Raziel landed setting Autumn down in front of the Farishta Manor. Though they were quite a ways away from her own home Autumn couldn’t shake that deep feeling of dread. She wondered if the others were going to stay, or leave as quickly as possibly? It couldn’t of matter anyway, all of that noise, bother Lorant and Anastasia knew something was going on. Oh, she was going to be in so much trouble if he decided to come and look for her… Autumn crossed her arms glancing at Raziel, curious if he was going to bother to knock, or just walk inside the Lady Rishta’s home.
Raziel sighed and dispelled his angelic seeming, releasing Autumn gently on the doorstep. He could feel her resentment and dread; not a comfortable mix.
With a glance over at her arm-crossed stance, he banged the knocker against the large bronze door, starting a bit at the abrupt sound that crashed through the silence.
Blinking in mild surprise at his apology, she let out a sigh and gave a small more relaxed smile. “There is much for you to apologize for, I was involved long before you or your friends came into the picture.” Only speaking of her undead husband, she wasn’t aware of just how deep she really was into the whole mess.
The pair waited for the door to open, but still there wasn’t a sound in the Farishta household. Autumn rubbed her arms for some warmth in the cool London air at looked about the outside of the house with puzzlement. “The Lady should be in correct? Do you think something is wrong?”
Azrael followed Rishta over rooftops and streets to a more open area of London. The Farishta Manor came into view as they flew swiftly, invisible to human eyes and keeping the auras low not to call unwanted attention. “I see Raziel and the mortal woman”.
“Lets join them.”
Rishta landed, and folded her wings. Oddly enough, she had found Azrael’s spell to be a bit comforting, bringing her back to reality. Making her wings disappear and dropping her invisibility power.
“Hello you two… Why aren’t you inside?” Rishta did not wait for an answer, scared that Raziel might be unhappy with her. Instead she pulled the bell, and a loud toll was heard. The door opened, and Rishta flung herself face to face with an elderly lady: Mrs. Potts. It seemed as though chaos was wracking the house as everyone was running around, talking about police.
Immediately raising her “lady” exterior, she marched inside, and brought Mrs. Potts aside.
“What in the name of heaven is going on?!”
“My LADY! We saw your bed empty, you were gone… and ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?!” Mrs. Potts was frantic, indicating to her bloody dress. “What happened to you!?”
“Nothing my dear woman, just a little mess I got into, I am fine. Now, I have guests, and they were left outside. I want tea brewed immediately and breakfast should be within the hour. And, for Pete’s sake, stop that racket!”
“Yes, my Lady!” Mrs. Potts ran off, and in an instant, order had been restored.
Turning back to the others, she quietly said “Please come in… have something to drink… I will be back in a moment.”
So she left upstairs to get changed.
Azrael followed Rishta to the Manor and landed near her. While the others’ attention was drawn to Rishta, Azrael took a human appearance – this time a young lady in an elegant black silk dress with gold embroidery in discreet designs. When they looked again it seems like Azrael had arrived with Rishta. The woman was a human version of Azrael’s dark beauty: raven-black hair, deep dark blue eyes and delicate features. Her full, small lips were of a dark wine color. She was slender yet with soft curves and graceful; she moved like a shadow, gliding silently as she followed them inside.
Azrael had a polite curtsy to Raziel and Autumn. “Good morn, Lady and Gentleman. My name is Mara Azrael and I am Rishta’s friend”.
Her voice was neutral, her eyes perhaps too deep, the myriad of suns shining in the blue.
Azrael had her own practical reasons to make herself visible this time.
Raziel bowed, tottering slightly. “I am… Raziel McCoullagh…” His stumbled and fell to his knees. His energy stores were dangerously low; he dared not ask the Sylphs for anything further, for fear they would flee his summons when he needed them most.
“And I think I need… some… rest..” he fell forward, narrowly missing slamming his head into the door.
It was true; the last three days had sapped him badly; his never-robust figure of seven feet was becoming more and more frail. Nothing time couldn’t remedy, but they didn’t have time in abundance now.
Azrael watched him fall and her thin black eyebrow barely twitched. She knelt beside him with a whoosh of silk and pulled his shoulders lightly so he could breath easier. She motioned to one of the servants and two of the service men picked up Raziel to carried him in. Azrael turned to Autumn. “Please, come with us milady”.
“Raziel..” Autumn motioned to him as he fell to his knees, but Azrael beat her to him. Knowing it was best to stay out of the way, she merely bit her lip and watched as Azrael motioned for the servants to help carry him elsewhere. Autumn nodded in response and followed them quietly, as they led to what seemed to be a hidden room in the Farishta manor. The service men gently tucked Raziel away in the bed, as she stood to the other side with mild concern.
“Ah… Do you mind if I stay here… with Mr. McCoullagh?” Autumn felt so strange asking, but she felt the need to make sure he would be well taken care of, the same way he was so courteous to her.
Azrael was about to state Raziel wouldn’t die today, but she reminded herself Autumn was a human being. She nodded in a cold, yet gentle way.
“You may stay with him, if that’s your wish”, Azrael said. “He needs rest and to regain his strength… and a light meal”. She looked at the servants as she mentioned the meal; one of the men bowed and quickly left to bring some light food for Raziel. Azrael glided from the door to the side of the bed, a polite distance from Autumn.
“I am sure Raziel will appreciate your concern, milady”, she said with her neutral voice. “You are safe with us”.
In her rooms, Rishta had quickly changed and freshened up, so now she was back to being presentable. Walking downstairs, she realized that they weren’t in the parlor… they were in another, back room… and Raziel wasn’t up to par. Walking in, she looked around, and saw that he had indeed been taken care of, something she was glad had been done. Smiling at both of them, she beckoned to a servant.
“We will take tea here… I assume that my guest has been taken care of, and that food will be arriving?”
“Yes, Lady… right away” He bowed and left.
Indicating to a few chairs a bit away from the bed, and the servants who were carrying tea and cakes, she stated: “Come… I am terribly sorry you were left outside…” //Azrael, would you like to tell me your question now, or later?//
Azrael bowed slightly as if excusing herself and glided from the bed towards the chairs Rishta offered them. On her way, she picked a napkin and a tea cake from one of the servants with a graceful hand like a white lily. She half-closed her eyes, sensing the delicate sweet scent of the tiny cake. Her night sky gaze turned to Rishta with a subtle nod. //I’ll ask you//, her mental voice echoed through Rishta’s mind. She delicately ate the cake – more out of curiosity than need. After a pause, she continued. //What did Belial and you talk about in the park?// Her mental voice was as ever, neutral; no particular emotion showed in it, calm and serene.
Rishta was slightly stunned at Azrael’s question, as she had been expecting something different. But, she took a sip of tea, paused for a moment, then spilled.
//Well, I went there… he seemed somewhat shocked, and I asked him if he had been spying – he replied that I shouldn’t listen to any demon, and that he didn’t want to fight me – he seemed injured. After, we threw some insults, and he found out about the sword. I think he was jealous that it had your seal… but I am not sure why. Then he left, and so did I…// Rishta mentally sighed, she was confused and was having second thoughts about Belial loving Azrael. After all, who said it was love? Couldn’t it have been lust? Easily.
But the fact still haunted her… he had been the good side.
Azrael listened with her forehead slightly bent, then her lips moved ever so slightly in what could have been a sort of sad smile.
//He is right. You ought not to listen to him – don’t ask him anything, for he is clever with words. For what you tell me, I believe that was Aramis – and even Aramis is deadly dangerous, specially when Angel is not in sight.// Azrael took a cup of tea and took a little sip. //It’d be curious if he’d be jealous. I doubt so, for his hatred towards me is one of Belial’s main motivations.// Azrael seemed to ponder on something, then took a second tea cake, eating it delicately.
If she perceived Rishta’s second thoughts or not, she did not show it.
//I agree… he seemed to be twisting the words, and now I am unsure if what I first thought, are the correct ones.// Rishta mentally shook herself. So this one had been Aramis. Funny. Considering the bad side was called Angel. Ironic.
//Maybe he does hate you… but something makes me feel that Aramis doesn’t hate you. Did he work with you in the past? If so, then maybe the good time he had then, is his persona now…… Azrael, I think that when he splits, he becomes 2 totally different people… one is dark, the other… emotions, I guess… maybe even a little bit of light. Then again, probably just my imagination.// Thinking mainly to herself, she cast her mind around – looking for the others. Michael and Adriel were fighting Azazel… and Raphael… was injured?! Coming here…
Beelzebub flew over several parks, tall buildings, manors and libraries. And he flew higher and higher into the sky. He looked backward and cursed. Raphael was still behind him, chasing him tightly.
// So this is the meaning of chasing the skirts? I must have been really irritating in the past. //
Beelzebub finally stopped and he turned, pointing Hellswrath at Raphael. “Do not push it too far, Raphael.” he warned, “I do not always have much patience, not even with you. Do not treat my ‘kindness’ to you as trash. I have no wish to fight you, at least not now, so leave.”
Raphael’s face darkened. “Do you expect me to listen to you, demon?” He snorted, “You may attack me with all the powers you have, but I do not believe that you can do me away that easily. There are too many differences between us. Even the mere fact that you are a demon and I am an angel sets us apart as enemies, what makes you think I will back away from a fight for a personal feud right now?”
Strife rose from Raphael’s hand and spun round and round in front of him slowly with a soft golden-yellow glow. “You have no kindness in you, and even if you have, I do not need kindness from a person like you…” Raphael narrowed his eyes as he muttered a spell under his breath.
A sudden burst of energy shot Strife towards Beelzebub, threatening to cut through him.
A loud sound was heard as the two weapons collided together. Strife had not managed to hurt Beelzebub and it continued to move circles around its target in its glow. It gave a few small shots forward but Beelzebub hit it backwards with Hellswrath. Raphael was there, concentrating on his spell, trying to break the defenses of Beelzebub.
Finally, Strife sped forward again. The same usual speed, Beelzebub thought. What a dork. Beelzebub raised Hellswrath and hit down.
Oh hell… Strife stopped halfway, and Hellswrath hit nothing. He looked up, and saw Raphael smirking at him. It was as if Beelzebub was the angel and Raphael the devil now.
// What did Lucifer tell you about being too haughty in the past? Now you did it again, Beelzebub. // Raphael was out of sight suddenly. He had flew forward like a rocket, grabbing Strife back into his hand. Moving fast as lightning, Raphael’s wings brought him near Beelzebub his personal enemy and he thrust forward.
Beelzebub hit the angelic dagger with Hellswrath. He glowered as the angelic light of Strife sliced a cut onto his hand. He hated it when he started to bleed. He glared at Raphael.
// You shouldn’t be alive. There’s two of you. The other you should be alive, not you. Damn you, go to hell. // “Inferno!” Beelzebub cast and flames burst out of the blade of Hellswrath.
The flames reached Raphael and scorched the angel. Raphael screamed as the fire burned his right arm. He was forced to retreat his arm, but not before he gave a stab into Beelzebub’s left shoulder with his angelic powers. The fire spread from Raphael’s arms to body and he was forced to retreat from battle. Raphael’s wings took him away quickly, yet the fire was burning fast, and scorching him badly. He tried hard not to cry out in pain as he threw himself into a river below!
There was a stunned moment of silence as Raphael stabbed Beelzebub in the shoulder. He couldn’t move. The earthly angelic force had paralyzed Beelzebub for a moment and he was feeling a bit numb. He watched as Raphael flee. The numbness went away quickly enough, the paralyzing power wasn’t very effective against a demon like him. Raphael knew, so he fled before Beelzebub could regain his energy. He scowled as he stared down at his injury. Pierced through the armor by an angelic weapon, and scorched with Raphael’s powers, it could be bleeding for the whole night. He would have to use lots of his energy to stop the bleeding. Hellswrath disappeared, so did the armor and wings. Beelzebub descended onto the ground slowly. He looked perfectly human now. He smiled as he walked down the lane briskly, hugging himself with his arms while tearing off the shield setup earlier. It was useless to keep it now.
Raphael swam up to shore after a few minutes. He spat out the water he got into his mouth accidentally and he made a face.
“Argh. Ditch water!” he complained. Sniffing himself, his nose turned up. He smelled of ditch himself and his platinum-blonde hair was sticky and dirty with algae and oil from the river. His clothes were sooty black at some places, dripping wet and very dirty as well. Raphael’s front chest and right arm was badly charred. All in all, he wasn’t a pleasant sight (or smell) at all.
He opened his wings and he shrieked. Oil had dirtied his wings too!!! And now it was all dirty, oily and sticky like his hair!!! “Help.. help help…” Raphael muttered as he launched up and flew towards Rishta’s house…
//Azrael… Raphael is coming, injured. I will see to him, please keep an eye on Autumn… since she is the wife to the devil’s son.// Excusing herself, she went up to the balcony, in the direction she had “heard” Raphael. Sending servants to prepare a bath and clothes, she expanded her wings, and went to meet him. “What HAPPENED to you?!”
Azrael took a third tea cake and ate it slowly and impassively. It was amazing how nice these were – specially when you never eat.
//I will//, she replied.
Azrael was about to answer Rishta’s question when she left, so Azrael kept her attention on Raziel, Autumn and the tea cakes. She was also alert for Michael’s possible call.
Azrael wondered what did Rishta mean when she said Aramis did not hate her. That was a curious thought, and she pondered on it while eating her fourth tea cake. The possibility seemed improbable though.
Raphael finally saw Rishta’s house in the near distance. By now, the stench and stickiness was getting too much for him and he wanted a good bath straightaway. He craned his neck when he saw someone flying towards him. He was about to summon Strife when he recognized the aura and person. Rishta. “Nothing, dropped into a dirty river filled with rubbish and oil spills.” Raphael replied with a tinge of disgust, “Could I borrow your washroom?”
“Of course…” Rishta said, as she looked at him, shaking her head. Damn water pollution – ruining her home, her land. Some people should be…
They landed on her balcony, and she led him to her washroom. It had been prepared, and clothes laid there, ready. There were bottles filled with oils and crushed herbs, medicines and bandages. A couple of stones too. All you did was heat them, drop them in the bath, and the perfume on them would waft around.
“Anything else you need? Maybe when you are done… I can take a look at that burn. I am not Uriel, but a little doctoring won’t hurt… Raziel is out too – and I mean out.”
“I don’t need that egoistic little bitch.” Raphael bawled, “She can go on being trapped in her little world! Thanks anyway.” Raphael shut the door behind him and undressed himself. He jumped into the tub and turned on the tap. He sat down and the water gushed out. The water filled to the top and Raphael shut the tap for a while. He applied soap to his body and began to scrub himself all over hard with a scrubber, so hard till his skin turned red. He let the water run again and wash him through. He sniffed his arm. Hmm… smell gone slightly… another wash would do, he thought as he started to wash his hardened oily and stinking hair…
About an hour later, Raphael came out of the bathroom in the new clothes, feeling refreshed and smelling so much like a girl that he felt embarrassed.
“Thank you Rishta.” he said in his softest voice. He had a shy smile too. “Thanks for lending me your washroom…”
“It was no problem.” Rishta smiled, a soft sweet trusting smile she hadn’t used in years. He was now like her brother… and she felt like some little girl. Odd. Handing him some aftershave, she smiled again. While he was a bit distracted, she grabbed his left wrist and began to gently drag him to a chair.
“Sit down. Lets clean that up.” Indicating to a pile of bandages and burning cures and salves. He wouldn’t be allowed to leave until he was fixed. Since he didn’t want Uriel to help, she would.
Raphael blinked as he sat down. He looked innocently at Rishta and next, he sounded like a sweet angel, so young and inexperienced with life. “What?”
Raphael let Rishta fix him up if that was what she wanted. He would let her play nurse. Watching her in amusement, Raphael thought Rishta would make a good healing angel. Yeah. Better than Uriel and her angering you to death.
Rishta easily put the salves on, and wrapped the bandages, tying them not to tight, almost perfectly. Adding a small suggestion to his mind, the remaining pain disappeared. She blocked it, and sighed. Done.
Turning up to face his amused face, she looked at him with some curiosity. “What? What is so funny?”
“Nothing. I thought you would make a good nurse or healing angel.” Raphael replied frankly with a faint smile. He sighed unintentionally then. “My sister used to patch me up whenever I’m hurt…”
“I doubt it… I mean, that is Uriel’s job. She wouldn’t be happy that.” Rishta stood back, satisfied with this finished job. When he mentioned his sister, she gave him a faint smile. “I am sure your sister would if she was here… and she is… in you. Whether you believe me or not, it doesn’t matter. I see the resemblance.” Rishta gave him a solemn look, and a small smile. Something inside her tugged, the feeling, so familiar. Both of them had lost a dear one… both being defended, even though she didn’t know that. But still, his sister meant so much to him… it made her heart ache.
Raphael muttered as he looked up, “Where’s Adriel? Is she with Michael? I suppose she’s fine with him?”
Turning her attention to his present question, she became serious. “Yes, they are together… and I do not think you are going to like what they are doing… however, they should be here soon, Michael told me. Lets go downstairs… Azrael, Raziel and Autumn are there… and there is food. I am getting hungry.”
Raphael smiled at Rishta for her kind comment. “Let’s not care about Uriel… She’s just too egoistic.” Raphael made a face, “She’s not a good healing angel too, I believe.”
Otherwise, why did she give you up so easily… Zed… “I will join the rest of them.” Raphael replied as he rose up from the chair. “What is it that Michael and Adriel is doing I wouldn’t like?” Raphael asked Rishta as he walked along with her, feeling curious.
Rishta walked along, hearing the things about Uriel, but leaving them be. After all, it wasn’t her place to tell him who to like or not. When he wanted to know, she sighed.
“First, let me tell you that you aren’t going out of this house now that you are here. So, do not even think about following them…. They are at Riktophen Manor. Raziel, Michael went to get Autumn… you left, and Adriel remained… she and Michael are now fighting Azazel as a distraction, and should be heading back now.” Flinching slightly, she turned to Raphael, waiting for his reaction.
Raphael widened his eyes in horror. Adriel and Michael facing Azazel? He was about to turn and leave when the burns suddenly made him wince. He squirmed a little. Weird. It was as if the flames were trying to give him a warning. Brushing off the funny thoughts, Raphael went along with Rishta, his expression grave.
Rishta quieted down as they walked down the stairs into the hidden room where the others were. She was now worried about them, even though she was sure they could take care of themselves… would last longer then her any day. Please let them come back in one peace… and I better get Uriel and Gabriel here too… but how? Hmm… maybe an opportunity will present itself.
“We’re back.” Rishta announced quietly, and sat down, indicating that Raphael should relax. It seemed that Azrael had found a particular cake she liked… well, when you don’t eat, everything must be so new… Turning her attention to Raziel, she murmured to Azrael, “So, any improvements? Or is he still out?”
“Still”, Azrael replied. “But he needs to rest”. She slowly picked the last tea cake and blinked at the notion that it was the last one. Azrael ate the cake delicately and cast a strange look at Raphael, as if surprised at his clean, neat appearance.
Autumn brushed a few stray strands of auburn hair from her face, barely much mind to the people in the room. She sat complacently on the bed, just far enough to reach out and touch Raziel if she dared to do so. The pleasant smell of tea and cake was inviting to her empty stomach, but she didn’t think she could keep a bite down. How many hours of sleep did she get last night? One? Two? It didn’t matter, the second she laid her head down, there would no doubt be another crisis.
Feeling the presence of the Lady Rishta and another return to the room she glanced over her shoulder. Listening quietly, and releasing a small relaxing breath she contemplated. I’m not exactly sure what is going on, but I think I have an idea now… Eh. As much of an idea as one could have. They called him Azazel, so he isn’t Lorant. But he certainly believes he is, now doesn’t he… A small scowl crossed her lips while she thought, tracing the patterns on the bed quilt.
Some kind of battle is going on and I’m stuck right in the middle…
Rishta gave a small smile at Azrael’s shock at the fact the cakes were gone. Signaling to a servant, more were brought, now of a variety. Glancing at Autumn, she picked up a cup of tea and some cake, walked to her, and offered it to her. “Here… you need something to eat. If you wish to sleep, I can have a room prepared… you are safe here, safer then you could be right now…Raziel will be fine.”
After she had made this offering, she felt her heart freeze. Adriel… Michael… even Gabriel… the Abbey… and HE was in a fury… such a fury… Rishta unconsciously shivered, making a little bit of the tea splash onto the saucer.
“Oh my… such anger… hate… “
Raphael noticed Azrael’s queer look when she saw him but said nothing about it. She was forever having that kind of face anyway, he thought. At least to him. Then Rishta mumbled something to herself and she seemed to be unsteady on her feet. Raphael held onto her shoulders, supporting her.
“Are you alright?” he said, feeling a little concerned over her health.
Azrael examined the cakes the servants had just brought with a thoughtful air. She picked one and ate it slowly.
Following the battle energies from afar, she perceived Gabriel had arrived. Azrael tilted her head and when she did she felt a tingle in her shoulder. Her spell was wearing off: her wound was about to open. Coolly, Azrael turned to Rishta, who was shocked at her first impressions on the son of Lucifer and Lilith.
“Excuse me. I’ll be back soon”.
Azrael left the room gliding gracefully like a shadow as Raphael held Rishta’s shoulders.
Rishta nodded when Azrael left, and barely noticed Raphael, not believing what her meager powers told her. Her hands trembled a bit more, as her mind checked everyone… Michael. No… Michael… He… no… Rishta barely noticed that her shaking had gotten so bad, she had dropped the cup and saucer, the delicate china shattering against the stone floor, just missing the rug. Shaking herself mentally, she focused on Raphael, her eyes holding a haunted look.
“Raphael… it is Michael… Azazel… they all… the Abbey… Michael… he is hurt… bad…” She murmured, but each word was as clear as crystal. Looking at Raphael, she realized that he could not go… so, she would. She tried to turn, but Raphael’s grip was strong.
“Let me go… Michael… Adriel… Gabe… they could be in trouble!”
“No, you stay.” Raphael told Rishta in a tone he rarely used – one filled with authority. “You don’t seem to be feeling that good to me as well. You just stay and take care of the Baroness and Raziel. As for Michael, I will go fetch him here along with Adriel, whom you said is with him.” Raphael said with a strict-looking face at Rishta.
Raphael was worried for Adriel, as well for himself. The burn wounds on him has slowed him down and dimmed his angelic senses. He knew it would remain so until the burns healed. He cursed Beelzebub silently.
His hands gripped onto Rishta’s shoulders tight and he made her sit down at a chair. “Now sit and don’t move.” he ordered, “I will go to where Michael is right now.”
Looking at Autumn, Raphael gave her a look as if telling her to look after the unconscious Raziel and stubborn Rishta before he disappeared from sight, casting himself invisible to human eyes and walked out of the room.
Rishta began protesting as he made her sit, but she knew it would all be futile. The arguments of ‘no, your hurt! I am fine!’ and ‘my home, my rules’ crossed her thoughts, but with a jerk, she realized that Raphael was right. She couldn’t do anything, while he was stronger. She nodded as he left, murmuring something about needing to cool his heels.
Raphael walked about the house for sometime and found himself to the door. He opened it and stepped outside. The cool breeze blew against him lightly and Raphael sighed as he opened up his now clean wings. With a light tap of his right feet, Raphael took to the sky, and flew towards Riktophen Manor again, the last place where Michael and Adriel had been. He flew high, so that he could see far distances and places around the Manor as well.
Azrael moved across the house like a silent shadow, looking for a right place for her. She murmured a spell.
Azrael could see now the faint traces of living and spirits in their daily paths across the house. She followed Raziel’s to the room he had occupied the night Azazel was freed. Across from it there was another empty bedroom. Azrael entered it and closed the door. Dropping her human appearance, Azrael opened her wings. The bedroom space darkened to an absolute Darkness, withdrawn and contemplative – a Dark that was not tainted by Evil. Azrael was in the Dark; her senses were alert and perceiving everything as much as in broad daylight. A creature of the Dark, she belonged in it.
Azrael stripped down of her armor. In her black robes and barefoot, she looked strangely delicate, fragile, despite her mighty aura now dimmed not to call unwanted attention beyond the House. Azrael let her shoulder exposed and tended to her wound with strange spells and chants from the Dark. Blood stained her marble-like shoulder and the blows still hurt, but Azrael’s face was immutable. Slowly, her deep wound began to heal.
Azrael absently cleaned the blood stains with strange chants, weaving sigils to accelerate her healing process. Her wound was almost completely gone.
Azrael closed her eyes. As he chanted, she retreated within herself to her own personal space – a place in the likeness of the Void. Within her soul there was a vault and in it, a mirror. This was Azrael’s heart, and here she kept her Mirror of Seeing, the Heart of Azrael. Azrael looked into the mirror; images danced on it. In her left hand she held the Book of Life and Death, in her right hand she held Filos. Looking at the ephemeral images, she saw the cathedral roof, the Battle and many possible outcomes. Azrael opened the Book and book marked two names.
//Raziel, Keeper of Sapientia. Who will write about this battle? It’s not a time for your pen to be idle. Gather your energies – allow yourself to heal. Don’t wander in the Nothingness and come back to this World.//
Azrael’s chant stopped. The archangel opened her eyes. Her wound was healed and soon she’d be needed again, for either fight or fulfill her work. Azrael closed her wings and the Dark receded; again, the room was full of light and objects were visible for human eyes. Azrael put on her armor and tossed back her long black hair; her black wings wrapped around her like a cloak of darkness.
Invisible to human eyes, Azrael returned to the room where Raziel laid.
Now healed, Azrael returned in her angelic form. Before arriving to the room, she heard Raphael’s orders to Rishta. She saw Raphael leave. Azrael did not enter the room, but sent Rishta a mental message:
//Protect them, for Azazel will want Autumn back with him.// The archangel of Death and Destruction vanished, reappearing on the roof. Azrael took flight and headed for the Abbey of Westminster.
Azrael came, invisible, and now Rishta knew why she couldn’t leave them. Sure, probably just an excuse – but it was a good one. Damn, it was a good one. “Of course…” Rishta sighed, feeling like directly disobeying Raphael, and leaving. She KNEW where they were, dammit! Agitated, Rishta stood up, and began pacing, keeping a mental eye on everyone she could… it really was confusing.
Sighing, she indicated to a servant. “I want lunch to be ready soon… and the breakfast can go with it, a sort of brunch. And rooms must be prepared. I have guests coming and they are injured. Medical equipment… and bring the Baroness something to eat… and, and… that’ll be all.” Rishta was thoroughly nervous about them. There was nothing wrong with her, only a seriously bad case of nerves. Sitting back down, she brushed some hair out of Raziel’s face, mainly as a distraction. Turning to the Baroness, she gave a small smile of apology. “Sorry you have to be here at this time… do you want to sleep?”
Raziel struggled through the dark mire that held his mind. I cannot stay… I have no time to rest! He could hear the faint calls of voices; voices from the past, from the present, and more faintly, more weakly, from the future.
Then Azrael’s voice… Crisp, cold, cutting, it banished the others, chased them away without effort. It demanded his return to the world of the wakened; that he return to his duties. His consciousness grabbed it; like a douse of cold ice water.
His eyes snapped open, blue as the sky and clear as water. He sat up, pushing the sheets aside.
“I thank you for minding my shell,” he said gravely to Rishta and Lady Riktophen. “But I must go now.” He sent out a call, faint, but strong. The Sylphs answered; eager to lend him their strength; he felt his reservoirs being filled once more, ones that had been empty for what seemed like ages. He thanked them as well, dispelling them gently, bidding them hide to their safe places. He would give the Fallen no quarter to harm them.
He bowed slightly, and shifted back into his angelic form, unfurling his great sky-blue wings. “I will return.”
Rishta’s jaw dropped when he stood and left. She was going to protest, shove him back to bed, knock him out… but he was gone! Darn his speed. Imagine the amount of explaining… Rishta stood, positively even more agitated, and began her pacing again.
Turning to Autumn sharply, she muttered. “Do not even THINK about leaving. One step out of this room, and I will drag you back! Otherwise, I am going to be in so much trouble…” Rishta then resumed pacing, looking as though she had half a mind to put Autumn in the middle of a maze, then go after the others herself.
Autumn rolled her eyes gently, crossing her arms and quietly watching Rishta pace. She knew exactly how the woman felt. Being told to stay behind, when everyone else was involved in all the action. However, she really didn’t feel the need to rush out of her safe haven and straight into danger. Her only worries were of the people involved…
I wonder where Mr. Morris is… No one has even mentioned him yet. Did he even survive?
The temptation to go back and see what happened to Mr. Morris was pulling at her. She was sure if Lorant was looking for her, he would immediately seek out the angels… so if she went alone, would he be less likely to find her? Sighing, she brushed the thoughts away… It would be foolish to leave right now. She was just going to have to wait.
Rishta continued her pacing, then abruptly stopped. Belial was there, Azazel… was injured! And, Michael… he, he had… she inwardly cheered. But he… her expression became void. Purely emotionless.
“Autumn… help yourself to tea and cake… you can rest if you want too.” Rishta smiled at her, for a brief instant. Then she went back into her own mind, waiting, waiting for them to come back “home.” It was their home now, at least, in her view… and she wanted them safe. That was all that mattered right now. At least, to her.
“I know… You’ve mentioned that several times already.” Autumn could tell she was worried. The woman looked as if she’d run right through the wall and join her companions if she could. Could angels run through walls? No.. That was ghosts…
Getting up from her seat, Autumn poured a cup of for both herself and Lady Rishta. She added a little bit of honey to sweeten it, and a little bit of lemon. “Lady Rishta, I don’t think walking a path in the floor is going to bring them back any faster. You should have a drink as well…” It seemed Autumn could feel every tense jolt the woman made… What I wouldn’t give to know what you know right now… At least you don’t have to guess at straws…