Dominic knew that there was something wrong today.
The council session wasn't running very long as yet - there had been nothing that would have set off any warning bells in his mind. And yet, there was an uneasiness, a tension in his scales that he just couldn't shake. Laurence was at the podium discussing the planned counterattack on several Infernal Tethers. Flowers had taken several substantial hits lately, losing four Tethers in a series of raids from the enemy.
Dominic was not pleased by that, although losses were never pleasant to hear about. It represented a concerted assault on one particular superior, and that sort of attention demanded more than a small amount of attention in kind. Who precisely was responsible had not yet been established, but his suspicions were running towards Valefor or Belial. Both of them had a special propensity for 'plucking flowers'...
Speaking of Flowers, Novalis was somewhat quieter than usual. Granted, even she had to realize that a military response was required in this situation, but by now he'd come to expect a few mild barbs to have been tossed out at Laurence. Perhaps it was simply her acknowledgement that violence had become necessary, but his finely-tuned senses told him that there was something more to it...
Michael was pacing around the chamber, making irritated comments and picking apart Laurence's arguments left and right. Now that was unusual - Michael typically kept his criticisms of Laurence private. Something was going on here, and Michael had managed to pick up on it as well.
Walking over to his choir-mate, Dominic shifted in his cloak somewhat uncomfortably, then steeled himself to the task at hand...
Speaking quietly, "Michael, perhaps it is just our lack of communication, but unless you see something that I do not, Laurence's plans do seem sound."
Michael shrugged and grunted quietly.
Pressing on, "Michael... (sighing) what is it? You feel something, as do I."
Michael looked over at Dominic, with his typical look of revulsion, then turned back to look at Laurence as he spoke.
"I... hear something. I don't know what it is, but something's coming. Here. Started out slowly a few hours ago, but I feel it speeding up. I... I don't know what it is, but I do not like it, Dominic.
Dominic waited a moment, then began to move off. "Nor do I, Michael."
Novalis had gotten up from her seat and had begun moving around the council chamber. As she walked by Dominic, he heard her quickly take in a breath, then slowly let it out again. Turning to look at her, Dominic spoke up. "Is something troubling you, Novalis? You seem... somewhat quiet today."
When Novalis turned around, Dominic could clearly see that she had been crying, even as she smiled at him. "I... I'm somewhat worked up about everything that's happened, but I think I'll be all right."
Unconsciously, Dominic had reached out with his resonance the moment before, and what he heard bothered him. She had obviously told the truth as she knew it, but he could feel the Symphony warbling slightly as she spoke. Something was wrong, all right, but there was no way to figure it out at the moment.
Somewhat more cautiously, "Are you certain that you are all right, Novalis? If... if there there is anything that I can..."
Novalis cut him off with a finger to his lips. "Hey, I'm fine. Dominic, trust me, if I had a problem that I didn't think I could deal with, I'd..."
Novalis's voice trailed off for a moment - Dominic could see her lip trembling slightly before she spoke again. "Look, I... I've lost a few Servitors lately. It's getting to me a little, but I'm sure I'll..."
Dominic stopped her with a finger to her chest. "What is going on, Novalis?"
Novalis sighed slightly, then straightened up stiffly, then relaxed again. "Well, the part that Larry isn't aware of is that I do know who's responsible for this. Asmodeus didn't just destroy the Tethers, he also went out of his way to capture everyone in them."
Dominic stepped back, shocked. "Why didn't you tell anybody this, Novalis?
Novalis shrugged. "It's my problem, and I'll deal with it. I don't need...
"Novalis, how are we supposed to help you if you keep things...
Novalis glared at Dominic forcefully. In a much stronger tone of voice than he had ever heard Novalis use, "It is my problem, and I will deal with him, Dominic. I do not need your sympathy, or your pity, or your condescension. I can deal with it."
Dominic stepped back, shocked. This didn't make sense - he'd never seen Novalis like this. Novalis was fuming - this was positively unheard of. As he watched Novalis's retreating back, he thought about making an issue of it when he felt an attempt at a summoning. Irritated, he initiated the mental contact -
After a second, a voice came into his head. "Sir, I'm sorry but I thought you should hear about this. One of the local Malakim of Destiny that I work with was doing surveillance of a Game Tether in the area, when he reported that a large group of angels were being brought up through the Tether to the corporeal...
"Well, um... they're all Servitors of Flowers from the looks of it. But that's not precisely why I called. Asmodeus is there. In person. And he's started executing them Celestially, or convincing them to Jump. He's gone through at least 50 so far, and he's got more. Lots more, sir. The rest of the Triad is in favor of attempting to break it up, but we need authorization to do so, sir."
Dominic looked over quickly at Novalis - she was leaning against a wall, rubbing her hands on her temples, moving her lips. This was bad - he could see the touch of Dissonance on her soul, and he didn't have to be an Elohim to see the anger radiating off of her. Laurence had actually left the podium and was walking over to see what was the matter, and several of the other Archangels were beginning to come this way as well.
Shooting a quick look to Yves and Laurence, he opened an Ethereal tongues to the two of them - "Novalis is in real and direct danger. I need a strike force to drop to where one of my triads is for an assault on a Game Tether." Seeing both of them nod, Dominic reopened the mental contact to his Servitor. "Hold your positions. Reinforcements are in route now." Looking over at Laurence for a moment, he spoke again. "ETA on reinforcements is four minutes. Once reinforcements are on site, you are to secure the prisoners. Use whatever it takes." Then he broke the transmission to go to Novalis.
Novalis was shaking with rage by the time he reached her. Dominic place a hand on her shoulder, "Novalis, help is on the way for your Servitors. We will..."
She shook his hand off of her shoulder. "Will what? Deal with the problem? Make it stop? How? We push one thrust back and they start three more in its place, Dominic. Don't tell me that - you'll just make yourself Fall. It's never that simple, you..."
A voice from behind Dominic spoke. "Oh, come on Novy. We'll make it happen."
As Dominic whirled to face a familiar voice, a white-winged angel in ripped jeans and a psychedelic shirt swept past the cloaked Archangel to lean on the wall next to Novalis. Novalis turned towards the newcomer, wrapping him in a hug as she buried her face in his shoulder.
"Eli, I can't, I.. I.. they're doing it all over again! I can't let him, but I can't just go and..." Novalis started to break down crying as Eli stood there smoothing her hair and trying to soothe her.
In his head, Dominic heard the voice of the Archangel of Creation, as loudly in his mind as his voice was quiet with Novalis. "Dominic. What in the name of the Almighty is going on here? I could feel her screaming half a world away from here. Tell me what..."
Novalis picked her head up, and shook it for a moment. "I can't make it stop, Nikki. I can't make him stop. I can't. It's not what I am, but I've got to do something. I..." She started moving around the council chamber, shaking her head.
Dominic followed her a few steps behind, uncertain of what to do. "Novalis, we will deal with Asmodeus. We will make him stop. We will make him pay for what he has done to you. Have no doubt about that. He will pay."
Novalis stopped and looked down. "You're right, Dominic."
From behind him, he felt a very strong surge of fear, although he couldn't be certain of where it came from. Then, "Oh baby, baby, baby! Come on... come on, I know what you're thinking, don't even think about it, come on... we can deal with this, Novy! Don't you..."
Dominic started forward quickly. "Novalis, you need to calm down. Isn't that what you're always telling me to do? Come on, please. Don't do this..."
Novalis reached out her hand towards Dominic, then thrust it out to her side as a scythe appeared in her hand. Looking up at Dominic with burning eyes, "It's done."
With a shriek of utter rage, Novalis turned and leapt towards the council podium, disappearing with a thunderclap before she reached it. A few moments of stunned silence passed before Dominic spoke.
Nothing else needed to be said.
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