Wind: A to Z Challenge 2017 Post #23

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Welcome to my A to Z Blogging Challenge Posts.

This month I’ve challenged myself to not only do 26 blog posts in 30 days based on One Word Writing Prompts, but also to try to link them together into some kind of cohesive whole.  I’d love to hear how you think I’m doing.  If you want to start the story from the beginning, check out the Angel post from April 1.

Today’s One Word Writing Prompt:

The definitions are from the Oxford English Dictionary via their on-line access (which I have through my University employer).  Feel free to skip down to the story segment if you don’t share my fascination with words, definitions, and shades of meaning.

Wind

wind, n.1
The literal sense, in various applications.
Air in motion; a state of movement in the air; a current of air, of any degree of force perceptible to the senses, occurring naturally in the atmosphere, usually parallel to the surface of the ground.
a. In general or collective sense.
b. In particularized use (see also 2).
c. A symbolical representation of the wind. (Cf. French têtes de vents.)
d. fig. (sometimes = ‘rage’): cf. whirlwind n. 2.
2.  a. With specific reference to the direction from which it blows; usually qualified by the name of a point of the compass, or in pl. by a numeral, esp. four (hence sometimes transf. = points of the compass, directions).
b. Mah-jong. Any of the four compass-positions about the wall of tiles taken up by a player; the player who occupies this place. Also, any of sixteen tiles (four of each sort) representing one of the four winds used in the game.
3.   a. In reference to navigation, as the means of propulsion of a sailing vessel.
b. Naut. in various expressions referring to the direction or position of the wind in relation to the ship: hence also allusively.
4. As conveying scent, esp. the scent of a person or animal in hunting, etc.: in various phr., lit. and fig.
5. In alliterative conjunction with weather: most freq., now always, wind and weather; formerly also weather and wind, also with the, or with one or both ns. in pl.
6. As a thing devoid of sense or perception, or that is unaffected by what one does to it: in phrases usually expressing futile action or effort, as to beat the wind (see beat v.1 1c), to speak to the windto spit against (or into) the wind.
7. In comparisons, as a type of violence or fury (†phr.wroth as (the) wind), swiftness, freedom or unrestrainable character, mutability or fickleness, lightness or emptiness (cf. 15).
Transferred senses. (See also 1c, 2)
†8.  a. Air in general, as a substance or ‘element’. Obs. exc. as in 8b.
b. wind and water.  (a) in phr. between (or betwixt) wind and water (Naut.), referring to that part of a ship’s side which is sometimes above water and sometimes submerged, in which part a shot is peculiarly dangerous; hence in fig. phr. expressing serious injury or attack.  (b) attrib. and comb., as wind and water line, the part of a ship’s side between wind and water; also transf. (see quot. 1876); †wind and water tight adj., proof against wind and rain or flood.
9. Compressed or confined air; air that inflates or is contained within some body. Now rare (and superseded by air) exc. as in 10. (With quot. 1676   cf. windage n. 1.)
10.  a. ‘Air’ or gas in the stomach or intestines (or, according to early notions, in other parts of the body); flatus. †Also pl.
b. to get the wind up (slang): to get into a state of alarm or ‘funk’. So to put the wind up (a person).
11.  a. Air inhaled and exhaled by the lungs: = breath n. 3  Obs. exc. as coloured by 11d   below.
b. Breath as used in speaking; hence transf. speech, talk (esp. in such phr. as to waste one’s wind). Obs. or arch. (exc. as implied in long-winded adj. 2a).
c. Breathing as a vital process; hence transf. life: = breathn. 5. So to slip one’s wind, to die. Obs. exc. in low slang.
d.  (a) Easy or regular breathing; power or capacity of breathing; condition with regard to respiration: = breath n. 7. Now only in sporting phrases.
(b) in reference to diseased or disordered breathing in horses: see broken wind n.
e. transf. (Pugilistic slang). That part of the body in front of the stomach a blow upon which takes away the breath by checking the action of the diaphragm.
12.  a. Air as used for ‘blowing’ or sounding a musical instrument ( wind-instrument) such as a horn, trumpet, flute, etc., or an organ pipe: either  (a) the blast or stream of air thus used, furnished by the breath of the player or by bellows;  (b) the supply of air from which this is obtained, usually under compression (cf. 9), as in the wind-chest of an organ; or  (c) the body of air within the instrument, whose vibration produces the sound.
b. transf. The wind instruments of an orchestra (or their players) collectively, as distinguished from the ‘strings’ and ‘percussion’. Also pl., wind instruments.
13. A blast of air artificially produced, e.g. by bellows (see also 12); the rush of air caused by a rapidly moving body. Const. of.
14. The solar wind (see solar adj.), or a similar stream of particles emanating uniformly from any other star.
III. Figurative and allusive uses. (See also 1d, 3b, 4, 8a, 8b, 10b, and phrases in IV.)
15. Applied to something empty, vain, trifling, or unsubstantial.
a. Empty talk, vain or ineffectual speech, mere ‘breath’ (cf. 11b); †occas. empty fame (obs.).
b. Vain imagination or conceit (with which one is ‘puffed up’: cf. 9); also wind in the head (with allusion to 10).
16. a. In various proverbial and other expressions, figuring or denoting a force, agency, or influence that drives or carries one (or something) along, or that strikes upon one (or something), or to which one (or something) is exposed. Also freq. in formula wind(s) of… Cf. sense 1c   below.
(b) in unfavourable sense. Also fig. ( wind of doctrine: in allusion to Eph. iv. 14).
b. In expressions referring to a tendency, turn, or condition of affairs:
c. spec. in phr. wind (also winds) of change.
17.  a. to get or take wind: to be revealed or divulged, become known, transpire. Now rare.
b. to get wind of: to receive information or a hint of, to come to know (cf. 4). Also with clause. Hence, in recent use, wind = a hint or slight intimation (of). (Cf. French avoir le vent de, Cotgrave.)
c. to sniff the wind: to try the atmosphere; to examine the prevailing state of affairs before taking action (cf. sense 4).
wind, n.2
1. An apparatus for winding (see wind v.1 19), a winch or windlass. Obs. exc. dial.
†2. A twining plant, e.g. convolvulus. Obs.
3. An act or instance of winding; curved or twisted form; techn. bend or twist (cf. wind v.1 5b), esp. in phr. out of wind, not twisted.
wind, v.1
†1. intr. Used to express various kinds of rapid or forcible motion, as of water flowing, missiles flying through the air, sparks flying upwards, and the like; hence gen. to pass. Also with aboutadownawayObs.
†2.  a. Of living things: To go on one’s way, take oneself; to proceed, go. Also fig. Obs.
b. refl. in same sense; also fig. Obs.
c. intr. Of a way: To ‘go’ somewhere. Obs.
3. trans.
a. To wield (a weapon, an implement). Obs. or dial.
†b. To haul, hoist, lift. Obs.
4. intr. To turn this way and that; to writhe, wriggle. Obs. exc. dial.
5.  †a. trans. To put into a curved or twisted form or state; to bend; to twist; to wring. Obs.
b. intr. To take or have a bent form; now only dial. or techn. of a board, door, etc., to be twisted.
6.  a. refl. = 7a, 2b arch.
b. trans. To turn; to cause to move in a curve. Also absol.arch.
7.  a. intr. To move in a curve; to turn, esp. in a specified direction. Obs. exc. as implied in 2b, 2c.
b. To move along in a sinuous course; to go or travel alongupdown, etc. a path or road which turns this way and that.
c. transf. Of a line, road, or the like: To have a curved (esp. a sinuous) course; to lie or extend in a curve or succession of curves. †Formerly also of an object: To have a curved or sinuous form.
d. with advb. acc., or trans. with obj. (one’s or itsway, etc.
e. trans. To traverse in a curved or sinuous course; also transf. of a path, as in c. arch.
8. Naut.
a. intr. Of a ship: To turn in some direction; e.g. to swing round when at anchor; to lie with her head towards a particular point of the compass (esp. in phr. how wind you?how does the ship wind?).
b. trans. To turn (a vessel) about (about v.1) or in some particular direction. See also 19b(b), to wind up 7 at Phrasal verbs
9. trans. and intr. In the management of horses in the yoke: To turn to the left, or towards the driver: opp. to hapv.4hup vb. at hup >int. Derivatives. Sc.
†10. To draw or pull out with a twisting movement. Also intr. Obs.
11.  a. In immaterial sense: To turn or deflect in a certain direction; esp. to turn or lead (a person) according to one’s will; also to turn and wind (see turn v. 64b). Now rare or Obs.
†b. To draw, bring, or involve (a person) in, attract into, by alluring or enticing methods. Obs.
†c. To bring (a thing) in by insinuating methods. Obs.
†d. With out: To draw out, extricate, disentangle. Obs.
†e. To circulate, put in circulation (money or merchandise): usually in phr. turn and windObs.
12. intr. (also †refl., and with it.) To pursue a devious, circuitous, or intricate course in argument, statement, or conduct; (†esp. with about adv. or prep.) to use circumlocution or subtle terms of argument (arch.).
†13. intr. and refl.
a. With out: To extricate or disentangle oneself from a state of confinement or embarrassment. Obs.
b. With ininto: To insinuate oneself.
14.  a. trans. To turn or pass (something) around something else so as to encircle or enclose it and be in contact with it; to twine, twist, fold, or wrap (something) aboutround, or upon something else.
b. fig.: esp. in phr. to wind (a person, etc.) round one’s (little) finger (see to wind (a person) round one’s finger at finger n. Phrases 4i, to wind (a person) round one’s little finger at little finger n. Phrases 1).
15.  a. To put (thread, tape, or the like) in coils or convolutions around something, as a reel, or upon itself (either by passing the thread, etc. round and round, or by turning the reel or other object round and round), so as to form it into a compact mass (hank, skein, ball, etc.). (Also in fig. phrases: cf. pirn n.1 1b.) Also with from or off, to undo the coils of (thread, etc.) by rotating the object on which they are wound; to unwind. (See also wind up at sense 20b.)
†b. To roll or fold up. Obs.
16.   a. To encircle with or enclose in something passed round and in contact; †to wrap up; †to embrace, enfold in the arms; now, in ordinary prose use, only of binding a thing round with tape, wire, or the like.
b. (a) spec. To wrap (a corpse) in a shroud or winding-sheet; to shroud. Obs. exc. dial.
†(b) nonce-use. To carry out in a winding-sheet.
c. Chiefly in pa. pple. and fig.: To involve, entangle; †occas. to wrap up (in fair words).
17. intr. To turn so as to encircle and lie in contact with something else; to twist or coil itself, or be or become twisted or coiled, aboutaround, or upon something. So to wind off, to become uncoiled from something, to unwind.
†18. trans.
a.   (a) To form or construct by twining or plaiting; to plait, wreathe, weave. Obs.
†(b) spec. To make or repair (a wall) with ‘windings’ (see winding n.1 10). Obs.
b. To twine or plait together, to intertwine; fig. to associate. Obs.
19. To haul or hoist by turning a winch, windlass, or the like, around which a rope or chain is passed.
a. gen.
b. Naut.  †(a) To hoist (sail);  (b) to move or warp (the ship), by hauling, as on a capstan or windlass. Also absol. or intr. (Cf. 8) See also to wind up 7 at Phrasal verbs.
c. Mining. To hoist (coal, etc.) to the surface by means of a winding-engine.
20. trans.
†a. To tighten the strings of a musical instrument by turning the pins or pegs around which they are passed. (With the pins or the strings as obj.) See also to wind up 5 at Phrasal verbs (b). Obs.
b. To set (a watch, clock, or other mechanism) in order for going by turning an axis with a key or similar device so as to coil the spring tighter or draw up the weights.
c. fig. To exalt or ‘screw up’ to a certain pitch. Now with up (see to wind up 6 at Phrasal verbs).
wind, v.2
From wind n.1 I.
1.  a. trans. To get the wind of (wind n.1 4); to perceive (an animal, a person, or thing) by the scent conveyed by the wind.
b. intr. Of an animal: To sniff in order to scent or on scenting something.
c. fig. (trans.) To perceive by some subtle indication; to get wind of, to smell or nose out.
From wind n.1 II.
2.  a. trans. To expose to the wind or air; to dry by such exposure, to air.
b. intr. To ‘take wind’, become tainted by exposure to air; trans. to taint by such exposure. dial.
3.  a. trans. To sound by forcing the breath through, to blow (a wind-instrument, esp. a horn).
b. To blow (a blast, call, or note) on a horn, etc.
c. absol. or intr. To blow a blast on a wind-instrument.
d. trans. To supply (an organ pipe) with wind at a particular pressure.
†4. trans. To blow (a fire, etc.). Obs. rare.
5. To deprive of ‘wind’ or breath, put out of breath, ‘blow’, ‘puff’.
6. To cause (a baby) to bring up wind after feeding; to ‘burp’.
wind, v.3
dial.
To winnow. Chiefly in winding n.3

Today’s Story Segment:

Wind

Uriel stood motionless for a long moment as he waited for a sign that the demon was indeed vanquished.  The effect on the physical plane when a demon was destroyed or banished was always different.  It did not relate to the type of demon it had been or who or what vanquished it from the earthly realm, but there was always a physical reaction to it passing from the world.

The light of Uriel’s sword slowly faded back to its normal level as he waited to see what would happen.

The ground around the demon began to bubble and melt.  This was definitely a sign of its passing back to its proper realm, so Uriel took three quick steps away from the defeated creature.

The floor continued to eat away at itself until it had consumed the demon’s form, which began to sink into the black sludge the floor had become.

That’s when the portal opened.

Uriel sprang into the air, his wings beating furiously as he raced to the stairs.  He let go of his sword, letting it return to its sheath so that he had both hands to reach out for the railing.  He missed on his first attempt, the wind created from the portal too powerful for him to fight against with his wings alone.  He reached one foot down, pushing off against what remained of the floor and managed to catch hold of the edge of the railing.

He dug in with his nails, thankful that it was wooden.  It gave him just enough grip to stretch up to grasp the railing firmly with his other hand.

Uriel glanced back to find the entire floor had turned into the black bubbling liquid.  The demon was being returned to its realm to be trapped within the black glass from which it had escaped.

Uriel began to pull himself up by the railing, his wings still beating furiously to counteract as much of the swirling wind created by the portal as he possibly could.  It still took all his strength to keep climbing upward.  He needed to be higher.

The sound of splintering wood was barely audible above the rushing of air past him, but it was just enough of a sound for Uriel to look up in concern.

The door came flying at him and he had to let go with one hand to avoid being hit directly.  The door glanced off his shoulder, tearing his shirt, imbedding something in his shoulder, and leaving deep splinters in its path down his arm.

“Uriel!” Someone yelled from above.

“Hang on!” Uriel shouted as loud as he could.  “You can’t let the wind take you.”

Uriel looked up again to see Savino clinging to the door way with one hand, and his other wrapped around Rosario’s wrist as he hovered in the air, suspended between his brother and the rushing wind trying to drag him down with the demon.

Uriel reached up once more, fighting to drag himself further along the railing.  His shoulder screamed, and he could feel the blood beginning to soak into his shirt, but he fought to reach Rosario before Savino lost his grip.

Rosario had his free hand wrapped around his brother’s wrist now, which gave Uriel the precious moments he needed to get within reach of Rosario.

Not wanting to leave anything to chance, Uriel tightened his grip on the railing with his right hand and reached out for Rosario with his left, managing to get a grip around the man’s ankle.

“Rosario!” Savino yelled as they lost their grip on one another.

Uriel roared with the pain as his wounded shoulder took Rosario’s weight.

Visit: A to Z Challenge 2017 Post #22

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Welcome to my A to Z Blogging Challenge Posts.

This month I’ve challenged myself to not only do 26 blog posts in 30 days based on One Word Writing Prompts, but also to try to link them together into some kind of cohesive whole.  I’d love to hear how you think I’m doing.  If you want to start the story from the beginning, check out the Angel post from April 1.

Today’s One Word Writing Prompt:

The definitions are from the Oxford English Dictionary via their on-line access (which I have through my University employer).  Feel free to skip down to the story segment if you don’t share my fascination with words, definitions, and shades of meaning.

Visit

visit, n.
1.  a. An act of visiting a person; a friendly or formal call upon, a shorter or longer stay with, a person as a feature of social intercourse.
b. Freq. in the phrases to make, or pay (also †give) a visitto return a visit.
c. transf. A place to which one goes only as a visitor.
d. An excursion to a place for the purpose of sight-seeing; a short or temporary stay at a place. Also transf. of animals or birds (cf. visit v. 10d).
e. An occasion of going to a dentist, doctor, etc., for examination or treatment.
f. Dog-breeding. A bitch’s journey to and her stay with a dog for breeding purposes. Cf. visit v. 8b.
2.  a. An instance of going to see, and assist or comfort, persons in distress.
b. A call made by a clergyman as part of his pastoral duties.
c. A professional call made by a doctor on a patient.
3.  a. Surgical examination (of a wound). rare—1.
b. An instance (or the action) of going to a place, house, etc., for the purpose of inspection or examination.
c. Billiards and Snooker. A turn of play at the table.
†4. An occurrence of menstruation. Obs.
visit, v.
I.   1.  a. trans. Of the Deity: To come to (persons) in order to comfort or benefit.<
b. spec. (See quots.)
c. To come to (persons) in order to judge of their state or condition. (Cf. sense 9.)
†2. To come to (persons) in order to observe or examine conduct or disposition; to make trial of; to subject to test or scrutiny. Obs.
3.  a. To inflict hurt, harm, or punishment upon (a person); to deal severely or hardly with (persons or things); †to cut off, cause to die.
b. To afflict or distress with sickness, poverty, or the like.
c. To deprive of something. rare—1.
4.  a. Of sickness, etc.: To come upon (a person or persons), to assail or afflict. Freq. in passive and const. with or by.
b. spec. in pass. Bewitched.
5.  a. To punish or requite (wrongdoing). Also const. with.
b. To avenge, or inflict punishment for (wrongdoing) on or upon (also †ininto) a person.
c. To inflict (punishment) on one. rare.
6. absol. To take vengeance or inflict punishment. †Also const. on or over.
II.   7.  a. To make a practice of going to (persons in sickness or distress) in order to comfort or assist them.
b. Similarly with reference to individual cases.
8.  a. To go to see (a person) in a friendly or sociable manner; to call upon as an act of friendliness or politeness, or for some special purpose; also, to stay with for a short time as a guest.
b. To have cohabitation with (one of the opposite sex). rare exc. in Dog-Breeding: To be put to mate with (a dog) or at (a kennel).
c. Of a doctor: To attend (a patient) professionally.
d. transf. To go to (a person, etc.) with hostile intentions.
e.  (a) absol. To make a call or calls; to pay calls; to maintain friendly or social intercourse by this means; also, to spend a short time with one as a guest; to pay visits of this kind.
(b) Const. at.
f. to visit with: = sense 8a. Now U.S.
g. intr. To talk or chat; to exchange conversation. U.S.
9.  a. To go to look at (†or explore); to inspect or examine; to look into or see to (something); in later use esp. to examine (vessels, goods, baggage, etc.) officially.
b. spec. To go to (an institution) for the purpose of seeing that everything is in due order; to exercise a periodic surveillance or supervision over, or make a special investigation into (management or conduct).
†c. To examine medically. Obs.
10.   a. To go to (a temple, shrine, etc.) for the purpose of worship or as a religious duty.
b. To go to (a place) for the purpose of sightseeing or pleasure, or on some special errand.
c. transf. Of things.
d. Of birds, etc.: To resort to or frequent (land or sea, a country, etc.) for a limited period or at certain seasons.
†11. To come to (a person) with some accompaniment; to supply or enrich with some benefit.

Today’s Story Segment:

Visit

Uriel slowly descended the stairs.  It was not wise to be rash when facing a demon, no matter how minor it might be.

The creature’s presence permeated the entirety of the underground space, it would be no help in identifying the demon’s location.  Uriel examined the space, trying to guess at where it would be hiding based on its nature.  It didn’t like light, but there seemed to be no windows and very little if any overhead lighting either, so that didn’t narrow it down much.

Uriel carefully skirted along the walls, keeping as much of the room in his sight as possible.  He didn’t want the demon to be able to come up behind him.

It came at him from the side.

Uriel turned just in time to get his sword between his arm and the demon’s myriad teeth.  It wasn’t able to bite down on the sword from the angle it had lunged at Uriel, but it did slam into the sword, it’s teeth grating along the edge and making a shrieking that echoed through the space and made Uriel wince.

This was indeed a xenolithic demon, as he had suspected, but it was far larger than any he had ever encountered before.  There must have been so much despair coming from the teenagers in the building to feed it so much.

Uriel leapt back, glancing behind the creature briefly to see if it had come from its lair.  The space under the stairs appeared to be empty, so that wasn’t where it had seated itself in the building.

The demon lunged again, glancing off Uriel’s sword before fleeing past him into the shadowy area behind the large blocky units Uriel assumed were the heating system.  Even with all the light his wings and sword were putting out, there was still that dark space behind the large pieces of equipment.

That was the most likely place for the creature’s lair then.  If the lights were on, that area would still be in shadow.

Uriel approached slowly, his sword held out across his body in case the demon came at him again.  It would be able to cause wounds if it caught him off guard, and Uriel didn’t want to risk himself needlessly.

There was a faint hissing noise, like scales against stone.  Uriel stepped to his left, putting himself directly in front of the opening that granted access to the area behind the equipment.  Either the demon would come at him from straight ahead, or it would try to slip around.  The slithering sound seemed to be coming from ahead of him, so he kept his sword in front of him for the moment.

When the slithering noise changed direction, Uriel pivoted.  It was underneath the equipment and the sound was echoing, that’s why it seemed to be coming from in front of him.  He was only just fast enough to get his sword up to deflect the demon as it came at him from the right.

The creature’s mouth fastened on the wall a finger-width from Uriel’s wing.  He quickly furled them, protecting himself as he pivoted to bring his sword to bear on the demon’s side.

Sparks flew as the sword grated along scales far harder than Uriel had been expecting.  With the xenolithics Uriel had encountered before, he’d had no trouble slicing through them with his sword fully unsheathed as it was now.

Uriel stepped away, putting distance between himself and the demon while it was trying to disengage with the wall.  Its large circular jaws were designed for tunneling through rock, and it had launched hard enough to take a chunk out of the wall when it tore free once more.

Uriel raised his sword high, knowing that he had to act quickly or it would flee back into the building.

“Lord, aid me in my defense of the innocent,” Uriel called.

This light of his sword eclipsed everything else and he brought it down in a powerful stroke, visiting the Lord’s wrath upon the demon preying on the Lord’s creation.

Uriel felt the sword bight into the demon’s flesh and pressed down as hard as he could, driving it into the floor before he had enough leverage to cleave it in two.

Uriel panted, his arms tingling from the force of the impact and his ears ringing from the sound of his Lord’s presence even briefly in the earthly plane.

Stepping back, Uriel pulled his sword from the creature.  He kept is held in front of him at the ready.  This xenolithic was much stronger than any he had fought before.  He needed to make sure it was truly vanquished.

Unfinished: A to Z Challenge 2017 Post #21

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Welcome to my A to Z Blogging Challenge Posts.

This month I’ve challenged myself to not only do 26 blog posts in 30 days based on One Word Writing Prompts, but also to try to link them together into some kind of cohesive whole.  I’d love to hear how you think I’m doing.  If you want to start the story from the beginning, check out the Angel post from April 1.

Today’s One Word Writing Prompt:

The definitions are from the Oxford English Dictionary via their on-line access (which I have through my University employer).  Feel free to skip down to the story segment if you don’t share my fascination with words, definitions, and shades of meaning.

Unfinished

unˈfinished, adj.
un-, prefix1
1. Expressing negation. The prefix has been very extensively employed in English, as in the other Germanic languages, and is now the one which can be used with the greatest freedom in new formations.
finished, adj.
1. In senses of the vb.:  (a) brought to a conclusion, ended; (b) completed;  (c) that has passed through the last process or stage of manufacture or elaboration.
2. Consummate, perfect, accomplished.

Today’s Story Segment:

Unfinished

“I’ll be okay with Mary,” Avery said, looking up at Uriel.  “You guys can go see what happened.”

“We will come back to inform you what we find,” Uriel said, patting the boy on the shoulder.

“Call if you need anything,” Savino said to Mary as he and Rosario moved toward the door.

“Of course,” Mary said, moving toward Avery.

“Be careful,” Avery said.

“We will,” Uriel replied before closing the door behind them.  He led the way back to the stairwell.  If the thing moved through the area where the elevator usually was, then they needed to avoid that until they found its lair.  It probably knew Uriel was here by now, and any demon when confronted with an angel would lay traps and try to hide.  Uriel did not plan to let it.

Neither Rosario nor Savino spoke until the stairway door had closed behind them.

“So what’s going on exactly?” Savino asked.

“There is a demon in this building,” Uriel replied.  “Avery can sense the creature to a certain extent.  It’s why he avoids the elevator, and chose to live on the seventh floor.”

“A demon?” Rosario asked.

“I felt the malevolent presence of one near the elevator, that was how I could move quickly enough to protect Avery.  Those boxes would have been too heavy on his small frame and he would have been hurt, possibly severely.  Yet there was no one in the elevator.”

“That still doesn’t explain why you think it’s a demon,” Rosario replied.

“When it became clear that I believed Avery about a monster in the building, he told me what he knew of it.  It was enough to narrow it down to only two types of demons.  Most likely it is a very specific kind of tunneling demon.  They usually move through cave systems or mines.  But this one seems to have adapted to the elevator’s space.  However, it still maintains the drawbacks of its kind and can only travel so far from its lair, which is why the seventh floor is protected.”

“Can we see it?” Savino asked.

“I am unsure of your abilities,” Uriel replied.

“It is not visible to humans, correct?” Rosario asked.

“No, they would not be able to see it.  Someone with innate sensitivity to the unseen that exists in your world, like Avery, will be able to feel it near them, but it is imprecise.”

“And can you see it?” Rosario asked.

“Yes, I will be able to see it.”

“Should we accompany you?” Savino asked.

“It may be better for you to remain on the first floor,” Uriel replied.  “Did either of you feel it’s presence in the hallway earlier?”

“I’m not sure,” Rosario replied.  “I felt something, but it might have just been an empathic response to the distress of Avery and Mary in that moment.”

“You are empathic?”

“It is only a minor talent, and strongest with those I am familiar with.”

“I do not believe I felt anything,” Savino said.  “I have never been very attuned to that which cannot be seen or touched.

“Where will you be going if we remain on the first floor?” Rosario asked.

“I assume there is a level beneath the ground,” Uriel replied.  “This kind of demon would never have taken up residence here if there weren’t a suitable location for its lair.”

“There is a basement,” Rosario said.  “It’s completely unfinished.  Mostly it’s just where the heating system is.”

“It is likely that the demon was able to build a nest there because no humans venture into it,” Uriel said.  “I will investigate the basement and see what I can find.  It would be unwise for you to venture down after me, even if I am gone for an extended time.”

“You are proof against this type of demon?” Rosario asked, stopping Uriel on the landing with a hand on his arm.  “You will not perish?”

“This is a minor demon,” Uriel assured him.  “It is simply attracted to dark emotions.  I will be able to defeat it.”

“We will remain near the entrance to the basement,” Rosario said.  “If you need our assistance, simply call out for us.”

“I appreciate your concern,” Uriel said before turning back to the stairs.  When they reached the first floor again, he didn’t see any way to go further down.

“The basement entrance is near the elevator,” Rosario told him.  “The door is locked to make sure none of the teens wonder down.  I’ll have to go get the keys.”

“We’ll meet you at the door,” Savino said.

Rosario trotted off across the entryway and disappear down the other hallway.

Savino led Uriel behind a counter and through another door that led to another hallway.  It was narrow, and poorly lit.

“This area is normally only used by the staff as a short cut when they’re in a hurry.  Most days no one walks through here.”

“Does the elevator extend to the basement?” Uriel asked.

“It does, but you need a key to make it go down there.  We only use it when maintenance needs to be done on the heating equipment.”

“It is nearby,” Uriel said.  He could feel its presence.  The demon knew he was there.  It was waiting for him.

“Do you need anything to take down with you?” Rosario asked as he rejoined them from the other end of the hall.  “A light or a weapon?”

“No,” Uriel replied.  “I do not need light to see it, and I am never without my weapon.”

Rosario and Savino had matching looks of disbelief at that statement, their eyebrows rising and their mouths turning down in slight frowns.

Uriel took a deep breath and ruffled his wings.  They shimmered into view, and he let the power he usually used to hide their brilliance fall away.  He had all the light he needed.

“Your wings are beautiful,” Rosario said.  His voice was full of awe.

“I didn’t know something black could glow like that,” Savino said.  His eyes were very wide as he gazed at Uriel.

“I will not bring out my sword in front of you,” Uriel said.  “It’s brilliance can harm the vision of humans.”

“It is good to know you will be armed,” Rosario said before turning to unlock the door.  “Be careful, and return to us safely,” he said as he opened it.

“Close the door behind me,” Uriel replied.

It took three steps down the stairs and waited for the door to close.  Once the wooden barrier was in place, he held his right hand out in front of himself and called his sword.

It was not a physical thing, but he felt the weight of it in his hand and the brilliance of its aura illuminated the entire vast space he could see at the bottom of the stairs.  The demon already knew he was coming.  Now Uriel just had to find where it was hiding.

Tower: A to Z Challenge 2017 Post #20

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Welcome to my A to Z Blogging Challenge Posts.

This month I’ve challenged myself to not only do 26 blog posts in 30 days based on One Word Writing Prompts, but also to try to link them together into some kind of cohesive whole.  I’d love to hear how you think I’m doing.  If you want to start the story from the beginning, check out the Angel post from April 1.

Today’s One Word Writing Prompt:

The definitions are from the Oxford English Dictionary via their on-line access (which I have through my University employer).  Feel free to skip down to the story segment if you don’t share my fascination with words, definitions, and shades of meaning.

Tower

tower, n.1
I. 1. A building lofty in proportion to the size of its base, either isolated, or forming part of a castle, church, or other edifice, or of the walls of a town.
2.  a. Such a structure used as a stronghold, fortress, or prison, or built primarily for purposes of defence. (In this sense the name is sometimes extended to include the whole fortress or stronghold of which a ‘tower’ in sense 1   was the original nucleus.)
b. In early religious use, often applied to heaven.
3. fig. (Cf. ‘stronghold’, etc.) Freq. in tower of strength. See also ivory tower n.
4. transf. A lofty pile or material mass.
5. In other transferred uses:
a. In ancient and mediæval warfare, a tall movable structure, used in storming a fortified place. Cf. n.
†b. The ‘castle’ borne on the back of an elephant. Obs.
c. The gun-turret on an ironclad.
d. A railway signal-box. U.S.
e. = pylon n. 5.
f. = control tower n. at control n. Compounds 6. Also ellipt.transf., the flight-control staff.
g. ellipt. = tower block n. at Compounds 5   below.
6. >Applied to various things having the form, figure, or appearance of a tower, or likened to one.
†a. Chess. The Castle or Rook. Obs.
b. A very high head-dress worn by women in the reigns of William III and Anne. It was built up in the form of a tower of pasteboard, muslin, lace, and ribbons. Cf. tour n. 4. Hist.
c. Applied to various technical structures and contrivances, now only descriptively: see quots. and cf. shot-tower n. at shot n.1 Compounds 2.
7. Astrol. = house n.1 11, mansion n. 5a.
II.   8.  a. Lofty flight; soaring. (Cf. tower v. 3.)
b. The vertical ascent of a wounded bird.
tower, n.2
One who tows or draws with a rope; esp. one who tows a boat on a river or canal.
tower, n.3
A rope-maker, a roper.
tower, n.4
Pottery Manuf.
A person who smotths the surface of earthenware or china when in the dry clay state before firing, by rubbing it with tow, sand-paper, or flannel.
tower, v.
I.   1.  a. intr. To rise or extend to a great height like a tower; to rise aloft, stand high.
b. fig. Usually const. above.
2. trans. To raise or uplift to a height; to exalt.
3. intr.
a. Hawking. To mount up, as a hawk, so as to be able to swoop down on the quarry: cf. tower n.1 8. Also fig.
b. To soar aloft, as a bird.
c. To rise vertically, as a bird when wounded.
†4. fig. To rise on high, to soar. Obs.
†5. trans. To soar aloft in or into; to rise to.
†II.  6. trans. To furnish with a tower or towers.

Today’s Story Segment:

Tower

The weight slowly lifted off Uriel’s back.  He glanced to the side, waiting for Rosario or Savino to tell him it was safe to move.

“Alright, we’ve got everything cleared and stable,” Savino said.

Uriel pushed back from the wall carefully, making sure Avery had his feet before letting go of the boy.

“Oh, Avery, thank God,” Mary gasped when she caught sight of him.

“I’m okay,” Avery said, trying to put on a brave face for her.  Uriel was so close he could still feel the slight trembling of the boy’s composure.

“You’re alright, Uriel?” Rosario asked softly.

“I am unhurt,” Uriel replied.  He could feel the malevolent presence moving further away.

“There shouldn’t have been things in the elevator without someone,” Mary said, peering into the little room.

“I’m sure it was an accident,” Uriel said.  He didn’t want the woman to be unduly alarmed, and he did not know if she would believe in what hunted in the halls of this building.

“Why don’t I walk you and Avery back to his room for now,” Savino suggested.  “Rosario and Uriel can clean up this mess and then we can continue our tour.”

“That sounds like a good idea,” Mary said with a smile.  “We can take the far stairs.”

Mary gently took Avery by the arm and started to pull him away.

“No,” Avery said, pulling out of her grip and rushing back to Uriel.  “What if it comes back,” he whispered urgently.

Uriel leaned down, gently hugging the boy close.  “What if what comes back?” Uriel whispered in his ear.

“The monster,” Avery murmured back.  “The other guys said it wasn’t real.  They said it must be nightmares or something from before, but I feel it.  It’s in the hallways and the elevator.”

“Perhaps we can all walk Avery to his room,” Uriel said as he straightened, keeping one arm around the boy’s shoulders as he steered him toward the stairs they’d come up by.  “Such things can be quite startling.”

Rosario gave him an odd look but stepped past the mess of boxes to lead the way back down the hall.

“I’m sure he’s fine,” Savino was saying to Mary from behind them.  “But such experiences can be very unsettling.  I’m sure Avery will feel better in his own space.”

Uriel kept his arm around Avery as they entered the stairway and Avery turned them to continue upward.

“What floor do you live on?” Uriel asked.

“The seventh,” Avery said.  “I always take the stairs.”

“Because it never does?” Uriel asked softly.

Avery nodded.

“It’s alright,” Uriel murmured.  “I won’t let it hurt you.”

“You believe me?” Avery asked, looking up at him with wide, wondering blue eyes.

“I do,” Uriel said.  “I felt the presence of it and knew you were in danger.”

“It doesn’t like the seventh floor either,” Avery said.  “It’s never up there.  It’s why I asked to move all the way to the top when a spot came open even though it’s smaller.”

“It doesn’t like tall towers,” Uriel murmured.  “And it moves through the tunnel in the building.”

“What does that mean?” Avery asked.

“It means it is one of two kinds of demons,” Uriel said.  “And those two I am proof against.”

“You’re special, aren’t you?” Avery said.  “You feel different.”

“If you can feel the demon, then it makes sense that I would feel different to you as well.  Just know that I would never harm you, and never allow harm to come to you.”

“You feel nice,” Avery said.  “The demon just feels slimy.”

“Slimy?” Uriel asked.  That was an odd description for a human to use for something not physical.

“It’s like if it touched me I’d be covered in goo,” Avery said.  “I know it doesn’t make sense, but it just feels that way.”

“Your feelings are you own,” Uriel said.  “Don’t ever let someone convince you they are not what you feel.”

“You’re better at this than the new councilor,” Avery said.

“I have been helping people a lot longer,” Uriel replied.  He’d been serving his Lord by assisting human kind for his entire existence.  He had lived through hundreds of years on the earth before.  Humans had not changes so much that his knowledge was not useful.

They walked in silence as they climbed the last several flights of stairs.  Avery’s breathing evened out as they moved from the sixth floor to the seventh, and his steps sped up as well.

Once they pushed into the hallway, Avery actually moved out from under Uriel’s arm and hurried past three doors before stopping at the fourth.  He pulled a key from his pocket and unlocked the door.

“This is my place,” he said, holding the door open for them, with a shy little smile on his face.

“Feeling a little better?” Rosario asked.

“Yeah,” Avery said.  “I always feel safe in my room.”

“It feels like a safe place,” Uriel said.  There was an energy too it that echoed Avery’s own.  He must be one of those humans that was adept with the powers of the world.

Stalk: A to Z Challenge 2017 Post #19

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Welcome to my A to Z Blogging Challenge Posts.

This month I’ve challenged myself to not only do 26 blog posts in 30 days based on One Word Writing Prompts, but also to try to link them together into some kind of cohesive whole.  I’d love to hear how you think I’m doing.  If you want to start the story from the beginning, check out the Angel post from April 1.

Today’s One Word Writing Prompt:

The definitions are from the Oxford English Dictionary via their on-line access (which I have through my University employer).  Feel free to skip down to the story segment if you don’t share my fascination with words, definitions, and shades of meaning.

Stalk

stalk, n.1
1.  a. The main stem of a herbaceous plant, bearing the flowers and leaves; also, a scape or flower-stem rising directly from the root.
b. The woody core of hemp and flax.
†c. ? nonce-use. A bit of straw, a ‘mote’.
2.  a. The comparatively slender connecting part by which a vegetable organ is attached to the plant; the petiole of a leaf, the peduncle or pedicel of a flower, fruit, or inflorescence, the stipe of an ovary, or the like.
b. A similar slender connecting part by which an animal organ or structure is attached or supported.
†3. The shank n. of a hawk. Obs.
4. Applied to various erect slender objects.
†a. The upright of a ladder: = stale n.2 1.
b. The shaft of a chimney. Cf. stack n. 5b.
c. A columnar rock; = stack n. 7. local.
d. coarse slang. A penis, esp. one that is erect.
5.  a. The main part of anything long and slender, as distinguished from the extremities.
†b. The shaft of a quill; a quill. Obs.
†c. The stem of a fork or spoon. Obs.
d. The tube or stem of a thermometer.
e. colloq. A lever mounted on the floor or on the steering column of a motor vehicle, which controls the gears or such devices as horn, indicators, lights, windscreen wipers, etc.
6. A slender upright support; the stem of a wine-glass.
†7. Sc. Some appendage to a halter. Obs.
stalk, n.2
1.  a. An act of stalking game.
b. attrib., as †stalk-hound.
2. A striding gait; a stately or pompous mode of walking.
stalk, v.1
†1.  a. intr. To walk softly, cautiously, or stealthily.
†b. said of an animal. Obs.
2.  a. †To go stealthily totowards (an animal) for the purpose of killing or capturing it (obs.). Hence, to pursue game by the method of stealthy approach, esp. by the use of a stalking-horse or of some device for concealing oneself from the view of the hunted animal.
†b. trans. ? To involve by cunning devices, inveigle. Obs.rare—1.
3. trans.
a. To pursue (game) by stealthy approach. to stalk down: to follow or track (an animal) stealthily until one comes within range.
b. To go through (a tract of country) stalking game.
4.  a. intr. To walk with stiff, high, measured steps, like a long-legged bird. Usually with disparaging notion, implying haughtiness, sullenness, indifference to one’s surroundings, or the like. Also †to stalk it.
b. said of a bird or animal.
c. often said of ghosts, and fig. of quasi-personified maleficent agencies, as pestilence, famine, etc.
d. trans. To march proudly through (a country, etc.). Also quasi-trans. with advb. accusative.
stalk, v.2
1. intr. To put forth stalks. rare—1.
2. trans. To remove the stalks from (fruit).

Today’s Story Segment:

Stalk

Uriel tried very hard not to look surprised by everything when they reached Rosario’s office.  He didn’t comprehend much of what was going on or much of the equipment that seemed to be everywhere.  He just collected the words that referred to them and hoped that Rosario would have the right books to explain it all to him later.

He was honestly relieved when they left the office several hours later to make Rosario and Savino’s rounds to the various houses where the previously homeless teenagers lived together.

The first house they came too didn’t really fit the definition of house that Uriel was familiar with.  It was seven stories tall, and seemed to be divided up into various collections of rooms the way Rosario’s home was, based on the little diagram that was displayed in the entry way.

“This is technically an apartment building,” Rosario whispered as they walked across what felt like a receiving room of some kind.  It reminded Uriel of an audience chamber at the home of an aristocrat.

“You will need to find books that explain this, and all the things I saw at your office,” Uriel replied.

“We’ll stop somewhere on the way home,” Rosario replied.  “There are several dozen teens living here right now, as well as three full time employees who are supported by six part-time employees.”

Uriel nodded.

“I’ll go check in with them,” Savino said as he moved toward a hallway leading off to the left.

“Is there anything you’d like to ask before we see everyone?” Rosario asked.

“Do you make these rounds often?” Uriel asked.

“At least once a week,” Rosario replied.  “I like to stay connected with the teens.  Many of them need as many good role models as they can get.”

Uriel nodded.  The young needed good examples.  He could understand that.  But something about the place set his teeth on edge.  He tried to focus on what was going on around him but there was something teasing at the edge of his mind.

When Savino returned with a gray-haired woman and a slip of a boy, Uriel forced himself to focus on the now.

“Savino said you had a friend with you today,” the woman said.

“Yes, Mary,” Rosario said, greeting the woman with a hug.  “Uriel will be with us for a time, and I wanted to introduce him to everyone.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Uriel,” Mary said, holding out a hand to him.

“A pleasure,” Uriel replied as he gently took her hand in his.  Hers was so much smaller, but she gave his hand a squeeze, so he carefully returned the pressure.  It wasn’t quite the same as the clasping of forearms he remembered from Roman times, but it looked like a familiar ritual for her when she simply released his hand and stepped back.

“And this is Avery,” she said, motioning to the boy beside her.  “He’s been shadowing me a bit since he’s considering staying on part-time after he graduates to give himself more time to decide on a path before college.

“It’s nice to meet you, Avery,” Uriel said, smiling down at the boy.

“Hi,” Avery whispered, gazing up at him with bright blue eyes.

Uriel could feel the wounded innocence radiating from the boy.  He had been hurt.

“Why don’t you lead our tour today, Avery,” Rosario suggested.  “It will give you good practice with a less skittish audience.”

“Okay,” Avery said brightly, beaming up at Rosario.

Uriel watched the boy as he led them off to the right down another hallway.

“We have shared space down here on the first floor.  Kitchen, dining room, lounge, that kind of thing,” he said, pointing out each room as they passed it.  Avery was even able to turn and walk backwards as he led them down the hall.

“We have elevators, but I prefer the stairs,” he said.  “A lot of our residents don’t like the confined space of an elevator, so the stairs get a lot more use, even when we live on the seventh floor.”

Avery pushed open the door to the stairs and Uriel felt it again, the wrongness that had set his teeth on edge.  There was something here, in the building.

Uriel tried to focus on Avery’s talk as they climbed up to the second floor, but it was difficult to hear the words over the feeling of menace that grew as they ascended the staircase.

When Avery pushed open the door to the second floor, the feeling intensified.

Uriel’s eyes narrowed as he looked down the hall, trying to find the hallmarks that would tell him what was stalking the humans in this building.  There was no scent of decay or disuse to the building, so it wasn’t the type of demon that dealt in rot and desiccation.

Avery continued to talk as they moved down the hallway, but Uriel was no longer able to attend to his words.  It wasn’t until they were moving past the elevator that stood in the middle of the hall that Uriel felt its presence fully.  He didn’t think, he simply reacted as the ding sounded the arrival of the little metal room.

There was a crashing noise, and pain against Uriel’s back as something heavy moved through his wings.

He gasped, finding himself leaning against the wall with his left arm wrapped around Avery and his right arm braced on the wall.

“Avery!” Mary shrieked.

“Savino, quickly,” Rosario said,

Uriel didn’t dare move.

“Are you alright?” he asked Avery.

“Yeah,” he practically squeaked.  “I thought I was gonna die.”

“I would not let that happen,” Uriel replied.  The malevolence was gone.  It was a cowardly sort.  Attacking and then fleeing, and aiming for the weakest person in the group.  Uriel would have to explain the situation to Rosario.  His teenagers might not be safe.  There might already be a history of accidents that would give him a clue as to what he was dealing with.

Reveal: A to Z Challenge 2017 Post #18

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Welcome to my A to Z Blogging Challenge Posts.

This month I’ve challenged myself to not only do 26 blog posts in 30 days based on One Word Writing Prompts, but also to try to link them together into some kind of cohesive whole.  I’d love to hear how you think I’m doing.  If you want to start the story from the beginning, check out the Angel post from April 1.

Today’s One Word Writing Prompt:

The definitions are from the Oxford English Dictionary via their on-line access (which I have through my University employer).  Feel free to skip down to the story segment if you don’t share my fascination with words, definitions, and shades of meaning.

Reveal

reveal, n.1
1. An act of revealing something; a revelation; a disclosure; an unveiling. rare after 17th cent.
2. Broadcasting and Advertising. A final revelation of something previously kept from an audience, a participant in a programme, etc. Freq. with the.
reveal, n.2
Archit.
Either of the sides of an opening or recess at right angles to the face of the work; esp. that part of the side of a doorway or window opening between the frame and the arris.
reveal, v.
1.   a. trans. To disclose or make known (something previously unknown or kept secret) in speech or writing; to divulge, declare publicly or openly. Later also in weakened sense: to tell. Freq. with to, †unto.
†b. trans. To betray (a person). Obs. rare.
†c. intr. To divulge information; to tell a secret or secrets. Obs.
2. trans. To disclose or communicate by divine or supernatural means. Freq. with to, †unto.
3. trans.
a. refl. To show oneself, make oneself visible or apparent; to make oneself or one’s true identity known to a person; to expose one’s true nature. In later use also of things.
b. To make manifest or apparent; to demonstrate, exhibit; to show (a person) to be something.
c. To expose to view, make visible; to display.

Today’s Story Segment:

Reveal

Rosario was pleased with the first four outfits Javier had selected.  The slacks fit loosely enough not to draw undo attention to Uriel’s body, and the shirts, vests, and jackets complemented his wide shoulders without drowning him in fabric.  He’d even brought black and brown dress shoes that Uriel said were comfortable and socks to match.

The fifth outfit was something entirely different.

When Uriel stepped out and moved toward the mirror, Rosario’s eyes were immediately drawn to his ass, which was shown off so well he could see the muscles move.  The shirt was silk, but also appeared slightly transparent.  The teal fabric allowing Rosario to see the outline of Uriel’s muscles as he moved as well as the exact location of the angel’s nipples.

“Javier,” Rosario said slowly.  “That’s a little revealing for business wear.”

“Yes, but aren’t we all glad we got to see it at least?” Javier asked softly.

Uriel simply turned around and returned to the dressing room.  Rosario hoped the angel wasn’t offended.

“Do you need something more like the others?” Rosario asked through the door.

“Four should be enough,” Uriel replied.

“Why don’t you pick one to wear today while Javier and I settle things,” Rosario suggested.

There was no answer from Uriel, but Rosario moved off toward the counter where Javier rang everything up and showed him the total.  It was about what Rosario had expected, so he signed the slip to add it to the tab he kept at the store and moved back toward the dressing room.

“I hope I did not offend him, señor,” Javier said softly.

“I’m sure it’s fine,” Rosario replied.  “However, I would prefer you not do such a thing if he returns.”

“Of course,” Javier said quickly.  “I am sorry, but I couldn’t resist.  He’s so good looking and I thought he might appreciate seeing some appreciation.”

Rosario just nodded.  He wasn’t sure Uriel understood the kind of appreciation Javier had for his form.  All the stories would lead one to believe that angels were sexless creatures.  They were created by the Lord.  It’s not like they had a need to procreate.  But then, humans so often got things like that wrong.

Uriel was stepping out of the dressing room by the time Rosario and Javier got back.  He’d selected the brown shoes, slacks, and vest with a dark purple dress shirt.  Javier hadn’t offered any ties, and with the way Uriel had left two buttons undone, Rosario suspected he would have no interest in one.

“If you find at any point that an item doesn’t fit quite right, simply come by and I can have it altered for you while you wait,” Javier said.  “The tailors are in from nine until five.”

“Thank you,” Uriel said with a nod to Javier.

Rosario held in a sigh of relief.  Uriel seemed perfectly normal and not offended.

“I’ll just wrap up the rest for you to take with you,” Javier said, quickly gathering the three other outfits, the socks, and the other shoes.

Once Javier was out of earshot, Uriel turned to Rosario.

“I am confused by that man’s behavior,” he said softly.  “Why did he wish to see me in an outfit that was so obviously inappropriate to you?”

Rosario glanced over to make sure Javier was busy and not paying them any attention.

“He is a lover of men,” Rosario said.  “The modern term would be homosexual, or gay man,” he added, assuming Uriel would not know those terms.  “He appreciates your form and wanted to see you in something sexy.”

“This is openly accepted now?” Uriel asked.

“Not everywhere,” Rosario said.  “But it is understood by most that those who love the same gender instead of the opposite gender exist.  There are still pockets of hate toward them.  You may hear or see things at my work that will relate to that.”

“What is it you do exactly?” Uriel asked.

Rosario chuckled softly.  He’d never gotten around to telling Uriel much besides the basics he needed to function had he?

“We run a charity,” Savino replied.  “There are offices where we deal with the financials and donations and planning events and all that, but the real work happens in the homes.  We run four houses where we can take in homeless teenagers and help them get back on their feet, finish their schooling, and move on to become college students or find work.  One of our missions is to support homosexual teenagers, especially those who have been forced out of their homes because of their sexuality.”

“That sounds like admirable work,” Uriel replied.

“It is, and caring for those on the margins who have been forced out of society in some way has been a large part of my work since I joined Evander,” Rosario added.  “This work is especially dear to me now, since I recognize that I myself would be considered a homosexual by the modern definition.”

“How will you be presenting me when I am with you at work?” Uriel asked.

“We’ll cover that in the car,” Rosario said as Javier turned back toward them with three bags in his hands.

Uriel nodded.

It didn’t take long to get back to the car and let Javier settle the bags in the trunk.

“It was a pleasure working with you this morning, señor,” Javier said with a slight bow to Uriel.  “My apologies for that last outfit, but you are truly beautiful and I just wanted to give you a chance to see it.”

“Thank you for your assistance,” Uriel replied.

Javier smiled brightly before returning to the store.

“You can sit in the front or the back this time,” Rosario said before getting in the car.

Uriel chose to sit in the back again with Savino.

“At the office, I will present you as a potential donor who wants to get a feel for the everyday operations before deciding on your contribution.  That will raise the least concerns with my staff,” Rosario said as he started the car.  “At the homes, it might be simpler to have you be a staff member who will be with us for a time.  That way the teens will know that you have been properly vetted by myself and the staff.  They can be very reserved and often frightened around strangers, especially those that are not presented to them in a capacity that assures the person is trustworthy.”

“I do not wish to be disruptive to your good works,” Uriel said.  “I could remain unseen if that would be preferred.”

“Better to introduce you,” Rosario replied.  “That way the teens will at least know who you are if you ever need to come to my aid while I am at one of the homes.”

“I trust you to know best how to alleviate any concern I may cause them,” Uriel said.

“You have a certain aura about you that is calming,” Savino said from behind Rosario.  “Your size would normally make you seem intimidating, but I find your presence very comforting and reassuring, even before we were told what you are.”

“It is possible that your very nature could put the teens at ease,” Rosario agreed.  “We will see how today goes, and we can make decisions from there.”

“Agreed,” Uriel said.

Queen: A to Z Challenge 2017 Post #17

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Welcome to my A to Z Blogging Challenge Posts.

This month I’ve challenged myself to not only do 26 blog posts in 30 days based on One Word Writing Prompts, but also to try to link them together into some kind of cohesive whole.  I’d love to hear how you think I’m doing.  If you want to start the story from the beginning, check out the Angel post from April 1.

Today’s One Word Writing Prompt:

The definitions are from the Oxford English Dictionary via their on-line access (which I have through my University employer).  Feel free to skip down to the story segment if you don’t share my fascination with words, definitions, and shades of meaning.

Queen

queen, n.
Senses referring to a woman.
†1. A woman, esp. a noblewoman; a wife, esp. of an important man. Obs. rare.
2. The wife or consort of a king. Freq. with the, as a title.
3.  a. A female ruler of an independent state, people, etc., esp. one who inherits the position by right of birth; a female sovereign. Freq. with the, as a title.
b. Queen and Country: a female sovereign and her people, considered together as objects of patriotic allegiance. Cf. King and Country at king n. 1d.
c. Law. Freq. with the. The prosecution acting on behalf of a reigning queen in criminal proceedings. Cf. Regina n.
d. Brit. With the and capital initial: the national anthem as addressed to a female sovereign; ‘God save the Queen’. Now somewhat formal.
4. Used as a title placed immediately before (and in Old English also immediately after) the personal name of a female sovereign or the consort of a king. Also with the (now arch. and rare).
5.  a. With specification of the people, country, etc., ruled over by a queen or by the king to whom she is consort, as Queen of ScotsQueen of France, etc.
b.   Queen of Spain  n. (in full Queen of Spain fritillary) a migratory fritillary butterfly, Issoria lathonia, widely distributed in mainland Europe, North Africa, and parts of Asia.
6. Applied to a female whose authority or pre-eminence is comparable to that of a queen.
a. The Virgin Mary. Freq. in Queen of gloryQueen of graceQueen of heaven, etc.
b. Any of the goddesses of ancient religions or mythologies. Freq. in queen of heavenqueen of lovequeen of marriage, etc.
c. A fine and honourable woman; a woman surpassing all others in rank or excellence. Chiefly used as a term of endearment and respect.
d. A woman pre-eminent in a given group, sphere, or activity; (also) a mock sovereign on a festive occasion.
e. slang (orig. U.S.). An attractive woman; a girlfriend, a female partner.
Extended uses.
Of things.
a. Something regarded as supreme, esp. as the finest, most outstanding, or most beautiful, of its kind.
b. That which in a particular sphere or area has pre-eminence or power comparable to that of a queen; spec.  (a) the moon (see queen of the night n.): also queen of tides, heaven, etc. (chiefly poet.);  (b) the pre-eminent or most admired city in a particular geographic region. See also Phrases 1.
8.  a. Chess. The most powerful chess piece belonging to each player, placed next to the king at the start of the game, and able to move in any direction along a rank, file, or diagonal on which it stands. Formerly also: †the position on the board attained by a pawn when it is queened (obs. rare).
b. Cards. The card in each suit bearing the representation of a queen, normally ranking next below the king and above the jack.
9. The reproductive female caste in social bees, wasps, ants, and termites, larger than the ordinary workers; an individual of this caste, one (or more) of which are normally present in each colony. In later use also: the sole fertile female in certain other eusocial animal colonies.
10.  †a. A kind of flatfish; spec. the lemon sole, Microstomus kittObs.
b. orig. Brit. regional. The queen scallop, Aequipecten opercularis. Cf. queenfish n. 1, queenie n. 2, quin n.1, squin n.2
11. Technical uses.
12. = queen cat n. at Compounds 2.
13. slang. A homosexual man, typically one regarded as ostentatiously effeminate. Cf. quean n. 3.
14. Any of several Cunard passenger liners named after a British Queen.
queen, v.
trans.
a. literary. To rule over or command in the manner of a queen. Now rare.
b. With it. Of a woman: to be a queen; to act or rule as queen; to behave in a queenly manner; (now) esp. to act haughtily or imperiously; to assume airs of grandeur.
c. To make or crown (a woman) a queen; to invest with the status of a queen. Also fig.
2. Chess.
a. trans. To promote (a pawn) into a more powerful piece of the same colour, typically a queen, when it reaches the opponent’s end of the board; = promote v. 1b. Also intr.
b. intr. Of a pawn: to reach a position at the opponent’s end of the board where it may be promoted into another more powerful piece, esp. a queen.
3. trans. Bee-keeping. To supply (a hive) with a queen bee; = requeen vb. at re- prefix 1c. Cf. unqueen v. 2. rare.

Today’s Story Segment:

Queen

Uriel looked at the large metal car and wondered how one entered such a thing.

“It can be rather daunting as an unknown,” Rosario said from in from of him.  “Let me show you how the doors work.”

Uriel paid close attention so he could work them himself in future.

“This is the handle,” Rosario said.  “You place your fingers here and pull out and that releases the latch that holds the door closed and allows you to swing it open.  If you don’t mind sitting in the back this trip, Savion can demonstrate how to use the seatbelt, which is a safety device, and how to open the door from the inside when we get there.”

Uriel nodded.  Savino was already sliding in through the opposite door.  Uriel tried to mimic his movements as he bent slightly and pivoted onto the seat.

“Careful,” Rosario said, his hand touching the back of Uriel’s head and stopping its backward movement.  “You’ll hit your head if you don’t duck down a bit more.  You’re very tall.”

“I have never been so tall before,” Uriel said, leaning his head forward as he continued to sit back.

Rosario’s hand stayed on his head until he had cleared the low opening and was seated on the cushioned seat.  Uriel swung his feet in as Rosario’s hand slid away from his head.  He had the odd sensation of missing the warmth of Rosario’s touch.  Uriel had never missed anything but home and his kindred before.

Rosario closed Uriel’s door and walked around the car to get into the seat in front.

“You’ll need your seatbelt on,” Savino said from beside Uriel.

Uriel looked over.

“It pulls out from behind your shoulder and you take this piece and put it into this other piece to fasten it.  The red button presses in to disengage it.”

Uriel nodded, turning to reach back for his own and fastening it across his hips as Savino had.

“All set?” Rosario asked from the front as he turned something with his right hand.  There was a soft rumbling and the vehicle seemed to be shaking.  Uriel quickly looked at Savino to make sure he shouldn’t be worried.

“The engine makes noise and vibrations,” Savino said softly.

Uriel nodded.  He wasn’t sure he liked this car.  It was very confining, and felt strange.

“We’re all set,” Savino confirmed for Rosario.

The car began to move then, as Rosario turned to look behind them, it eased back and away from the cars on either side.

“Try to relax for the drive,” Rosario said as he turned around again and the car began to move forward.  “It may not be what you are used to, but it’s very safe.”

Uriel nodded.  One of his hands had wrapped around part of the door, and he found himself unable to let go as the car moved out of the structure that sheltered it and into the flat surfaces that must be modern roads.  There were other cars and lots of noise, and Uriel’s eyes never stilled as he tried to take it all in.

“I’m sorry the drive is so distressing,” Savino said as they pulled off the road into a larger, square space of the same material but with different patterns of white lines on it.  “It took me time to get used to automobiles as well, but they’re very safe these days.  Even if there was an accident, none of us was likely to be harmed.”

Uriel just nodded.  Rosario was slowing the car down, and then it came to a complete stop and Uriel felt like he could breathe again.

“You can unfasten your seatbelt now,” Savino said.  “And this handle here unlatches the door so you can push it open.”

Uriel glanced over to see what handle he meant before quickly releasing his seatbelt and opening the door.  He remembered to duck as he stood so that he wouldn’t hit his head on the low ceiling.  He felt much better being out of the vehicle.  He ruffled his wings before resettling them on his back.  He kept them hidden from sight, but it still felt better to keep them loose and relaxed when he could.

“This way,” Rosario said from near the front of the car.  “Javier is expecting us, and said the door would be unlocked even if we were early.”

“He spoils you whenever he can,” Savino said.

“He is a kind and accommodating salesman who gets paid on commission,” Rosario replied.  “Of course he does everything he can to spoil me.  I bring it a lot of business.”

Uriel followed the other two men to another tall building and in through a door made of glass surrounded by the clearest glass windows Uriel had ever seen.  Humans had greatly refined their abilities with glass it seemed.

“Good morning, señor,” a man said as soon as they entered.

“Good morning, Javier,” Rosario replied.  “Thank you for seeing us so early today.”

“Oh, it is no trouble at all, especially now that I see who you have brought me.  Where did you find such a beautiful man, señor?”

“He is an associate who has come to visit my office and the homes for the next little while, and his luggage was lost by the airlines,” Rosario replied.

Uriel wondered what an airline was.  Luggage at least he understood.  A small lie such as that could be forgiven he supposed.  It wasn’t as if Rosario could tell the man the truth.

“How unfortunate,” Javier replied.  “How many outfits do you need?”

Rosario glanced back at Uriel.

“Four or five should suffice,” he replied.  He would not have the need to wash them as often as a human would.  Their corporeal forms were based on the human form, but they did not produce sweat or odor in the same way.

“This way then,” Javier said, waving them forward.  “I have such wonderful colors we could try.”

“Don’t be too much of a queen about it,” Savion said with a laugh.  “He’s a business professional and will want to look as such.”

“I do not wish to stand out,” Uriel agreed.

“One bright color?” Javier asked, turning to look at them over his shoulder with pouting lips and sad eyes.

“Uriel will have the final say on anything we select,” Rosario replied.  “We’ll be putting it on my tab for now and settle it amongst ourselves later.”

“Very good, señor,” Javier replied.  He began to pull items of clothing off the wracks as they passed and had a rather large armful by the time they reached the back of the store.  Javier stepped into a small room and hung several pieces on five different hooks placed along the walls.

“You can try each outfit on, and come out to look at yourself in the mirror,” Rosario said, indicating the set of three mirrors set at angles to each other a little past the small room.

Uriel nodded.  They were giving him privacy to disrobe.  There was a door he could close.

“Thank you,” Uriel said to them all before stepping into the room to change.