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The fall of lucifer, p.12
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       The Fall of Lucifer, p.12

           Wendy Alec
 
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  Eve frowned. ‘I had never considered that, my lord. He has always taken our concerns greatly to heart.’ She looked at Lucifer, perplexed. ‘I did not think that He considered us to be a burden.’

  ‘And a burden you surely are not. But the time to mature draws near, and with it accountability.’

  Eve hesitated. ‘Well, of course we should be accountable. And we must mature. It is right. It is good.’ Her eyes clouded with concern. ‘But you say that we are selfish? I did not want to be a burden. Why, He delights in our walks together in the cool of each day.’

  The blood drained from Lucifer’s imperial features. ‘He walks with you?’ He stared grimly beyond the mists and the hanging blossoms of the Gardens of Fragrance towards the simple wooden gate, the entrance to Christos’ grotto. A strange evil fire burned in his eyes.

  Eve smiled. ‘We are His companions.’

  ‘If you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall be as God, discerning right from wrong.’

  ‘We are created in the image of God,’ she said, confused.

  He drew closer to her. ‘You are created in His image, but He has held this one thing back from you.’ He stopped, staring up at the First Heaven, then deliberately plucked the pale blue glistening fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. ‘The knowledge of good and evil. There was one who misused it once, who committed treachery with violence against Him. A seducer . . . a renegade. He has warned you?’ Lucifer caressed the blue fruit.

  Eve nodded, eyes wide. ‘He said there was one whom He greatly loved but who committed treason,’ she spoke softly. ‘He said we must be vigilant.’

  Lucifer nodded. ‘That is so, sweet Eve. He would protect you. He would shelter you. He was so grieved at this betrayal that He, believing it to be in your best interests, took the choice away from you, lest you also commit treason.’

  ‘We would never do aught against Him! Why, we love Him so greatly!’

  ‘And this He knows full well, which is why He has sent me this day to declare to you that He has issued a new edict. You shall eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You shall make your own decisions, filled with wisdom and discernments, as does God.’

  Eve blinked, her thoughts in disarray. ‘But Yehovah said that if we eat of its fruit, we shall surely die.’

  ‘You shall not surely die. Indeed, in the day that you eat of it your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be filled with wisdom and multiple discernments, just like a god.’

  Eve stared at Lucifer, transfixed. ‘Why – I should like to be as a god . . . ’ she whispered, with an unfamiliar glint in her eyes.

  He raised the fruit to his mouth. ‘You shall be even as I am.’ He took a large bite and swallowed. Then he smiled his old magnificent smile and passed the fruit to her.

  She lifted it to her lips and caressed it avariciously. She bit deeply into it . . . greedily. The juice gushed down her chin.

  Instantaneously the white fire disappeared from her body, leaving her naked. She was oblivious, both to her nakedness and to Lucifer retracing his steps through the undergrowth.

  Lucifer watched from hiding as the man, Adam, approached her from across the white sand. She beckoned to him and held out the fruit. The man ate of the fruit. And the white fire disappeared from his body.

  Immediately there was a thunder from above them. The portal closed, and the gateway to the First Heaven disappeared. A circle of flames appeared around the tree, surrounding it.

  Lucifer, a serpent once more, slithered back through the undergrowth near the eastern gate. Once outside the scales became the blistered skin of Lucifer’s fallen angelic body.

  Sachiel stared at Lucifer’s hands as the short, broad clear nails thickened and became ridged. Lucifer grabbed the hooded robe out of Sachiel’s grasp and flung it over his distorted features, watching as twenty mighty cherubim descended from the portal, their flaming war swords drawn.

  ‘May hell be my witness!’

  Chapter Eighteen

  Gabriel

  Heaven was silent. In mourning.

  Gabriel stood in grey robes, grief-stricken. He looked around him at Lucifer’s inner chamber: dark, desolate, abandoned.

  He inhaled sharply. Everything was untouched, exactly as it had been the night before his brother was banished. The magnificent frescos, his collection of pipes and tabrets – his viol and bow still lay on his writing table. Lucifer’s Sword of State had been placed back in its magnificent jewelled sheath. Enormous cast-iron chains barred the splendid golden doors to the observatory, where they had spent so many moons in laughter and merriment.

  Gabriel leaned over Lucifer’s writing desk and gently caressed the viol.

  Michael stood in the doorway, silently observing. ‘Gabriel.’

  Gabriel turned, tears on his cheeks. His eyes were dull. ‘You are returned from Eden?’ His voice was lifeless.

  Michael moved towards him and reached for his arm.

  Gabriel pulled away violently. He drew his robes tightly around him and strode over to the shackled balcony doors.

  Michael looked after him in anguish. ‘Gabriel!’

  Gabriel gazed out at the seven spires of the Holy Mountain, his back towards Michael. Many minutes elapsed between them before Michael spoke.

  ‘Why did you not go with Lucifer?’ Michael’s voice was hoarse with emotion.

  Gabriel was silent. His back remained turned to Michael.

  ‘Many were deceived.’ Michael hesitated. ‘Even Zadkiel.’

  Gabriel turned suddenly, his chin set, his expression hard. He picked up his sword and walked through the chamber. At the threshold he stopped, his back still towards Michael, the hot, stinging tears unseen by his elder brother. ‘I wanted to go, Michael.’

  The huge golden doors slammed in Michael’s face.

  Chapter Nineteen

  The Title Deeds

  The seven Ancient Ones of the High Council of Heaven sat on the jacinth thrones under the open heavens on the high place of the Tower of Winds. Only the eighth throne – Charsoc’s – stood empty, a chilling reminder of recent events.

  The blue winds roared, blowing the mists of wisdom and revelation down onto the seven white heads of the ancient monarchs. They were seated around a pure golden circular table, their heads bowed, their lips moving silently in supplication to the Ancient of Days. A huge golden-bound codex sat on the table. Far above them, lightning bolts illuminated the firmament.

  Michael stood by the battlements, surveying the great activity at the huge pearl gates of the First Heaven in the distance. Gabriel sat at the far end of the table, silent, disconnected. Lamaliel, a chief elder, stared far into the distance, his ancient, watery grey eyes pained.

  ‘Yehovah grieves,’ Jether said, raising his head. Wearily he surveyed the solemn, weathered faces around the table. ‘It is the fire of free will.’

  Xacheriel uttered a deep sigh. ‘Lucifer ensnared Eve before she could replicate. His sole intention must be to mutate the offspring’s DNA.’

  Michael turned. ‘The portal has been shut. The gates will be sealed by dawn. The warring cherubim with flaming swords guard the tree of life.’ He turned to Jether. ‘What are we to do, old mentor? You know far better than we the twisted intricacies of Lucifer’s mind.’

  Jether shook his head wearily. ‘This is just the beginning. The darkness has not yet taken full root in Lucifer’s soul. But when it does . . . ’ Jether shook his head.

  Michael stood beside the battlements. ‘We can’t just stand by and let it happen. With one treacherous act he has destroyed an entire race!’ He gripped his sword so tightly that his hand trembled.

  Jether waved him quiet. ‘Temperance, Michael, I beg you.’ He sighed. ‘This is a time for restraint.’ He smiled up at Michael, his pale blue eyes gentle. ‘All is not lost, Michael. Yehovah will do what is just according to the eternal laws. He is slow to anger, great in mercy.’ He hesitated. ‘He will do what is just, Michael.’

>   Lamaliel paced along the battlements, muttering. ‘It is the binding legal consequences of Eve’s defection that we cannot escape. She switched allegiances. Man is forever bound to it.’

  Jether opened the codex on the table in front of him. ‘I have studied every tenet, every addendum, for an irregularity.’ He stroked his beard. ‘Because of this defection, duplicitous as it was, I am afraid the title deeds for Earth now legally pass over to Lucifer – Earth and its solar system, the Second Heaven. The ark of the race of men is now legally his, as he knew it would be.’

  He laid the great archive book down and sighed deeply. ‘And the race of men. They have moved out of Yehovah’s jurisdiction. Lucifer is now their legal sovereign. Their ruler.’

  He fell silent as the full horror of Eve’s defection sunk into the listening elders. The whole council was sombre.

  ‘It becomes worse,’ Jether continued. ‘If the race of men desert Yehovah in aeons to come, Lucifer is legally entitled to lodge a claim against mankind in the courts of heaven.’

  ‘A claim?’ Michael exclaimed.

  Lamaliel looked up from his tomes. ‘Yehovah cannot be false to His eternal law. He cannot judge Lucifer and yet not judge men. If man continues in disobedience to the Almighty, they must suffer the same condemnation as will be meted out to Lucifer. Lucifer could legally enforce the penalty that every man’s soul is his – to be with him in hell and the grave and in Tartarus. And when his judgment comes, they will burn with him in the lake of fire. Charsoc is fully cognizant of all such undisclosed tenets. Lucifer will ensure they are used to complete man’s eradication.’

  Lamaliel looked to Michael. ‘The ark must be handed over to Lucifer by dawn. You must take it to him, Michael.’

  Michael’s hand went to his sword.

  Jether shook his head. ‘No, Michael. No recrimination, no anger. Just the facts . . . ’ A flicker of a smile played on his lips. ‘ . . . as I taught you. You will have your moment, Michael, when you will rid the heavens and Earth of all iniquity, once and for all eternity. So it is written. But for now . . . ’ he folded his hands . . . ‘patience.’

  Gabriel lifted his head and smiled strangely at Michael. ‘I will go with you.’

  Michael shook his head grimly. ‘No!’

  Gabriel’s eyes glittered. ‘And who made you my keeper?’ He slammed his fist on the table and strode over to Jether, clasping his shoulders a little too fiercely. ‘Let me go, Jether. I would see my brother.’

  Michael looked to Jether. ‘Don’t send him, I implore you. He’s vexed by the same evil.’ Michael threw his hands up in exasperation. ‘If he goes, he’ll never return!’

  Jether sighed deeply. He picked up his papers and spoke softly, looking down at the table. ‘Gabriel will accompany you. It has been decreed.’

  Michael gazed in astonishment at Jether. Gabriel smiled triumphantly.

  ‘You will find your powers greatly diminished in his kingdom,’ Jether spoke gravely. ‘You must pass the test.’ He glanced at Charsoc’s empty throne and then bowed his head, his voice barely a whisper. ‘May God keep your souls.’

  * * *

  The legion of forbidding silent riders and the Holy Watchers left the mountain on their white steeds, their golden lances held high. Their lips were sealed with the coals of fire from the labyrinths of the Holy Mountain. Their Nubia-like faces were covered with golden visors that shimmered like flames. They followed Michael, who was clothed from head to foot in golden war armour, his green eyes firm with resolve.

  Gabriel rode in the centre of the Watchers. Around him rode the revelator envoys, ten shining angels in white on white stallions, carrying the ark of the race of men – the golden casket with carved cherubim on each corner. The casket contained the title deeds to Earth and the race of men.

  They left the gates of the First Heaven far behind them, escorted by the archangel Raphael and his legions across thousands of new galaxies until at last they could glimpse Earth’s solar system.

  At the entrance to the Second Heaven, Raphael bowed his head and saluted to Michael. He and his legions left the brothers and the Watchers to go on alone.

  Far ahead Lucifer’s forbidding black cohorts patrolled the Second Heaven’s perimeter. Saturn burned red on the horizon.

  Michael turned to Ariel, one of his generals. ‘Let us ride.’ Michael kicked his steed, and the silent legion moved towards the forbidding jagged iron perimeter of the Second Heaven.

  Into outer darkness.

  * * *

  Lucifer was seated at his throne, poring over his scrolls.

  ‘Your Majesty . . . ’ Charsoc bowed low in obeisance. ‘There is a matter.’

  Lucifer looked up, vexed. Moloch entered, pushing Sachiel to stand in front of Lucifer.

  ‘Moloch found him praying . . . ’ Charsoc lowered his voice, ‘to Yehovah.’

  Lucifer froze. A look of sheer hatred crossed his features. He stood and waved Moloch away.

  ‘You were praying, Sachiel?’ He started to pace the room, his hands behind his back. ‘You were praying . . . ’ Lucifer’s tones were melodious, soothing. ‘Yes?’

  When Sachiel didn’t respond, Lucifer spun towards him. ‘Answer me when I address you!’ he screamed. ‘You are in the presence of a king!’

  Sachiel raised his head, his eyes clear. ‘I was praying to Yehovah, sire.’

  Lucifer smashed his fist on the table. ‘You have one king, Sachiel. You are to worship one king alone.’

  ‘I worship only one King.’ Sachiel looked long and hard at Lucifer. ‘He is the King you taught me to worship.’

  Lucifer swept the scrolls from the table in a fury. ‘You are a fool, Sachiel. He will not have you back. You deserted Him – of your own free will!’

  Sachiel hung his head. ‘Yes, I deserted Him. I committed treason, and forever I will suffer for my mistake.’ He lifted his tortured features to Lucifer. ‘But I will never stop loving Him.’

  Lucifer turned to Moloch. ‘Leave us!’

  Moloch left the chamber. Charsoc remained, standing by silently.

  ‘Sachiel,’ Lucifer’s voice was a low, strangled whisper, ‘do you think that it is you alone who suffers in this manner?’ He expelled a deep and trembling breath, brushing at the bedraggled locks that had fallen over his forehead. ‘True hell – true torment, Sachiel . . . ’ he put his face close to Sachiel’s . . . ‘is to be banished from Yehovah’s presence.’

  Charsoc closed his eyes. A sudden fleeting anguish clouded his features.

  A deep strangled sob escaped Lucifer. He leaned back against the table, worn.

  Sachiel leaned towards him. ‘Then let us repent, Lucifer. There are those who would go back to all that we knew and loved. It is not too late.’

  Lucifer stared over Sachiel’s head. Sweat broke out on his forehead and poured down his cheeks. ‘There are times I feel His presence, Sachiel.’ Lucifer wiped his brow with an embroidered cloth. ‘He is here with me still, urging me to repent.’

  The air hung silent and heavy between them. Lucifer looked up at Charsoc, who looked back with eyes filled with suffering.

  Then Lucifer turned to Sachiel, his eyes narrowed. ‘It is your prayers, Sachiel – you bring Him here!’ He spun around, rabid with rage. ‘You fool, Sachiel. He will not receive you back!’ Lucifer tilted his back and called. ‘Zadkiel!’

  Zadkiel entered. Gone were the features that had once been almost as beautiful as Lucifer’s. Now he was gnarled and bent.

  ‘He is filled with treacheries,’ Lucifer said. ‘Banish him to the penitentiary!’

  Zadkiel stared at Lucifer, appalled. ‘But this is Sachiel, milord. He has served you all your years . . . ’

  Lucifer stared narrowly at Zadkiel.

  ‘Very well,’ Zadkiel said. ‘Moloch and Ruber will be his escort to the penitentiary.’

  At the mention of their name, the two fallen angelic generals arrived in the chamber.

  Sachiel stared at Lucifer, his face set like stone. ‘You w
ere once noble, Lucifer. Blameless. Wise and just in all your ways. The light-bearer!’ He bowed his head. ‘Yet even to the gates of Sheol He will not abandon me!’

  Zadkiel stared ahead, ashen-faced.

  ‘Save your simpering!’ Lucifer said contemptuously. He nodded to Moloch, who dealt Sachiel a vicious blow that knocked him to the ground.

  Moloch grinned and shoved Sachiel to his feet, pushing him out of the doors.

  Lucifer turned back to his scrolls.

  As Zadkiel strode to the door, Lucifer called his name.

  ‘Zadkiel,’ he whispered in a cajoling tone, ‘you were not thinking of praying to Yehovah, were you?’ Lucifer gave Zadkiel a brilliant smile. Charsoc watched Zadkiel intently.

  ‘No, Your Majesty.’ Zadkiel looked directly into Lucifer’s eyes. ‘I worship only one king.’

  Lucifer looked long and grimly at Zadkiel, as though reading his very soul, then turned back to his scrolls, inscrutable.

  Suddenly a strange lightness crossed his countenance. ‘Oh! They are here! I sense them . . . ’

  He rose and moved swiftly to the enormous rubied chamber windows. ‘Go to them, Zadkiel. Welcome my brothers to my kingdom.’

  Chapter Twenty

  Road to Perdition

  The galaxies seemed to be drawing in on them as they neared Lucifer’s new kingdom. They had left both the First and Second Heaven far behind them and had entered a vast nether world of outer darkness.

  Gabriel shuddered. ‘The nether regions.’

  The rings of Lucifer’s planet burned unusually bright. Michael stopped in mid-stride and gestured to the company to wait. He stared out in wonder at the magnificent magenta planet. It was surrounded by six rings of glowing ice, three hundred dazzling azure suns, and a myriad of amber moons.

  ‘His new kingdom,’ Gabriel whispered in wonder. ‘He has re-created the beauty of Tertus. Hues beyond imagination.’

 
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