Chapter VII

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Azazel's Chamber

"Gabriel...brother, welcome." Azazel slowly bowed maintaining his focus on the angelic Messenger of God. The archangel had diverted his gaze from the Watcher's distorted face.

Azazel straightened himself. "I understand my pretty brother. I am not as I once was and for obvious reasons. Now, my slaves tell me you arrived with a message from Heaven to me. Can I assume from your rather strange and unexpected arrival, things are not as they once were up there, either?" Azazel asked, rolling his dark eyes upward and pointing an ashy elongated finger to the sky. "Why would all of you skydwellers dare even open the gate? I was content to believe you had slapped an 'out of order' sign on this place and locked the doors for good."

Gabriel forced himself to place his gaze on Azazel. "No, no one has given up hope. This is why I am here. Our brother Michael sends me to seek your assistance."

"Assistance? The great and mighty Michael seeks my help, huh? Ah, ha ha ha..." Azazel tilted his grotesque head back as he bellowed loudly, his claw like fingers grabbed at the tattered remnants of his angelic robes.

Gabriel witnessed several of Azazel's demonic humans joining their master in laughter. The dimly lit underground chamber loudly echoed with their evil cackles.

The Watcher's chuckling slowly subsided as he turned and limped back to his nightmarish throne, a horrifically constructed chair built of skeletal remains and various skins and fur. The pelts' origins were questionable in the least. The very top of the throne adorned with a trio of human skulls. Its frame made of hundreds of meticulously arranged bones of varying shapes and sizes, each one serving a particular purpose in an intricate cascading design. The resulting aesthetic was a sinister set of angelic wings created from the bodies of the victims of Azazel's rage. These bony wings rested around the fallen Watcher as he sat, a symbolic reminder of who he was and why he was on Earth.

Azazel plopped back into the frightful seat. He lazily reclined, propping a boney leg on the back of one of his human slaves. They grunted as his heel dug into their back. Azazel then placed his chin on a fist, his elbow bent and resting on the throne's arms. He lifted his free hand and turned his palm upward fingers spread wide.

"So, Gabriel, why does my superstar brother need my help? He should understand, I prefer to stay out of human affairs and as far as the others are concerned, I don't hold as much sway over the remaining Watchers as I once did. I would be, ummm for lack of a better phrase, useless in that regard."

"No, this is all about Holok."

Azazel shifted slightly on his throne. "Oh, that fat golden bastard? I have no concern for any of that nonsense, either. Holok is too preoccupied with his addiction to pay any attention to me or any of the other Watchers. As long as we stay out of the way of his faux 'angels', he lets me and the rest of the Watchers collect the ones that run for our entertainment...like my lovely footrest here." The Watcher lifted his foot and poked the human pedestal it was resting on with a sharp pointed toenail. "It all works out for everyone."

"Well..." Gabriel quickly glanced around gauging any possibility of betrayal or potential threats to his well-being. Azazel did agree upon the angel's arrival that he would not be harmed, however, all Archangels knew that they could never truly trust the Watchers, even when they gave their word. "...The Council has voted to offer you a chance to redeem yourself and eventually the rest of the Watcher's in exchange for help in defeating..."

"Excuse me?" Azazel roared, slamming his fist down on his throne's bony armrest, forcing a cloud of dust from the structure, the particles dispersing through the air. he shot forward placing his fingers on the edges of his skeletal throne. His knuckles lightened from the force of his grip. The Watcher's eyebrows furrowed, squinting angrily at Gabriel as if contemplating his next move. His lips snarled back exposing his sharpened disgusting teeth now clinched in rage. He lifted a fist, pointing a boney finger toward the Archangel and shaking it. "...what the hell do you mean, that I need to redeem myself?" the fallen angel asked angrily, retracting his fist to pound it repeatedly against his chest. "We were not the problem! We were never the problem. It was and has always been these disgusting humans. How dare you..."

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