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Seal of Azazel

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY

Kevin followed the servants for quite some time before they reached a mansion. He stood for a second and gaped at the size and structure of the building. His jaw dropped, and so did the cigarette out of his mouth, as his eyes widened. Looking around, Kevin decided to let himself in after the servants have disappeared from view. Walking through the big wooden doors, he was greeted by a different servant.

“Hello young sir. And what business might you have here?” Asked the man with a long face and a spectacle in one eye.

“I’m Kevin, a friend of Frost Spencer. Do you know where she might be?”

“No,” answered the servant, “but I can get someone who possibly knows her whereabouts. I’ll go get Lady Riktophen. Please wait here.”

“Sure.” replied Kevin darting his eyes from one place of the entrance hall to another, admiring every aspect of it. “I’ll be right here.”

Hearing a soft knock at the door, she moved to answered it. One of the Lady Rishta’s servants, informing her someone was waiting… yet the Lady wasn’t there to attend them. “Ah… Alright…” Slipping out the door she followed the servant to the awaiting guest.

Kevin waited patiently for a few minutes and then heard a door shut upstairs. Moments later a woman began to descend down the stairs. The very first thing he noticed about her is her rich auburn hair, the color seemed to glow around her head like a halo.
She approached Kevin with the servant following behind her.

“Baroness Autumn Riktophen,” announced the servant.

“Pleasure to meet you Lady Riktophen,” said Kevin softly as he picked up her hand and lay a soft kiss on the back of it. “I’m known as Kevin Smith, you can just call me Kevin. I am looking for Frost Spencer, do you know where she might be?”

“Frost…?” Autumn looked unsure for a moment, the recognition crossed her face. He meant Uriel. She remembered her saying the name in the hallway earlier. “Ah… Yes, actually. She is here, but I am afraid she’s not well…” The man looked odd, but she was sure he wasn’t one of the angels, and definitely not of the demon persuasion… however, it may be a bad idea to let him see Uriel while she was still weak. Motioning to the servant, she asked him to check on Ms. Spencer, and if awake, let her know she had a visitor.

“If she’s well enough she’ll send for you…” She smiled warily, not sure what to do with this new visitor. Rishta was still away. “Ah… dinner is actually being served at the moment, would you like to join me while you wait for news?”

Kevin began worrying of the situation; it didn’t sound like Frost was in the best condition. He quickly had a flash back to the time that he saved her a few years back. Fate had it that their paths have crossed again, and it was undoubtedly for a reason.
“Is there anything I can do to help Frost? I am a healer in fact, I might not be the best one, but I can sure lend a helping hand.” At this point his stomach growled and he let out a nervous laugh. “But dinner doesn’t sound half-bad. Please tell me if there’s anything I can do to help her.”

“A healer?” She stopped in mid-step on their way to the dining hall. A healer would be incredibly useful, but again, she didn’t know this man or his affiliations with Uriel. Did he know about the angels? “That might be helpful, especially if she wishes to see you…”

Uriel by this time was awake in the room, and was sitting on the bed frowning. She was simply sitting still, as a glow of white power was concentrated on her injured back. It took some time before a pair of small childlike wings sprouted. “Now it’s all done…” she muttered, “Just to wait for it to grow bigger…”
Uriel glanced around, annoyed. Wasn’t there anything to help her out of boredom?

A soft knock on the door caught Uriel’s attention from her bored brooding. The servant spoke timidly, “Miss? There is a Mr. Kevin Smith here for you. Do you wish to greet him?”

“Ehh?!” Uriel was surprised. What was Kevin doing here? How did he even find his way here? She was partially relieved that her wings were small and weren’t glowing or the servants would have seen it. “Erm… okay. I will go down now. Thank you.” Uriel stood up and went out of the room as she closed her wings and kept them invisible. She felt silly about her new wings which made her seem so childlike. She imagined Raphael laughing at her.

Within minutes Uriel reached the gallery. “Hi, Baroness.” Uriel said coolly as she walks over to Autumn, as if nothing were wrong with her. She looked at Kevin and she grinned at him. “Hi Kevin! What are you doing here? You should be in my room.”

Kevin watched Frost walk into the room, she seemed fine as if nothing were wrong, but there was an ill air about her that made Kevin uneasy and wanting to help.
“Oh hi Frost! Heh, I was in your room, but…” He paused for a moment, explaining his story of the past few hours would seem boring, .”.it’s a long story, I’m just glad to see you’re doing fine. You are fine, aren’t you? Baroness said that you weren’t doing too well, I can help if necessary.”

“Oh…” Uriel smiled, slightly nervous even though she was happy that Kevin cared, “I’m okay now, thank you. Have anyone told you that you are such a sweet man?” Uriel turned to look at Autumn as she smiled at the Baroness, meaning to ask if she had told him ANYTHING else.

“Heh. Why thank you,” Kevin’s face blushed slightly after hearing that comment, he hasn’t been very social for the past years, people have just left him out of things, “No, no one’s told me that, and I don’t think its true. I just treat friends as I would like to be treated.”
Kevin shot a quick glance at the Baroness, just to see the expression on her face, to have some clue of how she was feeling at this point. She still seemed unsure whether Kevin was a friend or foe. He caught her eye and smiled at her softly, letting her know everything’s okay.

Gabriel snuck in quietly through the front doors, unsure of whether or not Lady Rishta’s servants would kick him out on sight. He crept quietly through the halls, stopping at an open door where he heard Uriel’s voice. And another… man’s… A small surge of jealousy flushed his face; he hid outside of the room, close enough to be hidden but not seen.
You better just be friends, he thought.

Uriel smiled at Kevin’s statement. The man was a nice one. He had saved her before and close encounter with him made them have a special bond together. Sensing a slight angelic presence, and a familiar one at that, Uriel turned to the door. She narrowed her eyes a little, and for a moment, thought it was Raphael. Realizing that it was Gabriel, Uriel’s frown gave way to a gentle expression and she called out, “Gabriel, why are you hiding behind there for? Come out here won’t you? The Baroness is here too.”

Gabriel smoothed his expression out into a pleasant smile. He might be a young human… Hell, both he and Uriel were fairly young angels. But still, he could fake a face if he needed too. “Hello, Uriel. Lady Rishta just invited me in.”
He paused, looking at the man. He hadn’t been introduced, but anyway. //Belial was here, Uriel… Just outside, talking to Rishta. And he was… disturbed.//
Gabriel glanced around the room- it was well appointed. The fabrics on the canopied bed alone would pay for several years of schooling- even the floor was covered in rugs to keep out drafts. Espying a cushioned chair, he plopped down. “Lady Riktophen, yes?”

Autumn nodded with a smile to Gabriel. As strange as the circumstances were, she found herself more at ease with the strange host of angels and the constant coming and goings of all the people. Uriel seemed fine with Mr. Smith, and that made her worry just a little bit less.

Kevin stood there for a second confused. “Uriel? Who’s Uriel?” He looked over to the character that just walked into the room. He looked quite arrogant, yet he wasn’t someone Kevin would dislike.
“I don’t think we’ve been introduced yet. I am Kevin Smith, a healer.” He moved over closer to the young man waiting for him to respond.

“It’s my other name, Kevin.” Uriel told Kevin gently as she looked into his eyes, “Few know me by that name, so it’s alright.”
// Belial was here…? Does that hybrid girl need any help? //

Gabriel blushed a furious scarlet and turned his face away. He had managed to forget the man already. He had gotten used to running his mouth freely; and had only known these people a week or so! //Rishta is fine,// he replied, putting a slight emphasis on the girl’s name. After all; she wasn’t just a hybrid- she was an angel, like them.

Uriel cocked her head aside and said nothing. She got what Gabriel means but she didn’t think she’s wrong. Rishta IS a hybrid, isn’t she? Besides, she hadn’t done much to impress Uriel to let her call her by the name. Hmm, maybe except for the healing matter where she helped Michael.
// I don’t care. I’m just stating the facts. //
Uriel looks over the wall outside the room and sensed a demonic sense. Uriel’s face twisted in anger.

// Tabris! He’s here! I will be going for a while, Gabriel! I MUST teach him a lesson for what he has done to me and my wings! Protect the baroness and Kev, alright? Thanks! //
Without waiting for any responses, Uriel ran out of the room, climbed over the wall and ran straight to where Rishta and Michael were. It was a shortcut, and Uriel didn’t mind it.

Gabriel tossed Kevin an apologetic look and a murmured apology as he ran out the door, following Uriel. He knew it must have been strange to sit there for a few moments and then watch Uriel run out for seemingly no reason. “Women!” he muttered, trying to decide which way was out of the manor to the courtyard and gardens.

Johnathon blinked in surprise, and barely managed to get out of the way before being flattened by somebody running past him at full-tilt. Whoever it was, he must have been in a great hurry to be so rude.
Tugging on his jacket, Johnathon peeked into the room the stranger had just ran from, where he found Autumn and some other fellow standing around, looking somewhat surprised. That was fine, though…he needed to talk to her anyway.

An almost silent “Um,” was the only way he could manage to introduce himself as he stepped inside. His attention was suddenly diverted elsewhere. Outside, something was pulling at his extra senses. He’d need to go investigate in a moment or so. “Ah… Lady Riktophen? May I speak to you for a moment?” He glanced over at Kevin. “In private…?”

“I am sorry, Mr. Smith. Please, enjoy dinner.” Autumn apologized to Kevin and she got up from the table to speak with Mr. Morris. She hadn’t spoken much at the table, just watched as she usually did. Autumn had such little interaction with people over her lifetime… the past few days were so interesting to watch. Especially considering the existence of angels! Autumn led Mr. Morris to a common room, and had a seat on one of the sofa’s. She brushed a few strands of her hair from her face and looked on at Morris with curiosity. “Is there something amiss that you needed to discuss with me…? I hope there isn’t anything serious…”

Serious? Only if the sum total of every soul in Creation being put at risk was serious! Only if the lives of everyone he knew was in jeopardy! Serious! Of all the silly questions!
“Ah… I’m afraid… I haven’t been very honest with you,” Johnathon admitted, folding his hands behind his back. He turned away from her, and started to intently study a crack in the corner of the ceiling. “I have carried around this terrible secret for some time now. And it burdens me greatly. Lady Riktophen, what I am about to say to you must be kept between yourself and me. Were any of our…’friends’ to learn of this, they would, no doubt, become quite put out. And the wrath of the Heavenly Host is not something I would like to add to my troubles today.”

Johnathon glanced back at Autumn for the briefest moment, and turned back around to the crack. “Tell me… do you remember the doctor who treated you earlier? On the first night we met?” Autumn pondered for a moment, and slowly nodded. “Ah. Yes. Good. Well, that was no ordinary doctor. His name is… Samael Norse,” Johnathon said, his mouth twisting down in irritation, “and he and I have a bit of a history together. Just as I am an apprentice occultist, he is a master of our trade, and a remarkable summoner. His skill with magical healing is unprecedented.

“And, though it pains me to say it…” Johnathon paused for a moment, and placed his hands in his coat pockets. “It was because of Samael and myself that the archdemons walk the Earth today. A summoning, inadvertently gone wrong, ripped open the seals that separated this mortal coil from the planes of darkness.”
He finally turned back to Autumn, after letting his words sink in. A sad, regretful expression was painted across his face, and set deeply in his eyes. “Your mother has invoked the ancient evil of Lilith, in order to gain control of the monsters Samael and I set free. With her power, she was able to resurrected Lorant Riktophen, and place the spirit of her demon-son, Azazel, inside his body.

“I… I don’t blame you, if you hate me,” Johnathon continued, taking a half-step backwards. “I understand, if you wish me dead. Often, I have considered taking my own life, and facing whatever judgment God has decided for me. But now, so close to the end, there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Please, let me redeem myself! To you, and to everyone who has been hurt by my actions! Let me find Samael, and we will set right whatever wrongs we have incurred!”

“I see…” Autumn replied quietly, lulling the information around in her head. She examined his face carefully, filling in the bits and pieces that he didn’t mention to her… It was he and the Doctor that set them all free. They must have hated each other greatly to take their battle so far as to summon all of the demons of hell. As for Anastasia…? Invoking the powers of Lilith to raise her dead son? It was hard to believe, but nothing seemed to surprise Autumn anymore. It seemed though the two men might of set free the demons, Anastasia was the one pulling all of the strings.

“You should go then. But…” She hesitated only a few moments before continuing, .”.. I think we need to tell the others. It isn’t possible for you both to handle things alone. The angels have fought the demons before, they can help you…”

“No! That’s the one thing we can’t do!” Johnathon protested. “Please, you can’t tell them! If they found out that I was the cause of all this chaos… you must understand, my family has been in close quarters with the forces of good for centuries. We have always relied on the power of the divine to aid us in our endeavors. Would you, then, tell your lord or emperor that it was you who shot down his favorite hawk, or trampled his best dog with your horse?”

Johnathon knelt down in front of Autumn, and took her hand in his own. “Please, Lady Riktophen… promise me that you will not speak a word of this to anyone. If I succeed, then I shall confess my terrible sin to the whole world. And if I die, then it is a death I shall not regret.” Without waiting for a reply, Johnathon stood back up, and left the room with a brief flourish of his coat. He’d comb the entire city for Samael if he had to. And with his luck, that’s exactly what he’d end up doing.
Outside, a sudden storm threw great waves of water up against the windows.
Raining. Perfect, Johnathon mumbled.

Autumn sighed as Johnathon left. She still had a deep set feeling that it wouldn’t be safe for him and the Doctor to go at it alone. He didn’t give her enough time to respond… it wouldn’t be breaking a promise to warn them, if she didn’t make the promise. Autumn stood slowly from her seat, making her way to the door.

A cold stilling feeling rushed over her, that made her pause and steady herself on the frame of the door. Second thoughts crossed her mind, like a strong compulsion or sudden epiphany. It would be betrayal if she told the angels, Mr. Morris would be angry. But she couldn’t let him face the demons without something to help him. ‘My camera can see through illusions… that is exactly what he needs!… But, I can’t go to the manor it would be too dangerous…’ Autumn wrestled with the thoughts in her mind. She knew it was a mistake to leave the safety of Lady Rishta’s home. Worse yet to return to the Riktophen Manor. But she felt she had to go… she needed to go.

Quietly sneaking into the main hall, Autumn look around to make sure no angel, human or otherwise was watching. A strong pain of guilt tugged at her for not mentioning she was leaving… but something told her she just couldn’t utter a word. With one last look, Autumn slipped out of the Farishta home towards the Riktophen Manor.

“Michael, love? What are you doing sitting here in the woods alone? It’s time for dinner…” the soft voice chided.

Michael’s lips curled up in a charming half smile as her looked up from the ground. He was sitting comfortably, leaned against one of the huge old oak wood trees that surrounded the lake. “I was just thinking how much I was going to miss you and Pop…” He sighed, glancing back out to the lake, a very distant look glimmering in his eyes.

The woman simply smiled, brushing away a few stray strands of her deep gray hair from her face. “We will always be around, Michael. Life is a circle… In death you return to the earth and are reborn into a new life. The people you know and love now have been with you since forever, and will stay with you just as long…”

Michael chuckled deeply, shaking his head in disbelief. It was a wonderful thing to believe in, but he knew the truth. There was no death or love for him… just eternity….

“Michael!? Are you here?”
Rishta’s voice drew him from his thoughts, but he sat still as stone against the tree. How he wished he was normal… human… If all of them were just human! There would be no battle of heaven versus hell. No lives ruined. No forever living to protect and have your heart torn from your chest with the loss of things you can’t have. Michael could hear Rishta called again, but still made no motion to move. Maybe if he sat still long enough he’d become real stone, and all his problems would be solved.

Rishta kept walking in between the trees, the old, still-strong wood appearing to be columns of an ancient cathedral. It was as silent as chapel here. Rishta remembered chapel. The dark corridors, leading into the pews. The priest standing there, murmuring stories about angels. When she was young, Rishta always wanted to jump and say that he was wrong – angels weren’t incapable of human emotions. After all ‘daddy was one.’ She had asked her mother that once. Was daddy really like the angels the priest had described? In the utmost secrecy her mother had told her ‘no’, and that her daddy was ‘as sweet and kind hearted as the next mortal’. If mortals could be kind. Some weren’t…

Stepping up to a clearing, she thought she saw a familiar form lean against the trees. Michael. He looked so lost… Calling to him again, with no results, Rishta walked up to him. He didn’t seem to notice her… Odd. Kneeling next to him, Rishta placed a pale hand on his shoulder. Her voice then hauntingly echoed around the trees, startling the blissful silence, “Michael… are you alright? We should go in, it’s getting late.”

“In a minute…” Michael mumbled, not turning to face her. His eyes string straight out at the expanse of the lake. A soft breeze took through the tree’s blowing disheveled strands of hair into Michael’s face. It took several moments before he let out a deep sigh, turning to Rishta. He ran his gaze down her face. She looked concerned. Hell, he was sitting here being about as dark and broody as Raphael, anyone should be concerned.

“Would you give it all up if given the chance?” Laughing softly he turned away again. “No. I guess you wouldn’t. You don’t give up on anything…” Kicking his feet out and tilting his head back to stare up at the sky, Michael frowned. “I’d give it up in a heartbeat…”

Rishta looked at him, eyes filled with concern. Something was wrong. Severely wrong. Sitting down next to him, she looked over the lake. How many times had she seen it? Oh, so many over the years. She was old. She could feel it. Not old as in angelic sense, but as a human… She was unnatural. “If you mean give up my angelic blood… you would be surprised. I would. I have not lived as long as any of you Michael but, I have a human mind, human traits… to me and my mind – I am ancient. Weary, tired… and lonely.” Rishta laughed softly, one filled with helpless despair. She had never allowed herself to feel it for so long… but when it started, it all came out.

“I miss them so much. My family, my people… my life. This isn’t my world Michael. It’s too… advanced. But you… you were made to handle this. I know you can, you must. Michael, no matter how hard it seems, I believe in you.” Rishta then broke off, turning a pale pink as she realized what she had just said. This is Michael and look at you… control your mouth for once! “Michael, I believe in you.”

“Belief has nothing to do with it.” he said, probably more gruff than he had meant to. Michael slumped forward, running his hands through his hair, giving a low hiss of anger. “It’s not fair for us… I almost… I almost understand how Lucifer felt. We’re tied to this battle for the rest of our lives… forever! While everything else passes us by. But…” Michael paused for a moment, playing out his own words in his head. Did this mean he wanted to quit? Join Lucifer’s cause? Is freedom what he wanted? Freedom from servitude… freedom from protecting life?

“Argh!” Jumping up, he turned to hit the tree, but stop himself just short. He ran his hands through his hair roughly again, as he paced back and forth on the soft earth. .”..heh… I just don’t know what to think any more…”

Tabris was from a distance, watching and listening. His blood boiled with anger and his eyes blazed with jealousy. Michael… he just had to have the best of the world, huh? The fame, the power, he had the best. Tabris stared at the feminine form of Rishta and he was angered at the thought that she might like Michael.
You are nothing compared to them! Beelzebub’s words echoed in Tabris’ mind and he could not control his emotions. Tabris flew straight down from behind and summoned his glowing wire, which was sizzling with electricity. With great strength gathered in his arm, Tabris lashed towards Michael, who had his back turned to Tabris.

Rishta blinked as Michael stood up sharply and obviously agitated – a bit stung by his words and seeking reconciliation with him. It wasn’t her fault she couldn’t fully comprehend – but she got most of it. Life wasn’t fair… especially for them. One thing she could not help with at all… Standing up, she stepped in front of Michael and looked him in the eyes.
“Michael… please Michael. Think clearly. You may not love the life you have now, but do not think that LUCIFER could be right. If he had succeeded… imagine the world today. I can even say would there be a world… Michael…”

Rishta stopped as something caught the corner of her eye. Something familiar… Tabris. No… not now… why now… “Michael, MOVE!” Rishta grabbed his shoulders and moved them both aside, watching the white rope lash past.
“Tabris! What are you doing!?”

“What in hell’s name is your problem?!” Michael growled, waiting for Tabris to appear in better light. He had no time for this! Let alone a want for a battle for someone who obviously wants a fight. Holding an arm out to protectively guard Rishta, he scanned the trees for the signs of Tabris. He could sense him close… very close, but couldn’t catch the movement in his sights.

Tabris hid among the camouflage of the trees and snickered to himself while his eyes burned. He worked his wire to spinning for a while with his telekinetic powers. “Die… die… die…” Tabris muttered to himself with hatred as he glared at Michael who seemed to have difficulty seeing him. “DIE!” Tabris screamed as he sent his weapon slashing through the air and towards Michael’s chest. The electricity burned the ground and sparks flew.
“DIE!!!”

“Back up…” Michael growled, moving Rishta back quickly with his arm, the line zipping past and tearing a rip in the fabric of his shirt. He was poised, strangely calm giving the situation. But it was easy to see all of his muscles were tense with anticipation, waiting for the next strike.
Die is not an acceptable answer! Why don’t you come out here and give me one, you coward!” he called out to Tabris awaiting in the trees. If Tabris wouldn’t show himself, Michael could solve that quick enough. He summoned his sword in his hand and held it low, pointed to the ground.

Rishta was stunned when she was thrust back by Michael’s hand. Was she some sort of child that she needed to be defended on such a basis? This was WAR! The soldiers defended the LEADERS! Not vise versa! This defies everything mother ever taught me… Tabris was hiding in the trees, his weapon lashed out and nearly sliced into Michael. Her eyes widened as her eyes scanned the trees for his familiar form. Tabris… why are you doing this…? Why can’t you understand…?
As Michael then summoned his sword, Rishta looked around, desperately trying to find Tabris before anything drastic was needed to be done. Come on Tabris! “Where are you?”

“Coward?” Tabris sneered, “That doesn’t apply to me, oh almighty St. Michael! My objective here today is only to get rid of you, bloody Raphael and that smartass-know-it-all Raziel!” Tabris’ face darkened, “And my methods of course, do not matter. What matters is the results of it all. I’m here to take your life, and I will do it. I don’t care what you say.”
Tabris’ eyes drifted to Rishta and for a moment, he felt like berating her for being so ‘sluttish’, ‘flirting’ around with three male angels. However, he managed to keep his mouth shut. “Take this to your grave, Michael!” Tabris hissed as the wire slapped the ground and it leapt up like a snake as it wrapped around Michael’s left arm, burning it.

Michael winced, not crying out, but the pain still evident on his face. He grabbed the wire and pulled hard, swing up his sword to catch the wire and help with his leverage. The sparks of the wire fueled Michael’s sword, causing it to ignite into it’s own flames… Giving him a clear few of Tabris hiding spot! “Raphael’s in the house, why don’t you go ahead and pick him off first!” His tone was a mixture of seriousness a joke. A thousand new thoughts running through his head. Just the three of us? Typically a demon wants the whole flock gone… “Rishta.”, he hissed lowly, “Go back to the manor!”

Rishta stood there, eyes wide open – wondering what the hell could be going on in Tabris’ head. It’s not everyday you see demons falling from the sky threatening to kill every single angel in sight… well, it was odd seeing angels and demons anyways! That was it. Rishta wasn’t about to snap, but she was tired of everyone fighting out of nowhere. Michael needed his rest, and she wanted dinner. Stepping from behind his arm, she stood between them, pain obvious on her face, wanting them both to accept the truth. She unsheathed her sword, and with odd grace, she tilted it upwards, pushing Tabris’ wire up, so it wouldn’t be so heavy on Michael, nor injure him further.

“I am not a child Michael. You need to rest. TABRIS… what are you doing? First thing – is your arm fixed?” Rishta’s voice was ringing and stern – sounding almost like her mother, but with her father’s tone of command. Standing up, she looked at both of them, frowning. She knew they weren’t going to listen, but she wasn’t going to stand around and be treated like some whimsical wallflower. “I do not know what has gotten into the heavenly-hellish host, but I suggest you stop it right now. Both of you are acting almost like children! Can’t you TALK!?”

“Don’t worry, he will be next after you!” Tabris growled as he leaped off the tree-branches and landed on the ground. He was revealed anyway. Tabris glared at Michael and at Rishta. “SHUT UP!” Tabris shouted out, “I need not your kindness! Leave them for your lover!” Tabris chuckled bitterly, “I will kill him in front of your very eyes!”
And let you taste what it is like to lose a loved one! Tabris’s wire cracked again and fire burst out from it as his fingers moved and it swirled one large circle around Michael, attempting to tie up his entire body and burn him off.

Before Tabris’ wire could do the trick, water came splashing and put the fire off totally. Unfortunately, such an act also wet Michael from head to toe. And only one person was capable of such careless attack.
“URIEL!” Tabris growled, “You spoiled my plans!”

“Does it matter?” Uriel said in a matter-of-fact manner. She turned to a wet Michael and chuckled at his annoyed expression. “Sorry, that isn’t intentional but I’m just trying to help out.” Uriel explained, barely trying to hide her widening grin which might turn out to be a laughter.

“What lover? You can’t mean Michael…” Rishta just looked at Tabris, eyes filled with innocent confusion. He surely cannot mean that me and Michael. First, me and Raphael, and now… He is jealous. But why..? She was about to say something, but then Uriel came, dousing both Tabris’ wire and Michael. His expression was hysterical. Holding back laughter, Rishta smiled.

“Hello Uriel… glad you could join us and um… cool down their tempers. Which, may I add, have a basis on nothing.” Rishta looked at Tabris oddly, wondering what was wrong with him. So, she decided to send him a private message, hoping he would get the gist.
//Tabris – I think you misunderstand. I do not have any lovers. They are just my friends…//
Smoothing out her dress and sheathing her sword again, she looked around. It was getting cold, and Michael was wet – and she was getting tired and thoroughly worn. “Uriel… how is everyone back at the house?”

“Thank you ever so much, Uriel,” Michael grumped to himself. “A cold is just what I needed to cap off the day.” Hefting Ezurewrath effortlessly in both hands, Michael allowed the blade to flare up once again, surrounding him in a warm sheath of fire. Now suitably dry, the archangel let the flames simmer down again, and leveled his weapon at Tabris before him. “It’s not enough to had to try and come kill me, is it?” he shouted to Tabris. “You had to go and get me wet, too! You’ve got some nerve, especially for someone as weak and cowardly as you are!” Swinging Ezurewrath down from overhead, Michael tore at the air, and launched a ground-moving swath of fire and white light streaking towards Tabris.

As Ezurewrath flared to sudden life, Rishta moved back almost instinctively. Something wrenched in her heart. Was it her heart? Or her father’s soul? She could not tell. She could feel she was losing her connection with him… Very slowly – he was leaving her. Not now, not at this moment, but he was allowing her to by much more independent. But that sword… She almost recognized it from somewhere else…

But before she could finish her thoughts, he was dry again, his light blond hair fluffy soft again. It looked so smooth and soft… like a kitten. Rishta mentally giggled a little as she thought about it. But as Michael raised his sword, Rishta’s eyes widened.
“Michael, please stop!” Rishta cried as his hand swung down. The next thing she knew, she was right next to him, hand clamped on his wrist, holding it up, as the blast went totally off course, smashing into a tree, obliterating it in a matter of milliseconds. That was close…

Rishta could still feel the heat being emitted from Ezurewrath – or was it the heat of Michael? She couldn’t tell, as they were so close. Turning her head a little away, she stepped back, nervous that she had offended Michael by stopping him, and that he was going to be upset with her.
“I’m sorry. It’s just that… I, well… I didn’t want… I couldn’t…” Rishta turned crimson, head down as she realized she couldn’t explain why she had stopped him. Was it because she wanted Tabris to be safe? Or was it because she wanted Michael to heal? Or… It was too confusing. “I am really sorry.”

Michael sighed deeply, lowering his arms as Ezurewrath disappeared from sight. “Azrael must be waiting for us to return… we should go.” He gently took Rishta by the arm and started leading her back towards to the house. He waited for a few minutes to see if Uriel would join them, but she seemed to hang back. Shrugging he continued on with Rishta.
He remained silent on their walk back to the house. He wasn’t angry that she stopped him… He shouldn’t be wasting his energy on small issues. But a small pain of jealous tugged at him. Why would she protect someone that was out to harm them?

Tabris was shocked that Michael simply turned his back on him and it angered him to think that Rishta might just do the same too, and leave with Michael. It hurt him so much that he just want to die and rot away. His eyes glared at Michael. “You stinking bastard!” Tabris almost yelled at Michael, “Stop right there! You are not leaving! No, nobody’s leaving! This is a fight to the death, understand?!”

Michael looked over his shoulder, giving an irritable almost angry look. The challenge was tempting, so very tempting, but he could feel Rishta tensing at Tabris’ words. If she weren’t there he would have very likely leaped through the air and cut Tabris into many tiny pieces.
“Unless you have a death wish, demon, you should bite your tongue.” Michael growled out through clenched teeth. He was just barely keeping his temper in check.

“Silence?!” Tabris was angered, “You mean to keep silent, huh?! You think you are so good and smart, but in my eyes you are nothing! You might be powerful but there is nothing to you other than being strong!”
Pulling back his arm, Tabris swept his fiery whip through the air, and down the ground towards the angels’ feet.

As Michael pulled her away, Rishta felt slightly relieved, happy that conflict had been avoided. However, Tabris persisted, much to her dismay. Why can’t they avoid this…? Why can’t they try to stop? When they turned, she kept one arm laced with Michaels, while the other one rested on his upper arm, keeping him from moving. This would just get Tabris more furious, she knew – but it was easier to have Tabris mad then both of them fighting.

“Tabris, please stop – there is no sense to this…” Rishta’s words were cut off by him unleashing his attack. She stepped back, and as Michael moved back with her, the fire snapped at the ground, hitting the stone – but not lighting. Her body tensed instinctively – she remembered that color, all too well. Fury crimson… crimson… blood is also crimson… illuminated blood… Breathing heavily all of a sudden, she looked at his whip, as if for the first time seeing it, almost transfixed by it. Red. Pure red in some placed. White in others… yellow in between… fire. It scared her. Somewhere… was it from Before? Or was it something else? Rishta’s mind went blank as she stared at it, her grip on Michaels upper arm loosening, resulting in it dropping back to its original side.
“No…”

“Rishta? What’s wrong?” Michael pressed, putting his hands on her shoulders. He looked back behind him, towards where Rishta had been staring. Tabris’ whip was lying on the ground, creating a thin line of soot on the stone. Did the weapon scare her? The most likely solution would be to simply kill Tabris and end all this. But Rishta didn’t want them to fight, for some reason or another. If he attacked, she’d get in the way again, and he might end up hurting her. His only option now was to get Rishta out of here. Then he could return, if he needed to, and destroy Tabris.

“Consider yourself lucky, Tabris,” Michael snarled, summoning Ezurewrath back to one hand, and turning it upside-down. “The next time I see you, I won’t waste any time sending you straight back to Hell.” Michael plunged his sword into the ground, and poured all his will and energy into the blade. In the blink of an eye, a fifty foot tower of fire exploded around Tabris, not touching him, but keeping him contained. With every ounce of speed he could muster, Michael grabbed Rishta, and rushed off back into the house.

After Beelzebub left the tower, he couldn’t stop cursing Azazel. Of course he wasn’t intending to really play around with Moloch. She bit. Only the silliest fool would really WANT to mess around with her. Not him. Wasn’t it lucky of him that neither Moloch or Azazel discovered his deepest secret? They could have made use of it and he would have been worst than a slave or dog to them.
Beelzebub’s glowing wings flapped a little while and he stopped, staring down at the Farishta Manor. Now, has that Manor become the main battlefield or something, Beelzebub mused as he descends down.
Interesting, the energy of angels, a demon and…

Uriel didn’t leave, despite with all the tears, threats and explosions. She was bent on getting her revenge on Tabris today. She would tear his wings out like he did to her. Uriel stared at Tabris coldly, her eyes penetrating into his heart. She did noticed his anger, and it was an unusual anger. Rishta did not notice it, but Uriel wasn’t as silly as she was. She knew what type of anger Tabris was harboring. “Jealous?” Uriel sneered, “Try getting past me and you might just have a chance to get to Rishta. If not, don’t dream of even touching a hair of Michael’s because you can’t beat him.”

Tabris growled. Whenever he was angry, he would lose his rationality. And usually, brains too. He glared at Uriel and noticed her newly-grown wings. “Your wings have grown.” Tabris smiled unpleasantly, “This time I will take your muscles out and prevent it from growing again.”

“If you can, do it.” Uriel scoffed.

Tabris rose his arm with his weapon in hands and Uriel brandished her trusty spear, ready to defend herself when suddenly, a force blew through Tabris’ chest. Blood splattered all over the place and blood were trickling down from his eyes, nostrils and mouth. He looked down at his chest in disbelief. A large Smokey hole. He tried to turn to look at who has attacked him but as he even turned a little, another force blew his head off. Uriel screamed. Nothing was left of Tabris anymore.

When the first blow came, Uriel was shocked. Too shocked for words or to move. She just stood there, gapping and staring at the ruined body of Tabris. She knew Doom was near and whoever did it was being crazy and sadistic. No angel finished off somebody like that, not even for the likes of Raphael or Azrael. Uriel staggered backwards as a strong demonic aura pressed down on her.
“Oh god….” Uriel cried. She wanted to tell Tabris to run, leave everything for later or else none of them would make it but it was too late. Tabris simply turned and everything which was left of him simply got blew off, into pieces. All was left of him, perhaps was the soul which either went into the Book of Azrael’s or Belial’s.

The force which tore Tabris apart blew Uriel hard too. She was thrown into the wall, crushed into it. Blood trickled down her lips and her head was bleeding. A shadow appeared. Uriel recognized the man then. “Goddamn it…” she swore, something she never said in her whole life before, “I can’t believe you did something like this….”

Beelzebub’s smiling face emerged from the smoke and dust. He glanced down at the spear lying beside Uriel and gave her a sweet smile before giving it a swift kick again, sending it meters away. He almost laughed at Uriel’s shocked face.
“Why not, Uriel dear?” Beelzebub said sweetly as he knelt down, touching her cheek, “I gave him a simple job and he couldn’t even get a thing done. I know I’ve failed Azazel at times but,” Beelzebub shook his head in false regret and sadness, “At least I don’t screw things up like him.”

“You are crazy!” Uriel screamed, trying to shake Beelzebub’s free hand away which was holding onto her wrists tightly, “Let me go!!! Don’t touch me with your filthy hand! GAB!!”

Beelzebub’s hand which was touching her cheek earlier had now covered Uriel’s mouth tightly, “Be silent. Gabriel would not be in time to reach you.”
He gazed at her lovingly, or rather, a twisted love. There was something else too. Hidden within it. A dark secret of Beelzebub’s. Yet Uriel could not comprehend it. She had not done something wrong to Beelzebub! Why was he doing this to her?!
Beelzebub smiled, knowing what is going through Uriel’s mind.

“Raphael is not the only one, my love…” Beelzebub whispered into her ear softly.
Uriel’s eyes flung opened as she heard that and she tried to wriggle away. Beelzebub smiled kindly at Uriel as he opened his palm on her face and squeezed tight. Uriel felt the pain searing in her.
“Goodbye, Uriel….” Beelzebub’s sadistic voice whispered as he gave a final tight squeeze. Blood splashed onto his face and hand which was holding onto Uriel who was now limp on the wall. Beelzebub smiles as he removes his hand and stood up. He turned, sucked in a deep breathe and looked away. Beelzebub laughed, a deep laugh. His eyes reflected craze, hatred and anger.
He could not stop laughing as he opened up his wings and flew away. There was something wet in his eyes. Perhaps it was blood, he thought. He could feel Lilith’s fall, but he didn’t care. There was few he cares for in this world.

A raven caw was heard in the night. Deep black shadows descended from the skies, circling the gardens of Farishta Manor, perching on the trees. A raven caw answered. Another replied. A female figure in black angelic armor stepped out of the deep stain that was the shadow of the trees in the clearance next a tall wall where Tabris had disappeared and Uriel laid. In the surrounding trees, ravens of bright eyes watched; their gazes pierced the night. Azrael stood next to the lifeless body, what had been the woman’s face was now a shapeless pulp. Azrael chanted in eerie, beautiful voice. A bright outline showed on the dead body. Azrael rose her Spear.

The archangel slashed downwards in a wide arc; she then opened her hand and reaching out, her soft, pale fingers closed around the immaterial. Azrael pulled gently and a confused Uriel rose out of her body; a transparent, luminescent spirit. Azrael spoke ancient words and Uriel’s soul became a tiny sphere of light in Azrael’s hand. The archangel of Death and Destruction carefully put the soul in her wings, then turned.

A raven cawed, flapping its dark wings. Beneath his branch, a terrified soul awaited. His eyes were open wide, for he saw the ravens were not such creatures but angels of death and destruction. They surrounded them, waiting for Azrael’s order; something ominous but at once serene shone in their eyes. Tabris cringed in terror.
//Leave me alone!//, he hissed. //I don’t want to be condemned…//

“I am not the one to judge you”, Azrael replied, her face immutable. “I am the archangel of Death and Destruction and it’s my duty to take you with me.” Azrael rose her Spear. The harsh, strange caws of ravens disturbed the night, like a nightmarish cackle.

By BroodingDarkness

Before the birth of man there were the angels. The purpose of the Angelic Host was to keep the balance and guide man through it’s evolution… but many did not agree. This stand became known as The Fall and those that apposed the Host were known as the Fallen.

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