Gender: Male Age: 25 Location: Canada
So it's been a while since my last post on this site and I would first like to apologize for my extended absence. Just so you all know I wasn't going to just disappear on you, just that I needed a bit of a break from my stories to get a fresh take on everything.
Over the last few days I have gone through my posted stories and I have noticed a few tales I haven't told yet and also a few little stories lines I would like to write. All of these little stories happen to be within the Defiance/Divided world. The first story I would like to tell is the tale that you hear a lot about in Defiance but never actually get the full story; the banishment of Gabriel, the death of Baal, and Amy's first life as Aglea.
This story has a large impact on the series and I felt it should be told to give the readers a little more insight to how some of the Immortals interacted when they were all younger. I'm sure you will see some pretty big differences in a few of the big characters and I think it makes them a little more interesting knowing where they came from and what shaped them early on.
For those of you haven't read the Defiance series I suggest you go and do that right now quickly as it will help this tale make sense. For those of you who have read it I really hope you enjoy and to help you out (in case you have forgotten) I will make a small list of some characters and both sets of their names so there is no confusion as to who they are in the future.
Athena: Catherine (Cat)
Part One: Baal, Gabriel, Aglea, Athena
Gabriel slowly walked up the sand stone steps that lead to the mortal dwelling his older sister and brother liked to live in from time to time. Each step he made his golden armor rattled against the stone and reverberated through the still morning air and gave away his arrival even if his siblings hadn't already been notified that he had arrived through telepathy. Gabriel didn't even want to be there in the first place but it was impossible to ignore a summons from the second eldest Immortal. Besides, if he didn't show up then Baal's wife would certainly hunt him down and drag him back against his will. Luna was like that; always more of a mother to him than the sister she was supposed to be.
Having climbed the final few steps Gabriel opened the sturdy wooden door without knocking or announcing himself and walked in, hoping to annoy his siblings in some way or another. Did they have any idea how annoying it was for him to come to the mortal realm like this? Well, actually it wasn't an annoyance at all considering he had been there since the previous night anyways. He just wouldn't tell them that though. Why did they even want him there? Very few of the Immortals paid attention to their youngest sibling and he honestly liked it that way. It left him free to pull practical jokes on humans all he wanted; and he was getting very good at that. Just last month he had some random sheep herder near Bethlehem believing that he was some kind of celestial being sent to bring him the word of god.
'I see you're still letting yourself into people's homes, Gabriel,' a soft feminine voice sighed from another room. Gabriel tried not to laugh as he walked towards the voice, knowing that if Luna heard him she would think up some obscure punishment for him.
'You summoned me and I told you when I was heading up the stairs so where's the problem? It's not like I'm walking in on you and Baal having sex again!'
Gabriel found his elder sister lounging on a luxurious chair in the first room off the main hall and he smiled at the look of both embarrassment and loathing she wore on her face from the memory of him catching her and her husband going at one another in a secluded forest just outside Athens a few years back. During that time he honestly could have just turned around and left them alone, but the mischievous side of him pretty much forced him to hurl olives at them from the branch of a rather tall tree. To this day that tree was still split in two from when Luna tried to attack him.
'I thought we weren't going to bring that up anymore,' his sister groaned in annoyance. Her look of disgust quickly smoothed into her normal, pristine smile that she always seemed to wear. 'Now why don't you have a seat and we can have a little talk.'
Now it was Gabriel's turn to groan as he found a seat near an open window and the smell of blossoming flowers and olives surrounded him. He was sure he was about to be lectured about something; that was usually the only reason he was ever called over to Luna's home. He just hoped they didn't find out about him hiding the King's robe after his bath last week. It was a pretty funny sight to see that old man burst out of his private bath and scare a dozen or so slaves with his shriveled manhood.
'I thought both you and Baal wanted to speak with me,' he said and tried to keep any fear out of his voice. Gabriel preferred to deal with Baal when he was in trouble because the older Immortal was a lot more gentle than his mean wife.
'Oh don't worry, Baal will speak with you alone after you and I have a friendly little chat. Do you know why I have called you here this morning?' she asked and Gabriel shook his head slowly. 'When was the last time you spoke to or even saw Athena?'
'So it's this old topic again,' he sighed in both frustration and relief that his latest exploits weren't being called up today. Gabriel looked away from his older sister and her beautiful face as he stretched out on the chair and kicked his legs up onto a painted vase that was left unintentionally in front of him. 'Four year ago I suppose.'
'Don't you think you should visit her?' Luna prodded and her eyes held a cold edge to them as she glared at his dirty feet on her probably expensive vase.
'How many times do we have to go through this sister? Every time I try to visit Athena she is always holed up in her private realm pouring through scrolls and she pretty much ignores everything I say to her. I don't see what the big deal is anyways. So what if we rarely talk?'
'We were created in pairs Gabriel. All of us have already solidified our bonds with our mates except the two of you. Now I know Athena can be a bit of a recluse but you have to realize that was just the way she was created, just like you were created to cause trouble. I'll always curse the gods for that little trait! All I'm trying to say is that you and Athena are meant to be mated for eternity, yet you never spend any time with her!'
'That may have been the case for the rest of you, but Athena and I were created nearly a thousand years after you guys! Maybe we aren't forced to follow the same path by being with each other, because any way you look at it she doesn't seem to be interested in me. And can you blame her after I played that prank on her?'
'I will admit that you hiding nearly four thousand of her scrolls and leaving only an obscure map to their locations was a bit mean, but it doesn't change anything. I know for a fact that she wants to be around you and is just too shy and introverted to do it on her own. You need to be the one to take a step forward, otherwise you will always feel out of place among the rest of us.'
Having had enough of this lecture Gabriel slowly stood up and did what came naturally to him in this situation; he lied through his teeth. 'Fine I will go see her today but I won't promise anything more than that. If she doesn't speak to me then I will just leave.'
'Do you know what I will do to you if you don't see her at some point today?' Luna asked but Gabriel saw it more as a threat. He still shook his head though. 'Do you want to know?'
'No, I get it. Something horrible will befall me if I don't do as you ask. I know the drill already and I really don't want to get scolded again. It took ten years for me to be able to close my eyes without seeing you standing over me in a rage the last time you punished me. I really don't want to go through that again.'
Luna seemed happy with the outcome of their 'little chat' as she smiled sweetly at him like she hadn't just been threatening his very life a moment ago. Out of all his siblings, Gabriel feared Luna the most. Sure, Andromeda was a nasty piece of work if you got on her bad side but she couldn't hold a grudge like Luna could. That and Andromeda didn't like dealing with him in the first place so he never really saw her much. The same couldn't be said for Luna, who liked to keep her eyes on him even when he was behaving himself. Which wasn't very often.
'Baal is waiting for you out on the balcony. Make sure to properly greet him this time!'
Gabriel waved his hand in understanding and quickly retreated from Luna's presence as fast he could without making it look like he was trying to. He found the spiral marble staircase that led to the second floor of the luxurious home and quickly ascended them before dashing down the narrow hallway and bursting through the door that opened up to the large terrace outside.
Standing near the tall railing, looking out over the city of Athens as the mortals went about their daily routine, stood a tall and very muscled man with short black hair and a very broad back. At first Gabriel wanted to rush up to his brother and pretend to push him over the edge, but the warning about showing a proper greeting rang through his mind. If he didn't observe protocol Luna would be pissed for sure. Not wanting to upset her, especially in her own home, Gabriel fell to one knee, bowed his head, and held his right arm over his chest in a sign of respect to the second eldest Immortal.
No sooner had Gabriel gotten down in the traditional bow, Baal turned to face the youngster with a wide smile splitting his handsome bearded face. He held both arms straight out at his sides and nodded for Gabriel to get up and give him their proper greeting.
'It's been a while,' Gabriel smiled as he embraced his best friend and Baal's powerful arms wrapped around him as well.
'Far too long,' the man agreed in a gruff yet noble voice, 'You should join us for dinner one night soon.'
'If Luna isn't cooking than I will gladly come,' he joked and was rewarded with a boisterous laugh as they ended the embrace. Baal held onto Gabriel by the shoulders and looked him over from head to toe before swatting him roughly on the chest.
'I think you could use Luna's cooking right about now! You're looking a little thin brother.'
'You're starting to lose your mind, we don't gain or lose weight remember.'
Both men laughed at their little banter and it felt good to be dealing with Baal rather than Luna. Gabriel was sure that she had been the one to bring up her husband talking with him but it didn't really matter. No matter what happened Baal wouldn't give him too much of a hard time and Gabriel really appreciated that. Even when Gabriel had hidden most of Athena's scrolls Baal had been the only one besides him to laugh, even after getting an evil glare from his wife.
'Should we get your wife's speech out of the way now so we can get to the better stuff?'
'Might as well. You know she won't let it go until I've had a proper talk with you so let's just get this over with. I'm sure you already know why she had me call you here today.'
'It's about Athena,' Gabriel sighed and moved away from his brother to lean against the marble railing and look out over the buildings of the city he loved.
'It seems Luna is determined on getting the two of you together finally, and honestly I will admit I am on her side this time. For too many centuries you two haven't been very proactive about mating and I think it's about time we fixed that. My wife believes that you two finally having sex with calm you down and make you a better person, but I just want you to experience the greatest joy we Immortals can have. The feeling of being in love with another person is very addicting for us.'
'I've heard all the stories before brother, I just can't get myself excited for it though.'
'Don't worry, when you finally take that first step, love with engulf you. It is meant to be. You and Athena are a pair and it will all come naturally once you let it.'
'Did Luna honestly tell you to repeat everything she just finished telling me downstairs?' Gabriel asked in frustration but Baal shook his burly head with a knowing smile.
'No, this is just my opening act. I am here to tell you how to go about getting things started. All you have to do it follow my instructions and I guarantee that by the end of the day the two of you will be naked and entwined for at least a year. Simple, right?'
Gabriel sighed inwardly and numbly nodded his head, letting his older brother launch into what he believed was a fool proof plan at getting them together. The truth was Gabriel barely paid attention and let his attention instead focus on his next great prank, which was sure to be a big hit among those who would appreciate it. He just had a few minor details to work out before he was ready to put it into motion and he was excited to see how the history books recorded it a thousand years from now.
Not even an hour after leaving Baal's and Luna's house Gabriel found himself already dreading what he was being forced to do. It wasn't that he disliked Athena in any way, he just didn't see what everyone else was saying. Sure, they were made in pairs and destined to fall in love with their counterpart, but to be completely honest Gabriel didn't love Athena and he feared he never would. Even if they did try to take the first step. And was that really such a bad thing? Maybe they were the exception to the rule? They were after all created a few hundred years apart while the others were created almost around the same time.
Sometimes being the youngest of the group was a bad thing and this was one of those times. Luna never tried to meddle in the lives of the other Immortals like she did with his all the time. Why couldn't she just leave him alone for a few hundred years? Who knows, he might just surprise her if she did. Then again, he knew that the surprise wouldn't be in a good way but he was perfectly fine with that.
Today though he really didn't have a choice as he was sure Luna was keeping an eye on him right now, and if he didn't at least try and go see his sister then there was no place on the planet he could hide from her wrath. So Gabriel gathered a bit of his power around him like a cloak and imagined Athena's personal realm a second before leapt through space.
His feet landed softly in silky white sand and the light of the sun out in the mortal world was swallowed up and replaced by bright white moonlight from a massive moon that hung over the tiny island he now stood on. Gabriel always felt envious of the realm Athena had created for herself, a small little island in the middle of a vast and warm sea, but hated the fact that it was lost on her. All she ever seemed to do was sit in the sand and comb through her scrolls all day every day instead of swimming in the gorgeous water.
'Are you here to steal my scrolls again?' a soft and very attractive voice asked. Gabriel looked to his left and found the small and very lithe form of Athena sitting on a large rock with her small feet dangling in the water, a scroll open in her hands and her head nearly touching the parchment.
'No but I was thinking of unleashing a few dozen cats in here for them to use it as their private bathroom,' Gabriel laughed but as per usual his jokes fell on deaf ears. Athena had no sense of humor at all and that was something Gabriel didn't really like about her.
'I like cats,' was her uninterested response without even looking up from what she was currently reading.
Gabriel would have liked to have left things there and just teleported back to the mortal world but he was sure he would need to stay a bit longer before Luna was satisfied enough with his effort. Usually all he had to do to get her off his back for a few years was spend an hour or two with Athena while she read in silence, so that was what he was going to do then. If he could manage it at least. He had another place to be that night and he refused to miss it.
'So what are you reading?' he asked trying to appeal to her interests, just like Baal had told him to do. Gabriel didn't care about the outcome Baal had been wanting though, he just didn't want to sit there without saying a word before leaving. It was too boring that way.
'Do you really care?'
'N... not really I guess.'
For the first time in a very long time Athena actually showed some emotion as she quietly chuckled to herself and turned to look at him. There was no denying that Athena was a very attractive person, but that was true for all the Immortals. Once you looked upon perfection for as long as Gabriel had it really held no appeal anymore and he found that it was the flaws you saw in mortals that made them so much more interesting to stare at.
'I know why you are here,' she said softly and Gabriel felt a lump grow in his throat.
'How could you possibly know?' he asked but she didn't even have to answer. It became quickly apparent how she knew why he was there. 'Right, I forgot about your ability to see the future.'
'You find that ability annoying, don't you?' Athena asked as her eyes met his but there was no hurt in her voice. If anything she seemed to be teasing him just a little bit, which was a bit of a shock. It was like dealing with a totally different person.
'I wouldn't saying it's annoying, just convenient. For you that is. Anyways, if you know why I am here then I am surprised you actually allowed me entry into your realm.'
'Perhaps I let you in because I had already seen a desirable outcome from that line? Or maybe I was hoping for a different outcome and am testing the validity of my vision. Which do you think it is?'
Gabriel sighed and shook the confusion from his head. Dealing with Athena's little prophecies were always bothersome but this time even more so. 'You know I hate it when you do that right? Why don't you just say what you are thinking?'
'And why don't you?' she rebuked. 'You don't want to be here right now, do you?'
Gabriel didn't know how to respond to that question. Athena had hit the problem dead on but he couldn't very well vocalize that, could he? Even if he didn't love her like a mate, Gabriel still saw Athena as a sister and he didn't want to hurt her feelings by saying it so bluntly. To be honest he was a little confused why he didn't feel pulled towards her but he never really gave it much thought as she also seemed to be separated from those feelings well.
'Why don't you take some time to think that question over and I will tell Luna that you fulfilled your promise to her. Does that sound fair for now?'
'Um, I... I guess,' was all Gabriel could think to say.
Athena flashed him a small smile and then turned back to her still open scroll without saying another word. Gabriel stood there dumbfounded for a few minutes as he tried to comprehend what had just happened, but all his mind could seem to focus on was that Athena had just given him a free excuse to leave without getting into trouble from their meddlesome sister. That was all he needed to know and a moment later he teleported back to the mortal world for the rest of his day.
Gabriel's older siblings would always tell him how great it was for their kind to be in love, how over powering and wonderful it felt to be with the one person you were meant to be with for the rest of your life like he didn't know what they were talking about. The thing about that though was that Gabriel already knew how that felt. He already knew how powerful that emotion really was, that nothing could ever stop you from loving that person. The only problem with him already knowing all that was the fact that the person he was in love with was not the person he was supposed to be in love with. She was a mortal woman which was a big no-no for the Immortals.
It had started out harmlessly enough; Gabriel was just watching a noble family in preparation for one of his pranks. That's when he saw her though, a gorgeous woman with long silky brown hair that seemed to sway in even the most gentle breeze. Unlike his sisters, this woman was beautiful in a very different way. It was the imperfections and flaws in her skin that made her the vision of beauty in his eyes and not even Luna's looks could compare.
Gabriel had to get close to this woman no matter what and that's just what he did. The good thing about being an Immortal among the mortals was that your looks and strength were very good ways at getting interest from the opposite sex, so impressing this woman wasn't even that hard. Things didn't stop there though as the more he got to know her the more he started to fall for her. Even if it was forbidden. Gabriel had never been one to follow the rules though and as he got deeper and deeper into the situation he didn't even care about the law against being with a mortal anymore. Nothing else mattered besides her.
The night after meeting with Athena, Gabriel found himself once more climbing up a row of perfectly hewn stone steps that led to a very large and luxurious house in the richer part of the city. This time however, he wasn't going to visit members of his family but the woman he wasn't supposed to love. She had made him promise that he would visit that night after the sun had set and her parents, very wealthy noblemen, had gone to sleep. With her being from a rich family and he having a family mortals weren't supposed to know about made their relationship a secret. Especially since his family could ever know about what he was up to.
Most of the torches in the house had been doused hours ago and after doing a quick check of the premises for anyone awake he made his way to the west wing, where a single torch was burning in an open window. This was the way the two of them communicated. If a single torch was burning in the west wing that meant that she was still awake. If the window to her room was open then it meant it was safe for Gabriel to enter. Combine both of them together and Gabriel was a very happy man.
Inside the large room Gabriel found a slim figure laying on a rather large looking four poster bed with her back to the window. She was dressed in a sheer white dress that did nothing to hide her delicious body from his eyes and he instantly felt his loins stir at the sight he was being presented. Gabriel quickly reigned those emotions in though and saw a rather pleasant opportunity presenting itself to have a little fun with the current situation.
Trying not to laugh Gabriel made a short jump through space until he was standing right in front of the young woman, a soft popping sound announcing his sudden arrival. It didn't have the desired effect though as she didn't so much a stir from what appeared to be a deep slumber and all Gabriel could do was stand there and scratch his head in irritation. He had at least been hoping for a small squeal. Instead all he got were cute little sighs as she breathed in and out slowly. Then again, that wasn't so bad was it?
'Aglea,' Gabriel whispered gently, not really sure if he wanted her to wake up just yet. That's when he noticed the corner of her eye slightly flutter and he was sure she had just been looking at him. 'You're not even asleep, are you?'
His question was met with a soft giggle and the beautiful girl rolled onto her back, both eyes opening wide as a large grin split her face nearly in half. 'Maybe,' she smiled up at him and Gabriel couldn't help but smile back.
'That's not very nice you know.'
'Neither is trying to scare me by appearing right in my face while I lay here peacefully,' the girl laughed, 'And you're late.'
Gabriel didn't have an excuse for being later than usual and instead grabbed Aglea by the hands and gently lifted her out of bed, only using a tiny fraction of his strength. The girl squealed in delight at the show of power and flung herself into his arms, placing a soft kiss on his cheek while she wrapped him up in a tight hug. Well a hug tight by mortal standards. It only felt like a light breeze to someone who could jump from a two hundred foot cliff and get nothing more than a slight pang of irritation.
'Can you forgive me?' he asked softly.
'Only on one condition: take me to the farthest reaches of the world one day.'
'I think I can manage that pretty easily,' Gabriel smiled and cupped his lovers face in both his hands. 'I can take you to a land with creatures you have never seen before and tribes of people who pray to these animals like they are spirits. A land with forests, plains, and mountain ranges bigger and longer than all of Greece.'
Aglea's eyes lit up and grew as large as saucers as Gabriel explained this mystical and wonderful sounding land that no one from the entirety of the civilized world had ever set eyes on. To be honest though, it wasn't as great as it sounded. The people there lived in small tribes that roamed the land and followed the animals migration routes. There were no real cities, no monuments or statues or other such stuff that interested intelligent people. Just a bunch of indigenous people who cared little about the bigger world. Gabriel was sure that this great chunk of land on the other side of the vast ocean would never amount to anything and eventually be lost to history.
'What kind of beasts does this magical world hold?' Aglea asked and Gabriel couldn't hide the small smile creeping up his lips. He should have known that the talk of new animals would pique this gentle woman's interest. If her parents allowed, she would turn their home into a zoo.
'They have giant hulking bulls covered in thick fur with large horns crowning their thick heads. They travel in enormous groups and strip the lands of any growing thing from one end of the continent to the other. The people hunt these beasts for both food and clothing and it is a sight to see them fight. My sister, Luna, has another animal that she likes more; an odd rodent like creature with large buck teeth and a long and thick powerful tail that lives in the thousands of lakes to the north of the land. She's named them beavers and they are capable of felling trees with their large teeth and making homes from them in the water that even rival the complexity of the native people of the land.'
'That sounds spectacular,' Aglea sighed happily and brought her hands up and laid them over the ones Gabriel had on her cheeks. 'I wish to the gods that I could have the powers your family has so I could gaze upon this world with my own eyes. But since I can't do it on my own, I will have you take me there and be my guide.'
'If you can get away from your parents eyes for one day I will take you, my love.'
Before Aglea's smile could reach the edges of her face Gabriel leaned in and touched his lips gently to hers. The soft feeling he so enjoyed enveloped him and he let the meager amount of heat her mortal body gave off mingle with his and created a comforting blanket that swaddled both of them. Gabriel had been planning to practice a little self control, to try and rein in the powerful Immortal emotions. It was a necessary action when dealing with a mortal lover but it seemed Aglea was going to have none of that on this night as she pulled him into a hug, locking her hands together, and pressed her tender lips harder against his powerful ones as if she was seeking an opening.
Gabriel knew that the window for breaking the kiss was quickly closing but his love for Aglea and the desire to give her what she wanted was the only thing he cared about in life. If he could spend the entirety of his life making this woman happy then he would have completed the one thing he had been placed on this world for. He didn't care about his or his family's destiny or the reason they were created for. His being revolved around this small woman in his arms and nothing would ever get between them.
'Stop being so gentle,' Aglea pouted as their lips parted for a moment, 'use some of your power and make me yours.'
'Are you not already mine?' Gabriel mused but didn't deny her request.
In a flurry of motion that no mortal could ever hope to see, Gabriel pulled Aglea up into his arms and fell into the soft down mattress on the luxurious bed, his lips meeting hers once more in a more powerful kiss. His tongue easily passed through Aglea's lips and danced across hers, pushing it around in her own mouth as she had no hope of matching both his pace and strength. For reasons he would never understand, Aglea seemed to love it when he was a little rough with her and more times than not she would beg him to stop being so gentle with her and just ravage her body any way he pleased. Not that he didn't like doing that.
Before the bed and thin summer sheets had even settled around them, Gabriel had torn the sheer dress from his lovers small body and tossed it aside in a heap where he hoped it would be forgotten forever. His hands began to roam the soft and almost quivering skin he found beneath him and he kept his touch light, in a teasing manner that caused Aglea to groan in frustration and run her long fingers through his short hair. Beneath his fingers Aglea was beginning to melt and he could feel her heart beat faster and faster as a thin layer of sweat began to sprout up.
'I... I still find it hard that... that you have never done these things before you met me,' Aglea moaned as she tried to find her voice while Gabriel drew small circles around her taut nipples that sprang straight up from her soft bosom.
'I'm a quick learner,' he breathed and teased the left nipple by squeezing it gently between his fingers and rolling it.
'Am I still to believe there is nothing between you and your sister, the goddess Athena?'
Not letting up on his assault, knowing this was a common question rolling through his lovers mind that he had to address almost on a daily basis, Gabriel answered, 'Athena is not the goddess you Greeks believe in, just my older sister who holes herself up in her own little world and reads all the time. And no, there is nothing between us. My love is all for you.'
Gabriel's hand dipped between the small cleft between Aglea's breasts and his finger drew a line down her flat and tanned stomach until he finally touched the beginning of the greatest gift ever given to him. Two fingers delved into the silky smooth growth of rich brown curly hair that grew above the wet and hot opening that Aglea was dying to have touched. Whatever conversation she had been trying to have died on her lips, to be quickly replaced by a long and very low groan of approval for the direction Gabriel was taking things. He figured he had teased her enough and his own body was already beginning to betray him as his long and hard manhood began to press against his lovers thigh through his elegant clothing.
The two fingers that had been moving through the tuft of pubic hair finally made it through to the other side and Gabriel was instantly greeted by finding a slick and almost pulsating slit crowned at the very tip by a tiny little button of flesh that, once touched, caused Aglea to cry out in pleasure and dig her fingers into Gabriel's tough flesh. Liking the reaction Aglea had just given, Gabriel once more dragged his fingers over the little nub, over and over again until the girl shook beneath him and her breathing was sharp and frequent.
'Please... I... I need you!' Aglea begged and Gabriel was already ahead of her. In a flash his long white robe vanished into nothingness and his powerful body pressed against hers in a naked pile. The feel of so much skin pressing together was exhilarating and it was the last straw still holding Gabriel's emotions in check. With that now gone his baser instincts began to take control and without another word he positioned his hips right above hers and in one quick and fluid motion he buried his entire length into his loves tight folds.
The feeling rushing through all of Gabriel's body, traveling directly up his spine and into his brain, was simply exquisite and very addictive. Sometimes he wished that Aglea was just like him, an Immortal being who couldn't tire and needed no breaks for food or water, because that would make things so much easier on him. The worst time in his life was when he had to pull himself off Aglea when she was too tired to continue. He didn't let that idea bother him right now though as all his thoughts were focused on pleasing both himself and this beautiful young woman currently impaled on his manhood.
Gabriel's hips pumped in and out as the amazing feelings flooded his brain and his hands tightly gripped Aglea's supple hips. With each thrust in she would grunt loudly, her mouth hanging open and each time he pulled out she would suck in a deep and sharp breath and her eyes would half roll into the back of her head. Keeping his actions as gentle as he could manage, Gabriel was mesmerized by the bouncing mounds of flesh on Aglea's chest as they jumped back and forth in a dazzling and erotic dance. Not wanting them to be left out he leaned down and wrapped his lips around her right nipple, sucking it into his mouth and swirling his powerful tongue around the little nub over and over again as Aglea sighed in pure pleasure and wrapped her fingers in his hair and pressed him closer to her breast.
If Gabriel had been any normal man he probably would have nearly suffocated to death as Aglea held him tightly into her skin, but he had no need for breathing. He began to pump deeper and faster into Aglea's body as she was covered in a layer of sweat and her hair whipped back and forth as he continued to tease her nipples even harder. His hands gripping her waist tightened up and in the back of his mind he was sure Aglea was in some pain, but to her credit she didn't vocalize it or even show it on her face as she continued to moan in pleasure and wrap her arms around the back of his head even stronger.
'D... don't... stop!' she cried out and Gabriel could feel her wet and silky walls close in around his hard member as he continued to thrust into her depths with abandon. He could feel her body try to clamp down around him but her strength was nothing compared to his and he felt little to no resistance.
Aglea's entire body suddenly seized up and she began to shake violently as a strong orgasm ripped through her tender body and caused her to scream out in ecstasy. Gabriel refused to stop though as she continued to shiver and whimper under his body, her fingernails furiously trying to penetrate his diamond strong skin. Whatever words she might have been trying to say to him in that moment were lost as his lust became all consuming and the only thing he wanted was his own release.
His hips flashed back and forth as his cock pummeled Aglea's tender open flower like there was no tomorrow. Aglea was now writhing under him, sheets shoved into her mouth to stifle her moans as much as possible as Gabriel continued the fast and vigorous pace that no mortal man could ever hope to achieve. He could already feel his orgasm starting to build towards an apex and it would only be moments before he released all his pent up energy into her body.
It surged through his body, a tidal wave of pleasure mixed perfectly together with emotion and his entire body tensed up in sheer gratification. His hot seed erupted from the tip of his manhood and was injected into the deepest parts of Aglea's body, causing the poor girl to cry out in pleasure once more as she was suddenly and viciously filled up with it. Gabriel's own cry of bliss was lost in his throat as his senses of the world suddenly came back to him and he remembered that Aglea's parents were just down the hall from them. It would be bad now if they found a strange man lying on their naked daughter still buried deep in her body.
It was nearly a half hour before either of them could speak once again and until that time they didn't move from where they were on the bed. Even unmoving it still felt too good for either of them to want it to end and Gabriel wished he could lay like that for the rest of eternity. He would give anything for that wish to become a reality, even his eternal youth if that's what it took.
'Y... you're getting better at being quiet,' Aglea laughed softly between deep breaths. Gabriel pulled his face from her soft chest and looked deep into her blue eyes, moving a few strands of sweaty hair from her face with a free hand.
'You haven't though,' he retorted and was rewarded with a soft giggle.
'Will it matter when you take me to this new land you spoke of?'
'I suppose not, but that's only one day. What about all the rest?'
Aglea's face suddenly shifted from content and happy to cold and hurt as his words landed around her ears. 'I don't want to be there for just one day,' she explained slowly like she was talking to a child, 'I want to run away to this world with you.'
Now it was Gabriel's turn to change emotions and he felt the happy glow that had been radiating through his body wash away as the implications set in. 'That is impossible, my love. Your parents might not be able to find you, but my family could. I'm not exactly supposed to be with you, you know?'
'Yes, you have mentioned that once or twice but I don't see how that matters. So what if you are supposed to be promised to Athena! I'm sure if you actually told your siblings how you felt about that they would come to understand. And didn't you say yourself that there are no feelings between the two of you.'
'That's not the problem, my dear. We're not supposed to be with mortals in this way. It's one of our laws and if we were discovered I'm not sure how much trouble I would be in. Ares isn't exactly the nicest person. I wish I could just give everything up and run to a far off land with you, Aglea; but I can't. Using their powers, my family would find me in no time. I can't risk them finding you.'
'Too late brother!' a strong and commanding voice roared from behind him. Before Gabriel could so much as turn around to face his eldest brother he was caught by the shoulder and tossed off the bed so hard he smashed into the far wall and slid down until he was sitting against it.
In the span of a heart beat Gabriel was on his feet once more and his golden armor shimmering into existence around his body as two heavy golden swords appeared in his open hands. He already knew that it was Ares who had snuck up on him and also that acting defensive like this was not the best of plans, but in that moment his anger had surged to the surface and he was having trouble controlling himself. Even if he wouldn't stand a chance in a fight against the strongest of the Immortals.
'You dare pull your weapons in my presence!' Ares growled and suddenly a massive and very long golden spear appeared in the burly man's hand, an almost satisfied smile on his lips.
There would be no fight though as a second later two loud pops echoed through the large room and Gabriel found himself being held by both arms as two more of his siblings arrived on the scene and pushed him down until he was on his knees, his swords dangling harmlessly. He didn't know which of his siblings had just appeared but he was pretty sure one of them would most likely be Andromeda, wife to Ares and a ruthless warrior who's strength was only rivaled by the three other members of the first generation.
'I always knew you were a trouble maker, Gabriel, but I honestly didn't think you would forsake your own kind for some little insect!'
'My lord!' Aglea suddenly jumped out of bed, still totally naked, and fell to her hands and knees in a deep bow with her forehead pressed to the stone floor. 'Forgive us, my lord Ares!'
The tall and physically imposing Immortal turned to this minor annoyance and spat viciously at her. 'No amount of groveling or praying will change your fate, peasant! It has already been sealed! Andromeda, take her away!'
There were two soft pops and before Gabriel realized his left arm was now free Aglea had already been removed from the room. He wanted to fight back, to throw off who was ever holding him and chase after Aglea but he knew it was no use. Even if he did manage to get away he would be hunted down quickly and his punishment would be even worse than it was already going to be. Could he really just leave Aglea alone with Andromeda though? Would she be safe? He was thinking about this all wrong. However mad Ares was right now he wouldn't cross that line and hurt an innocent mortal woman. He was their leader and the model of behavior for all the others, so there was no way he would do something as horrible as that. No matter how much of a bastard he could be sometimes.
'Take our disgraced brother to his realm and keep an eye on him, Alexander,' Ares seethed and an instant later Gabriel found himself tumbling through space.
A few minutes ago, Aglea had been having one of the best nights of her life. She had had a long and relaxing rose petal bath with the finest oils money could buy in all of Greece and she had been looking forward to her late night rendezvous with the most amazing man in the world. She had been blessed by the gods themselves to have met such a powerful and loving man, who as far as she could tell, was one of the gods himself. Many nights she had searched her mind for the knowledge of which god he actually was and eventually, after falling to one of his apparently legendary pranks, figured he was Hermes; the messenger god.
He could tell her all he wanted that he was not a god and just someone created by the gods, but he wasn't fooling her. He could summon clothing and weapons at will, appear and disappear with no more than a soft pop, and his strength and speed were unrivaled in the entire world. Gabriel could be nothing but a god and Aglea was truly blessed that he would visit her bed whenever she asked. Sure, being sexual with a god could sometimes be painful and over stimulating but she wouldn't trade it for the world.
However, the best night of her life had somehow managed to become the worst night of her life. She had just spent an amazing time with her lover and the whole world was looking brighter around her as she was looking forward to seeing this new world he had told her about. That was until Ares, the god of war, suddenly appeared in her room in a fit of rage and tossed Gabriel around like a rag doll. She tried begging for forgiveness, or at least take all the blame, but before she even really got the chance she suddenly found herself trapped on a tiny island afloat in the middle of a massive sea that stretched as far as the eye could see. And she wasn't alone.
'You've finally arrived,' a soft and very sweet voice said through the moonlight and Aglea jumped nearly a foot in the air at the sudden surprise. Walking out from behind a nearby palm tree was one of the most gorgeous women she had ever seen before. She had short mousy brown hair and big brown eyes that instantly trapped you where you stood. Her body swayed like the tree tops during a gentle breeze and Aglea could already feel a familiar feeling of power emanate from her slender body. 'I've been looking forward to meeting you, Aglea, daughter of Arcturus.'
'W... who are you?' she croaked in reply and took a long step back through the soft sand at her feet.
'Think about it for a moment, my child. I'm sure you can figure it out. Gabriel must have told you about me in his late night visits.'
Feeling very disoriented and extremely uncomfortable Aglea looked around at her surroundings for anything that would jog her memory of the things Gabriel had told her. The tiny island had a few large rocks positioned either by the water's edge or under the tall palm trees that grew towards the interior, but none of it seemed familiar. It wasn't until she noticed an open scroll laying in the sand that she suddenly realized who this gorgeous woman truly was and she instantly fell into another bow of reverence, like the one she had shown Ares a few moments ago.
'Athena,' she breathed and the goddess giggled softly to herself. 'I beg your forgiveness. Please, do not punish Gabriel. All the blame is mine!'
'How very interesting,' the goddess mused gently, 'I didn't expect you to so easily stand up for Gabriel like that. You must really love him.'
'I'm sorry, my lady!' Aglea cried and tears stung at her eyes, 'I have no excuse! But please, don't hurt him! Take my life instead!'
'Rise my child, I am not mad,' Athena spoke softly in her sing-song voice and Aglea did a double take at what she had just heard. How could this all powerful being not be mad at this tiny mortal taking the love of her promised one?
'Rise, child. You are safe within my realm, I promise you that.'
'You are not angry that I took Gabriel away from you?' she asked meekly as she slowly stood up, 'Was what he told me true? That there is nothing between you two?'
'Let me be honest with you, I love Gabriel more than I love anything or anyone else,' the goddess answered and Aglea felt her heart drop with those words, 'but it's a different type of love than the one you feel for him.'
'I don't understand. I was under the assumption that you two were fated to be together, like the other gods are together.'
'Gabriel is my son, Aglea. In fact they are all my sons and daughters, but Gabriel belongs to me alone in that sense. The other ten were created by four of us while Gabriel was only created by me. He was made with no mate though. He was alone, until he met you. I didn't see you coming, but I must tell you that I am happy he has found love with you. It makes me a very proud mother.'
'So... what's going to happen now?'
At this question Athena's eyes suddenly hardened a bit and she sighed deeply like the answer in her mind pained her greatly. What Gabriel had told her before they were caught, that he wasn't supposed to be with a mortal woman like they were, suddenly came back to her mind and Aglea realized that whatever was going to happen wouldn't be good; for either of them. Had she been selfish in asking Gabriel to always come and spend the night in her bed? Maybe if she had just let him go they could have avoided all of this.
'I want you to understand that none of this is your fault, child,' Athena said and it was almost as if the god had been reading her mind. 'I am the one who told Ares of Gabriel's indiscretion. I have known about him sneaking into your room at night for a while now and I thought I could keep it secret. You both seemed so happy that I didn't want to break that up. However, I was left with no other choice.'
'W... why? If he is your child you and love him as such then why would you betray him? What's going to happen too him? Will he be hurt?'
'I did what I must to protect this world. I don't expect you to understand, but I hope you will trust my judgment. A dark and powerful evil wants to wrest this world from the hands of the gods and plunge it into fire, and the only ones standing in its way are Gabriel and his siblings. I have been delving deep into the many futures and have been trying to find the best path for my children to walk. Do you know what I saw?'
'No...' Aglea answered in a whisper and shook her head from side to side, her hair, still sticky from sweat, swayed to and fro.
'You. You and Gabriel. Destiny wraps around the both of you so strongly that even in death you will not be apart for long. You will probably not remember any of this as reincarnation is a very tricky thing, but in the distant future Gabriel will need you by his side. He will need your strength and love to pull him through the darkest times of his life, and together you will stand against the hordes of evil. Will you stand beside my child?'
'O...of course,' Aglea answered, knowing full well what this meant. There was no other option in her mind though. She loved Gabriel with all of her heart and she wanted to be with him when he needed her. And if her death could spare his life for now then it was a fair trade. The world needed him more than it needed her.
Athena smiled sadly at the young mortal woman and waved a small hand through the air, a hint of blue light sparkling before dissipating. A second later a large green leaf that curved gently upwards appeared in the goddess's hand and she held it out to her. 'Drink this and you will feel no pain, no matter what happens. I wish this didn't need to happen and I am truly sorry, but it is the best chance this world has.'
'If I can help Gabriel, then I will do anything.' Aglea gently took the leaf from the god and without a moment of hesitation she held it up to her lips and tipped it back, the thick, cool liquid draining right down her throat. It had a very unusual taste, mostly organic like some kind of root extract of some sort. There wasn't much of it and in a matter of seconds she pulled the leaf from her lips and it vanished like it had never even existed.
'You are a brave woman and I can see why my child loves you so much. The time is upon us. I ask one thing before that though; please do not mention anything you have heard here to any of my children. It is very important.'
Aglea opened her mouth to say that her secret was safe but before the words could come out there was a soft pop and a very tall and attractive blonde woman was standing right next to Athena. She was dressed from head to toe in gleaming golden armor and her face showed no emotion at all; like she didn't even have them. Aglea recognized this woman from her room earlier and she had heard Ares call her Andromeda.
'I'm surprised, Athena,' the woman sneered as she looked from the goddess to Aglea, 'I was expecting to arrive and find this peasant lying in a pool of her own blood. She did defile your mate after all.'
'I am not like you, sister. Why have you come?'
'Ares is holding Gabriel's trial in a moment and wants this whore there for it. Your presence is also required.'
Andromeda quickly crossed the small distance between them and grabbed Aglea roughly by the arm, her strong plated hand threatening to shatter the bone. Aglea didn't feel the pain though and she silently thanked Athena for giving her that strange concoction. When she died she didn't want to show Gabriel a face full of pain. She wanted him to look at her and see her smile.
A moment later the entire world fell away and for the second time in her life Aglea was thrown across the cosmos.
A short jump from his private, underground oasis, Gabriel found himself kneeling high above the planet, billions of stars and planets sparkling in the distance as space floated around him. A moment after arriving there were numerous soft pops as his siblings arrived in their full battle armor and weapons, hard looks on their faces as they all already knew why they were being called to a rare gathering; their youngest brother had broken one of their most sacred laws.
Gabriel instantly picked out the faces of Baal and Luna from the circle that surrounded him and he was sad to see such an angry and hurt look on his favorite sisters face. Baal on the other hand couldn't even look Gabriel in the eyes and it hurt a whole lot more than he ever could have imagined. He knew if his family found out about what he was up to most nights he would be in some serious trouble, but he honestly wasn't prepared for it. It felt like his mind and heart were being stabbed multiple times with tiny little daggers that he could neither see nor stop.
Standing next to Baal, on his left side, was the powerful and terribly imposing Ares; the eldest Immortal and only link to the gods that had created them. The look on his face told Gabriel that nothing he could say or do would ever get him out of this mess and it was then that he realized all those pranks he pulled had probably screwed him over in the long run. That thought quickly left his mind though as his vision continued to sweep through the Immortals gathered and he found the beautiful and deadly Andromeda. Clutched in her horrible hands was a very terrified and horribly out of place mortal woman.
'Aglea!' he cried out and tried to rush towards the woman only to be stopped a few feet later by the tip of a spear an inch from his face and a very angry looking Ares staring down at him.
'Know your place brother!' he spat and with one swift action he tossed Gabriel back into the very center of the circle surrounding him. The very next instant he was back in his spot at the top of the circle but still kept his spear leveled at him.
'Why did you bring a mortal here, Ares? Aren't you also currently breaking a law?' Apollo, a large black man with dreads and a trident asked in a booming voice that echoed through the vastness of space. Apollo was a fierce warrior and a very good man, one of the few Immortals Gabriel actually liked. His wife Serenity on the other hand, well she was a bit up tight; but he would never say that to her face.
'This is the evidence of our brothers crime! As naked as I found her when Gabriel was on top of her! Does anyone deny this charge?'
The group remained silent and even a few of his brothers and sisters shook their heads as a triumphant grin snaked its way across Ares' face and a shiver ran down Gabriel spine. He hadn't expected anyone to deny the charge as it was a simple matter of Ares allowing the others to see his thoughts of when he caught them together; so by now every single one of them would have all the proof they needed to punish him. What did concern Gabriel though was the fact that Aglea had been brought to this trial for no reason. Ares was up to something else here as well.
'Very well,' Ares smiled and took a step forward, 'Gabriel, twelfth born and mate of Athena, you have been found guilty of your crime and will be punished accordingly. As first born I will be the one to pass your judgment and make sure you adhere to my ruling. For the crime of laying with a mortal, betraying the trust of your mate, and defying me, you will be punished to the fullest extent. Give me your weapons.'
With trembling hands Gabriel summoned both of his swords and held them out towards his brother, his head hung in shame. Ares walked forwards and took both of the swords in his hands before crushing them in his powerful hands, shards of golden celestial metal flying in all directions as they were crushed beyond repair.
A murmur ran through the crowd of Immortals and for a moment it seemed like that's all there would be to it; that his punishment had been done. Gabriel knew better though and a moment later Andromeda teleported into the middle of the circle beside her husband and pushed Aglea forward until she was only a foot away from Gabriel.
'Go ahead and curse Gabriel for condemning you to death, insect!' Ares barked roughly and Gabriel flinched. The words he spoke, while mean, were very true. It was because of him that she was standing there in that moment with no way of saving her own life. She would die and it was all his fault.
'Thank you Gabriel,' Aglea said suddenly and a sweet and almost serene smile crossed her face, 'I love you.'
As Gabriel tried to process what was going on he never even had a chance to stop what was happening. There was a low whistling sound as something was slicing through the air and a moment later Aglea was falling to the ground, a spattering of blood hitting him in the face. Gabriel eyes remained locked on the now gruesome body of his lover but his ears rang with the shouts of outrage and cheers of joy that echoed through the realm.
'Ares!' Baal's strong voice roared above all others, 'What do you think you are doing? What possible reason do you have for killing a mortal in cold blood like that? We are not barbarians brother! She did not commit the crime!'
'Is that really true brother?' Ares growled and it was very obvious he didn't want anyone questioning his authority. 'This whore got between Athena and her mate, so she must pay for the crime as well! It is the life of one mortal, is it really so horrible?'
'Of course it is!' Erin cried and as Gabriel was finally able to look away from the horrible sight before him he could see his sister crying openly. 'Even the life of one mortal is a precious thing we must protect!'
'ENOUGH!' Ares roared and his eyes held a dangerous glow to them as a wave of power washed out from his body. 'I will not have another word against my judgment! The matter of Gabriel's punishment is not finished! For breaking our laws I sentence you to death!'
What happened in the next second would forever change the world, a fact Gabriel would not be able to comprehend for many years. Ares bore down on him, the large and extremely sharp point of his spear rushing directly towards his face. There was no remorse or sadness in his eyes at the prospect of killing his own brother, only a dark and sick glint that hinted at him actually enjoying what was happening. The spear would never meet Gabriel's flesh though. Before it got the chance a tall and muscled body got in the way a split second before the spear drove deep into his chest.
'BAAL! NOOOOO!' Luna's voice cried out in terrible pain, but the deed had already been done. Baal's large body dropped down in front of Gabriel and before his head had even hit, a pain so great shot through everyone's minds as a name was etched into their brains: Baal, second born and husband to Luna. Gabriel's best friend in all of creation was dead.
A cry of extreme sorrow chorused through the Immortals and even Andromeda, a blood thirsty woman if there ever was one had tears in her eyes at what had just happened. Ares on the other hand was trying hard to conceal a smile and Gabriel had to fight the urge to kill the man with everything he had in him. He was pretty sure others were also holding themselves back from doing the exact same thing. To stand against Ares in that moment though would be suicide. He was lost in bloodlust, like when he had butchered all those barbarians over a hundred years ago in a small war.
'QUIET!' the eldest roared and slammed his spear, the tip dripping with golden blood, into the ground as hard as he could to get everyone's attention. The loud cries of pain slowly became stifled sobs as the Immortals tried their hardest to remain quiet. Serenity, wife of Apollo, had actually moved from her place in the circle and was supporting Luna as her legs didn't seem to work anymore.
Gabriel looked down at the collapsed backside of his best friend and shed fresh tears as the crimson blood of a mortal mixed with the golden blood of an Immortal. Things weren't supposed to have gone this way. He didn't want any of this. Why couldn't he have just fallen in love with Athena like he should have? If he could have loved her than no one would have needed to die and everyone would be happy. Baal would be in his home with his loving wife right now and Aglea probably would have found a good man who would love her and keep her from danger. All of this was his fault.
'Why brother,' Ares whispered so only Gabriel could hear him from proximity. He knelt down and placed a gentle hand on his first brothers head, a sigh escaping his lips. A moment later he looked back up at Gabriel with cold hard eyes, 'The death of one brother is enough for tonight. I have a new punishment for you.'
'Stop this Ares!' Luna called out and for a moment Gabriel was afraid the eldest would turn his anger on the poor woman who had just lost her husband. Instead Ares stood up and refused to face her.
'Gabriel must still be punished and it must be harsh; but I realize now that death is too easy for him. For your crimes Gabriel, I will cast you down to the mortal realm you seem to love so much and strip you of your eternal youth! You will live and grow old and die only to be reborn once more so you can remember what happened on this night for all of time! This power was given to me by our creators and I never hoped to use it, but you have left me no choice!'
Ares quickly touched Gabriel in the very middle of his chest and before he could so much as blink there was a blinding golden light that blinded everyone where they stood. A white hot burning pain coursed through Gabriel's entire being and he screamed out in agony as the light pulsed and increased in intensity. He could literally feel all of his considerable power leaving his body and a cold chill set in as the pain began to subside slowly until both it and the light vanished.
'You will forever be known as our Fallen Brother Gabriel, a shadow of your former self. You are hereby banished from ever speaking to us again and if you ever show your face in front of me I will kill you on the spot!' Ares said loudly so everyone could hear and a second later there was a loud pop as he teleported away.
One by one the others began to leave, until only a few remained. Apollo walked over to Baal's body and knelt down next to it, thick tears dropping from his eyes as they splattered on the ground. His wife Serenity still held onto a distraught Luna who was beyond consoling and an ever emotionless Athena stood rooted on the spot, her eyes locked on Gabriel as he struggled to regain his senses.
'I will bring you some where safe, Gabriel,' Apollo said softly to him and began to reach a hand towards him.
It was then that Gabriel saw it, a long and sharp shard from his shattered sword that lay next to Aglea's broken body and was covered in her thick red blood. In a moment of pure agony at everything that he had caused, Gabriel grabbed the shard in his hand and in one swift movement he shoved it deep into his heart. There was no pain, just a feeling of release as his life quickly left his now mortal body.
On the outskirts of Aegae in Northern Greece a newborn baby's cry echoed through the dark streets. A small yet powerful woman cloaked in black walked through the rough hewn streets of a poor side of the town, a small child held safely in her hands. Whoever looked out their windows that night would never see this mysterious woman and it wouldn't be until the next morning until the matron of the local orphanage would find the small boy on her front step.
The woman gently placed the naked baby on the step and waved her hand over him, a thick white blanket embroidered with the name Athos suddenly appeared over him. At the sudden warmth and a small smile from the woman who brought him there quickly quieted the baby and he reached up towards her like he was asking to be held once more.
'Be safe my son,' the woman said in a very beautiful voice and placed a gentle hand on the child's face, 'You will always be my Gabriel and one day you will save the world.'
As always, please rate and comment.
There will be another addition to this little side story mini series, but I would like to ask all you readers who are familiar with this story what you would like to read next. Let me know in the comments which story you are dying to hear from this series or pick from a list below. Which ever gets the most comments I will write up for you all.
Janice's first time meeting Gabriella's extended family (Janice is one of my favorite characters and sadly in this watered down version she barely gets any face time. It's actually pretty interesting when she meets the Immortals for the first time)
Max and Erin after the divided story (how they tackle their new love and how their parents react to it)
Samantha falling in love with a man and how her world changed when she met him (if you read the second part of the Defiance story you will remember that Samantha tells Gabby she was into women and not men. I will honestly admit this was a large plot hole I created by accident when I wrote the Divided story and this is a good chance to correct that.)
James, Amy, and Erin rounding up the second generation of Immortals when they were children and explaining to them what they will grow up to become. (Just an idea I have been toying around with and I thought it would be interesting)
And lastly, of the ones I can think about right now, how Lucy and Francis came to fall in love and get married. Considering they are big parts of the Divided story and even possibly the series after that I figured they deserved a little face time so you could get to know them a little more.
So you can choose from this list or pick any character or story I have mentioned within the series and I will get to work on writing them. Just leave your suggestion in the comments.
Thank you for reading this extended after note :D
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