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GM

 

December 24th, 7.27 PM 

Clinton Hill, New York City, USA

 

The Christmas Eve party had been going great. The music was of especially tolerable, vaguely-Christmas-adjacent jazz lending a pleasant background noise to the roomfuls of light, laughing conversation and sparkling glasses. 

 

Tanya had found a nice circle to talk to. Children of her mother's friends, or friends of their childrens' friends, the little cluster managed to keep clear of the occasional verbal dust-ups happening elsewhere in the great house. A million little anecdotes, countless bits of trivia about the rich and powerful, a myriad of horror stories where disaster for this or that business venture was averted barely in the nick of time, the stuff of a lifetime was ground up into a few dozen syllables and tossed into the air, never to be recovered.

 

One of the party, Morty Summers, was just getting into a juicy story about a mixup at his father's copper mine when there came a banging and yelling at the door.

 

"Tanya!" sang out her mother, Aaliyah, "That's old Ferdie Kreller, let him in, there's a dear!" 

 

The pounding had gotten really desperate after a few second's pause. The voice on the other side of the door was high, frantic, muddling whatever Ferdinand H. Kreller, aspiring lawyer, was trying to say. 

 

Edited by Ari

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Going through the motions every year. Christian holidays, that is. Everyone showed up to see if Tanya would explode or melt at the mention of Merry Christmas. But she stuck to her kind of folks during these things. Or at least the type. Those around the neighborhood who she'd known forever, mostly. The new people would gawk, or at least, try to get her to burst into the aforementioned flames.

 

But she was enjoying herself at the moment. Her holiday dress, made of red silk and white frills, had a cloak to hide her wings under. Not that she wanted to hide them. Just that her mothers events precluded the way she loped around the house usually. Also the cloak gave her a good place to hide her silver flask. A gift from Jack, her fellow band member. Why wasn't she with them tonight? Because being home on Christmas Eve, and being on Santa's nice list (which she hoped she was, doing her hero work!), meant you got presents.

 

She heard her mother's angelic voice. It meant something was going to happen. It didn't matter if she meant it or not, but with her mother was lilting, something was going to happen. Ferdie. That had to be the most unfortunate nick name ever. Still, the lawyer guy she had heard of didn't sound either good or bad. Kinda square. She took a swallow of liquid pride as she walked to the door and stashed it before opening. "Merry Christmas, Mr Keller," she said greeting him in what sounded to her like her mother's tone of voice, "and welcome to our soiree. I'm Tanya. Nice to meet you." And other such small talk.

Edited by Heartbreaker

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GM

 

The small talk was blown by the explosion of man through the door. A shortish, blond young man with a scrubbed, round pink face and a gaudy green-and-red checkered suit torn at the knees and elbows. A shallow burn shone red on his face. He half-rolled, half-somersaulted into the foyer, grabbed the door and flung it shut with a BANG that seemed to shake the house, cutting conversation abruptly short.

 

Trembling, Ferdie turned to his hostess, green eyes wide and staring. "H-h-hello, T-Tany-a-a-a," he managed, forcing the words out through chattering teeth. "Damned cold. I...I have an announcement."

 

Turning to the assembled guests, and to statuesque Aaliyah as she strode into the room, all silk and business, Ferdie raised his voice into a quavering shout "Excuse me! I am not crazy!"

 

Silence, with a few snickers, greeted him. Casting about at the crowd of impassive, well-dressed guests, the young man added desperately "There is an angel after me! He's going to kill us all!"

 

Aaliyah frowned, just a little, and glanced questioningly at Her daughter. Aloud she said "Mr. Kreller, if you'll follow my butler to the lounge, you can have a lie down by the fire." Her butler, crisp and looming Mason, had appeared as if from nowhere, grey-streaked mustache bristling slightly as he took the arm of Ferdinand and led him out of the room, deeper into the house. The chatter and laughs resumed as the party began to head back to their seats, the brief entertainment over. 

 

Aaliyah didn't join them, not yet. "Can you feel anything?" she whispered, eyes flicking to the walls and ceiling.

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This was not an entrance, this seemed more like an intrusion. At least the glass was in place. 'Ferdie' was cold. And possibly crazy. Well, not to his own admission. She wanted to say so much, but he had the floor. An angel? Granted she was half demon, and didn't doubt they existed, but she had never seen the holies up close and personal.

 

When her mother asked for a reading of the area, she hook her head, "nope. Nothing here. Yet?" She grinned mischievously, "though I've seen weirder. Like a ranting and raving man who almost broke our door. He better have a good lawyer. I mean what will the neighbors think? We invite loonies in our house? Tsk. And this is the guy you wanted grandchildren from. I'm sure all the little buggers will be high as a kite." Aaliyah knew her daughter's rapid fire delivery was all in jest but seeing as it was in front of the guests.

 

Tanya would have kept going but her mother's stern glare. She rolled her eyes, "shutting up now."

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GM

 

Aaliyah's mouth pursed, and she was about to reply when

 

"HOLD"

 

fell into the gap like the Theia collision. The voice was brilliant, warm and lovely as a supernova. Every human in the house faltered, staring about themselves. Down the hall, Tanya could hear Ferdinand's horrified shriek.

The air quavered, shimmered, and tore as an angel stepped into the room.

 

It was tall, impossibly so, and Tanya could feel her eyes smart as the walls receded and the ceiling fled so as not to confine the divine being rearing in the air before her. Their skin was as a bouquet of crystal, facets searing with light emanating from some inner source, their hair was as some nebula of fire and their eyes 

 

"I AM JUDGMENT"

 

were dark, bottomless windows to the Abyss. Where those eyes were Tanya couldn't immediately place, as they seemed to dominate all else if one were careless enough to meet their emptiness.

 

Presumably, the seven swaying pillars of metal flailing behind them were wings of some sort.

 

"I AM DESTRUCTION"

 

One titanic limb, tipped in whorls of dragonlike maws, lifted to point accusingly at everyone at once.

 

"I AM SARIEL. YOUR ENDS ARE NOW, SINNERS."

 

For a moment everyone paused to see if Sariel would say anything else. When that proved not to be the case, the entire party flew into pandemonium. In a mad rush for windows, doors, anywhere that seemed like an escape route, tables were overturned, vases shattered and debris scattered in every direction as the humans ran from the giant. Sariel, for their part, remained in place, implacable as they were unmoving.

 

The guests quickly discovered that nothing opened, the walls were suddenly harder than iron, the glass of windows stood unshaken despite frantic attack, and every staircase and open doorway simply carried them right back into the rooms they had just left. In the space of thirty seconds, the mad flight was reduced to shivering balls hiding behind whatever seemed the most promising defence against a massive superbeing. 

 

After Freedom City, such a display of raw panic seemed almost comical to Tanya, and beside her her mother rallied from a moment of shocked silence. Approaching the angel gingerly, the hostess asked "Why?"

 

The angel's face was impossible to read, as it appeared to occupy space beyond human perception, but the voice was faintly confused

 

"YOU SHELTER AN EVILDOER. FERDINAND HOPSLEY KRELLER. HE HAS SLAIN TEN BILLION INNOCENTS."

"No I didn't!" Ferdinand's face was pale as death when it popped around a doorframe, and vanished when a great black eye shifted its orbit to observe him, but he added "I've never killed anyone!"

His trembling hand swung out to point blindly into the room, happening to direct itself at Tanya "Ask! You'll see!"

 

Sariel looked, for all the world like Hell Girl was a speck on a microscope slide.

 

"SPEAK"

 

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