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The fall of lucifer, p.17
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       The Fall of Lucifer, p.17

           Wendy Alec
 
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  ‘Lucifer forced me to swear allegiance, Michael,’ Zadkiel whispered. ‘For eternity of eternities. My vow has taken hold of my very soul. My word of honour has become my curse.’

  ‘Then break your vow!’ Michael cried.

  Zadkiel’s eyes deadened. ‘You of all should know the web of sorceries the black widow weaves.’

  Michael’s hands fell to his sides in despair.

  Zadkiel turned to look at Laleesha, standing outside a doorway up the stairs. A terrible agony crossed his face. ‘I am lost for all eternity,’ he murmured. Gently he laid his broadsword down on the stairs and walked slowly, stair by stair, downward past Michael, to where Gadreel was shackled.

  Michael turned. Hot tears pricked his eyes. ‘He is full of grace – filled with compassion . . . ’ he pleaded.

  Zadkiel stood at the bottom of the stairs. ‘Redemption for all mankind . . . but not for me.’ He lifted his arms in surrender. ‘Do your godly duty, Michael.’

  Michael looked one last time at Zadkiel, then nodded to his generals. They chained Zadkiel and pushed him through the door as Laleesha sobbed.

  Chapter Twenty-eight

  Tartarus

  Two hundred of Lucifer’s generals stood chained and shackled on the unending plateau of smoking black onyx. The black stone was riddled with orange cracks from the blazing furnace that raged a thousand leagues below them.

  Michael handed to Uriel the huge iron key to the abyss. Uriel walked over to a huge circular lock that had been carved out of the granite. Reaching down, he placed the enormous key into the lock. Ever so slowly, it started to turn. A hundred angelic warriors grabbed the iron rivets of the door to the shaft of the abyss, pitting their great strength against the cavernous door.

  Billowing black smoke erupted from the shaft entrance of the blazing furnace, darkening the galaxies. The warriors were momentarily knocked off their feet by the blast of heat.

  Gadreel stared, petrified, his entire body shaking uncontrollably, while Azazeal let out an ear-splitting scream of terror. Zadkiel stood, eyes lowered, and swallowed hard – courageous to the end.

  Michael lifted the Sword of Justice high above his head. ‘Thou art reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day. Thou, Zadkiel, who art Abaddon, shalt be king over them. Enter into your abode – Tartarus, the molten core.’

  The angelic guard pushed the shackled angels inside the shaft of the abyss. Michael turned his face away.

  Gradually, the smoke in the shaft of the abyss thinned out. One by one, the hunched and shackled generals groped their way down the twisting shaft of Hades, with Zadkiel leading the way, terrified but contained. Downward, downward, and still downward, stumbling, burning in the pitch-blackness. The walls of the caverns glowed red-hot with deadly coals that hissed whispering, vile obscenities.

  Zadkiel came to a halt in front of a flowing river of molten fire and lava.

  Sariel retched, stumbling to his knees. ‘I curse Yehovah – I curse Him!’ His scream mingled as one with the hissing walls.

  Gadreel fell prostrate, his eyes burning in their sockets. ‘I curse the Christ – I curse His holy presence. I curse the one who brought us here.’

  Zadkiel turned, his tongue blistering from the intense heat, his expression like stone. ‘Then curse yourself, Gadreel. Curse yourself for rejecting the King of glory, and curse yourself for embracing Satan – the king of lies and the damned. Curse Satan the treacherous, and you curse the true perpetrator of our doom.’ He turned, his still noble features set. ‘But do not curse the Christ.’

  Gadreel raised his huge torso from the dirt and smashed Zadkiel’s head from behind. Zadkiel fell to the ground. Gadreel kicked him viciously to one side of the smoking tunnel.

  ‘Who placed you king over us? I curse the Chrisssssst . . . ’ he snarled as a huge blast from the furnace blew Gadreel, screaming, into the living, molten stream.

  Azazeal and Sariel stood shaking uncontrollably, weeping . . . terrorized. The semiconscious Zadkiel clutched the hot black earth in his fist. ‘Michael . . . ’

  * * *

  Michael knelt. He was a lone, crumpled figure on the plains of black onyx, his head resting against his broadsword. The echoes of the fallen angelic generals’ curses and screams filtered upward through the ground as they fell burning beyond Hades, beyond the menacing abyss, to their final destination: the cavernous subterranean pits of gloom carved within the very lowest regions of Hades – the molten core of Tartarus.

  Michael’s lips moved incoherently as he prayed, for he well knew that they fell.

  * * *

  Lucifer studied the missive with the emblem of the Royal House of Yehovah.

  ‘So,’ he said, raising his gaze to Charsoc triumphantly, ‘eternal law prevailed. They left their first estate, cohabited with the race of men, and He has banished them to Tartarus, the molten core.’

  He stared for a long while at Michael’s golden seal in the lower right-hand corner of the missive. Then, with a half smile glimmering on his mouth, he leisurely lit a black taper and held it to the linen paper. He watched the flames as they flickered across the seal, turning it into smouldering ashes.

  ‘It is precisely as you foretold, Your Excellency.’

  Lucifer plucked a sweetmeat from an ornate platinum bowl at his side. He caressed it between his fingertips. ‘Zadkiel . . . Sariel . . . Azazeal . . . ’ he reflected. ‘They were wavering in their allegiance. They and their regiments regretted their defection from the First Heaven. Their pangs of conscience had to be purged from our midst.’ He popped the delicacy in his mouth and swallowed.

  ‘They were traitors of the soul, Your Majesty,’ Charsoc said.

  ‘Insurgents, apostates,’ Lucifer muttered. ‘As for Gadreel,’ he mused, ‘he was fervent in his devotion to me. But he and his legions were unrestrained, unpredictable.’ He picked up a second delicacy. ‘They were expendable.’

  He held out the sweetmeat to one of the six sleek hellhounds that lay coiled before his throne. ‘Cerberus, my sweet.’ Cerberus opened his mouth, revealing huge fangs. He devoured it in one swift bite, his eyes evil yellow slits.

  ‘And you, Charsoc?’ Lucifer stared at the thin bony face before him as he stroked Cerberus’ glossy black head. ‘Do you too miss the First Heaven? Do you not yearn as they did for Yehovah?’

  Charsoc was quiet for a long moment. ‘You can rest assured, Your Excellency,’ he said quietly, ‘that my soul’s condition is unerringly as yours when it comes to all matters of Yehovah.’

  Lucifer stared with hard eyes beyond Charsoc upward out of the black crystal dome. ‘Then you too are conflicted in your soul, Charsoc!’ Lucifer swept the bowl of sweetmeats on the floor with his sceptre. ‘His hold on us, it seems, is indissoluble!’

  Lucifer rose, a wild fire in his eyes. ‘Even in the midst of hell.’

  Chapter Twenty-nine

  Two by Two

  Are-created mammoth towered over Xacheriel. Next to it, Lamech was tottering up a ladder, studying the dimensions of the newly erected dinosaur. The portal of the natural sciences was jammed with thousands of Earth’s prototypes. Along the walls were never-ending intricate diagrams of every species in a million galaxies.

  Hundreds of younglings were bent over microscopes, studying DNA and blood types, while hundreds of others studiously gathered files of information and took copious notes.

  Xacheriel was laboriously putting the finishing touches on a flying platypus. ‘Kalleel, pass me the latest database!’

  Kalleel staggered up to him, hidden beneath a vast pile of dog-eared papers that stretched from his knees past his corkscrewed ginger hair. Xacheriel clucked his tongue in impatience. He ignored the papers and whisked off the top a silver microchip the size of a pinhead. He held it up in the air, and immediately millions of gigabytes of information appeared.

  Xacheriel sucked his pen. ‘Lamech!’

  Lamech looked down from atop the dinosaur.

  ‘The ar
k blueprints . . . hard copy.’

  Lamech teetered on the ladder and drew out a large roll of papers from under his apron.

  Xacheriel tapped his staff on the floor impatiently. ‘Come on, Lamech – we haven’t got all day.’

  Lamech wobbled desperately astride the dinosaur. Slowly, slowly, slowly it tilted. Xacheriel watched as if in agonizing pain, his eyes following every tilt until it came crashing down right at him, very nearly crushing him.

  Xacheriel and his crown landed on the floor. He glowered darkly at the dazed but unhurt Lamech and grabbed the papers out of his hands impatiently. Dusting himself off, he laid out the blueprints of the ark over a table.

  ‘Here you can see the ark is divided into three storeys,’ he explained, ‘each with varying compartments depending on the dimensions of the species.’ He carefully smoothed out the papers. ‘I have meticulously calculated the dimensions, keeping in mind that apart from the elephant and the . . . ’ He gave a dry look at the collapsed dinosaur and the long-suffering Lamech, who was trying to extricate himself from under it. ‘ . . . and the dinosaur, the average animal will be approximately the size of a sheep, and that each species will be represented by its young.’

  He turned to Dimnah, who was working away on a new design. Xacheriel raised his eyebrows and peered over Dimnah’s shoulder at a complicated design for a kangaroo. Xacheriel frowned. ‘How many times must I point this out, Dimnah? Miscalculations, miscalculations! Far too short!’ He prodded at the kangaroo’s paws. ‘Completely out of alignment . . . ’

  Dimnah went beetroot red.

  ‘That’s the third time this week . . . ’ Xacheriel held him by the ear and dragged him to a door labelled ‘Blunders – Prototypes.’ They peered through the porthole. In the centre of the room were a kangaroo, a giraffe, and a panda. ‘Long necks, short paws . . . and black-and-white bears. Blunders – all blunders!’ Xacheriel heaved a great sigh. ‘What would Yehovah say!’ He turned to Kalleel. ‘How many species are presently on your database?’

  ‘Over a hundred and thirty thousand – out of a million species, milord. The ship will accommodate only fifty thousand.’

  Peleg looked up from his microscope. ‘It can accommodate double that, sire.’

  Xacheriel waved him quiet. ‘Yes, yes! At fifty thousand animals, the ark is still only 37 percent full – but we’ll take no risks on review of the volume and pressure propensities. These are Yehovah’s instructions.’

  ‘But there are over a million of Yehovah’s species, milord!’

  ‘Kalleel, Kalleel,’ Xacheriel groaned, raising his hands in despair. ‘Think like a scientist!’ He paced the portal, rattling off data. ‘Of the total number of species, 838,000 are arthropods – lobsters, shrimps, barnacles – and marine creatures – 21,000 species of fish, 1,700 tunicates, 600 echinoderms, 107,000 molluscs, 10,000 coelenterates, and 5,000 species of sponges!’ He retraced his steps. ‘The amphibians will survive outside the ark, Kalleel, as will the majority of reptiles. In addition, some of the mammals are marine – the whales, seals, and porpoises. They will survive.’ He rubbed his hands. ‘Peleg!’

  Peleg jumped to attention and saluted. ‘Milord, we predict that the animals will undergo a type of dormancy – a hibernation. With their bodily functions reduced, the ark is equipped with fresh air and sanitation for a total of 371 days, sire.’

  ‘Very good, Peleg. A male and female of all the selected species will reside in the lower vestibule of the ark – that way we will preserve the lineage of every creation. It’s settled! Review the databases, Kalleel – fifty thousand.’ He tapped on the Blunders porthole and winked at Dimnah.

  ‘Only if you have room!’

  * * *

  In a holy chamber not far away, the mood was serious.

  Thousands of solemn angelic battalions were gathered on the Mount of the Congregation. Michael walked forward and knelt in front of the altar balustrades. Jether laid the Sword of State on the altar, then took it and placed it upon Michael’s left shoulder.

  ‘With this kingly sword do justice, forbid the growth of iniquity, maintain the things that are restored, punish and reform what is amiss, and confirm what is in good order. And doing these things, you may be glorious in virtue.’

  Grimly Jether passed the golden Sword of State – which had been Lucifer’s – into Michael’s hands. ‘Go and execute Yehovah’s judgments.’

  Chapter Thirty

  The Fountains of the Deep

  Michael, in full battle dress, rode like the wind across the firmaments on his white steed, followed by a thousand great angelic warriors on horseback. He lifted the heavy golden Sword of State high above his head as he rode, shouting to his warriors, ‘Loose the fountains of the deep!’

  A massive, fierce lightning bolt illuminated the four corners of the sky, its brilliant orange fire striking the earth with unbelievable force, rupturing Earth’s crust. The thousand dread warriors dispersed to the four corners of the firmament. The angelic riders pulled on huge chains.

  Again the flaming lightning struck the four pillars on Earth’s chamber floors. As in slow motion, they collapsed into rock fragments, generating huge tidal waves onto the surface and subterranean waters, and accelerating into space as meteoroids. The boiling black subterranean waters ruptured Earth’s crust, the raging waters beating the ark violently.

  Michael and his warriors surrounded the ark like a shield as the great waves of muddy water jettisoned high above Earth, hurling up asteroids. The violent floodwaters unleashed their boiling frenzy upon all those on Earth – men, women, and the Nephilim desperate to escape its wrath.

  Michael’s angels rode the ark on the tops of the violent tidal waves, protecting Noah’s family and the selected animal species. Continents crushed and thickened; mountains buckled. And finally, the ark smashed onto Mount Ararat, hidden beneath the raging waters.

  A terrible silence fell over all of Earth and the firmament as the raging floodwaters started to subside.

  The angelic host waited on the ocean waves astride their huge stallions, silently watching the ark for signs of life. The great vessel had suffered tremendous external damage.

  Jether and Xacheriel also watched, stony-faced, from the portal of the universes, intent on the door of the ark. Xacheriel put his head in his hands. ‘The whole race . . . ’ he muttered. ‘An entire race . . . wiped out.’ Dry sobs racked his ancient frame. The body scanner pulsar showed no reading.

  A sombre Jether placed his hand gently on Xacheriel’s shoulder, restraining his own tears. He watched the ark silently.

  Xacheriel raised his head, dazed. ‘The calculations were meticulous,’ he mumbled.

  He turned to Jether, who stood at the portal, openmouthed in astonishment as he stared at the vast, flaming rainbow that covered the firmament directly over the ark.

  Xacheriel followed his gaze. Then he swung around to the body scanner. It was pulsing. The pulsing grew stronger. He started to chortle euphorically. ‘Rakkon, get me the pulsar matter scans!’

  And then Jether laughed – a loud, deep, joyous laugh that would not be stopped. ‘Yehovah!’

  [[GABRIEL IMAGE]]

  And so the lineage of mankind was saved, and Lucifer’s terrible evil was thwarted.

  But gradually, as the aeons passed, men’s hearts again grew cold as they fell to depravity and vice, to selfishness and greed.

  And they once more forgot their Creator . . .

  Chapter Thirty-one

  Babylon

  Jether paced up and down the banks of the Tigris, his eagle blue eyes scanning the vast Babylonian horizon for signs of his one-time compatriot. His ornate crown was absent, and he wore simple white robes devoid of his usual jewels and fine stitching.

  Far away in the distance, towering 230 feet high over the stark Babylonian plains, loomed the seven terraces of Nebuchadnezzar’s tower of Borsippa.

  A distant thundering grew louder. Beyond the ziggurats a whirlwind arose from the north, bringing forth a va
st cloud of fire glowing with blue and amber lightning. Flowing crimson robes materialized out of the flashing mists onto the far bank of the Tigris, followed by a head and the rest of his body.

  Jether rolled his eyes in annoyance. ‘Cheap tricks, Charsoc,’ he observed tartly. ‘Fit for a conjuror, not an ancient monarch – even a defected one.’

  Charsoc smiled in gratification and turned blind eyes towards the voice. ‘My honourable compatriot, Jether.’ Charsoc’s evil, wizened features were framed by his jet-black, straight hair and beard, which both reached to the dirt. He bowed deeply, his hair sweeping the ground. ‘I regret that I have regressed to the lower boundaries of sorcery of late. Not quite as sophisticated as what we were used to.’ He hesitated. ‘But . . . rather agreeable, I might add.’

  Charsoc levitated above the deep flowing waters of the Tigris, hovering and then landing gracefully opposite Jether on the bank.

  Jether stood, his arms folded, his expression grim. ‘You demanded my presence.’

  Charsoc nodded. He stared in gratification at the Babylonian terrain. ‘Babylon the Great. My master’s pride.’

  ‘She has laboured in sorceries and enchantments from her youth,’ Jether muttered.

  Charsoc smiled. ‘I come on pressing matters as royal emissary.’

  Jether closed his eyes and drew a deep breath. ‘I saw this encounter many moons ago in my dreams.’

  Charsoc nodded. ‘You always were seer more than pragmatist, Jether.’ He hesitated, enjoying Jether’s discomfort. ‘As for myself, I have always favoured the side of pragmatism.’

  Jether stared at Charsoc grimly. ‘ . . . and expediency.’

  Charsoc smiled indulgently ‘I have missed our repartee, ancient companion.’

 
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