The Protectorate: Part Three

Hamaliel lead Misty back to the cave entrance along a different path than the one they took to escape the hell hounds. Misty wasn’t taking any chances this time and already had an arrow out of her quiver and knocked on the bow-string. Hamaliel stopped and Misty hid behind a tree near the small clearing that held the two hell hounds.

Hamaliel stepped out in to the clearing as soon as Misty was hidden and let out a soft whistle. Before the first one could move, Misty fired an arrow and hit it in the side. Swearing at her missed shot, she quickly knocked another before it realized where she was and fired again.

Hamaliel was almost to the hound when the arrow landed with a hard thunk on its side. He thrust his dagger up in to the skull of the hound. Hamaliel pulled the dagger out of the hound just as the other one jumped on his back and bit in to his shoulder. Letting out a yell, Hamaliel pushed back and landed on top of the hound, making it yelp and let go.

Rolling off the hound, Hamaliel got to his feet and scrambled backward to get his balance as the hound came closer. Another thunk let Hamaliel know that Misty had fired another arrow and had hit its target. The hound growled and ran off for the woods. Hamaliel let out a shout and ran after it.

A startled yelp and a chase in the dense brush in the forest made Hamaliel look about desperately for Misty. When she ran in to the clearing with her sword out, he almost sighed with relief. Then he saw the hound running after her.

A shout and Hamaliel was running towards her as he turned to look behind her and saw the hound so close, tripped and rolled on to her back as the hound jumped and came down. Misty raised her sword at the last minute and the hound came down on top of her. The hound made a low moaning sound before collapsing on top of Misty in a heap.

“You all right?” He asked when he got to Misty.

“I’m all right, but this bloody thing is heavy. Help me get it off!” She shouted.

Hamaliel laughed and pulled the hell-hound off of Misty. She sat up, covered in the blood of the hound and looked down in disgust.

“I am so burning these clothes when I get home.”

“That might be a good idea. I doubt that blood is going to come out any time soon.” Hamaliel said as he reach down to help Misty up. “You handled yourself just find back there, Mist.”

“Thanks.” She said with a smile.

Hamaliel reach down and pulled her short sword from the hound and wiped it off on the grass before handing it back to her. Misty took it from him and slid it back in to the scabbard before helping Hamaliel remove the arrows from the hell hounds corpses.

“Well, should we move the hounds?” Misty asked.

“No. Leave them. They’ll serve as a warning to whomever comes this way tonight.”

“All right, but I think it’s a bad idea to leave them.” Misty said as she put the arrows back in to her quiver and started walking towards the woods.

“Where are you going? The entrance is this way.”

“Yeah, but I dropped my bow back here.”

Hamaliel started after her to help her search. Together, they searched the brush and managed to find the bow.

“Well, let’s get going.” Misty said.

Hamaliel knew better than to ask Misty if she was sure she wanted to go down in to the cave. He led the way in to the cave and prayed that he hadn’t made the wrong choice in bringing her along.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tom could hear scraping against the wall where he knew the Angel was sitting. He’d said nothing since the Demon had left the room. He just didn’t know what to say. He had his hands underneath his head as he lay on the cot in his cell, thinking about his life.

In the year since he met his girlfriend and started tagging along on her adventures, he’d never met a true Angel. Demons, he’d met plenty of, but Angels? No. They’d stayed far out of sight.

“You know, meeting you and actually seeing your wings puts the time I met a unicorn to shame.” Tom said in to the dark. He could hear the Angel laugh and shift from where he was sitting.

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“It was meant as one.” Tom said as he rolled his shoulder. There was an itch there he couldn’t quite reach. Thinking of his back, Tom blurted out something he really wanted to know;

“If you have three sets of wings, why did my mind not burst when I saw your face?”

The Angel sighed. “I’m in my human form and that book of yours never really told the truth anyway. It told just enough of the truth to make it believable.”

Tom nodded. That much he suspected, from his many adventures. There was no way he could have seen all that he had seen and not believe.

“I will say one thing about humans though. They are amazing creatures.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because your sister is coming and she has my brother with her.”

Tom sat straight up in bed and grabbed the bars. “How do you know?”

“I can hear her thoughts.” The Angel said, but there was a strain in his voice.

“What’s wrong? I can hear something is wrong.”

“My brother. He’s precariously close to falling for your sister.”

“That’s not so bad. Humans do it every day.”

“Yes, but he’d lose all that he is for your sister.”

“Oh.” Was all Tom could say and the Angel didn’t respond. “How far away are they?”

The Angel was about to answer when they heard a loud boom come from somewhere beyond the door to their cell.

“Well, I guess that answered my question.”

The Angel laughed in to the dark.

“Humans.” Was all the Angel needed to say.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Misty started, mouth open at the scene laid out before her. From her hiding place she could see creatures rushing back and forth, all of them carrying something. A man sat on what looked like a throne, directing all the creatures on what to do. Misty was lost in watching that she startled easily when Hamaliel let out a soft hiss of displeasure.

“What is it, Ham?” She whispered.

“Azazel.” Hamaliel growled out softly.

“Who’s the creep on the throne?”

“A traitor.”

Misty looked back down at the man on the throne. To her he kind of looked like a toad. All smug and fat, sitting on his thrown and looking down at everyone. Misty snickered softly and when Hamaliel looked over at her, his lips were twitching.

“That’s exactly what he looks like.” He murmured.

Misty snorted as she tried to hold in her laughter and Hamaliel grinned. He gestured to her to follow him and together, they wound their way down to the bottom of the cave. When they got to the bottom of the cave, Misty spotted a corridor leading off to the right. She motioned to Hamaliel who nodded and followed her as she headed for the corridor.

“I would have thought you’d have brought more people, Hamaliel.”

Misty was jerked around and held against the man she had so recently made fun of in her mind.

“Let her go, Azazel. She’s not for you.”

“No, but she is the last ingredient for my spell.” Azazel said as he ran a hand over Misty’s hair and grinned at Hamaliel.

“The pure true love she has in her heart for and her brother.” Azazel sniffed Misty’s hair deeply and his grin widened when Hamaliel took a step forward. “She’s exquisite, brother.”

“You’re no brother of mine. Not since the Betrayal.”

“Ever the fucking apple polisher, Hamaliel.” Azazel growled.

“Give her back to me.”

“Sure, when she’s dead.”

Misty had just about had enough. She was tired, angry, covered in blood and she really wanted a fucking shower. Instead of pushing her anger down, Misty let it rise up and when it threatened to bubble out of her mouth in a string of expletives, something inside of herself said not to let loose.

Instead, she clamped her mouth shut and closed her eyes. Turning her palms outward, she threw her hands down and shoved backward with her bottom. Azazel was so startled that she got loose, he wasn’t staring at her when her eyes flicked open and they were glowing yellow. Hamaliel saw what was about to happen and dove for cover behind a boulder.

Misty held out her hand to Azazel, palm out and fingers spread. She whispered just one word to him and it was accompanied with a small smile:

“Burn.”

Azazel exploded in to flames. Screaming, the man who Azazel had possessed covered his face in his hands and fell over. Trying to put out the flames, he rolled around on the ground. A cloud of red, angry dust exploded from the body as it died and swirled around her.

Misty ignored him as she turned to face the room. Pointing at the small, naked demonic creatures she watched each one explode in to flames. While they were running around, she went about setting the spell and it’s components on fire.

Hamaliel watched helplessly as he saw what was happening around him. He knew this was going to happen, he had been warned, but seeing it in person was a different matter. He turned and left the room, leaving her to what was going to happen next. There was nothing that he could do to stop her until her anger ran out. Newly powered witches are full of anger. He only hoped that with his help, and the help of her brother- she wouldn’t stay that way.

Otherwise, he’d have to kill her and he really did not want to kill her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another explosion came from the other side of the door. Tom eyed the door and did his best not to panic. They were trapped.

“You’re sister has woken up. Oh dear. Hamaliel’s going to have his hands full with that one.”

Tom heard the Angel sigh and laid his head against the bars. He didn’t like the sound of that.

“You make it sound like she’s bad.”

“Not bad. You’re sister still has a good heart. She is just, very angry at the moment.”

Tom was about to ask another question when the door clanged open and a light flared on. Tom groaned and covered his eyes.

“Hello, Brother.”

“So this is where you’ve been Halaliel. I wondered.”

“Well, when you’re the angel of Karma, you are sent where it’s needed most.” Halaliel said with a grin. He held out his hands and the chains made their chiming as they moved. “Help an Angel out?”

“So you’re the reason Azazel finally got his comeuppance. I should have known the Father would send you for this.” Hamaliel said as he dug into his pockets for the key.

“Well, when you’re popular and have the patience to wait three hundred years for revenge, you tend to get picked for the best assignments.”

Tom watched from behind the bars of his cage after his eyes had gotten used to the light again. He watched the two Angels together when he realized what he was seeing.

“Twins?”

“Actually, we’re triplets. There’s three of us.” Halaliel said with a grin.

“So where’s the third one?”

“Knowing our brother? Harahel is probably in his books still. The Great Librarian doesn’t leave his halls for things like this.” Hamaliel said with a grin.

“He doesn’t leave his books to even have any fun. He’s like you in that sense.” Halaliel said with a smile. “I wonder what he’ll think when he finds out you’re staying behind.”

“Probably that I’m a fool and an idiot for Falling for her.”

The chains made a sour note as the fell off Halaliel’s wrists. The Angel sighed and Tom watched his wings melt in to his skin and become the most beautiful blue and black tattoos he’d ever seen.

“Three hundred years of being forced to hold them up and out, over at last. Marvelous.” With that, Halaliel sagged and had to be helped to the bench that was near the door.

Hamaliel moved and touched the door of Tom’s cell. He heard a click and Hamaliel swung it open. “Come on, we’ve got to go help your sister. She’s out of her mind with anger over your kinapping and oddly, because she’s covered in hell-hound blood.”

“If she’s covered in that still, no wonder her anger is out of control. You do realize you’ll have to burn it out of her, right?” Halaliel said as he got up from the bench.

“I do. I also know what else is going to have to happen in order to get her to calm down.”

“I envy you.”

“No, you don’t, but thanks for saying it anyway.”

Halaliel put a hand on his brothers should and shook him. “I envy you. You’ve found your place. Harahel has too. I still haven’t. I’m a Karma only because I couldn’t find another place to go.”

Hamaliel smiled. “You’ll find it. I just pray you don’t have to fall in order to do so.”

“Guys? My Sister?” Tom said as he looked out the door. “She’s coming this way.”

All three men looked down the hall at the figure coming down the hall. She was covered head to do in fire, with her hair spread out as if the wind was playing with it in a summer breeze. Hamaliel stepped forward to her and caught her by the waist, holding her to him as she tried to walk past to get to her brother. Misty looked up at Hamaliel and touched his face. The fire did not touch him the way it was burning his clothing off.

“Come back to us, .” He murmured in to her ear.

Misty couldn’t say anything, just smiled at him. Her eyes were angry still. As Hamaliel’s jacket fell off his shoulders as burning rags, he stroked her cheek with his hand. A smile crossed his face as his eyes softened.

“Come back.” He said and dipped his head, kissing her.

Misty stiffened in shock, then smiled and relaxed in to him. One of her hands buried itself in his hair as she pressed closer. The fire engulfed them both as they kissed. When the broke apart, Misty’s eyes were clear and she was no longer caught up in the anger that the hell-hound blood had turned in to an enraged inferno. They were also naked.

Tom turned around and flushed. “That is not how I wanted to see my sister.”

Halaliel laughed and clapped Tom on the shoulder. “ You’ll get over it quickly. At least she’s alive, yes?”

Tom nodded in agreement. A strangled cry came up from the pair as they were lost in themselves.

“Ham! No!” Misty screamed as she reached out for him.

Hamaliel’s tattoos, which were a brilliant silver and green color – were on fire. They looked like the edges of paper as they burned and he was in agony. Halaliel grabbed Misty, conjured a coat for her and wrapped her in it while trying to keep her away from Hamaliel.

“Misty you can’t touch him. Not yet.” Halaliel said to her as he shook her by the arms. “Do you hear me?”

Misty couldn’t look away from Hamaliel. When Halaliel shook her again, she looked up at him.

“What’s happening to him?” The pain in her voice was apparent. Halaliel looked her over and through her thoughts. They were pain clouded. She turned her

“He’s Falling. His wings are being burned off. You can not touch him until they’re gone.”

Mistys face was crumpled with pain as she watched Hamaliel’s tattoos burn off his body. She whispered. “I can feel everything, let me go.”

Halaliel let her go and she immdiately went to Hamaliel and took him into her arms, holding him tightly. Her tears were silent as they rolled down her face. She squeezed her eyes shut as Hamaliel moaned in pain. He gripped her waist, burying his face in to her stomach.

Hamaliel had never experienced anything like the pain he was going through now and he hoped that he never had to again. Once was enough. His own tears rolled down his face as he felt his wings leave his back. Hamaliel moaned in pain and gripped Misty harder. He felt her tears fall on to him.

The wings had almost burned completely off when Misty felt her back ignite with fire. Startled, she screamed out and pulled off the top part of the coat. Small fires like burning string were forming marks on her skin. Halaliel swore. He’d never seen this happen when one of them Fell and was being held by the human they Fell for.

On Misty’s back, lines burned themselves in to her skin in the shape of a tree. Halaliel watched as the image became clearer the further along it burned. Hamaliel moaned in pain with her as the same symbol burned itself in to his back. By the time it was finished, Misty and Hamaliel were panting hard and holding each other up. They were exhausted. Tom looked between the three and cleared his throat.

“Someone want to tell me what the fuck just happened?”

“My brother just lost his wings. He Fell.” Halaliel said softly. “Your sister was just marked with the divinity of the earth protectorate. If I hadn’t seen it in person, I would have called the one who told me a liar.”

“So what does that mean?”

“It means, that your sister just became a Hunter like your girlfriend. I know you’ve seen the tattoo on her back. The tree.” Tom nodded and Halaliel continued on: “Those marked with the tree are bound to fight on our side. Your sister was just given the divinity partnership with my brother. They can’t die as long as their together.”

“Wait, wait, wait. You mean to tell me that I’m stuck with my sister forever?”

Halaliel laughed and noded.

“Well that’s just not fair.”

This caused the two on the floor to laugh.

“I love you too, Tom.” Misty said as she pulled on the coat again. She hissed out as the fabric touched her sensitive back and leaned hard into Hamaliel. He nuzzled her hair and looked up at his brother.

“Mind if I trouble you for something to wear?”

Halaliel waved a hand and a kilt appeared on Hamaliel.

“Very funny.”

“Thank you, I like to think I’m hilarious.”

Tom snickered, but said nothing.

Misty grinned and nudged Hamaliel with her shoulder. “I kind of like it.”

“That’s because you’re not wearing the silly thing. It’s drafty.”

“When we get home I’ll help you find something else.” Misty said.

“Speaking of home,” Tom said.”Can we get out of here? The place is still kind of on fire.”

Misty looked around and waved a hand. The fires winked out. Toms mouth dropped open.

“How did you-?” Tom stopped himself. “No. You know what? I don’t want to know.”

Misty laughed and Hamaliel leaned against her. She was shown a lot of things in her haze. Some of which, she didn’t quite understand yet. She would though; with time and Hamaliel beside her.

“Let’s go home, Ham.”

“I suppose you’d better start calling me Scott. I don’t deserve my Angelic name anymore.”

“You’ll always be Ham to me.” Misty kissed his nose and together, the helped each other stand.

“Ready?” Halaliel said as he put a hand on Tom’s shoulder and held out his hand to Misty. When she took it, he smiled. “Welcome, Sister.”

“Such an honor, you give to me.” Misty took a step forward and kissed his cheek. “Thank you.”

“The honor is mine and my brother’s who is currently jealous and wants to get you home.”

Misty laughed and gripped Hamaliel tighter. “Likewise. Lets go home.”

Hamaliel nodded and looked at his brother who smiled. All four vanished with a flare of light.

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