Chapter 1

The Eternal Conflict is here and is unavoidable. Which side will be triumphant? The fate of the world is now dependent on the outcome of this Conflict…

“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time…“

Deep in the gloom of a dark and lava strewn cave, a shadow shifts. Two lights, bright with a light of fire unearthly in its ferocity burned in the gloom; a malevolence that seemed to encapsulate the spirit of the twisted evil embodied in form of the Arch-demon, fixed their gaze upon the entrance to the dark smoking cavern. In time the small sound which had pricked the attention of the immortal as she lay supine and relaxed upon a smoking rock grew to form the tangible pattern of footsteps bringing a leer of anticipation to the ancient creature’s lips. Into the foul sulphurous maw of the cave, trembling with fear, crept a figure venturing into the dark seeking the figure who awaited it’s arrival with an air of almost regal ambivalence.

“I…. seek….”

The mortal stumbled, the magnitude of its situation cloying at its brain with the dreadful realisation of its enormity.

“shhhhhhh”cooed the demon with a smile capable of eviscerating a shark in a single bite,

“Spare me the attempt at formality. I’m sure,” (she waved a taloned hand in a lazy manner) “you are on a quest of some sort to find the ancient tales of the underworld or some such thing. You are not the first. You are not even of the first thousand. However, I feel… charitable. Come. Sit. I shall tell you the tale of the creation of all in payment of your long and arduous journey.”

Eyes goggling and sweating profusely, the human meekly sank to a seated position upon the rocky ground, the tiredness of its wearisome journey suddenly washing over it as the red smouldering, yet somehow beguiling eyes seemed to bid it so to do.

The Arch-demon smiled again, and closing its eyes in a mockery of benign recollection for a brief moment once again opened them and fixed the mortal in the gaze of eternity and began to speak…..

“It is said that in the Beginning there was “the Word”. This is partially true. In fact, there were lots of Words, all of which were spoken by The Light – the first Great Being, and creator of All Things. Many branches of theology stem from versions of this truth, (and so on many ways they are ALL right) and so to tell the story of the Creation in a way that suggests it differs from the various beliefs present in the mortal world does not show them any disrespect or attempt to tarnish their validity. These are merely the facts as understood by the Immortals…. and they have been around since the start…

The Light existed in glorious isolation. Nothing is known of this period, nor of the Light’s intent which drew from within that ultimate being the desire to create another sentience, all that is known is that it occurred – and these the first of the immortals were created from The Light itself, it being the only thing that truly existed, formless, ineffable, able to adopt any shape at will and create anything it desired. To try to comprehend those desires would be simply impossible, as the Light had simply always been in existence, and even after creating of its own brightness the first Other creature of existence, The Light never spoke of it. One thing that is remembered from those first days after the Creation of the Empyrean Celestial and the firstborn angels is that The Light wished to be known. That knowledge began something that no one could expect.

Thus it came to pass that the Empyrean Celestial and the first of the angels had been brought into existence. They mirrored the highest ideals of grace and beauty, singing the praises of the Light and obeying unquestioningly and without hesitation or thought. This continued for a period unknown, in the minds of the angels a perfection of the universe in its purity and purpose, and yet lacking the possibilities that could exist beyond the bonds of simple obedience, albeit with the total devotion of the exquisite beings of brightness augmenting the universe already in a linear exultation of the Creator. The song was beautiful but it lacked a quality that only The Light was aware could exist – discord. In the way that music may only reach its full potential by the means of every sound being encompassed in its construct, that lack of dissonance rang as clearly in the ear of The Light, and did so until the day when The Light brought forth the Fire Angel who in his majestic splendour matched only the Empyrean Celestial’s radiant splendour. This angel was unlike any of those who came before, even the Empyrean Celestial herself, exhibiting as he did a nature which showed him to be possessed of a spirit that questioned, even rebelled, revelling at first in free will as was The Light’s intent. Centuries passed with The Light ensconced upon the Celestial Throne engaged in lively debate with the Fire Angel whilst the beautiful Empyrean Celestial added a tone of intellect and positivity to the conversation always siding faithfully with the will of The Light. In these times many glories were created, as the interaction between the entities inspired The Light. The universe began to unfold with The Light’s creations…. stars…. planets…. oceans…. lands…. plants… the richness of creation abounded in splendour and diversity. The praising chorus of the angels became louder so much so that the Empyrean Celestial was bidden to create the High Heavens and unto this place to house the angels and their song. The Fire Angel saw this and interpreting the instruction in another manner borne of his own creativity brought into being the Fire Heaven, both these palaces shining like beacons of glory for The Light. To these places would the Empyrean Celestial retire to praise The Light in their own fashion, and et the discord seemed to continue with a darker note that would challenge all this in the times to come.

As time passed, when seeing creation in its cornucopia of variety, the Fire Angel wondered more and more and argued and questioned becoming frustrated when The Light gave no answer to satisfy his requests for the reason behind this abundance of creativity. This continued in earnest until the time arrived when The Light drew from the corners of the world, dust, and from it fashioned the first mortal. The dust was shaped into the form of a mortal male and life given unto it from that same ethereal power with which The Light created all the beauty of the universe. The Fire Angel watched the creation with the eyes not of praise but of a depth of expectation, knowing within his self that this mortal must surely be sent to him as the most like it – the freest willed of creation save for the mortal, and thusly his pride grew with self-assuredness, expecting, nay KNOWING that soon the mortal would be basking in the beauty of the Fire Heaven and conversing with the Fire Angel as one would a worshipped mentor. It was, therefore, with a shock and anger never previously experienced, that the Fire Angel observed The Light set the mortal to the Highest Heaven under the tutelage of the angels and the Empyrean Celestial! Jealousy raged within his being as a fire greater than any other he had experienced. Why must he suffer this indignity? He who was not some slavish angel mindlessly chanting Gloria without thought but extolling a higher form of praise unique amongst its kind! Greater than the Empyrean Celestial! Almost greater than THE LIGHT!!!! He raged and thundered and called out to The Light demanding that the mortal be destroyed as it was unfit for the newly created universe. He called out that this universe should not of been created for the mortals but for the angels who were enough, sufficient, perfect to exist as the ones favoured by The Light alone.

The Light saw the rage of his creation and rather than do as the prideful Fire Angel wished, and to the utter incredulity of the Fire Angel, did show to the Fire Angel the mirror of creation, the Darkness, which having been firstly created to be the bride of the mortal now instead he set over the Fire Heaven, corrupting it and shattering from it the beauty of its origin and removing it from the sight of The Light for all eternity. The Hell, for such was the Fire Heaven now known, boiled in the gloom of the brooding darkness, eternally consumed in its own fire and torment, a place and home of nothing but the incarnation of the Fire Angel’s jealousy, rage and pain. And there it consumed him. The Prime Evil, for this now was his name, was incarnate.”

The Arch-demon reclined slightly. The mortal sat, swaying gently, the tale as mesmeric as the red unblinking eyes seemed to penetrate the very smog that swirled foetidly in the lava-lit glow of the cavern. The temperature, oddly tolerable despite the pools of tungsten dripping upwards under the gaze of the Arch-demon, served only to swirl the atmosphere in a yet more sickening merry-go-round. “Soon” she thought, “this one shall give itself….” With a snakelike motion she resettled on the rock and recommenced her tale….

“In the time that passed following those events many things happened in the ethereal planes. First amongst them, the mortal, now of great age and wisdom asked of The Light a bride who was mortal as he was, that they may procreate and fill the world as The Light had wished. The Light restored to the mortal his youth and vitality and created of him a second mortal and he named them the Male and the Female and set them to fill the world with the children of their own creation.

It was an action which as time passed came to the eyes of the Prime Evil in the Hell. Aeons had passed and his powers, though no longer good, were sharp and honed, twisted to the dark desires of his evil intent just as his mirror, the Empyrean Celestial, gloried in her talents in the Highest Heavens. He set unto himself a task of devious and vicious intent, creating from the dark evils of Hell his own army. Hellish creatures they were, the first of them physical embodiments of elements of his own being; Destruction, Vice, Hatred, Anguish, Terror, and Deception.”

(here she paused and preened slightly before continuing)

“The polar opposite of the Archangels of heaven they were, those being the elements of Grace born of the Empyrean Celestial herself; Hope, Valour, Wisdom, Fate, Death, and Justice. As great and mighty as those were, these were equal, and though not as strong were their better in agility. He set them to work spawning legions of denizens to fill the Hell to bursting, its mighty forges blazing furiously in the eternal night and fire and the unholy screams of the rage-filled abominations rang into the darkness without end. There was a terrible purpose and intent to the Prime Evil in these actions. In the millennia that the mortals flourished and began to walk upon all the surfaces of the Earth, so it was that the Army of Hell became in strength and number equal to the choirs of Heaven with one purpose: War against the children of The Light.”

The mortal slumped slightly. The eyes of the great demon narrowed a little and she shuffled slightly once again drawing the eyes of the mortal up to her gaze and locking it there. Soon…….

“There is much more to tell you little one, do pay attention. The War was intended by the Prime Evil’s design, to spread across all of the firmament before vanquishing the ethereal realm and the Highest Heaven. Then would he turn his attention to the mortals and their dwelling, and great would be their suffering. He laughed and turned his gaze towards the Earth for the first time in millennia…. and what he says lit up within him a rage as great as shook the pillars of the Hell sending the demons scattering in mewling terror. Angels walked upon the Earth!! HE could hardly believe his eyes and yet there he saw with his all-seeing perception that indeed the angels walked amongst the mortals in their own image. Rage boiling from him he focused his mind and by the sheer will of his mind he took form upon the world of the mortals.

The feel of holding form in the mortal world disgusted him. HE found it akin to crawling among worms beneath his attention, and yet knew that his demons must also come to this place and wage their war so that no place was free of his total dominion. He strode to the nearest mortal and drew from it all the light that the being held tainting it to the darkness. This tainted shell would be a carrier for the evil of his creations – a shell for them to possess via the conduit he would produce.

So it was with all things that their mirror was created in Heaven and in Hell. For every device, every exquisite article wrought of te Light by the hand of the Empyrean Celestial, so its twisted counterpart was brought into screaming existence by the Prime Evil in the fires of the Hell. The War began in earnest spilling across all the planes of existence, never to end until one or the other side is finally extinguished into darkness or burnt into nothing by Light. The details of all of this I shall pour into your mind oh mortal, you shall hear so much more… the tales of the demons, the angels, those who walked from the nothing into the stone-carved immortality of history. In this tale there is Fire and there is Light, there is torment and there is ecstasy… “

The mortal slumped to its side, an empty shell devoid of life as the Arch-demon looked on. She smiled having enjoyed filling the mortal’s ears with the tales of the conflict just as she had without its knowledge taken its soul and body slowly while it gazed entranced in her story. She realised some parts may be…. “embellished” but then as the embodiment of Deception she felt it would be inappropriate to tell the WHOLE truth. She smiled again and as the dust of the mortal melted into the air she settled on her rock to await the next adventurer, knowing another would come soon to hear another chapter of the tale of the Eternal Conflict….