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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

Angels Would Fall



“Jack!” cried Khyrisse, running across the Dalencian chapel to him. He seemed to be herding a pig through the pews. This place just got stranger every time the sorceress turned around. “Are you all right? Ebreth... where’s Ebreth?”

“Uh,” Jack balked, his entire face turning red.

“What?” Khyrisse looked down at herself. She was stark naked, except for a pair of high-heeled boots. “What the fl--”

“Nice boots,” Asinus complimented helpfully, grinning around his cigar.

“Oh, for--” Khyrisse concentrated impatiently until she was wearing her red and gold kimono. Obviously his attitude was independent of the literal jackass form, because he looked like the same older human he manifested as in her dream spell. “We’re in a church, Asinus. Can’t you get your mind out of the gutter for five minutes?”

“Hell no. If that’s gonna be my test, I’m a dead man.”

“I can only imagine,” Khyrisse sighed. “Jack... have you seen Ebreth?”

“He’s the pig,” Jack explained.

Khyrisse whirled, her eyes widening.

“Aithne and I had a little, ah, miscommunication,” Ebreth said.

Khyrisse laughed and cried in a single sound, the last of her tension dying a martyred death on the spears of this final absurdity. “Oh, thank the gods you’re all right!” she gasped in a relieved rush, falling to her knees to fling her arms rather comically around the swine. “I--I’d been afraid I...” She shook her head to head off the babbling monologue that was threatening to pour out of her for the next fifteen minutes straight. “It’s all right now,” Khyrisse summarized. “Where’s Aithne?”

“We ran away from her,” Ebreth admitted. “She was kicking our ass. Maybe she’ll listen to you. You don’t, ah... happen to have a dispel on hand, do you?”

“Yes, but it won’t work on witch magic. The spell duration shouldn’t be more than half an hour.”

Ebreth nodded his pig head. “How did you all get in here, anyway?” he wanted to know. “Brett said this was some mystical... something or other... beyond the reach of mortal men.”

“Garal helped us break in. The Concierge was... not pleased.” Khyrisse rolled her eyes. “She was extremely rude, in fact. If she didn’t want me mucking around in here, she shouldn’t have scarpered off with my husband. I went to Hell to get you, and I abandoned my divinity to keep you; did she really think I was going to roll over for some fairy bed and breakfast???”

Ebreth regarded her with his squinty pig eyes. “You’re... in a really good mood,” he observed, a little surprised.

“I’ll tell you all about it after we get everyone the flark out of here.” She gave him a little kiss on the top of the head. “Right now I’m just glad you’re here.”

“Excuse me,” said Asinus, something strained in his voice, and went stalking off through the chapel doors with an uncharacteristic ferocity.

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