“’n the merry month of May from me home I started, left the girls of Tuam so sad and broken hearted…”
Ezra’s heart was beating out of his chest as he held the unconscious Victoria to his side trying to hold her up like she was actually standing on her own. God’s teeth he was doing his best to shield her comatose face from the bustling population.
“Aye, the wrench is drunk!” Ezra laughed and shrugged to a group of curious on-lookers, making them hoot and holler. A woman in the group was peering at him; fear was etched into her face. The lady apparently had her wits about her for it didn’t take much to see what he really was. This could not be fucking happening…
They were bloody found out.
An emergency landing in Ireland was not part of Ezra’s plan, nor was being in this Godforsaken place they called Dublin! The streets were crowded with drunken men; whores were standing outside brothels cooing to the passing people. Beggars and fiddlers swarmed the side streets in a mass of bad body odor and obnoxious laughter that sounded more like cackling and throat clearing. The sloppy music that penetrated the muggy air had the residents clapping and singing in their inebriated slurs and stumbling about in an attempt to dance. Being in the early hours, this was apparently prime time for this city. He had to think fast; as it turned out, the Masters had sensed him when he used the Periculum to kill Gadreel. How could he not have realized that? They were closing in fast, wanting to know what a demon was doing on Earth; and not just any demon.
The drunken man hooted, “Drank a pint of beer, me grief and tears to smother, then off to reap the corn, leave where I was born, cut a stout black thorn to banish ghosts and goblins!”
Ezra winced as the man shouted in his ear, coming very close to knocking him out.
Another man stumbled by him, appearing to be having a heated conversation with himself. Ezra quickly snatched the hat from off of the man’s head and put it on. He pulled the brim down so his pale eyes were in the darkness that the hat provided.
On a positive note, the Masters did not know what he was up to, for if they had, they would have brought the entire Liorian army with them. He was only sensing scouts, possibly a couple Masters called to spy on him. They had no idea he’d found Assiel’s daughter for they’re also looking for her. He’d beat them to it, his luck finally changing.
This is why he had to order the legion he was traveling with to return to the Underworld, only leaving two of his men with him. And, to top off this evening’s list of unfortunate events, his father would not like that his army returned without him or the girl.
He was in deep now!
Moray was probably now realizing his betrayal and undoubtedly suspecting the worst. Which, of course, was the truth. It was almost laughable; he’d only wished that he could have seen the expression on Moray’s gaunt face when the general told him what Ezra had ordered. He commanded the legion to leave and the two he’d chosen to stay with him were both his cousins, half-breeds like himself. If that’s not the biggest fuck you then he wouldn’t know what was.
“Ezra. Soon they be on us like flies to shit…” Sir Moorhead trailed off in thought, his beady eyes furrowed from intense reflection. “I will do a head count on the people ‘ere,” he said in a commanding tone.
Ezra closed his eyes. Sir Moorhead was his cousin, or so it was said, but Ezra had his doubts. He was the biggest moron to ever walk this planet and not die from utter stupidity. Survival of the fittest didn’t seem to apply here. “Tiny, stop your bloody counting,” he hissed. Moorhead was overweight with sunburned curly hair that always looked slightly wet for whatever reason. His clothes were always a size too small making his gut protrude, defying the laws of gravity. But, for some unexplicable reason, Moorhead acted like a complete clean freak. His hair and face were always disturbingly perfect, and he always smelled of lemons? This confused Ezra because Moorhead looked as though he’d smell of straight shit, despite his clean-shaven face. Ezra was convinced that Moorhead was dropped on his head as a babe. Tiny’s demon father never gave him a name, so, ever since he was younger Ezra and his other cousin Elm had always called him Tiny...
By the time they became of age with testosterone pumping strongly through their veins, Tiny wanted a real name for himself. A name that the ladies would respect because he didn’t like to call himself Tiny in front of them. So the idiot came up with one that was worse. With the power of immaturity and adolescent humor, he conjured the name of Sir Craven Moorhead. Sometimes it’s Captain Moorhead, depending on his mood and the time of day.
That was enough said.
Ezra wrapped his arm around Victoria tighter, getting a better hold on her. She moaned softly, the sound making Ezra’s heart twist oddly. Expelling a breath he looked at Elm. For some reason Elm always wore the shade of green making him appear rather elfish with his fire-colored hair. Not that he could talk because no one dressed as oddly as he did.
“Elm, we need a plan, think.” He examined the bustling crowd, watching for any signs of the Liorian spies. He could feel them nearing making him nervous.
Elm furrowed his brows, running a hand through his crimson hair.
“Give me a second. And it would help if you didn’t smile Ezra, it scares the shit out of everyone,” he said as he also surveyed the crowd. Elm was the only person in his life that kept him sane, especially when in the presence of Sir Moron. Elm was tall and well muscled like himself with a quick wit. They both shared the same desire to acquire a complete soul, wanting to be done with the Fallen. Ezra wasn’t just going to bargain his life, but Elm’s and Tiny’s as well.
If he were right about Victoria then the Liorians would do anything to get her out of the hands of Moray. This was their only chance at freedom.
Elm looked at the lifeless Victoria. “Ezra, we need to blend in. They know we’re here so we must come up with some sort of…” he trailed off, searching for the words. “… some good reason why we are here, a reason completely innocent.”
Time was running out. If they get caught disturbing the peace they will be thrown into the Liorian dungeons. He never wanted to relive that again.
Ezra closed his eyes trying to think. “Shit. The only way they will dismiss us as not a threat is to appear… drunk out of our minds,” Ezra said, knowing that would be an excellent way to get off the hook. One couldn’t get mad at someone who didn’t know what they’re doing, in a sense.
Elm regarded him for a minute, his emerald eyes thoughtful. “Yes. Like we have no idea what we are doing, brilliant! They will just think we have lost it… and are too drunk to realize where we are. They will just deport us back or leave us be.” Elm grinned then frowned at him.
“Brilliant,” Tiny agreed, leaning in, his face coming dangerously close to Victoria’s.
Ezra gave Tiny a withering look then glanced back at Elm. “What’s wrong?”
“What in the hell are we going to do with her?”
Shit. He was right, if the Liorians see him packing around an unconscious woman then that would raise red flags instantly.
“Let’s get her inside and change her clothes, she screams royalty. And even though,” he paused as he took in the ripped fabric of her skirts, seeing her milky flesh under them was not helping him think clearly. “She looks as like she’s been to hell.”
Elm gave him a look. “She has.”
Tiny leaned in closer to her, smelling her hair. “That explains a lot.”
He looked up, eating something unknown, crumbs dusting his stubble. He gave Ezra a blank look as he chewed.
“You. Stay. Outside. This. Brothel. Keep watch. Understand?”
He stood up straighter. “Aye, I’ll blend in. I know these people well.”
Ezra refrained from commenting. He whipped Victoria around and started up the stairs, Elm right behind. He opened the door and walked in; the brothel had two floors with low lighting, bugs flying around the inadequate gas lamps. Whoever was playing that God awful piano music had just stopped. In fact, everything had just… stopped. Maybe it was the fact that they brought their own woman to a brothel?
If a pin dropped they would hear it.
The women were staring at them with wide eyes; some of their mouths dropped open. Even some of the men were looking at them like they had two heads, eyes narrowed.
“Ladies.” He gave a slight bow producing some women to audibly moan, fanning themselves excessively. Not one scantly clad ladybird changed their expression, just like they were carved from stone. God’s teeth… it didn’t take much to realize they didn’t look normal.
Elm whispered into his ear. “I think they’re more accustomed to men similar to the likes of Tiny.”
The women didn’t even notice the comatose woman in his arms; they just seemed to stare up at them with their lustful gazes. He couldn’t help but grin to ease the tension, not wanting to create a scene.
“Ladies, I will be needing service from one of you…” He didn’t even get all of the words out before the females started to pinch their cheeks, fluffing their hair, sticking out their breasts. Ezra exhaled, looking at each one, trying to match a girl with a similar dress size to Victoria.
“You. Come with me.” He pointed to a girl who looked like she was going to pass out, her coffee-colored eyes fluttering.
“Aye, follow me m-mister,” she said breathlessly as her eyes lowered to his manhood then back up with a hungry look.
Ezra gritted his teeth.
The young woman sauntered as she walked in front of him, swaying her hips as much as humanly possible. Ezra clenched his jaw in exasperation; if she didn’t hurry up he was going to become violent. Finally they made it to a small bedchamber that smelt of perfume and something he didn’t want to reflect on. He immediately laid Victoria on the large bed then looked up at the girl, who was staring at him intently.
"I am going to need you to take off your clothes."
She interrupted too eagerly, “Aye! I will do and be anythin’ ye want lova.”
Ezra regarded her for a moment, feeling a tinge of sympathy for the whore. She wasn’t ugly, just a tad on the rough side with her painted face and her suggestive mouth licking. He exhaled, “I need you to swap your clothes with hers.” He pointed to Victoria.
As if seeing Victoria for the first time she sucked in her breath. “W-where did she come from!” she continued, “Ye want me ta change me clothes with hers?!”
Ezra laid a stack of money on the bed, worth more than she’d make in her miserable life.
Her black-rimmed eyes widened. “A-aye, I will do as ye say.” She looked back up at him. “But, are ye still wantin’ ta toss me?”
Ezra shook his head.
She looked down at the girl, her hand brushing Victoria’s soft cheek. “Who is she? She ‘ooks like an angel, wit skin so soft. I don’t blame ye fer not wantin’ a tossin’ when ye have the likes of her. Did ye kidnap her? I would’na mind if ye kidnapped me.” The girl’s brown gaze eyed him from head to toe, her cheeks heating.
Ezra turned around. “Just get it done.” Pain erupted from somewhere forgotten, somewhere deep inside his dark soul. Victoria was not for him. He had to repeat this to himself as he heard fabric rustling. God’s breath. He didn’t think there was a man alive who wouldn’t turn and look, and if there was one it definitely wasn’t him. Ezra slowly turned to see the other woman who was completely naked, but she was just a blur in his vision…
His eyes went straight to Victoria who lay in her silk corset, her glorious hair spread around her. Her breasts were pushed up making his mouth go dry instantly. All of the blood was leaving his head and was departing elsewhere in a damn hurry making him extremely uncomfortable. Her long legs still had black stockings on, ending high on her creamy thighs. The contrast of the black and her skin was making him dizzy, wanting to peels her out of them. Ezra could feel his blood pounding through his veins as he stared, fantasizing. He swallowed, not being able to remember seeing anything more erotic, the black lace made his vision swim more the longer he stared. Lace was his undoing, and lace on Victoria was enough to make him believe he was in hell. This was a new kind of hell, wanting something so bad when he could never have it. Victoria looked like a goddess of desire; everything about her was brutal torture for him.
He turned and immediately opened the window, his mood taking a turn for the worst. “I will be back,” Ezra shot darkly as he jumped out the window hearing the whore’s distant gasp. Once he landed the aroma of the dark alley assaulted his nostrils forcing him to cover his nose. “For fuck’s sake,” he hissed under his breath as he walked around the building to where the entire population of Dublin resided in intoxication. He knew why everyone was inebriated; they couldn’t smell.
“Ezra!” Elm came running up to him with a bottle of burgundy liquor in hand, Tiny right behind him, trying to pull down his tight gray vest that kept sliding upwards to his tummy.
Ezra tensed when he saw the look of panic etched into Elm’s features. “What?!”
“If we’re going to do this we better do it right. Act drunk! Here, drink this. I put substance into it so it affects us faster. They’re up the bloody street! Michael is here of all people!”
Ezra swore, anyone but Michael. “What did you put into the drink? Remember what happened last time?”
Tiny took the bottle out Elm’s hand, gulping the liquid down like water. Trickles of liquor streamed down his round jaw as he swallowed heavily. Gasping, Moorhead handed the bottle to Ezra after he burped for an extended period of time.
“Blood hell Tiny. We need to be drunk not smashed!” Ezra whispered harshly then snatched the bottle, taking big long swigs, feeling the burning liquid coat his throat. His gag reflex wanted to kick in. That‘s the worst sort of shit he has tasted in a long while. Ezra coughed, “E-Elm! God’s teeth what did you put in that? Acid?!”
“Whoa!” Elm hooted, his emerald eyes going wide, giving Ezra the eye as he stumbled.
Ezra’s heart was pounding as he looked to where Elm was nodding too. Masters. It wasn’t hard to miss them; they looked like assassins weaving through the crowd. He looked down at his attire and quickly picked up a long overcoat that some drunken person left and put it on to cover up his ripped shirt. Tiny’s brown eyes widened when he looked down at his clothes and followed suit, finding a random cloak over by the saloon.
His hands started to tingle.
Ezra’s vision blurred slightly and it felt like the ground violently tilted to the left. He felt like he drank his body’s weight in liquor! “Shit Elm, w-what did you put in that ‘ottle?” He slurred a bit, blinking his eyes rapidly, feeling his mind leaving with its bags packed. He hadn’t experienced this out of his mind since his wild youth, when he participated in his first orgy with a multitude of women. And, it was because of Elm’s concoctions. Ezra smiled, that night had ended very badly. One too many women seeking his attentions, demon women are very jealous creatures. Ezra shook his head and focused on Elm, who was currently smearing mud on his black breeches. “Elm, what in the hell are you doing? And, what in the ‘uck did you put in that bottle?!”
He drink hit him like a ton of bricks had been dropped on his head.
Elm smiled drunkenly and patted his belly, smearing a little mud on his immaculate forest-green overcoat. “The ‘ood stuff, I put the good stuff in there,” he paused with a look of dismay as he scanned the crowd. “We’re being watched, act ‘runk,” he got out then hiccupped.
Not. A problem.
Sir Moorhead was grinning creepily at a rather large woman, licking his thin lips and then raising his brows suggestively. The loud slap across his face seemed to do nothing to Tiny’s pride as he continued to drool over the wretch’s outsized breasts. He suddenly gaped at Ezra, looking mystified. “What a woman…” Tiny trailed off, eyes going crossed for a moment then back to normal.
Ezra squinted at Tiny then a wide grin spread over his mouth. “You ‘ucking idiot! You picked up a woman’s cloak to wear.” Ezra laughed, patting Moorhead on the back, or his head… he wasn’t sure… and used him as an anchor of sorts. His world started tilting again. He couldn’t stop the silly smile from spreading across his lips as he pointed at Elm. “Elm! I am never ‘rinking anythin’ you give me ever again!” He yelled and started chuckling, liking how light he felt. He actually wanted to dance, the music he was hearing was amazing! Such talent in the town…
Elm snickered and pointed at Tiny, putting his arm around some random person. “It’s got fur on it! Tiny, yer a ladybird! It’s a good ‘ook for you, you crazy bastard!”
Tiny grunted and peered down seemingly for the first time, his eyes instantly growing wide with horror. He shrieked, the sound matching the garment he was wearing. “G-get it bloody off!” he slurred stumbling in his attempts to rid himself of the female garment, rolling on the ground.
Ezra tried to find Elm through his hazy vision. “Elm!”
He turned a full circle and ended up in the same place, confused. Elm flung his arm around Ezra’s shoulder and slurred. “I don’t know where the Masters went. I can’t see them anymore.”
“I think it doesn’t matter as long as we’re ‘runk. What the ‘uck did you put into the bottle Elm?” he questioned and then a little green man instantly manifested on Elm’s shoulder. “What the…” he murmured and backed up.
“I put tooooo much in… I think,” Elm whispered in deep thought. “It’s imported illegally from the fifth dimension, very effective on Liorians.” He tossed the bottle back, drinking more of the substance but seemed to miss his mouth completely. The rancid liquor poured all over Elm’s overcoat like a waterfall of acid. “Argh!”
Ezra ran his fingers through his hair and unbuttoned his shirt more, feeling inflamed. A man with a lopsided hat and scraggly clothes on was hopping around singing with the crowd. “Hunt the Hare and turn her down the rocky road and all the way to Dublin, Whack follol de rah!”
Ezra looked away from the man to glare at Elm. “I see green men Elm… They’re small, little ‘ucking men!” Ezra called out and ran both of his hands through his hair, his hat missing. Shit. A little green man was staring up at him, running his finger across its little neck. Ezra closed his eyes, needing to get a grip… if only he could find something to grip onto! This deliriousness was getting worse! Tiny stumbled up to them, still wearing the female’s cloak. Sir Craven’s attempts at removing it seemed to fail. Ezra was about to comment on that fact but another green man distracted him.
“I see nakid women…” Tiny was staring off into the distance with a stupid grin.
“The blood hell you do,” Ezra hissed, trying to blink past the misty vision.
“What about Vict… or… ia?!” Elm leaned into him, his breath smelling of the toxic liquor. “I think the Masters dismissed us, or they ‘ould have captured us by now.”
Victoria? Ezra’s eyes widened. “Son of a…” Ezra whipped around, trying to locate the brothel through his tunnel vision. “I can not get her until the Michael pulls off. Do you see him? Damn you, Elm! I can’t fucking see straight!” It was so hard to think with all this music! His mind was spinning! Ezra went down on one knee, taking deep breaths.
Ezra slowly looked up, seeing Elm singing with the drunken crowd along with Tiny. He was going to kill Elm, how could he do this…
“One, two, three four, five, hunt the hare and turn her down the rocky road and all the way to Dublin, whack foll’ ol’ de’ rah!”
His anger started to fade as he watched, his thoughts gradually altering. Ezra tilted his head, observing everyone’s expressions as they sang with reckless abandon. They were laughing, smiling, dancing and without a care in the world. Actually experiencing enjoyment. The thought seemed so foreign to him for his soul didn’t recognize this. Has he ever had that in his life? Has he ever really laughed? His disconnected mind loved what he was seeing, wanting to latch onto it desperately.
Why the hell not? He was seeing green men, and now purple! Why not join in!
Ezra started clapping in beat, standing to his feet, his tunnel vision zoned in on the man leading the song. The man took another swig of his ale and fell over, spilling his drink all over himself. Ezra laughed, unable to wipe the silly grin from his face. He started uttering the words quietly, smiling as he did so. “One, two, three, four, five, hunt the hare and turn her down the rocky,” Ezra’s grin widened, singing louder, “road and all the way to Dublin, Whack follol de rah!”
“When ye smile, ye light up all of Dublin,” a comely woman murmured beside him. “Ye should do it ‘ore often.”
Ezra glanced to his left, trying to focus his vision on the short woman with apple-red cheeks. She was beaming up at him, her hand extended. The woman wanted him to dance with her? His brain tried to come up with an excuse on why he shouldn’t, but the invitation seemed too inviting. Everyone around was dancing, why the hell shouldn’t he? Elm and Tiny seemed to be in the mix. No one knew what he really was; right now he was just the same as everybody else.
He took her hand, spinning her into his arms making her shriek in delight. He started exchanging partners as the dance called for, locking arms with people he could barely make out. He laughed as he dipped [R2] a woman producing everyone around them to yell and clap. Ezra sang with everyone, “One, two, three, four, five, hunt the hare and turn her down the rocky road and all the way to Dublin, whack fol all the Ra!”
Ezra turned and almost ran into a woman, nearly knocking her over. His eyes drifted for a minute before he started to make out her features. Bloody hell, he wasn’t sure if it was the drink but she was stunning, breathtaking! Her shining blue eyes seemed to pierce him through the heart. His eyes focused on her breasts that were lusciously displayed from her revealing dress, hoping that he wasn’t drooling. A thought occurred to him, now he knew what Tiny was doing with that large woman. He couldn’t take his eyes from her…
A hand slapped his face.
Ezra placed his hand on his cheek where she slapped him, a grin spreading on his face. What a woman…
"What in the blasted hell is going on?!"
He frowned, loving her pale hair. It looked like silk, he wondered if it felt like silk. Ezra’s eyes widened; a green man was hiding behind her green skirts, laughing at him. Ezra grabbed her hand yanking her to him. “Be careful princess, but there are little green men everywhere. Not sure if I trust them,” he whispered seriously.
“Ezra, what the devil are you taking about? Are you drunk?!” She looked up at him; a look of astonishment marred her lovely features. “By God you are…”
He thought about this. “’runk, my Lady does not do what I’m feelin’ justice. I feel like I’ve gone out of me mind.”
“Yes, you know, the thing you ‘hink with.”
She started giggling, covering her mouth.
The sound was so sweet. “What is so ‘unny?” he asked, smiling, wanting to kiss her desperately.
The silver angel shook her head, staring up at him, eyes sparkling. “I would never picture you like this… what happened? Why are we here?” She looked around, eyes wide. “We are in Ireland, I can gather that much.”
“Oh you can, can you?” Ezra nodded and started to sing with everyone. “Down among the pigs, played some hearty rigs, danced some hearty jigs, the water round me bubbling…” he trailed off, forgetting the rest of the words.
Her eyes were wide as she regarded him. "Ezra, what is going on!"
Ezra, she said the name Ezra… that sounded familiar… He looked back at her, his mind turning. “What is your name, love?”
She laughed. “Victoria, the one you abducted! I woke up in some strange whore’s room and she told me what happened. Then, I glanced out the window and could not believe my eyes!”
This was not good. How in the hell could he have forgotten that! His memory was coming back in small amounts, trying to penetrate his muddled thoughts. “Shit.” Was all he could come up with?!
“I want answers! Do you know how easy it would be for me to escape right now?” she questioned, and raised a brow. “Right now, you’d be lucky if you’d remember my name in five minutes.”
“Don’t go!” Panic was setting in, because he knew Victoria was right. If she chose to run, in his current mind state, he would not have a chance in hell.
Victoria laughed at this. “It was nice knowing you Ezra, I’m sure the woman you were dancing with would love to take my place. It looked like you were perfect for each other.” She turned and walked away.
If his heart wasn’t beating so fast and if he wasn’t about to lose the one thing that could save his life, he’d call her jealous. He was trying to focus on her but this vision wouldn’t let him. “Victoria! I need you! If you’d just let me explain! Please come back!”
“Aye, a woman like that, I would be slayin’ dragons fer.” A gruff looking man said beside him, and then gave him a pitying look.
Victoria was gone; he looked from left to right. “No!” He ran his hand through his hair; she was gone. He fell to his knees; utter loss erupted inside him. Every hope had just vanished. By the time he sobered Victoria would be caught by the Liorians.
How could he have let this happen? Ezra should have known better than to drink anything that Elm gave him. Suddenly a green man manifested beside him and was sobbing, looking up at him with watery emerald eyes. “What the hell are you crying about?” he hissed, not wanting to reflect on the fact that he was talking to a little transparent man the size of his foot.
The green man shook his head and shrugged, bawling like a baby.
Ezra exhaled, and closed his eyes, wishing this were just a nightmare. He felt something on his leg and opened his eyes to find the little man hugging his boot, wiping its nose on his pant leg.
Ok. It’s official. He has gone bloody insane. Ezra gave the little green man a pat on the back, rolling his eyes as he spoke. “There… there.”
It’s time to go find Elm and Tiny and break the news to them. Maybe he would drink till he kills himself...
The green man started screaming louder.
“You have five minutes.”
Ezra jerked his head up, thinking his vision was playing tricks on him. “Victoria?”
She kneeled down in front of him, taking his face in her hands. “If I didn’t just witness you talking to your imaginary friend, I wouldn’t feel so sorry for you.”
Ezra grabbed her hands and a grin spread over his features. “I will tell you everything love. But first, answer me one question.”
She narrowed her lovely eyes. “Yes?”
“Were you jealous of the ‘oman I was dancin’ with?”
“Absolutely not, if that’s your taste in women then that’s your business. Why should I care if you like harsh-looking women that smell bad…” she trailed off, blushing a bit.
He stared at her in shock, loving that he could actually see her blush. God’s teeth, she was jealous. The little green man started clapping, hopping up and down. He leaned into her neck to whisper, “That’s not how I dance with a woman I’m attracted to, love. I will show you the difference sometime.”
She shivered; her eyes alight.
“Now help me up woman, we have a lot of planning to do.” He stood up his arm around her shoulders for support. “First things first, I ‘eed some bloody strong coffee.”