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19. Happy Birthday To YouImagine, if you will, a room. It is nowhere in particular, but it is, nevertheless. Vague description makes the exact size of the room hard to determine, although it is obviously rather large, and the furthest corners are blurred slightly, sometimes flickering out of existence, as though unsure of their place in the world.The walls are stone, solid and grey, and adorned with all manner of festive decking. Purple tinsel arcs from torch bracket to torch bracket, and the thin black candles in the brackets cry blood-red wax.There is a table in the room, long and thin and carven in stone. Around this table are arrayed countless beings of all shapes and sizes, and the room is filled with their chatter.The teenage girl at the head of the table stands and taps her spoon against her glass, the ring of crystal cutting through the babble. Instantly, all talk ceases, and forty-odd pairs of eyes turn to her."My dear friends," the girl begins, and there is a roar of applause from around the midd
JealousyThe girl ran her pen down the list before her."So, Sariel's got the decorations, Samael's doing the music..."Jezebel leaned on the desk and peered over the girl's shoulder."Where are we having this thing again?" she asked."Oh, I was going to write a room in. That way I can write it out again and we won't have to clear up!" the girl grinned.The naga shrugged."Sounds reasonable," she conceded."O' course I haven't got that far yet, but I will do," the girl continued. "Right, someone needs to do invites-"There was a sudden loud commotion outside the office, and a female voice cried "Hang on, she's busy-" seconds before the door burst open with a tremendous crash and a young man with wild black hair stomped in. A long black cloak billowed around him like a shadow, and his clothes could probably be summed up by the phrase "Dracula complex". The man strode straight past the other people in the office and slammed both hands palm-down on the girl's desk."What's all this I hear about a
The Power of WordsGabriel leaned on the edge of the balcony and sighed into the wind. Carried upon the breeze was the scent of just-closing blossom and the smell of fresh-cut grass, and the light that caught his grey eyes was the soft red light of dusk. Everywhere he looked, there was something beautiful, something wondrous to behold, and yet, something within him cried that there was something missing, something lost. Worse still, that something knew exactly what was missing, and knew that it wouldn't be found."Bit chilly to be out this late in the evening, isn't it?" a voice commented from behind him. Gabriel's expression grew cold."What are YOU doing here?"The voice laughed, and the shadows behind the angel parted to reveal a young woman, sixteen or so. She wore a pair of old and faded jeans and a baggy t-shirt, and looked extraordinarily out of place amidst the graceful architecture and gentle colours of Paradise."You say it as if I have no right to be here!" she chuckled. "Alas, Gabby, you are
Breakfast At Uriel's"Good morning, Sera!"Raphael bounded into the kitchen where Seraphiel sat munching on muesli and going over a stack of paperwork."Morning, Raphy!" the seraph replied, tightening one of her long brown pigtails to stop it dropping in her breakfast. Raphael bounced past her to where Uriel stood tapping her foot and glaring at the toaster.PANG! The toaster catapulted its contents several feet into the air and the archangel caught the slices with practised ease, swiftly dropping them onto a plate and shaking her burned fingers."Good morning, Raphael!" she smiled. "Toast?""Ooo, yes please!" Raphael grinned widely and accepted the slice Uriel pressed upon him. As he pulled one of the chairs from under the table, Michael stomped into the room, hair ruffled and clothes disarrayed."Good morning, Michael!" Uriel bubbled, sliding another slice of bread into the toaster."Nnnngh." Michael groaned sleepily as he poured himself a glass of orange juice (and getting more on the worktop than in th
The DanceAs the final bars of guitar faded into the night and the orchestra lowered their instruments, Samael, unquestioned Master of Ceremonies of the Abyss, swaggered out onto the stage and flung his arm around the shoulders of the lone singer."Ladies and gentlemen, that was 'Façade of Reality' by Epica!" Applause roared across the dance floor. "Thank you, Sariel!" He gave the singer a swift peck on the cheek and she hurried offstage. Samael pulled a piece of paper out of his green cargo pants. "Now, I see that we've had a number of requests for a slow song; has anyone got any specifics?"There was an uproar as at least half a dozen separate groups immediately disagreed on choice of song. Some boys in the mosh pit, eager to get Sariel back on stage, demanded, "My Sweetest Pain!", and a similar band, thinking along the same lines, called out "Lithium!". A group of girls at the left foot of the stage yelled out "Swanheart!" almost precisely as a second group near them chorused "Kuolema Te