A week later . . .
Azrael stared out the window, his lips pursed into a thin scowl. "So Frenial escaped?"
Abbadon stood behind him and answered, "He was more powerful in the arcane than we anticipated. He had some tricks . . ."
"Spare me. Abbadon! Please, just spare me the lies. I know that the High Council wants to avoid a scandal." Azrael whirled around, his long sleeves flying. His face reddening as he drew closer to the general. He jabbed a finger into Abbadon's breastplate which was out of character for the quiet scholar. "I don't know whether it's the scandal of his raping children or that he consorted with a demon that the High Council wants to avoid. After everything he's done to Darissa, the Third Kingdom, and not to mention hundreds of innocent girls, you'll allow him to flee into exile where he will continue to inflict more pain just so it wouldn't be made public and the White City humiliated."
"And allow Hell the satisfaction of knowing that one of our own has such a sick perversion?" Abbadon snarled back. "Or that another of our own abandoned her role? It would have weakened our position that would have damaged us for centuries, if not for eternity! We were fortunate enough that we were able to take care of the matter before word could spread."
"Death was the one who took care of it all." Azrael retorted. "If it weren't for him then we would still have been in the dark about Frenial and Darissa would be lost to us! I see that you kept his involvement quiet as well!"
"Again, we can't let Creation think we can't handle our own problems! It was bad enough that the Charred Council had a hand in it at all!"
Both Archangels glared at each other, their silvery eyes not breaking contact. The tension in the room was palpable and one could almost see the power crackle between them. Finally, they stepped away from each other and the tension dropped between them.
Azrael lifted his eyes to Abbadon and asked, "If Frenial had been touching angel girls, then it would have been a completely different story."
"Scholar, that is not fair," Abbadon replied.
Abbadon let that go, not wishing to get into another verbal fight with the scholar. "Darissa will be sentenced tomorrow. Given the circumstances, she won't be charged with blasphemy, but she will still have to deal with the consequences of abandonment."
"I understand," Azrael replied softly, turning back to the window.
"I will speak on her behalf with the council to see if some of her punishment can be mitigated."
"Thank you, old friend."
The next day, Darissa received her sentence.
For eternity, she will have no freedom. She would be constantly under guard by volunteers and on her back the circle that prevented her phasing ability would be tattooed forever preventing her from using it. And she would be forever barred from the White City, never to gaze upon the white towers of Heaven nor fly in the warm skies.
After the circle was tattooed into her flesh, she was led into a private chamber by a guard and left there alone. Sh stood by the window and watch the last sunset of Heaven that she would ever see. The door opened and Abbadon stepped inside and dismissed his aide wishing to speak with her privately.
Darissa turned and bowed despite the soreness in her back. The tattoo was black and was of elaborate circles and curves. Abbadon acknowledged her greeting and bade her to stand with a motion of one hand. "Darissa, I've come to discuss the issue of the cult. Something has to be done about it."
"Yes sir." Darissa's face was it's usual blank slate.
"If I understand correctly, you've done nothing to encourage it. It was only happenstance that the boy who saw you had the gift of sight and believed you to be a deity. And it was the Hellborn involvement that escalated the issue."
"Yes sir." Darissa tilted her head curiously.
"Humans are so easily led astray. I think it's because of their youth. Their societies are only a few thousand years old so like children they'll herd around any power greater then them. They only have to be led to the correct path and I believe you are that person to guide them."
Darissa furrowed her brow, somewhat confused. "Sire, I . . .I had believed that it was illegal to influence the humans."
"Oh, it is. It's against the treaty, but we didn't influence them. The demons already did that, we''ll. . . .you'll just lead them along the correct path."
"I . . .I believe I understand, but I'll be supervised. I . . ."
Abbadon raised a hand to halt her question. "I have considered that and that is why I personally handpicked those who understand Heaven's position on the matter and are willing to support you."
"I see." Darissa replied.
"Also, I have this for you." He drew a small vial from a pouch at his belt. "You'll know what to do with it."
He left her alone. She studied the liquid within the vial before she removed the cork. The strong smell told her that it was acid.
The Priest was leading a sermon when his Lady appeared behind him. He had been preaching within a tent to ward off the hot sun and the before him kneeling was the faithful, warriors, artisans, and farmers sat side by side to hear the Word. When they beheld the Lady, there were shouts of shock and praises. Signs were made with frantic fingers and heads touched the ground in worship. The Priest, with tears streaming down his eyes, would have dropped to his knees if Darissa hadn't taken his arm and stopped him.
"What happened to the little boy who used his hands to craft little figures of love instead of using them to kill?" She placed a small clay figurine in his hand that he had crafted with such care and adoration of her.
Darissa told them many things. She told them that she herself wasn't a deity, but merely a servant of the Creator, the God. She explained that no longer would they force others to convert, though willful converts will always be welcomed with open arms. She also told them that their fellowship would be under a different name. A name that means enlightened in the Angelic tongue. They would be called the Illuminati.
And as the people, the Illuminati, began their journey northward to create a home, Darissa held the hand of a certain gray winged individual who volunteered to be her guardian. Together they took flight over the plains toward the sunset. Darissa smile was nearly brighter than the sun. She had found acceptance in the eyes of the each of the humans down below who loved her for her dark wings and by her side was a companion whose sole duty was to stay by her side for eternity.
At her back was the circle, however along the edge of the upper ring was a red burn. It was likely caused by something that could burn flesh and caused the circle to be broken.
ARTHUR'S NOTE: And that ends Take These Wings. I decided to wrap it up as the continuation would be Second Eve. I know that it looks as if I may have left some loose ends, but they do tie into Second Eve. Which is the reason why I went ahead and wrapped it up.
I want to send out a thanks to everyone who has followed this story and apologize for all the long delays. Unfortunately, I had writer's block regarding this story and finally able to decide on what direction I would take it.