Requiem, W. A. Mozart.
A pair of golden eyes measures the amount of stardust trickling from between his fingers into deep space. With his other hand, he stirs the ether, making it spin around and around. It’s a precise form of creation, but he has always found it easier to follow his inclination. The feeling -- as some would say. He believes in plans and outcomes. Not a big fan of numbers or measurements. That is more of Gabriel’s area of expertise. All about statistics and precision.
The angel appreciates precision, but his approach works for him. There’s something about letting your creations surprise you, allowing them to grow and be a little chaotic.
It’s more fun. Fascinating. Incredible.
The patterns form when Raphael continues spinning and working on the newest galaxy. It doesn’t have a name or place, but it has to exist, and so the Starmaker creates. It’s small as of yet, but Raphael knows that in due time it will become part of the bigger universe that keeps expanding into the endlessness. Raphael likes the idea of expansion; of not being constrained.
Three more specks should do it.
The galaxy is yet to breathe but the shape is forming, Raphael tirelessly spinning life into the matter.
And then there was light.
It wasn’t God, but it was enough to startle Raphael, causing him to nearly break the galaxy into tiny dwarves, asteroids and planets without consistency. Luckily he had always had fast reflexes.
“Oh that looks lovely, darling,” says the light behind Raphael.
“Morningstar, please don’t do that again. Newborn galaxies are so fragile and time-consuming to make. I don’t want to spend my eternity on just this one.”
“Of course not. My bad. I hope you can forgive my interruption.” The light murmurs and moves in its flight in front of the Starmaker.
The light is brighter than anything else in this relatively empty part of the universe. The light inhales and pulls in its rays of existence. A being is revealed. Another angel.
She is beautiful and elegant, moving with smoothness and sophistication that nobody else in Heaven has. Her entire presence is suffused in gold. Her robe is made out of this colour. Her luscious locks of gold flow down her back like ocean waves. She is crowned with a metallic laurel wreath. It adds wonder to her already present regality. Even her face is the essence of light and flawlessness. Everything sits right, yet there are still two elements that stand out the most: the deep green eyes that hint at a brilliant mind on the other side; and a smile that charms everyone who sees it.
She is Samael. Also known as the Morningstar and the Lightbringer.
She lifts her finger, pointing to the very centre of the spinning galaxy.
“Shall I add my magic touch?” She asks with a smirk playing on her fair lips.
Raphael chuckles and shakes his head at her playfulness. He lifts the galaxy higher, closer to her finger.
“Go ahead, Goldie,” he jokes, earning an eye roll from his companion. Regardless, she dips her finger into the very centre of the galaxy. A glow of pure light emerges from within her and spreads across the colourful plate. Every speck of stardust begins to shimmer with its own illumination. The galaxy ascends from the hands of its master. It breathes and expands. It is alive and growing strong into something wonderful.
Raphael smiles. He is proud of his work. For a moment, the Archangel and Morningstar both admire it together. They can hear the swoosh and breath of their creation. In space, there are no sounds and the concept of air doesn’t exist just yet, but some things are because they are believed to be.
“What brought you here? Shouldn’t you be in Heaven, letting Uriel boss you around?” the Starmaker asks, taking the Lightbringer’s hand into his and flying away towards the centre of the universe. A place where all was started by Almighty.
“Oh, she gets enough chances to do that. Not really interested in the new task. It’s mundane. And besides...I need inspiration and where else will I get it other than visiting my favourite twins,” she teases, flapping her golden wings that Raphael has always admired.
He thinks they are the most beautiful set of wings any angel could ever have. His own are black, invisible in this vast space of darkness. Hers shine bright like guidance. Easy to spot from afar.
He laughs but is quick to scold her, “ We are not twins. There are barely any similarities between us. We both just happen to be Starmakers. That’s it.”
“Trust me...you have much more similarities than that. I should know. Nobody else spends as much time with you as I.”
“You could always come around more often.”
“Is that a temptation, darling?”
Samael doesn’t elaborate. All she gives is a mysterious smile. It reminds Raphael of Almighty. Beautiful and all-knowing.
She keeps the explanation of her words locked behind those lips. He is dissatisfied but decides to drop the subject.
“I have an idea!” Samael exclaims, stopping mid-flight.
“What kind of idea?”
“It would be impolite to show up empty-handed.”
“So? What are you proposing?”
“This,” Samael says, pointing to the object of her attention.
Raphael follows her finger and gasps when he realizes what she is showing him.
“Are you serious? He will end us both.”
“Not if we are clever about it.”
They exchange a look. That is all that is needed for them to reflect each other’s smirks, a goal firmly set in their minds.
“He won’t even know what hit him,” the Starmaker murmurs.
Samael giggles. They know each other too well.
They know that despite being virtuous, pranking Starmaker Gabriel is always just too much fun.
No. That is incorrect.
He checks the amounts again. This doesn’t feel right.
“Of course not,” the angel scoffs. “1.925”
He is pleased with his mechanics in the creation of the newest globular cluster. Every speck has been set into place with the highest meticulousness. He can’t get it wrong. It would be ugly and flawed if it doesn’t turn out exactly how he wants it to. There is beauty and praise in order. He likes it that way. He prefers to know what to expect. Less worry. More perfection.
He is filling the orb in his hands with minuscule stars, and even tinier planets and asteroids hovering around them. This see-through orb is a mould that Gabriel has used for a while to create galaxies, nebulas, and other cosmic objects. It has never failed him. With tweezers, he places another star in the exact spot the blueprint tells him to put it.
“Perfect,” he whispers with a satisfied smile on his sharp face.
Starmaker Gabriel is considered to be a blueprint to visual standards in Heaven. His violet eyes are always scrutinising and analysing in search for a flaw and he notices even the tiniest one. His dark hair is the same colour as Raphael’s wings. In future it shall be known as “raven” and Raphael’s wings will become a shade darker and be compared with onyx instead. The point about his handsomeness remains. His own wings are in contrast a humble shade of brown. Aside from their size, there is nothing extraordinary about them. The rest of him is still considered to be something to be admired, but quite often avoided. He doesn’t like the company of others for they can be quite irritating and the other angels don’t like his snappiness.
That’s why he doesn’t mind working on his craft alone in this corner of the universe, where the plan has been followed down to the last detail and his newest creation is ready to be placed amongst other astral bodies.
The orb held close to his heart, Gabriel is about to fly deeper into space when his ears pick up a sound. Someone is puffing and growling next to him. Gabriel turns his head only for his eyes to move higher and higher when Ursa Major, otherwise known as The Big Bear, stands on its hind-legs.
“What the...?” Gabriel starts when the animal made of stars roars and suddenly runs towards him.
“Hey, stand back! I command you to stay put!” he shouts, backing away from Ursa Major. The beast doesn’t listen and Gabriel is forced to put out his hand to attempt to control it. He snaps his fingers and the bear of stars halts mid-jump. Just as he is about to sigh in relief, his orb is being snatched from his hand. Gabriel’s eyes snap to the creature stealing the globular.
Gabriel’s eyes glow with fury and he is about to vigorously snap his fingers, but the serpent has already disappeared into the other stars with Gabriel’s orb in its mouth. For a second Gabriel just hovers next to his workstation. The next he is flying after the constellation, wings beating so powerfully that they manage to create a gust of wind even in space.
“Come back! You thief! I will find you if it's the last thing I do!”
He flies between his galaxies and nebulas in search of his target. His eyes scan the surroundings, trying to catch even the tiniest movement.
A flick of a tail.
Gabriel grins. There it is.
Another powerful flap and he jumps onto Serpens, grabbing its tail and yanking it towards himself.
“Got you!” He declares his victory. Or is at least about to when a cloud of stardust is blown into his face and his hold around the tail slips.
“Surprise!” a familiar set of voices call.
Gabriel is coughing and half-blinded by the stardust, but once he can see, he realises the sight before him shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
“You...of course it was you two,” he mutters grumpily, still wiping stardust from his face.
“What were you expecting? A bear? I thought it behaved quite well until you decided to stop him with an angelic trick. Quite unfair. It just wanted to play with you,” Samael teases, petting Serpens, who gives her the orb, and then slithers back around Raphael’s ankle and peeks out from underneath his robe. The red-headed angel claps his hands free of stardust that Samael apparently had blown into Gabriel’s face. The dark-haired Archangel is less than amused.
“Play? I was in the middle of finishing my globular when Ursa Major jumped on me out of nowhere. What is it even doing here?! It is supposed to be on your side, Raphael!” he reprimands them for their mischief. “And stop laughing! It isn’t funny.”
“Oh, Gabriel,” Raphael gives a familial pat on the pranked Starmaker’s shoulder, “there is no such thing as my side or your side. The universe belongs to everyone. And sometimes,” Raphael wipes off some of the stardust from Gabriel’s shoulder, a wide smile on his face, “constellations want to roam around and play with their creators. You created Serpens after all.”
Raphael rolls up the fabric of his robe and stretches out his ankle to show off beautiful Serpens flicking its forked tongue at him. Gabriel scrunches his nose in disapproval. “I think he is much more like you. Sneaky bastard.”
“Gabriel, darling,” Samael flies closer to him, adjusting his chase-tousled hair into something neater. “Forgive us for the prank. We just wanted to cheer up your lonely heart.”
“I am not lonely. I am focused. Concentrating on my work.”
Raphael and Samael exchange a glance that tells they most definitely do not believe him.
“Gabriel,” Samael murmurs, wetting her thumb to clean some of the stardust that is stuck on the Starmaker’s face. “Come on. We know the truth, and we are here to prove all the other angels wrong, but you have to work with us here. Let’s show them that Starmaker Gabriel is more than a grumpy tweaker in the far end of the universe.”
Gabriel watches how Samael’s other hand is playing with his orb. His shoulders tense when his stars are moving inside their constraints, already all off their original spots. Raphael notices Gabriel’s disheartened look. Gently he picks the orb from in between Samael’s fingers, earning a confused look from her in return. Raphael inspects the contents with a fascinated glee in his golden eyes.
“This is very beautiful.”
“It’s a mess. Nothing how I planned.”
“But that doesn’t make it any less admirable. Where did you intend to put it?”
Gabriel points to the empty space in the centre of one of the growing galaxies. Raphael smiles, Serpens still wrapped around his ankle, and flies above the galaxy. Carefully he releases the globular from the orb. It slips right into place, all the stars and planets finding their places around it. It wasn’t how it was planned yet works just the same.
“Smile. You did well. Look how gorgeous it is.” He gestures towards the now complete galaxy.
Gabriel looks. He doesn’t like how out of order it is. It looks so different from what he wanted but he guesses it is not that bad. It works and earned a happy smile from one of his friends. He might as well offer one in return.
“That’s the spirit. Shall we return to Heaven? See a bit of,” Samael waves with her hand, manifesting something bright in her palm, “Heaven’s light?”
Gabriel is sceptical while Raphael returns to his side. He gives the grumpy Archangel a gentle nudge and the wide grin of a joyful sibling. That earns a chuckle from the other, who just cannot not be affected by the playfulness of his red-headed brother.
“Fine,” Gabriel gives in, “I suppose I am finished here for now. Race you!”
A mischievous smirk on his lips, Gabriel flaps his wings and bolts in between the galaxies.
“Bastard!” Raphael shouts after him, releasing Serpens from his ankle and hiding the orb in between the folds of his robe. His wings of night flap, not allowing himself to lose to his brother like that. It’s just humiliating.
Samael laughs. She knows that Raphael will catch up soon. At any other time, she would have joined them in the fun, but right now there is something special for her to do as well.
The Heaven’s light still rests in her palm and Serpens slithers around her arm towards the light.
It’s warm and glorious. Serpens’ starry tongue flicks out to touch it.
“Gabriel can create a new one. I need you more. I need you for her. Would you be so kind and do me that favour, Serpens?” she whispers to the constellation, using all her charm.
There is a sweetness to her voice. A suggestion to do something rewarding. Something that will feel good, although it might not be something that somebody is supposed to be doing.
Serpens looks up at Morningstar’s face.
Her green eyes are wide and innocent. Her lips, that speak the request, are soft. She is so kind and beautiful. Especially when she pats Serpens’ head with her gentle hand.
Serpens cannot say no to her and so he slithers into the light, the Lightbringer watching with a satisfied smile as Gabriel’s creation and hard work ceases to exist.
- Grant them eternal rest, Lord,
and let perpetual light shine on them. [ ▲ ]