Information



Gabriello


The Harvest Jollin
Owner: Iridescent

Age: 3 years, 11 months, 1 week

Born: January 3rd, 2016

Adopted: 3 years, 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Adopted: February 19th, 2016


Pet Spotlight Winner
April 15th

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Chapter 1- Chapter 2- Chapter 3- Chapter 4- Credits

Chapter 1

Pale orange sunlight slanted through the clear panes of glass in the artist’s home. A couple of the windows were open, inviting in the muted sounds of the city, and the gentle summer breeze. The warm wooden floors and desk glowed like honey and the metal frames of the inventions scattered about reflected brightly. The ceiling was hung with various apparatuses of all kinds. There were kites and flying devices, small sailboats, and curious contraptions. Their sails and wings were made of lightweight paper or cloth. A few swayed delicately as the white curtains puffed out, showing the bright blue sky, and dust motes danced with them.

Gabriello's quaint house was both home and art studio. Many buildings in this part of town had shops on the main floor, with living accommodations above. The door of the cozy house was on the side and opened onto a narrow alley which met up with the Venetian street in front. Going the other way it led to the backyard where he kept an unkempt "garden" of long grass and wild shrubbery. The twisting branches of his neighbor's trees curled down over the tall privacy fence. It was a nice part of town, busy with up-and-comers and families. The people greeted one another with a friendly ‘Ciao!’ as they passed by on the streets.

Gabriello was humming a concerto to himself as he worked on his latest invention. He was using mirrors, magnifying glasses, a telescope, various crystals and devices built out of gears and clockwork, and things that he’d made that didn’t even have names yet. He was using three different diagrams that he’d sketched himself, all of different angles, all explaining the various mechanics and theories of his new idea. The well-worn parchment was marked with pencil and eraser, there were many places he’d adjusted the formulas and design, changing it as he went along.

He’d come up with this new idea a couple of weeks ago while admiring prisms in a shop and loved how the light would refract and bend. He carefully placed the final flat piece of glass over the cog on the floor. Giddy with excitement he held his hands together to keep from flailing them in joy. Well, he waved them just a little bit, and also let out a trill of triumph, he couldn’t help himself. It was finally done! He gingerly stepped around the device to where the ‘on’ switch was. He reached out a hand and flicked the button up. Nothing happened. He raised his eyebrows. He flicked the switch off and on a few times. Nothing. He left it in the up position and began checking the device to see if there was a cog stuck or a wire displaced. He wasn’t completely out of options yet.

Everything seemed to look just fine, it was all running smoothly, perfectly actually. Except that nothing was happening. He turned and looked over at his notes, thinking in his head, it should be right, but … He went over to the desk and stared down at the page. Nothing new to see, nothing jumped out at him as a major design flaw. This should all be right. He went back a few pages but everything looked just as it had an hour ago. He went back all the way to the beginning of his notes and his earlier experiments with the items individually. Those all worked just as they were meant to. So, what the hell?

The sun was setting as he finally gave up for the day. He’d told his friend Mercutial that he’d meet up for a drink tonight. He sighed and pushed the papers towards the back of the desk. He reached out to pull one back- And stood up quickly, no more getting sucked in, time to leave!

“No more, no more!” he said aloud to the swiftly falling night, “Time to go!”

He ended up at The Belladonna with Mercutial and the normal rowdy gang of drinking buddies. He was always happiest when he could buy his friends a round of drinks. That meant his inventions and paintings were doing well and that he was semi-wealthy at least for that moment which in turn meant, lots of drinks and lots of fun!

The bands were wild that night! Torce had flirted his way into trying out a cello and then claimed he’d fallen in love with its deep, rich tones. Honestly it sounded like a dying whale but nevertheless he refused to let go of the thing! It took the bouncer, the musician, and getting kicked out before he gave the damn thing up again! The sight of the man hugging it around the middle like a chubby mistress yelling, “We love each other!” Was enough to send him into another fit of giggles.

He hummed under his breath as he strolled through the warm, dark streets. He felt bold and adventurous, the night only seemed to energize him. As he stepped into his home he waved his fingers at the candles to light them. Nothing happened. Ah well, I tried, he giggled to himself. He lit the lanterns and candles and walked over to the telescope. He peered inside for a moment. The familiar constellations shone back at him.

“Hello friends! Nice to see you this evening. You’re all looking very grand and sprightly!”

He poured himself a glass of wine and stretched out in his favorite chair, swirling the red liquid around and watching it lap the sides like a miniature whirlpool. Everything was blurred with a rich golden haze, the wine made his blood feel alive, and his thoughts were content. He leaned back and closed his eyes, he let out a sleepy sigh and opened them again. His gaze fell upon his earlier, unsuccessful, experiment. And there goes my peace of mind… He thought to himself.

Huffing with the effort of getting upright he went over to the device, if it was in a roundabout way that was fine, at least he didn’t fall over. He took another sip of the wine when he realized it was still in his hand and smiled. Drinking and talking to himself he began turning knobs and twisting pieces, sometimes using various parts or the wine glass as a baton, with which to direct the wild symphony he heard in his head. The relative quiet was interrupted as he sung aloud at unexpected moments.

The room and his head spun as he he forgo his earlier blueprints in a frenzy. He heard a ticking type of noise, he slid the gear down and as it rested in place they all began to move. He’d forgotten the machine was in the ‘on’ position. He stumbled over to switch it off and go to sleep when he saw a strange oblong light being reflected from one of the glasses onto the floor.

He shuffled towards it and ran his hands through red hair that was already standing out at all angles from his head. It was a pretty reflection, but stupid really. Still, he smiled at it, it did give him a silly sense of accomplishment. He stood next to it and then went to the machine. Of course he had to move things around, see if he could get it to project anywhere else. He aimed the reflection at the wall by moving the mirrored glass and saw something unexpected. He almost jumped out of his skin when he suddenly saw a bent humanoid shape in the golden frame reflecting on his wall. Holy shit! What was that thing!? He jarred the glass, moving it, and the distorted man shape was gone. Suddenly afraid he moved the glass carefully back but there was nothing there. I’m too fucking drunk for this. He turned the machine off and went to sleep.

He woke up the next day with a sickening hangover, the details from the night before were fuzzy, but he couldn’t help but look at his new invention suspiciously before leaving the house. The next few days were busy with painting commissions but something gnawed at him. He knew he’d seen something grotesque. Had it been a person? No matter how he tried he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Even thinking about it meant that he was entertaining the idea that what he had seen was real. And it couldn’t possibly be. It wasn’t. He was drunk, and seeing things, and it was probably just a dream!

The first chance he got he tried it again. No matter what he did he couldn’t get it to replicate what he thought he remembered. He even tried getting drunk again but that didn’t work. Maybe it was all in his head! Out of sheer obstinance he kept trying it over and over again. Determined, (and more than a little obsessed), he made a compact version so he could move it around easier. Once he got started, it wasn't as difficult as he'd thought. It was rectangular shaped and he made the housing out of lightweight sheets of metal and leather with stronger alloys along the seams and bottom to keep it safe but manageable. The eye pieces looked ridiculous to him but he could always change the design as he went, he reasoned. Once it was finished, he brought it out to the garden. His neighbor’s dog, Scout, was happy about that and kept trying to sniff, and take it away. For some reason the cute brown fur ball believed that everything on the block was his. To be fair he was a frequent visitor in a few homes, everyone loved having him over. To avoid doggy teeth marks he brought it out to the street with him. He still saw nothing interesting through the lenses. Nothing.

Later that week, feeling frustrated after looking like an idiot all day holding the contraption to his face, he stopped at the winery. He bought two bottles and opened one on the way home, device in one hand, and bottle in the other. It was late afternoon and he was tired and sweaty. He stopped on one of the many bridges arching over the deep grey green rivers and took another swig. He half missed his mouth and swore aloud as used his shirt to clean the device. He leaned it on top of the bridge and almost fell into the water when he looked down and saw something in the reflective circle dancing upon the dark rippling waves.

Holy fucking mother of mercy. Shocked, he adjusted the lens and made the frame bigger. His eyes boggled. Underneath him, sedately swimming in place, was a sea serpent. He froze, soaking up every aspect of it, holding his breath. It was huge, it took up over a third of the river. Its skin was grey, dark green, and leathery. The middle was the roundest and he could see the start of a tail towards the end of the oval. He tilted the lens forward and followed the long graceful neck to a reptilian head. He gulped and remembered to breathe. Very carefully he moved the lens to the side and thought he saw something smaller and snakelike sliding up the sea monster’s side. The machine almost fell into the water again when the first beast he'd seen suddenly moved as quickly as lightening. He saw a flash of teeth as it snaked out at the shadow he’d seen trying to get past it. He took the machine off the ledge. What the hell was going on?

Next- Chapter 2


Chapter 1- Chapter 2- Chapter 3- Chapter 4- Credits

Chapter 2

It took a few more days but he finally figured out the combination that allowed him to see the creatures. It was very tricky. The first important ingredient was the wine that had to “anoint” the machine. (Anoint sounded much better than spilled on.) He also called it that because it had to be a certain Merlot Celeste, a dark red wine made on the slopes of Italy, tended to by holy monks. The entire vineyard was blessed daily. No other wine or beverage would work. The second discovery was that it wasn’t so much that the machine made things appear, but that the device would show him if something was there. He was still trying to figure out exactly what he was seeing though.

So far it had been very hit or miss. He could more or less see the sea serpents just by walking through town along the river long enough. He spent time at the park, and once he thought he saw something brightly colored flying by, but it was gone before he could really see it. The moon seemed to play some factor as well, a discovery that had taken the whole month for him to confirm. He’d devised another compact version of the lenses that would allow him to easily carry them upon himself. They'd been crafted to look very similar to binoculars, except that this had various levels and hidden machinery. When asked what it was he told folks that the device helped him find the best light to paint in. If they thought he was peculiar before, now he was downright strange. None of that mattered though! Discoveries abounded for Gabriello. Pixies that glowed with sparkling dust were real! Tiny, colorful dragons glittered in the sunlight and perched in the trees. Tall, black, horse-like beasts, with faces like ravens existed and so many more. He watched them as they walked through places he could never see no matter how much he adjusted his device.

That night he’d been out trying to see whatever he could under the full moon. During his wanderings he ran into his buddies who naturally lured him into a nearby tavern. He lost the entire night to an unproductively good time. He was at home now and once more sitting in his favorite chair, drinking the wine of the heavens, when suddenly it came to him- the vision he’d had the very first time he’d been using the device and saw the lurking shadow man. The memory was distant but the feeling of something being unnatural about it lingered in his senses. What he’d originally thought of as drunken visions might have some real backing to it. That was what had really been keeping him so steadfastly trying to duplicate the experiment in the first place. To prove to himself that he HAD seen something, that he wasn’t crazy, but in the barrage of experiments and observations he’d done in the last weeks he’d actually forgotten about it. Just now he wasn't sure he wanted to be right anymore.

It was strange really. Now here he was, sitting in the same place, but knowing that he had something no one else had. Something he could barely describe, that filled his waking hours with activity and theories, and kept him from sleep. Yet, he’d never used it inside his house since that first night. Maybe deep down he’d been afraid to. He tried to shrug off the feeling of dread that came with the thought but he couldn’t shake it. The moonlight was shining in the windows, the candles burned steadily, but he felt a darkness creep into his chest and thoughts. He didn’t REALLY know what he was seeing after all, but whatever he’d seen, it was terrible.

He took another drink of his wine but the warmth had gone out of it. He knew that he had to look. Now that he’d thought of it he wondered if it was here, unseen, lurking in the dark shadows just beyond his sight. What if it could see him, what if it was watching him right now? He took another drink and his thoughts jumbled. He stumbled a bit but managed to get his lenses without breaking anything.

Bracing himself, he slowly brought them to his bloodshot hazel eyes. He didn’t see anything. He licked his lips nervously, his red hair felt like it was standing on end. Nervously he turned it and looked around the room. Scout, who had snuck in again for a nap, made a noise in his sleep. Gab turned to look at him and that's when he saw it. It was darker wherever it was, covered in shadows from things he didn’t own, a place that wasn’t here. But it must have been night there as well. The man shape looked to be sleeping, he could see the steady rise and fall of his body as he lay close to the ground. He wasn’t as scary as Gabriello remembered him to be, but he could see that there was something wrong with his body. Still slightly drunk, Gab stood up slowly and walked toward the man. He’d never seen anything man-shaped in the lenses, only creatures from legend and imagination. He'd never been able to get the creatures to notice him but he couldn’t help but be silent as he crept forward. The man did not seem to see him either.

There was something around the man, almost what might be described as a fuzziness, it was dark like the night’s shadows but it seemed to only be around him. Gab went down to his hands and knees to see it better. It almost seemed to be hovering just over its skin but yet didn’t obscure him in the least from the painter’s eyes. He could make out the features of what was a masculine face. It was serene and beautiful now that he was close enough to see it. It reminded him of a marble statue. The man began to move and Gab froze. The man turned himself over and the deformity that was just out of sight made Gabriello scramble backwards. The creature had his back to him now and had stopped turning over. The inventor stopped his panicked flee backwards and stared. Two great wings covered the man’s back. They were much broader than his shoulders as they flexed slightly, but as he relaxed into sleep once more they folded closer to his body. Gabriello stared. He couldn’t think of anything to say for once in his life. Was this an angel?

Still kneeling, he crossed himself over his chest, and then promptly sat down on the floor. The world tilted and he couldn’t tell if it was the wine or just him. He watched the angel for hours that night. When he awoke it was morning and the lenses had slid off of his face. He pulled them back on but the angel was gone. He looked everywhere in his house for it and then went outside, looking up and down the street, but it wasn’t there. Dejected, he walked back to fed the hungry Scout. He made himself some eggs and as he was eating grabbed his sketchbook and pencils. He began to draw everything he could remember. The perfect face so smooth and peaceful, the musculature of the body, the anatomy of the wings.

Two days later his friend Bastion found Gabriello surrounded by sketches, furiously painting. He hadn’t left the house and had missed a sitting session with one of his clients. He didn’t care in the least. Barely speaking five words to Bast, he only had thoughts for his painting. Shaking his head but smiling, his friend left. There was no getting through to Gab when he was like this, best to just ride it out and see what happened.

When Gabriello unveiled his first full portrait it was an instant success. The composition, the subject matter, the blending and style, it all came together in perfect harmony. No one had seen angels painted in oils this way before. He was an instant hit. He painted two more and his peers agreed, they were his best work yet. The paintings were done so beautifully that he was able to sell them for more than anything he’d ever sold before. The more he created, the more popular he became, and the more people wanted his work, even as the prices skyrocketed. Gab was thrilled and loved the attention! He was invited to all of the best parties and gallery openings. Important members of the church and society tried to win his favor. Everyone wanted a piece of him. It was all he ever dreamed of and more. Even he was obsessed with his own work. He must paint more.

While the image of the angel was still burned into his mind he couldn't help but feel that he needed more. He still had his original sketches but they weren’t enough anymore. He sat down in his comfy chair with the lenses and waited. A few hours into a cat nap Gab woke and looked up. To his surprise, the creature was there. The angel lingered just long enough for Gab to get a few more sketches. This time he was standing and pacing. The serene face seemed worried almost, though it was hard for Gab to read. He tried to follow the winged man, to watch him take flight, but the "damn walls" of the house got in his way. By the time he was around the fence the angel was gone again.

On his many walks through the busy city he found himself looking up at the rooftops and wondering how many angels could be overhead even now. He was dying to see one flying. Of course there weren’t any, no matter how long he stared at the cloudy sky. But as his gaze continued on he realized he might know where he could find them!

It’s not long before he’s on the roof of the Cathedral of St. Piers. He’d gotten the idea as he was passing by the Church of Devout Hearts, but that church was small, wooden, and not at all grand or with room for him to get up to the roof. But here, at this beautiful, stately church made of stone and carved with the finest marble, he knew he’d find them. He made his way up and found a door that led to the small outside area that the workers would use to clean off the gargoyles and perform maintenance on the bells.

It was mid-evening by the time he made it up and excitedly he peered through the lens. Nothing. Just… Gargoyle statues. Disappointment shook him. How could he have been wrong? This had to be a gathering place. It was the only thing that made sense. Thinking of the myth of the gargoyle he remembered that according to legend they would come alive at night. Of course they didn’t really but he wasn’t going to leave until the sun had set. (Just in case, he thought smugly.) He still had a small chance to see something cool. He sat down on the cold stone and took out his charcoal and small sketch book. He drew the gargoyles standing and hunching in their various grotesque forms. All spiny backs and bat wings, with beaks or fangs, and claws on their hands.

As their shadows lengthened, the sun turned a dull red and began to set; the dark shadows turned everything to shades of grey. Gabriello stuffed his sketches into one of his pouches and quickly gazed through his device. His jaw dropped. The statues were glowing, each one a different color. The closer towards the horizon the sun fell, the brighter the glow became. He was completely baffled and astounded, this was the last thing he expected to see tonight. He stood and turned around, trying to see each one, every color, wondering what they meant, if anything, and cramming in every detail to remember for later. Feeling brave he went near to one and hesitantly held out his hand. He didn’t feel anything, no warmth or sensation, everything in his world was getting cold and dark. Nothing changed outwardly to his mundane senses. Putting his lenses over his eyes he touched it gently and felt only rough stone beneath his fingertips. He pulled back his hand and something made him turn.

An angel was standing not five feet from him. There was another standing a ways further out, his hand on one of the statues. Quiet as a mouse, overwhelmed with equal parts amazement and fear, (except he wasn’t sure exactly what he was afraid of), he gazed around himself. He had the distinct feeling that he shouldn't be there. One angel was alighting, large wings beating slowly, as his feet reached down to meet the rough stone roof. He saw others in the sky; they were hard to see in the fading light. The angels near the statues were lit eerily with the colors of the glowing gargoyles.

There had to be at least five angels gathered, even though there were maybe nine statues on the roof. They stood near the statues, waiting it seemed. Each one was as beautiful as the only other one he’d ever seen, the one from his house. Or at least, almost as beautiful. They didn’t speak to one another that he could tell. Gab was puzzled, only realizing what they were waiting for a second too late and jumped when the first gargoyle cracked down his body, as if someone had taken a hammer to the stone! The statue had been hunched over, looking down on the city, worn and ancient, glowing a steady blue. Now the cracks glowed so brightly he could hardly look at it. The statue was engulfed in cerulean light, radiating outwards and pieces of stone flew as if it had exploded! He held his hands up to protect himself from the shards and bits of flying rock. He forgot that it couldn’t touch him. When he looked up Gabriello saw before him not a monster made of stone but one of flesh and blood.

It was hard to tell what color it was but it breathed. It seemed to speak. Turning he saw another gargoyle was standing in its own reddish glow. The one closest to him, glowing a pinkish purple, exploded from it's rocky shell. This one didn’t just stand there. It looked very much like a dragon, and it thrust its wings back, and its head forward towards the sky. Bracing itself, fire the color of an aurora burst from its throat, startling blues and greens reached for the stars. Its tail whipped out almost touching him. The back legs went out to brace it as it roared again, the talons big enough to take off his foot. Gabriello let out a shout and scrambled backwards on his hands and feet trying to get away. That’s when he saw his angel, standing just behind the huge beast and his head turned at the shout. Gab remembered the lenses which he’d forgotten about in his panic. He looked back at the angel. Their eyes met. Desperately he ripped off the lenses. Gab was now alone on a windy, dark church rooftop was surrounded by nothing. Nothing but the gargoyles, which were still stone, perched as they always were. A crow cawed through the dark night air.

His heart was pounding in his chest. He’d felt like he was actually there, with them. That dragon thing had been so close! It could have crushed him! No, he told himself, No it can’t touch me. It didn’t know I was there. I’m not there. I’m here. I’m okay, Christ almighty. His lungs were still heaving, his body it seemed, didn’t quite believe him. He went to the door, sat on the top step, and put his hands over his eyes. I’m safe; everything is good. It was phenomenal. He tried hard not to admit that it’d been terrifying as well. A few more deep breaths in and out and he felt much better. He stood, and with one more steadying breath for good measure, he put the lenses back on. He braced himself to stand his ground, (it’s not really real, it’s not here), and he opened his eyes.

The roof was empty. He looked towards the sky but couldn’t see anything in the dark, starry night, not even his angel. He must have been blocked by the dragon the whole time. I wonder what he was doing here. He frowned, He couldn’t have seen me. It’s impossible. There was so much going on, all the different lights shooting from the gargoyle bodies, the rocks flying through the air, and it was dark everywhere else. It was a trick of the light and shadows. Shaking his head and wondering where they’d went he began the journey back home.

Previous- Chapter 1 ~ Next- Chapter 3


Chapter 1- Chapter 2- Chapter 3- Chapter 4- Credits

Chapter 3

It wasn’t long before Gabriello’s fame rose even higher. His depictions of fantastical beasts garnered many admirers and even more money. His friends were so proud of him; they say they always knew that he’d be famous one day. Every weekend there’s a party in one way or another to celebrate his success. Gabriello loved to party and was happy. He even bought a share in his favorite vineyard, the maker of the Merlot Celeste. Now the parties were even more amazing! The drinks seemed to be never ending and everyone wanted to toast the famous Gabriello.

He considered buying a manor house but he couldn’t bring himself to sell his cottage. It was still the only place that really felt like home. Plus, the real reason was the angel who he'd barely seen in weeks. It was dumb but he missed him. 'Sharing' the house had become comforting to him. He liked knowing that he was nearby and he was used to looking for him when he’d wake up or go to sleep. Over the last year he’d found himself putting on his lenses during the day while he was at home, hoping to catch a glimpse of his unknowing friend. Since the 'gargoyle incident' he’d only seen the angel a handful of times as he was passing through.

Gab was currently grabbing some supplies to do a few sketches in the park. He slipped the glasses on now, nostalgia stealing him for a moment. His angel was there and sleeping, it'd been awhile since he'd been around. The winged man was lying on his side, wings behind him, much like the first time Gab had seen him, taking an afternoon nap. He was was drowsing peacefully, drenched in golden sunlight, peaceful and unbearably beautiful. Gabriello went closer, crouching on his heels next to the bed. As an artist he couldn’t help but appreciate how the planes of his check rested just so. The angle of his jaw, so smooth, his lips parted slightly as he dozed. Rounded muscles in his arms made it obvious that he would be strong, he had a flat stomach and abdominal muscles that he wished he could trace. I wonder what he smells like... The thought flitted through his mind. He hadn’t realized he’d gotten so much closer.

He had tried to touch the other side before and his hand always went through the creatures. They didn’t exist in the same world, he wasn’t there to them, and they weren’t there to him. The angel seemed so real though. A breeze came through and he could see the golden brown curls ruffle slightly. It must be windy there too, he thought. He reached out to touch it. It was soft and thick in his fingers. He gasped as the angels eyes flew open. Quickly he stood and took a step back. No words came out of his mouth as he struggled with what had happened, all that squeaked out was an, “I’m sorry.” He stumbled over the words, “I didn’t meant to wake you up! I...I...”

The angel had sat up and now stood, his wings sweeping the bed behind him. The angel took a step forward and Gabriello’s words died in his throat and his hands stopped their manic useless gesturing. Gracefully, the angel only gestured towards a nearby chair. Gabriello nodded and sat down with a thud. Was he going to die? Was this it? He’d gone too far. It was over.

Previous- Chapter 2 ~ Next- Chapter 4


Chapter 1- Chapter 2 -Chapter 3- Chapter 4- Credits

Chapter 4

Gabriello remembered the lenses perched on his nose. If he took them off would he no longer be able to see the creature; would it take that as an insult? Would the angel smite him for removing them and leaving this, whatever this was? Was it his only escape? He risked it and took them off. The winged man was still there, before he thought of anything else the angel spoke to him.

“I am Laurant. I think you know me already. I mean you no harm, I promise. I only want to talk.”

The clever and witty Gabriello was at a loss for words.

“Will you tell me your name?” The angel asked gently, looking into Gabriello’s eyes. Shaking his head a little to clear it, Gabriello cleared his throat.

“I’m Gabriello.”

“Do you believe me when I say I wish you no harm?” The man asked.

“Um, I think so.”

“Will you let me put your mind at ease? I can talk while you recover yourself, if you’d like.”

“Sure, okay,” the artist managed to stutter.

“My name, like I said, is Laurant. I live in the world of Prash. My kind was made for various reasons, in some respects I help people. When times are dire I must be a warrior. Don't worry; I will not harm you. I saw you that night on the rooftop, didn’t I?”

He stopped, seemingly vexed, a small crease appearing between his eyes. Gabriello frowned, he didn’t like seeing such a magnificent creature, an angel no less, looking worried. Especially if he was the cause. He cleared his throat and tried to explain.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I never meant to disturb you. This shouldn’t even be possible. I made this invention, my lenses, and I just started seeing things. I’m an artist. And your world is so beautiful. Well, what I can see of it. Which isn’t much. BUT I find myself wandering in it often, and the creatures are so intricate and extravagant. I couldn’t stop watching and they give me so much inspiration. I was like a man who didn’t know he was dying of thirst, then I saw this new world and suddenly, I could drink! I was lost in rivers and oceans of beauty and brutality and it made my heart soar and it was all I could think about, all I wanted to draw and paint. I never meant to disturb it. I didn’t mean to upset you or cause trouble. No can see me over there, I’ve never been able to touch or contact anything. I don’t know what happened.”

He couldn’t admit aloud that he’d touched the angel. Laurant’s golden eyes had been fixed on Gabriello’s the entire time. Gab had a hard time looking into them, but he looked up now. The angel looked serious but serene. He looked down again.

“Gabriello, I have a confession as well.” The angel paused and leaned forward just slightly. “I already know who you are.”

The artist frowned slightly, “But how?”

“Gabriello“, he said the artists name yet again, “In my world I am a part of the Divinities. In your world we are religious figures, servants of a god. You might call me an angel. In my world we are… Much… More.” He reached up to scratch under his chin, putting his fingers across his jaw in thought. “Some of you believe in guardian angels; I am not that.”

The artist watched the winged man as he spoke. His skin reminded Gab of sandstone, glittering pale but golden warmth, his lips glinted golden in the summer sunlight. He was a masterpiece, a statue, come to life. It was different seeing him now, in his own world, his colors seemed so much richer. His voice was low but soft at the same time. It was difficult for Gabriello to listen to what he was saying, all he wanted to do was absorb every little detail of him.

“I am not a guardian angel as your people believe. I cannot intervene in your life or cross the worlds and save you had you fallen along the way. This place that you call home is in the same location as one of my homes across the layers of the worlds. It’s my retreat, a sanctuary. In my world it is a place full of healing energy and peace. I can and do look into your world to determine if those living in the area are of good intent. If they are, I bless them. If they are not...” He shrugs, “Things tend to work themselves out. I have checked in on you a few times. You are a very intriguing individual.”

Intriguing was the last thing Gabriello would have called himself, shameless, selfish, reckless, and a drunk, those were the words he would have used to describe himself.

“You’ve watched me?” Gabriello asked.

“I have,” the angel’s golden eyes seemed to hold a glint of forest brown and green as they stared at Gab, they did not look away first. If the artist had expected contrition or embarrassment he was mistaken. The angel seemed wholly calm and resolute and was not going to explain further it seemed.

“So you are from another world? And there are other worlds, very interesting. You can see into them? How many are there? Do you watch them all, you said there were layers, they’re between the worlds I assume, how does that work?-“

Before he could say anything more Laurant held up his hand to pause the endless stream of questions.

“I am aware you are very curious about all of this. It’s in your nature after all. It makes you who you are. However, there is a more pressing concern. That being that you hold within your possession, an object that allows you to view another world. This is not allowed.”

“Not allowed? By who?!” Flustered once more, Gabriello ran his fingers through his hair.

“It’s not allowed by the powers that be. By the world I live in, more specifically. There is both good and evil in that world, much like this one, but that world has something that this one does not- magic. Beings like myself live there, we can cross the worlds at will, it is in our power to do so and so we do it. None stop us. It is part of who we are and what we do. Not all of us are good, however. And there are other creatures, and humans, who have powers as well. Some of which would be tempted to steal your lenses for their own uses. Others deem it as anathema, corruptible, and sinister. They would kill you or worse for having it.”

For the first time since they began talking Laurant lowered his eyes as he finished explaining. His long eyelashes cast small shadows against his perfect skin. Gabriello tried his best to process what the winged man was telling him. It was a lot to take in. It sounded like he was in a pickle though; that was something he was used to.

“So what you’re saying is, my invention, and myself, are outlawed? I’m in essence, breaking a law I didn’t know existed. Who could possibly blame me for that?!”

“It’s not a matter of blame! Don’t you see,” Laurant's arm swept out in a wide gesture, “You do not get to explain why or how- none of that matters to them! They are monsters, or worse, nightmares, and mercenaries. You are not the first to find a gateway, not even the first in this world. It doesn't usually end well I'm afraid. You do have an option though. You could destroy the lenses.”

Gabriello gulped, suddenly cold and less sure of himself. The angel, sensing his distress, put his arm out to comfort the artist despite his harsh words. His palm was warm against Gab’s shoulder before he removed it.

“I’m sorry,“ the angel said.

Stunned, the artist wondered what he should do. He reached up a hand and took the lenses off of his head. His reddish brown hair stood up and he absentmindedly tried to fix it. The angel was still there, golden and perfect. He looked at the lenses in his hands.

“No,” he said. “I can’t do that.”’

Wings shifted as Laurant sighed and his head drooped slightly as he put his hands together. His gaze fixed on the lenses.

“You must consider it. Please. I will not force you to give them up but I could. This is a dangerous thing you’ve stumbled onto.”

“I’ll be careful,” Gabriello said.

“You’ll have to be more careful then you have been. I saw you after all.”

“Yes, you did... How did you do that, by the way?”

This caused the angel to smile as if amused suddenly. Gab felt himself warm up, he was glad the angel hadn’t been too angry with him.

“The reason I could see you then, and why I can see you now is because I felt your presence from being near to you so often. Your fear was so strong, it permeated the border of the worlds, and I knew you were there. I simply had to allow myself to look through and I found you.”

He paused for a moment and then said hesitantly, “I can show you the way I look in my world, if you’d like.”

“Of course, yes, show me. By all means!”

Laurant stood up, wings sweeping the wooden floor. He seemed almost bashful as he said, “Now, for you to see this I will be opening up a thin interdimensional window. Just don’t be alarmed please.”

Gabriello affirmed and nodded. He watched as the angel’s hands went to his sides and he thought he could see yellowish streams of color and then he noticed Laur’s wings had changed. Now they were adorned with eyes. They seemed to swirl with iridescent colors, some almost seemed to glow. They were beautiful but the concept was so foreign to him it almost seemed disturbing. Then they were gone and Laurant's feathers were pale golden cream again.

“Wow. I'll admit that was very impressive, “Gabriello said, as the angel turned back to him.

He said only, “Thank you.”

The artist in Gab wondered if he could draw those wings how he had seen them, vibrant and alive. But a part of him didn’t want to. He didn’t want to share that with anyone else. And he wondered what else out there was even more different than he knew.

“Are you sure I can’t convince you to give up the lenses?”

“I’m sure. I’m sorry- I just can’t.” He stood up.

“I understand. I must go now. I’m sorry too. But not as sorry as I should be.” He smiled slightly and then vanished.

Gabriello stood there for a moment longer and then sat on the bed and lay down. This was just too much to process he thought to himself.

It wasn’t the last time he talked to the angel. Laurant always started the conversation by asking him to give up the lenses. Gabriello always refused. They began spending more time together, and it was a relief for Gab to finally have someone to talk to about the strange things he was seeing. They shared a secret in one another and it brought them closer together. Walks together in the garden slowly turned into silent walks on the streets together. When Gabriello was asked to paint the Lorevian Chapel the angel visited him there too. They lay on the scaffold under the ceiling and Laurant watched him paint, his golden eyes rapt, watching every brush stroke. His golden wings spilled out over the edge as they lay on their backs, catching and sparkling with holy light. It was the most interesting thing to see a chapel from the eyes of an angel. In particular, one who doesn’t believe in the same god that you’re painting, the God that supposedly created his own species. According to Laur they were more different than the same in the end. The concept was well-meant and perhaps if humans had continued on with that train of thought instead of stopping where they had, they might have found more. But it was what it was. Once the angel even confided to Gab that there were troubles in his homeworld. He was distressed by an uprising of plagues, an increase in crime, and evil creatures. He was doing what he could but he can’t be everywhere at once, there are only so many angels, and he has to follow his own laws as well.

***
In the middle of the night Gabriello was sleeping when he was abruptly woken by a loud crash. Sitting up in bed alarmed, he untangled himself from the covers and ran to the kitchen. Laurant was leaning against the fireplace mantel, bleeding from gashes, his skin and feathers were black with dirt. The rest of Gab’s candles on the mantel crashed down as Laurant, unable to hold himself upright anymore, fell to the floor. Shocked and fearful Gab ran to his side to grab him. He pulled Laur over and onto the bed. The tall angel was weak and dropped into it with a small thank you. Grabbing a few things he spent the night fretfully caring for Laur. He started by cleaning him up and then bandaged him. Laur, absolutely exhausted, mattered to mutter that he'd been in a fight before he fell into a deep sleep. After making sure the angel wasn't going to die on him, Gab felt as exhausted as the angel looked. Anxious but tired, he pulled the normally unused curtains closed and let Laur slumber.

The next morning the angel still slept. Quietly Gab made coffee and checked his patients bandages as gently as he could. When the angel awoke it was late afternoon and Gab was immediately by his side. Laurant was in pain, it was obvious, he reached out and grasped Gab's hand tightly. Gabriello was overcome with emotion. He was grateful to all the gods that Laurant was okay. He bent down and kissed his angel on the forehead. His skin wasn't rough like the sandstone it resembled, it was cool and soft. Tears came to his eyes unexpectedly. As he moved away Laur reached out and touched his arm. Slowly, so as to not hurt his friend, Gabriello moved from his chair to sit in the bed next to his recovering angel. Very gently he reached his arm around Laur's broad shoulders. The angel sighed and in only a few minutes his breathing turned deep and steady as Gab held him as fell back asleep.

The next day Laur was able to eat more and tell Gab what had happened to him. A siren had traveled inland to a small lake and had put four werewolves under her spell. Instead of destroying them she used them to grab other creatures for her kills. The wolves had been too far gone; Laur couldn’t save them. His face turned pained and mournful as he explained how their humanity had been brutally stripped away until they were nothing but feral creatures who could only do her bidding. He’d had to destroy all of them even though he’d hoped killing the siren first would somehow bring their souls back, but it hadn’t. They had almost killed him.

Gabriello asked why he couldn’t have called upon another angel or a healer there to help him. Why travel so far for help? Laurant admitted that the angels mostly kept to themselves, and there was no one he trusted more to care for him than right here. Any other creature called to defend him would have either been infected by the wolves bite or poisoned by the toxin in their saliva used to transmit the condition. Gabriello tried to keep the look of disgust and worry off of his face. It was hard for him to think of Laurant, literal worlds away, being attacked by such savage creatures. What if he had died or been so hurt he couldn't have traveled here? His heart hurt at the thought of his best friend suffering and no way for him to even know or get to him. Thankfully, he was okay and that had to be enough. It was all he had. He looked up and caught Gab's eyes. Sick with worry but so glad to have him near, his heart began to beat quite rapidly. They were lucky to have found one another at all. He tried to find the words to say it but he wasn't sure he was making sense anymore. Exhaustion was catching up to him as well. He put his head down to hid a yawn and as his hand came away Laurant took it with his own. With his other hand he lightly touched Gabriello’s face.

Gab felt his whole body warm. His heart, so heavy one moment, was as light and feirce as sunlight the next. Laur's golden eyes looked into his, so bright that it was a wonder that they didn't glow. Gab closed his eyes, feeling the tender way he felt with Laur's hand on his check. He moved ever so slightly closer to his angel as his eyes opened, realizing how close they were to one another. He loved the scent of his angel, his touch, the way he felt when he was around him. The hand began to move away and Gab grasped it with his own, pressing his check into it, now lost in the golden light of those luminous eyes. The angels hand grasped his hand tighter, somehow they'd moved even closer to one another. The warmth of their bodies closed the space between them. Laurant looked down, long eyelashes reminding Gab of the first time he'd seen the angel up close. Somehow he was even more beautiful now to Gabriello. As the angels gaze came up they rested on Gabriello's lips. He found himself wanting to feel the angels lips with his own. His breathing deepened as they slowly kissed, lips soft and smooth. Gabriello never felt such warmth and electricity but peace as well. Parting, they lingered close to one another for a moment longer. The next minute they were both yawning and smiling sheepishly at one another about it. Laurant moved over and patted the bed beside him. Gabriello's eyebrows went up but before he could say anything Laurant interrupted him.

"Come, sleep beside me. We both need to rest."

Before Gab could say or do anything, Laur quickly added, "At least for now, I still need a few hours to heal," before chuckling at Gab's wide eyes.

After a moment of shock he laughed and gently sat in the bed beside Laurant. This time though, Laurant pulled him down to lay beside him, putting his arm over Gab to hold him. They nestled into one another as the sun was just beginning to set and shadows made the summer room feel cool and calm. Before he drifted off to sleep Laurant told Gab that he felt the same way, Gab smiled at the words.

The next day dawned too soon for Gabriello. Angels heal quickly and Laurant left while the sky was still pink and the birds were barely chirping. He explained that with a storm of evil building in Prash that's where he needed to be. He did promise to be back as soon as he could though, to which Gab readily agreed. It wasn’t until later that Gab realized that Laur didn’t once ask him to give up the lenses. He hadn't for a while actually. When he asked about it later the angel only said one thing.

“I will keep you safe.”

Previous- Chapter 3 ~ Next- Credits


Chapter 1- Chapter 2- Chapter 3- Chapter 4- Credits

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