Like some weird cult, they all chanted, "Thank you..." breaking unison to call him by the name they each knew him by.
"How do you resolve the fracturing among them?" asked a lone voice among the praise, the malvirai next to me.
The angel approached from the center of the crowd, speaking as if he were quite pleased with himself. His voice held some melodic charm under the surface, making his words addictive. "Look there, my precious point of light," he pointed to a group far away, lurking in deep shadows. "They are white men who hate black men. And there," he pointed to a nearby group, "is a group of revolutionaries who hate those loyal to any dissent. There is a group that hates inventors. There is a group that hates people who don't give to charity! A group who hates people who eat certain meats! And there," he shifted and the smile on his face grew large, "is a group who hates everyone, including themselves, including their own kind. You want to meet a dictator?
"So how do I keep them all in line?" he continued. "How do I fulfill the desires of those who have none? Whose idea of paradise is so warped they destroy the closest things to it?"
"You blind them?" Aether asked, timidly.
"Paradise is everything one wants and nothing one doesn't. If they do not wish to perceive something, I do not force them. Everyone sees what they want to see and nothing else."
Again, the crowd issued thank-yous and added the names of their idols.
The archangel advanced again and Aether gripped tightly onto my arm. I rolled my eyes.
"Why be so apprehensive?" the archangel asked her sweetly. "Can't you feel them in this place? Aren't they calling to you?"