Tides of Sorrow

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Zepar strolled along the harbour front, crossing to the street where a myriad of shops, bars, cafes and entertainment arcades offered punters a mixed bag of delights.

Glancing at her reflection in the windows, she ensured her choppy blonde hair covered half her face. Time-old scars, while not prominent, were nonetheless a visual reminder of an ancient betrayal.

To her right, Xaphan, the stoker of Hell’s inferno, shuffled alongside her. He noticed her checking her reflection knowing well enough that which she tried to conceal.

“Stop it,” she snipped.

“Stop what?” he enquired adopting the characteristic bemused look of the Mad Hatter.

“Feeling guilty.”

He grunted. It seemed his angelic fire had somehow bonded them in more ways than one. She always knew what he was thinking. He had to admit it was endearing in a way, but also sometimes extremely annoying.

With an almost maternal smile, Zepar took his hand and they continued, in silence, along the street towards the bandstand.

They observed all the passers-by; their strange idiosyncrasies and love of playing dress-up, nods of greeting aplenty and admiring glances at the efforts many had made. All in all, a rather pleasant meander was had along the streets of Whitby and it kept Zepar’s friend from wanting to set fire to everything.

Other than playing nursemaid to Xaphan’s volatile nature, Zepar was something of a romantic. Xaphan referred to her as “The Lady Cupid.” She liked that - found it rather sweet.

Notably the youngest of the troup, she did indeed possess a certain cherub-like persona. Nevertheless, she still boasted an inordinate number of centuries under her belt and in those years her eyes had bore witness to many wonders as well as countless horrors.

Man was indeed a complex and frightening species and yet he’d managed to cling to life by the most fragile of threads. Quite what God could love about these confused, misguided creatures escaped her. He’d had perfection at his side. But, exercising his Empyral authority, he’d stamped his feet when they had pointed out the mortals’ flaws.

Yet, the talking monkeys did things which, in the eyes of the angels, were far worse than anything they had done. Still, God favoured the homo-sapiens.

The humans laughably thought He had written their destiny, that their fate was in His hands. She smirked. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Over time, they’d provided amusement for her and her colleagues as they’d experimented with the free will God had granted them.

The Fallen then looked upon them as toys, puppets to be manipulated in all manner of things. Her speciality was affairs of the heart. Originally, it was pure, sweet love, although not always with the right person. She had caused many a breakdown in relationships and marriages and she had enjoyed watching the suffering.

She had not bargained on finding her own heart being inveigled though. That had taken her completely by surprise and was something she kept strictly to herself. She could not afford for such mediocrity to distract her from her work. But, she could not deny it had been rather lovely. If only he...

“Shall we?”

She was pulled from her reverie. Xaphan was pointing to a big yellow, open-topped bus parked near the bandstand. It was offering a tour of the town. “Goes up to the abbey,” he encouraged.

A slightly wicked smile played on Zepar’s lips as she eyed the driver. Her eyes dancing with mirth she looked back at her companion. “When in Rome...”

The Mad Hatter rolled his eyes. “Oh, please! Don’t remind me of that debacle!” he replied.

With a simple flutter of eyelashes, the driver was persuaded to permit the two Fallen onto the bus - free of charge, of course.

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