We, so pure, have long been watching the sins and secrets of Men, laughing and scoffing beneath our breath, watching with a livid contempt that can only be born from the ashes of such a tragedy as The Castout. We jest of the chaos that plagues them so greatly. Vainglory and greed, the lust and the lies…our infesters have done well to pave the road for the Kingdom. They exploited, directed, danced about and toyed with the strings as a puppeteer parading his marionette, snickering a low growl at the control he wields freely. So masterful a craft—so masterful indeed—that Man knows not the cause of his misery. He may blame others, and even judge those he holds lowest in standard, but his head now lies beneath the blade, ready and willing to accept his fall, unaware of the saccharine taste that has watered our mouths and boiled our appetites until this time. Restrained solely by the reigns of Our Father Below, we’ve been nipping at heels and pressing our faces to the glass of an exotic exhibition. “Wait,” He has told us. “Have patience,” but no longer. We stand now in rank, armed with an ancestral abhorrence. More so it appears that Father Time has fallen from the fence, allowing us to bolster our forces whilst the Men grow weary, and it appears that grace has fallen from its net of wax wings.
The Day has come.
* * *
The final words were scribbled illegibly on the tablet. Eligos—a great duke of the Kingdom—sat on his haunches and rolled the sharpened bone that served as his writing utensil between his gnarled fingers. It clinked against his dagger-like claws as he returned both it and the record to a skin leather satchel at his side. His gaze was cast over the precipice at his feet and his eyes ran shiftily across the atrium that stretched for leagues below him. Anxiousness had coursed like an epidemic through the queues of subordinates that filled the chamber; they shuffled in place to relieve the tension in their extremities but made not a sound. The sight twisted the duke’s countenance to a ghastly sneer. Turning on his bony heels he hobbled and lurched down several corridors to join his kin in their ranks.
Indeed, today was a celebration for the Kingdom, as it were. Draperies and banners bearing the wicked crest of the court, an inverted trinity, lolled from every tall tower in the province. Kingly banquets were held and jubilant festivals carried long into the night where heralds addressed the masses with charming words and glorious deeds of the court to swell the support of the commoners. At the advent of The Day, thousands attended to see the company off, proffering goods and good spirits to bear for the quest.
None were so proud, though, as the commanders at front. They stood before each other, exchanging pleasantries about themselves, the quest, and the relationship of the two. There were seven in total, each esteemed a “pioneer” or a “visionary” and were elected (suspiciously) in a unanimous vote for their work in the world of Men. Asmodeus was among them, earning an accolade for establishing a network of corporeal proclivity centers. Beside him stood the fiery Mammon, an advisor of those with a penchant for miserly ways. One watched with prehensile eyes: Leviathan, a crafty individual who assisted untenable charity programs from the fortunate. Another slouched his weight: Belphegor, hand-chosen by the Father yet least fit of the seven. The remaining three were well known in the world of Men and required no introduction as they reigned as paragons of the Kingdom: Beelzebub, who bore the sobriquet of Baal, Lucifer, deputy of the Father, and the Father himself, Satan; the latter two worked in conjunction so often that they were typically mistaken as one in the same.
Abruptly, a lone bell rang. Commotion in the Kingdom halted momentarily for the crash of each successive toll. The echoes died; silence ruled. An anonymous, raucous voice rang from the crowd: “Long reign the Kingdom!” Thus hysteria erupted in cries and wails of zeal. The minions stamped their feet, clanking their pikes in a frenzied uproar. Commoners pranced around and howled to the sky. All repeated the mantra, chanting back at one another: “Long reign the Kingdom! Long reign the Kingdom!” The Father stepped forward and raised a hand before the chaos. The Kingdom fell quiet at once.
“Hoorah, hoorah—merriment is fine,” He began, “but now is not the hour to succumb to whimsical chatter. We have won nothing yet!” Murmurs boiled up from the commoners; the company dared not to speak. “However, the sound of the bell marks a glorious beginning, where our leagues will march upon the world of Men for the first time in millennia, seizing control of the land that is lawfully and deservedly ours! We have control of the Men, we teach them real happiness, we share with them true enlightenment, and it is we who will establish a most perfect dominion, all full of those with hearts like yourselves.” The words riled His subjects to no end. “My men,” He cast an arm to the six other princes, “take command of your army.” They obeyed, taking slow, proud steps to their positions while smirking pompously all the way. Even the company could no longer restrain themselves, resuming the clash of their pikes. The Father let them rally for a moment before unfolding his imperial wings and taking for the sky. The princes followed, guiding the legions through the light of the Kingdom.
* * *
The world burned for forty-two months. Famine and death plagued Man, even forced him to turn on his brother. Disasters instilled fear in their souls while they gave up their hearts and voices to the sky in desperation, and still yet the Kingdom trampled their ground. Some threw themselves at the feet of the princes, claiming worship and laud. The Father had them killed first. In fact, the princes took pleasure in exacting the condemnations of Satan. He ruled unopposed for His three and a half years, when at that point he was greeted by messengers.
They came unannounced and quietly. While He sat in His throne at Babylon, a procession of seven men formed an audience before Him. They were cloaked in an unthreatening white, a sash in gold, and their faces were earnest but stoic. The Father cringed in His seat and rapped with His claws. One spoke in a passionate tone.
“He has been watching you, be assured. From atop Mount Zion He and His followers mark the date of your fall.” Satan laughed outright.
“I have fallen once and I have no new intentions of doing it once more. Although if He dares to depose of me, why is He not before me himself?” The man in white continued as if He had never spoken.
“He waits with 144,000 companions at His side,” he turned to his party, “Raphiel, Michael, Gabriel…go and proclaim that it has begun.” Three of the men leapt across the sky supported by white wings. Satan became agitated at the ignorance of the man. He stepped from His throne and crossed the floor to those that remained. “Judgment shall receive you,” he spoke again at last, and the retinue fled to the sky, leaving Satan alone in His solitude. Still trembling with rage, He collapsed from His feet.
Soon after, something billowed in the sky. Just as His eyes met the horizon, He saw what was a colossal alabaster cloud consuming His sovereignty. At this moment the rage left His body; a smile tickled His lips…
* * *
The realm was at last under control of a faction. For ages afterwards, a new epoch began: Man was forever under the embrace of His reign.
© Copyright 2017 Kean Flynn. All rights reserved.
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