tagNovels and NovellasAngel, Angel Burning Bright

Angel, Angel Burning Bright

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Around her the inferno raged and rose higher, engulfing the edge of her skirt, singing her long cardinal hair; she closed her eyes and fought back tears and focused her mind on his image.

She remembered the day she first laid eyes on the demon that had caused her to forfeit her life, body, and soul. He had seemed a man like any other set apart only by his regal bearing and piercing eyes. His black leather boots were caked with dust from the road and despite the blistering heat he wore a black jacket over his crisp white shirt and had shed not a drop of sweat.

His hair shone like a raven's wing in the sun and fell in a cascade of curls bound by a single black satin ribbon down his back. His eyes were pools of warm chocolate that had the tiniest flecks of gold and amber shining in their depths. His mouth was strong and sensual as it curved in to a smile when his eyes fell upon her in the field. His skin shone with a golden gleam that was accentuated by the stark whiteness of his shirt and made his smile shine even brighter. A deep cleft was set in his strong chin and his smile made dimples appear almost magically in his cheeks. He took her breathe away as no man ever had for he looked like no man in her village. His rumbling voice called to her, " Good day, milady! Might you know a place that I may stay for a night or two?"

That simple question marked the beginning of her fate.

She could scarcely believe he was speaking to her for few rarely did. She lived on the edge of the village alone on the farm her parents had once worked. Most ignored her, as she didn't fit in. She had taught her self to read and write something no other girl in the village could do and her beauty was the stuff of fairy tales. Her skin was a flawless cream unmarred by the sun no matter how many hours she spent in her fields. Her eyes a fiery luminescent green that flashed with untried passion. Her mouth was full lipped and naturally the color of fresh poppies, but her hair was the sole feature that bothered the villagers. Her hair was thick and luxuriant falling past her hips in soft waves, but the color was a startling red, a red as deep and vibrant as a cardinal's plumage an unnatural color the villagers whispered about whenever they saw her.

In a voice as clear as a bell she called back to him, " Yes milord the inn is just past the center of town, they should have a room available for you." He nodded his head and continued past her farm into the village. She sighed and went back to pulling up the vegetable from her garden for her dinner.

The acrid smell of smoke broke her reverie and she was scared to open her eyes, for fear of panicking and giving them the satisfaction of hearing her scream. Through the crackling of the fire she heard their accusations ringing in her ears. "Witch! Whore! Sorceress!" but the only one that hurt was "Where is your demon lover now?" She retreated to her memories of her time with him, with her love.

He was laughing a wonderfully musical sound and smiling that amazing smile of his. He had come strolling by her farm again, and was laughing as she tried, very unsuccessfully, to pull up the roots of a tree that she had chopped down but was starting to grow again.

"If you think it is that easy and funny to see me doing this", she growled at him, "you do it."

She couldn't believe it when he stepped over her fence and whispered in her ear "It would be my pleasure to help such a beautiful damsel in distress." He took his jacket off, stripped his shirt off and handed them to her in a neatly folded pile.

"Be a good girl and hold these," he said smirking.

Before she could respond he leaned over and grabbed the stump with both hands. His back muscles rippled and glistened under the sun as he tensed up and pulled the stump up in one swift move. She was amazed by how easily he wrenched the roots from the ground and couldn't help but stare at his naked back. He turned to her and raised in eyebrows and nodded to the stump he still held in a query as to what he should do with it. Mesmerized by his bare chest with it's sprinkling of hair that drifted down below his belt, she merely pointed to a spot by the corner of her cabin. His eyes were full of laughter as he if he knew what she was thinking. Her cheeks quickly flushed the color of fresh rose blooms and her eyes searched the pristine whiteness of his shirt.

"Thank you, Mr..." She called to him, "I am afraid you still haven't told me your name, sir. Nor have I told you mine."

He laughed a wonderful rumbling sound and called back to her, " Bida, Bida, Bida", he shook his head, " really I thought you would have known me when you saw me. Oh well, I suppose I shall have to tell you again. My name is Samael Troian." She looked puzzled; as if she could half remember a dream where she had known this man. His name rang in her ears a distant memory.

"Samael... Samael," she murmured to herself, liking the way it rolled off her tongue. She turned to look at the road leading to the village and sighed.

"So, Mr. Troian, I thought you said you only needed a room for a night or two? When will you be moving on?" she started to ask Samael, when it hit her that he had called her by her name.

"How did you know my name!" she spun around on her heels to face him.

Bida's face turned to a mask of surprise as she realized that Samael was gone and she was no longer holding his clothes. She turned and stared hard down the empty road that lead to her sleepy little village before bolting past the hole were the stump had been to the corner of her quaint cabin and then past it into the field were her only cow grazed peacefully undisturbed by anyone. She stopped and surveyed her land straining her eyes towards the woods at the edge of her property, but nowhere was there any sign that anyone had been with her only moments before. Slowly she walked back to where the tree stump should have been and saw instead of the stump she expected a bouquet of flowers. Bida shook her head staring at the flowers in disbelief before bending over and gathering the flowers up in her arms. Carefully as if she expected them to disappear, she deeply breathed in their perfume and suddenly her mind flashed with wicked images of herself and Samael doing things she had never thought she would do. The flowers fell to the ground. Bida gasped and violently shook her head desperate to clear the wanton thoughts and images that danced through her mind. Gulping deep breaths of air, she finally calmed herself.

"Bida," she scolded herself, "what on earth has come over you?? There is work to be done and you are standing around like a girl in love. Foolish, foolish girl. He hasn't even shown an interest in you, and he is leaving. You are never going to see him again and surely he will not think of you once he is gone." Sighing so deeply her chest shook, she went inside her cabin to start on evening chores.

She had only just finished her sewing when she heard yells from the village. She rushed out the door and turned to look at the village. Thick plumes of black smoke rose from the center of it, creating a pillar of dense flame tinged smog.

She heard the crackle of fire all around her and felt intense heat on her skin. Wait where was she? Then the realization that she was alone in the fire hit her full force. She shook as she tried to suppress her despair. Never had she felt so alone. "Samael" became her mantra as she turned to her memories again.

There was a loud rapping on her door that woke her with a start.

"Bida? Bida!" she heard a voice calling her name. Slowly she rose and went to the door. "Bida!" the voice was louder and the cadence familiar to her ears. "Please Bida, open the door." She watched as her hand opened the door, as she looked up her emerald eyes met Samael's mesmerizing dark ones.

"The inn burned down and no one will let me stay in their home. Everything I had was in that inn, I can't pay you, but I will work for you and keep you safe." he said quietly.

"Samael", Bida's voice was very sleepy. "I thought you were only passing through...why don't you just leave?" Absent-mindedly her hand rubbed her eyes, her mouth opening in a huge yawn, her pink tongue curling like a kitten's. "Well, come in, I am not going to stand here with the door open all night", her voice still thick with sleep, " I suppose I can help you out especially with harvest just around the corner, but you are going to have to pull your weight around here, and I don't have another bedroom so you will either have to sleep up in the loft or out here. I barely bring in enough during harvest to feed myself so don't expect huge meals. If there is anything else, I'll tell you in the morning...then you can answer my questions." She turned and softly padded back to her room, the light from the fireplace throwing sparks off her hair, and quietly she closed the door to her room.

Bida slept unusually late that morning, her dreams having troubled her usually peaceful sleep. She was being to worry about herself, she had dreamed about Samael all night wicked dreams that made her want to sleep the rest of the day away, safely cocooned in her fantasies. A wonderful aroma wafted under her door and teased her nose. She breathed as deeply as she could and tried to sort the odors apart. There was the sweet yeast smell of fresh baked bread...a crisp tantalizing hint of rabbit...the strong, pungent odor of eggs...and a lighter delicate scent that she could for the life of her place, a familiar comforting smell. Carelessly she pushed a wayward lock of her hair behind her ear as a look of pure confusion marred her delicate features. "Now who in all the hells is in my house?"' she muttered under her breathe before remembering Samael's late night visit. She rose from the bed and stretched her arms over her head, before dropping her modest nightshirt to the ground. Carefully she combed the thick mane of hair that hung down her back, before suddenly aware of Samael's presence in her home and her naked form a blush quickly colored her perfect snowy skin as she snatched a dress from her small closet to cover her body.

The room was empty when she cautiously opened the door of her bedroom to the main room, but on her small writing table laid her small bound book of writings opened as if someone had been reading it and a tray with a delicious meal on it. Bida was troubled as she looked around the room for any sign besides the tray that Samael was still there.

"Silly girl of course he isn't here... he has probably already left.", she chided herself when she realized her chest was tight with disappointment.

At that exact moment, she heard a yelp from outside her little cottage. Bida rushed out to see what had made such a pitiful sound. Holding his shin and muttering curses under his breath, Samael lay in a very undignified heap. Bida tried not to laugh, but a giggle escaped her lips. Samael turned his head toward the sound and glared at her.

"Oh you think this is amusing, do you? ", he growled. "And after I made you breakfast," he mock sniffled," I really would have expected some concern instead of mockery."

Bida dropped to her knees beside him and put a finger to his lips, "Hush all that silliness this instant, of course I am concerned. As a matter of fact I was scared some poor animal was out here hurt what with that pitiful sounding noise you made." Samael looked shocked.

"Pitiful sounding? Pitiful sounding!" he roared. He started to stand ready to storm off and instead collapsed again.

"Here, let me help you." Bida's voice brimming with concern, "Let's get you in the house where I can see what you have done to yourself"

Gingerly he rose once again and started to fall when Bida braced him against herself. Slowly they made their way inside before Bida helped him sit beside the hearth. She tore his pant leg away from his shin and exposed a nasty gash. Silently she went outside and gather a few herbs from her garden and a bucket of water from a spring nearby. When she returned inside she stoked the dying embers in her fireplace and pour the water into a pot before placing the pot over the revived fire. She tore the hem of her dress into strips, before placing in them in the pot with the water. Bida went to her small bookcase and got down a mortar and pestle that had belonged to her mother and started grinding the herbs together to create a poultice.

Samael watched her eyes shining with intensity, following her every move, a smile playing on his lips.

"What are you smiling at? ", Bida asked testily. "And how exactly did you manage to cut your leg like that? This is going to sting." Carefully she pulled a strip of cloth from the water and pressed it to the cut, before thoroughly scrubbing the gaping wound.

Samael gritted his teeth and hissed, "You are making it hurt on purpose, wench." Bida pursed her lips together and reached for a fresh strip.

"You'll live, now are you going to answer my questions?" she replied. Again she scrubbed the wound. Finally she surveyed the now clean cut. It wasn't as bad as she thought it was, it was very deep nearly nicking the bone but clean edged and only about three inches long. Her deft fingers applied the poultice to several strips of cloth that she had rung out, and then carefully bandaged his leg.

"This is going to have to be changed twice a day but the herbs I used should have it healed in a week or so. Now, I want answers." she said in even measured tones.

"As you command oh wise and beautiful healer", Samael mockingly replied. "I was going to go start to bring in the grain from your field and I cut myself of that damnable scythe blade you have. Why isn't there a handle on it? You could have hurt yourself on it." his voice shifting to a more concerned pitch.

"If you must know I can't afford a new one and the towns people and I avoid each other so taking it to market to have it fixed is out of the question. Now why are you staying here? When I first saw you a week ago you said you only needed a room for a night or two. Are you serious about working for me? Where are you to sleep? And what in all hells am I supposed to do about the scandal this is going to cause? " Bida's voice started to raise irritated by the smirk on Samael's face.

"Bida," he chided gently, " You really must learn to control your temper." Exaggeratedly he sighed, "Yes I am serious about working for you in exchange for a roof over my head and food in my belly, "Bida's gaze fell on his flat stomach, seeing this Samael's eyebrow raised," I am staying longer because I have found what I search for and need time to get it, I'll sleep just as I did last night curled on the hearth like a pup, and do you really care about the scandal? If you do, you could always just marry me." as he finished he caught her gaze. "Now what are you staring at little one?" he chuckled.

"I wasn't staring at anything! My mother taught me to look at someone when they are speaking to you. And I am 22 I hardly can be called little one any more than you can." she turned her nose up in defiance.

Samael's deep rumbling laugh was the most beautiful sound she ever heard," I am older than you think. Your mother was a very wise woman, but you were staring. And I don't have the time to argue with you, I have a harvest to bring in, eat your breakfast before it grows even colder, then start my lunch." He turned and walked out the door back toward her small golden field stopping to pick up the blade.

"It's my house," she muttered under her breath," who does he think he is telling me to cook his lunch? And ordering me to eat my breakfast! Da never even did that."

Grumbling she found herself seated at her writing table tasting the meal he had prepared for her. Even cold it was the most delicious meal she had ever tasted. The rabbit was tender and seasoned to perfection with just the subtlest gamy taste; the bread was incredibly sweet, cinnamony with just the slightest hint of anise. The egg was rich and satisfying. Contentedly she sighed when she was done before rising to wash the dishes.

Suddenly the ground she was standing on shifted panicked she opened her eyes and saw blue, green, yellow, and red dancing in front of her. She tried to move but her arms were firmly bound to her side and her legs were tied to something behind her, she gasped for air only to breathe in suffocating smoke. Then she remembered. The villagers had found her in Samael's arms in the Source pool, they had torn them apart, Samael tried to throw them off but there was a man... a priest chanting something in...Latin...Samael was roaring deafening them all...he was reaching for her, calling her name. Then she passed out; in her mind she was retreating again to avoid the horrible reality.

Samael was smiling at her. Bida smiled at how beautiful he was, the way his dimples deepened when he saw her smile. She got lost in the depth of his eyes exploring them searching out his soul.

"Bida," he laughed, " you were saying?"

"Oh, yes, well," she shook her head, giggling at her foolishness," thank you. Never have I had such a plentiful harvest, we really must go to town to sell some of this before it just rots and is wasted. How on earth did you bring in so much? I know I only cultivated a few acres."

He rubbed the back of his head ruffling his hair in that adorable absentminded way that made her heart melt. "I just kept going back after I bundled what I had cut and there was always more."

Bida laughed, a sound of silver bells, "Well are you going to help me load this cart or not?" Quickly he started hefting sacks of husked grain into the cart, before picking up the handles to push it. Bida stared at his back for a moment admiring his broad shoulders and narrow hips, before stepping next to him.

"Alright," she said tossing her head and holding it high," let's go face the village." Slowly in comfortable silence they walked down the lane and into the center of town where the market was set up. She went from stall to stall her face lighting up at the dresses and jewelry they had, in spite of being snubbed. Finally she found a grain merchant. Samael's face kept flashing from a gentle amusement at her amazement to an unreadable mask every time she was ignored. The grain merchant was effectively ignoring her until Samael's deep rumbling voice drowned out everyone else's in the market, "Sir, I know you do not mean to ignore this woman who is trying to conduct business with you. So, kind sir, I am sure you will address her immediately correct?"

"I, ahh, didn't see you there madam, how may I be of service?" the merchant's nasally voice was nervous, as his glance darted back and forth between Bida and Samael.

"I have half a dozen 20 pound bags of grain I wish to sell, and I expect a fair price" Bida crossed her arms in front of her chest.

"How is it that you have acquired over a 100 pounds of grain to sell whilst most people barely have enough to feed their families?" the merchant wetted his thin lips and stared at Samael, who glared at him with a murderous gaze. "Never mind, but since there is so little grain I shall have to give you more than a fair price lest you go to another town and sell it there."

The merchant quickly took a pouch heavy with silver and gold coins and tossed it to Bida. "That is more than anyone else would give you, and most would demand to know whence your grain came."

Samael took the pouch gently from Bida and carefully weighed it in his hands, " The little weasel speaks the truth, come Bida, let's leave." As they started back towards her cabin all eyes were on her and as they faded from sight the market came alive with gossip.

"Bida, I need to go back to the village for a few things, stay here please, do you need anything? " Samael quietly asked when they got to her gate. Mutely Bida nodded her head, as Samael turned to leave she called after him "Could you buy a mutton bone for supper?"

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