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The fall of lucifer, p.21
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       The Fall of Lucifer, p.21

           Wendy Alec
 
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  Xacheriel nodded slowly, deep in thought. ‘The co-ordinates are sure, but the race of men’s grasp of astronomical happenings is primitive.’

  Jether stroked his long, sweeping beard. ‘We have located an ancient priestly caste within the court of the kings of the Parthian Empire who revere Yehovah.’ He drew his gaze away from the star and looked at Xacheriel. ‘Magian astronomer priests, interpreters of dreams and celestial happenings. They watch each night from their astronomical observatories – the ziggurats – seeking for signs of the King that Daniel, their compatriot, wrote of. They study the star.’

  Xacheriel bowed his head in reverence. ‘May Yehovah grant them divine illumination.’

  Jether picked up his train and walked towards the portal entrance. ‘Lucifer’s evil magi have alerted him.’ He bowed to Xacheriel. ‘Time is short.’

  Chapter Thirty-eight

  Mul Bar Bar

  Gaspar, the youngest magus of the Chaldean order, stood on the highest observational post of the three ziggurats, at the furthest edge of the pyramid-like tower, gazing intently out at the inky-blue night sky.

  ‘Melchior!’ He stepped back. ‘Melchior!’ he cried again impatiently. He rushed down the pyramid’s steps towards where Melchior was seated in the lush ziggurat gardens. Melchior looked up from his astronomical charts and tables and frowned.

  ‘The new star!’ Gaspar exclaimed. ‘It moves again!’ He struggled to contain his excitement.

  Melchior lifted his gaze to the heavens and immediately walked with a leonine grace swiftly up to the observatory. He studied the heavens attentively. ‘It creates a conjunction,’ he whispered in wonder. He turned back to Gaspar. ‘We must inform His Excellency Lord Balthazar at once.’

  Gaspar nodded, running full-tilt towards the main ziggurat, forgetting in his haste that he had been newly anointed a magus and such behaviour was unbecoming to one of his rank. He picked up his robe as he ran, his short, tanned legs kicking up the desert dust behind him, followed closely by the striding, regal Melchior.

  Balthazar was well into his eighties. His black skin gleamed like ebony; his hair and beard were a brilliant silver beneath his turban. He paced beside twelve long wooden tables, where more than sixty scribes sat meticulously writing and inscribing astronomical data by candlelight.

  The highest level of the tower was completely silent save for the unrelenting scratching of the scribes. Balthazar walked over to the far turret window and stared at the great flaming star on the horizon. His contemplation was interrupted by a loud knocking that came from the lower levels, then a thunderous thudding of footsteps up the old wooden spiral stairs.

  Gaspar flung open the ancient tower door, panting. Melchior and Balista stood behind him, bowing in reverence. The sixty scribes bowed and immediately filed out of the chamber as the three astronomers knelt before Balthazar.

  ‘We request an audience,’ Gaspar blurted, ‘Lord Balthazar, full of wisdom, revered rabmag of the line of the great magus Daniel.’

  Balthazar nodded. The three magi rose from the floor.

  ‘The wandering star Udi Idim aligns again with Mul Bar Bar, milord Balthazar,’ Melchior said gravely.

  Balthazar held out his hand. ‘The numberings . . . ’

  Melchior passed him a thick ream of papers. Balthazar studied them intently, pacing as he sifted back and forth through them.

  ‘They create a conjunction in the constellation of Pisces, the land of the Hebrews,’ Melchior continued.

  Balthazar rubbed his hand across his wrinkled forehead and moved over to the turret. Far out over the horizon was the flaming, brilliant star. ‘Once each 804 years there would be a single conjunction of the wandering stars . . . ’ he muttered.

  Seventeen-year-old Gaspar could not contain himself. ‘But three times in a single year, milord – it is truly extraordinary!’

  Melchior placed his hand on Gaspar’s arm to restrain him.

  But Balthazar smiled, his brown eyes filled with the same fervour. ‘You speak truly, Gaspar. The wandering star Udi Idim designates the city of Jerusalem.’ He stroked his beard. ‘It aligns with Mul Bar Bar, the star denoting royalty to the descendants of our great and beloved magus Daniel, the Hebrew.’ He turned to the other magi and pointed to the flaming star. ‘But tonight – look!’

  The magi followed his gaze.

  ‘In the constellation of Aquila, the eagle, a new star blazes brighter than any in the sky. It foretells something extraordinary! It heralds a birth of great significance.’

  Gaspar beamed. ‘I would like to see this child born with such signs in the heavens.’

  Balista, Balthazar’s aged Persian manservant, stepped forward. ‘Let us make haste to the councils of Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin, milord Balthazar. They are well versed in the Hebrew writings. They will know of whom the stars speak.’

  ‘Patience, my good friend,’ Balthazar said. ‘Yes, we will go to the land of the Hebrews. But first we must journey to Arêtes, king of Petra. His household are keepers of the relics of Solomon.’

  Balthazar looked once more up at the flaming star. ‘He keeps them until the day that they are to be presented to the King whose birth would be written in the heavens – the King that the magus Daniel prophesied would redeem the race of men.’

  He lifted his hands towards the heavens in supplication. ‘The Messiah!’

  Chapter Thirty-nine

  Darkened Councils

  Lucifer sat in his throne room on the Seat of Kings, a huge gold and black rubied throne. Twenty-four fallen chief princes, rulers of the dark world, each wearing ornate black armour and a golden crown, sat in two circular formations around the throne.

  They exuded the power and authority of great regents. Nine feet tall and of menacing aspect, they were Satan’s most formidable generals.

  Seated behind them were a hundred of Lucifer’s sinister elders, the stooped Darkened Councils and magi. Their black hoods concealed their faces. In front of Lucifer’s throne was a great assembly of thousands of rulers of the dark world.

  Asmodeus, disfigured but still beautiful, stood and bowed his head in reverence. Then he turned to the assembly. ‘You have been summoned, great princes of darkness and Darkened Councils, by the one and only true king of this world, Lucifer, crowned Satan.’

  Lucifer nodded to Charsoc, who was seated with the magi behind the great princes of darkness.

  Charsoc stood. ‘Your Excellencies, great princes, Darkened Councils, and magi, the celestial bodies foretell . . . ’ He stared sightlessly ahead. ‘A King is born among men – one whose kingdom would destroy our own.’ He lifted up his staff. ‘And hasten our judgment!’

  A fleeting murmur of terror rippled throughout the assembly.

  ‘We must act swiftly.’

  Marduk, sinister head of the hooded Darkened Councils, stood. His voice was soft and cultured but filled with evil. ‘I call upon Baraquijal, ruler of the dark court of astrologers.’

  Baraquijal, prince of the court of astrologers, rose to his feet, his voluminous magenta and crimson robes flowing. He bowed deeply, then looked up at the council chamber.

  Marduk circled him slowly. ‘Baraquijal, explain to us the meaning of this star – the portent.’

  ‘The appearance of the star is unprecedented,’ Baraquijal proclaimed. ‘Our seekers consistently number hundreds of supernovas – star deaths – but I have to bring to the attention of the council that never have we seen a star born. Never!’

  He knitted his thick eyebrows. ‘It signifies one born of a great royal lineage – a royal house of immense power. We are certain that the nova’s final resting place will mark the location of this Prince of the East.’

  Lucifer stared straight ahead, grimly listening.

  A member of the Darkened Councils stood up on the back of the chamber, his face hooded. ‘The calculations of its rising?’

  Baraquijal smoothed his robe. ‘Its heliacal rising is in the eastern skies of the land of men, Your Excellency. In the king
dom of Media.’

  A second member of the Darkened Councils stood. ‘It rests there?’

  ‘Our seekers report that it began moving this past hour, sire. Through Parthia towards the Persian and Babylonian kingdoms.’

  Lucifer raised his sceptre. The room stilled in awe. All bowed. ‘This King . . . somehow He has a connection with Christos. I sense it. He must be stopped. You will seek it out, Marduk. Your archivists will study the Hebrew writings of our antagonist Daniel and his compatriots.’

  Marduk bowed. ‘Of course, Your Majesty. My seekers will report every variation of the star’s course. We will track it meticulously through the Persian and Babylonian Empires, sire.’

  One of the great princes stood, a fierce and terrible being. ‘I, Belzoc, prince of the kingdom of Persia, lay at thy command the Dark Guard of the East – we will scour Persia for this newborn King. We will seek Him in every palace, alcazar, castle; we will raid every highborn family . . . and we will destroy Him.’

  A second great prince stood. ‘I, Merodach, prince of the kingdom of Babylon, lay at thy command the Dark Legions of Babylonia.’

  ‘I, prince of the kingdom of Greece, lay at thy command the Dark Grecian Battalion.’

  The great princes of Assyria and Tyre stood and bowed as one:

  ‘I, prince of Assyria . . . ’

  ‘I, prince of Tyre . . . ’

  The great princes of the earth stood, one by one, until all twenty-four in the room were standing. Their roar thundered out across the chamber in unison: ‘Your word is our command. We will find Him.’

  Lucifer stood and strode forward, his sceptre held high. The satanic princes fell to their knees at his coming. He swept his arms over thousands of the Darkened Councils and sorcerors, each one eager to execute his every edict.

  ‘Go, then!’ Lucifer commanded. ‘Seek for the newborn King. And when you find Him, destroy Him! Do not return empty-handed!’

  Chapter Forty

  Reunion

  Michael and Gabriel waited on Jupiter’s molten surface, two blinding, dazzling figures standing at attention.

  Gabriel turned to Michael, his gentle grey eyes grave. ‘Two millennia, Michael. Has it been so long?’

  ‘Brace yourself, dear brother,’ Michael frowned, his noble features fierce. ‘Sin ravages its champions. He will be much changed.’

  ‘Maybe he will not come.’

  Michael looked pensive. ‘I smell his scent on the wind. The fragrance of pine and frankincense. Strange how that is unchanged.’ He sighed. ‘He draws near.’

  Gabriel shivered. ‘It is suddenly like ice, my brother.’

  Michael drew the deep blue velvet cloak tightly around his shoulders, his chin resolute. ‘The north wind heralds his appearance. The fallen elements are his ministers of destruction. He is here.’

  Far off on the shadowed side of the molten planet a shadowed hooded figure materialized and swiftly drew near. The hooded figure nodded in acknowledgment. ‘I greet His Excellency, the esteemed Prince Regent Michael.’

  Michael bowed his head. ‘I greet His Royal Highness, Prince Lucifer of the earthly and nether universe.’

  There was a long silence as the two stared at one another.

  Lucifer moved nearer. He lifted a gnarled hand, a large ruby set in gold on his ring finger, and pointed towards Gabriel. ‘Gabriel.’ His voice trembled. He threw back the hood, revealing the blistered and deformed features.

  Gabriel stared, horrified, then stepped towards him, visibly distressed. Michael grasped his arm.

  ‘Michael, you would stop our brother from embracing me?’ Lucifer laughed bitterly. ‘How callous.’

  Michael stared at him, sober. Grim.

  ‘What do you want with us, Lucifer?’

  Lucifer drew his dagger and ran it down his thigh and smiled sweetly. ‘Tut, tut, dear Michael. I see the aeons have done naught to develop your patience.’

  He grasped Gabriel’s shoulder and pressed his face to his ear passionately. Gabriel flinched. His gaze locked on the thin, cruel mouth, the sparse clumps of hair. He stared silently into the soulless sapphire eyes.

  ‘My appearance offends you?’ Lucifer smiled coldly, pressing Gabriel’s chest against his own with his great strength. Flesh onto flesh. Michael put his hand on his sword. Lucifer laughed mirthlessly. ‘Ten millennia away from His presence – the very elixir of life – ravages the body.’

  Gabriel felt the heat of Lucifer’s body trembling as it used to tremble in his worst rages. ‘ . . . and the soul.’

  The yellowed and gnarled nails dug through Gabriel’s gold braids into his sinewed neck. ‘Gabriel, you will tell our Father of our visit?’

  ‘Of course, Lucifer.’

  Lucifer did not release his cruel grip. ‘Also tell Him that I too have heard of this pending Messiah.’

  Gabriel flinched and drew himself back.

  A fleeting smile played on Lucifer’s lips. ‘I shall be forced to destroy His hand, Michael.’ He nodded mockingly in deference to him as he did when they were young. ‘I shall thwart our Father. But I do it because I love Him.’ An insane exhilaration lit the twisted features. ‘I cannot bear to see Him humiliate Himself on behalf of a bunch of mewling, snivelling creatures who continually reject His very existence. He shall see that I was right.’

  Michael moved himself directly in front of Gabriel and stared at Lucifer. ‘Would you bring mankind to account before the time of the judgment? You cannot. Or does some concealed regret lodged in the remnants of your soul still compel you towards all that was – all that used to be?’

  Lucifer fixed Michael with his intense sapphire gaze. ‘Yes, it is true that I would gaze upon my brothers’ countenances . . . ’ His voice was very soft. For a fleeting moment his eyes held a trace of their previous haunting beauty. ‘I miss our brotherhood, our fellowship, our camaraderie.’ He was silent a long moment, then smiled malevolently. ‘But nostalgia aside, I came to check on the progress of His Messiah – of which I see you know naught.’

  He wrapped his hooded garb around him, and then turned back, a maniacal gleam in his eyes. ‘Tell our Father that He shall have to reckon with me sooner than He deemed. He disquiets me. He is become most reticent. Relay to our Father that I am concerned for His well-being. He is overtaxed. He keeps too much to His chest. Could it be that His chief princes no longer minister to Him with the adoration and attention as in aeons past when I was His chief attender?’ A sinister smile glimmered on his lips. ‘Or is there more dissension brewing in the heavenly courts?’ His words were soft but unmistakable.

  ‘Enough of your sedition, Lucifer!’ Michael exclaimed. ‘You know full well that what takes root so easily in fallen men’s fallow minds has no resting place here. You inflict your torment onto that mass of earth you so despise – yet even there, there are still our champions who reject you and see through your evil schemes.’

  ‘Ah, yes, there will come a time to target these “champions”.’ A thin malevolent smile crossed Lucifer’s lips. ‘But for now . . . this Messiah will do.’

  Then he was gone, leaving nothing behind him but the soft fragrance of frankincense wafting on the icy north wind.

  Epilogue

  Petra – 2017

  Nick turned the last page of the angelic writings. For the hundredth time that morning he photographed the strange angelic hieroglyphics. He unscrewed the exciter filter from the quartz crystal lens of his camera and carefully replaced the golden-bound codex into the upper compartment of the jewelled casket.

  ‘Waseem!’ His tone was terse. Urgent. He removed the camera from its rostrum, thrusting it into Waseem’s hands. ‘Get this to Mansoor at the palace museum.’

  Waseem nodded earnestly. ‘Mansoor . . . the curator . . . ’ Nick explained painstakingly.

  ‘Yes, Malik.’

  ‘Take the motorbike,’ Nick said.

  Waseem took off, his lanky olive legs kicking up clouds of dust as he ran into the harsh daylight.

  Nick follow
ed, stumbling out of the Lower Temenos, weary and unshaven but elated. He shielded his bloodshot eyes from the blinding Jordanian sun, staring after Waseem, who was now showing off the camera smugly to a shorter Arab boy.

  ‘Yallah! Yallah!’ Nick shouted, gesticulating frantically.

  Waseem grinned, a wide toothy grin. He jumped onto a bright red dirt bike and placed the camera carefully into the sidecar. He kicked the throttle, waved vigorously to Nick, then roared down the dust road towards the desert highway, following the signs that read Amman.

  Nick fumbled for his cell phone and pushed the dial button. ‘Mansoor, it’s Nick. Waseem is on his way with my camera. Get the photographs developed as soon as he arrives.’ He shaded his eyes with his hand, watching the red bike’s trail of dust disappear over Wadi Araba’s mountainous desert terrain. ‘Increase the development time. I need a higher contrast black-and-white negative.’

  Zahid rushed over to Nick’s side, holding out a bottle of fresh water. Nick grabbed it with his free hand, pouring the icy liquid down his throat. He grasped his phone between his ear and his neck, rubbing the surplus water over his dirt-streaked face with his palms.

  ‘It’s greater than we could ever have imagined,’ he said. ‘Tell the princess that the royal household of Jordan holds the greatest discovery of modern civilization.’ Nick gazed up at the towering hills of the rust-coloured sandstone that surrounded Petra. ‘The mystery of the universe unveiled.’ His face lit with a strange elation.

  ‘The origins of evil.’

  Chronicles of Brothers

  – Book Two –

  Messiah – The First Judgement

  ISBN: 978-0-9552377-5-1

  Order now on www.chroniclesofbrothers.com

  or from Waterstones, Amazon, Borders

  or your local independent book store

  Prologue

  1981

  St Michael’s Mount, Marazion Cornwall, England

 
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