you that!”
Aramis bit his lip. “You can’t and you won’t get involved”, he said, gently but firmly pulling her fingers off himself. “For your own sake, stay away!” Aramis pulled himself free from Rishta’s grip and rushed to the Portal, held onto Angel’s Staff and was dragged into the Portal. The portal flashed and disappeared.
“Its too… late.” Rishta sighed as he disappeared. ‘And there he goes… most likely to his death…’ Turning, Rishta walked back to a stunned Michael and a fading Cadmiel.
“I couldn’t stop him…” Rishta looked defeated as she allowed a tear to slip down her face and hit the ground with a small splash. However, no more came and she looked at Cadmiel, who was smiling in a sort of wise way.
“You cannot save them all… but he is strong, he will save himself.” Cadmiel’s deep, soothing voice echoed in the spacious room.
“I know…” Rishta sighed and looked back to where the portal once was.
“Rosi… will you please excuse me and Michael? We need to discuss something.”
Rishta looked oddly at her father, who was smiling somewhat mischievously, but she obeyed, walking off out of the room and down the hall. ‘I wonder what they need to talk about…’
Rishta stood in the hall, and walked outside. Darkness crept in any and every corner… but it was a comforting ebony night. She could feel her home, the similar presence of the land she had been on for years. It was sad, but Rishta knew she wouldn’t be here for long. It could even be the last time she walked upon the land of her ancestors. If she didn’t die, well… Why would she want to remain here anyways? The place was now filled with bad memories, and the good ones seemed to dim all the time… fading, disappearing into nothingness.
And they were dead. Rishta had heard Mastema and now… it all seemed to click. Tabris and Uriel… dead. By HIM. Beelzebub, the damned b… no. She, she couldn’t believe that… but he did. He was different then Belial, he was heartless. Crying silently, and inwardly, Rishta turned her head to the heavens. Contemplating and slowly walking around the lost garden, Rishta heard a voice. Familiar… Adriel!
//Rishta, Uriel taught you healing; Raphael needs you. Please come to his aid! I can’t leave him alone…// Rishta stood there, torn between leaving her father, and helping Raphael. But the decision was made in two seconds. Taking one last look at her ancient home, she made her way back to the solarium in the “new” Angel Manor.
(1) Don’t do it!
(3) It’s futile.
(4) It doesn’t matter anymore. Let him go – it isn’t of any use to us.”
(5) Let go of me!