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"Excuse me miss, are you an angel?"
Origins Under Construction
One Rainy English Morning
Saint Michael's Mount Parish, 5:47 am, 2nd February 1985
A brisk morning shower woke the bundle in a wicker basket on the steps of the monastery, prompting a healthy wail from the babe within. A brother on his way back from morning prayer followed the sounds to that peculiar package.
From the Journal of Brother Luke
'This is most irregular. Such a small community we have here, and it is not the season for tourists. Who would have left an infant on our door in this day? The child obviously will need medical attention, being possessed of a most unnatural set of shoulders. Brother Matthias insists the church keep her, given the auspicious date of her arrival. Personally, I am certain she will not get the care she needs at the Cornwall Orphanage.
Despite her loud entrance she sleeps well enough, and the Prior seems to be besotted with the waif. He insists that she be given a name so that she may be baptized before the end of the Candlemas feast. I have little interest in the matter, but still I have submitted a suggestion at the Prior's request. If chosen, the child shall be called Cassiel. May the Father protect us from our mortal folly.'
Life on the Mount
Monastery Garden, 1:22 pm, 14th May 1993
"Na wra henna! Deus omma!" Shouted the old Cornish gardener. Above him on the roof of the garden shed was a barefoot child in a simple brown frock. Her shadow on the ground below was distorted by a set of small white wings that extended from her shoulder blades.
"Ny vynnav, meur ras!" The child responded in a sing-song voice. "I want to fly!"
Notation from the medical record of Cassiel Foster, commentary by Dr. Abigail Lawson
'Treated for a hairline fracture to the right ulna sustained from a single story fall. This marks only the third time I have been allowed to examine the child since the progression of her shoulder deformities beginning at age six. She attests that the protracted growth of bone and feather "bloody hurts" while the arm injury "is only a flesh wound!" While I didn't want to believe it a first, the girl appears to be growing wings.
Naturally, I am concerned about how this will effect the development of her spine and musculature, but the terms of my non-disclosure agreement prevent me from consulting specialist colleagues. It remains to be seen whether or not these wings will be functional appendages, but if the patient continues to test them I foresee an increased rate of examination.'
From the Journal of Prior James, 5th April 1994
'This day I think I have witnessed a true miracle. Whilst preparing tea for the visiting Bishop I stumbled upon our Cassiel crying in the corner of the pantry. Beside her was a broken mousetrap and cradled in her hands was the injured rodent. Last week Brother Matthias let her watch Cinderella, and she has taken to naming the monastery mice.
I watched as she cried for "Gus", preparing myself to remind her that Our Heavenly Father calls all his creatures in time, but then there was a light. I shielded my eyes in surprise. When next I looked the child was hiccuping quietly and releasing a hale mouse onto the pantry floor. Cassiel picked herself up, kicked the broken mousetrap, and proceeded to beg me to let Gus and his friends stay so they could make her a dress.
The only thing I could think to do was to tell the Bishop, an impulse that I now regret. Naturally he insisted on seeing her, and reprimanded me for not bringing her to his attention sooner. I suppose I have been covetous of the child on behalf of the monastery, but her life has been peaceful here, if secluded. I fear that will change.'
Prior's Study, 6:29 pm, 28th August 1998
"Your Excellency, surely it is not necessary to remove the girl from Saint Michael's Mount?" The Prior wrung his hands nervously as he watched the Bishop. "I thought that this question had already been resolved."
"That remains to be seen." Bishop Edwards' gaze was fixed on the outline of a distant winged figure through the aged glass of the window. An adolescent perched on the apex of the chapel roof, legs dangling into space. "As I understand it, she's become something of a local legend, something to tell the pilgrim tourists?"
The Prior shifted uncomfortably as he poured the Bishop a cup of tea. "She's just a child. An unusual one, but a child."
"That's not what some of your Brothers are saying. Half of them consider her a messenger, some might wish to stone her, others still see her as the key to the existence of God." Tearing his eyes from the figure, Bishop Edwards crossed to the desk, splayed fingers falling onto a file laying open there. "Dr. Lawson's records seem to concur that her body is that of a human, but the wings? These reports of lights as well, they hint to something else. You honestly believe she is just a child?"
"The Baron has offered to extend to her the name of the ancestral family, which would make her a ward of the state in addition to one of the church." Prior James extended the cup of tea to the Bishop. "Would that not assure her right to privacy? Already she has been exposed to such scrutiny on that matter. She begins to ask questions about herself, about her visitors, that I cannot answer."
"I don't think you grasp how little it would take for this situation to spin out of your control, my son. If she understands enough to question the petitions of scientists and the comings and goings of church officials, then perhaps you will come to recognise why her cooperation is more important than flitting about this monastery like a bird." The robed figure took the cup of tea, setting it down angrily. "Do you not care what this could mean to the church? To our faith?"
"Of course I care Your Excellency! I beg of you to try and spend some time with her, you will see. While she is the most singular creature I have ever known, she is a child."