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Dec 03, 2021 2:24 PM
A sorcerer Zero summons an angel Sunburst.
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"Please stop touching those." She tries to huddle even smaller.

"Since you asked, each eye sees differently. That eye was for discerning truth from falsehood. I hope that satisfies you." She's unable to keep herself from sneering, even though that defeats the point of attempting to mollify her captor.

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"Angel, I am far from satisfied, but I am overjoyed that you answered. I would stop touching them, but they're just so soft..." he strokes a couple more times and then lifts his hand, "that's really interesting though. Does that mean I can lie to you and you won't know? What do your other eyes do?That hadn't been one of my theories, I am so excited to receive actual answers for once..."

He's grinning and bouncing a little on the balls of his feet. He reaches one finger, almost reverently, to the torn-up eye socket, and murmurs some inaudible praise.

"And what's your name? I'd love to have something to actually call you."

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She shivers, hot ichor dribbling down her chest with each breath and leaving burning trails in her skin.

"I can probably still tell, I've … had a lot of practice." She looks down at her feet, criss-crossed with burn marks from runes and sticky with blood which pools sickly gold around them.

"My other eyes are for seeing other things, colors, textures, sins, scrawled messages from other angels - there are a lot of things to see in the world."

Her halo is not healing her, at least not fast enough. She doesn't know what this means or why it's happening but she wishes it would stop. Sharing her name probably won't hurt her more and defiance doesn't seem to be getting her anywhere.

"Inara." She hopes she'll never have to learn his name.

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He smiles.

“I’m Kestrel. Inara is a lovely name. I think we’ll get along quite well, now that you’ve decided to answer my questions. Who’s been lying to you?”

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She winces. Hope isn't exactly a virtue in an angel; of course this one would be dashed.

"Just, you know, people. My charges." My God, she doesn't say.

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He looks at her as if he can hear the unspoken words.

”Don’t you think it would be better without those charges? To forsake them and your God and do something more directly rewarding? I wouldn’t lie to you like that.”

Probably she can’t see his fingers crossed behind his back.

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"Do you understand the concept of a divine plan? One doesn't exactly forsake it. He sees further in an instant than either of us ever will, it's not His fault that this means his plans are inscrutable to our small consciousnesses. And yes, you would lie to me like that." She can see his fingers crossed behind his back. Seeing his words billow with falsehood is not the only way that her eyes scrutinize him.

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“Ah, Inara, you know me too well. His ‘divine plans’ are a front. You think it’s in His divine plans somewhere, to let His angel be captured and hurt? That it’ll all be for the greater good? I see no reason to have faith in something so cruel.”

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"I must have faith." It's all she has.

Her empty eye socket still hurts so much. She wants to go home.

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“It would be so freeing to not though, wouldn’t it? To have nothing, for once? The world opens up before you, once your God means nothing to you.”

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She curls up on the ground, knees drawn up to her chest and arms wrapped around them. She doesn't like this at all.

"I don't think you understand what must means. You've never had a halo."

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“Oh, if the halo’s your problem, I’m sure we could find a way to take it off of you!”

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"No. You could not. What do you think being an angel is, I'm nothing without a halo."

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“Oh, darling, I think you’re worth lots even without it. But if you don’t want to get rid of it I’m sure I could do something else with it! Maybe mold it to fit my will?”

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She's trying not to cry but it is not working super well.

"It's not" (just) "worth, I'm literally nothing, I'll fall apart, I might explode, I've no idea, I, I-"

She starts hyperventilating for a moment before she pulls herself together.

"I don't want to not exist and I don't want you tampering with my Purpose even if you could and it wouldn't just burn you to death!" And then where would she be, stuck in this circle separated from Him forever and ever, the charge of divinity circling her brow losing speed and spiraling closer and closer to her until they collide in a thousand thousand thousand years and hopefully she's lucky enough to die and not just continue here, broken beyond fixing.

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He kneels down to look at her.

”Poor little angel. I pity you, you know. Forever stuck to that thing around your head. It’s quite pretty, at least. Having something else be your purpose would be nicer than you think. And you could finally get out of this awful circle. I’d take you somewhere warm, with blankets and tea. You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”

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She scoots away from him but her wing-eyes follow him anyways. It's kind of pointless for her to try and avoid him - her body knows that he's the biggest threat in the room and it's not going to let her stop being aware of him.

"I have no need for your pity, mortal. This circle will do until I am reclaimed by Him."

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He laughs in her face.

”You think He’s gonna reclaim you? That He’s gonna come save you? He let me take your fucking eye out, I would place good money on Him leaving you here to rot. Not like he doesn’t have an infinite supply of angels anyway.”

He smiles, and taps the knife, still covered in gore, against his lips. It leaves smears of gold.

”Not me though. I wouldn’t let you die.”

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The little droplets of spittle hit her face. They're horribly warm.

A thought flits through her mind - how is kissing her blood not hurting him? Her essence should burn to interact with at all, let alone what he's doing with it. Maybe the connection with the halo is what imposes its divinity? It doesn't really matter though, desecration is desecration however he's accomplishing it and she hates it. Maybe she wants revenge. It's hard to tell what she wants right now.

"Yes, He will!" (she hopes, she prays, she begs) "This has to be part of His plan, that's how this works, it's just ineffably necessary!" She's not even really convincing herself. She's never been really clear on how much personal attention each angel gets. Each halo is imbued with a divine spark that whispers their Purpose to them and guides their hand in the name of what is righteous.

Hers has been pretty quiet since she entered the circle.

She hopes it's not broken.

She hopes she's not broken.

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"Do you really think so? Deep down? I don't think you do. You're too smart for that. You know He's not coming for you, and He never will. He doesn't care about you, or love you, or have some sort of plan for you. He doesn't care if you live or die."

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Her wings snap out to her sides, flaring against the physical force of the burning chains which buckle and bow but do not break (yet). She rises to her feet, halo whining like a runaway saw blade and eyes blazing with a horrible white light. She screams at him, raw pain and fury cracking her voice.

"How dare you! He loves me and I will not betray His love for some half-baked dark hinting at a plan for me from someone who ripped me from my actual Plan!"

She snarls at him, the flicker of flame and golden rings growing more solid and the sound of choirs and bells spreading to lick at the cage. Maybe she doesn't need to wait for Him to come for her. After all, He is with her, always. Her Purpose hums approvingly, her blood quickening her movements, and she reaches behind her for a flaming sword which sits there when she most needs it. If not now, when?

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He smirks as her hand falls against her bare back.

"No sword for you today, I guess. God's not got you in his good graces. The bells are a nice touch though, really pretty."

He switches to his most pitying expression.

"Just give it up, Inara, He's never going to love you. I would, though. Stop trying to hurt me and things would go much better for you."

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Her aura flickers out and the backlash drives her back down on her knees. She's speechless. How could her prayer go unanswered? What did she do wrong?

She was pure of purpose and in alignment with her Plan. She's served faithfully since time immemorial. She's never once asked for help or comfort, executing flawlessly without reward of any kind. She must have been in His good graces. She has to have. What would those graces even mean if her virtue was measured and found lacking in her time of need?

This Kestrel ripped her from the Heavens themselves, casting her down into some dingy basement surrounded by candles and the incomprehensible scribblings of a madman. He cut her and blinded her, trapped her and defiled her essence. All she asked, all she prayed for was deliverance at the point of a sword. What grace could deny her this? She's not asking for a rain of fire to scour the earth, for him to be struck into a pillar of salt that all might see his mistake and the woe begotten for his malice, his crimes against divinity and the natural order.

Her feathers fall to the ground in blackened piles. Defiance is not without cost, and her cage still holds.

She's still here. She has to answer him.

"I still have faith in Him. Just because you've separated me from Him, put me into some profane vessel that hides me from His sight-" She can feel the blasphemy about to escape her lips even as she says it, but it's too late. She clasps her hands over her mouth, tears welling from her eyes and mingling with the soot and blood on the ground.

What did she just say what did she just do what is wrong with her

What did Kestrel break when he cut her off from G-d Himself?

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"I'm glad you've finally admitted it, that you're separated from Him."

A drop of blood runs down from the corner of his eye. He wipes it away like a tear.

"it's alright. He didn't have the right to speak your name, much less have any power over you. You're here now. It's all okay. You're doing so well."

His fingers are tangling in her wingfeathers again, soothing.

"Just let go of that last little bit of faith and it'll all be done."

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Her physiology is not one that lets her faint, or she would have done so by now. Dazed and disoriented, her gaze follows the droplet of blood as it trickles down his cheek and onto his finger. She wants to be wiped away like that. She's too horrified at herself, too dissociated from her own physicality to object as Kestrel caresses her coverts, his fingers cool against her body.

"I'm not separated. I misspoke. I have faith in Him, it will never waver, I am His." The flat affect in her voice reeks of despair.

"I don't even know what it would mean for Him to not have the right to do something. It's not okay for me to be here. I want to go home. Please let me go."

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