The rain pounded the sand and thunder-less lightning stretched across the blackened sky like a desperate creature clawing through the dense clouds. Or worse— clawing to get into the heavens. The thirsty desert sand drank each drop as they violently battered the ground until it all clashed together in an ominous droning. The much-needed rain left a permeating stench of wet earth and atmosphere wafting through the air. It was laced with hints of iron, smoke, and a gentle touch of hyacinth. Not a single sign of life inhabited or walked these dusty sands for centuries until blood trailed downward from an ensuing battle on the hill above.
Azrael folded her wings, collapsing on the ground. Her sword skitted across the sand from her grasp as she doubled over, hugging her swollen belly, “Lucius,” She bowed with defeat in her expression and whimpered in pain, “Please,”
“Get up, Az,” He growled. Gnarly, clawed webbed wings fanned out in a threatening display as he whirled his sword around. Black jeans hugged his hips and his tattered black shirt clung to his hard body. It was sliced through by Azrael’s sword a few times revealing a perfectly chiseled body that had succeeded in making an angel sin. His face was equally as sculpted to perfection as the rest of him. He was rugged with a wide jaw and heavy brows angled over black, hollow eyes. He once had beautiful golden blond hair that darkened over time.
“I don’t want to fight anymore. This pregnancy— it weakens me,” She let out a pained sigh. Her white robe was soaked and muddied by the rusty red sand. Her blond hair stuck to her face clumped in neat waves over her shoulders. Her silvery sky blue eyes were luminous as they caught the flashes of the violent storm in them. Her face was smooth and radiant. Perfectly symmetrical, unblemished, with full pink lips. Her face showed no signs of exertion— not even the slightest pink in her cheeks. She tucked her bare feet under the mud-soaked hem of her robe and sagged lower, using her arm to support her from falling over.
“We don’t feel pain, Az. Nice try. If that’s your attempt at getting away from me again to postpone this battle, it won’t happen. Not again,” He snarled, bringing the tip of his blade to her chin and raising it to turn her gaze up to him.
Azrael forced the blade away with revulsion, “You are not like us, anymore. You chose your path,”
“And you chose yours. The rest of the angels let me fall and you’re the only one that swore revenge. You’re the only one who plots each and every day how to kill me. I’ve fallen and I can’t go back, Az. So, we can try and kill each other until one of us is dead or you can stop chasing me and move on,” He seethed.
“If I stopped pursuing you, will you stop trying to get into Eden?” She glared up at him, straightening her posture.
“No,” He snapped.
She shook her head, “Then you may as well turn that blade onto yourself and fall upon it. Michael will never allow you through.”
Lucius’ body went rigid at the name. A wave of fear passed over his features and he dismissed it before she would notice, “Was he demoted?”
“Promoted is more like it,” She clipped, “Michael’s power is expanding. He commands the armies, he holds Eden in his hands, and he has the sword,”
“The sword?” Lucius looked at her with disbelief and conceded a few steps.
“Yes,” She nodded, “And he knows all about Lucifer bottling Cain’s Curse, removing the awful side effects, and handing it to the humans like it’s candy. He can’t kill Lucifer because it would disrupt the balance but you are in danger, Lucius,”
“Why are you telling me this?” He narrowed his eyes with scrutiny.
Azrael swallowed hard and gripped her belly closer to her as she shifted her weight, “Luc,”
“No,” His face darkened, “You’re lying,”
“I haven’t said anything,” She let out an exasperated sigh.
“If you’re about to tell me that child is mine, you’re mistaken,” Lucius pointed to the ground. Lightning danced in time with the timbre of his voice.
“She is,” For the first time, thunder rumbled through the air as if the heavens protested it.
“She?” He hissed, “You couldn’t even manage to give me a son?”
“I tried— I knew that’s what you’ve always wanted— the Ring of Destiny—” She stumbled over herself word after word.
“Damn!” He balled a fist, “How? When?”
“Before you turned,” She admitted.
“Before I fell,” He said the word icy and cold like a razor and drove it into her heart. He cursed, “It doesn’t matter now. The little parasite is still half-demon. You should have told me, Az,”
“Would it have made a difference?” Azrael began to sob.
“You’re the Angel of Death,” He bared his teeth, “Deal with it,”
Azrael froze holding everything including her breath from pushing steam through the air until she finally let out a venomous sound, “How dare you,”
Lucius crouched in front of her, “I’ll say it again, Az. Abort that abomination and move on,”
Without thinking on it a split second more, Azrael summoned a dagger and thrust it into Lucius’ chest before it had finished manifesting. Lucius’s wings dissolved into ash and his body slowly began to wither away, “I’m sorry, Luc. I cannot allow you to harm this child, I cannot allow you to try and get into Eden, and I cannot allow you to tell anyone about our daughter being part demon,” She yanked the dagger out.
Lucius’ face froze with anger and betrayal. He held his hand to the wound; a gaping slit of abyssal darkness. His body deteriorated quickly, falling into a heap of ash, dust, and dark matter. Dark matter was a dense spiritual substance like tiny black holes that absorbed any and all evidence of the existence of a demon. The powerful vacuums void of space and time were so powerful, they collapsed in on themselves, sucking in their own physical manifestation until there was nothing left.
“Goodbye, Lucius,” Both Azrael’s sword and her dagger vanished, leaving only a trail of golden smoke behind. It was quickly stamped out by the rain. She rose to her feet and raised her gaze to the angry sky, “Eight months ago, I would have never fathomed giving my child up. But I am an angel and I will not take a life to spare others lest my Lord commands it,” Thunder crashed angrily through the sky in response, “Very well,” She dropped her gaze from the heavens stifling a sob.
She manifested the dagger back into her hands and shook as she drew it back to strike her own stomach. Her face twisted with agony and turmoil. Azrael hesitated until the pains of labor crippled her back to her knees, “No,” She breathed, cradling her stomach, “No, you’re early and I’m an angel. I’m not supposed to feel the pains of labor,” Azrael began to panic as scorching waves of pain rolled through her back and abdomen. She scrunched her face as the pain seized her.
Now was as good a time as any to save the baby. If Azrael felt the pains of labor, it meant He had turned away from her. Azrael teleported to a hospital where she felt the call of a stillborn awaiting passage. Azrael cupped her belly and waddled to the delivery room where the grieving woman screamed in agony as she pushed the lifeless baby from her womb. Azrael braced herself against the window and noticed the steam forming around her handprint. She looked at it and the steely cold hands of panic curled their fingers around her throat. Her curse would be becoming human if she didn’t part ways with the child one way or another. She had no time to mourn or say goodbye.
“As one returns to dust another shall emerge from it,” Azrael continued to waddle into the delivery room until she was at the mother’s side. She held the dagger high and brought it down as another labor pain caused the mother to cry out. “Leap from my womb, my child! In exchange, I beckon thee, little one. Come forth and let me receive you and guide you home,”
She pulled the dagger out slowly and a light gripped the blade. Azrael’s belly shrank down as the spirit of the stillborn child emerged and her child filled the vessel and took a human form. Azrael ripped her necklace from around her neck and held it over her child as she came out from the mother’s belly, “Awaken and shout with life, little one. I bind your wings and bind your gifts. For love, I was cursed and forced to give you up and so it shall be for love you’ll be unbound. Not any love will do, my child. I bind your fate to the Ring of Destiny. You have been cast far from grace but to grace, you will return. It will be the one who wanted your death that will bring you home to me,” The ring burned her hand and she hissed and threw it into the air.
The baby wailed to life and lightning violently flashed through the windows. The ring had manifested into the physical world on the mother’s stomach. Azrael thought she might grab it quickly and make it disappear until the presumed father of the child picked it up off her stomach and looked at it until the amazement of the doctors in the room caused him to thrust it into his pocket and follow his new daughter to the station where they cleaned and weighed. Azrael cursed under her breath— there was no taking it back now.
She made her way to the mother and bent over to whisper in her ear, “The ring in your husband’s pocket— keep it safe. Give it to your daughter on her sixteenth birthday,”
“Anthony, where’s— where’s my ring? Did you pick it up?”
“Your ring?” He turned around quickly, back to his daughter, and back to her, “Oh! Yeah, yeah. It’s in my pocket,”
“Good,” She smiled, “Keep it safe,” She muttered with exhaustion.
“Can you believe it?” He brought their swaddled daughter over, “No heartbeat, we feared the worst, and now here she is!”
The mother moved the blanket to reveal her sweet little cherub face. Azrael looked over her shoulder. Her heart both swelling and breaking at the same time, “Deidamia,” Azrael whispered with a smile, “But you may call her Damia,”
“I think her name should be Damia,” She said to her husband as she cooed at the baby.
“That’s… interesting,” He jerked his head up and looked at his wife.
“But it’s beautiful,” She smiled tiredly at him.
“It is,” He leaned over to kiss her forehead and sat back on the seat to smile down at his new daughter, “Damia,”
“You’re in good hands,” Azrael smiled, “Goodbye, my daughter. I’ll check on you, soon.”
Azrael stood. Her body reshaped itself into her former glory with no evidence of her pregnancy. Her wings opened and she stood straight with pride despite losing her daughter. To her dismay, it wasn’t the Father who answered her Call of Judgement. A particularly strong Avenging Angel thundered his decision down trying to deceive her. Azrael was no fool. She’d been around a long time before vengeance and knew tethering her daughter’s fate to him would turn the tables.
Not that she was in any control of it. Azrael honestly tried to have a son, but the Ring of Destiny overruled her decision and revealed an entirely new prophecy. Lucifer was up to no good. Whether her daughter was an abomination or not, one thing was crystal clear; her existence is the only thing between an early Armageddon and the annihilation of good and evil. The balance of everything hung in the air by the thread of her life.