A triumvirate of statuesque figures stood in a circle talking. Each one’s back was adorned with great white wings, feathered like an angel's. There was tension in the air as they discussed what to do about Orchid. The two men in the conversation firmly argued while the third, a woman, remained silent despite an obvious internal conflict.
The first of the two men was slightly taller and with an ornate suit of plate mail which was embossed with images of past battles. Each section of the armour marked a pivotal moment in time where this angel had been present and fighting. Slung across his back was a gigantic sword that practically reached the ground. His hair was a fiery russet that fell to his shoulders, his eyes a steely grey that denoted both age and status. “There is no question about what we have to do. The fallen known as Orchid may still remember pieces of her time among us. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but she once numbered among the handful of Sentinels in our army. She was privy to information most weren’t… mainly how to open a portal to celestial realms. I’m sorry Jelaste I know what she means to you, but she has to die before the demons get everything out of her. That much is clear”
“She doesn’t remember, Laurent, and you know it! I was there when we took her memories; we both were. One moment she stared at me with pleading eyes; tempestuous ones that swam with grief and regret... the next she looked at me like I was a stranger. My years of mentoring her gone, vanished. I refuse to believe that she needs to die!” the second male angel spoke passionately. He had the looks of a typical blond farm hand, chiselled and naïve. His clear blue eyes glistened in the light with the slightest moisture; even angels bore attachments. His armour was somewhat less decorated, with far fewer images on it.
Laurent leaned back slightly, correcting his posture and curled his lips into a small frown before speaking, “The risk is too great Jelaste. The process is not absolute, and if there are any traces left of those memories it could lead to open war. Earth is lost, but when we are prepared we will reclaim it on behalf of the mortals… Once there are none left, and not a moment before. Virtue hangs in the balance; we have to believe the will of humans to survive is too strong to be broken. This is their hour and not ours; not Orchid’s either. She will not be the one to save them.”
“Evalle back me up here! Orchid was your best friend once upon a time. I know she’s not among us anymore, but she will always be one of the pupils closest to my heart. Don’t let her stand alone! I would make this sacrifice…” Jelaste’s words were rife with urgency, knowing that the decision would be left in Evalle’s hands with the two men in disagreement.
Evalle bore her own style, one that was uncustomary for an angel of her stature. Her hair had several layers of mismatched colour that she had altered with a simple cantrip. Naturally she was blond and added layers of orange and teal. Her armour’s images had been hand painted on by an artist in the human realms. It was well documented that Evalle had spent more time than she should have among humans for rather unprofessional reasons. She motioned with both hands outwards towards each opposed angel. “Two points with one to each extreme. I’d like to propose an alternative that will impose a little intuition and trust on your parts,” the words were spoken in an intentionally even-handed fashion. “Orchid’s fate rests in our hands, and we can’t deny that there is still good in her... misguided, but good. We will assault her captors. If rescue is possible then we will do that, and keep her in our custody until we can help her reclaim her virtues. If we are fighting a losing battle, and our hands forced, then... destroy her. I trust you can both adhere to this compromise?”
Evalle’s answer caused herself a twinge of pain. The stance she felt forced to take on Orchid didn’t fall in line with her own feelings, not in the least. She was the one who had Orchid cast out of the celestial realms in the first place. She tried to tell herself that being loyal beyond question to Orchid after that was an act of futility. Nor could she picture there being any forgiveness in her former best friend, and behind closed doors, the love of her afterlife.
Jelaste and Laurent looked at each other with hardened stares, but ultimately agreed to Evalle’s suggestion. Orchid would live or die and none of them knew which it would be.