Something strange was going on.
I knew something was off in the Sanctum. It made me anxious, almost obsessed with being gone. I was always milliseconds from throwing Medea over my shoulder and phasing us to our home on the beach.
I kept hearing the words “something wicked this way comes.” I was not one for Shakespeare, he was a thieving prick, but I knew intuition when it whispered in my ear like a creeper.
So, I was wide awake. Medea, lay beside me sleeping peacefully, pregnant with our child. The last part was a phrase I never thought I would say. A dream I never thought to wish for.
Given what Raph had told us, we would eventually welcome two more children into our family. It was destined. It would be up to Medea and me to guide them along their fated paths, to battle those who would challenge their power.
Battling those who would challenge their power brought to light many potential obstacles. My children would be half-Archangel and part-Titan, which meant there was no way to avoid it…
… I needed to speak to Yahweh.
As much as I didn’t want to, it was a conversation that needed to be had.
I couldn’t take the risk They would interfere in our lives or bring war against my family. I wouldn’t risk Medea or our children.
Some might argue, it would have been better had I asked Them for permission, but I’d learned They much preferred being asked for forgiveness. Prayers. Confessions. Repenting. They were all things wrapped in the skin of Them being the judge and granting absolution and forgiveness.
Easing slowly from the bed I formed a black suit, purple shirt and shades. Quietly I made my way to the desk and wrote a note for Medea, leaving it under my pillow before phasing onto the training grounds.
I took in a large breath of fresh air, uncached my wings, then ascended.
The halls were clear, which was surprising. It was usually hard to take a step without tripping over one angel or another. Before I could think about it too hard, the tall, opaque, silvered gates – some erroneously called them pearly – opened and a Shepherd walked out wearing a blazing smile.
“They are waiting for you,”
I nodded. Of course, They were. They knew I was coming before I even made the decision to.
The Shepherd nodded, “Yes, well, welcome back; it has been a length.”
I nodded, straightening my tie and shoving my hands in my pockets. Shepherds freaked me out. They were angels, but barely. They held no real role other than, well, shepherding. Their smiles were always shining and bright, but in truth they were just reflections for my rage.
I never saw one without wanting to give them a painted smile, as the saying goes. It had been at least two centuries since I’d last seen one, yet, there we were…
My fist flexed in my suit pocket.
“You will meet with three of the council, Gabriel.” The Shepherd bowed slightly, opening the glass door we’d just reached. “They will see you now.”
I nodded slightly before walking through the door.
Ahh… yes. You’d been expecting Yahweh, or at least Morgan Freeman; sorry, I’m too much of a pleb for that these days.
I got The Three.
Yes, given the seriousness, I had momentarily, foolishly, believed I would get to speak with Yahweh directly. I should have known better. Fired managers didn’t walk into Starbucks and get to speak to the company president. The fact I was even this close was a miracle. The irony behind that thought didn’t go unnoticed.
The Three. Yahweh’s voice, the trinity of decision.
I nodded to each in turn before taking a seat.
“This visit is for the lives of your children,” The second stated as the other two frowned and nodded.
I cleared my throat glancing calmly between them. “Child. Yes.”
“Children. Three. You and the sorceress shall bring in three souls,” offered the first. “There is power in fate, there is power in a trinity, they will be too powerful by half.”
I slowed my breathing, “By whose definition?”
“By ours. By Theirs. By yours,” the third chimed in. “Yet, you are here to ask what you know They will not give: absolution.”
“I do not need absolution. I do not need to be forgiven. I need Them to leave my fucking family alone.”
A chorus of “Language” followed synced head shakes.
“You already know what you want to say, please, just… tell me what deal I need to make.”
“They would have the one called Merlin.”
My brow arched in confusion, “Merls?”
They nodded, in sync, once again.
What would Yahweh want with Merlin? What could They want with a sorcerer?
“They want you to bring him – Merlin – here. To Heaven. For judgement.”
“You want me to kill Merlin?”
They shook Their heads in sync before the first answered, “No. They want you to bring Merlin for judgment. How he crosses the plain is left up to you. However, it is known you hold no love for him. You are also Their reckoning, should it come to that, Merlin’s death would not be one held against your eventual judgment.”
The third nodded, seemingly sadly, “We all know you were made to call truth and judge those in front of it, even as you were also made to heal the fissures that are broken within.”
Through clenched teeth, thinking of all the judgments I’d been forced to hand down in their name, I asked, “And what is the deal?”
“You bring Them Merlin and your children are absolved of their creation.” The second muttered, looking somewhat annoyed, while showing almost no expression at all.
“Your children should not exist, and yet they shall. Yahweh will not interfere in fates allowed by other gods and realms, if you bring Merlin. If you do not, Michael will wipe you and your sorceress from the earth before any of your children breathe air,” added the first.
I paused, contemplating my answer. It was not often Yahweh even acknowledged the existence of other deities, let alone making a deal to ignore something They thought one of those deities were doing against Their plan. What could be so important about Merlin? Was the First Woman in on whatever it was that had crooked Merls in trouble?
The head of the first shook slowly, “It is not for you to know or understand until you are meant to understand and know. Do you agree to the deal? The life of 5 for the delivery of 1.”
“Do I have a choice?”
The second one nodded solemnly, “You are one of few that do, yes.”
I stood suddenly, needing to get as far away as possible. “Time frame?”
“Before two months past…”
I nodded, turning quickly and walking towards the door.
“… or the birth of your child.”
I stopped cold. “What? That could be before two months?”
The third blinked rapidly, “Titan’s blood allows for possibilities that are both foreseen and unknown.”
The first stood, “Be quick.”
They all nodded in sync before I found myself back outside in the hall where I’d come in. The meeting was officially over.
Yahweh wanted Merlin. Merlin’s life for my family.
A no brainer if ever there was one.
I descended, eventually phasing back to the island. I was pensive and annoyed as I switched from my suit to my standard outfit of black low-slung jeans, boots, and t-shirt. I walked into the lounge expecting to find Medea, but instead found Medea, First Woman, and the man of the hour – Merls. I instantly formed my darkest shades over my eyes.
“Hello, all,” I offered quickly, trying to be my politest self.
Snark is real.
It was hard.
“Hey, Slick,” Merls threw back, making my skin crawl.
I walked to Medea, kissing her softly as I looked over at Merlin, “Slick?” Whew, to be all powerful he obviously couldn’t tell that moment wasn’t a good time.
Medea returned the kiss, before asking, “how was your day?”
Before I could respond, Merls commented, “The shades?”
I nodded slightly in response, rolling my eyes behind my shades, “It was… a day.” I pulled Medea closer and smiled down at her, “How about you, love?”
“I got to cuddle the baby for a bit, and I’ve taken a couple of naps,” she answered glancing over at Lilith and her Hell hounds.
I smiled a genuine smile at the mention of Mino and Morgan’s baby, “Aww, that sounds like a perfect day. Where are the happy parents and the adorable baby?”
Lilith’s hounds were growling; Merlin’s eyes flashed red toward them, sending them into a fit of whining before adding he’d been wondering about the happy parent’s as well. Medea proffered they were probably in their room.
“What’s with the eyes, Merls?” I asked, my brow arching. Weren’t his smarmy eyes usually green?
“It growled at me,” was his only response.
“You should really get some shades,” I joked, half heartedly, “gets all of that under control.”
Within seconds, First Woman was at Merls defense, apologizing for him like he was a two year old that missed nap time. “He’s just uneasy, he has been all day.”
Of course, the magic king couldn’t take the strangely proffered out, “No, I’m fine. I can see now it looks tacky.”
My brow arched in annoyance, “nothing over this way looks tacky, flaming iris.”
“You mean everything. You look like a blind angel,” Merlin sniped back.
I chuckled, shaking my head, “smooth come back.”
“Well, there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while,” Medea threw in quietly.
“Yeah, he flew too close to the sun, like shades here,” Merlin grumbled.
Medea’s brow crinkled, “He also put his trust in the wrong person…”
“That’s ironic,” Merlin had responded, sipping from his flask.
I doubled over in laughter, “Man, what’s wrong, magician? Your blows are lame tonight.”
“Nothing, Cupid, what’s up.”
That nagging feeling began to press into me again. Something was off. Merls and I never vibed but his comebacks were getting weaker and more vapid.
Looking directly at Merlin, I asked, “What’s eating you? Talk to ole Gabe, let me help.”
He mumbled a snipped, “You’ve no idea.” Before First Woman started complaining about a headache; he offered to magic her all better. What was weird, she agreed.
I sat down on the couch, Medea cuddled at my side, and watched the show.
“First black wings, now red magic,” Medea muttered as Merlin worked.
My head tilted at the mention of black wings.
Merlin glanced back toward us over his shoulder, a smirk curving his lips, “What?”
Medea stared back intensely, “Nothing… Something just feels off.”
Merlin dismissed Medea’s uneasiness as “Maybe the nephilim growing inside you,” and Medea conceded the possibility a little too easily.
When the world seems off you pick the scab, so that’s what I did. “Hey, Mr. Streep, you seen your pops lately? You’re starting to resemble a bit.”
Magical-Asshat nodded, “Saw him last night Micha- uh Gabe.”
“I’m sorry, what did you just say?” Had he just called me Michael? I felt the muscles flex in my back, fuzzy details swirling into a stream of clarity. I’d understand soon. I knew I would.
“Seen your pops lately?” Merlin fired back.
Lilith wanted to avoid the Yahweh topic, as normal. I admitted easily that I’d seen Yahweh a few hours before – the truth and a lie all in one. Medea was shocked and concerned.
I offered a branch of truth, “He was super interested in the grandson.”
“Which one?” Merlin asked with a chuckle.
“The all seeing movie star, of course.”
Medea sighed, “Does he know about us?” I turned to Medea and confirmed Yahweh did know everything. “And? I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t been worried…”
An image of The Three popped into my mind as I smiled a tight smile at Medea, “oh, no, we’re fine.”
Medea nodded again, “I’m very glad to hear that.”
I nodded, “Apparently, our children are thrice fated.” I mentioned, before looking pointedly at Merls, “but those other Nephilim, bear some discussion.”
“Mmm. What kind of discussion, I wonder?”
I shrugged, and spoke with full honesty, “Dunno, nephew, but you are kind of the son of the one who tried to take over. I’d be concerned.”
Lilith, once again on team defend-the-centuries-old-magician, chimed in about how it wasn’t Merlin’s fault he was Lucifer’s son and how I was just starting trouble. Apparently, according to her, all angels were trouble starters. She’d know, since angels seemed to be her type.
I pointed out demons may also be her type, and took a special pause to reference Merlin.
“If anything, I’d be more Nephilim than Demon.” Merlin paused before he asked, “You want to kill me too, Gabriel?”
I stared at him intently, knowing the answers, knowing the deal I’d made, “Should I?”
I stood to get whiskey as Medea curled up on the couch. Lilith pulled Merlin’s attention, assuring him that neither I or Lucifer wanted to kill him. I marveled that she really was losing her touch on all counts.
Lilith asked Medea if she was ok; Medea assured her she was. She, too, could feel that something was off. She assured us her feeling was not due to being pregnant for the first time in 3000 years. I grabbed a bottle of water and handed it to my love as I sat back on the couch and pulled her against me… then Merlin dropped his bomb.
“Perhaps the link?”
I glanced up at him, “I’m sorry, the what?” I looked back and forth between Merlin and Medea.
Merlin looked at Medea, “You didn’t tell him?”
“Tell. Me. What?” I growled out glancing at Medea.
“Yes, he knows I’m carrying, I told him then. I knew the moment the child was conceived.”
Merlin shook his head, “The link. Did you tell him about the life link?.”
The air left my body in a whoosh as though I’d been sucker punched. “What is he talking about? The what?”
My sorceress, my love, the future mother of my children, answered exceptionally calmly, “The… oh right… No, I haven’t had much time to speak with him.” She then turned to me, “Apparently the spell went a little wonky… and now my life is bound to Merlin’s.”
“Your preggo fiancé is linked to me. Any damage occurs to one occurs to the other.”
My gaze turned to Merlin, my eyes a storm of violet behind my shades. Yahweh knew. Something was… “What. Did. You. Do.”
“I healed her.”
I stood slowly, automatically, headed directly for Merlin. “What. Did. You. Do.”
Merlin declared there was only one way to fix it, and it had to wait. Why?
Because the “one way” meant removing Medea’s womb – and everything in it. Our child. The bastard had tied himself to the lives of Medea and my child.
What the hell was going on? Yahweh wanted me to take him out and he already had a back up plan ensuring his safety.
I looked from Medea to Merlin, “I will undo this, you evil bastard, and I will make you pay for it.” I phased out to the portals and went directly to our house.
Which I wrecked.
My rage was beyond containing. I found myself on my knees thinking of Yahweh’s promise, the deal. They always swear it’s part of their plan. All knowing my feathered ass.
Medea sent a fire message apologizing for not telling me sooner and begging me to return to the Sanctum. I growled into the night sky before I headed back to the portal – I’d never not go when my love called.
I phased back into the Sanctum, directly in front of Medea, “You called, love?”
“Just stay with me, please.”
I pulled her close, feeling the concern in her energy. I looked around before whispering, “What’s wrong?”
“I just feel off… I need you with me, you help to ground me so, please,” she responded wrapping her arms around me.
Lilith set about offering tea as Merlin glared my way, clenching his jaw. His hostility was barely contained. My guard was securely up.
“Gabriel, how good are you with that sword?”
My eyes flashed, “I don’t need it, Satan spawn.”
“Need it for what, Nephilim slayer?” He taunted.
“I know my demons, Merls. Not my fault your red-eyed, black-feathered self is turning into one.”
Merlin declared he was not feathered and unfolded a set of black wings.
“Did you dye them or did they come that way from the “I want to be like my dad” catalog?”
Medea mumbled, “They used to be green like his drake form.”
The First Woman laughed heartily at my joke, and with a look Merlin shut her down. She immediately became quiet and submissive. It was weird and the last straw.
“Not really sure we’re dealing with Merly Whirl.” I threw out as Medea tried to convince Lilith she was being controlled.
“You’ve never cowered before anyone before,” urged Medea
“Silly, Medea, no one can manipulate me,” Lilith threw back.
“There was one…” I noted, puzzle pieces sliding into place.
“There was?” Merlin asked.
“Oh, yeah… Bad ass angel. I mean, everyone knew it.”
Medea continued, “That is fear, and manipulation…That is despair.”
I watched quietly, getting battle ready, keeping my eyes on “Merlin” as Medea continued to try to convince and extract Lilith. I was fairly sure it was a futile effort, but there was no way to spell that out to Medea without tipping our hand and putting her in the way of more harm.
“You can’t hurt him with Lilith so close,” Medea whispered as if reading my thoughts.
“She wouldn’t mind taking the hit once she knows,” I grunted out.
Merlin leaned forward then and whispered, “What’s the matter daddy’s boy?”
“I don’t think I’m the only daddy’s boy here, Bro. Am I?”
“Merlin” laughed loudly.
Medea looked at him as if for the first time, “How long have you been wearing his skin, weaving his memories into your own?”
As Lilith went about trying to convince us we were crazy and Medea went about trying to convince her we weren’t, I called forth my armor to form over my body, leaving my wings cached.
“Brother, I hate our father,” he declared as he flew up, casting a spell that pinned me to the floor as he shifted into his full death angel form – Sammael. “You were always so smart brother.”
“Your ego was always so big. What shall you do now?” I asked.
Sammael eyed Lilith telling her to teleport to the spot where they first met. She was obviously under some sort of compulsion, none of Medea’s words made a dent.
As I stood, I sent a pulse of power out, enough to send Sammael up and off, but not enough to cause damage to Medea or the baby.
“It’s not like you can beat me now. The power of the wise wizard and the werewolf amped by Thoth are bound to me.”
Lilith teleported out and I pulled my Archblade; I hesitated, I didn’t know what was a truth or lie about the life link.
“Do it, Gabriel!” Medea yelled.
“Tricky tricky. Too late,” Sammael held out his palm, the force of his power sent me flying through the lounge wall.
Medea ran to my side as I stood, gritting my teeth.
White fire licked up her arm, “I swear to you… This will end with your death.”
Sammael flew up through every floor, shaking the structure of the Sanctum, “Not today…Medear.”
My wings uncached and I flew after him leaving Medea back in the lounge. I checked the island but there was no sign of Sammael or Lilith.
I landed back into the lounge, rage boiling off my form. I knelt before Medea, scooping her in my arms. “We are leaving this place.”
“But the others, they need to know, it’s not safe here. No one is safe here! Lucifer!… Anybody!!”
Medea’s scream brought Hippolyta running in from Hell. Once the situation was explained, she used whatever connection they held to call for Lucifer.
Medea wouldn’t budge until we found a place for everyone. Eventually, Morningstar showed up and was filled in.
“Well, isn’t that a fun friggin’ reunion.”
After several moments of back and forth we all stopped as Sammael’s voice echoed through the Sanctum, “Look at your panic, your despair.”
Lucifer opened a portal, “Everyone through, now!”
Yeah, the Angel of Death drove an Archangel to Hell.
There’s not enough coffee in the world for this…