Feathers

✧ In the House of Cosmos, the Cherubim - one of the High Orders of Angels in the heavenly hierarchy - are training newborn Angels to take over the posts that were left open when God threw the traitors from Heaven. But can the eternally adolescent divines ever live up to the great expectations? Will any of them be suited to fill out the posts of the High Orders, or will the Cherubim have to throw them all down to earth as Guardians? And what happens if one of them is playing with the same thoughts that once led Lucifer to his rebellion? ✧

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4. Flee


"Raph, what's the meaning of your name?" Iofiel asked. Raphael, Iofiel, Evangeline, Charmaine, Gabriel, Leilah and a few other angels were gathered in the courtyard. Shekinah had just finished her lecture on names and their use. 

"Divine healer" Raphael responded. He was pleased with her curiosity, but not with the reason behind. He knew that Iofiel was into him not because of vane assumption, but because her friend Anahita had told him a few days earlier. He scratched his head uncomfortably. He didn't like that kind of attention. Not when he didn't requite her feelings. 

"Charmaine, what about yours?" he asked, redirecting the attention the best he could.

"I don't know, actually" she said wonderingly, "I might ask Shekinah about it"

"Gabriel?" Raphael continued.

"It means strength of God" Gabriel replied proudly. 

"Did you know that Gabriel is also a girls name?" Leilah said sharply. "Gabriel was an Archangel, a messenger, but she fell with Lucifer"

"Don't say his name" Evangeline shuddered. Leilah rolled her eyes. 

"Oh come on, Angie. Do you think the Thrones will throw us out for saying his name?" she sneered. 

"I'm not afraid what the Thrones will do. I just don't like the sound of it" Evangeline argued.

"Don't worry, Ev. You're with the strength of God, remember?" Gabriel smiled and gave her back a reassuring pat. Evangeline brushed a strand of platinum blond hair from her face and smiled back.

"I'm hungry" Iofiel announced, "Raph, wanna go with me to the Fountain?"

Raphael's eyes flew across his friends hoping that one of them would come up with a reason for him not to go, but of course they didn't. They had no idea what horror it brought him to be alone with a flirting girl.

"Oh, sure" he said, trying not to let his unwillingness show. Iofiel grabbed his forearm with both her hands as they walked away from the others.

"So" she said, "what post are you aiming for?"

It was a common question for the newborn angels. After all, that was the goal of the House of Cosmos; educating them and selecting them for the posts that were left unassigned when Lucifer fell, pulling one third of the angels with him.

"None yet" he answered honestly.

"I'm aiming for Virtue" Iofiel said, running a hand through her rusty mane. "Maybe you should too? I mean, they say that Virtues are usually artists, musicians and healers when roaming the Earth"

"Maybe I should" he agreed, confused by her behavior. The education at the House of Cosmos is divided into three parts. A theoretical part with lectures in human and angelic culture, tradition and the alikes, a practical part with physical training and testing missions, and a specialized part. The first two overlaps briefly. The newborn angels were almost at that point. Just another week until their practice began. Another five weeks from then, the Cherubim would expect them to have an aim - a post they wanted to man after three months of specialized training. If, of course, they were found suitable.

"What do you want?" Iofiel asked, interrupting his thoughts. It took him a few moments to realize she was talking about food. They were in the queue to The Fountain, the cafeteria of the House of Cosmos. It was a beautiful stand in the middle of the courtyard with water running down the marble sides and gold painted detailing. 

"A shake, I think" Raphael answered. The Fountain served a great variation of food from both Earth and Heaven.

"What kind?" Iofiel pressed.

"Uh... Evesfruit, I guess" 

The fruit that Eve ate to have herself and Adam banned from the Garden of Eden was later named after her, and it was quite popular among the divines.

"Ooooh" Iofiel beamed, "the forbidden fruit"

She winked, causing Raphael to quickly look away.

"Raph!"

He was pleased to see Charmaine to his rescue. 

"Hey, Charmaine"

"Hi. Can I stand with you guys?" she asked, bushing a lock of golden brown hair behind her ear

"Of course you can" Raphael answered, followed by an almost inaudible snort from Iofiel.

"Gabriel sent me, he's hungry too" she smiled and chuckled. She and Raphael shared a moment of eye contact that, to his great pleasure, made Iofiel back off a bit. 

"What can I get you guys?" the silver-haired, yet smooth-skinned, woman in the Fountain asked with a smile.

"A sprout bun, three donuts, a chocolate shake, an evesfruit shake and... What are you having?" Charmaine finished, looking back at the two others.

"Another evesfruit shake" Raphael responded.

"And a fruit salad" Iofiel said sulkily. 

The woman disappeared to prepare their food. 

"You're having the same as me!" Charmaine exclaimed happily, then proceeded to reach up and wrap her arms around his neck. Raphael winced internally. After what seemed like way too long, the woman returned with the food and Raphael grabbed the chance.

"Well, I'm going back to the dorm" he said, quickly reaching for his shake.

"You're not going to help me back?"

"Iofiel will help you. See you later!"

And with that, he hurried away, eager to hide himself in his studies where no women could get to him.

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