He wasn’t sure what he’d expected. A final, permanent death? Rebirth through the arch? No, those were all too good for the likes of him. He supposed he wasn’t surprised to be back in Hell, but that didn’t mean he was happy about it.
Then again, Izual hadn’t been happy about anything in a very long time. One did not walk into damnation and retain any right to such trivial things as happiness.
He didn’t suppose any of it really mattered. The only thing that really mattered here was- well. Where exactly was here? And how did he get away from it? Few people, be they angel or human, really stopped to consider that Hell was quite massive. And it was, in fact, divided into sections. Different sections held different dangers, and depending on one’s strengths, could be more easily traversed.
Izual, of course, was most familiar with the Realm of Anguish. He’d wandered there long enough that he knew how best to avoid being eaten alive. He wanted to avoid the Realm of Hatred if at all possible. Not only was it quite densely populated, majority of the demons there were more magically inclined. He was not keen on getting set on fire this day.
Although he’d been wandering for some time (hours? Days? Weeks? Time was no friend of his) Izual still had no concrete idea where he was. It was likely not the realm of Sin or Lies, as these realms tended to mess with one’s head immediately. Given that he recognized nothing, he was inclined to rule out the realms of Pain and Anguish.
Leaving only the realms of the Three.
“Outstanding.” Izual mumbled to himself. He paused his trek, and looked about. Rocky canyon up to the left. Plains to the right. Some fire in the sky. Same hot, awful atmosphere. Shiny speck in the distance behind himself. All in all, it was Hell.
“...Wait a minute.” Turning, Izual stared in the direction he had come from, disbelief filling him. No, it was still there.
Things in hell did not glimmer. It had to be an illusion. Perhaps he really was in the Realm of Lies. Whatever the source, Izual had no interest in facing it. He spun about, and doubled his pace.
His hooves were creating sizable prints in the ashy ground, and he cursed his luck. Anything that wanted to follow him would have no trouble whatsoever. Well, so be it. There wasn’t anything he could do about the body he was in.
While he continued his trek, he couldn’t help but consider himself. As much as he wished to just let himself go, something kept him from completely losing himself to his demonic body. One of the few things he was marginally thankful for these days was that there had not been a mind previously attached to said body.
Izual couldn’t say he understood what had been done to him, not entirely. The Demon Lords had bound him to this...thing that they’d summoned out of the Black Abyss. But all it really was was a shell. Almost like a suit of armor. A disgusting, repulsive, fleshy suit of armor. With hooves.
The body alone was almost enough to make him regret what he’d done.
At least it has wings. He mused to himself. Glancing at the appendages in question, Izual was privately relieved that they had regenerated their membranes. He’d very nearly gone completely mad from sky-hunger over the last twenty years. A fallen angel he may be, but he still longed to fly.
The only thing keeping him on the ground right now was his desire to not be seen. A giant blue demon flying around the Burning Hells would certainly gain the attention of everything for miles.
Speaking of attention…
Izual dared to glance over his shoulder. He started, for it looked as though whatever-it-was had gotten closer.
Snorting, Izual turned and began briskly marching to his left. He'd lose whatever-it-was in the canyon. He had no interest in being followed around, and if it came to it, he’d tear the thing apart. Of course, there was always the possibility that it was stronger than him, and he was about to die a third time. The thought spurred him on to pick up the pace. He was not interested in dying again.
Somewhat paranoid, Izual stopped paying as much attention to his surroundings, rather keeping an eye in the direction he came from. He let himself go wherever his feet took him.
The one good thing about his hooves was that they could handle any terrain. Sharp rocks, hard dirt, not-quite-solidified lava - nothing truly hindered him. They weren’t particularly nimble, however, and even at a run he was significantly slower than he’d ever been as an angel. Granted it wasn’t often that he ran, but when he did, he was obnoxiously clumsy.
After some time, he realized the mistake in not paying attention to where he was going when he walked directly into a dead-end.
“Damnit!” His wings raised up in a display of irritation-aggression, and he dearly wished he still had his sword. Turning about, Izual stared back at the way he came. No sign of whatever-it-was… but that didn’t mean it wasn’t out there somewhere.
Well, there was no other choice. Cautious but deliberate, he began walking back the way he came.
So far so good… he was coming to a fork, and no sign of the other thing. He recognized his own tracks leading out of one way. Izual paused, and took a look around. Nothing behind him, nothing in front of him, nothing to the left or right. His hearing was nothing special, but he couldn’t hear any breathing or anything.
“I’m just too damn paranoid.” He mumbled to himself. Wings still raised, he rounded a corner - and nearly collided with a short, glimmering thing.
“What the shit!” A loud, obnoxious, uncomfortably familiar thing.
“You!” Izual roared. He stared before himself, enraged and befuddled.
“Me? How about You!?” Izual couldn’t believe it. It was fuck-mothering Inarius who stood in front of him, shredded armor bristling. The treacherous, unmistakable, and above all irritating Creator of Sanctuary himself.
Izual snarled at the smaller (not)angel. Without hesitation, he swiped forward. Shrieking, Inarius dove out of the way.
“What the shit Izual!” The scrappy little bastard dove again as Izual charged at him.
“Hold still!” Izual screamed. He flung out a hand, and ice snapped after the other fallen angel. Naturally, Inarius didn’t listen, instead leaping over his attack. He skirted a nearby ravine and circled, looking for an opening to attack.
With an enraged hiss, Inarius shot forward like a bullet. Izual tried to dodge, but wasn’t half as nimble as his new enemy. Stumbling, he swiped with one claw - missed!
Izual let out a shocked, pained yell when sharp little claws pierced his hide. And - was he on fire!? Inarius was spitting hot rage, eyes flashing. Sure enough, flames licked off his arms and there was an angry red glow where his wings should’ve been.
“Stubborn little-!” Panting, Izual grabbed for his assailant, but screamed when hot sharp claws slashed across his face. He could hear Inarius snarling next him, and feel the heat billowing off of him.
So much for not wanting to get set on fire today.
Izual blindly swiped, and his claw hit metal. Spikey, definitely part of Inarius. The other former-seraph began shouting curses when he felt Izual grabbing onto him, and began clawing at his arm.
With an enraged howl, Izual gripped his foe and heaved with all his might. Inarius let out another shriek, which quickly changed from rage to shock as he found himself launched into the ravine. Izual couldn’t help but wince when he heard a loud crash-snapping noise, and all sound (save his labored breathing) abruptly ceased. He could only assume it was the sound of Inarius smashing into a rock. Likely he was not dead, but at the very least wounded.
After patting out the fire, Izual sat panting for a moment, internalizing his discovery. He’d always suspected Inarius to still be alive, but he’d never imagined that he was free. Bastard was tough, and oh so very stubborn.
As he felt his heart begin to slow, Izual cautiously edged forward. Peering over the side of the ravine, he could just make out the copper shine of metal down below. Inarius did not move.
Snorting, he shook his head. It wouldn’t do to stay here. Slowly, he began to resume his trek. Whether Inarius lived or died, he honestly didn’t care.
The two angels had never truly been friends. Comrades-in-arms, sparring partners, Angels under Justice - yes. But friends implied there at least be some sort of affection between the two. The only affection Izual ever had for Inarius was when the other was being put in his place, and blissfully silenced. He could only assume the same went for Inarius.
He might have learned to get along with the other. They might have found their way to something more than comrades. But such was not to be.
In the terms of angels, they had not known each other long or well before the other’s great downfall. The most time spent together was on the battlefield, for otherwise they actively spent time avoiding one-another. It had gotten to the point where Tyrael had confronted the two of them about it. They needed to be a ‘unified force of light’, and to ‘trust one another with their lives’.
The one solace to that particular conversation was how clearly Inarius had been uninterested in when his brother was saying. Surly and unrepentant, the Advisor to the Angiris Council had merely pointed out that they worked well enough on the battlefield. The brothers might’ve gotten into another of their legendary arguments, save for the appearance of Auriel.
His opinion of the other angel had only lessened with the discovery of Sanctuary. To this day he still thought the other a great fool.
Unfortunately for Izual, Inarius was the least of his concerns down in Hell.