“Wait, how come Storm’s allowed in the Mountain?” Cassius asked, his brows drawn in confusion.
“Ivo is his illegitimate cousin. Didn’t you know?”
Cassius moved one of the centre pawns forward two, as was allowed on the first go, shaking his head. “Ivo always said that his parents were dead.”
Sam shook his head twice. “Ivo is the son of your Seraph.”
“One of your old friends, no doubt,” Cassius muttered.
“Well that’s a relief,” he sighed.
“—we never got on.”
Cassius dropped his head into one hand and Zeke was obviously trying not to laugh. Beth wasn’t sure what the joke was. Sam grinned at Cassius’ expression and absentmindedly began scratching at the inside of his wrist before taking his move.
When Cassius sat up again, he moved his bishop and sighed, exasperated.
“Damn you, Sam,” he murmured.
Cassius looked up at him, confused.
“You’re not damned,” Cassius said, looking over at his friend.
“No?” Sam smiled sadly.
“No, you’re not.”
“I lost my grace, Cassius. I never had a soul, I disgraced my goddess and failed my family. If that’s not damned, tell me what is.”
Family? Sam had a family? Or did he mean the other angels? She knew that the Brothers considered themselves a family, perhaps the angels did too – although she’d never met an angel other than Samael.
Cassius sighed. “We obviously have very different definitions of ‘damned’.”
Sam did not reply, moving one of his pawns to take the bishop Cassius had moved. He began scratching at his wrist again and for the first time realised that he was doing it, looking down. He frowned, running his thumb over whatever was there.
“Gabriel’s calling for me. He never calls if it’s not important. I need to go,” he said as he began to stand, frowning.
Cassius sighed quietly. “Alright, let me know how whatever it is goes.”
“I will, if that’s what you want. Thank you for the game, friend. No doubt I’ll see you very soon. Zeke, I imagine you’d rather do Friday away from your family and friends so I’ll come and get you, probably late Thursday night so be ready, okay?”
Zeke nodded. “I will. I’ll see you then, if not before.”
After a brief smile, Sam disappeared in his flurry of stars.
“What did he mean, ‘family’?” Beth asked Cassius.
“I don’t know. I know little of what his life used to be like, before he came down here. The only time I hear something of it is in his self-loathing, such as today.” Cassius shrugged a little.
Caelan came into room then, just as Cassius was standing and putting the board away. He flushed when he saw Beth and Beth blushed a little too, remembering what she’d walked in on earlier.
“What’s happening on Friday, Zeke?” he asked, the redness fading from his face. “What is it you don’t want family and friends to know about? And why does Samael know?”
Zeke looked at him for a few moments. “I...” He took a deep breath. “I was getting ready to tell you.”