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The fall of lucifer, p.14
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       The Fall of Lucifer, p.14

           Wendy Alec
 
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  He rose to his feet, wiping the blood from his mouth with the back of his palm, and pushed his face to the iron grille. He took in the menacing iron racks, the thumbscrews, the iron maidens, and other heinous instruments of torture. Bloodcurdling screams resounded from hundreds of fallen angels being tortured unrelentingly in two enormous chambers on either side of the endless row of cells.

  At the far end of the smaller chamber he could see the brawny figure of Gadreel, towering over the shivering Sachiel.

  ‘That’s what happens when you worship Yehovah in these parts, my pretty.’ Gadreel leered at Michael from the torturing rack, bare-chested, his massive biceps bulging. He raised the red-hot poker. ‘Whom do you worship?’ Laughing maniacally, he shoved the poker brutally against Sachiel’s fingernails. Smoke poured from the burning flesh, and Sachiel screamed in agony. Gadreel kicked him savagely with his hobnailed boots.

  Belial and Vidar walked over to the bars. Belial put his face up to the iron grille, directly in front of Michael’s. He fondled his cat-o’-nine-tails with its glass-tipped thongs. ‘Why, if it isn’t His Royal Highness, Chief Prince Michael.’ He ran the cat-o’-nine-tails down Michael’s face, caressing him.

  Michael closed his eyes, summoning every atom of his self-discipline. Jether’s words echoed faintly in the back of his mind. ‘Never show your fear. Their evil feeds on fear.’

  Michael clutched the bars, not a muscle of his face moving. Vidar smashed Michael’s knuckles viciously with his iron cudgel. Michael drew his hands back in agony.

  ‘You won’t look as pretty when we’ve finished with you,’ Belial snarled. ‘Will he, Vidar?’

  Gadreel came up behind him, jangling the keys to Michael’s cell. He leered down at the ashen form before them. ‘Your Royal Highness,’ he sneered. He turned to the others. ‘Come, let us have some sport!’

  * * *

  Lucifer and Gabriel sat at the lavishly set dining table, sipping from crystal goblets. The black tapers had burned down except for a faint flickering. Gabriel sat listless, drowsy.

  Lucifer reached out and took his arm. ‘Come, Gabriel, I would show you my kingdom.’

  They rose and moved through the balcony doors out into the cool zephyrs. Gabriel looked from the balcony at the Outer Darkness surrounding the Black Citadel. Lucifer moved his hand across the heavens, and immediately they travelled downward, through multitudes of solar systems, through pitch darkness.

  Gradually their eyes became attuned to the gloom. In the distance, thousands of strapping fallen angels were erecting monstrous iron structures. A full league below them, a torrent of molten lava flowed through Hades.

  Lucifer lifted his hands. ‘See, Gabriel, nothing is beyond us.’

  He pointed to a menacing black iron scaffold, where a group of troll-like creatures pitted their strength behind an enormous gate hundreds of feet high. Slowly it rose from the ground. Welded into it was a living gargoyle, breathing flaming brimstone.

  ‘You shall rule Hades with me, Gabriel. We shall yet prove to our Father the folly of this race of men.’

  Gabriel’s eyes were dull and listless. Lucifer took a huge, shimmering key from beneath his robe. ‘The keys to death and the grave. They are now mine. Bequeathed to me by eternal law.’

  Chapter Twenty-two

  A Trespasser in the Kingdom

  Michael had been beaten to a pulp. His flaxen head was matted and bloodied, with a gaping wound at the crown. His right cheek too was bloodied and raw. His eyes were bruised, his fingernails seared and burning.

  The revelators and his legion of Watchers were now incarcerated with him in the lowest regions of the penitentiary. Hundreds of thick iron prison bars embedded in granite confined them.

  Gadreel pulled the iron door open with one arm and kicked Michael savagely in the face. The jagged spurs on his boot ripped into Michael’s flesh. ‘You have a visitor, Your Highness.’

  Michael stumbled to his knees.

  ‘You will bow before your king,’ Gadreel spat.

  With an effort Michael lifted his battered face to the prison doors.

  Smiling down at him, in a white satin robe, his golden crown on his head, was Lucifer. To his right stood Gabriel, pale and trembling; to his left, Zadkiel.

  Lucifer drew his face nearer to Michael’s. ‘If I can’t win you back, my dear Michael, I’ll force you back,’ he said in a malevolent hiss. ‘And if I can’t force you, I’ll destroy you.’

  Michael struggled to get his words out through clenched, bloodied teeth, each word causing him agonizing pain. ‘There . . . is . . . an . . . addendum, Lucifer.’

  Lucifer’s eyes narrowed. ‘What? What addendum?’

  Michael slumped back down, but his eyes were steel. ‘To the title deeds,’ he whispered.

  Lucifer swung around to Gabriel.

  Gabriel nodded dully. ‘It’s true. They expire.’

  ‘What do you mean, they expire?’ He clasped Gabriel’s shoulders in a vicelike grip.

  Gabriel’s eyes slowly focused. ‘The title deeds – there is a time limit.’ His speech was strangely slurred. ‘They become invalid.’

  Michael watched from the ground as a terrible horror crossed Lucifer’s face. He turned to Charsoc, who stared at Michael in shock.

  ‘Yehovah’s omniscience,’ Charsoc murmured.

  Lucifer was silent for a long time. ‘You are not lying,’ he whispered. ‘I sense it.’ He blinked rapidly, staring at nothing. ‘My aeons of vengeance . . . they are numbered?’

  ‘The covenant was deeded to the race of men for a finite period. It is written in the eternal law,’ Michael said, his words clear and unmistakable. ‘It cannot be revoked.’

  Lucifer stared ahead, his eyes as blue stone. ‘The Day of Judgment . . . ’ His harried mutterings were hardly audible. ‘The day they expire . . . He will banish me to the lake of fire.’

  ‘It would have served you well to study the codex more perfectly when it was in your possession.’ Gabriel’s tones seemed clearer, stronger. ‘You would have seen the time constraint in the title deed.’

  Zadkiel, who had accompanied Lucifer to the prison, looked from Michael to Lucifer, assimilating the terrible truth.

  ‘Yehovah’s genius!’ Lucifer spat. He spun around to Michael. ‘Tell me, when does my kingdom end?’

  ‘That knowledge has not been entrusted to us,’ Michael replied, looking unflinchingly into Lucifer’s eyes. ‘One greater than me was once entrusted with too much, to his corruption.’ Each word was agonizing pain. ‘It stained his soul.’

  Lucifer kicked Michael’s head savagely.

  Michael reeled back in agony. ‘You can torture me . . . you can damn me to your hell . . . ’ He lifted himself up with his elbow and looked square into Lucifer’s eyes, tears of pain and rage falling from his cheeks onto his hands. ‘But . . . I . . . will . . . worship . . . Yehovah.’

  Gabriel seemed to gain resolve. ‘Lucifer,’ his voice trembled, ‘I will not bow.’

  Lucifer gestured for Gadreel to hold Sachiel in front of Gabriel. Sachiel’s eyes were black, seared holes.

  Gabriel bowed his head.

  ‘You would embrace this fate, Gabriel?’ Lucifer hissed. He waved Gadreel away. ‘Because of my excessive love for you, my brother, I will still forgive you.’

  Gabriel raised his head to Lucifer. His tones were measured but fierce. ‘I will not bow, brother. I worship Yehovah.’

  Gadreel kicked Gabriel brutally, so that his jaw smashed on the granite wall.

  Lucifer stared ahead, the imperial countenance inscrutable. ‘You will both rise, my brothers. You are now my subjects, incarcerated here in my kingdom forever. You will bow to me as your king.’

  The two brothers remained standing. Both prayed softly in angelic tongues.

  Lucifer nodded to Belial. Ruber, Gadreel, and Belial took Michael by the hair and smashed him violently against the bars. Gadreel and Belial held him face down to the granite as Ruber shoved Gabriel to his knees and grasped him i
n a stranglehold.

  ‘Now you are bowing, my brothers,’ Lucifer said with a malevolent smile. ‘As your king, I receive your worship.’ He turned, triumphant, to see Zadkiel’s gaze riveted on a figure who remained standing. Through the shafts of gloomy light, a solitary Watcher stood at the far side of the chamber.

  Gadreel’s face contorted in fury. ‘One defies you, Your Majesty.’

  Zadkiel stayed, mesmerized by the figure. Gadreel leered and strode over to the Watcher. Lucifer’s eyes narrowed, on the alert . . . discerning something strange, intangible.

  ‘Take your visor off before our king!’ Gadreel bawled, tearing the visor off the Watcher’s face.

  Lucifer lifted his hand to stop him, but it was too late.

  A stream of blinding, unearthly light knocked Gadreel off his feet. He cowered in terror at the imperial figure facing him from the white fire.

  It was Christos, His gracious features forbidding and fearless.

  Belial uttered a strangled cry and grasped his throat, suffocating in white fire.

  Michael’s wounds immediately healed, his skin at once restored. ‘Christos . . . ’ he whispered.

  Bloodcurdling screams echoed across the penitentiary as the fallen angels collapsed to the floor, burning in the radiance.

  Zadkiel stared, captivated. For a fleeting moment he stepped forward into the blinding light, his features bathing in the radiance. An unfathomable peace transformed his countenance.

  Lucifer watched Zadkiel, disbelieving, as his own skin blistered, the rasping screams reverberating throughout the chamber.

  Zadkiel continued to bathe in the radiance, untouched. Michael stared at him, magnetized. Slowly Zadkiel opened his eyes and looked towards the Christ.

  Christos looked directly at him with a terrible sorrow. ‘Zadkiel.’

  Lucifer lifted his arm away from his eyes, staring incredulously from Zadkiel to the Christ. Zadkiel abruptly lowered his head, a dreadful hopelessness clouding his features. All of a sudden, he shook uncontrollably and his blistered face bubbled. He reeled to the ground.

  Charsoc raised his black head, his eyes filled with loathing for the Christ.

  Christos turned to Charsoc. ‘You, Charsoc, holy steward of Yehovah’s eternal mysteries, have been found wanting.’

  The fierce, scorching white fire bored into Charsoc’s eye sockets like laser beams. He let out an agonizing scream of pain and terror.

  Christos turned to Lucifer. ‘You will bow before your rightful King.’

  The demons fell prostrate on the ground as one.

  Lucifer turned his blistering face towards the searing light. ‘This is my . . . kingdom! You trespass!’

  Inch by inch, as though an invisible iron hand were levering him downward, Lucifer bent, finally falling prostrate before the Christ, his head bowed away from the scorching light.

  Sachiel turned his ravaged features towards Christos. The seared eye sockets shed their scabbed ash and immediately became like new. Tears coursed down his raw and bloodied cheeks as they healed.

  ‘Gather all who would repent. By dawn you shall be home.’

  And then He looked behind him and held out his right hand to the platinum-haired figure staring after him with intense yearning . . . silent . . . trembling.

  Christos smiled like the sun. ‘Gabriel!’

  Chapter Twenty-three

  The Coronation

  Lucifer watched from the rubied balcony of the Black Citadel. A vast fleet of long, open ships with his emblem on their sails rowed up the river under the crags of Perdition. Thousands of fallen angels followed the lead ship out towards the sands of the black Eden. They were headed back to the First Heaven.

  He stared, mesmerized, at the imperial figure of Christos, clothed in white and standing majestic and tall at the front of the lead ship, His long, flowing locks shining in the white light that bathed His gracious features. Gabriel could be seen standing at Christos’ right hand, radiant, glorious.

  With a supreme effort Lucifer managed to drag his gaze away. He slammed the balcony doors, turning to the ten generals standing before him.

  ‘He has invaded my kingdom and ravished my subjects with His presence!’ Lucifer spat. Incensed, he paced the chamber. ‘Yehovah shall now feel my bitter wrath.’ He swung around to Charsoc, who stared sightlessly ahead, his eye sockets now two seared and gaping cavities, his entire body still trembling uncontrollably. ‘Summon my princes to my coronation. I shall be anointed king!’

  * * *

  The walls of Lucifer’s throne room loomed tall and stark, a strange, translucent black, their vortex an enormous crystal dome of a dark black jewelled crystal. The vaulted ceilings soared a hundred feet and were fashioned with spectacular panoramas reminiscent of his inner sanctum in the Palace of Archangels – save this time the hues of his trompe l’oeils were darker, more sinister. Absent were the vibrant indigos and heliotrope and soothing lilacs he had loved so well; in their place were damson, deep magentas, and dark forbidding crimsons. At the far end of the nave towered a colossal garnet altar, its gleaming surface covered with thousands of sputtering black tapers permeating the chamber with their intense aroma of pure frankincense. Ornate carved golden seraphim and Gorgons adorned the two mammoth black gold throne room gates at the opposite end of the nave.

  The soporific throbbing beat of Lucifer’s ceremonial drums mingled with the grand haunting arias of his dark angelic sorcerers, their tabrets and pipes pulsating through the chamber, fusing with lyres and lutes and the gleaming golden shofars of his militia heralds.

  Lucifer sat majestically on an enormous glistening diamond throne in front of the black altar, clothed in glistening white robes embroidered with diamonds and molten gold. Jewels of every description were set in his golden breastplate: sardius, topaz, diamond, beryl, onyx, jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle. His bearing was still kingly. His beautiful features, though ravaged, were still haunting. His raven hair was plaited with lightning and fell past his shoulders onto his shining white garments.

  Slowly he rose and knelt before the altar, his head coming to rest against the black garnet, muttering in a strange, guttural tongue, neither of angels nor of men. His incantations grew in intensity. Immediately hundreds of disembodied demons materialized from the translucent walls and knelt behind him.

  Then the throne room filled with hundreds of thousands of the fallen angelic host. A hundred of his chief princes marched up the nave, led by Charsoc. They too knelt in a circular formation in front of his throne.

  Charsoc addressed them. ‘My angelic brothers, I present to you Lucifer, this day to be anointed as Satan, king of Hades and of Perdition and of the nether regions. Wherefore all you who are gathered here this day, will you pledge to do your homage or service and assign yourself to Satan from this day forth?’

  The entire assembly answered as one. ‘We do pledge,’ the angelic host thundered.

  Charsoc turned to the chief princes. ‘Will you, chief princes of the netherworld, pledge to serve, honour, and worship almighty Satan, king of hell, tempter, adversary of the race of men? To execute forever his will only, to serve and venerate forever his person only, to be the executors of his iniquitous purposes, become his powers of darkness forever and ever, throughout eternity of eternities?’

  The angelic host answered in unison. ‘We do pledge.’

  Charsoc turned to face Lucifer, who rose from the altar. ‘Do you, Lucifer, seraph, light-bearer, vow to renounce Christos through eternity of eternities?’

  ‘I, Lucifer, renounce Christos through eternity of eternities.’

  Charsoc moved nearer until Lucifer’s face was a hair’s breadth away from his own. ‘Do you, Lucifer, seraph, light-bearer, vow to renounce Yehovah?’

  Lucifer lifted his face to the dome. A shaft of light shone down on him, illuminating his features. He took a deep breath, his eyes fleetingly vulnerable. A look of intense pain crossed his features.

  Zadkiel stared at him, trembling. A terri
ble silence fell across the throne room, every eye upon Lucifer.

  ‘Do you, Lucifer, seraph – ’

  Lucifer struck Charsoc across the face viciously. Trembling, he wiped tears away from his eyes with the back of his jewelled hand.

  No one stirred. Charsoc stared sightlessly at Lucifer, trembling.

  Lucifer walked to the altar and knelt, his head flung across its top. Minutes passed, and still he lay unmoving.

  Suddenly he raised his head. ‘He does not heed me!’ he cried. He withdrew his broadsword and swept it across the altar in fury, sweeping the blazing black tapers to the ground. When he next spoke, each word was agony. ‘I . . . renounce . . . Yehovah.’

  A ferocious thundering issued from the fallen angels and demons. ‘We renounce Yehovah!’ they roared. ‘We worship Satan.’

  Charsoc held out to Lucifer a magnificently carved black diamond ring embedded in gold. ‘Receive the ring of kingly damnation and the seal of Satan.’

  A dark knight placed a heavy gold ampulla into Zadkiel’s hands. Four dark knights in arms held a pall of heavy, fine gold over Lucifer’s head.

  Zadkiel poured the tarlike anointing oil from the ampulla into a gold spoon and anointed Lucifer on the palms of both hands. ‘Be thy hands anointed with the dark sorceries of hell.’

  Charsoc placed the oil on Lucifer’s bare chest. ‘Be thy breast anointed.’ He poured the remaining oil over the crown of Lucifer’s bare head. The heavy fragranced liniment ran down Lucifer’s forehead onto his neck and his cheeks. ‘Be thy head anointed.’

  Charsoc raised his arms. ‘Thou art Lucifer, this day anointed Satan.’ He turned to the angelic legions, who rose as one. ‘We renounce Yehovah!’ he cried.

  ‘We renounce Yehovah!’ the fallen host answered.

  ‘Long reign Satan!’

  ‘Long reign Satan!’

  The demonic shofar sounded, and slowly the gates opened. Eight of Lucifer’s most glorious warriors walked with military precision down the centre of the nave, the casket of the ark of the race of men upon their shoulders. To their rear walked the newly chosen satanic chief princes, led by Asmodeus. Slowly the warriors set the golden casket down directly in front of the altar.

 
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