Cassiel (Casiel, Casziel, Kafziel)- the angel of solitudes and tears who"Shews forth the unity of the eternal kingdom". . . Sometimes he appears as the angel of Temperence . . .
Kafziel (Cassiel, "speed of God")- . . . In The Zohar (Numbers 155a), Kafziel serves with Hizkiel as chief aide to Gabriel when the latter bears his standard in battle.
Castiel- A Thursday angel mentioned in occult lore.
There are hints, here and there across "the lore", that Castiel is in fact a lesser-used name of the better-known Cassiel. Few references come out an say it in the way they do for Jophiel, Uzziel, et al., but there are often indirect references, wherein an author will be writing about Cassiel, and will suddenly refer to the angel as Castiel, before switching back to Cassiel. Davidson does this, as do others, enough that it isn't simply one man's typo. One starts to suspect that perhaps the difference between Castiel and Cassiel is like the difference between Bruce Wayne and Batman- the former is an easily dismissed elite, the latter is The Dark Knight of Gotham. Perhaps it is that, indeed, Cassiel and Castiel are the same angel, but this is a fact never mentioned directly, never spoken of . . . perhaps for a reason. The mass unconscious may be aware of this truth, but perhaps looking directly at that truth is, for some reason, akin to looking directly at a Gorgon. Too dangerous a thing to do.
I do not know why this would be so, except the sneaking suspicion that G*D is a crafty, sneaky guy, and He's pranking the hell out of Twenty-First Century Pop-Culture. Just when you thought you were safe in your cynicism and blasphemous irreverence, you hear something *snap* and a small Voice mimicking Dave Chapelle "Ha! Gotcha bitch!"
Like that time in the waters southeast of Punta Alta.
What time was that?
The impressions of thick fog and creaking wood flashed through his mind, vanished before they took cohesive texture. Most of his memory was like that, from what he could tell. It wasn't supposed to be, but it was. The lack of clarity signified something, and he suspected that it was somehow connected to the ever present discomfort - was this what they called "pain?" - that throbbed and echoed in his grace.
He couldn't let it show- not to those he didn't trust. That lesson - from whom? - remained. Never let them see your thoughts, not if you don't trust them. He should be able to trust those who were his brothers and sisters. . . but he didn't.
He did, however, trust Dean. Flawed as the human was, "Equal parts belligerence and devotion" as . . . someone . . . had once said, even so, he trusted the human. And if you trusted someone, it meant you informed them of your vulnerabilities. Thus, when the Seal of Samhain had been broken, he had revealed his confusion to Dean. Not the full depths of it- Dean was a Good Man, Righteous even, but was not the abstract thinker that his brother Sam was. He may have over-simplified the problem, but he did disclose the essence of it.
. . . Doubt.
Things were not right, but he didn't know what right was.
He'd thought that he was the only angel wrestling with such cosmic cognitive dissonance. Uriel had seemed so rock-solid, Zachariah so certain, Raphael so firm and unyielding - although that itself seemed not-right somehow. But then the orders had come about Anael- currently calling herself Anna- and the confusion had roared louder than that hungy lion he'd provoked that time near Guna Tarara. (Why, or when, he had been provoking a hungry lion he couldn't remember.)
At first, Uriel had been an avalanche of certainty- Anna had to die, no matter that she was still their sister. No matter that the Winchester boys were instinctively so dead-set against it. This was the Command of Heaven, so that is what they had to do.
Castiel almost mentioned that "Heaven" does not mean the same thing as "God"- but his superiors were very sure, and very strong. And if there was one thing that his memory didn't fail him on, it was what happens to angels who don't follow orders.
Then Anna had called upon long dormant knowledge and banished the two of them. While he knew he wasn't supposed to condone Rebellion, her successful banishment had felt so right . . . the twist of approval that spiked through him as he was blasted into the ether was quite inappropriate. Clearly, he was being unduly influenced by his charge and said charge's brother.
But then, when they'd re-established themselves and met up at the top of Mt. Rainier, Uriel had been different. Calmer perhaps? Less Yang and more Yin, a voice had whispered in his mind. Thoughtful. Pensive. Almost . . . gentler. Uriel had looked at him askance, weighing and measuring.
And then, almost hesitant. "I have much to atone for." His dark eyes traced something in Castiel's grace that the latter could not perceive. "And much that I have helped wound I am unable to heal." A sigh, sad and weary. "But I will do everything I can, Little Brother, to help you become whole again."
Castiel kept his emotions perfectly still. "I have no memory of you doing anything that calls for atonement, much less anything involving myself."
"And that is only the beginning of what is wrong." Uriel sighed with a sad smile.
Even so, Castiel was still surprised when they'd gone after Anna and, instead of utilizing his formidable strength to subdue the entire town and everyone in it including the lost angel, Uriel had simply taken the chain from around his neck, and offered Anna's grace back to her. It seemed impossible, even at that moment, that the Will of Heaven would be diverted so easily- but then Uriel was a rather formidable angel, so perhaps he had more ability to change the course of such a river. He tried very hard to suppress the spark of hope that flared as Anael became whole once more. For the first time in. . . he didn't know how long. . . something was Right!
The arrival of the demons provided a wonderful moment to fall back into natural habit, enjoying the feeling of cleaning and polishing these stains out of Father's Creation. He felt Dean's eyes watch in surprise, briefly noting to himself that this was the first time since his resurrection that his charge had seen him fight. When he was done, he turned in time to see Anael offer Ruby's knife to Dean, Sam using the last of his enhanced strength to hold Alistair in place.
Dean was magnificent.
But still tense, twitching warily as Castiel approached to heal his wounds. Like many humans, Dean disliked showing evidence of vulnerability, finding it very hard to trust. Castiel knew that Dean trusted him, but the reflexive tensing was a habit carved into muscle memory. Even so, he relaxed, allowing the angel to "work his angel mojo".
"I gotta confess to being a bit surprised," Anael's voice filled the post-fight silence. "Based on our last meeting, I expected to die. . . "
Castiel felt Uriel's shrug as Creation quietly warped around him. "I was not in my right mind." His low voice soft and chastened. "Haven't been for some time. Centuries, at least. Maybe millenia. . . I had a part in that."
Castiel finished with Dean and turned in time to see Uriel pointing right at him.
"Eech," Anael grimaced, looking Castiel up and down. "His teacher's gonna be pissed."
"You remember her?" Uriel's face was transformed with shocked hopefulness.
"Of course I remember. You and I taught her how to sing and dance when she was small . . ." She trailed off in the face of Castiel's growing confusion.
"It seems that most of us have lost our memory of her," Uriel sighed. "I think that started the mind-sickness you were fleeing when you fell. Now everyone who remembers her is in this room- You, me, and Gabriel over there . . . why are you invisible, brother?"
Castiel turned to where Uriel gestured, looking at an oddly shimming space next to the frowning Sam. If there was another angel- especially an archangel- he should have been able to feel it. Why couldn't he?
"We~ll. . ." came a disembodied voice. "The, uh, Winchesters may have met me before under somewhat. . . um. . . unpleasant circumstances . . . You know, back when I wasn't in my right mind either. . . theykindadontlikeme. . ."
Sam's eyes narrowed. "Loki?" he scowled.
Castiel stifled a gasp as the shimmer dissolved to reveal the unmistakable presence of an archangel studiously avoiding the eyes of everyone around him. "Eh. . . hiya Sam. How's things?"
"You killed my brother." Sam replied flatly. "Over a hundred times."
Oh dear, Castiel thought. That wasn't good.
"In one day."
"Oh dear," Anael's voice echoed Castiel's thoughts.
"And as promised, we left and stayed away. So why are you here?" There was a quiet authority in Sam's voice that Castiel had not heard before. He watched as the archangel responded to it, lifting his eyes to meet those of the human.
"What I did was wrong," Gabriel admitted, raising empty palms before himself. "But if it's any help, it was your pleading that woke me up to the real problem here. And because of that, I owe you. A lot. So I was here to patch you up a bit after the fight. Great job with Alistair, by the way."
Silence fell again as Sam weighed the angel's words.
"Hold on," Dean scowled as his shoulders squared. "How'd you know we'd be here and there'd be a fight? Have you been following us?"
A crooked grin slid across Gabriel's face. "You?" his eyes flickered to Castiel, before returning to Dean's. "No way am I following you or in anyway harassing you or subtly trying to heal you without you noticing. Sam, however, yes."
A moment. "Wait a minute-!"
Everybody was Kung-Fu fighting~!
Sam startled, then rummaged in a pocket for his phone.
Those cats was fast as lightn-
"Oh hey, Bobby, what's up?"
Dean grunted in mild confusion as Sam immediately ignored everything that had just been happening.
"A package for Cas? Who the-"
All attention was on the phone, now, straining to hear Bobby's tinny voice.
"I was stunned myself. Addressed to Mr. Cas T. L. Godson-Winchester, care of Bobby Singer, Singer Salvage blah blah blah. . . but the return address isn't real . . ."
"How do you know- did you look it up?"
"Dammit, boy, I'm not your type of idjit. It was from Xavier's Academy for Gifted Youths!"
The three older angels shared a wry grin, Gabriel barely withholding a snicker. "Little Bro, go get your mail. If you're lucky, it's almost as good as the ice-cream cake I got. . ."
The flat-rate USPS box was carefully placed in the middle of the small devil's trap that Bobby had scrawled on an old rag with a marker.
"My brothers and sister agreed that this would not be harmful. . . but such caution is prudent." Cas growled, passing the third bottle of holy water to Dean. Warily, he reached out, and gently pulled the tab to open the box. When nothing happened after a few moments, he carefully lifted the box, and shook the contents onto the trap.
It was a plain wooden jewelery box, shallow and broad, glowing symbols scrawled on top. For a moment, the angel was perfectly, utterly still. "Impossible," he breathed.
"What is it? Do we need to soak it?" Dean asked nervously.
"No," Castiel glanced up, placing a reassuring hand on his charge's arm. "It's safe. It's . . . mine, somehow. . ." He paused, carefully formulating his words. "That's grace. My grace. Grace is unique to each angel- like human blood to a human. But, when manipulated, it always takes on the identity of the being manipulating it. Like. . . if Sam wrote a message in your blood, Dean, but in doing so, it became his blood. . ." He glanced up to see that they were following, if only barely. "This message is written in my Grace, which means that in all of Creation, only I could have done it."
"Okay. . . " Sam nodded. "So what does it say?"
Castiel's head cocked slightly to the side. "It says: 'I Am a Fail-Safe. If Forgotten, Open and Remember.'"
Dean frowned. "Well, if you wrote that, it must be safe for you, right?"
The angel nodded as he delicately loosed the catch and lifted the lid.
Chiming music sounded as gears whirred into action, the scents of jasmine, leather, cinnamon and a very faint hint of char carried on the shimmering sound. A long bronze scroll plucked a dark silver comb, shaped oddly, the tips of each segment sparkling in the late afternoon light.
"It looks like a feather," Sam noted. "See how it curves . . . "
"No, it's a knife." Dean disagreed. "Look how sharp those edges are. . ."
"It's playing that song from Casablanca," Bobby pointed out.
Castiel smiled, the words coming unbidden to his lips.
"You must remember this,
a kiss is just a kiss
a sigh is just a sigh
the fundamental things apply
as time goes by. . ."
"Cas can sing?" Dean sounded surprised.
"I am an angel, Dean. Of course I can sing." He reached out for the source of the music. "I know the concept is not-"
He hand convulsed around the sharp edges of the metal as memories flooded. Overwhelmed, he barely heard the humans cry out in alarm, barely registered the pain in his hand as the metal sliced through skin, images and sounds drowning him in a raging torrent of memories spanning millenia.
Somewhere between the penguins and corsairs and monoliths, the pain in his hand reasserted itself, drawing his focus enough to remember who he was, and when he was supposed to be. He knew he had to at least start re-integrating the memories, start the sorting process, so he swam through the dancing and hunting and weeping and celebrations to find the first one, the oldest . . . no sooner had he started to sort, then it presented itself, flaring like a supernova . . .
He was walking beside Gabriel, Hizkiel off on some errand for the archangel as they cleaned up from the day's work, helping a young woman with a difficult childbirth- her name was Sarah, and she had been older than most human females having a child.
"You did well, Cassiel," the archangel said. "You could do a lot of this work by yourself. If I didn't like it so much, I'd be tempted to let you take over."
The younger angel ducked his head, reluctant to show his pleasure at the kind words.
"For that reason," the elder continued. "I've told Father and my brothers that you are ready to start your apprenticeship."
"But Gabriel-" the younger protested. He liked Gabriel. Michael and Raphael were well enough, although he hadn't worked with them as much. . . but Gabriel was more . . . relaxed. Not as stern as Michael nor hyper-active as Raphael.
"Cas," The archangel grinned. "You were created for so much more than helping tutor pre-born babies or following after me. I've taught you until now because we both have an affinity for storms, and you needed to be comfortable with your talents in that area. But for what Father created you for. . . there's only one angel in all of heaven or hell that can teach you those skills. . ."
He paused as he skipped the younger past the Ophanim-barrier currently guarding the Throne Room. They edged in, Gabriel shepherding the younger through to his usual spot beside Michael, only one seat away from Father.
"Gabriel," The latter greeted. "And Cassiel. Good."
Cassiel was surprised that Michael would remember him, but was distracted as a commotion at the other end of the room drew his attention.
The mass of angels seemed to draw back in something like unease, a dissonance making it's way forward. The form was more feminine than anything else and, Cassiel decided, certainly an angel, though unlike any he'd ever encountered. Her form was made of graceful angles, sharp and simple. There was a focus to her, a tension that expressed itself as dissonance. However, he could see connections between her and others in the room, and the interaction of each connection was an entire symphony. A playful scherzo with Anael, a sorrowful lullaby with Gabriel, a complex interchange of rhythm with Uriel, a stirring march with Michael, joyful trumpets pealing out with happiness and joy along the connection they had.
Cassiel could see that she was holding something very bright near the center of her being, but the view was obscured as she dropped to prostrate herself before their Creator.
"Grandfather," the modal intervals of her song immediately intrigued the young angel. "I have successfully completed the mission you gave me." She held out the radiating brightness. "Papa has impressed upon him the base equations of his being. When the time comes, they will find compatibility."
The young angel wasn't sure what was going on- he was pretty sure that the brightness was a human soul. But why was there a special mission for it to receive it's base patterning?
Metatron's wings flared as the Word precipitated. It is Good, Jophiel. Gabriel, come take this little one into your care.
With delicate care, Gabriel gathered up the little soul, startled as a small tendril of light reached out to tangle in his grace.
"Father? This is. . . unusual . . ." Gabriel had once explained that newly crafted Souls were serene little things, not entirely awake until much closer to their time to be transferred.
Peace, Gabriel. It is Good. Are you displeased?
"Just surprised is all." the archangel seemed entranced by the light in his arms. "He is. . . precocious. And precious. . ." He seemed lost in thought for a moment, before lifting his eyes to the angel named Jophiel. "As requested, I brought Cassiel with me- he's over next to Michael. I think you'll find him a good student. Do let him visit, sometimes. . . "
As though released from a hold, Jophiel sped over to Michael, the two of them embracing tightly. "Daddy!" She exclaimed. "Papa sends his love . . ."
Cassiel studied her closer as the two chatted. It was clear that she was made up partly of Michael's essence- her sharp, angular wings seemed natural weapons, her grace showing the same predatory lines and shapes that his made. But there were other elements, chaotic influences that he was unfamiliar with. Hearing his name caught his attention again.
"This is Cassiel," Michael said. "As his name implies, he is fast. Faster than you, even, though not quite as agile. I've seen him at work in the nurseries- he's a natural with human souls, very careful and extraordinarily protective. Father created him for that special mission, so you'll have to teach him everything you know."
The archangel then turned to address Cassiel directly. "Cassiel, this is my daughter. Father named her Jophiel upon her creation, but everyone else calls her Zophiel. You now report to her, and only to her. She has special skills and knowledge that you will need, and she is the only one who can teach you."
Cassiel regarded the strange angel for a long moment, his regard returned in full. Then she smiled. "Well, little uncle, if you're going to be my student, you'll need a working name. Mine is Zophiel- that is how you will address me. That, or "Sensei" will also work. Hold the name Grandpa gave you close- it will be the first of many secrets you will need to keep. Your working name . . . will be Castiel."
"Cas, you okay buddy?!" Dean's voice pulled him from memory. "Shit, was the knife poisoned or something?"
"I am fine," he managed to form the words in English, eyes focusing on the red drops falling from his hand. "Getting back several thousand years of memories at once is quite disorienting." He released a gust of breath, turning his intense gaze to his charge. "They took my name, Dean. My name. They took my . . . my sensei. They tore my Grace and shredded my mind and shattered my memories . . . They even tried to take you from me. But they couldn't . . . not truly . . ."
"Alright, Cas, special mission for you. Let's go!"
He pouted, sliding lower into the steaming water. "Now, Sensei? I just got the last of the blood out of my hair. . . and there's still some under my nails . . . "
"Destiny waits for no man." Her head popped into his line of sight. "Or angel. C'mon, Tiger! You'll thank me when it's over."
The next instant he was standing by her side. "Where to?"
Cas frowned. Such concentrated masses of Ophanim signaled only one location. "This mission involves The Throne?"
Zophiel nodded. "Get past them on your own. Grandpa's working on a special project- your mission is to watch Him without any angel catching you. Don't try to hide from Him, that's impossible. Just get to Him." She met his eyes. "If you are successful in your mission, you will be promoted out of this apprenticeship and will be assigned to a garrison under the direct command of an Archangel. You'll still be my student, and we'll still work together, but you'll have a lot more of your own work. Full-fledged, you might say."
Cas mulled this over for a moment. "So, I have to get past the ever vigilant Ophanim, past the Kerubim and Seraphim, get to Father, and just. . . watch Him?"
"Pretty much. And, of course, if He says anything to you, do what He says."
"Any other rules?"
She shrugged. "No permanent damage. And . . . " she held her hands apart in front of her face. "You've only this amount of time."
Considering some of the tasks she'd assigned him in the past, this one seemed pretty easy. Sure, the Ophanim were impressive with their ever-vigilant gaze, but they were also a bit high strung. The Kerubim after them were also impressive in their own right, but seeing as one of their main chiefs had just given him this mission, they wouldn't be a problem. And the Seraphs would assume that if he made it that far and hadn't burned into nothingness, that he was right where he should be. So really, the only challenge here was getting past the restless and ever vigilant Ophanim.
"No problem," he grinned as he walked away.
Balthazar, as expected, was quite taken with the plan. Not that he knew most of it- but all Cas had to say was "I need someone to steal the Zabkiel's Spear for a moment . . . "
It was useful know the Patron of Those Suffering from Kleptomania.
A casual stroll up to Zabkiel, a polite "Excuse me, young one, but- hey, my spear! Give it back!" and Zabkiel's departure after the fleeing Balthazar left the tiniest of openings. Swiftly, Castiel reached out, becoming a needle of energy, before snapping forward to land among the Kerubim.
Slowly, he re-formed, holding out the memory of Zophiel giving him the mission. He resolutely stood his ground as the monstrous forms of the assembled Kerubim bent low to inspect, their wings fluttering in a constant chatter of Numbers and Words.
Interesting. .. they whispered. . . crux of probability . . . shift in variable. . .
A breeze of data passed through their wings, incomprehensible to Castiel. . . . Ah . . . and just so! . . .fascinating . . .
. . . Through the Eternal Fire lies your being. Go, Swift Shadow, and Burn with Unceasing Flame. . .
It seemed a blessing, though strange, and their wings parted to allow his passage.
And he burned.
Unlike the fires of Hell, these flames were only painful inasmuch as they were so incredibly sweet and consuming. No angel had a defense against such fire, and it would be so easy to just let himself burn forever. . . but no, if he did, he'd never learn why Sensei had been to exited to give him this mission . . . he'd never learn what the Kerubim meant . . .
Slowly, with no little regret, Castiel pulled himself through the burning Seraphs, moving toward the heart of their attention while at the same time trying to not-ignite into the same fire with which they burned. It took all his focus, all the discipline Sensei had instilled in him when teaching him to navigate the Hell-Winds, or to observe the birth of a star.
And then, after a brief eternity, the pressure released. As he gathered his senses, he heard Michael's voice, soft and warm.
". . . he'll need to be equal parts belligerence and devotion if he's to withstand. . . that intensity will make these other things more difficult. . . but otherwise, it looks good to me . . ."
It is Good. Castiel's eyes widened at his Father's voice, un-modulated by Metatron's interface. Cassiel, my child, come stand before Me.
Cas quickly complied, standing before the shimmering brightness of his Father and his elder brother. He glanced toward Michael, relieved that the archangel seemed pleased at his presence.
"Hold out your hands, Little Brother," the latter said. "Father has something to show you."
He complied, remembering all the little gifts Sensei had presented in a similar fashion- flowers, frogs, his first blade. . .
His Father leaned forward, placing His Hands lightly atop those presented by the angel, and then Breathed into the small space between.
He gasped as bright light sparked and ignited, a burning similar to that of the Seraphs starting to run up his arms. Cas had learned from Gabriel that human souls were loved into being, but this was the first time he'd witnessed the feat. His Father carefully withdrew His Hands as Michael leaned forward to see the new human soul held so carefully in Castiel's hands.
Cautiously, Castiel brought his hands up for a closer look at the impossibly bright being newly formed in his own hands. In all his journeys through Heaven, Earth and Hell, he'd never seen anything half so wondrous as this radiating soul. His Father's spark was bright and strong, the influence of Michael's forming showing in the initial patterning, but. . .
Castiel was mesmerized, watching as the soul shifted and flickered, already awake and reaching out in curiosity. Delight shuddered through his being as the soul reached out to his grace, arcing and crackling with raw power and sheer, pure being. Castiel sighed as he breathed in the fragrance of summertime and laughter, the taste of sunshine and music filling his mouth.
"What do you think of him, Little Brother?"
Castiel tried to sum up his awestruck thoughts. Somehow, even the words "perfect", "wonderful", and "awesome" fell short.
Instead, he settled for "I think . . . I want to hold him forever. . . to protect him. . . and. . . " the next words failed unborn as he was washed in the need to taste, again, to fold the bright, burning soul in his grace and never let it go.
He felt his Father smile. Do you Love him?
Castiel felt a swift spike of fear as he glanced up guiltily. "Is that bad?"
It is Good. With your permission, I would make it permanent in you, that no matter what may happen, you will not forget this love . . .He will need you and your love when the time comes . . .
Castiel smiled then. "You may." He never wanted to forget this soul. He didn't stop smiling as that love was carved into every strand of grace that made his being.
The same bright soul that smelled of summer was even now before his eyes. Castiel grinned as all the rest of the memories fell into place in his mind, understanding clicking into place as they did.
Absently, he healed his bleeding hand. "Dean. . . " how he wanted to taste that sunshine again!
This is what we call Desire. . . Zophiel's voice murmured in his mind.
"Yeah Cas? Everything okay, Buddy?"
"Dean! I remember now! I remember your beginning!" He forcefully kept his need to embrace the soul in check- that soul was now fiercely independent, and the last thing he wanted to do was "freak Dean out" anymore than necessary. "And Sam! And Bobby!" He felt his grin threatening to break his borrowed face, but everything was finally making sense! And-
"And you guys gotta meet Sensei!" He grabbed Dean's hand as he lunged for Bobby's front door. "You guys are gonna love her! Come on!"
Next Chapter: Dean
Then, Balthazar. With his supermodels. Also, related, I don't suppose any of you my few readers knows anything about the British Military? Ranks and such? If so, please let me know, I would appreciate the assistance.
This chapter here was far more difficult than anticipated. I think because I loathe "flashback" as a thing, yanno? But, I kinda needed these two. Even even then they were truncated. *sigh*