An Angel's Mark

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Seven heads are better than one

The chorus of “Oh Happy Day” swept through the corridors and into the dorms of the first year students. It was mandatory for the second year students to use psalms, hymns and gospel music to alert them of a first year meeting. By compelling them to then leave their rooms and follow them to the meeting location, harmonising as they went. Certain students even carried their instruments along with them if it was a song they particularly liked. The students with that special brand of musical excellence could then join the Heavenly Choir after graduation, situated in Eden the capital of the City Angels.

“Oh happy day” Sablo sang both loudly and melodically as he inserted himself into the growing procession that was harmoniously making its way to the War Room. The room itself was not built for the purpose of battle strategy but instead, got its name from the seriousness with which the Elders spoke when addressing students within it. It was hardly a room at all, it could be more easily be compared to the centre of an observatory. Whilst on Earth such a room usually contained a large telescope which humans used to look at the sky, with the hopes of revealing more about the Earth’s history. In the Heavenly War Room, it was the history of creation that was instead detailed as murals on the walls themselves. They were as beautiful as they were intricate but this never posed as a distraction to the students, with the issues being discussed within it being of such a serious nature. The rumour passed down to the lower years was that the room’s beauty inspired God to put visions into the minds of some of the best human painters to ever live. As a means of preventing humanity from missing out on the depth of gorgeousness that could be demonstrated by the pictorial form.

Despite the seriousness that would soon be thrust upon them, Sablo smiled to himself. He thought back to their lesson on human education in Understanding Humanity 101. According to Elder Caesar humans used a bell that created a shrill that could comfortably be situated within the many harpy dialects, to indicate when humans had to move onto their next class. It was not only amusing to him because humans needed to be reminded to do things so frequently but it was also the fact that they had to use torture devices to do it. No wonder so many human children had qualms about going to school, he wouldn’t be too keen on the idea either. Especially if he had to experience such a heinous noise throughout the day, five days a week.

The other six looked very amused as the glanced over to him. They all walked in step with each other but since they couldn’t read his mind, he knew the cause of their new found humour had to be something else entirely. This pulled him out of his thoughts allowing him to instantaneously increase his self-awareness. He quickly realised that though his peers were also enjoying the music, his clapping and singing was perhaps just that bit too enthusiastic in comparison. Not that he thought there was such a thing but nevertheless grinning sheepishly he immediately began to curb his excitement.

“Ignore the others, music is a fire that sets the soul alight. You can never sing to loudly or be too happy, especially in the worship of the Lord.” Archon replied happily and to show he meant it, he raised his voice and rhythmically swayed his hips with even more vigour than Sablo had before.

The rest of the precession had no choice but to join in, refusing to be shown up. No one could say no to Archon at the best of times but they all knew he was right, nothing displeased the Lord more than people diminishing his blessings for fear of embarrassment. Both overwhelming glee and joy spread like wildfire through the procession, as praise echoed to heights never seen or heard before. As a consequence they reached the War Room in record breaking time. Then the music came to an end the crowd was divided as the second years went onto their next classes and the first years poured into the room in front of them.

Endless rows of seats spiralled around a centre podium but they were staggered as they went up, so every angel had a clear view of what was going on in front of them. With their expressions calm but unintelligible the usual five suspects stood in front of them, ready to deliver some very important news. Elder Dina took her rightful place in front of her colleagues, the four Principle Masters.

Just a step behind the headmistress stood Elder Tabbris, the Master of Demon Warfare stood poised and ready for battle. He never took his armour off and his cat like silver eyes suggested an alert sensibility. There was no such thing as to catch him off guard and his tall muscular frame suggested there would be hell to pay if you did. He was classically handsome with tan complexion but his facial features were always contorted into a stern expression. His hair cut was just a severe, with it being shaved into a buzz cut yet it could not be denied that he the kindest of souls. His intensity stemmed from his fear for his students safety once they left Heaven’s protection. He therefore took their training very seriously and did not tolerate failure, with that said he knew warfare was not every angel’s strong point. He was fair and genuine which quickly warranted the students respect, they all knew that they could come to him with anything. Most times they didn’t even have to, for he patrolled the College in his free time talking to all the students he met along the way. He could quickly identify those that were struggling with something and provided them with company, until they opened up to him of their own record. Which they always did. Tabbris could crack anybody because ultimately, he knew that no one really preferred to handle their struggles on their own.

Elder Caesar was the exact opposite of his colleague as a much more mature angel, wise beyond his many many years. It made him the perfect Master of Understanding Humanity, though many of his students suspected he had more experience with humanity than he let on. It was true Caesar had a long and complex past but his complete focus now remained on his current position. His teaching style was far more relaxed as he emphasised the importance of the angels coming to their own conclusions, when learning about the odd creatures that walked the Earth. He was warm and endearing so most of the students imagined him as the Grandfather they never had. Not because he looked particularly old or any less handsome than Tabbris but because he made them all feel like his family.

If we were describing the College as a quirky kind of family, then Elder Eve would be the mother. She had maternal instincts that had students opening up to her without even realising it. She also had a persuasive way about her that complemented a very unbiased teaching style. She stuck to the facts and left it to Caesar to develop the student’s opinions on them. They had always wondered why she felt the need to remain so objective when recounting the lives of all God’s creatures. It was as if she felt personally responsible somehow for how they had all turned out. She was a beautiful angel who wore her long hair in the most amazing updos, the epitome of poise and grace her almost elven features were not dissimilar to the most exquisite of humanity.

Last but not least stood next to the others was Elder Evangeline, tapping her foot to yet another melody that had found its way into her head. She was much smaller in stature than most angels but that became irrelevant once you witnessed the fire in her eyes, which was only comparable in ferocity to those of a tiger mid-hunt. She was very serious about the sanctity of music, for which her only requirement was that it evoked an emotion in its listeners that was deep and profound. Otherwise, in her eyes it was not music at all. At the end of the third year she recruited new additions to the Heavenly Choir, formed from both angels and the spirits of the best musicians to have ever lived. Competition was fierce and if you preferred the raucous beats full of meaningless lyrics that the human kids loved in the present day, it was not for you. Only real talent was worthy of standing next to Whitney Houston as the Choir sang to entertain the Lord and herald in a new day in Eden.

“ I am glad you could all join us.” Dina informed her youngest wards. Alerting them to the fact that she was starting the announcement. Hundreds of heads simultaneously turned to face her, providing her with their full attention.

“We have called you here to tell you about an assignment you will be completing for your Understanding Humanity 101 discipline. Caesar please continue”. She gestured to the Elder as she spoke urging him to take a step forward.

“Right, so in groups of your own making you must create a ten minute presentation on the importance of humanity. These groups must have only seven members and you have until the last week of term to complete the assignment. How you decide who speaks is up to you and so is your method of presenting the information. Good luck and remember that this is not a competition, I am truly just curious to see how you all think.” Caesar explained before walking back to his previous position.

“It may not be a competition but by all means understand that this is a very important part of ensuring your progress to your second year” Dina said reminding the students why this announcement was being made in the War room in the first place. For all his redeeming qualities Caesar did have an ability to make students feel a bit too relaxed concerning their studies.

“But don’t let this project interfere with your other classes. Or demons will be the least of your problems.” Tabbris boomed. His face showing no signs of amusement, he was deadly serious.

“Agreed” both Eve and Evangeline said together. Though they agreed they didn’t want to put the fear of God into the young Nephilim. They let a bit of humour seep into their expressions, feeling the majority of the students take a sigh of relief when they did so.

“Ok, Thank you for that Tabbris perhaps you were a bit too severe in your delivery but the message was there. You are all dismissed.” Dina concluded

Elder Tabbris simply hummed in response, to him the message was all that mattered. His classes would not suffer as a consequence of this assignment. Dina then lead all the Elders out of the room which initiated endless chatter within the cohort revolving around the new information that had just been delivered to them.

“Well I know who I am working with” Ramiel confidently declared, as if it wasn’t obvious he would be completing this assignment with his six other roommates. They all nodded in agreement ready to take on the challenge.

“Oh what a Surprise. The seven conjoined twins are working together” a feminine voice declared from the seat behind them. Imra was a unique individual, many of her peers and even some Elders didn’t know quite what to make of her. In every class but Understanding Humanity she dominated, and no one could deny either her intellect or battle skills. However, she possessed a brashness and boldness unlike any other angel in existence, so it was hard to tell if she was mocking you or simply just trying to make conversation. It never really bothered her though as she was unapologetically herself and she believed that everyone else should just learn to deal with it. Humans however deeply confused her, though she didn’t agree with the hoity toity airs and politeness other angels possessed she understood the need for them. Humans on the other hand were definitely not the brightest lights in the sky in her opinion, how they were able to repeat the same mistakes again and again was beyond all comprehension.

Ramiel, Sablo and Daniel were all ready to say something in defence of their group when a smooth voice spoke up instead, shocking all those within earshot.

“Imra it may surprise you to hear this but you are actually one of the most interesting angels I have ever met. You are so undeniably beautiful and unique. I hope that once you get over this unnecessary jealousy of our close friendship, that we too can be friends. Come along gentleman I can’t leave without you, as we are all joined at the hip after all.” The expressions on the other six angels were absolutely priceless as they started to get up to follow him out of the room. Following his spiel Micah then winked at Imra and wished her luck on her assignment before leading the way.

She sat in her seat absolutely flabbergasted. She had prepared all her comebacks for Ramiel’s indifference, Sablo’s unwarranted humour or even Daniel’s clear disapproval at her words. Micah’s response on the other hand had been a complete surprise which meant his words actually hit home. Only Afriel had ever made her feel like her differences were not just alright but important and special. All though they tried not to, she could sense how uncomfortable most of her kind were when they spoke to her and it made her feel like an outsider. Even when she tried to tone down her sharp tongue it would always manage to force its way into a conversation.

She wanted to act on Micah’s offer as he seemed to understand her or at least want to try to. However, his unit of seven seemed far too perfectly balanced to be disrupted by her volatile energy. She quickly snapped herself out of it, she had survived this long being alone and go on she must. She didn’t feel pity for herself as she knew she had many talents but it did not mean she didn’t get lonely. Nonetheless she had played the role of the black sheep in College too well and for so long now that it seemed it was too late to evolve into anything else. Her excellence in her studies was what defined her place in the College. Which was more than any companionship could ever give her because it gave her purpose.

“You, you, you, you , you and I guess you’ll do. You are in my group for the assignment meet me at my dorm at 6pm sharp. Don’t be late.” Imra stated as she used her index finger to point out the students she had recognised to be particularly gifted in the Understanding Humanity discipline. She stalked out not even waiting for their reply, as she knew they would say yes. They would be too scared not to and they could be ensured a mark higher than any of them would obtain doing most of the work in another group. They would each respect one another and they all knew that in this scenario their talents wouldn’t be wasted.

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