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The fall of lucifer, p.3
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       The Fall of Lucifer, p.3

           Wendy Alec
 
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  Lucifer raised his head. Christos’ face radiated with a light so intense that now His head and hair seemed white as snow. But as the shimmering waves of light settled, it became evident that His hair and beard were a deep, flaming chestnut. Resting on His head was a golden crown, embedded with the three great rubies representing the Godhead’s indissoluble covenant. Each glimpse of Christos for Lucifer was as mesmerizing as the first.

  Lucifer stared, transfixed, at the strong imperial countenance, the high, bronzed cheekbones, the blazing clear eyes that flashed from hues of blue to emerald to brown, like flames of living fires with the brilliance of His multitude of discernments and tender compassions. The great King of heaven. Beautiful beyond description.

  ‘Christos,’ Lucifer uttered in ecstasy.

  ‘Lucifer,’ Christos whispered. ‘Beloved son of the morning.’

  Christos bent down and clasped Lucifer’s face in His strong hands, then closed His eyes and tenderly kissed the raven head as though Lucifer were a child.

  Tears coursed down Lucifer’s cheeks, splashing onto Christos’ hands. ‘I am not worthy.’

  ‘Only One is worthy.’ Christos’ voice was very soft, but His eyes gleamed with adoration as He turned to gaze at the rubied door of the throne room situated far above them.

  Lucifer rose to his feet, staring at Christos in adulation.

  ‘Today we will take the path,’ Christos said.

  He led Lucifer past the golden trees and through a narrow pearl arbour covered with pomegranate vines laden with lush silver fruit. Past the heady perfume of the magnificent hanging blossoms of the Gardens of Fragrance that exuded the aromas of frankincense and spikenard. As they walked, Lucifer shielded his eyes from the intense shafts of crimson light radiating from far beyond. Christos walked ahead, through the vale, His face radiant until they came to an inconspicuous grotto at the very edge of the Cliffs of Eden surrounded by eight ancient olive trees.

  ‘Your garden,’ Lucifer whispered. Christos smiled and pushed open the humble wooden gate.

  Gradually the rays settled, revealing – a hundred feet ahead and across a vast chasm – the colossal, rubied door, ablaze with light, embedded into the jacinth walls of the tower. The entrance to the throne room. Between the cliff face and the throne room entrance was a sheer drop where the fountains of life flowed from Yehovah’s throne, thousands of leagues downward to the Waters of Eden, then north, south, east, and west to water the First Heaven. There was no bridge across.

  Christos led the way to a simple bench in the centre of the grotto, carved of olive wood. He watched as Lucifer stared towards the throne room, his face enraptured.

  ‘The great mystery,’ Lucifer marvelled. ‘You are three, yet You are one.’ He dragged his gaze away to look at Christos. ‘We are three in our triune brotherhood.’

  Christos smiled. ‘Yet you are three.’

  Lucifer nodded.

  ‘Yes,’ Christos answered softly. ‘It is a great and incomparable mystery – one that shall be pondered for all eternity.’

  He motioned for Lucifer to join Him. They sat together in silence and gazed a long while at the shimmering rainbow that rose like an immense bow over the Crystal Palace.

  At length Christos spoke. ‘There is a new galaxy We create, Lucifer.’

  Lucifer stared up at Him in wonder. ‘Yehovah’s creations are incomparable.’ His eyes gleamed with elation.

  ‘You may find it insignificant by angelic standards,’ Christos continued. ‘It inhabits the galaxy next to Our new universe Tertus.’

  Lucifer pondered. ‘I have been so busy attending to the foundations of Tertus – I must have passed it by on my many journeys into the galaxies.’

  Christos smiled. ‘It has not much to attest to it at present. It would not have drawn your attention.’ His voice was soft. ‘We spoke to you many moons past concerning Our desire to create a new race.’

  Lucifer nodded in recollection. ‘Yet another?’ He smiled brilliantly. ‘Each new race is as a marvel to me.’

  Christos stared at Lucifer for a long moment. ‘A race that is not angelic.’

  Lucifer looked at Him inquiringly.

  Christos stood, His arms outstretched to the throne room. Slowly the colossal rubied door opened, and with it the lightning and thunder grew to a crescendo. A tempestuous wind blew, and lightning lit up the sky. Lucifer flung himself to the ground, prostrate.

  And then, through the thunder and the roaring, a voice as that of a thousand waters was heard – a voice infinitely more beautiful than either angelic or human imagination had ever the capacity to conceive. This was the voice that thrust a million flaming suns into orbit, that fashioned ten thousand times ten thousand galaxies and laid the boundaries of the firmaments of a thousand universes, the voice that allotted the path of a million, million moons and created the lightning, the tempests, and the hail. The voice of the Sovereign of all sovereigns: authoritative, noble, and valiant, yet filled with grace and exquisite tenderness. It was one voice, yet as three. And it was three, yet as one.

  ‘Lucifer – Son of the morning,’ the voice pealed. ‘You who watched when I laid the cornerstones of the universe. You who saw Me bind the chains of Pleiades and loose the cords of Orion, who observed Me prepare a channel for the torrents of rain and a path for the thunderbolt. Lucifer – light-bearer: We would create a race in Our image . . . and in Our likeness.’

  Silence fell. The lightning struck and the thunder grew in intensity. Finally the voice spoke once more.

  ‘ . . . the Race of Men . . . ’

  Then suddenly the rubied door closed. Immediately the thunder and lightning subsided, and the wind decreased to a gentle, balmy breeze. Christos watched Lucifer intently.

  Lucifer stood. ‘A race . . . in Your likeness?’ He ran his fingers through the thick locks, strangely dazed.

  Christos nodded.

  ‘We, the angelic host – are we not Your beloved?’ Lucifer moved a step closer to Christos.

  Christos smiled compassionately. ‘Light-bearer, the shining one – adored of heaven.’

  The seraphim materialized and stood on each side of Lucifer to escort him out of Eden.

  Lucifer fell to one knee, clasping Christos’ hand, a desperation in his voice. ‘Before I take my leave, anoint me afresh.’

  Gently, Christos laid His hands on the crown of Lucifer’s head. A heavy, sweet-smelling golden liniment ran down from Christos’ palms, drenching Lucifer’s forehead and mingling with his tears. Lucifer drank in the anointing fervently, enraptured. Then his head dropped onto his breast. Christos waited. Silent.

  Slowly Lucifer rose to his feet. He leaned over and kissed Christos lovingly, first on the right cheek and then on the left. Then he lifted his right hand to his own cheek. On his fingers lay a crimson liquid mixed with the liniment. He lifted his eyes to Christos, perplexed.

  Christos stared down at the liquid, then back at Lucifer, a strange and terrible sorrow in His gaze. He was silent for a long moment. ‘Son of the morning, many moons hence when many worlds have long risen and fallen, there will be another garden . . . ’ Christos’ voice was barely audible, ‘ . . . another kiss . . . ’

  Lucifer opened his mouth to protest, but Christos lifted His hand and Lucifer found himself back outside the gate to the inner sanctum.

  He stared down again at the crimson liquid stain on his fingers, strangely distracted. Then he climbed on his stallion and rode like the wind towards his golden columned Palace of Archangels beyond the meadows.

  * * *

  It was nearing dawn. The seven pale lilac moons glimmered softly on the western horizon through the large casement windows of Lucifer’s bedchamber. He sat at his ornate black marbled writing desk, moving his quill pen intensely across the linen pages of his journal, his beautiful italic lettering covering the page. His golden crown rested beside him on the desk. His raven hair was freed from its thick braids and flowed loose and gleaming past his broad shoulders onto his white linen man
tle. The sleek panther slept peacefully at his master’s feet, his breathing even.

  A soft knock echoed through to his bedchambers. Lucifer frowned and looked up towards the outer entrance.

  Standing in the atrium was Gabriel, wearing only his inner mantle, his head uncovered. ‘I need to see you, Lucifer,’ his voice wavered, ‘over a matter.’

  Lucifer rose in concern. ‘Enter, brother. Come fellowship.’ Lucifer turned to pour a thick silver elixir from the jug into two goblets. ‘Tell me what ails you.’ He hid a smile.

  Gabriel scowled at him. ‘I am not myself, it is true.’

  ‘Sip some of this pomegranate. It shall soothe you.’ Lucifer’s sapphire eyes glimmered with mirth. ‘Tomorrow dawns whether you are bold or fearful, dear Gabriel.’ Lucifer clasped Gabriel’s arm.

  He drew him out of the tall casement doors onto the shimmering white beaches in front of the Palace of Archangels. They walked barefoot for a full league in silence, their feet sinking into the glistening pearl sands. A company of twenty winged stallions thundered past them across the beach and soared into the firmament past the twelve pale blue moons that were now rising from the eastern horizon. Lucifer stared after them, exhilarated. The two brothers observed the shifting hues of the firmament as the lilacs transformed to amethysts and then to an intense shimmering violet.

  ‘I remember the dusk before my own inauguration.’ Lucifer stared compassionately into Gabriel’s grave grey eyes. ‘I was as pale and wan as yourself!’

  Gabriel looked at his elder brother in disbelief.

  ‘Jether alone knew my secret.’ Lucifer laughed out loud. ‘To be given responsibility over one-third of Yehovah’s angelic host . . . I confess, the dusk before I was overcome!’ Lucifer’s expression softened. He put his head close to Gabriel’s, staring him straight in the eyes. ‘You have a great gift, young Gabriel. The gift of the angelic prophet – of the revelator. You will lead your third of the angelic host with wisdom and with honour.’ He clasped his shoulder tenderly.

  Gabriel knelt on the sands, gathering clusters of freshly spawned pearls in his palm. ‘I would love Him as you love Him, Lucifer,’ he whispered.

  ‘He is my very being, Gabriel. Without Him I have no existence. He is my breath.’

  Gabriel bowed his head, watching the pearls slide through his fingers onto the sands. ‘What . . . what if I fail Him, Luce?’ he whispered.

  ‘Yehovah by His choice endowed the angelic race with free will.’ Lucifer’s voice was very soft. ‘Each and every dawn we are tested as to whether we would serve our own will and desires, or Yehovah’s. It is Yehovah’s greatest joy in the universe that we willingly choose to serve Him, for He created us to choose. Choose wisely each day, Gabriel, and you can never fail Him. The greatest gift you can grant Him is your free choice to serve Him in obedience, which is, in turn, your true love.’

  ‘And you, Luce?’ Gabriel stared at Lucifer, searching his countenance intently. ‘Have you never been tempted to fail Him, to choose yourself?’

  Lucifer’s gaze was clear and penetrating. ‘There have been moments . . . ’ His answer was quiet. ‘But they have been so fleeting . . . ’ His voice broke off, and his long raven hair blew in the balmy breeze. ‘No, Gabriel, I do not know what it is to not serve Yehovah.’ He started to pace back along the sands. ‘The dawn breezes rise from the eastern shore. Let us return.’

  ‘And what of Michael?’ Gabriel asked. He looked across at Lucifer as they walked, their strides strong and even.

  ‘Michael? He is likewise devoted. You know it is so.’

  ‘Devoted to chiding me, I fear.’

  ‘Yes, that is true.’ Lucifer smiled. ‘But he too knocked on my door the dusk before his inauguration. He has many a secret – of which I know all!’

  They retraced their steps, passing through the orangeries directly into Lucifer’s chambers. Lucifer closed the great doors, then rang a golden bell that hung from the velvet curtains.

  Immediately an old, wizened angelic courtier entered through the door and bowed. ‘Ephaniah,’ Lucifer said, ‘I would retire.’ Ephaniah nodded respectfully, then scuttled off to an adjoining room.

  ‘Lucifer,’ Gabriel said, ‘there is something else.’ He hesitated. ‘It is true that I am revelator. Recently I have been plagued with much dreaming . . . ’ Gabriel looked into Lucifer’s eyes. Earnest.

  ‘ . . . I see you much in my dreams of late, Lucifer. I have been disturbed. You will never desert us?’

  ‘What folly is it you speak of?’ Lucifer frowned. He turned his back to Gabriel as Ephaniah returned. The wizened courtier unlaced Lucifer’s vest and placed a heavy satin gown over his shoulders. ‘I have loved and served you all my life.’ Lucifer turned back to face Gabriel. ‘All my life my brothers’ hearts and souls have been before me. Is it not true, Ephaniah?’ Lucifer smiled affectionately at the old courtier, who was painstakingly turning down the vast satin amethyst eiderdowns on the platinum four-poster bed.

  Ephaniah’s gentle features lit up in elation. ‘You are my master’s joy, milord Gabriel.’

  Gabriel smiled and walked to the door. ‘I know that it is so. No matter, my brother.’ Gabriel clasped Lucifer’s hand in farewell. ‘Forgive my foolish imaginings. Good night, dear Lucifer.’ Gabriel pressed Lucifer’s face to his cheek.

  Ephaniah drew the immense velvet drapes over the latticed windows, then extinguished the hundred blazing frankincense tapers above Lucifer’s writing desk. The chambers fell into darkness.

  ‘Good night, Gabriel.’

  Chapter Two

  The Inauguration

  Hundreds of thousands of angelic legions were assembled in preparation for the ceremony. Gabriel waited, grave and silent, under the intricate golden carvings of the cherubim and seraphim in the Crystal Palace atrium. His flawless features reflected in the translucent diamond walls. He wore a simple white shift, the traditional inauguration attire. His pale blond tresses were plaited with platinum and lightning; his chin was set. He leaned downward to place his new dagger in the sheath at his ankle, his fingers trembling.

  Michael watched from the far side of the nave, restraining a smile. Now that he studied his younger brother, he could swear that Gabriel’s pretty features had matured almost overnight. The beautiful countenance exuded a strength and a wisdom that seemed new to Michael. He rubbed his chin in wonder. Gabriel, angelic prophet – the revelator – comes of age.

  Directly behind him, a small door hidden in the magnificently panelled frescoed wall slowly opened.

  An ancient, white-haired, venerable-looking figure walked out, his voluminous golden train carried nervously by a dumpy, fresh-faced cherubic angel. It was Jether, imperial warrior and ruler of the twenty-four ancient monarchs of heaven – the Ancient Ones, stewards of Yehovah’s sacred mysteries.

  Jether’s pure-spun white beard reached almost to the floor. On his head sat a golden crown embedded with jacinth, and on his shoulder perched an enormous white owl with searching, gentle brown eyes.

  ‘The young prince seems a trifle nervous, Your Excellency.’ Jether’s ancient eyes twinkled mischievously.

  Michael frowned. ‘Jether?’ He turned in delight as they embraced affectionately. ‘It has seemed many moons, old friend.’ Michael bowed briefly to the owl. ‘Why, honourable Jogli; I have missed your instruction!’

  Jether stroked Jogli and smiled. ‘We have been taken up with the preparations.’ Jether gestured in Gabriel’s direction. ‘The preparation of his mind, his soul, his spirit.’

  Michael nodded. ‘He is come of age.’

  Jether hesitated, stroking his beard thoughtfully. ‘Ah, yes, my noble Michael, I remember another ordination and another young protégé many moons ago.’ He gave Michael a deep, meaningful look from under his bushy eyebrows. ‘One who was in a sword fight that very dawn.’ The grey eyes twinkled.

  ‘I am rebuked, venerable Jether. My younger brother does well indeed. Better than I.’ Michael laughed. ‘My temper has been better of
late!’

  Jether winked at Michael and immediately coughed, smothering a guffaw, his features deliberately grave. ‘Thank you, Obadiah. You may now prepare my throne.’

  The blushing Obadiah bowed and bowed again, so deeply that he nearly tumbled face down into Jether’s train.

  Jether’s eyes glimmered with amusement as he watched the cherub scuttle away in the wrong direction. He turned his head to the owl. ‘Jogli, I sense the youngling may need your assistance.’

  Jogli spread his vast white wings and, with one flap, overtook the still-stumbling Obadiah and swung him upward in his talons, turned around, and flew him across the vast crystal atrium towards the altar.

  ‘Younglings, younglings . . . ’

  Jether gazed intently into the noble face. ‘You have done well, my valiant, warring Michael. I have followed your progress avidly from the hidden sanctum.’ Jether’s eyes shone with pride and affection. ‘Chief Prince Michael, commander of the warring archangels, your spirit clothed with honour, nobility, and valour,’ he murmured.

  He looked to where Jogli was carefully adjusting Gabriel’s cloak. ‘And now this very day, Gabriel, the revelator, will be out of my charge . . . ’ he reflected.

  He sighed deeply. ‘I have served both Almighty Yehovah and yourselves with every vestige of power that was granted me. The three of you, each as a son to me.’

  Michael stared into Jether’s imperial wizened face. ‘You speak truly, my old friend. Our Father saw fit to entrust you with schooling each of us through the centuries in the ways of the warrior and in the ways of the Ancient of Days.’

  Jether closed his eyes, his face bathed in awe. ‘He alone is worthy of our undying allegiance,’ he whispered. ‘He alone is worthy of all worship, adoration, power, and dominion.’

  Jether clasped Michael’s strong, sinewed hands in his ancient, veined ones. ‘I have seen, Michael . . . I have seen the very mysteries and the wonders of the holy place. The new universe, Michael . . . and man.’ Jether looked long and deeply into Michael’s eyes. His gaze was brilliant and piercing, almost as though reaching to the inner parts of Michael’s very soul and spirit. ‘I read your soul, Michael . . . ’ Jether’s voice was soft. ‘You wish to gaze upon this new race?’

 
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