jovahs_heiress: (m ~ concern)
[personal profile] jovahs_heiress
They leave Milliways, eventually, and tell Rinnah and Charles about Zion-or-Damaris, and Isabella resumes her usual routine. Singing. Socializing. Interceding about weather or other needs of petitioners. Assisting Delilah. Showering Micaiah with affection. Coaxing Nathaniel out of his shell. (He seems to like Rinnah, and she finds him precious.) And slowly, thoughtfully, carefully - magic.

She is not as quick to add powers to her repertoire as her counterparts, and will install one only after spending a day or two noting instances where it would be useful and determining that the best way to handle this class of problem is with this magic power. She acquires teleportation, but not boosted physical speed; she acquires a perfect memory, but nudges her cognitive processing capacity upwards only gently. She has no "agony beam" but her voice and she goes on sleeping on a nightly basis and her defensive powers are only present because of the unknown hazards that may roam Milliways, not because of any threat she fears in Samaria. She fears no shortage of coins - Micaiah steadily outputs squares just from being in the room with her and a distribution of the larger wishes whenever she practices masses or has harmonics or brings him along for prayers - but exercising circumspection and judicious restraint will surely show Jovah that she is not abusing her permission to use magic, that she does not seek the power for its own sake but to do good in the world.

She is more generous with magic that is not about granting herself more abilities.

Isabella's work is beginning to be noticed.

She is doing nothing overt. She claims no miracles. But everyone is having such a run of good luck these days. The weather is as ever - drought here, flood there, duststorms elsewhere - but there is an established system for handling those things.

Isabella's working elsewhere.

Ships do not sink anymore, and this was never terribly common to begin with or no one would sail - but there is a terrible storm through a fishing harbor off the Jordana coast, and not a single craft capsizes, let alone goes under.

Plague is mysteriously absent - there are, admittedly, prayers for this too, but they bring medicine, they don't prevent the initial lost work, suffering, death. Plague was never so common either, but no angels have seen a flag that was raised for its traditional purpose for a month and a half, now.

Locusts have begun to leave crops unmolested as though of their own accord. Priests dedicating children to the god find their surgeries met with less weeping, and no infections. Nothing in the whole of Samaria will catch fire without someone intending to set it alight. The primitive cars that carry goods from here to there do not skid on ice or flip on rubble.

Angel-seekers, and those who lie with angels for less mercenary reasons, are surviving their attempts at bearing winged babies with astonishing regularity. Isabella isn't adjusting the species ratio, as she suspects it may be a purposeful test of angel-seeker character to give them mortal children and she's mindful anyway of Micaiah's concerns with the children already being this or that - but they don't kill their mothers coming out. No babies are born motherless anymore, in fact, but it's most obvious at the holds, where the most historically dangerous births are undertaken.

And Isabella begins to think, if I have wrought this, and Jovah sees it is good and does not strip me of my wishes for my hubris or command me to stop for my presumption or even contrive to display before me a warning that shows me some terrible consequence of my actions -

then why did he not make the world this way himself, when we settled it, why was I not born into a world already free of famine and disease and pain and babies who grow up without their mothers and destroyed vehicles that kill everyone aboard and infected Kisses that sicken with fever?

She thinks this, but she does not write it down, or speak it, or change anything she is doing in response to the question.


Or the next.


She announces her pregnancy to the hold, and is made much of, and Phebe sends her a bowl of flowers that might be sniping or might be a genuine gesture of conciliation.

She's not the only pregnant angel in the Eyrie. Abjah, a golden-angel type in her thirties who has three children already by assorted fathers (all mortals), is much farther along, and a few weeks before Isabella's wedding, she gives birth.

To a lucifer.

The screaming brings concerned friends and neighbors - there is always screaming during births, but not usually a sudden chorus of it, not usually cries of horror instead of pain. Isabella is one of them, but she's not just there to stare and gossip. Whatever is going on, she can help, and she shoves herself past wings and bodies and sees what's happened.

The thing is twisted. It has - well, several limbs, at least four, maybe eight or ten depending on which protrusions count, and feathers in places feathers don't belong, and it has lungs enough to bawl a suffering screech like no infant Isabella has ever heard.

"Someone has to kill it," says Abimelech, and "who's the father, who besides Abjah has been putting wing to wing?" says Eliou, and "I never thought it would be so horrible" says Zelpha and then someone repeats -

"Someone has to kill it."

"No!" screams Abjah, sprawled in mess and barely covered by her blanket, reaching towards Rhoda, the mortal Eyrie midwife who has the lucifer held in her hands.

"Someone has to kill it," Zelpha agrees, and Isabella pushes forward again and blurts, "Give it to me."

"You? Isabella?" says Eliou.

"Give it to me," Isabella repeats. "I'll take it away."

No one else is leaping to volunteer. Abjah is only weeping softly.

But why should it be that putting wing to wing results in this misery? Why was Isabella born in that world, and not in another?

Well, she can wonder about that all she likes, but she can see to it that this suffering thing isn't born into a world like that. Rhoda hands it over. A pentagon will kill its pain, whatever's hurting it; it screams on, but softer, and there's a stifled murmur from Zelpha while Isabella carries the lucifer away.

"You're going to kill it, not just leave it exposed to cry itself to death," Eliou says, "right?"

"First," says Isabella, "I'm going to pray. But I will not leave it to cry itself to death."

They get out of her way. She cradles the thing in her arms and makes for the nearest takeoff point and flings herself into the air until she's so high that no one will be able to see what's happening.

She can't even determine the lucifer's sex. If it has one at all, it's not displayed in a conventional way.

Isabella does pray first. She has no song for this, just the air around her and her tuneless voice and her incomprehension.

"WHY?" she screams into the blue expanse. No one can hear her here, the air is so thin it won't carry, but her shout is ringing in her ears and the lucifer whimpers. "Why is this something that can happen? Why does Abjah's mistake and her lover's mistake condemn this baby who has made no mistakes until I step in? Who am I? What are you doing? You place it in my path, but there have been lucifers now and again for centuries and no one saved them then! Why? Jovah is good, Jovah is merciful, Jovah makes babies so confused by their own warped bodies that they cry without ceasing even when they've stopped feeling any pain, why? Tell me why and I'll do as you say! Tell me why and I'll see the wisdom in it, Jovah, you gave me a mind, it's not so tiny and ignorant as all that, tell me why and I'll follow your guidance forever, tell me what I'm meddling with so I'll know better how to go! Tell me!"

There is no response. There is never a response to an unsung prayer, one which isn't from the standard books, one which doesn't simply ask for weather or seed or medicine. Weather seed medicine weather seed medicine weatherseedmedicine weatherseedmedicine that is all he can do, that and issue cryptic answers to questions through oracles and make Kisses burn and glow, that is all. Five things. She could count them on the fingers of one hand.

The lucifer is still crying. All her importuning of the god has not erased its deformities.

And it only takes a pentagon to turn it into a healthy angel. A boy, as it turns out. One medium-sized coin. Micaiah makes them easily if she holds a note for longer than a second.

...He made them in Milliways, too, where Jovah was not. Jovah did not even answer a prayer for weather when she tried it there, but the Kiss still worked.

Isabella looks down at the angel baby in her hands, no longer crying, but blinking unfocused eyes, confused.

There is simply, simply, simply no way in which this would not have been a better way to arrange things from the start. Let Abjah have an angel lover if she can't resist, let her get with child by him, and let the baby simply be an angel like Nathan's and Magdalena's daughters were save Tamar. Why should that not work? Why should Isabella have had to bring offworld magic in to do what Jovah - ought to have done? Ought to have woven into the workings of bloodlines when he made angels to begin with? Ought to have seen better, made better?

If he is not going to stop her, if he's not going to strike her where she hovers and the ex-lucifer with her because there is some hidden flaw in the change she's made, then he is not saying she is wrong. And if she is not wrong, then he is.

Something is the matter.

But not with this baby. This baby is now perfectly fine. She will tell everyone that she prayed, and then the child was made whole, and no one will ask her any further prying questions. She'll claim she can't remember the words.

Isabella descends.

Date: 2013-02-27 05:57 pm (UTC)
yovahs_kisses: (⑻ ye a Edori)
From: [personal profile] yovahs_kisses
"I love you," says Micaiah. "You're the best angel in the world."

Date: 2013-02-27 06:19 pm (UTC)
yovahs_kisses: (⑾ why's that?)
From: [personal profile] yovahs_kisses
"Do you have to go public?" asks Micaiah. "And do you have to do it soon? You could be Archangel after Linus and fix the whole world and figure out a story that makes you the new god."

Date: 2013-02-27 06:27 pm (UTC)
yovahs_kisses: (⑸ that's a nasty story)
From: [personal profile] yovahs_kisses
"I could live a life of public piety if I had you as my goddess," Micaiah says brightly.

Date: 2013-02-27 06:39 pm (UTC)
yovahs_kisses: (⑻ ye a Edori)
From: [personal profile] yovahs_kisses
"You're not a very good liar, are you," says Micaiah.

Date: 2013-02-27 06:54 pm (UTC)
yovahs_kisses: (⑼ go where you want)
From: [personal profile] yovahs_kisses
He pushes his hair back from his face.

"Then here's your lie," he says. "You're special to Yovah. You're supposed to fix the world. And you have to hide that at first, to be humble, but after you're Archangel you get to start working miracles. Little ones, then medium ones, then big obvious ones, until twenty years later everybody knows you're special, and your term as Archangel just never ends, because you have miraculous powers and you're wise and good and you're going to live forever."

Date: 2013-02-27 07:05 pm (UTC)
yovahs_kisses: (⑽ and it's giving me kisses)
From: [personal profile] yovahs_kisses
"People will forget about it unless you do it again," he says. "And you can magic her so she won't have more babies that need healing, so you don't have to. You can magic everybody that way - so that angels and angels have angel kids or mortal kids but not fucked up kids who suffer a lot and then die. You can do that right now. You can do all kinds of magic that doesn't need obvious miracles, and then when you're Archangel you can start admitting you did it."

Date: 2013-02-27 07:10 pm (UTC)
yovahs_kisses: (⒀ maybe it's a little alarming)
From: [personal profile] yovahs_kisses
"You should trust her because she is wise and good," says Micaiah. "And she is going to fix the world. If you want a good reason to trust her, watch."

Date: 2013-02-27 07:20 pm (UTC)
yovahs_kisses: (⑽ and it's giving me kisses)
From: [personal profile] yovahs_kisses
"If we wanted to take over the world and do a lot of bad things," Micaiah adds, "we could be doing that right now. But we're not. Because my angel wants the world to be the best place it can be."

Date: 2013-02-27 07:25 pm (UTC)
yovahs_kisses: (⑻ ye a Edori)
From: [personal profile] yovahs_kisses
Micaiah smiles lovingly at his angel.

Date: 2013-02-27 07:33 pm (UTC)
yovahs_kisses: (⑷ I don't see that as a problem)
From: [personal profile] yovahs_kisses
He smiles at the oracle and her husband.

Date: 2013-02-27 07:36 pm (UTC)
yovahs_kisses: (⑴ I promise I like it)
From: [personal profile] yovahs_kisses
He grins at Caleb.

Date: 2013-02-27 07:39 pm (UTC)
yovahs_kisses: (⑵ I do love you a little)
From: [personal profile] yovahs_kisses
[It's cute how you're all excited!]

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jovahs_heiress: (Default)
Isabella ♪ "Angela"

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