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Thread: [M] In Excelsis Deo [Ashen & Hannelorian]

  1. #1
    The Ashen One
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    Default [M] In Excelsis Deo [Ashen & Hannelorian]

    [The following roleplay is rated [M] for Mature and may or may not contain adult themes. Reader discretion is advised.]

    At the very least, he was grateful his almighty god has banished him from the heavens with the clothes still on his back. Even if his muddied tunic and mustard stockings set him apart from how humans usually looked, it was better than the alternative. Ptarsamiel picked himself off the ground and tried dusting off his clothes. His skin was still caked in dried mud and specks of blood, and his clothes were damp and ripped. He would have to find a new outfit before long, or else someone would call the local watchmen on him and he’d get into trouble here, too.

    … Wherever here was. Sam took in his new surroundings. There was a river somewhere nearby, and a distant mountain looming, threatening, reaching for the clouds he no longer could. Several meters away, a few small houses lined a broken street, so he couldn’t have been too far from civilization. He would walk to one of those houses, knock on the door, and hope the person living inside—if anyone lived inside—would be kind enough to let him clean up a bit and gather his bearings. After that, he would… figure something out. Never one to plan ahead, Sam was sorely unprepared to deal with the results of what he’d done.

    He sighed heavily and turned his gaze skyward, to the bright sky filled with light clouds. He wondered how his family was doing, what his god thought of him. They weren’t family anymore, he reminded himself, not since his trial, not since they’d unanimously voted to excommunicate him from the only home he’d ever known. How would the heavens even get on without him? More peacefully, he thought, a joke that wasn’t a joke, and a mirthless smile spilled onto his lips. But he had no time to think of how he’d gotten here. Sam was lucky to even be alive. His benevolent god, even if he had not thought him capable of being an angel anymore, had neglected to kill him, instead taking his divinity and making him an ordinary, mortal man. Sam wasn’t going to question his good fortune. He just needed to figure out what to do with the opportunity he hadn’t deserved.

    But men were nothing like angels, were fragile and emotional and recklessly cruel to each other. Could Sam really survive as one of them?

    A dull pain rumbled in his chest, and Sam grabbed at it, confused. Was he dying? Had his god decided to not let him live after all? The pain came from his heart, growing in intensity until it was the only thing he could think about, and he did not know what to do. He thought of the home he had lost, the loving god who had turned on him, the peers who had rejoiced at the news of his banishment. And he thought of the young boy, the one he’d been tasked to watch over, to protect, fragile body barreling over the tameless waterfall, the snaps of bones, the tearing of flesh, the frantic scream drowned out by the crashing of godless waves on jagged rocks. As his guardian angel, Sam had been responsible for his death, but he had not felt the least bit sad, or guilty, or ashamed. Emotions, after all, were a human’s curse.

    And now, robbed of the grace of the heavens, without his wings, his halo, his divine abilities, a human was all he was.

    He again collapsed on the earth, mud splashing onto his stockings, and he held his face in his hands. This pain wasn’t physical, was the emotional agony that humans often talked about but he had never understood. He had done so much wrong in his life, so much he should have been killed for, and instead, he was here, a man with a new beginning, drowned in the regrets he was only beginning to understand. His heart drummed fiercely in his chest and his hands trembled, but of all the herbology he had studied, he knew not the mixture to fix this. He was no man; he was a monster, and he deserved this torment.

    The tears flowed freely, another new experience, and he wiped them away awkwardly. If anyone saw him now, what would they think? They’d be afraid, or they’d pity him, or they’d frantically run to get the local watchmen, and what could he tell them? How would he explain where he was from, or how he’d ended up here? Who would believe him? In this human form, not a soul on earth would recognize him now.

    When the tears stopped, and when his heartbeat calmed to more manageable levels, Sam stood up again. The past was irreversible, at least to mortals, and he would have to move on with the knowledge of the things he had done. All he could do was repent, and strive to do better. Prove to his god that he was worthy of being an angel, one who was sorrowful, one who would make up for the mistakes he’d made.

    So Sam started for those houses, wiping from his skin and clothes the proof of his mistakes. He knew, whatever he did to prove himself to his god, he would not be able to do it alone. He’d need someone, a native of earth, someone who could get him on his feet until he could figure out a plan. Even if he looked dirty and delusional, he hoped he would find someone, anyone, who could help.

    He glanced back towards the clouds, pretending he could see his former home out there between the sunlight. He would make it back. He would prove to everyone, to himself, that he did not deserve to be here, that his home was out there, and he would stop at nothing to be back.
    Last edited by Ashen; 09-04-2021 at 02:11 AM.
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  2. #2
    The Grey Lady
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    The definition of 'divine' seems at first glance to be straightforward, almost simple in explanation: of, from, or like God. Therefore to be divine was inherently linked with the grace of God, and his ever powerful will. This felt a funny notion, for to a demon there too was divinity, divinity in the most unholy. They themselves were not a product or creation of God and therefore could never truly experience divinity, or so most had been taught. But what of the divine feeling that encompassed the torture of human life? The petty games played on a mortal battlefield in spite of God? Was there not divinity in those acts? In the way they made one feel oh so alive, and oh so terribly powerful. Was there not divinity in the ability to be truly awesome, that is, to inspire awe in another creature. Why must such a word be solely the realm of the human? Those created in the image of God?

    In the dim light, the jagged and jutting pieces of the stone wall cast out shadows, dancing along the floor. The room was uncomfortably warm and windowless, the air stood still, stagnating more and more as the minutes and hours had come to pass. The sounds of tortured screams filled the corridors beyond the room's entry, and slowly permeated into the enclosure, muffled but ever so definitive in nature. The smell of smoldering fires mixing with the scent of suffering, of human excrement, of rotting flesh and coagulated blood. It was an ungodly stench, too much to bare for too long. It was the kind of scent that stuck to every bit of ones being, the kind that was powerful enough to bring men to their knees the instant it hit their delicate nostrils. It was rare to find someone with the constitution to tolerate it, let alone thrive in it.

    Standing almost like a statue in the corner of the room was a tall, slender figure, clad in an unstained, crisp white dress. Her dark hair resting about her shoulders, a hand resting on her hip. The other hand raised and clutching the hilt of what could best be described as a dagger, the cool metal resting beneath her chin. The figure released a deep sigh, not as though she were exhausted, but rather to imply that boredom was setting in. Turning on her heels, pale blue eyes cast their glance forward toward the center of the room where a man lie still, strung up on a rack, limbs stretched almost to their breaking point, the pale body, clearly emaciated was covered in a sheen of sweat that almost glittered in the faint lamplight. A series of small pained noises escaped, almost like a melody to her ears.

    The corners of her mouth upturned into something of a smirk, with each step toward the rack she took, her dress flowed freely about her legs, in another context it could be called something of beauty, there was a delicate grace in those small strides, as though she had not a care in the world. The woman moved to sit at the man's torso, she contorted herself in a manner to stretch her upper half out over the man, her hands stretching upward to clasp his which had been so painfully pulled, her hair falling about the man's collar bones she inhaled deeply, biting her lower lip and just staring at his face before uttering a single world "more." A third figure as yet unseen moved in silence to turn a wheel, drawing the tortured man further, stretching, and stretching his limbs already so taught. "Go on. Scream for me." she spoke again, her voice was soft, unnervingly kind, the kind of tone that matched the gentle smile she bore as the man writhed in pain. As the wheel continued to turn the sounds of joints cracking rung out, and she inhaled again as if to absorb all of it. The screaming was not far behind, and she pressed down into his hands, raising her torso upward, casting her gaze toward the heavens. "Where is your God now?" she asked, largely sarcastic in nature before letting out a loud, sinister, bordering on uncontrolled laughter. The man fell silent, losing consciousness as the pain surely overwhelmed him. "Shame... I was just starting to have fun. Lucky for you, I have all the time in the world." The woman rested a palm on the man's cheek before standing, sighing and exiting the room.

    Seere snapped back to the present, having lost herself in memories of one of her last times walking the realm of the mortal, it had been many, many years since she had this distinct pleasure. Yet, there she was before a small house set against the backdrop of blue skies and imposing mountains, a trowel in gloved hands, sat on the ground gardening. Such a human activity, caring for plants which served no purpose. Even demons needed a change of scenery, a change of pace, and this was the place she had chosen for her sojourn, her refuge. A small town, in the middle of absolutely nowhere with an entirely missable population. Letting the trowel come to rest in the soil, she removed the gloves caked in earth from her hands and stood up, letting bare delicate feet rest in the cool grass, still wet with the morning dew. As the breeze came sweeping through, it sent the yellow fabric of her sun dress rippling against the gentle gusts, a hand reaching up to hold the wide brimmed sun hat firmly atop her head, her neck craning skyward, letting the warmth of the sunlight bathe her.

    Is this really what it felt like to human? Seere struggled to remember. There was an odd sense of freedom when walking the earth, demon disguised in the flesh of a weak and feeble race. No one ever suspected a thing, she could and would wreak havoc against an unsuspecting population for nothing other than her own enjoyment. There was a disbelief from people, no one really expected that such evil could look so astoundingly normal, so beautiful even. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw it, a human frame in the distance. Turning her attention fully she watched as a single man had emerged, making his way out of the field toward the row of houses. Odd, she thought, in the intervening months between her arrival and this very moment, almost no one had turned up, let alone out of nowhere. As he grew nearer and nearer she could make out details now, clothing that had seen better days, caked earth he desperately tried to remove.

    It wasn't until the breeze returned that she smelled it. The unmistakable stench. The acrid, stomach turning stench that could come from only one place. "Impossible..." she muttered, forcing down the rather unfortunate human urge to evacuate the contents of one's stomach via the mouth. How low the tolerance was the human for any sort of unpleasantness. Heaven. Only those from the world above were bathed in that smell. Was he...? An angel? What was he doing here? Seere ambled to the edge of the road now, raising a hand in the air she waved it, as to catch the attention of the stranger. She had to know more, this was an opportunity that seldom came. Seere could count on one hand the number of the blessed creatures she had encountered in her centuries of life. How serendipitous that one should turn themselves up at such a time, and in such a place. For the time being, Seere thought it best to maintain her composure, and her disguise, to him she would be a human until that was no longer convenient. "Oh sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation." she spoke to herself, rolling her eyes at the very notion.

    "Hey!" she called out, moving to cross the road and finally approach the creature, for a few moments she had held her breath an act to steel herself against the unbearable odor as she drew ever closer until she was standing right before him. "Are you alright?" Seere asked, tilting her head to the side, rather akin to a curious pet. Extending her hand out, she rested it against his arm, wrapping her fingers around him softly, she pulled ever so slightly. "Come on, come with me... let's get you cleaned up and you can tell me what happened..." Seere knew that even for a human this was somewhat forward. But isn't that what humans did? Reach out and help those in need with little regard for their own safety? You never know what you'd be letting in your front door. With great care, Seere led the stranger toward her home, eventually escorted him inside and guiding him to a chair that sat at a small dining table. "My name is Genevieve... what in Heaven's name happened to you?" she asked, she could hardly help herself from mentioning the world above.
    Last edited by Hannelorian; 09-07-2021 at 06:54 PM. Reason: Style edits
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  3. #3
    The Ashen One
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    Sam didn’t have to walk very far before he found another human. Perhaps more accurate was that she found him, and she was heading straight for him, calling out to him. He took a moment to study her. She had been gifted by almighty god with overwhelming beauty, with piercing eyes and flowing hair, and the tips of her fingers and the edges of her sleeves were dusted with the earth. Perhaps she was a gardener? There was an elegance to her, an almost heavenly grace that left Sam wondering. She… was human, wasn’t she? At any rate, she didn’t look like any of the angels’ human forms that he had seen. Besides, he’d recognize the aura of a non-mortal. Or… had that been something lost in his fall, too?

    Standing there, silent, at the edge of road as she made her way towards him was likely making him look even stranger. Sam coughed at the realization, then straightened himself and tried on a new grin. In the presence of someone so attractive, he was suddenly aware of how he must have looked. Dirty clothes, ruddy face, too-big grin and too-big eyes too filled with the arrogance of someone who would never learn. He had chosen this form so long ago—centuries, even—because of how average it looked, how unassuming, but now, he wished his god had given him a different face, a stronger build, or perhaps a more pathetic-looking countenance, anything that would drive this stranger to help him.

    Though he quickly learned that that was unnecessary. The woman flittered about him, asking after him, seemingly genuinely concerned for his well-being. Already she was proving to be kinder than the humans he had met. He opened his mouth to respond, but before he could say a word, he was being whisked away from the road. She was almost too eager to help, but in his current state, he was in no place to question her. He followed her to the house a little distance away, passing by the garden she must have been working in, looking for something to say all the while. He wondered why she’d be out here, alone, so willing to help someone who looked like him, to invite him into her house. Was he taking advantage of her kindness? Or did she have something else planned?

    The thought quickly faded to the back of his mind as the woman introduced herself. Sam bowed his head, and he was about to give his name as well, but she was quick with her question. What in Heaven’s name… To take the name of the realm of the almighty in vain was inappropriate to him—to who he’d used to be. Sam awkwardly straightened again and cleared his throat to make up for the silence he’d left. “Um,” he said, still trying to find his voice, his human voice, among the celestial tongues bumbling in his brain. “My name is Pt—Sam. Samuel. You can call me Sam.” His angelic name, of course, was only going to earn him raised eyebrows, and he cursed himself for the mistake he had been about to make. He was not being graceful about this. “I’m sorry. I was just on my way to… to uh."

    His cheeks were growing warmer, and he hoped Genevieve would not see the embarrassment streaking across them. What could he say? She wouldn’t believe him if he told the truth, and even if she did, he wasn’t sure he wanted to admit to manslaughter quite yet. The guilt of that swirled in his throat, suffocating, until he cleared it again. Now was not the time to explore human emotions. “I don’t… remember,” he said instead. He turned away, trying to look convincing, and found it wasn’t all that difficult. Even as an angel, lying himself out of trouble had been second nature to him, and besides, his head was starting to violently drum and his eyes held a different defeat, all painting the image of a man who didn’t know the weight of how much he’d lost.

    “I woke up over there, in that field by the road, but I don’t remember how I got there, or why I’m dressed like this. I thought I’d come over here to see if anyone lived in these houses so I could try to get some help. I was hoping… you would know.” He drove a hand through his hair, as if to show his frustration. He sounded like an idiot. Sam had no idea if Genevieve was buying his bluff, but he’d dug himself into this hole, and there was no getting out now. He looked back at the woman, a smaller smile painting his lips. “I’m so sorry,” he continued. “I don’t mean to impose. If you can just let me get cleaned up a bit, I can be on my way. Can you point me to the nearest town?”

    Sam could justify his lies as self-preservation. His god had left him for dead, and Sam was only doing what he needed to—take advantage of this poor woman—until he could figure out a plan. As an angel, he’d have been able to write it off; the logic was sound enough, and no one would blame him for it. But now, logic gave way to something stronger, something less predictable, and as the crushing feeling again settled in his chest, Sam felt his hands flutter towards it to calm the pain that was not physical. He had studied humans, knew how their cultures worked, their common courtesies, their psychologies, and he knew how to get them to do what he wanted, but there was a part of him, perhaps the part still clinging to his heavenly grace, that told him this was wrong. This made him vile. For a moment, he wondered what his god would think of him, and like a sinner, he felt an immediate call to apologize.

    “I’m sorry,” he said, to her, for all the things he could not say. “I appreciate your kindness. May god bless you.” He hoped they both would forgive him.
    Last edited by Ashen; 09-24-2021 at 11:08 PM.
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  4. #4
    The Grey Lady
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    How easy it had been for the demon to wrest the angel into her domain. How willingly he had come to accept her help. There was a beauty to be found in such naivete. Without protest or a single question he had assumed her intentions were pure, and that she, a mere mortal was simply exhibiting her overwhelming desire to serve God above through charity. How pathetic it was, the trusting nature of the fallen one in conjunction with that foul odor that now permeated an enclosed space was enough to turn her stomach. It was at times like these Seere was reminded of her hatred for the human form, so weak. The demon could not lie to herself, she was almost disgusted with the way the body she inhabited was responding to every single stimuli thrown at her.

    The demon walked, quickening in pace past the angel that remained sat at her table. With her back to him now she rested pale hands along the edge of the sink, gripping tightly in a measure to steady herself and regain any sense of composure she had previously donned. This brief respite, not having to face the creature directly was all she needed. Casting her gaze upward toward the ceiling, she slowly lowered it until she was staring straight ahead and out of the small kitchen window. The light of morning sun beaming through, strong enough where she could feel its warmth against her skin. Most unpleasant. Where was the joy in simply standing in the light? Reaching a hand down the demon retrieved a dish towel and brought it back. Fingers delicately resting on the cool metal of the tap handle, turning it slowly and allowing the water to burst forth, she wet the cloth with what was now warm water and closed the tap, finally turning to face him, nothing but the broadest of smiles upon her face.

    It was odd how she had forgotten the pain of a forced smile in her many years away. Forcing one's muscles to hold in an unnatural position to feign human emotion. It was tiresome, and seemed entirely inefficient. Couldn't humanity have developed another way to express their joy, delight, friendliness whatever it was meant to be called? Seere smiled at nothing but her own divinity, her own power as she killed, tortured. Her own influence as she planted seeds which would grow and blossom from the soil of the earth into a spectacular war or pestilence. These were the moments that brought her joy, these were the precious memories where suddenly the odd movement of these muscles felt just right. How had humanity gotten it so backward?

    "You poor thing..." Seere as Genevieve spoke in a soft tone, sweet but understated. Seere tried her best to simulate sympathy, or even empathy for the man's situation. Attempting her best to remain publicly ignorant of his true nature. The figure walked over to him with the wet cloth in hand, slowly but deliberately until she was standing beside him looking down upon him as he remained in a seated position. "You must be so terribly confused... or even frightened with no knowledge how you got here..." She continued in the same tone, feigning concern that in reality she felt none of. A part of her longed to let down her disguise, to tear him limb from limb, to acquire his knowledge and discard him as trash. Seere cocked her head to the side, raising a hand she rested it beneath his chin as though to hold it tenderly. With the cloth in her other hand, she gingerly began to clean some of the dirt from his face. Each stroke of the cloth ever so gentle, just enough to clear his pale skin. In truth, she had amazed herself at the restraint she had shown him.

    The demon looked upon the face of the angel as cleansed it, and wondered many things. Had he chosen his own form? Was it God that had chosen for him either when he was thrown to the Earth or many ages ago? It was plain, pleasant, attractive to be certain, but rather unassuming. Typical of an angel, she thought, to hide in plain sight. The most beautiful of God's creation second only to humanity would want to blend in amongst the common man. Whereas she on the other hand, was a creature purely constructed of vanity. Seere had deliberately chosen her form, careful to select only the most delicate, the most beautiful. There was little sense in parading around the world of the mortal if one was not a figure to be envied, a figure to be lusted after and longed for. There was an inherent avarice within her, the constant hunger for more that never ceased or dulled. "You cannot conceive, nor can I, of the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God." Genevieve spoke, rather plainly but still pointed. The demon upon finishing her work allowed her smile to fade, and nodded her head. "Regardless of how you got here, you are here now. You are safe, alive, largely unharmed. I'd call that mercy, wouldn't you?" Seere followed up from her original question, now setting the cloth down upon the table beside him.

    Seere let the back of her fingers run along the angel's cheek for just a moment. It was as though she were admiring her own work, a soft smile returning. "I'll draw you a bath, and get you some clothes. We can figure out what you'll do once you've washed up, and perhaps eaten something. It wouldn't be right to just send you off." Seere was physically uncomfortable with the words she espoused, the kindness she demonstrated. This was antithetical to her own existence. She needed more from him yet. Seere told herself that her patience would be rewarded if she only held out just awhile longer. "Please, make yourself comfortable. I'll get everything ready for you. Shouldn't be long." Genevieve spoke and made herself scarce, fleeing to the sanctity of the small bathroom. At last for a moment she could breathe freely.

    Approaching the small tub, Seere repeated the same ritual she had with the sink, turning the knobs and allowing the water to flow freely, this time ensuring it ran hot enough to accommodate her 'guest.' Allowing herself to sit on the edge of the wash tub, she let her hand fall down into it, resting in the warm water as it filled. Taking a moment now to reflect on the lies the creature had told her. She wondered if he believed himself convincing. She wondered if he found any joy in it either. She would, which naturally meant the angel must feel somewhat conflicted about lying to a being he believed, to the best of her knowledge, to be a human. The notion that he would twist himself in knots over such an act was enough to allow her to carry on. Seere would have questioned any human who would believe his story, that he suddenly awoke in a field, dressed in strange clothes. He barely said his name correctly. When the demon replayed the moment in her mind she recalled the distinct "Pt"sound and then he quickly retracted before revealing an assumed name.

    Of course, nothing stung so much as when he wished the blessings of his God upon her. That seemed cruel, and unfair. Such a fate she would not wish upon her enemies and yet here he was and in his kindness inflicting great pain. Such was the way of the angels she assumed. Creating grave pain in the name of all that was holy. Were they really so different from her own kind? No. The only difference, she believed was that they believed themselves to be righteous, she did not. She held no such view of herself. Then again, morality was subjective, and if she held no such morals as the humans or the angels, she was in fact no sinner. She was merely taking advantage of the opportunities before her. That is what her creator would want, or so she believed. Seize the day, and all of that.

    Once the tub had filled sufficiently she closed the taps once more and let a deep sigh escape her lips. What did it mean to be truly kind? Or selfless? It was important that this creature believe who she appeared to be. A good, morally upstanding citizen who wanted nothing more than to help. Returning to the man she smiled again. "Go, enjoy the water while its warm. Things get frightfully cold in these parts. I've set some clothing out for you... it's not much, but better than the tatters you've got on." Genevieve had plucked the clothes from a closet in the house. She knew not who they belonged to. Her instinct told her they belonged the late husband of the woman whose body she now inhabited. Perhaps he wasn't late, perhaps he was off far afield. It mattered little to her regardless. It wasn't worth the trouble of inquiring of the soul she suppressed, suffocated into absolute submission. "You'll feel better, I promise." She followed up with and took a seat for herself finally, crossing her legs at her ankles with her hands folded in her lap she looked every bit the part she was playing.

    Seere had a mission now. Why was the angel here? Clearly not of his own accord, had he truly been thrown out of heaven by God himself? If so, what grave sin had he committed to condemn him to such fate? Were there elements of his grace intact? She could not sense it, she only smelled the muddled aroma of Heaven and something else she could not yet identify entirely, though it had a nagging familiarity. Could he sense her? Not the body, but the demon within? If he could, he was playing it remarkably cool. She felt not as though her very existence were in any sort of danger. Was he truly that clever? It would now become her work to gain his trust, identify his mission and eliminate him if necessary, or use him to her advantage if it were feasible. "Oh, and Sam... there was just one more thing..." Genevieve began, allowing the words to part her lips slowly, almost mysteriously.

    "Stop apologizing. There is nothing wrong in requiring the assistance of others. There is no fault or weakness in this... only the bravery it takes to ask." A smile again, across her face as she watched him. If she were the praying sort, now would be her moment, to pray that he remained ignorant enough to keep himself confined in her trap.
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  5. #5
    The Ashen One
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    There was definitely something off about this strange woman. The longer Sam spent in Genevieve’s presence, the more he was sure of it. She turned away from him for seemingly no reason, or just to absorb the sunlight through her window, giving Sam a chance to study her. She looked normal, like any other attractive human he’d seen. But she was almost too kind, in the way she had taken him in and was now babying him… He didn’t know where his unease was coming from. Sam cursed humans and their nonsensical emotions and intuitions. If he’d paid attention in his many, many classes and lectures about human nature, would he know what was repelling him from this woman who was only trying to help? There was a voice inside him, one he might have called god, once, but now recognized as conscience, a voice that told him it was in his best interest to leave.

    He shifted awkwardly, aware of how sorely he stuck out in this quaint home. At her instruction, he took a seat at her table and hesitated. Did she even believe his story? From the way she was fussing over him, he assumed she did—and that she was an idiot for doing so—or that she didn’t, but she wanted to convince him she did. Why? Sam couldn’t guess what the stranger had planned for him, but in the meantime, he was being listened to, taken care of, and he didn’t want his luck to stop quite yet. Besides, he figured if she did turn into some monster somehow, he would be able to protect himself. His god granted to all his angels the abilities to—Oh. As realization once again sunk in—that he was powerless and godless—Sam sighed. He offered a small smile to his host, hoping she couldn’t see the traces of such turbulent thoughts.

    Genevieve turned away again, and she returned to him a moment later, damp rag in hand. “Oh,” Sam started, ready to insist he could take care of himself, but before he could, the stranger was dabbing the cloth to his face, wiping from it all the dirt that had been there for what felt like centuries. Sam didn’t protest; in fact, it felt nice to be cared for like this. Had any of the other angels ever done this to him? Had his god? Sam swallowed the thought, not wanting to think about the life he no longer had. All that mattered now was himself, and the woman who had allowed him into her life for now.

    She spoke, and though her words were ordinary, they gave the former angel pause. Their god did work in mysterious ways, and that was one of those phrases that humans and angels alike tossed around in praise. But the coldness of her voice, or her timing; was it possible Genevieve… knew? No, Sam told himself, there was no way any human would be able to know by looking at him what he’d been through. He could not question his god’s choices in excommunicating him, nor in making him mortal, and he could have faith that they were his secrets alone. It was simply coincidence, this woman’s words. Maybe her finding him was another one of those mysterious ways… if his god still cared to have Sam part of his plan.

    When she finished wiping his face, she seemed to study him, and Sam couldn’t help the blush that stretched across his cheeks. What did she think of him? Or more importantly, why was he bothering thinking of something as stupid and vain as that? He shook his head, and luckily, she turned away before his face could get any redder. “A bath?” he repeated, surprised that her kindness had not yet run out. He was being such an inconvenience, but he had to admit that a bath and some clean, normal-looking clothes would do him a lot of good. Plus, a home-cooked meal sounded a bit like heaven at the moment. Even the thought of it made his mouth water. He had eaten things before, but never had they been a necessity; for an angel, the grace of god was the only nutrients needed. Sam hadn’t realized how hungry he was, how he longed for food, how his body begged for the thing needed to keep it alive. He nodded at Genevieve, appalled at her generosity, and let her go prepare a bath for him.

    The bath water was warm, and as Sam sank into it, he let out an audible sigh. The dirt drifted from his body to pollute the water around him, and he was surprised at just how much there was. Genevieve had laid out different soaps, and he took his time sniffing and sampling each. When it came to his hair, he tried his best to wash it, but it was impossible to get any of the knots out of it. When he finished his bath, he wrapped himself in a towel and glimpsed his reflection in the mirror.

    He looked nothing like the dirty bum he’d just been. Instead, Sam looked clean, polished, young and maybe even handsome. He put a hand to his jaw, then widened his eyes and made a face at himself. It was almost impossible to imagine he had looked like anything but this. Already he was forgetting the details of his original form, the form given to him by his god to roam the heavens. He sunk his teeth into his lower lip. Now, in this clouded mirror, even if he looked like the human form he had chosen himself, he was different, eyes more sunken, skin duller, as if he was lacking his shine. He looked… defeated. Sam averted his gaze from his reflection and continued drying himself off.

    The clothes Genevieve had lent him were soft, comfortable, and he wondered where she had gotten them. Did she have a partner who, upon coming home to a strange man hanging with his wife, would attack him? Sam tried not to think about it. He got dressed quickly, and he set his old, dirty clothes on the floor, wondering what he would do with them. Burn them, if he had any sense. Was it a sin to burn that which came from heaven…? He shook his head and excited the bathroom. “Genevieve?” he called, feeling a bit like a child calling for his mother. “Thank you, again, for letting me bathe. Can I help with meal preparations?”
    Last edited by Ashen; 06-19-2023 at 08:29 PM.
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  6. #6
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    The sound of Sam's voice bounced along the walls of the rather modest dwelling. Catching Seere's ears she caught herself about to cringe. Steeling her own nerves she found the innocent, almost upbeat tone of his voice was like that of a petulant child to her ears. As his frame came into view she watched him move closer and closer. The filth that was the earth now removed from his skin, she could for the first time truly allow herself to see the creature in this fallen form. All at once handsome and frail, how he had broken on his way down. The light of heaven seemingly gone from his eyes. A sentiment or rather, observation that most assuredly brought light to her eyes.

    Forcing a mild ever so subtle smile, she rose and stepped closer to him, resting a hand on either of his shoulders. Allowing then her hands to drift slowly along his arms, smoothing the fabric that were the sleeves, pressing it to his body. How human he felt. Were she to cut him, he would bleed right before her. How she longed to see such a dramatic show and all at her own hand. "Much better, don't you think?" She asked kindly, as though she were genuinely interested in his well being. Moving to stand ever closer to him, hand raising again to run through his hair. There was a shake of the head, and a small tutting sound that escaped her pallid lips. "We'll have to do something about that..."

    Taking this opportunity she inhaled as subtly as she could, only the traces of heaven remained. Seere suspected it would never wash itself out. Such was the pervasive nature of divinity. Though something else now found its way to her nostrils. A scent she could not place, a scent which troubled her for the nature of it was faintly familiar but too far away for her to identify with any degree of certainty. This added a new layer to the equation, another level on which the demon would find her frustration growing, slowly warping itself into a rage that she held back as it would prove to be antithetical to her own cause.

    Clasping her hands together, Seere took a step back and turned her attention toward the kitchen. "Of course, help if you'd like. It's really no trouble at all." On the countertop sat a woven basket, in which fresh vegetables sat. Vegetables she had grown herself in the small garden. It was something she felt quite proud of, her ability to create life and sustain it from nothing but seeds. It seemed a rather odd thing, if she were to think too deeply on it, something she clearly never would. How she enjoyed the suffering of others, but something so simple as growing a vegetable provided her with near equal delight. "Perhaps you'd like to chop the vegetables? I haven't got much, but I do, I am happy to share. We're quite isolated at here, there isn't much of anything if you don't see to it yourself." This was much was quite true, though they were not completely alone. People always had a way of turning up when she found least opportune.

    It was precisely at that moment, there was a knock at the door. Withholding a sigh, she looked toward Sam. "Impeccable timing I'd reckon." Quickly, Seere jaunted to the door and opened it quickly. Just outside was an older man, he had been a neighbor of sorts. One of the ones who refused to let her alone. Though if one were to look at him now, he was a shadow of the man he had been. Aged, decrepit, sickly with the faintest odor of rot beginning to settle in. It amused her that no one had noticed his sudden decline in condition began after their first meeting some months ago. Punishment for his insolence she had brought down upon him. A slow, painful lurch toward death.

    "Gen, you won't believe what I saw." He remarked, though his words seemed slow and laboured, as though expressing himself was exhausting what little energy he had. "Try me anyway, Jack." Genevieve responded, once more as though she cared. After a moment he recounted "there was a funny little man who emerged from the field!" Genevieve smiled and nodded her head in affirmation. "I know, a man indeed. He's inside. Poor thing can't remember how we got here." She turned her head back inside toward the house, as though acknowledging further that this man was inside. "I can bring him round later, see if anyone might know who he is... couldn't have fallen from the sky after all!" There was a joviality in her speech. The old man nodded and threw a hand up in defeat or some such gesture and left the door way.

    "So sorry about that Sam, just concerned neighbors." She quipped rather politely and moved back toward him and the kitchen. "I don't suppose you'd fancy telling me what you do remember? You know your name, that's a pretty start." The smile was there when she faced him, and gone the second she would turn away, paying mind now to the meal that was to be prepared. Cooking, such a trivial task. Sustenance was not required for her continued existence. She thrived on the life and energy she had stolen since time immemorial. It was a curious thought then, the Angel likely need not eat either. Perhaps rather, it was a great irony that two beings who did not need this meal would now prepare it together. The demon found herself too often avoiding the angel's gaze. As though she were afraid he would see right through her, see right to her core and recognize the evil within this frame.

    How had he not seen her yet? How had he not really known? She was right there, and surely she bore the stench of the underworld that had been her home. Surely the decay of the neighbor would have caught the angel's attention and it would be moments before he would attempt to strike her down for her transgressions. In a moment of defiance, she turned then just to look at Sam, just to watch him. Why should she not embrace this challenge? Why should she not embrace the ethereal beauty of the body she had chosen? This was all hers to lose. "You can call me Gen... if you prefer." Seere spoke softly. She failed to see the point of names if they were always going to be modified, yet that is what this town did to Genevieve. The woman who had all the trappings of sainthood, now barely existent beneath in her own body.
    Last edited by Hannelorian; 09-28-2021 at 03:21 PM.
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  7. #7
    The Ashen One
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    The way she put her hands on him was strange, to say the least. It was almost like she was trying to get closer to him. Sam shook the thought, chalking his suspicions up to paranoia. What would she gain by that, anyway? If she was seeking to attack him, she could have done so already; he was certainly vulnerable enough. She wasn’t flirting with him, was she? His first day as a genuine human man, and a beautiful woman was already trying to court him? Sam didn’t know the first thing about human romances, only knew that they caused more drama than they had ever seemed worth, so he told himself that he was wrong, that Genevieve just had a weird way of showing her kindness. That was all.

    He turned his attention elsewhere, and his gaze fell to the basket of vegetables she motioned towards on her table. Had she grown these herself? Sam had tried his hand at gardening once, but he’d seen how hard it all was, the manual labor and the waiting around, and he’d written it off. He had spent more time in the celestial gardens being chased around by Ursu than actually tilling any soil. He smiled at the thought. The angry face at of the elder angel had brought him so much joy, until he was caught and reprimanded, perhaps for the thousandth time. Strangely, he even missed that, missed her yelling at him. He wondered if he’d ever hear her voice again.

    Back when he’d been a guardian angel, just before his excommunication, he’d enjoyed helping Gramma Rivkah in her garden. That is, he enjoyed pretending to help her just so she would give him the first bite of whatever she baked from their harvest. The thought brought back memories of his humans, the ones he had been assigned to watch over, the ones he had never been supposed to interact with. He’d been a rotten guardian angel, and a boy was dead because of it. No, he thought, Ursupala would never want to see him again, nor any of the other angels, and especially not his almighty god.

    Sam desperately tried to shake his head clear. He couldn’t settle on his mistakes, especially not now that he was a human with strange new emotions like grief. The pain returned to his chest, and he fought the incessant thoughts of all he had ruined, the people he’d left traumatized, the rules he had always broken. He felt tears like pinpricks at the corners of his eyes, and in a shocked hurry, he wiped them away before Genevieve would see them. Picking up a vegetable from the basket, Sam forced his attention to it. It was firm, colorful, a beautiful reward for the labor Genevieve must have put into its growth. Maybe Sam could make new memories, less painful ones, growing things here as a man. Maybe Genevieve could even help him. A smirk crept onto his lips at the thought. He had just met the woman, but already he was thinking of spending more time with her. She was the only human he knew, and he wanted to keep near her, even if he was getting ahead of himself. For now, he could make a meal with her, and after that, he could figure out a plan.

    Genevieve was pulled away by a knock at the door, and Sam arched a brow her way. It was none of his business, but he wondered who was visiting her. He set the vegetable he’d been holding back in the basket while he searched for a knife and cutting board. Before he could get to work preparing their meal, he heard the voice of a man. So Genevieve did have someone, and now he was coming home to a strange man in his house, likely wearing his clothes, snooping through his kitchen. Sam turned towards the door just out of view, preparing apologies on his tongue. But to his surprise, the man was not coming to yell at him. He listened to the conversation, and he learned they were talking about him. Stranger, though, was Genevieve’s attitude towards her neighbor. She was dismissive, cold, as if she wanted him to leave. Not a close friend, then, he assumed. Or she was eager to get back to Sam, but he almost laughed aloud at the joke he thought that was.

    When she did come back to the kitchen, Sam shifted awkwardly, suddenly realizing he hadn’t even cut one vegetable. Not one for multitasking, he’d been too busy eavesdropping. He quickly set a carrot out and began cutting. “Oh,” he said quickly when she spoke to him, “no, it’s no problem.” He wondered how quickly gossip spread, how long it would take for other people to know of the stranger who had suddenly appeared in a field. Couldn’t have fallen from the sky. He shook his head. Ready to share more small talk with his host, he opened his mouth to speak, but Genevieve’s next question made him pause, knife balanced just above the carrot. He didn’t know what he could say that would sound the least bit convincing. In fact, he’d been winging it from here; perhaps it was time to figure out what he was going to do.

    “I think I was trying to go home,” he said, not quite a lie. He had been on his way to heaven, in theory. “I was with some people, some kids, near a river, and I don’t know how I got from there to here, or who they even were.” He was being intentionally vague while still not quite lying. Sam set the knife down and looked at Genevieve to see how she was accepting his excuse of a story. Though she had shown him kindness, Sam couldn’t help but feel he didn’t belong here on earth with the humans. But had he ever belonged up there, either?

    Trapped somewhere between wanting to move on and wanting to go back, Sam turned away, deep in thought. He didn’t know if he could adapt to humanity, to a life with hunger, and emotions, and an obligation to adhere to a society he had always regarded as inferior. Human politics, after all, had never made much sense to him. But was there a way back into heaven? A way to convince his god and the other angels that he hadn’t meant to kill that child, that he wasn’t as hopeless as they thought?

    Sam straightened. “I don’t think I’m from around here,” he admitted, voice taking a more serious tone. “I think I’m from… very far. You noticed too, didn’t you? In how I was dressed, and the way I talk; it’s different from you. But I don’t know how to get back. I don’t know if I want to. I think I did something, and everyone turned on me, but I… I don’t remember.” He looked to her, wondering what she would supply, wondering if her opinion would matter if his reality was beyond what she could imagine.
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  8. #8
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    “I think I was trying to go home”

    It was a funny thing, when Seele thought on it. A fallen angel, seemingly devoid of grace and moral. A creature once so pious and devoted now stood before a demon, lying desperately through his teeth in an attempt to pacify her and all of her questions. How freely and easily it seemed to come to him. Admittedly he would need to practice the skill to become truly good at it, but the odd juxtaposition was not lost on the demon. When walking the planes of the Earth, the Angels were at an inherent disadvantage. If they were to live among the humans they had to lie and deny their own existence. To a certain extent they would have to watch misfortune occur without intervention, save for whatever specific task they were required to accomplish. Demons, demons were built to lie. There is no dishonesty when one simply has no concept of honesty in the first place.

    Home too was an amusing concept. He was trying to return now to the Elysian fields of Heaven. How he must miss it, Seele thought for but a moment, only realizing as it occurred that she didn't truly care whether or not he was sad to be gone from the great above. A more interesting question for her, was it painful for him? Was there some sort of intractable pain that came with being ever so far from God? Pain that only festers, despite being here to carry out some task at the bidding of those on high? Emotional torment perhaps? Seele hoped so. In fact, a small part of her would dare say she prayed for it. To be so callous was her only means of operation. The mere notion that in this moment, for this man she would have to show kindness was enough to make her consider going home. But not quite. Home was meant confinement and endless duty, a box designed to contain Demons, keep them far from where they can cause trouble. Home was a place to be escaped from.

    "One thing is abundantly clear." Genevieve began, she maneuvered quickly and easily behind Sam, resting a hand gently on his back, her other hand moved swiftly to take the chef's knife from his hand and hold it in her own. "Knife skills were not your forte." There was a soft smile, raising the blade and tilting it quickly, allowing the light to catch it and reflect off of the smooth surface, catching just a hint of their reflection before she set the implement on the counter, begrudgingly. Seele could see it now, how swift it would have been to have drawn the blade across the Angel's neck from her position. How panicked his face would look as she attempted to stamp out his existence all together. Genevieve stepped away from Sam and nodded somewhat sympathetically as he told her what he could. There were pieces of truth in his words. Of course, if was still under the impression that she was human, telling her the truth would be absolute madness. So he skirted around it.

    From the angel's tone and choice of words, Seele began to paint a picture of what could possibly be at work. Was he fallen? Had he been quite literally cast down, thrown from Heaven for some unspeakable act? Surely his god would not have sent him on a mission to this world in such rough condition should something not have been amiss. "Yes, I had noticed some of that..." Genevieve did her best to sound patient, and understanding. She softened her facial features wherever she could remember to do so. The human body, rendered nothing but puppet was a difficult thing to manage. So many subtle things she had to constantly be aware of. Why did their kind even bother with sort of subterfuge? "You do seem to be a very long way from home." There was genuine honesty in her response, his statement was true, as was hers. Simple facts that could not truly be denied.

    "Then again, we're all from somewhere else in some way or another." Genevieve attempted now to be comforting, by relating to his experience in some way. Surely that had to be disarming, no? "Even if we've been in a place our whole lives... we grow and change. We never end up quite the same." Seele certainly wasn't the same as she had been over the centuries. Different places, different bodies, different schemes. She had grown far more sophisticated, learning from each and every mistake she had made along the way. "It doesn't matter where you're from... You're here now. I won't just turn you out to the wolves." There was an idea, Genevieve thought then quickly brushed it to the side. Facing him, she reached her own hand out to take his holding, squeezing it gently in an attempt to provide even further reassurance. "So what if you have funny clothes? Or speak the odd turn of phrase or two?" She asked, still holding onto his hand, making sure to stand just close enough to him where he could easily smell her perfume, combined with the subtle notes of the garden soil she had worked in. She wanted to be attractive, to be appealing. Seele desperately needed Sam to accept Genevieve, to trust Genevieve with his secrets. Or at least trust her enough to make manipulating him that much easier.

    "Even if all that were true... you've been given a gift." Genevieve kept her gaze focused squarely on him now. "You get to start again... and maybe it will come back to you. Your memory." Nodding firmly as though confirming her own statements. "And then you can decide if you want to go back... but for now, you can just be... whoever you want to be." This was all true. Seele understood he had not last his memory, and perhaps simply showing kindness would aide in her cause. More importantly she would not have to wait for any actual memories to return. Allowing her free hand once more to rest on his back she concluded her thoughts. "Be patient with yourself Sam." Genevieve returned her attention to completing the execution of the meal. Stewed vegetables, in the time honored French tradition, a simple ratatouille. Something she had picked up in a former life, one she could hardly recall. There were few things she looked back on with terrible fondness, this was perhaps one of them.

    Genevieve watched as the sun drifted lower in the sky, slowly but surely signaling the day was coming to an end. "Once we've eaten... you can stay here tonight... we can figure out something a bit more permanent for you." In the mean time she was determined to stay close to him, she had only hoped that he would want to stay. "We don't have much here... but what we do have, we share."
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  9. #9
    The Ashen One
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    Sam wasn’t expecting Genevieve’s words to be relevant to him—and how could they be? She didn’t know anything about the real Sam—but her well-meaning advice gave him pause. A gift, she had called this. A chance to start his life all over again. Move on from the troublesome angel, the immature brat his superiors were always reprimanding, and become someone greater, someone brave and heroic, someone whose name the orators would never forget. Wasn’t that what his god had wanted for him? Wasn’t that why his god had granted him this gift, this life, when Sam deserved nothing more than to rot beside Lucifer himself? As the obedient angel he’d been meant to be, wasn’t it Sam’s duty—no, obligation—to accept this gift and start his life anew as someone totally different, as Sam, as man and not celestial?

    After a moment, the thought even seemed alluring. Sam could rewrite himself into a better person, a hero and not a murderer, but the more he thought on it, the more he couldn’t stand the opportunity that was. No, he didn’t deserve this new chance, regardless of what his god thought. He deserved to be with his brethren. He deserved the chance to redeem himself. He deserved to be unapologetically himself, not whatever man his god wanted him to be.

    Sam had to shake his thoughts. There would be time to work through his situation later, alone; right now, he didn’t want to seem too distracted lest his hostess asked after him. She was being so kind already, and he didn’t want to burden her with the confusion of his situation. Instead, he shook his head and stood up a little straighter. “Thank you,” was all he said in response, offering her a little nod. Being patient—especially with himself—was never something he’d been any good at, but maybe he could follow that bit of advice, at least. He was a human now, with mortality, but he likely still had several decades to figure out his homecoming plan.

    Genevieve was already moving on from their conversation, and she threw chopped vegetables into a pot on the stove. Sam hadn’t noticed her cutting them at all, and he’d meant to help her, but now, with most of the work done, he stood before her, useless, waiting for the food to finish cooking. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled, though he made no indication of what he was apologizing for. He shifted awkwardly and looked around for something to do, some way to help. “I am humbled by the kindness you’ve showed me. I didn’t mean to impose, and I hope to be out of your hair soon, but it is getting late, and…” His gaze shifted to the window, and he wondered briefly how much of a joke her earlier comment had been. I won’t just turn you out to the wolves. Were there really wolves out there? He hadn’t even considered encountering a wild animal, rabid and hungry. His stomach turned, and he flinched at the unexpected and unfamiliar feeling. Fear. If Genevieve hadn’t found him when she had—No, he wouldn’t waste time thinking of that.

    Seemingly unaware of the chaos going on in his mind, Genevieve finished preparing their meal, and Sam tried to make himself useful by setting their places at the table. He had taken a class or two on human etiquette of these lands, though he had failed them miserably—the different ways to fold a piece of cloth meant to be dirtied had never held his interest—and now he cursed himself for it. He had so little to impress his hostess, and even this attempt was laughable: his napkins were folded sloppily, were set in the wrong places, and the bowls were crooked. Still, he motioned towards them with a boyish smile, a lopsided pride in his eye. If nothing else, he was trying his best.

    They sat down to eat, and Sam poked at the bread, the spoons, unused to having to eat human food. Angels could subsist on the grace of god, so this need for more than that was strange, but not unwelcome. Not when the food smelled so good, and not when his stomach ached with a new yearning. He tried a spoonful, then another, then ripped a piece of bread and threw it into his mouth. As soon as the first bites were past his lips, he turned to his dish with a new lust, and he ate ravenously, scarfing the vegetables down and nearly choking. In his hunger, he forgot the manners he’d been scolded for forgetting too many times before, and though his food was hot, though it burned his tongue, it filled him with a warmth and a fullness he found more than worth it.

    He finished his meal all too quickly. Looking up, he seemed to remember Genevieve, and his cheeks darkened in embarrassment at how he’d been acting. “I’m… sorry,” he murmured. “I don’t know what came over me.” He regarded his messy but empty bowl and used his napkin to wipe the sides, where sauce was spilling over. “It was delicious,” he said, trying to lighten the mood and move past his behavior. “Like nothing I’ve ever tasted before.” And that wasn’t a lie; Sam didn’t know what it was that drew him to her cooking, but the ratatouille she’d made was something he could get used to eating. He wiped at his mouth with the back of his hand and suddenly noticed Genevieve had barely touched her dish. Eating slower and less sloppily; that was something he would have to practice.

    When she did finish her meal, Sam helped her clear the table, insisting that he wanted to do something to feel like less of a burden. When everything had been cleaned, he turned to her and took her hands in his. “Thank you,” he said. “For the meal, and the clothes, the place to spend the night. I can never thank you enough. God will bless you for your selflessness.” He meant his words, but as soon as they’d been said, he wondered about the validity of them, if his god wanted her to help him or leave him for dead. Shaking the blasphemous thought, Sam smiled. “I will make it up to you,” he added. “Whatever you need me to do. I may not remember much, but I’m good with my hands, so if anything around here needs doing, I’m your guy. A lady as nice as you deserves some kindness, too, and I want to offer what I can.”
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  10. #10
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    There was something of a formula for proper human existence. A rather limited set of virtues or actions through which one's faith was affirmed. This was the lens through which the society one found oneself in deemed one a truly good person. This was the lens Sam viewed Genevieve with, and though he might not know it as such, judged her. Perhaps Genevieve, that is to say the real and true Genevieve, the consciousness that belonged to this body would have measured up to an overall high standard.

    Was she chaste? Practicing purity and abstinence, allowing her body to be her font of wisdom, honesty and honor? Was Genevieve well tempered? Allowing her self control and moral sense of justice guide her every move? Was she charitable? Would she have offered sheltered to an innocent man with no memory? Would she invite him in to her home? Feed him? Bathe and clothe him? Perhaps she was a paragon of each of the virtues the church extol as the will of the divine, the will of heaven. Perhaps Genevieve, rather was only a few of those things. Maybe she was a woman of patience and humility, but every so often let the air of kindness that enveloped her fall to the wayside.

    There was in these notions, something truly offensive to Seele. A practice that was so antithetical to her own existence that trying to understand it would somehow be her undoing. What was the purpose of such virtue? What was one's reward for leading a pious life that largely seemed devoid of actual joy? Were such concepts so foreign to her? Would she ever be able to understand the love a mother felt for her child? The grace that followed the feeding of the poor? It was such waste. If a creature cannot feed itself, perhaps it best that such creation did not survive. What a tax on the resources of those who were doing as they ought to, thriving with their gift of life. But no, such a concept could not exist for someone like Seele, who stood before an angel such as Sam. An angel who acted every bit the part of the holy fool.

    His constant apologies infuriated her. His constant thanks infuriated her. Was it so hard to simply take advantage of what you were given? Did he truly believe that all of those words would somehow make up for the resources he had robbed her of? No, and Seele knew that. He knew his words were hollow, they were empty for even angels brought to the plains of the earth had precious rules to follow. To wield such power and not be able to use it seemed to be the most shameful thing of all. Yet there he was, preaching his holy drivel to her, and Genevieve, oh sweet Genevieve put on her best smile and beamed at him with her kindest eyes as he now took her hands into his own. A demon and an angel hand in hand. If he only knew what he was holding he would not seem so eager and attentive, Seele thought. And admittedly on her part there was something dreadfully anti-climactic about this moment that would otherwise be a beautiful one. The first time she would reach out and hold the hand of an angel... she felt nothing. What had she expected? She knew not, but it wasn't this. All that remained within her at that moment was disgust for how she debased herself with such kindness and generosity.

    Seele thought on it for a moment, never letting such contemplation show on dear Genevieve's face. This angel was wrong. Perhaps that is why she truly felt an astonishing lack of anything when her held the delicate flesh of this human body in his hands. Perhaps that is why only moments before he had consumed his entire meal as though he had been starving. Angels did not starve, not even with human bodies as their vessels. There was an inherent irony in this, as she too did not require food, yet she ate for the purposes of keeping up appearances. She swallowed each and every bite of what she prepared with a certain disgust. Mostly disgust with herself, as she did actually find the fruit of her labor to be quite delectable although it was purposeless.

    "Sam... you mustn't apologize. You have done nothing meriting such action." There was a saccharine quality to her voice, dripping with sweetness that was anything but genuine. She moved to squeeze his hands with her own and pull him closer to her, the ever present smile on her face. His skin was soft, untainted. It was flesh that hadn't worked a day in its life. Almost like new. "God has far more to worry about than my small acts of charity. I prefer to think that at the very least, his angels take note from time to time." She continued and kept her gaze on him, watching how he responded to her every word, her every action. Eventually she stepped away from him, and motioned toward another room, a small bedroom which Sam could use at his convenience. "You must be exhausted. Perhaps you should get some rest for the night?" She asked almost as though she could possibly be truly concerned. No, she simply wished to be rid of his presence for even just a moment to allow herself to think more clearly about what she would do here. He needed to continue to trust her. "Goodnight Sam, there's plenty of work around here for you yet... Sleep well." She finished, and leaning in toward him as close as she could she left the gentlest of kisses on his cheek before turning to head away to her own room.

    The quiet of the night hours was almost deafening. Rather, Seele's mind was deafening on an otherwise still evening. She lay in the bed, covered in thin fabric of a flat sheet staring up at the ceiling as the air around her slowly cooled now that the sun had long set. A part of her wondered what sort of sick game the angel was playing. He surely must sense her, he must know her as a demon. The divine scent of those arisen from the underworld was unmistakable, impossible to miss. The suppressed screaming and torment of Genevieve's consciousness seemed to go unaddressed. Why was he waiting? There was little sense in rending her mind asunder to figure it out. Normally the demon could sleep without a care in the world, but there was something so very wrong and the simple fact that she could not precisely identify what was maddening. It was conceivable, that gaining the trust of the angel wasn't the appropriate option, and indeed she would need to resort to more of her baser instincts. The old faithful options she depended on for millennia. Torture was always an option for the restless creature.
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

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