|Ashwings -11- Burden to Bare|
I walk behind December and Alexios to the breakfast which is set in a part of the palace I have not explored yet. It’s a mini forest, seemingly in the centre of the palace. Fit with a waterfall, ponds, ferns, moss and every smell of utopia.
A perfect paradise.
As I’m approaching from the white rock pillars, Valentine, Myron and Guzza look like birds, at home in a sanctuary.
The breakfast is a picnic basket full of berries. The picnic blanket is the moss. Around the small clearing and the basket, are boulders, some jagged, some smooth and round.
It reminds me of the sacrificial alter where I was split through, except this is deceivingly natural.
December and Alexios know what to do. They perch on a boulder, reclining on the rock and waiting patiently as if a class is about to start.
Valentine is leaning back on the largest boulder, looking bored, while Myron has his back to us, grey wings spread but not dragging this time, as he gazes into the water of the pond beyond the picnic circle.
Guzza is literally sitting in a tree trunk sprouting thick branches, but he has a handful of grapes, innocently eating the mini purple globes. For such a giant monstrous Archangel with his dark, wide and long winded wings spread out and laying bent and crumpled at awkward angels, it’s a funny sight to see.
As for Valentine’s wings? They are spelled away.
“Blue Bloods and nature,” December calls out to me, “They know we love it.”
“Breakfast involves adventure, new blood,” Alexios wiggles her eyebrows at me.
After I’ve focused on the girls, I turn my gaze back to the Archangels.
Only to see that they’ve vanished completely into thin air.
“…okay…?” I whisper, awkward and hesitant.
“They like to watch us eat and relax, then we run into the forest and they surprise us,” Alexios throws up her arms as she jumps from the rock, grinning, “I have missed this event!”
December turns to give me a sheepish look, “…we’ve been deprived attention like this for quite some time, we are thankful for your arrival. Now they must pay us attention.”
“Because why?” I ask, to clarify.
“Because! We’re your friends!” December motions me over and she tumbles off her rock gracefully to land by the basket, while Alexios grabs some raspberries, December goes for the blueberries.
I shuffle over and land on my knees, choosing the black berries. My favourite.
“Oh, mmmhmm, yum,” December moans as she stuffs her face and Alexios pops one raspberry at a time between her pert lips, watching me take my first bite.
I’m pretty hungry, but I sniff one berry, scared it’d be laced with more aphrodisiacs.
It’s not, I think, and it tastes amazing. I grab up some more and eat a handful, chewing slowly.
I wasn’t looking forward to this hunt.
“Can we…” I speak between mouthfuls, “Stick together?”
You play by my rules, Valentine’s voice filters through my head, separate directions and no screaming.
December and Alexios share a knowing look.
“What happens if we don’t follow the rules?” I whisper.
“Blas awful torture,” December speaks lightly, shrugging half a shoulder, “Don’t worry. Just play along.”
Alexios braids her blonde white hair into a plait and then a bun, while humming to herself a fine tune.
December chooses to walk to the pond and smears muddy lines onto her cheek.
“Gotta have that camouflage so I don’t look like a lamb!” December yells out to the forest.
“I wisp away into the wind!” Alexios spins her way into the ferns, disappearing.
December pulls off her dress and runs the opposite direction, completely naked.
I get to my feet and walk straight ahead.
I guess a game of catch me if you can, or hide and seek, was… a fitting way to pass the time… I guess.
The only problem was I didn’t know what I was running from.
So, like a total idiot, I just walk and I don’t run.
I admire the view of the forest as I head around the pond and traverse deeper.
The longer I walk, I soon realise the sky is blocked out by green and I lose sight of direction.
Everywhere I turn, the forest keeps expanding. Like it never ends.
My heart beats with fear at the expanse, the illusion… or maybe in an E.W. it was real.
I keep going, eventually finding a small track. I keep focused on the small things, like details of pretty flowers, or draping vines, to keep calm.
Eventually, I reach an obvious small clearing.
And what I see stops me dead.
I had to be seeing things.
I grab a vine in my hand and stare at the black and green swirling mass. A portal, shaped into an arch.
In the dirt, fine letters read… exit.
“You’re very last chance,” Val.
I freeze and feel the heat and the shadow of Valentine stepping up behind me.
I don’t look, but I feel him stand right next to my back, almost flush. He doesn’t touch me. No part of him touches my skin.
“I don’t get it,” I gasp the words out, my eyes focused on the exit.
“The first day you entered this place, I told you, I can’t touch you, unless you agree to stay. I broke my rule. I stopped you falling. Old habits die hard, I guess,” Valentine drones that last part into my ear, as if both proud and irate at himself, “Your last ticket to leave the Lavent Ashwing – is right in front of you.”
I think he’s telling the truth.
This was inevitable. He had to pay for what he did – touching me on the boardwalk to the palace, the very first time I came here, delivering a letter.
“Fine. Can I ask some questions first, Valentine, before I decide?” I ask.
“Whatever you wish.”
“Am I really a witch? Half mortal, half… demon…?” I ask.
“Yes,” Valentine growls out that one word, with pain.
“So, if Ora, the home I’m from, is a place called Earth you left after Judgement Day. And some witches remain. I assume you convince them to stay in your E.W. to… breed… because…?”
When Valentine doesn’t answer me straight away, I assume that he won’t at all.
I take a step toward the portal and he answers quickly.
“We fuck those we love,” Valentine speaks boldly, “…goodbye, Ivy.”
I suppose he thought I was going to leave.
I spin on my heel, my heart nearly jumping out of my throat with those two last words.
He is about to turn away, but pauses because I have halted him.
Me. Simply turning back. I made an Archangel pause.
It felt powerful on my part.
“Leave,” Valentine speaks, he sounds… menacing, “My sin in touching you without your final decision, grants you freedom. I hid that from you. A second sin. I can’t give you another reason to stay.”
“You stopped me falling,” it was a trip on the wood, but it still saved me from an injury, “…and you’ve spent the entire time trying to convince me to give into my carnal desires to stay… you did all that before you had to bring me to this law abiding consequence. I can leave. Sure, I can… or, I can stay.”
“If you stay, Ivy, I’ll fuck you everywhere, even on top of the world. I’ll blow your mind,” Valentine doesn’t promise. It’s just a statement of truth, said with perfect honesty.
“A witch, apparently, has a chance to do something evil,” I breathe slowly, “I haven’t slept a wink. You know why? I was fighting the urge, wanting to… crawl… to you… so, leaving would be the right thing to do…”
Right now, patience is all he has.
“I killed half a million witches, even those who hadn’t committed sin, even those who were barely crawling,” Valentine almost chokes up, but again, he states the truth.
With it, knowledge hits me straight in the guts. Despite Val’s disguise of normal blue eyes, and his wings spelled away… I see everything else.
Everything he was before he fell.
Something wasn’t right about him being punished. He did his job. Then spared a few witches at the end, whom were to die for being what they were born to be.
Forgiveness…? He wasn’t looking for God’s forgiveness. No. Something tells my gut, he was looking to forgive himself.
I blurt my own truth now, in return for hearing his, “Valentine? I’ll stay.”
I walk towards him, my gait getting faster with every step.
However, Val disappears when I get too close. My hand hits the trunk of a tree, where his angelic form was a moment ago, and I look around for him.
“You’re not evil!” I call out, and neither was I.
No, I shiver with his voice, as it caresses my mind, …everything I want to do to you right now, Ivy, would surely cast me straight into hell. Enjoy another day to yourself. Come to me if you need anything.
“I want you,” I whisper it.
Not right now, sweet soul, you couldn’t handle my fire.
“An Archangel’s moments of Descent is not something you want to tempt to remain, sweet girl!” Alexios breaks my moment with Valentine, speaking from a tree branch above, held in Guzza’s arms. He smirks down at me and takes off, up into the air. Alexios squeals, happily, “Don’t worry, little lamb!!! Valentine’s just being niccee to yooou!” My neck cranes back as Guzza flies up vertically with Alexios, “Guzza is going to stab me with his cock! Somebody help! Call the medic! I’ll need medical attention after he’s through me! Argh! Nooooo!”
Alexios’s voice fades, further and further upwards, along with her fantastical dramatics.
I’m smiling and I hear December laughing loudly from somewhere to my right… followed by a moment of silence… and then screaming, as Myron clearly pounces on her.
I think I’ll just read in the library today. I speak through my mind, back to Valentine.
I wonder if he can hear me, because he doesn’t respond, but maybe he still did catch my words.
I head back the way I came, and the end of the forest becomes clear.
I’m glad, in my heart and in my gut, to have stayed. There were some things I had to work out. Some things that weren’t right. And I think the answers were held in the Blue Blooded beings in this E.W. December, Alexios and I – had a more important fate here.
And I think it might be related to saving our Archangels – from their past burdens.
Forgiveness… maybe we could grant that to them.
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