Snow Angel: Chapter 41

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Chapter 41: Justice

Snow's whole life changes when the winter solstice arrives.


“Regret?” Desra scoffed bitterly. “I’ve lived my whole life with regret.”


Author's Note: I should have had this posted last week, but due to being sick that didn't happen. I seem to be getting over it now though so I'm posting chapter 41 for my loyal Big Closet readers. Hopefully chapter 42 will be posted on Patreon around Tuesday since I'm trying to get back to writing now that I'm feeling better. As always, thanks to Big Closet and to all my readers for your support. I hope you all enjoy. Further chapters are (or soon will be) available on Patreon.~Amethyst.

Chapter 41: Justice

We had barely landed, powered down the MIST, and stepped outside when Desra appeared, hurrying toward us with the other members of Suppression Team Theta following close behind and looking confused. The confused expressions on Garon’s face only seemed to deepen as he saw the infant that was slung across my chest. Pippa’s eye widened in surprise as she blurted out, “The Angels are here? Snow, what’s with the bab…”

She wasn’t able to finish her question though as Desra seemed hyper focused on her goal at the moment and interrupted by asking, “Is it true, Snow? You have it? I can kill that bastard?”

I sighed, but kept a serious expression on my face as I nodded and replied, “I wouldn’t have come all this way to tell you if it wasn’t. When you mentioned the former Lord, Aron Clarkson’s name, I recognized it and us Angels decided to do a little digging. During the massive Seed-storm that hit Misota’s capital almost a week ago he tried to kill our Queen and her heir by sending them out into the storm. We found this in Her Majesty’s damaged crown.”

As I handed the device to Desra, my grandmother decided to elaborate. “We discovered that Clarkson has been controlling Her Majesty since she was crowned Queen, using that device. Thankfully, she has returned to her former self, but she cannot remember anything from the time that she was being controlled. He was planning a coup, and to drive all Seed-borne out of Misota. Thanks in part to the information that you gave Snow, he is now sitting in the palace dungeons and awaiting execution along with his fellow conspirators.”

Desra looked from me to the device I had placed in her hands, and then to my grandmother. I couldn’t quite place the emotions from either her face or her scent, but that was probably because she was feeling so many conflicting things at the moment. I did catch the uncertainty and suspicion though, as she glanced at my grandmother and asked, “And who is this?”

“This is my grandmother, Abbadine Bengal,” I quickly explained. “She is also the first Archangel of the Angel Corps and is accompanying us as a representative of both the Corps and Queen Sabine. Our goal is to formally begin diplomatic relations between Misota and Ashburn. Cooperation and trade between our two nations would benefit us both.”

“And let me guess, the offer for me to get my revenge depends on whether or not we’re willing to cooperate,” Desra snarled suspiciously.

“Snowy would never do that! She…” Risha cut Autumn’s outburst short placing a hand firmly but gently on her shoulder.

“Our offer to let you be the one to execute the man who wronged your mother and fathered you is not contingent on anything, let alone diplomatic cooperation,” my grandmother stated clearly. “It is a given. Snow and her teammate, Heather, have both advocated for you in that regard and Her Majesty has graciously accepted. The execution will take place at dawn, in three days.”

“We could have come here from a position of strength, Desra,” Risha pointed out. “We could have made demands in exchange for giving you what you want, but that would not be diplomacy. We are trying to show you that we are ready and willing to pursue a mutually beneficial and cooperative relationship with Ashburn. We cannot do that if we start out by making demands.”

For a moment, Desra’s only reply was to stare intently at the device in her hands. When she finally did break the silence that had followed Risha’s words, she was uncertain and apologetic. “I… I’m sorry. It’s just that… I have been wanting this for my entire life. It is difficult to believe that it would come so easily, or without cost.”

“Desra, I truly hope that this will give you the closure that you have been looking for,” my grandmother offered gently, “but vengeance is seldom as sweet as they say. It can feel hollow, and the cost can be regret.”

“Regret?” Desra scoffed bitterly. “I’ve lived my whole life with regret.”

“I speak of regret on a life wasted in pursuit of vengeance and naught else. Trust me on this, I have lived for a very long time and have seen many people obsessed with revenge, I have even seen a few achieve it.”

“It can’t be worse than the regret I’ve lived every day until now, knowing that I carry his blood! The man who sired me betrayed my mother, led her to her death, and now I know that he used her work to make others suffer as well!” Desra snapped as she clutched her mother’s device with white-knuckled hands.

My grandmother cast a sympathetic look toward the other Catkin before nodding. “I can understand why you might feel that way, just remember that his actions were his own, you cannot be blamed for them when you are as much his victim as the others who he has made to suffer. Try to consider your life beyond vengeance, and what you would like to do with it. You have friends and a life ahead of you; do not dwell on what has passed, live for the future. Also, take solace in the fact that you are not the only victim of his crimes. You are not alone; when you lop off that man’s head you bear not the vengeance of one, but the justice of many, including yourself, the Queen, and your two little sisters.”

The black-haired Catkin seemed to be listening with only one ear, focused as she was on the device in her hands and her own grim thoughts. Those last words made her green eyes go wide though. “That’s one way to rip off the Band-Aid,” Risha muttered from behind my right shoulder as Desra gaped at my grandmother.

I could see where my grandmother was going with this. She wanted to get Desra thinking beyond just her single-minded desire for revenge for herself and make her see some of her father’s other victims as people instead of just a vague concept. Until now, Desra had thought that she and her mother were the only victims in this. My grandmother wanted Desra to know that there were others, that she wasn’t alone in this, and that punishing her father’s crimes should be justice and not just vengeance. To do that, she needed to make that real for her.

“Your… father managed to become Queen Sabine’s consort. She has two daughters, your younger sisters,” I confirmed to help ease things along. “He tried to kill your youngest sister, Lisa, along with her mother in an attempt to take over Misota and cast out all Seed-borne. As for your other sister, because of him she grew up a pariah in her own home, lost the mother that she loved for the past eight years, had to give up any right to her family name and rightful crown, and was treated as a thing rather than a person because of the color of her hair and eyes. You’ve met her Desra, she’s my teammate, Heather.”

“And believe me; she hates your mutual father just as much as you do,” Autumn contributed with a grimace as Desra startled from that news and her hard look turned thoughtful.

I nodded and pressed our point. “Despite how much she hates him, what he’s done to her mother and her, and how much that she and each and every member of my team would like a piece of her father for what he has done, Heather asked that you be allowed to do it after I told her your story. She said that you have suffered the most and the longest because of him, so you should be the one to deliver justice.”

Desra fell to her knees, seemingly overwhelmed and her thoughts scattered. “Why would she… I never… Fuck… I have sisters…”

“Yes,” my grandmother agreed, “and they and Queen Sabine are looking forward to meeting you at the proposed diplomatic summit. May it begin a new chapter in all of our lives.”

Pippa dropped to the ground beside her overcome team leader, wrapping her up in a hug. The Catkin quickly buried her head into the blonde Fay’s shoulder as Pippa rubbed her back and soothed her. “It’s okay, Des. I mean, this is unexpected, but it’s… umm… all good news, right?”

It took over ten minutes of sobbing into her teammate’s shoulder before Desra managed to come to grips with everything and when the pair stood up again, the Catkin was the least agitated that I had ever seen her. She looked lost in thought though and I figured that she was just trying to process everything. It was Garon, the large Orc on their team, who finally broke the awkward silence with a more awkward question. “Okay, so if I’m getting this straight then you’re all here for some diplomacy thing, Desra has two kid sisters, and she gets to be the one who kills their old man. So, what’s with the babies?”

“Well, obviously they’re… umm… Snow’s babies. I was thinking she was a little young and that maybe she was Sapphic from her interaction with Risha and Autumn, but just look at the resemblance,” Pippa suggested uncertainly.

“Sapphic?” Autumn asked uncertainly.

“It means girls who are attracted to other girls,” Risha explained before turning to Pippa with a grin. “It does indeed fit us, we three and Heather plan on forming a mate-group under Fay traditions once we graduate from the Angel Academy. You were right that those are Snow’s babies as well, but they are adopted. We found them in a cave after their real mother, who looked a lot like Snow, died in the last Seed-storm.”

I was happy to let Risha field that inquiry since didn’t really feel like explaining the very long story of how the twins had come to be in my care, much less the intricacies of our relationship. I had to stop things and subtly change the topic though once Risha and Autumn started gushing about the babies and how I had hardly let them out of my sight since we found them. I used the talk about how we had found them to segue into talking about the big Seed-storm that had passed over the capital of Misota and what I had learned from Mother Darkness.

It seemed that they had seen some increase in Demon activity when the storm passed south of Ashburn, but they had finished clearing out the forests around the city as far as they dared yesterday. They didn’t really have the manpower to safely clear the lands to the south and keep the city safe in case of Demon attacks, at least not enough people with power armor to do it. Any strong Demons beyond that point would prey on the weak ones and eventually make their way northward to Ashburn, or toward the nearest ruins in search of food.

It was a shame that they weren’t using all that land to the south since there were only three sizable ruins in what Risha said had once been Wisconsin, and most of it was forest now while much of the rest had once been farmland and grazing land for cows. There was also another great lake at the eastern edge. Our resident AI thought that the land would be very useful if it could be cleared of the pockets of Demons that had cropped up since the last Seed-storm.

Apparently, the Dragon that had been causing Ashburn so much grief had used much of the former state of Wisconsin, or at least the central and southern parts, as its hunting grounds. Risha believed that It had probably only started harassing Ashburn because it had eaten most of the other major Demons in the area and scared most of the rest of the Demon population away to seek food away from its territory. For the same reason, it was very unlikely that there would be any Humans or Seed-borne settled in the area. It would be land ripe for the picking.

It was over an hour before the Council meeting concluded and the Prime Consul was available to see us. By that time, Desra seemed to have come to terms with the revelation about having sisters in Misota. While she was still eager to kill their mutual father, she didn’t seem quite so bloodthirsty about it as we made our way to the Prime Consul’s office, and I hoped that meant that she was thinking about what my grandmother and the rest of us had said.

Introducing my grandmother and the Prime Consul, Darrick Anderson, went about as well as I could have expected. Both seemed wary at first and Darrick had no idea what to make of my grandmother, particularly after learning just how old she truly was and her position within the Corps. Still our invitation for Suppression Team Theta and a delegation of diplomats from Ashburn to come to Twinvale for a summit was well received, especially after Desra explained why she was invited to perform an execution.

Desra had never told anybody the story about her mother and the stolen device before that conversation in our MIST, so it was news to the Prime Consul. He wasn’t happy that she had kept it to herself for so long, but he was ecstatic that the broken device was now returned, and that justice was being done. He happily gave Suppression Team Theta permission to attend and would be sending a delegation for the summit as well.

The Prime Consul himself wouldn’t be attending, of course, since he had a city to help run, but he seemed to have complete faith in the person that he had chosen to lead the team of delegates. That person was Aria Hill, an elderly Seraph woman with silver hair, large white wings, and a kind smile. I liked her as soon as we were introduced while Risha said she gave off grandmother vibes, much to my own grandmother’s amusement.


The next couple of days saw us returning home to Woodbury Base to continue our training as we awaited the execution of Heather’s father and his fellow conspirators. Kiley also joined us as our house guest and when Risha wasn’t training, she was studying or working on her friend’s avatar body. Mostly, this was because she needed to reprogram a dose of her own avatar’s modified Angel nanites to make the avatar more age-appropriate and mentally comfortable for Kiley.

She also wanted to know if any upgrades were specific to Kiley. There were not, it seemed, they had tested everything in Risha first. Risha did need to add the various combat features, the various upgrades that she made herself after her father’s death, and remove the limiters that kept the avatar at standard human strength and speed though. The final product could well have been Autumn’s twin in appearance, and Risha’s in abilities. Kiley had even chosen a new name to go with the new body, Clover Meadow.

“Huh,” Clover said thoughtfully as she stretched and felt out the newly improved avatar on the way to the Hangar. “This is perfect, I almost feel like me again and I’ve got cool abilities now too. I would have thought your programming would have prevented something like this though, the military and government was pretty paranoid with AIs.”

Risha shrugged. “I was a prototype, and I wasn’t made by the military or government but a private party. Sure, I am unable to alter my own core programming, but there is nothing in my programming that prevents me from altering my avatar’s programming, or yours. The integration of AIs and avatars was still in the idea phase when I was first built, avatars were deemed a temporary body for short-term tasks, at best. Dad also removed a lot of my limiters when he needed me to help with the combat upgrades to my avatar since the ships had left by then and there weren’t many Humans left around to complain. It should help when I try to create a new AI for Ashburn.”

“Yeah, but you want to make it grow up like a biological kid too, how are you going to manage that?” Clover countered with a frown. “I wasn’t able to age, I think that I was probably programmed to ignore that and a few other things that would have given my status as an Avatar away before my memories were restored and my limiters released.”

“Oh, that’s easy… I think. I plan to add modified Angel nanites like ours and program them to schedule various changes and upgrades to the AI’s avatar over time so they can develop like a biological kid. Ideally, I would have liked to have them choose their own form, but I’ll probably need to make her female since the only basic blueprints and features that mimic specific body functions that I have available are for female avatars. The military never seemed interested in making male avatars since they did not want us to be any more intimidating to them than we already were by merely existing at all,” the blonde AI replied with a disgusted snort.

“I look forward to seeing what you come up with, Rish,” Clover said as she hugged her fellow AI. “Thanks for working so hard to get this all ready before leaving.”

Risha returned the hug and I felt slightly awkward watching their tender moment as the others boarded the MIST ahead of us. “Anything for you, Ki… Clover. You’re my best friend. Are you going to be okay here without us until we get back?”

“Sure,” Clover assured her with a smile. “I’ll just keep hanging out at your place and relax. You’ll only be gone for a few days. I’m a big girl, and I can handle house-sitting for you while you’re at the summit.”

“She’ll be fine,” I assured my AI girlfriend as we got on board the MIST to get buckled in. Marti and Lisbet already had the craft ready for takeoff, Autumn and Heather had the twins in hand, and we just needed to get settled in for the flight to Ashburn to pick up Suppression Team Theta and Aria Hill’s diplomatic team. Then we would be heading straight to the palace in Twinvale, where we would be spending the night before the executions at dawn the next morning.


It was a cold morning with snow falling and blustery winds that bit viciously into us as my team gathered in the pre-dawn darkness to watch the scaffold with the rest of the assembled representatives of the Angel Corps, Princess Lisa, and our guests from Ashburn. Every member of the Corps who was attending, including Sira, all of the Archangels, and a few other wings that included Phantom Wing, were in our new uniforms and wore solemn expressions to mark the occasion. Either the Woodward sisters had been working their butts off, or all of those in uniform were wearing Hess armor with the uniform designs loaded on them. I suspected that it was the latter.

The twins were in the palace with Lisa’s governess watching over them. The Queen trusted her implicitly, and none of us wanted the girls to be present for the bloodletting that was to occur, even if they were too young to understand it. I was worried about how the strong stench of blood would affect their sensitive little noses anyway.

Despite the early morning darkness and the severity of the occasion, our guests from Ashburn were getting a lot of attention as people waited for the sun to peak over the eastern horizon. It wasn’t surprising since they stood out so much. Aria’s team consisted of four people; herself, a male Centaur named Thomas Jackson, an Orc woman named Beth Robinson, and another Seraph who turned out to be Aria’s son, Michael. They all seemed friendly enough the night before but were just as quiet as we were now to mark the grave occasion.

It seemed that the whole city was in attendance as the prisoners were marched into the Palace Square, where the scaffold had been set up, each being half marched and half dragged by experienced Angels who were dressed not quite as formally as we were. Queen Sabine wanted people that she could trust to ensure that none of the traitors could attempt to escape. My sharp eyes recognized the former consort and a few others like the former Lord, Samson Nelson, but I tried to keep my expression calm and aloof. They had been properly fed during their time in the dungeons, though their formerly fine clothes were now filthy and torn.

First light peeked out from behind the palace and the Queen’s voice rang out in the deathly silence that gripped the square to read the charges. The charges were many, but it all boiled down to the main charge that they couldn’t escape, treason against the crown, the only crime in Misota which demanded the death penalty, specifically by beheading. It hadn’t been carried out in over two hundred years, and now thirty-seven men would face the axe in one day.

The first would be their ringleader though, the former consort. I was morbidly pleased to hear that his announced crimes included those against Desra’s mother and the people of Ashburn. Once she had finished reciting the charges, Queen Sabine looked toward Desra with a concerned look on her face, as if to ask if the young woman who had been introduced to her and Princess Lisa the night before still wished to go through with it. To my right, I scarcely heard Risha sigh and mutter, “Off with their heads.”

Desra didn’t hesitate. With her mouth set in a grim line, and her eyes filled with grief and determination, the black-haired Catkin stepped forward to take the large axe from Archangel Taka who had been appointed the executioner for the day. Rather, he had volunteered since he was strong, used to seeing death, and did not wish to see someone given the task who might be haunted by it afterward.

The massive Bearkin man nodded and handed the axe to the lithe Catkin woman. As she took the weapon in hand, and the former consort was lashed into place so he couldn’t move, the murmuring that had overtaken the gathered crowd fell once again into silence. Misota held its collective breath for what was about to happen.

Compared to the buildup, the agony of waiting for what was to come, the act itself was swift. The axe rose high above Desra’s head and then fell in a blur of muscle-assisted motion that ended in a spray of blood as Aron Clarkson’s head fell unceremoniously onto the wooden planks and rolled across the scaffold to fall in the muddied, snow-covered ground.

For a moment, I thought there would be cheering. The only thing that happened though, besides the collective gasp from the gathered crowd, was Desra letting out a deep, shuddering breath as she handed the axe back to Archangel Taka. She was trembling, there were tears in her eyes, and the rise and fall of her chest was too rapid for her to be calm, but she likely convinced the less observant in attendance as she returned to her spot between Garon and Pippa.

She had gotten her justice, now she needed to live with it. My grandmother regarded her sadly for an instant before returning her gaze to where the Queen was reading the charges of the former Lord, Samson Nelson. She had that same sad and distant look in her eyes that she had the night before in the MIST when she had cautioned Desra that killing a person is different from killing a Demon. She had told her that it is harder to justify afterward, even if you know that it was the right thing to do, and it can stay with you for a very long time.

She was right; I could see in Desra’s eyes that she was conflicted as her teammates each wrapped an arm around her. Still, she forced herself to lock her eyes on what was happening on the scaffold. Her job was done but there were still many more to pay for their crimes, more blood to be spilled on what would later be called Red Wednesday.

I forced myself to follow Desra’s example and watch it all with an expression of forced calm. There were times that I wanted to throw up or turn away, but I wouldn’t allow myself to waver. I was a Wing Commander and I needed to set an example, even if it was hard. Right now, I needed to convince myself, and those with me, that this was right, even when watching people die and not lifting a finger to prevent it felt wrong.

“No,” I told myself sternly. “You’re used to fighting Demons, to trying to protect others when you kill. This is no different. These people manipulated, conspired to murder, and would have seen us all dead or cast out from our homes for not being Human and this will protect people from them, and others like them. At least the Demons can be excused by the influence of the Seeds and their instincts, but these people planned these things deliberately. Hell, that asshole Nelson tried to kill me and Autumn personally in cold blood. In a way, they’re worse than any Demon. This is justice, and they have earned it.”

© 2021-2023 Amethyst Gibbs
All Rights Reserved

Further chapters are available to the public on my Patreon page.

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At least there was no

At least there was no suggestion to bring forth Madame Guillotine. I'm certain that Risha knows the designs.

I'll get a life when it's proven and substantiated to be better than what I'm currently experiencing.

Risha probably knows the

Amethyst's picture

Risha probably knows the designs, but nobody else would know about it to ask her, given their general lack of history knowledge before the past 400 years or so.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

"Off with their heads"

Another classic. :-) And, sadly, richly deserved.

Thx for another nice chapter^^


Amethyst's picture

Risha strikes again with another pop culture reference that nobody else will get.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Hard scene to read

The quality of this chapter is very much in line with the preceding chapters and the story as a whole. The last scene was very hard to read.

And thank you for the very thought provoking discussion that preceded it. Thinking of revenge and holding a grudge, even for a very real wrong-doing, is not good for your own mental [and physical] health. I know this from a very real and very painful experience. It involved a breach of confidentiality and trust, publication of my medical file, assisting in legal abuse, years of litigation for custody, denial of any oath given, and finally public defamation and murder of character. It took me years until I was finally able to apply the step “let go and let God” from the 12 step program. Doing that has been really liberating. Though I am still suffering from the consequences of what happened.

Thanks JessicaNicole

Amethyst's picture

Yeah, that was a hard scene to write, but I wanted to make it both believable and suitably somber to make it real to my readers. I figured that Snow's grandmother would have such experiences in her past and share what she had learned with someone who was clearly hurting inside and ready to make a decision that could forever haunt her.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

It depends. Some people can

It depends. Some people can do it without thinking any more about it than slaughtering an animal for food. It was something to be done, they did it, and they go on. Doesn't mean they're bad people, just that they don't get that horrible guilt complex.

I'll get a life when it's proven and substantiated to be better than what I'm currently experiencing.


Amethyst's picture

Sometimes lines have to be crossed to do what needs to be done. Best to just do it and try to move on in that case, and know when that line does need to be crossed and when it doesn't, dwelling on it won't do them any good.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Yeah he deserved it

Doesn't make it any easier to execute him though.


Amethyst's picture

It's not an easy task, and Desra will probably have to learn to put it in perspective.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3