Raziel wore a happy inward smile, pleased that he had found a conversationalist, one who didn’t find him dull or dry. As the carriage rolled to a stop, he stepped out and, following Raphael’s example, bowed gallantly and offered Adriel a hand out. “I think, therefore I am, milady.” Descartes’ realization was yet another facet of a philosophy’s before his. “I would be honored to assist?”
A happy smile twinkled golden in Adriel’s eyes; she accepted Raziel’s hand and gracefully stepped out of the carriage, one hand holding her Irish lace shawl placed on her heart and the other in Raziel’s hand. She found herself in an enthusiastic, conversational disposition for she enjoyed talking with him. Adriel looked up at Raziel and smiled, happily. “Thank you.”
“I think, therefore I am,” she repeated with a nod. “I read about these things in Spanish, and I just translated the words. My mother in this life is from Spain. Her name is Angela.” Adriel smiled softly when talking about Angela. “I agree with this you mentioned earlier, about thought and animals. As a side note…” Adriel smiled shyly, “King Solomon was said to have a ring that allowed him to understand the speech of beasts. Man communicates with the animals, but some men wish to take that simple body language communication to the level of a language or speech.” Adriel admired the ancient house facade; an old dignity could be perceived, as well as pride acquired through long years. The architecture could be set in the Middle Ages, maybe Romanesque for it was had massive stone walls and buttresses, and round arches.
Rishta looked at all of her guests, a slight smile on her face, despite the turmoil inside, all that filled her was Raphael’s wise words. But it did not seem possible, even though it was. Rishta then looked at Raziel as he helped Adriel out of the carriage. They were so similar. Both were wise about the times. “Well, shall we go in?” Rishta said, turning and walking into the manor. The manor was grand, with stone walls and large heavy wooden doors. The ceilings were high. After all, she didn’t want to worry about hitting her head. However, it was made to look like a castle, since her old home had been burned down. However, there were not many towers, and inside was merely a decorators dream. Only a few, well used rooms had her personal touch and even then, it was vague. After all, this was not originally her house, and many of the former masters belongings still were there. Rishta then stopped at the door, where two men opened the heavy oak, etched with patterns that no one knew of the origin. And with that, the manor was opened to guests for the first time in a while.
Raziel examined the ‘manor’ house Rishta lived in. All in all, it seemed to be more like a small castle than a manor, with a combination of Romanesque and gothic measures. It had an odd effect on the eye, although beautiful. The thick oak doors looked to be several lifetimes older than the two equally thick men who opened them. He found himself calculating how long they must have been there, welcoming their master’s home. “Your manor is quite lovely, Rishta.” He smiled again. It felt odd; he would have to get used to it, seeing as how he would probably use that expression often now.
Adriel smiled at the view, as they followed Rishta inside the house. She looked for the signs of a home; the old house seemed to have belonged to different people in every corner of it, like if different lives had touched the house in many places, although none of them had touched it fully, making it of their own. The house seemed to awake with every new footstep heard, like if it hadn’t had that many visitors in a long time. “Quite lovely, indeed,” Adriel said with a smile. Adriel went closer to a tapestry hanged in the hall’s wall with medieval hunting scenes, then turned. She watched the others and smiled at them; in that instant she saw them with other eyes. Adriel’s heart ached, but a smile blossomed on her lips and the gold in her eyes shimmered. Her mind flew back to past times, to the war against the demons, and to her angelic existence. Happy and sad memories flowed. The Blade of Life pounded softly within her. Again, angels would come together. Adriel nodded. “It’s a beautiful house,” she softly said.
“Thank you…” She looked around her home, and her eyes fell on the tapestry. The medieval hunting scene. It had been made by her grand niece… one she never knew. No one knew this, but in the corner there was a picture of a maiden with long dark hair. Her. Her niece had woven it by looking at old family portraits… and had no idea who they were. But, she knew all of them. And that is why she very rarely looked at it… because it brought pain. Rishta then led the way to the dining room, where there was a huge table, laid with dishes of china and silver. In the back there was a smaller table, laid with food from everywhere. It ranged from the classic English to far Asian foods. After all, she had not been specific. “Please everyone, sit. The servants will serve, that is why they are here.” Rishta spread her arms to gesture towards the whole room. “Later we can have tea and dessert in the Library…”
Raziel nodded at Rishta’s words, concerned by her vague, distant look. She seemed to be in pain… But it wasn’t his place to intrude. He pulled out chairs for Rishta and Adriel, and waited for them to be seated. “My Ladies.”
Rishta then giggled, even though she did not know why. Maybe it was because she was traditional and Raziel had just did something she had never seen happen. “Raziel, I am not laughing at you. You didn’t know… but I never sit in either of these seats. That is where my… cousins… used to sit.” Rishta’s mood then slightly dimmed. “I sit there… always there.” Rishta then gestured to a seat down a couple of chairs. It had always been her chair. Next to the head. Next to her granddad… and it would always be. “Sorry… but I have always been a slightly permanent person.” She then smiled weakly, showing her slight embarrassment.
“That’s no problem at all.” Raphael interrupted in a rather soft and quiet tone. He walked over to the seat and pulled it out for Rishta. Looking up at her, he bowed politely and murmured, “After you.” Raphael glanced over to Raziel and Adriel with his ever-cold eyes. “Well, sit down.” he muttered as he sat down near Rishta, “The food will be served soon.”
Rishta then smiled at Raphael, and gracefully sat down, and looked around. Raphael had sat near her, next to her to be exact. She had a feeling that between her and Raziel, he tolerated her more. “Yes… food will be served as soon as we are seated.” Rishta saw the servants waiting by the door, with trays of food in their hands, waiting patiently. She then leaned towards Raphael, stared at him in the eyes and said “Are you ok? You seem to be… almost upset.” She could practically feel the waves of hostility again. But this time it was not directed towards her. This evening might get interesting.
Once the hostess took her seat, Adriel sat on the chair Raziel had pulled for her. Adriel’s family was strict when it came to table manners. Adriel smiled at the artistically folded napkin on her plate; she gracefully unfolded it and placed the napkin on her skirt. She laid her hands on her lap. “Thank you,” she told Raziel with a smile. Adriel had been noticing Raphael’s hostility all through the night, and she wished he could relax some. He had his own particular reasons to feel like this in places where he could feel out of place, but this time there was something more to his feelings; she guessed he was angry at her for her words before they departed from the church. Adriel didn’t care any about social levels or other money-managed social things, and she wished Raphael would forget about those. He had his reasons though, and she respected them. Also, Adriel wouldn’t change her earlier words to him. Sometimes a friend has to say non-pleasant things to a friend she cares for, precisely because she cared.
Adriel smiled a bit, for she was about to suggest a table blessing, but then again she knew how things were for angels. About the non-existence of God. Adriel kept all this in her heart and waited to see what would happen next; she smoothed out small wrinkles on the napkin resting on her lap. She smiled and thought about one of her mother’s prayers. ‘Bendice Padre estos alimentos; bendice a las manos que los prepararon y dale de comer a los que nada tienen. Amén.’
Raziel wanted to wince. Raphael had been, well, totally hostile. It felt as if it were directed to himself. He couldn’t imagine why. Maybe he had slighted him and not realized it? That made him feel doubly worse. He wasn’t sure whether to ignore it or speak to him. No, no need to make Raphael any angrier. Just ignore it and step lightly. Such a dominant personality. “Ahh… So, what have you all been doing up until now, and what are your future plans?”
Adriel’s keen eyes detected Raziel’s discomfort; it wasn’t apparent now, but she noticed it in the slightest lapse of time it showed while Raphael and Rishta were busy taking their seats and Rishta spoke to Raphael. Raziel was now trying to keep things cordial; Raphael was being cold and Rishta seemed warm but slightly distant, filled with memories. Adriel decided to vote for cordiality. Adriel smiled at the group and nodded at Raziel. “I must confess I’ve simply enjoyed the time I’ve been given on Earth. I’ve shared the pain and anguish of humans, but I have also shared their joy and happy moments. I prefer to count the happy times over the sad ones, yet I’ve learned from both. Currently, I study History of Art at the Westminster College.” Adriel smoothed her napkin on her lap with a soft smile. “I’ve also joined Church activities; the family I’ve been given is devote. Uncle Ethan, my father’s brother, is a philanthropist and I share the work in his library of London.”
She made a pause. “The future is… quite uncertain for me. I suppose we’re being gathered for a reason; a reason I believe we all know or perceive. Would we need to leave our earthly lives? The near future, if I dare to speak about the few next years, I look forward to complete my studies at the Westminster College. There’re so many things going on…! A friend of mine is a woman’s rights advocate. She believes woman will hold the right to vote and to get access to careers and fields of study traditionally dominated by men. I would like to be here to see her dreams come true.” Adriel nodded.
Rishta looked from Raphael to Raziel, and it was obvious they were not too fond of each other. She decided she had to speak. “What have I been doing with my life on Earth? I have never been anywhere else so I can say living. I was born in the Middle Ages, grew up as a wealthy child and left at the age of 18. ” Rishta did not speak about the battle, it was unnecessary. “In any case, I arrived here a year ago and been living this way ever since. I find this world slightly odd, but then again, it is not the way I was brought up.” She then looked around, the plates were being filled, they were talking, but still she felt uneasy. “My future… I want to draw. I want to see the world change, rights for all. An amazing concept. In my time, such a thing was unheard of, and you were considered a witch. I also… want people to accept people like us… and I don’t want to fight. But that is not possible, is it?”
Raphael listened to the conversation silently as he poked the steak on his plate with the fork. He peered at it curiously. Half raw. Frowning a little, he cut a bit of the meat off and tasted it. He coughed. Without a second hesitation, he spit the meat out of his mouth onto the dinner napkin and looked around, embarrassed. Turning to the servant, he muttered softly, “Can I have vegetables please? I’m a vegetarian.” The servants nodded and brought him a change of plates. Raphael glanced in Rishta and Adriel’s direction, but kept his eyes away from Raziel. He was not in the mood to look and stare at the ‘old man’.
Rishta saw Raphael’s discomfort at the food. It was an African delicacy… and she had the feeling he had NO idea what it was. And then when he asked for vegetables, she laughed, and could not stop. Poor man… must have thought she was a barbarian or something! Well, she would have to fix that! “Phillips,” she said to the waiter, “I do not think my friend is fond of foreign food… get him some classic English. Maybe then he will stop being a vegetarian.”
“Yes, miss.” Phillips replied obediently, and then to Raphael: “Sir, would you like chicken or steak… the well-done English kind? The salad and soup are here too. Would anyone else prefer something else?” Phillips asked them all. This was the first time guests had lit up these dark halls and he was NOT going to ruin it!
Raphael bowed down his head in embarrassment as Rishta laughed. He wished he had a hole to bury himself in. He had a gut feeling that the dinner would be taking a looooooong time. “Erm… yeah. Well-done steak, salad and soup please.” Raphael almost squeaked in a soft voice.
Rishta finally was able to breath, her eyes sparkling, and a smile on her face.
“Raphael, do not be embarrassed. I should have known that classic English people like all of you would not be able to handle my exotic taste. Especially since I never told you what it was.” Rishta then smiled, although her voice was dead serious. “Everyone, please do not be sick, but what you were just eating is wilderbeast meat. It is provider by a trader and lets just say he insisted it was good and so I tried it and I had no idea there was any left.”
“Phillips, take this away… and thank God Raphael nearly choked on it. We all would have been sick for weeks.” Rishta then turned to Raphael, her face showing her embarrassment. “I am sorry Raphael… I did not mean this to happen. I hope you will forgive me.”
Raziel shook his head with a wry smile. At least he had managed to avoid the meat- he WAS a vegetarian. The rice was pretty good though, and he was sad to see it go with the wilderbeast. “Hmm… The Dark Ages, Rishta? Very interesting. I’m afraid I missed them in England…” He paused to wipe his hands on a napkin. “I’ve been working on and off as a historian, physician, and inventor… Trying to do my best for the human race, as up until now it seems I haven’t been needed for my real purpose.” He paused again, this time thoughtfully. ‘I wonder when I will be needed in my true form… And if it will be necessary to abandon this flesh as well.’
Adriel had a soft smile, seeing the others were slowly accepting each other more: one step at a time. She felt there was no need to mediate again to keep things cordial, so she kept her attention on her meal. She would try most foods – Adriel certainly wasn’t afraid of getting sick or dying. When Raphael coughed the food out she was surprised but she didn’t show it, not to make things worse. After the tense moment passed and she saw Raphael was all right, she continued eating in silence as if nothing had happened in a very gentle, ladylike manner. Adriel skillfully handled the silverware, thoughtful. Thanks to Angela, she could distinguish flavors and recognize the spices behind them, for Angela’s food preferences came from the Mediterranean and the East, mostly. However, it wasn’t food what occupied her mind. “When?,” she muttered to herself.
“Interesting. I have always enjoyed learning…” Rishta said, even though inside she was confused. ‘Real purpose… What could he mean?’ However, she didn’t show it. She thought she was getting the main picture from the little clues she picked up. Something was happening. Something big. I mean, it was not usual to meet several angels in one day!
Meanwhile, Phillips came back with a few others will the meal. Same type of rice, for Raziel. She had picked that up from his mind. “And believe me, Raziel, you did not miss anything during the Dark Ages. It was the same for all people. But for me, it was a party. I guess it was because I was young. Since I was the granddaughter of a Lord, I was not expected to do so much work, but I did some. And then, at night all work would be rewarded with feasting, talking, and dancing. That was my life. I had a tutor and he taught me all he knew. He was a traveler… Odd for the times. Anyways, life was just a game for me. But now, it is just time passing. All I do is draw, paint and learn…”
Rishta then turned to Adriel when she said ‘When?’ Finally, she burst. She would NOT pry into her mind to find what she wanted to know. “Adriel… what is going on? What have I missed being half human? Why are you all gathering?”
Adriel’s shoulders slightly sank when she heard Rishta’s question; the girl self-consciously straightened her back. Adriel raised her eyes and the golden twinkle of the perennial smile dimmed in the dark brown velvety depth of the angel’s eyes. However, upon Adriel’s lips a small, soft but infinitely sad smile formed. Her face was still that of a girl, but there was something different, purer to her. “You are a young, new, wonderful being,” she softly said. “We, the ones you’ve so gently invited to join your table, are infinitely old. We have lived and fought, and to live and fight is our destiny, it seems. We have survived wars beyond the memory of Man, and even if Man is not fully aware of our existence and our true meaning, we are closely related to the welfare of the human world. I could tell you many things that happened before your birth, yet I believe Raziel could give you a more detailed information, for Knowledge is his field.”
Adriel made a pause. The servants were away for the moment. Adriel used her own powers to induce them to leave them alone for some time, so they wouldn’t hear what was to be said. “From all the Past Things, this is what comes to mind: There was a War, so very long ago when the human world was new. Two of us, Lilith and Lucifer rebelled against the order of things; they believed our power was being squandered on the humans, who they despised. We threw them down and stripped them of their place among us. In the Darkness their son Azazel was born; they taught him the hatred of the angels. Afterwards Lilith gave birth to a race we call demons: all hideous and malformed from the twisted hatred in Lilith’s heart; they formed her army, which she led against her brethren. Both Lucifer and Lilith died in the battles. We captured and forced into exile in a plane beyond our own most of the demons. The few who remained on this plane were weak, and they joined with the humans, spawning such evil creatures of the night as the vampires and the werewolves, but only a small number live today in the world at large.”
Adriel sighed. “After these events, some of us were given the chance to take human appearances and to live among humans. I, as angel of death I am, I came to this world and walked it freeing souls and fighting spawns of evil. I have lived different human lives at different times. I believe Rishta we are being gathered for a reason. I am an Angel of Death and I foresee we will walk a battlefield again.” Adriel nodded slowly. “I suppose your double nature calls you to join us, for we are your brethren as well as Man is. But about this is Raziel who might hold answers.”
Raziel nodded slightly. “But you did not finish the tale, Adriel.” He sighed, gazing sightlessly into the water in his glass. He didn’t like alcohol; his wine remained untouched. He dipped a finger into the wine, and allowed a drop of the dry red stuff to fall into the water. “The plane in which the strongest demons were trapped did not possess the property known as Time. They were able to escape the ravages of the years; they had that much longer to grow stronger and more hateful. Their madness had that much longer to grow insufferable. Their numbers grew. As they were untouched by Time, even our bodies aged and died, or were killed by those demons who escaped or were overlooked by the spell, although we were reborn into new, human bodies.” As he spoke, images formed in his glass, unwarped by its round surface. The darkness of the demon plane, battles fought, spells wrought.
‘And you had the one spell that could have ended it once and for all… You were just too afraid of the sacrifice,’ the deepest, most hidden part of his conscience told him. He made certain to keep the thought stifled and well hidden. No need to test any mental bounds from the others. He wondered what would happen when they knew. Would they outcast him, name him traitor?
Rishta sighed softly, her face had fallen. Obviously the others did not know how much she knew and all they had done was make her idea crystal sharp like a perfectly cut diamond. She had heard the story from her mother… but even her mother had not been sure, and now she was positive. “Demons coming out over time… I knew that after all.” Rishta then took a deep breath, before she never would have told anyone but now she felt she had a responsibility to. “My father survived the war against the demons. Lilith and Lucifer. And then time went on. Then when I… when I was born, he… died. A demon killed him, my mother told me. And then… well, I found out it wasn’t one. I knew my father was too strong for that… a gang. He would not give them something and then they slaughtered him… Killed him like no one would care.”
Rishta played with the wine, but not drinking it. She never had anything with alcohol either. Instead she concentrated hard. The wine rose in the glass and formed a human-like form, however it was an angel. “This… was my father. At least what I remember. I’ve always had a good memory for pictures. He was… he was an angel in the times, I guess you could say. There aren’t any words to describe him.” Rishta then stared at Raziel, but only for a moment… he was all of a sudden uneasy. Very off balance… What was he hiding? What could he have to hide that was worse than what she was? Then again, to each their own. “Another fight. Well, I may not be the most powerful, but you have my help if you need it. I have my own battles to fight with those demons. For my father’s sake and memory.”
Raphael tore at the chicken on his plate as he listened. He felt his rage again and he tried to control it by eating nonstop and staring down at the plate. But even that began to irritate him. The chicken reminded him of demon’s flesh and he had to stop eating. Looking up, Raphael patted Rishta’s shoulder consoling, though he felt sad himself. He missed his sister terribly, everything seemed to remind him of her now. “I will protect you when the need comes, Rishta.” Raphael said softly.
Adriel looked at the angel’s image in Rishta’s wine. She guessed he had died protecting something – his family, his child? Raphael was comforting Rishta; Adriel looked at Raziel. He was worried; she could perceive his worries were closely related to what he had just explained and beyond his words. “I don’t know how much your mother could have known about this,” she told Rishta, “and I don’t know if your father lived enough to tell your or teach you about your angelic nature. I believe you have a place among angels, and I tell you we angels fight together. Raziel has described a terrible panorama, but I assure you we will fight as we have done before; we have many things to fight for.” She looked at the others and the gold shone again in her dark eyes; she rose to her feet. “We have no time for despair. We must be strong and ready – we cannot perish. It’s a strange concept for the angels of death, but I’m fully aware these demons will be armed to kill us. I suppose the fight would continue in higher planes, but this I’m not allowed to speak about. Use your anger and your pain to fuel your spirit if you must, but remember you should not let them control you. A cold mind is a must in battle. Remember we won’t be fighting alone or on our own; it’s not only about our own survival but about the survival of the others, our brethren and Man.”
After a small pause Adriel took her seat. “Angels are immortal, but we can be killed; that is not a secret. My path through the human world has been different to yours – partially because of my nature as an angel of death. I spoke about this life of mine. It’s one of many.” Adriel’s voice became a soft murmur. “One of many.”
Rishta turned gratefully toward Raphael, his offer a beacon of hope to her. She did have friends now, and she would do anything for them… even lose her life. She probably would. But who cared? “Thank you Raphael. If I can protect you in any way, I swear I will do anything in my power to help.” Rishta felt he was upset. Again with another family member. She would have to find out, she was very worried.
“Actually, Adriel… When he met my mother he explained everything or at least, almost everything but he never taught me. I was too young to understand. True. We have to protect what is right and what we believe in. And our paths they have not been so different, very similar in the way we have lived. Then again, I have not heard of all your lives. Immortal, maybe you. But I am not sure about myself. I am human… and maybe that just lets me have a long life or maybe I am eternal. Just vulnerable. I guess I will not know until I am about to die… and that is not a time I want to know.” She then looked at everyone. They seemed mostly finished, but in a few minutes they would go. After all, there was still other things. “I have a question. One of many but, where do you people go when your human bodies are destroyed? Is there really a heaven? I never was religious…”
Adriel tilted her head. “Heavens exist,” she said. “I belong in the Second Sphere of Heaven, in the Middle Hierarchy where the angels of Life and Death reside. My denomination is Power. Raziel belongs in the First Hierarchy.” Adriel sighed a bit. “I am an Angel of Death, and I have important tasks to complete about the souls of the beings. As Angel of Power I fight the demons first line, and I work miracles. I was given the chance to live mortal life, but I have not lived a continuous one as some have done – that’s why I speak of many lives, for the nature of my duties wouldn’t allow me to. My angelic form is different; my angelic weapon beats within me. My angelic form is concealed beneath this shell.”
Raziel frowned at the image in his glass, still rife and churning darkly, when he finally caught Rishta’s question. He allowed the image to cease; it would always be visible in his mind, anyway. He had seen the demon plane. One could almost pity them their fate. “Your heaven is in your heart. I do not know about you, but I was and will be reborn into another body when this one is destroyed. I would imagine it to be the same for you, or for a full human. It would be interesting to find out…” He realized that sounded terribly callous; “I apologize, I did not mean that how it sounded… I have been in the books too long. I have forgotten manners.” ‘Your heart is your garden; that garden is your Eden, and your Eden is your heaven. Home is where your heart is; no matter where you are, you will always be at home, Traveler.’ A woman in one of his former bodies had told him that; he whispered it to himself now. She had been a beautiful and wise woman.
“Many lives… that is amazing. Miracles. All are possible in life. Especially if you aren’t human.” Rishta then looked around and then focused on the glass, and the picture subsided. “Your weapon is within you? My weapon is always with me. I have two, besides my power and I always have at least one with me. Never know what could happen.” And when Raziel spoke, she didn’t feel like an experiment at all. It was true, that was what she felt too. “It is all right. I think about that too… and I also wonder. We will have to see.” Once again she concentrated, but this time on her water. She wasn’t hungry anymore. Not to mention curious. The water formed a sword, and it was animated so it was glittering, and you could see the blue topaz and diamond. “By any chance, have you seen this weapon?”
Raziel looked into the glass. “That is your father’s weapon, is it not?” It seemed rather familiar. If only he dared to look in the Tome… But it wouldn’t be wise, here. He idly stirred his food around his plate. He had lost his appetite, remembering. He never had been a big eater anyway. Probably why he was so slim.
Adriel placed her silverware on the main course dish as she finished eating; she gently dabbed her napkin once on her lips and placed it beside her plate, then took a sip of water as she heard them wonder about the possibilities of continuity beyond death. Adriel didn’t give any information on the subject, for she felt it wasn’t necessary. Adriel watched the image of the sword intently. “Looks familiar,” she slowly said, “but there’s something more to that blade that comes out through your soul as you summon the sword’s image.”
Raphael stared at the sword and began in his steel-like voice, “It doesn’t look like an ordinary supernatural weapon. It seems to be more than that.” Shutting his eyes, Raphael felt the presence of the sword. “Protective of you, Rishta… The life of this sword seems to want to protect you…” Opening his eyes, Raphael looked at Rishta. “If this belonged to your father? He must have loved you a lot.”
“Yes. It did belong to my father.” Rishta said, in a somewhat misty, but excited voice, “I inherited it when I was ten. I was hoping that you would recognize it and remember my dad. I wanted to… I wanted to know if any of you used to know my dad.” She then let the image subside, with a small smile on her face. “I am glad that you all recognized it. I guess he did love me and I have a feeling it will protect me very soon. Sometimes it seems to have a mind of its own.”
“I don’t want it to protect you.” Raphael said, his eyes on the blade of the sword, “Protecting you means you are in danger and that the world is in danger. Hence, I do not wish any of such things happening.” Looking up at Rishta, Raphael said again, “But of course, you can learn to protect yourself… and may your father’s soul be at peace, knowing that you could protect yourself well and that you are happy.” Patting her shoulder, Raphael muttered before deciding to shut his mouth for the rest of the night, “Live happily, Rishta.” He wondered if he could follow his own advice. He had never managed to be happy, no matter how hard he tried.
Rishta smiled at Raphael’s statement. “I don’t need to learn how to fight, Raphael. I already know how. I was taught from an early age.” Rishta then looked back into her mind, seeing the glittering practice swords. Her tutor, her friends laughing from the paddock, watching. She found Raphael’s hand soothing, his words the world of comfort. This feeling… The same feeling she felt when her friends had been speaking with her. Relieving her of fears. “However, I wish I had never had seen war. It happens so quickly, painfully. I also wish that I had never learned how to fight. But we cannot all control our destinies. No matter how hard we try. Thank you Raphael… thank you for everything. With you I feel I have regained a long-lost friend. Maybe life is changing for all of us. As now all this is now happening.”
Adriel smiled softly. “In my power I perceive an angelic soul within the sword. You are fortunate – both of you.” She looked at Rishta as she spoke. “I have not seen many cases like this, and I wonder…”
Rishta then turned to Adriel. “Wonder what?” she asked curiously?
Adriel seemed a bit surprised. “Oh. I wonder why the soul was allowed to remain on Earth, and I wonder if a higher instance is involved. Such as Azrael, the Archangel of Death; she rules supreme over these matters and keeps their Order.” Adriel bit he lip slightly and touched the crystal of her cup with her delicate fingers. “All things both living and non-living bow to her impartial will,” she murmured.
“Azrael. She sounds… cold. I don’t know why. Maybe it is because of her powers.” Rishta then looked at the water glass, the light making its surface sparkle and shimmer. “Have you met her? What is she like? And I think my father has something to do here. Maybe his battle is unfinished. Maybe his soul isn’t at rest.” The very thought made her heart freeze. Maybe he just needed to protect her… Maybe…
Her eyes low, Adriel opened her lips but it took a few seconds till words came out. “Azrael is hard to describe. Yes, I have met her. She is the prime among the angels of death. Azrael is like the moon, to say it in a way. She presides above the darkness and over the angels of death and life as the moon presides the night; but like the moon, she’s always alone. She is unmoving to mercy or pleas, for she is an impartial judge.” Adriel looked at her crystal cup. “Her eyes seem to contain the starry night sky but they are stern and cold, filled with wisdom and intelligence. She has a commanding air to her, an appearance of controlled might. She has four wings, sometimes six, with eyes sometimes seen in her feathers. There are gold writings on her black armor, and she wears white robs beneath it. Her brethren call her Fear Itself, for the power she gave us.” Adriel bit her lip and skipped which was that power. “Azrael holds the Book of Life and Death, and when she writes, there’s a birth; when she erases, a decease. She also writes the names of the dead in her book.” Adriel looked at the others and smiled a bit, somewhat nervously.
At the mention of Azrael, Raphael’s radiation around himself dimmed. He shivered in coldness, though the weather was not very cold for him. He could feel death cutting within his angelic premises and he felt a little mad. Why, he didn’t even know but he certainly didn’t like the feeling. Raphael wrapped his arms around himself and thought about Azrael. There was questions he wanted to ask her about his dead sister. He knew she was near… for he had set a bond to his house and himself. And now, he could feel her deathly presence around and he didn’t like it. And then… it seemed there was not only Azrael, but also another sheer familiar presence. “Like an archangel…” Raphael muttered to himself as he shut his eyes, feeling the warm presence of a healer.
Rishta looked out the window, and then rose to look out of it. From there she could see the moon… its cold presence and celestial beauty. “She writes the names of the living and the dead… even the demons?” Then Rishta sharply gazed out the window. She felt it… cold death, and healing. She then quickly turned and strode towards Raphael. Something was wrong. “Raphael… what is wrong?!” Rishta looked concerned. His aura was… off. And he was definitely not happy. Icy grip around him like a snakes’ caressing touch. Then he felt… almost warm. What was going on?! Then he mentioned an archangel. What was going on?! She then grabbed Raphael by his shoulders and gently shook him. “Raphael, Raphael! What is wrong? Are you all right? Tell me… please!” She seemed almost frantic, the fears that her new found friends would disappear as quickly as they came beginning to grip her.
Adriel hugged herself. As an Angel of Death she knew many things that could disturb the others if she ever mentioned those: she knew Azrael was out there, working. Seeing Raphael’s reaction and listening upon his words, Adriel blinked. “Another archangel, you mean…?” She used her power to search the area and felt another presence. When Rishta shook Raphael, Adriel bit her lip to help a smile, half in mirth half in concern. “Nothing’s wrong. As far as I know!” she assured Rishta in a soft, low voice. Adriel left her seat and walked to the window. This presence she felt had something distinctive to it. It was a healer, but also it was… fragile. “I feel it, too…” She murmured, then turned to Rishta. “Yes, even the names of the demons. The names of all souls.”
“Nothing’s wrong…” Raphael said softly, but unconvincing. Well, he had a feeling he will get a big surprise at home and he felt like seeing what was that surprise. “Can I go home please? I think I want to check out what’s wrong there.” Raphael said in a faint and weak voice.
Rishta looked at Raphael, the dinner didn’t matter anymore. “Yes… of course. Will you take my carriage or go in a different manner?” Rishta looked out: it was a lovely night to fly, and she hadn’t gone in a month. But, then again, this was urgent. “Well, as soon as you are ready, we will go.”
“I will fly.” Raphael said simply, turning to the direction of the doors. He couldn’t wait to know what was happening. The strange feelings of familiarity and urgency were growing stronger the longer he stayed in the presence of other angels.
Adriel turned to see Raphael, surprised. She felt it concerned to her to go along, for she knew Azrael and the other archangel were near his home. “I will go, too,” she simply said.
“Then I too, will come. I want to meet the one whom all angels fear.” Rishta then took off her shawl, which hid her back.. with a burst of feather, her wings appeared, and she walked toward the windows. Rishta then threw them open. “This might be faster.” She then sent a mental order to her servants, biding them to go to bed. Now she would find out what was really going on and if her father was really at rest.
Raziel watched as the other angels took leave, spreading faintly translucent wings in flight. As they seemed to have forgotten him, he spread his own sky blue wings in flight behind them. These were angels that legends followed. He would follow as well, as writer of all tales.