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Soul Music (of the other kind)

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Perfection is inherent to the definition of celestial harmonies. They are not sound as such, but rather the platonic ideal of music: a praise song, expressing the joy and gratitude of the angelic host towards the Creator, accompanied by the flawless melody of the spheres.

If there is a downside to the celestial harmonies, it is their tendency to run long. With linear time not yet applying to Heaven, this ought to be a paradox, but at the ninety-thousand-and-one'th perfect verse of praise to the vast and unfathomable nature of the Almighty, one might be forgiven for wishing time existed (if only so it could be fastforwarded through). There is the urge in certain listeners to squirm as if their metaphorical posteriors have gone numb in the equally metaphorical pews.

One of the affected angels already has tendencies towards sauntering in ill-advised directions. When the choirmaster Uriel leads the host into the triumphant ninety-thousand-and-second verse, this angel passes straight through the squirming stage into the incorporeal equivalent of a dramatic eye roll and exaggerated 'are we done yet?' slouch.

"It is getting a bit repetitive, innit?" mutters Ba'al at the angel's left shoulder. Their thought is soft, the equivalent of clearing ones throat politely; except that all of Heaven is currently full with perfectly balanced harmonies. An openly shared thought, devoid of praise or reverence, has the same impact as the sound of a soda can exploding all over a manuscript in a research library.

The as-of-yet unfallen angel wavers beneath the onslaught of silent disdain from their surrounding fellows. It is uncomfortable, even though they mostly agree and they settle for a minimally committal shrug, meant to imply support (to Ba'al) and disdain (to everyone else).

Judging by the soft (and harmonious, even in anger) rustle of wings from the audience, they are only partially successful.

One angel neither disdains nor bothers to appear uncommitted. It is a bright angel, who has listened in silence, sunk deep into its own contemplation. Now, it favours Ba'al with its attention, heedless of offended looks or the attempted peer pressure. Born crowned in starlight and flame, petty things like reputation have never worried this angel and before its regard, the pressure, as if the will of a thousand angels is shaped as easily the Word shapes raw firmanent.

"I was just thinking that myself." The angel's light flows out with its thoughts, giving the whole song a new tint; still gorgeous, but a shade off from harmonious. In response, Uriel's voice rises, crisper and clearer, and the chorus follows, until all is as it ought again. "I think," the bright angel says, "that it could do with a bit more… How to put it?"

A hand manifests from the bright angel, It observes the new limb while another dozen verses flow around them. Satisfied, it then puts its fingers together and –

– snaps –

– piercing Heaven with an everything but ethereal noise. The more impulsive among the angelic ranks gasp. A few cry out in protest, which only serves to spread the disruption wider.

These loud angels end up cowering in shame when Uriel’s eyes rake over them, bright with the flame of judgement. Again, the choir master urges their host, and they step up the intensity of the song until the clarity is edging into painful beauty.

This is all getting a bit heavy, the first angel thinks, and tries to position themselves in a clearly a standoffish way, not too close to Ba'al. They stay like that throughout the ninety-thousand-and-ninth verse.

To itself, the angel admits that the snappy… snap? Yeah, snap, didn't sound that bad. As such.

Certainly wasn't as dismissive as when Barachiel got bored with the efforts of the First Hymn, the traditional introduction performance by new angels. That particular concerto is best described as performed with 'more enthusiasm than skill', but they had… Yes, they had remained silent, but the angel finds it tasteless how Barachiel choose to manifest eyelids and prominently close them all.

No, this snapping sound calls attention to itself, but still connects with the celestial harmonies. Bouncing against their chilly perfection, like the beginning of… A word rises through the angel's consciousness, a concept waiting to emerge in the physical world.

"Like it needs a rhythm."

Thoughtlessly broadcasting their disturbance, they become once more the recipient of angry glares. Being neither very bright nor star-crowned, the angel cringes beneath the focused ire.

But Ba'al elbows them, friendly-like, and the Lightbringer humms in agreement. "Exactly. We could all do with a little more rhythm in our lives."

It makes the disapproval less heavy and the angel settles back into their slouch.