Chapter One

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"You think they knew you were coming?" Bath-Kol asked. She sat beside Cam on a sofa. The early morning light streamed into the room, growing increasingly warmer.

Cam shook his head and felt a dull throbbing. Not the sensation of a demon's presence, but a headache from lack of sleep - a necessity of the human side within them all.

"I don't know," Cam said. "I don't think so. Think we surprised them."

In the far corner, Rathanael stood quietly, looking out the large windows, taking in one of his preferred moments of silence. While age had no relevance to Angels, his appearance was older than the others, perhaps middle-aged for a human. His powerful, muscular frame still contained an infinite amount of energy, however; the source of Light that never waned.

"We'll have Sarak on Zuriea's team speak to the Prime Minister's people," Bath said. "Hopefully he can dampen some of the fallout."

Cam sighed. He had given enough excuses in the past about why a battle had escalated and caused public destruction.

Bath looked over the heavy notebook in her lap. "What do you make of this?" she asked, her voice careful, delicate.

"It's definitely Balthiour's," Cam said. "I was looking over it last night."

Bath's eyes softened. "Did you sleep at all?"

Cam turned away and stood up, facing the large windows. Their apartment looked over the River Liffey, high-rise glass buildings around them reflecting the rising sun.

"It goes a while back," Cam said. "From when he was infected. Maybe he wanted to document his findings." He turned to face her. "But Bal told me that he didn't know he had been scratched until it was too late, and then was too afraid to tell anyone. This book says otherwise. He knew he was scratched, the demon's darkness infecting him, and he allowed it to happen. He wanted it to happen."

Bath sighed and stood up, stepping towards him. "Balthiour was a coward. He could have sought help, but he chose to go down the path he did."

Cam rubbed his eyes, then met Bath's careful gaze. "How is Nathaneal?"

She nodded. "He will be fine. Duma and Haziel are looking over him. You brought him back to me in time to administer the healing. But he will be out for days, maybe weeks."

Cam nodded, looking down. All it took was a scratch from a demon to infect an angel, corrupting them with a darkness that slowly seeped into their light. Balthiour was the last of them to have been corrupted.

A door opened and Lahabiel entered, carrying a tray with cups and a pot, followed by Chayyliel.

"Morning, Camael," Lahabiel said softly, laying the tray on a table beside the sofa. Her movements were careful and elegant, with a grace that only an angel could wield.

Cam smiled at her approach. Whenever he was around Bath and Lahabiel he felt a calm sort of protection, like home. Likely because the two of them were always present in their hideouts - a constant support - administering aid to injured brethren or looking through old tomes, never entering battles themselves.

Chayyliel sat on a large chair beside the sofa and reached for the tray. For a giant, overly-muscled man, bald and bearded, he almost looked comical pouring a little teapot.

"How are you?" Lahabiel asked Cam, smoothing out her dress.

"Empowered by the sun," Cam said, giving her a smile.

Lahabiel frowned with mock sternness. "Aren't we all, today." She rubbed Cam's arm. "Tea is ready. Come."

Cam sat with them, stretching the ache in his muscles, and allowed the others to talk. There was a lot to discuss and plan on the Summer Solstice. Rathanael eventually joined them after Lahabiel sternly insisted. Bath played with her long braid - currently coloured purple and red - her fidgeting a sign of worry.

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