A single, harsh sneer.
A choked off shriek.
A mocking laugh.
My father land in front of me, black eyes peering into mine, smiling slowly. "Little one, how fares thee?"
I close my eyes and collapse slowly to my knees, pressing my forehead to the solid oaken floor.
"Little one, displaying weakness....As always."
I feel hands, their grip almost unnaturally warm and strong, tug me slowly to my feet. A long-fingered hand dips beneath my chin, raising it to look dead ahead into an angel's eyes.
"Little one....Speak to me....Why do you seem so weak? Your soul seems...even less vibrant now. You've strengthened your walls, and within the Mansion there is barely any light...Why? What has caused you to flee from the sunlight so?"
"Falseness and lies, as always, father dear...." I say slowly in response, jerking my head back from his tender touch. "Where are the others?"
"Training for the coming calamity, my little one."
"The breaking free of your chains, my dearest little one. It seems that the freedom and flight that you have been so craving is coming swiftly. Very swiftly."
I'm not sure whether or not I like the sound of that so I turn from him, and flick my long purple, brown, green, gold, and black hair behind my shoulders as my wings slip through the slits in my shirt, stretching them out. Raphael gasps and I angle my head to the side in curiosity, only to gasp as well: My wings had turned a beautiful crimson.
They had been white....
I remembered them being white, as pure as snow....
"Little one...What has become of you?"
"I've gotten colder....
"A lot colder than I should be."
Raphael walks up behind me, between my crimson wings, and rests his ringed hands upon my narrow shoulders. His arms slide around my neck, and he presses up against me, his chin upon my head. He whispers slowly, "You are not well....You should come with me, the others...The others want to do a Ceremony of the Rain sometime today. You should attend. It will cheer you up--you know it will."
I break free of his arms and walk away from him, looking out the window. I draw my lone hand-and-a-half sword, raising it in my right hand. I twirl it in a slow circle with a rotation of my wrist, before raising my left hand and dragging the blade's edge across my left wrist. Blood pours from the wound, and behind me I hear Raphael gasp--but not with worry....
"Little one....Your blood, treat it with more care. You know we dwell within it....You know our magics."
I laugh harshly, and turn towards Raphael. "Of course I know, father mine. I'm the one who came up with all of this--this tragic beauty. This beautiful Mansion is of my creation. Or, at the very least, it is I who own it....Dwelling here within the demonic realm is my choice. I know our magics--the blood of us releases our power. To cut us is to allow our magics to flow into the open world....Pure lust and pure bliss in liquid form. An angel's curse and a devil's bane."
He sighs and taps me on the forehead with the tip of his index finger. "So you intended to provoke me with such a blatant showing of your magic, then?"
I nodded and healed the wound easily, letting my tongue flick slowly over my wrist, the saliva stitching shut the wound. I close my eyes at the taste of my own blood, and walk past him, heading deeper into the Mansion.
"It's time for the Ceremony of the Rain, little one. Will you be attending?"
I raise my head from my reading and look to him. He stands in the doorway, leaning against the wood, his hands shoved casually into jeans pockets. Raphael smiles slowly, straightening and looking at me, his long tipped red onyx hair falling into his eyes. He flicks it back with his fingers, and walks into the room. He extends a hand and I take it, letting him guide me to my feet. "I will go to the Ceremony...Help me dress, Raphael."
He nods and does as I ask, removing my simple armour to replace it with a flowing red, black, and gold gown. Upon it is a stitched in sigil above the heart: An eight-point ruby star beneath an onyx sky. The symbol of the Mansion.
He smiles slowly when we are both prepared, and walk from my room, headed for the Ceremony of the Rain.
And I apologize, dear readers, but that is all the Mansion I have permission to show to you right now....
When the Figments allow me, I shall show you the Ceremony of the Rain, but for now....