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Electra

It Is Well With My Soul (IC)

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The snow had hit Freedom City hard. Not quite as badly as some cities further south, but they'd gotten a few inches dumped on them, enough to make the roads treacherous and hero work a misery, even for those who were immune to most weather effects. It wasn't easy to fight crime you couldn't even see. But with the snow still falling quietly outside, it was a good night to snuggle in under the covers, or, for those who weren't sleeping types, to hole up indoors and try to relax a little.

James hadn't had as much time to relax lately as he was used to, with all the extra work he was doing outside the school, but he managed to make his way to the common room tonight, as he still did a couple of times a week. Erin was there already, like she usually was when she wasn't busy with her own training. From the look of her windburnt cheeks and hands, she'd been training tonight already, and had likely only avoided frostbite thanks to her healing abilities. She looked up from the Sunday newspaper she was reading and gave him a nod of greeting. "Hey, I see you're staying where it's warm tonight. Smart," she added with a wry grin.

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James walked over an plopped down on the couch beside her with a relaxed sigh. Making sure he spent 2 or 3 nights hanging out with Erin wasn't the easiest anymore. Combined with his school work (ha, kidding; he was doing the bare minimum needed to pass lately), his actual studying dimenional and mystical arts, patrolling for said dimensional and mystical problems (not that he had actually told most people about this new part of his life yet), and of course just going out to relax and have fun... It was definitely sucking up his time. But for Erin, he'd make the time.

"Well, it's not like the snow bothers me considering I can melt it all. But I have to admit to not being a fan of the cold. It was pretty tempting to hop down to Florida to warm up and avoid it entirely," he said chuckling. "How'd your training go? Archer have you doing something ridiculous in the Winter Wonder Land out there huh? Fighting snowmen or something?" He stretched, glancing over at the paper in her hands. That was something new. "What's with the paper? Something going on in the news?"

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"No, actually Archer's eased up on me the past month or so," she admitted. "I don't know if he's found someone new to torture, or if he finally thinks he's taught me what I need to know, but I've hardly seen him at my training sessions lately. I was doing the agility course again. Figure we'll have to fight in snow and ice once in awhile, and I don't want to look like a moron grabbing for a handhold and falling off the side of a building or something." Erin looked down at the paper. "I was just looking at this thing about that guy out in Lantern Hill. Have you heard about that yet? He's claiming to be an angel, like a real from-heaven, works-with-God kind of angel. Some people actually believe it."

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James smiled. "Sounds nice. Like an actual vacation for you." He nodded. "Good practice I suppose but I seriously doubt you'd slip. You're ridiculously agile," he said honestly.

He raised an eyebrow. "Really? Huh. I hadn't heard, but then I don't exactly read the news too much." He thought for a moment. "Anything's possible I guess. Though the very fact that we know there are multiple pantheons almost invalidates the very concept of the big G god, given the tenants and belief of the religion." He grinned. "Want to go ask him? Might be interesting. I only dabble in theology so I might learn a thing or two."

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Erin grinned, a little ruefully. "I think you sort of make theology more a way of life," she pointed out. "I guess I'm curious to see if this guy's for real, or if he's like a supertelevangelist or something. It sounds kind of stupid. I mean, if there were such a thing as real angels, why aren't they out doing miracles and saving people? Where were they when the whole city was crawling with demons? You'd think if there was any time to see a great multitude of the heavenly host, it'd be right then." She shrugged. "But it might be interesting to see what his schtick is."

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The idea of a holy angel being a glorified televangelist cracked him up. Laughing for a moment, he settled. "Yeah, I'm certain there are lots of sticky questions people would ask a real angel. Just like I'm betting there aren't going to be any solid answers either." He stood up. "So let's go see for ourselves. Does the paper say where in Lantern Hill? It's a big place..." He paused. "Wait...I bet I know. The Church. I bet he hangs out at the Church. Well, if he's there, I'll wait outside." He didn't particularly need the life drained out of him.

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"Yeah, at that church," Erin confirmed. "They've had a busy year there." She snorted. "Maybe God sent this guy down as a consolation prize for us wrecking everything up there on Halloween." Checking her watch, she glanced up at James. "You think angels have to sleep at night? We could go see if we can get a look at him. I doubt many other people are out wandering around on a night like this, so it might be the best time. The paper says a lot of people have been going to try and talk to him at the church."

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James nodded. They had certainly made a mess of things. He'd paid for the damages, anonymously of course, but there had certainly been a good amount of work to fix. He shrugged. "No idea. I kind of doubt it. But who knows? Maybe he's perched in the bell tower or something if he does sleep." He chuckled. "Somehow I'm willing to bet he'll see us." A half-demon prince and a soul from a lost world. Yeah, that might bump them to the front of the line, if there was one.

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It was a clear, cold night as the two teens headed for the church, the snow that had been falling all day having finally come to an end after supper. The old neighborhood around them was quiet and still, covered by the cold, clear embrace of winter. The church in Lantern Hill was still active as they got close, though, the light shining through the newly-rebuilt stained glass windows in a cheerful, welcoming sort of way. As they watched, a winged figure wearing metal armor swooped down from the clouded sky overhead and landed by the church doors, letting himself in. There were no cars in the lot, though; evidently the church itself wasn't that crowded.

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Erin paused for a moment, a few hundred yards from the church, to take in the scene. "They're open late," she commented. "Or the angel guy likes to keep the lights on. Guess he doesn't have to worry about anyone coming in to rob the collection plate." With a shrug, she began heading towards the church again. "I'll stick my head in and see if I can get him to come outside, so you don't have to yell through a window or something. Just try not to get in a fight with him," she teased.

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James looked up from the parking lot as the winged being flew inside. "Apparently. Do they ofter evening mass?" Obviously, James was not a church goer. He grinned at her. "I'll wait over here," he said moving to lean against a light pole. "Fight? What fight? We're just here to meet 'em. You're more likely to start fights than me....usually," he added ruefully.

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Erin gave him a humorous look. "Since when do I start fights?" she asked archly. "I just finish the fights other people start. Anyway, you know what I mean." She left him standing at the door and walked into the church, pausing just inside to instinctively suss out the tactical situation, just in case. If she were going to be in a fight with a flier, she decided, this wouldn't be the worst place to do it. The pews provided plenty of cover, and there was statuary and other paraphernalia for missiles if necessary... not that she was looking for a fight. But it never hurt to be prepared.

There was no one immediately in view from the doors, so she took a few steps further in. "Hello?" she called tentatively.

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"Hello!" Freedom Angel had turned at the sound of the door opening, his keen ears easily catching it, and started flying quickly as he heard someone call out for him. He didn't really have room to fly outside the main sanctuary, so instead he walked up to the young woman who'd just entered. "My name is Heyzel. What can I do for you?"

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Dressed in jeans, a red sweater, and an unzipped blue winter coat, Erin looked like a regular high school student, not like much of a hero. Even so, for some reason she felt reluctant to give her real name. I'm Wander," she told the man. He looked the part of an angel, that was for sure, but that didn't mean much, especially in a place like Freedom City. "My friend and I read about you in the paper, and we wanted to talk to you. He's waiting outside. Will you talk to us?"

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"Certainly," said Heyzel without hesitation. He could sense the hesitation around her name, but if she chose to give a false one, that was her concern. "If you'd rather we use nicknames, by the way, you can call me Freedom Angel." He smiled at her and called through the door. "Come in, we have the place to ourselves! I've been working on making pies for the bake sale. It's very interesting, I've never actually made food before."

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"Um, he can't come in," Erin said hesitantly. "It's sort of an allergy thing. Can you come outside and talk to us?" It sounded a little suspicious, even to her, but hey, if he was an angel, he shouldn't have anything to be afraid of, right? "It won't take very long." She studied the "angel" as he decided, trying to make up her mind about him. He was beautiful enough to be an angel from a painting, but then again, so was James.

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Freedom Angel gave Wander a serious look at that, but said sincerely, "I'm always happy to help those in need." He took a few steps and walked out the door, taking off a few feet in the air to get a better look at the area. When he caught sight of James, he seemed to freeze, fluffy white wings spreading out behind him and square jaw setting in a way that didn't look entirely friendly.

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James waited patiently, just leaning against the lamppost in the parking lot. He could be patient without too much trouble. He figured they show up, raz whoever guys was and have some fun. Maybe got get some food afterwards. Just another fun evening with Erin.

But when the guy stepped out, James knew, down to the depths of his being, that this guy wasn't just some pretender with powers. It had nothing to do with his training or learning or arcane knowledge. This was something deeper, instinctual. This Freedom Angel was the real thing. And James had this sudden urge to reach out and smashing the wings right off. He had no idea why but just the sight of the Angel filled him with Hate. Like 'I want to destroy everything about you until there aren't even atoms left' kind of hate. He hadn't felt like this since he had lost himself, before the YF crew brought him back. But he was about a half second from calling up his power to burn that thing to ASH!

James blinked, realizing what he had been about to do. No! That's not what he did. He'd never met this guy. He was not going to be controlled or directed by anything ever again. But he still couldn't deny that the sight of the angel just filled him with anger. He frowned for a moment before burying it beneath his regular poker face before a little ghost of a smile returned to his face. Just because he wasn't going to succumb to what was inside him didn't mean he couldn't still have a little fun. After all, that's why they had come here after all.

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Erin looked at the angel guy's suddenly combative posture, then at James' momentary expression of rage. She quickly stepped into the space between the two of them, hoping to defuse things before anyone made an aggressive move. She suspected that if they really wanted to, James could teleport or Freedom Angel could dive bomb, but hopefully it wouldn't come to that. "This is Hellion, my teammate," she told Freedom Angel matter-of-factly. "We're students at Claremont Academy. We wanted to know if you're really an angel."

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"I am Heaven's ambassador to the Material Plane," said Freedom Angel with great clarity, watching Hellion with the calm, poised awareness of a hunter facing off against a big cat. "An angeloi, born of Heavenly parents, in the world beyond this one." He cocked his head, giving Hellion a measured look. "You're a cambion," he said suddenly. "One of your kind was here a few weeks ago. Are you with her?"

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James nodded and responded to Erin. "Oh, he's an celestial alright; straight from heaven. One of them anyway," he said with a wry grin.

He never let his gaze move from the angel. Some of those goodie-goodie idiots were a tad to overzealous with the 'purging of the evil' nonsense. "That narrowed it down. You might want to be a bit specific as to which 'her' you're talking about. Was she here for confession or something? Or just seeing if you were the real deal," he asked curiously, his little smile still there. He didn't bother to answer what he was. While half-breeds weren't exactly numerous, there were a few around. But James was far from just any 'ordinary' half-demon, but he wasn't about to mention that. If the angel didn't start swinging before that, that particular bit of info almost certainly would cause him too.

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Erin blinked at that, turning to regard the angel all over again. "So are you from, like, the Christian heaven?" she pressed, studying the self-proclaimed emissary. "The one in the Bible? Where were you guys back in November, anyway?" That just sort of popped out, but she was very curious.

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"An allergy, indeed," Freedom Angel quoted Wander's words from a few moments earlier. Despite his own inclinations to the contrary, the cambion didn't seem to have any particular hostile intent, beyond a brief innate reaction that Heyzel himself had frankly shared. Though he spoke to Wander, his eyes didn't waver for more than a second from the lurking figure of Hellion. "There is no God but the Creator," Freedom Angel confirmed for Wander, "and thousands of years ago the Creator walked the Earth in the form of a man to speak the Logos to Creation. As for the incident in November, the forces of righteousness prevailed, defeating the Adversary, undoing his works, and striking at his very heart. Preventing any further such incidents was one of the last impetuses for my mission."

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James just chuckled. "Yeah, well you can believe whatever you like. Extra-planar visitors have that right, just the same as the rest of us. But there is empirical evidence, not to mention a few billion people with faith enough to say otherwise." He wasn't an expert on theology by any stretch of the imagination, though he knew a few things. But it didn't take theologian to point out the flaws as he had.

He was a little surprised that Erin mentioned the whole thing right off the bat, not that he could blame her. He certainly wasn't going to mention the truths from that event. "Yeah, so, like every other pantheon, yours took a seat and watched from the sidelines. Now you're here to stop it or other evils from happening? Glad you could get into the game. Better late than never I suppose." It was a cheap shot. But he couldn't help it. Besides, it was kind of fun to mess with the angel.

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"Has Hell touched you for so long that all you can feel is the lick of its flames?" asked Freedom Angel sadly. "You may have the blood of the Adversary in your veins, Hellion, but Heaven's mercy is for you, too. As for the religions of the world, the Creator is not so blind as to turn away from the righteous of the world because of the name they give him and the words they use to sing his praises." Not enough to turn _them_ away, anyway. "As for the other 'pantheons' of the world, I have nothing but respect for righteous beings like Horus of Heliopolis and Baldur of the Aesir. Nevertheless, they are not gods. There is but one of those."

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