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Son of perdition, p.27
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       Son of Perdition, p.27

           Wendy Alec
 
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  ‘He was there,’ he murmured. ‘The Apostle John that Christos deeply loved.’

  Jether walked over to the altar.

  ‘Weep not.’ He laid his hands on John’s head, then raised his hands to the throne, his eyes closed in ecstasy.

  ‘Weep not,’ he cried. ‘For behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to break the Seven Seals thereof.’

  And suddenly, behind the hundred-foot blazing white columns of fire, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain. It had seven horns and seven eyes.

  Gabriel fell to his knees, trembling.

  ‘Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the Seals thereof,’ he cried.

  And the Lamb metamorphosed into Christos. Gabriel stared entranced at the eyes that flashed like flames of fire. At the imperial face of the slain Lamb – Jesus Christ.

  Christos took the scroll out of the right hand of Yehovah.

  The four beasts before the throne and the twenty-four ancient angelic elders fell down before Christos. Tears streamed down Jether’s leathered cheeks.

  ‘Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the Seals thereof,’ the twenty-four elders cried in unison.

  Gabriel watched Xacheriel. Xacheriel’s gaze was riveted on Christos, his eyes ablaze with adoration, his voice resounding with those of his twenty-three compatriots across the throneroom.

  ‘For thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon the earth.’

  A thunderous roar erupted from ten thousand times ten thousand of the Angelic Host.

  ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.’

  And the sound of many voices resounded from the world of the Race of Men. Christos removed the keys of hell and death, the keys to the Title Deeds of the Race of Men.

  Gabriel watched him.

  Jether waited.

  The twenty-four elders waited.

  Ten thousand times ten thousand of the Angelic Host waited.

  Yehovah waited.

  Christos looked straight into Yehovah’s face, His eyes blazing.

  And the King of Kings of the universe and Race of Men broke the First Seal.

  * * *

  Lucifer stood at the edge of the sheer cliff face of Mont St Michel, his hands raised to the darkening Normandy skies, his six seraph wings outstretched.

  ‘I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the Seven Seals,’ he whispered, his raven hair lashing his scarred features. ‘And I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.”’

  Lucifer stared at the image of the White Rider, now plainly visible above the Abbey of Mont St Michel. He stayed still for a moment, his face raised in ecstasy to the fierce Atlantic gales.

  ‘I looked . . . ’ Lucifer’s voice rose in strength. ‘And there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.’

  He turned. Adrian knelt before him, an unearthly shaft of moonlight illuminating the beauty of his handsome face.

  ‘The First Seal is opened,’ Adrian whispered. ‘My reign as the Son of Perdition begins.’

  Lucifer laid both hands on Adrian’s head.

  ‘Seven years till our victory at Armageddon. Seven years and this planet shall be mine for eternity!’

  A thick dark tar-like elixir flowed from Lucifer’s hands onto Adrian’s temple.

  ‘For I so loved the world,’ Lucifer cried, an insane fire in his eyes ‘that I sent my only begotten son. That whosoever takes the Mark and follows him shall perish and forfeit eternal life.’

  He turned to the raging seas.

  ‘For mine is the Kingdom!’ he cried. ‘The Power and the Glory . . . ’

  He looked straight up at the statue of the Archangel Michael on the church spire towering 560 feet above him. And smiled a triumphant smile.

  ‘For ever and ever . . . Amen.’

  The First Seal had been broken.

  The White Rider was released.

  The rise of Lucifer’s son was assured in the world of the Race of Men.

  But my elder brother had once again been short-sighted.

  For the breaking of the First Seal of the Apocalypse of St John was to herald in a kingdom that would shake the kingdoms of the damned.

  A kingdom that was to herald the end of Lucifer’s iniquitous reign on the earth.

  The world of the Race of Men that we, the Angelic, had wept over as it became Paradise Lost was to become Paradise Regained once again.

  But not without the greatest battle that the heavens and the world of the Race of Men had ever seen.

  A battle that would rage for seven years.

  A battle that would culminate on the plains of the Valley of Jezreel.

  The Battle that would be called in the Race of Men . . .

  The Battle of Armageddon.

  THREE AND A HALF YEARS LATER

  June 2025

  Chapter Thirty-two

  The Riders of the Apocalypse

  European Superstate Headquarters, Babylon, Iraq

  The cavalcade of thirteen black Mercedes limousines sped across the sprawling network of Babylon’s gleaming new highways.

  Adrian sank back into the plush leather and gazed out through the darkened windows at the masses screaming in adulation, waiting for a glimpse of the supreme architect of the new Iraqi state – the rising economic genius of the European Superstate – Adrian De Vere.

  It was a Friday, a far cry from the Friday nearly 42 months earlier. The 7 January 2022. The day he had dreamed of, since winning his first electoral seat for Oxford in England nearly two decades ago. The day when, right here in Babylon, the Concordat of King Solomon had been ratified. And when the first constituent of the forty-year Ishtar Accord between Israel, the Pan-Arab Union, Russia, the EU and the United Nations had been signed, providing a seven-year guarantee by the EU and the United Nations to defend Israel, as a protectorate, bound by international law. According to the Ishtar Accord Israel, in exchange for its immediate denuclearization, would be protected both diplomatically and militarily by the European Union Superstate and the United Nations against Russia, the surrounding Arab States and any enemy third parties. Israel would, however, retain its sovereignty and remain a state under international law.

  Things had progressed more smoothly than Adrian could ever have hoped for.

  Israel had been at peace with every Arab nation on its borders since the Accord and was already forty-one months into the implementation of its seven-year denuclearization strategy.

  A UN peacekeeping force now occupied the Temple Mount and monitored Israel’s boundaries which had reverted to the borders of 1967.

  Jerusalem was undivided and Muslims, Christians and Jews now had ‘free right of passage to the holy places in Jerusalem regardless of religion, gender or race’.

  And the brand new Solomon’s Temple – Jerusalem’s third Temple – being erected in the Northern Quadrant was only days away from completion.

  Adrian would give Israel a few more months of basking in its status as a protectorate before he contravened the Accord.

  By that time the denuclearization programme would be irreversible. Israel would be demilitarized for the first time since 1948. Defenceless. Adrian smiled.

  He looked up at the vast steel-and-glass structures that formed a horizon a quarter of a mile high and fifty miles wide, courtesy of the two-trillion-dollar investment from the European Superstate and the World Bank.

  The first three Riders of the Apocalypse had been released, plunging the entire globe into mass social and economic upheaval. And today ten of the world’s most powerful rulers were gathering at the newly erected E
uropean Superstate Headquarters in Babylon for a world summit on the global famine and economic crisis.

  Adrian De Vere had been unanimously elected to serve as Chairman.

  The cavalcade turned right down Black Gold Boulevard.

  Adrian studied the skyscrapers – Saudi Aramco, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Gazprom, Exxon Mobil and the newest addition, PetroChina. It was a far cry from 2001 when over 90 per cent of Iraq remained geologically unexplored due to years of wars and sanctions.

  A conservative estimate of Iraq’s present oil reserves stood at over four hundred billion barrels. All under the jurisdiction of the European Superstate . . . and Adrian.

  Running parallel to the flourishing oil industry was the new media hub of the world. Television networks from every civilized nation on earth now broadcast their signals from the Babylon plains. He smiled in satisfaction.

  Babylon and Europe were flourishing while the rest of the world crumbled.

  The Riders of the Apocalypse were venting their fury. The first Judgements were raining down.

  Eighteen months ago, on what was now known internationally as the World’s Black Friday, economic collapse and world famine struck at the heart of Western and Eastern society.

  Bank balances were wiped out overnight. A thousand top-ranking banks from London to Tokyo to New York were in liquidation by morning. Millionaires became paupers in a day. From Tokyo to Detroit, Los Angeles to Shanghai entire cities were looted and burned.

  Breadlines had stretched across the streets and sidewalks of every American state from California to Washington DC. And the UK statutory instruments were issued throughout the UK. Martial law was implemented across the world.

  Executive Orders had been issued by the President of the United States in rapid succession. The US government had taken control of all modes of transportation including highways, seaports and airports. It had seized the communication media and now also controlled all electrical power, gas and petroleum, and had direct control over food supplies and resources, both public and private. And it now operated a national registration of all persons.

  By early 2024, Congress had repealed the United States Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. Privately owned guns were confiscated under threat of death.

  Then came the avian-flu pandemic.

  Unlike the rest of the world, Adrian had been prepared. He declared a State of Emergency which automatically conferred extraordinary powers to him as President of the European Superstate. Martial law and famine emergency law were enforced immediately.

  With the full backing of the rich and poor throughout Europe, Adrian introduced the establishment of a classless society based on common ownership.

  He abolished the euro. Then, exploiting the mass panic of millions, he introduced the European form of trade for the future – a European-wide trial in which an EU social security number was embedded in a chip on the right wrist of every citizen. With it the wearer had access to food stamps, to the contents of thousands of Europe’s vast grain stores and underground seed banks that were guarded by NATO troops, and to the European Superstate’s vast stockpile of pandemic vaccinations.

  Without the chip, you were doomed.

  The Brotherhood immediately released twenty trillion dollars of gold from the International Security Fund’s vaults in Switzerland into the European Union’s Solidarity Fund, that had been formed to come to the aid of any member state in the event of a major disaster.

  Money flowed in short order from the EU’s Solidarity Fund to every member state of the European Union, stabilizing their economies, alleviating famine, rebuilding health and welfare functions. Julius De Vere’s brainchild was achieving its objective. Adrian was fast being hailed as the new Alexander.

  The initial stage of his seven-year plan was working precisely according to the Brotherhood’s timetable. The world’s attention was fixed on the European Superstate . . . and on Adrian De Vere.

  The UK, economically bankrupt and brought to her knees by the avian-flu pandemic and famine, had finally come into the fold.

  The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, during Gordon Brown’s term of office, had done only half the job, and while Adrian was in Downing Street he and his legal teams had drawn up the London Pact.

  The 700-page document outlined the inclusion of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland into the European Superstate. It ensured the UK’s permanent loss of its UN seat, the European Superstate’s total control over British foreign policy and the UK’s surrender of its borders.

  Six months previously, during the avian-flu pandemic, the British Prime Minister, having implemented martial law in the UK and facing full-blooded insurrection from the British public, reluctantly signed the London Pact behind closed doors at Mont St Michel in Normandy.

  Adrian had been well prepared. Britain’s reward was the immediate release of four trillion dollars in gold and silver from the EU’s Swiss vaults and ten trillion from the International Security Fund.

  Within a year, Britain had stabilized. Adrian with ruthless resolve, had single-handedly saved the nation from the brink of disaster.

  Today he would unveil his plan to save the ten newly constituted world superblocs whose infrastructures had been grievously shattered by the Riders of the Apocalypse – a bail-out to the tune of fifty trillion dollars, plus loans from the International Security Fund. The opening of the Seven Seals of Revelation was currently moving directly in his favour.

  Adrian sighed in satisfaction as the cavalcade rode through the Ishtar Gate – newly returned from the Pergamon museum in Berlin in recognition of his service to Europe – the entrance to his new European headquarters.

  His plan for a One World Superstate – a New World Order – was well on its way. His next step would be the introduction of the One World currency.

  The trial with the RFID chip for the new credit system had surpassed his wildest dreams but it was just a practice run while Guber and his team perfected the ID tag.

  Adrian’s real coup was a special ink deposited in a unique bar-code pattern for each individual which would be injected under the surface of the skin.

  The prototype was called ‘The Mark’.

  Guber’s face appeared on the limousine’s video screen.

  ‘Update from the Vatican’s scientists on the polar shift, Mr President.’

  Adrian nodded.

  Feeling the vibration from his mobile, he glanced down. It was Jason.

  ‘Have it waiting for me on my desk,’ he said, then flicked his phone on.

  Jason’s face came into view on the screen. He looked haggard.

  ‘Hi, Jas. I can’t talk now.’

  ‘It’s Mother, Adrian. She’s had a heart attack. Get here as soon as you can.’

  ‘I’ll fly in straight after the summit,’ he said, softly.

  Jason’s face vanished. Adrian turned to Chastenay.

  ‘Have Khalid prepare the Boeing. We’ll leave for London after the last session.’ He looked straight ahead. ‘I need to tie up some loose ends.’

  Chapter Thirty-three

  An Uninvited Visitor

  Cairo, Egypt

  Lawrence St Cartier sat outside the cramped coffee shop known locally as an Ahwa. He was huddled over a battered tin table, immersed in a dog-eared nine-day-old edition of the Islington Gazette. It was a poor substitute for the Telegraph, he considered, but given the current socio-economic cataclysm shaking Egypt, he was grateful for small mercies. In the international section of the local newstand, it had been a choice between the Gazette, the Kashmir Observer and the Socialist Worker.

  ‘Lawence, Lawence!’

  Lawrence looked in the direction of the drinks counter. Waseem was gesticulating wildly in his direction, pointing at a glass of Turkish coffee, then at a glass of mint tea.

  Lawrence pointed to the coffee.

  Waseem beamed, negotiating a path through the animated crowd watching TV, past braziers of hot coals and shisha pipes, until he reached Lawre
nce’s table. It was two in the morning and, despite the bread lines and social turmoil, Cairo was in full swing. No martial law here . . . yet.

  Waseem set down the coffee.

  ‘Yemeni beans?’

  Waseem nodded vigorously and Lawrence smiled. Amid all the devastation, finding Yemeni beans in Cairo was like finding black gold. He sipped delicately at the the steaming liquid.

  ‘Ah.’ He closed his eyes, drinking in the intense cultural experience. ‘Aromas of the Ottoman Empire.’

  Waseem watched him in fascination.

  An outburst of jubilant shrieking erupted from the table behind.

  Lawrence opened his eyes. Turning round, he gave a thumbs-up to the excited winner behind him, who erupted in shrieks all over again. Lawrence beamed.

  ‘Backgammon,’ he declared. Waseem nimbly laid out a board in front of Lawrence, then shook out counters and dice from a small cotton bag.

  Lawrence took a large slurp of his coffee, then nodded to Waseem who rolled the dice. Lawrence did the same, then froze. Slowly he rose from the table and stared out over the few crazed drivers operating on black-market fuel. He raised his gaze to the forest of satellite dishes, in the direction of his rooftop apartment downtown.

  Rolling up his paper, he walked through the crowds, wending his way through haphazardly parked cars, motorcycles and horse-drawn carts. Waseem ran after him.

  ‘Malik, Lawrence . . . malik!’ Waseem panted.

  Lawrence turned right at a sign that read ‘Obey the road rules’, then dodged his way nimbly through four lanes of chaotic traffic, narrowly missing a donkey-drawn cart. He hovered, trapped between the unmarked lanes, shaking his head at the crazed and honking drivers, then hurried across the road and disappeared into the crowd.

  * * *

  St. Bernadette’s Hospital, Hyde Park Corner, London

  Lilian had tubes attached to her nose, mouth and forearm. She was sleeping. An intensive-care nurse checked her readings then disappeared. A second nurse entered.

 
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