“But do you love me?” asked Mara.
“I do not understand the human idea of love,” Samael replied. “I love all of humanity. You are my own. My treasure.”
Mara sighed, then smiled. Angels were apparently no better about answering simple questions than human men, but she had definitely never felt more cherished by anyone before. She curled into his arms, and fell asleep.
Suddenly, Mara awakened to the sound of a dog howling in the woods near the house. She started to get out of bed to yell at whoever’s dog it was, but Samael put her back on the bed and placed his sword into her hands. As he got out of bed, he told her “no matter what you hear or see, no matter what I tell you, no matter how injured I might seem to be or how much danger I appear to be in, do not get out of this bed or let this sword out of your hands. No matter what happens, keep the sword in the bed with you, and hold it as hard as you can with both hands. If you can, close your eyes and keep them closed. There may be things you would not wish to see.”
The angel disappeared and the night went black and still.
Time went by, Mara had no idea how much time has passed in that awful, dark stillness. She stayed in the middle of the bed, the hilt of the sword in both hands, motionless. Waiting for Samael to return.
Out of the silence, a rumble. Distant thunder.
Then, suddenly, some sort of battle outside the house which moved with the thunder into the house, through the house, into the bedroom around the bed.
Mara knelt in the middle of the bed, holding Samael’s sword as tight as she can with both hands on the hilt, wondering why he couldn’t use it himself. He was never parted from the sword, even in his most intimate moments with Mara it was within his reach every moment. She wondered what would happen if someone, something, were to get the sword out of her hands.
Samael was fighting a huge black dog. Something like a black dog. It was more than a dog. It was blacker than real black. It reflected the darkness somehow, making the room seem even darker than it could possibly really be. The creature dwarfed any mastiff that Mara has ever seen. Almost as tall as a horse, but far more muscular.
Samael struggled to grapple with it. The creature didn’t bite, but used her teeth and body weight to try to pin Samael down. They were wrestling, she realized.
When Samael neared the bed, he looked at Mara, who tried to hand him his sword. He snarled at her to get it back on the bed and close her eyes as the dog lunged for it.
He reminded her to stay on the bed with the sword in her hand no matter what. Even if he begged her to give him the sword. Especially if he begged her to give him the sword.
Mara squeezed her eyes closed, hard, and tried not to think about what it would take to make Samael beg. She tried not to think about how she would live if anything happened to him. She suddenly knew nothing would. Nothing could. She knew it deep inside.
The sword got warmer in her hands, starting to emit a light which gradually grew brighter until Mara opened her eyes to figure out why the room was so bright. The glowing sword drew itself up, so Mara had to stand to keep it in her hands. Until she herself was floating above the bed, sword pointing down at the black creature. She could feel an energy flowing through the sword that she would never be able to describe as anything but Love.
The angel rose, and stepped back from the dog. It was only a dog now. The largest dog Mara had ever seen, but only a dog. Still black, but only a normal black. “Your dog,” she heard a voice say. The dog walked over to the door, nudged it closed with her nose, turned around three times, and sunk down to sleep.
Mara, looked down and saw she was still floating. The sword was not glowing any more. She looked at Samael, laughed and stretched the sword out to him. It seemed to want to be with him again. He took the sword, and caught Mara as she started to fall back onto the bed. Still laughing.
“You are pleased with yourself, my treasure?”
“I didn’t do that,” she said, “did I? I couldn’t!”
“Only faith and love could have won that battle. It had to be someone, a human, with enough faith and love to bring the magic into the sword when it was needed. Only those can defeat this kind of darkness.”
“How did you know?” she asked.
“How did you know it would work?”
“Because in my arms you could fly. I knew. I trusted. These are things I am trained to know. It is who I am, ” he said.
Later, in bed, Samael’s arms around her, Mara wondered if he ever slept. No, she knew. He never did. He rested, but he kept watch over her. Always. He was her defender.
“Sami?” She started to ask…
“My name is Samael, my treasure. ”
She smiled against his chest as he stroked her hair. She didn’t need to ask. She knew.
She sure hoped the dog was housebroken.