TITLE: How the Marquis Got His Coat Back, and Other Tales of the Neverwhere
AUTHOR: Halla Theguil T. Pleasures
- -Islington's Wrath: Islington, Characters loosely based on Archangels from Abrahamic mythology, a few humans.
- -How the Marquis Got his Coat Back: The Marquis de Carabas, a Mouse, an Ogre
- -The Hunter and the Weasel: Hunter, the Great Weasel
- -Islington's Wrath: Richard+Anasthesia (only referenced), Richard/Door (only referenced, only subtext, intentionally left up to the reader's interpretation), YHWH/humanity, Islington/humanity
- -How the Marquis Got His Coat Back: None
- -The Hunter and the Weasel: Hunter/Unnamed girl
RATING: T at most
- -Islington's Wrath: Barely T (some supernatural violence, obscured sexual references)
- -How the Marquis Got His Coat Back: K+ (some imitable violence against a mythical creature, cartoonish antics, fairy tale syntax)
- -The Hunter And The Weasel: T (Violence)
- -Islington's Wrath: 1665
- -How the Marquis Got His Coat Back: 1110
- -The Hunter and the Weasel: 440
GENRE: Eclectic shorts
- -Islington's Wrath: Don't bother reading if you froth at the mouth when exposed to Apocrypha.
- -How the Marquis Got His Coat Back: Contains cruelty to ogres. Not the Shrek type of ogre, the kind with horns and pointy teeth and no sense of humor.
- -The Hunter and the Weasel: Contains violence against a dangerous, carnivorous, human-eating animal.
DISCLAIMER: I Do Not Own. Neil Gaiman and his publishing companies do. Just in fracking case. If you use any part of this that originated in my writing, and not the book, comic series, or television series themselves, I'd appreciate it if you would refer to me and this, but not much I can do anyway aside from complain on the internet (*Aside Glance*). If by some crazy-slim chance you are professionally associated with the creation of Neverwhere (be it the book, the graphic novel [which I have not read] or the miniseries), many thanks for your time and effort, and many compliments on one of the best stories I have had the honor of reading (I'd be honored but really, really inconvenienced if you sued me, and it wouldn't be worth your time and money anyway, so please don't). Just to recap, not my legal intellectual property. I'm not Neil Gaiman.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Eggs, coffee, black tea, oolong tea, soy milk, wheat bread (sandwich-sliced), fresh lettuce
Islington's Wrath: A Tale of the Neverwhere
An original story based on characters and setting by Neil Gaiman
Years, decades, centuries... it had long since faded to millennia, and while Islington had hoped to be minutes from finally regaining the honor to walk in the light of his father, the plan had gone wrong. That wretched girl had just ensured that instead of a sole eternity away from the father, it would be an eternity of eternities, falling through a hole in time, never to land, each instant a billion, trillion times the length of the instant before... a fitting hell, to lengthen the sentence by Islington's own mis-fired plan. In many of those instants, Islington thought back to the end of his former life, as in every waking moment he had spent on Earth.
Islington had been its father's emissary to the island of the sky's rafter, or as it would come to be called by the Greeks, the Island of Atlas, or Atlantis, with a peak higher than those in Tibet and the greatest source of worship to the God who would speak to Abraham of any on Earth. Its sibling Gabriel had already come upon the great city, after the discovery of the wine of the spirit, distilled from the excess of life, emotion, spirit itself. Gabriel had returned to the other angels that the humans of the city knew what it was, and how potent it could be, but it was the other news Gabriel had brought that attracted the interest of Islington. The people reveled in the streets, engaging in acts that were by the Word of God a sin. They gave themselves and each other the extremes of pain and pleasure so that it could be bottled into the glowing elixir, and while the sins they committed were mortal only after life, it seemed to Islington that they worshipped the drink even as they worshipped the Creator. The others refused to admit it, but Islington knew what they were, and its love for and pride of the humans turned to jealousy as it so easily did. The God was a jealous God in its infatuation of humanity, as Islington knew well, the knowledge coming both from its position as God's emissary and its status as an angel—second favourite of God's created species. Islington left behind its siblings to watch over the most favored of the favored, and if necessary, apply for them to receive corrective punishment.
Completing its tour of the city, Islington reached the temple at its crest. The Seven Sages of Sky's Rafter had brought it in to discuss what it had seen, and shower it with gifts of their people.
"A phial of fragrant oil, to please the sense of smell," offered the first Sage.
"A bolt of the finest velvet, to please the sense of touch," offered the second.
"A sphere of precious opal, to please the sense of sight," offered the third.
"A tuning fork of clearest sound, to please the sense of hearing," offered the fourth.
"A cube of purest salt, to please the sense of taste," offered the fifth.
"A gift for to please your mind, wine of truth, made with the help of your brother," offered the sixth, bringing forth a cask of glowing bottles wrapped in straw.
"And a gift to represent your self, that which we finished not moments ago by virtue of your presence in this humble city, a wine of love, which we hope you find as sweet as that which you have given us to behold even a fraction of your physical and spiritual beauty. Its properties will act as both a tonic to lift the heart and a potent aphrodisiac, as does the spiritual fruit from which it was distilled." The seventh sage presented a second cask of bottles, identical but for the etchings on the necks of the bottles and the lid of the barrel, and with it a tiny glass of the glowing liquid. "While gifts equal to each of these have been placed in the caldera for God the Father in addition to the usual daily tribute, this wine is of the finest that our city has yet made, and we hope that it will bring you fond memories of your time here."
Islington confirmed that it had an earthly abode to which the gifts could be brought, sipped the contents of the glass as it followed the sages through their daily tasks and sermons, and when it was time to leave, congratulated them on their hospitality and the punctuality of their worship. Islington cheerfully left, the Sages and their acolytes thrilled at having pleased an Angel of God the Creator.
To Islington, the wine had tasted more bitter than wormwood.
"No, sibling." Uriel sent an admonishing glance at Islington, who had fruitlessly attempted to apply for the execution of the population of Sky's Rafter. "You know as well as I do, as well as Gabriel does, the restrictions on punitive genocide. There are four souls in the city tainted only by Original Sin, at the cloister you visited at the end of your trip."
"But sibling, they must be destroyed! For their own good, as well as the good of the rest of humanity! You know that our Father-"
"Our 'Father,'" Uriel interrupted, "has set these Laws for a reason. Even if I wanted to do so, I could no more lift my sword against these people than I could blaspheme until the air turned blue, fall to Pandaemonium, and come home with nothing more than a flap of my wings. "
"No." Uriel turned its eyes away, and Islington felt the shame of denial stab through its heart.
"I will return, sibling," said Islington, and in its invisibility took Uriel's sword from its place and left.
The remaining acolytes and one Sage cowered in the refectory, below Islington's blinding light and the fire of Uriel's sword. Islington's voice rang out with the sound of a thousand church bells, buffeting the humans before it, all that remained of those living in the temple, and felt even by those as far as the fishermen in the nearest seas. The Sage had forsaken God in his fear, but it was not he who was the last of the faithful. The faith and purity of one soul held fast, and Islington lowered the sword in a swift, killing blow that annihilated everything and every person from one wall to the other.
"I say to thee, Lord, I find not one who is pure! Let your wrath fall upon this city and drive it into the sea for their sin!"
The sword disappeared from Islington's grasp as the ground began to tremble. Through the ruined walls and broken ceiling, Islington could see lava already bubbling and flowing over the caldera's rim above, the cracks forming in the earth of the city below, and a hole tearing through the sky to release Uriel in its mighty form. But Islington could hear none of this, and turned to face the source of the silence. "Metatron."
It was, and the Metatron nodded. Its voice was soft, and should not have been heard even with the silence immediately around them. "You know what you have done, and you know what will happen to you. Father has said that you did not expressly go against His orders, so you will not be cast into the Pit."
Islington was confused. "What?" it raved, its eyes wide. "What punishment could be given, when I bask in the glory of the Lord?" It flung itself to the ground, the Metatron's seal holding only a section of it intact as the island crumbled into the boiling sea below.
"I said you would not be cast into the Pit. I did not say that you would stay with us. You have preformed this act in your expression of God's love of humans, and your love for them, twisted though it may be, so your sentence is to live on Earth as one of them until one may find the way to set you free with the help of a love that is pure of jealousy or spite. Because of your particular transgression in light of who you are, you have also lost the right to your given name. Quite a fitting punishment, but then, Father's punishments always are. It was my choice to decide where your prison should be, and I think I will allow you a say. How does your earthly domicile to the North sound?"
Islington could only continue staring, and the Metatron took that as a "yes". It spoke a word in a great and terrible voice unlike its own, and still Islington was petrified in horror as its wings shrank away into arms and ribs, all but two of its eyes melting away and its jaws becoming a single mandible pressing teeth upon the teeth in its skull. Its angelic shine receded until it was little more than a glow under her bronze skin, and she reached up to feel not feathers of light, but human hair.
"You need a new name," said the Metatron to Islington, "since you can't exactly go by _ any more. I've always been partial to the name Gīsla, though it won't be popular here for a while. I do go on, though, and it's entirely your choice."
Islington remained catatonic, her human form lying on the ground of the earthly cave. "Oh, well," sighed the Metatron in its soft voice, lit the nearest candles with a wave of thought for when it left, and took its angelic glow with it, leaving Islington more alone than ever before.