Sariel holds Baylah in his arms, wrapping his gold wings around her as he whispers, “Don’t worry love, I will return before the birth.” Leaving her behind is unbearable yet necessary. He gives her one last kiss, and turns to face Shemsial. “You will take my place while I’m gone” he says and grasps Shemsial’s right arm. Leaning closer he whispers, “Watch over my heart for me, brother.” Shemsial looks into his eyes and gravely nods his head. Sariel signals to Merik and they leap into the air. He can’t help but smile as air rushes over his face and down his body. The strength of his wings is a marvel as they bare him up higher and higher. Before the fall traveling from one place to another was accomplished by a mere thought. This ability is no longer accessible to the fallen watchers. Even so the journey to Azazel’s island will only take a few days.
Needing little rest, they fly throughout the day, but as the sun begins to set they look for a place to stay for the night. Merik points to a small cave in the side of a hill. “That will be a good shelter. Storms are coming.” Sariel looks to his right and, sure enough, dark clouds are barreling toward them. A gust of wind catches under their wings pushing them off balance. Pulling their wings in they drop and soar toward the ground. Quickly they gather wood from the surrounding forest. As Merik hurries into the cave, Sariel pauses for a moment in the center of a grove. The breeze whips through his wings and robes. He can smell the ozone in the air and feel the hair of his body rise at the coming electricity. Dropping the wood at his feet he smiles and closes his eyes. Raising his arms to the heavens, he gives himself over to the chaos of the storm. He begins to manipulate the wind around him, sending it swirling through the trees and into the nearby lake, creating a water spout. When lightning strikes a tree his senses are sent crashing back into his body. He quickly gathers the wood into his arms and runs to the cave. Merik stands in the opening givibg him a strange look. Sariel only smiles and moves past him into the cave.
Merik builds the camp fire as Sariel prepares a meal of dried fruit, meat, and flat bread. He hands Merik his portion and they sit against the cave wall, wings acting as soft cushions. With a gesture Merik lights the wood and warmth fills the cave. “Why did you do that? Stand in the storm I mean?” Merik is watching the storm as he eats. “I don’t know really. For the pleasure of it I suppose” Sariel says while pouring mead into two wooden goblets. As he passes one to Merik he notices the puzzled expression on his face, “Do you not find pleasure in the things of this world Merik?” Frowning, Merik mumbles, “I am not moved by this world as you are Sariel.” They eat in silence for a time as Sariel considers what Merik said. “Why did you fall if you find no beauty in this world?” Merik is still and silent for a moment then turning to face Sariel, he looks into his eyes, and almost inaudibly he murmurs, “I found no beauty in heaven or earth as a watcher. I simply could not understand what it was about these humans that held all the heavens in such thrall. I could glory in nothing so I felt…apart from it all. I was hoping that coming here would change things. It hasn’t. So I serve Azazel and find satisfaction in obedience.” His stark words and cold stare strike Sariel like a slap. He cannot understand, cannot fathom, these feelings that Merik speaks of. “I honor your openness Merik.” They remain silent after this, both lost in their own thoughts. After a while Sariel rests on the cave floor, wings wrapped about his body, and falls into a fitful sleep. His dreams are filled with a feeling of foreboding, shouts, and blood, so much blood.
Sariel smiles as his mind is drawn back to the present. He continues to kiss Bayla’s neck and feels her melt against him. “My little love. My treasure.” He murmurs into her ear. She turns in his lap, wraps her arms around his neck, and pulls his face toward hers. Just as their lips meet the flap to their tent is swiftly thrown aside. Standing in the blazing light is a tall watcher named Shemsiel. His gaze is stony as he folds his blood red wings behind him and dips his head into the opening. “Forgive me master, but there’s a messenger here. He’s been sent by Azazel and requests to speak with you immediately. “I thank you Shamsiel. Bring him to me right away.”
Shemsiel spreads his hands and nods before turning and swiftly striding away. Shemsiel had once been a guardian in the garden of Eden. He’d taken great pride in his duty, but the fall of the humans had forever changed him. The day Adam and Eve had been cast out he had torn his robes and fallen to the ground. There he had sat for days pouring dirt over his head, as if it were ashes, in despair of their failure. He had mourned the eternal strife that they had brought upon themselves. He’d then cropped his copper curls as close to the scalp as possible never to grow it out again.
Sariel couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen the watcher smile. Shamsiel now served as his right hand in all things and found purpose in teaching the humans the phases of the sun and light magic. Giving him one last lingering kiss Bayla, with his assistance, pushes up from his lap, crosses the carpeted tent, and settles herself on a pile of plush cushions. He takes great pleasure in providing her with these small luxuries. Her life before, though happy, had been sparse of any comforts. He gazes at her as she pulls a basket of cloth and fur to her side to resume working on coverings for their babies. “I’ll have to hurry now that I know I have two to prepare for.” Far from being irritated she beams with pleasure at her own words. Suddenly, she winces and repositions her growing bulk. “Judging by his kicking our son is going to be mighty and strong my love!” Reclining there on the gold and purple silk cushions, black hair flowing down the sides of her heart shaped face, eyes shining, she looks like a goddess of fertility. Sariel finds himself wishing they could stay in this very moment forever. He feels as if a cloud bearing change and urgency is building around him. A sense of foreboding begins to creep in and chip at his happiness. Bayla feels his gaze and glances up at him with that impish grin he loves so well. Sariel has to forcibly control the impulse to snatch her up and flee to some secret place. He knows this would be impossible. Since his arrival her little clan had flourished into a small civilization with the knowledge that he and his comrades had brought them. They now look to him as a leader as well as teacher.
Shamsiel apperars at the opening again and Sariel motions for him to enter. On his heels is a tall lean watcher with straight black hair and facial features that remind Sariel of the cunning black sleekness of a crow. His most striking feature are his peircing violet eyes. Sariel recalls that Merrik is the strange name he prefers. “Merik, you have come far. Allow me to offer you refreshement.” Sariel leads him to a table covered with fruits, meats, breads and chilled wine made from Bayla’s favorite berries. He fills a goblet and hands it to Merik who slowly sips and savors it’s sweetness before resolutely setting it aside. “Azazel has sent me to request your presence at his palace on the island of Atlas as soon as it is possible for you to depart. Sariel knows Azazel well enough not to ask for an explanation. “I see. Thank you Merik. We will depart at sunrise.”
Oh little beloved one
Never should you fear the dark
A greater creation than even the sun
Is the life that beats in your heart
Oh little beloved one
Never should you fear the cold
The power from which galaxies are spun
Finds you lovely to behold
Oh little beloved one
Never should you fear pain
Embrace the lessons, do not run
Don’t close your eyes in vain
Oh little beloved one
Never should you fear death
That battle has been won
Even so, beloved, cherish every breath
You are a beautiful creation
The clay that was formed
A diamond out of darkness
The glory through the fire
A miracle has been forged.