Jaed awoke in a haze that was neither life nor dream. She lay sprawled on the golden stranded sofa, staring at the marble ceiling. Am I awake? She wondered aloud. Is this another dream? Is this my nightmare? I can never tell anymore. Truly, the days blurred into the nights. There was no darkness in Paradiso, only a brilliant, pale light that cast no shadow. She sat up slowly, caring not for her nudity. She made her way to her bathing room, and examined herself. Her dull, brown eyes were only accentuated by the shiner that had been left from the previous night. At least he paid attention to me, for once, she thought. She moved her hands through her soft, golden hair. After it was untangled, it hung past her hips by four centimeters. Her own body stood at almost two meters; rather tall for a Caucasian female. She turned a fake smile to her thin lips and perfect teeth, then sighed and let her mouth fall to its sad expression. Feeling a slight chill in her body, she covered her breasts with her arms. Her feminine body curved more than most females’ did; not that it seemed to be of any interest to her husband, Newland.
He was a plain looking man with white pants and a blue commodore’s coat. His white powdered wig sat on his head proudly; a symbol of his position. He stood taller than Jaed by four centimeters. A narrow face on a slender neck craned his head up into a pompous snoot, revealing his wide nostrils. His chin turned out just a bit, creating a handsome face shrouded by foolish fashion.
“Put some clothes on,” he spoke plainly as he opened the door to her room. She picked up a brilliant white robe that had been placed on her bathroom wall and adorned herself in the color of Deity. “Have you prayed this morning?” he asked.
“Of course, my husband,” she spoke obediently, a lie though it was. “Are you going on another journey today?” she asked.
“Yes,” he replied. “A mission trip to those who have not received the love of Deity.”
“Is there ever any success?” she asked.
“It is a long and painful process,” he replied. “What, with them being where they are, they are quite bitter. They feel that Deity has forsaken them.” He shifted a bit, which Jaed knew meant that he was about to tell a half-truth. “We show them our own particular brand of love, however, and they will soon find themselves in the wonderful ecstasy in which we live.”
“I see,” she replied, thinking in a double entendre. He makes it sound like he’s fucking them, she laughed to herself.
“What’s so funny?” he asked, annoyed. “Did I say something that seemed hilarious? I see nothing funny about this at all, woman!”
“Why do you take yourself so seriously?” she asked in an uncharacteristic and bold move on her part. “You seem more like you are hiding something from me.”
Newland immediately brought his hand across her face, breaking her balance and hitting her head against the ebony vanity.
“Unh…” she grunted as she stood up. Without change of expression, nor warning of any kind, she brought her knee up to his groin and smacked his nose with her palm. Newland fell to the ground. “For all this time you have kept me your subject, and all my life and afterlife I have lived as a Deity fearing woman, taken my beatings with a prayer and thanked Him for the opportunity to live as I do!” She slammed his jaw with her knee, shattering three teeth. She fell on his writhing body and brought her hands to his neck. Blood poured out of his mouth and over her hands. “But I would rather burn in Hell for what I believe is right than to live as I do, believing what you tell me is right. And now,” she spoke, losing all sense of feeling and sanity, “I am going to kill you. Maybe then…you will respect the woman who once loved you.”
The light drained out of her eyes, not batting an eye as the life force of Newland fell from his angelic body, and his corpse turned to dust and feathers...the first thing to appear to Jaed as something real. The dreamlike world she lived it was shattered, if only for a moment, by the dark ashes that flowed out the window.
Out to the eternity of Paradise did the ashes flow, and to everyone it passed, it inspired fear. Fear of pain, not felt since death on Terra, crept into their minds, and for a moment, awakened them to the fakeness of their existence. For after all, what is pleasure without pain? What is good without evil? For that matter, what is Good and Evil? And how does one measure good and evil? Only Deity knows…after all, he created them to his wishes, didn’t he? Are there any universal truths? In one age on Terra, Incest was normal and even encouraged among royalty. In a later age, technology revealed the process to produce unhealthy children. In one age, beating one’s wife was not a crime, but if you are reading this text, I can only assume that you believe in women’s suffrage. If you do not, you are not of clear and open enough mind to read this text, nor to presume that what is scrawled in this burnt piece of parchment might be true. Leave this book behind; never pick it up again. Those who feel weak of controversy, faint of heart, or closed of mind, set this down now and go about your lives as if you had never seen this book. But for those of you who look past dogma, those who question what everyone “knows,” and those who wish to see as I see, to feel like I feel, and to know what I know, read on. Good and Evil are nothing but lies. The one who calls himself King, the Deity who watches us doesn’t have answers; you must look to yourself for answers. Only then will you find who you really are underneath the layers of what people tell you is right or wrong. I hope that you find a deeper meaning than the shallow meaning of words can communicate. Perhaps my experiences cannot be portrayed through words alone; but I feel all citizens of Terra have a right to read the truth. May these words mean more to you than mere words.
~Dajex, Sister of the Eternal Pyre.
“Xönel,” a cloaked figure spoke.
A dark figure appeared behind him. “Sir!”
“Drop the formalities, Xönel. It’s just us,” the figure replied.
“Sorry Tyrlex,” the figure replied, “Old habits die hard.”
“Xönel. The Sisters of the Eternal Pyre have performed a service to us that is not sexual in nature, for once, and I need you to recover the fruits of their services,” Tyrlex, the first figure, replied.
“What is the nature of their services?” Xönel asked.
“Ever so professional about it, aren’t you?” Tyrlex smirked. “One of our Sisters has rigged the Conveyer to explode over the Great Chasm. A great many of the rest of our Sisters started a distraction, enabling this to happen.”
“How?” Xönel asked, half expecting the answer.
“How does a group of lustful demons such as they distract the Second layer of Hell? They start an orgy, of course,” Tyrlex laughed.
Xönel snickered. “Oh, those girls of ours. To what depths won’t they sink?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Tyrlex replied.
“I’m quite sure I DO know, thank you. Xönel shot back. Both smiled, and Tyrlex continued. “I need you to retrieve the result.”
“What is the result?” Xönel asked.
“An angel. An angel with wings,” Tyrlex spoke plainly.
Xönel stopped laughing. A concerned look took to his face. “How did this happen?”
“Complacency, my dear Xönel,” he replied bluntly. “The throne is convinced of their own superiority. They haven’t even thought that a revolt could happen. They have been keeping an eye on The Morningstar, but no one else. I have been organizing the revolt under the clan name “Knights of the Morningstar”
“Our faction, yes I know,” Xönel replied. “So we aren’t just an “angel adoption agency” anymore?” he smirked.
“No,” Tyrlex replied. “The fallen, wingless angels will now have a purpose to serve us. I daresay that their importance in this war will be greater than our own. But it will amount to nothing unless we retrieve this angel who still bears its wings.”
“We have been patient all this time; for millennia have we suffered in Hell, and for millennia has the Throne, and their watchdogs, The Damned kept their eye fixed upon our factions.” A cruel smile took to Xönel’s face.
Tyrlex replied, “But no more. We have suffered a fate worse than death for as long as I can remember. Their complacency will be our victory.”
“You do realize that our chance of victory, even if we claim this angel, is still slim to none,” Xönel replied.
“Yes. But this is our only chance. We need to find this one. All other objectives and missions to this point are but trifles. If The Damned find it before we do, I am sure you are aware what they are going to do to that angel,” he spoke.
Xönel felt a little ill. “I…understand,” he replied.
“For the angel’s sake, if not for our own, Xönel,” he spoke as he turned to face him. “If you have any pity for this creature, you will find her before the Whitecoats do.”
“I understand,” Xönel replied plainly. “When will it be here?”
“The explosion will be going off in two minutes; I would estimate another three for it to fall to the eighth layer,” he replied. “The trajectory has been estimated within a kilometer on either side of its landing. Just ensure that you shatter the crystal coffin it will reside in before it vaporizes upon impact, killing the angel.”
“Roger. Anything else I should know?” Xönel asked.
“Don’t die?” Tyrlex wised off. “Get moving.”
“Sir!” Xönel saluted as he faded into the darkness.
Dajex awoke from her hazy cloud…but for the first time in her life, she was awakening. Beyond all premonition or dream, there was no pale haze. She felt a numb pain on her back. Her eyes gently opened, seeing for the first time since life on Terra. Below her, many kilometers, was a faint, pale light; the familiar haze of her dream. The light soon faded further and further away, and at last, it vanished.
Her entire being awoke. Her stomach lurched; she was falling headfirst as fast as gravity could pull her. Her wings were in a deep, shocking state of pain, twitching every time she tried to move them. Panic struck her like a nightstick in her solar plexus; she felt like she was going to throw up.
Shape up, she told herself. You gotta be strong, or you are going to die. After a few moments, she calmed herself down well enough to feel herself falling a long, long way.
Around her, she saw a green haze as she passed through the realm of Terra, green with life and creatures of every kind. She heard the calls of animals and the talk of humans of all languages and creeds and colors. The sun was warm and the wind cold, wrapping her body in a paradox of life.
Soon, this feeling came to an end; the wind and sun were gone, and all that was life became a deep blue. No animals were here; only a great many souls of humans. She heard singing…softly at first, but gradually getting louder. A beautiful, yet sad Gregorian chant flooded her senses with a beautiful sound.
She felt panic as she looked down. Below, the barrier between Purgatory and Hell lay; it was obvious where her final destination was. The chanting grew louder, and louder still; Dajex wanted to cover her ears! It terrified her beyond anything she had felt in her afterlife; beyond what her senses had felt in the past five hundred Terran years. As their chant reached a climax, the fallen angel crashed through the barriers between the two realms. Like glass, the blue barrier shattered, but as if a biological creature, the shattered fragments turned viscous and flowed back towards the barrier. In moments, the hole was completely repaired, and unnoticeable.
Dajex grabbed her largest two wings with her hands and extended them manually. Her body screamed in pain as her broken, bloodied wings extended, trailing blood behind them. She fell extremely fast; her wings weren’t working! Just before smashing the ground, her wings pulled her up just enough to not crash. She got her footing enough to hit the ground running, but her feet were not fast enough for the speed she was going. She fell over multiple times before landing face up in the first circle of Hell.
She couldn’t move. She thought that her left arm was broken and her one of her ribs fractured. Her pain tolerance had been so lowered by her time in heaven, she felt unable to move. Through the haze of pain and tears, she saw an ebon-red glow all about her. Stalactites hung from the ceiling, blood dripping from the tips onto her body. The cavern ceiling sat almost a kilometer above the floor on which she lay. All around her was just rock. The cavern seemed to go on endlessly in all directions. There was nothing else, except the figures in white cloaks all around her.
“Another one who has refused Deity’s gifts,” once spoke. “Unable to retain something so simple,” another spoke. “She had everything and threw it all away. What a contemptible ingrate!” yet another growled. “Some of us have never had his favor. And yet people like her have it all and waste it to nothingness,” one more spat. One last figure approached. She seemed to be taller than the others, and looked Dajex all up and down. “This one is resilient; she fell and didn’t disintegrate upon impact,” She spoke.
“Should we finish the job?” one asked. “Oh what fun it would be!” another spoke jubilantly. “A sacrifice to our Deity to gain his favor!”
“Silence!” the leader replied. “It would be an insult to give back to Him what He has cast aside as worthless”
“I am not worthless,” Dajex muttered.
Immediately seven of the group struck her with iron rods and floggers. Two more of her ribs broke almost immediately. She screamed and wrapped her wings around her body; the whips began to shred her wings. “You are disgusting!” “You had everything!” “Deity showed you infinite patience and you have wasted everything he ever gave you to the point of damnation!” “You are worthless!”
“That’s enough!” the leader spoke. The seven eased back. One spat on Dajex. “It is not our place to kill her. No sacrifices.” Dajex felt blood flow freely from all six of her wings, and feathers floated in a pool of her life-force. She began to feel dizzy as she gazed at her wounds. Bruises adorned her torso where she had been struck, and while none of her fractures were complicated, she felt unable to move her arm or her torso.
She felt herself lift up by her white robe. She was carried for many kilometers until finally, a large fissure in the earth opened up before her. Her mind went blank. She really didn’t feel anything at all. The pain had been dulled to a sharp throb, and she was resigned to her fate, and really didn’t care what happened.
“We will follow the due process of Hell. She will be sent to the circle of Hell to which she will be condemned, and her wings will be removed appropriately,” the leader spoke.
“Why do they get to do it?” one asked.
“It needs to be appropriate to her crime,” the leader replied. “It’s Hell. We’re big on Irony here,” she giggled sadistically.
The creatures laughed hysterically, and soon, the lot of them had gone off to retrieve a large, crystal-glass coffin.
The female knelt down beside her and placed her hand on Dajex’s back. “Whatever you do, keep acting like you are in pain. Leave the blood on your wings. Don’t make it look like I have healed your wounds.”
Dajex twitched. What just happened here? she thought. What does she mean? She felt a soothing warmth flow through her body. A quick snap of pain struck her as her arm jerked back into place, and mended. The pain in her ribs also caused a quick snap of suffering, then soothing.
Dajex looked up slowly. “Why?”
“I told you. It’s Hell. We’re big on irony here,” she replied. All Dajex could make out under the hood was a smile that was somehow, warm and comforting. “I don’t have much time, but once you reach the eighth circle, seek the men in red cloaks or the women in brown cloaks. They can help you. Keep your wings hidden, and for the love of The Morningstar, don’t let them cut them off.” Her smile faded as the others returned. “Trust me, m’lady. I will see you again.”
“Time to go, little girl!” the leader mocked, raising a scaled hand to her followers. She laughed maniacally.
The others returned, carrying a glass crystal coffin. The female leader grabbed Dajex’s pallid robe and tore it off her. “You are undeserving of this colour.” Dajex clung to her body. “Time to meet your destiny.”
The female grabbed Dajex by her neck and threw her in the coffin. She got up close to her face and whispered, “The most important thing you will ever learn is this: Destiny is a lie. If you wish to survive, you will carve your own path through fate.”
She pulled back and slammed a lid on the crystal coffin. Four iron nails penetrated through the screaming glass edges and sealed her inside. Dajex slammed her hands against the crystal. The laughing creatures outside mocked her vain attempts. The female looked at her with her beautiful blue eyes, as if to say “I’m sorry that you are the one that has to endure this.” She pulled her hood off, to reveal a beautiful head of blonde hair to her shoulders. Her small frame and pretty smile enchanted Dajex for a moment. She mouthed the words, “Help us.”
Dajex’s stomach lurched; the coffin was pulled off the ground by a hook and a conveyer belt attached to the ceiling. Her body, which had laid flat, parallel to the ground, now found itself lifted to its vertical position. Blood from her wings smeared the glass, her red life-force creating a scent of death all around her. All around her, she saw rocks dripping blood.
Within moments, the fissure opened up before her. The conveyer carried her past the cliff edge, and below she saw all the layers of Hell. The thickness of each layer was about five kilometers thick, and seemed to extend eternally in length and width. While she could not see the opposite edge of the fissure of the first layer going to the second layer, she could see that all the circles are connected through the Great Fissure that was now swallowing her to the depths of Hell. Every circle was, in fact, an eternal circle, ever extending.
The conveyer pulled her to the second circle at what seemed like a speed well beyond two-hundred miles per hour. She began to feel ill; not just from the speed, but from the sights that followed. Thousands of demons and angels fallen from grace pinned by their wings engaging in all forms of sexual play. A few angels were more than willing, but many were pinned by their wings, chained to walls, or otherwise bound; screaming and moaning as the demons raped them in every way possible. They were corrupted of their wings, shaved of the hair on their heads, tortured, sodomized, and gang raped by their torturers. Some unfortunate and inexperienced souls began to bleed from between their legs as fluid of dozens of demons drenched their bodies, unable to scream because they were gagging on demon ejaculate. Others were clamped by their breasts while beast-like demons grinded against their victims, impregnating them with an incarnation of demon which took after the beasts, creating a new vessel for them should they be killed in the depths of Hell. Dajex saw the results of this; a female swollen from pregnancy chained to the wall as a goat-like centaur was born from their womb. Still others, if there were insufficient demons to torture them, had a hose-like creature attached to them. A steady amount of liquid flowed consistently into them until they were filled so large that they looked as if they were about to bear a child. The creatures than loosened their grip and the liquid flowed out. If the woman screamed, the creature reattached itself and poured more water into her. The final group of angels Dajex saw had already had their wings removed, and were running down darkened caverns of Hell’s second circle. Every once in a while, a scream was heard as horny demons pounced their target and raped the angels’ bodies in every way possible until the angels passed out from pain or exhaustion. The number of demons to angels was so great that some unfortunate souls found themselves forced to service upwards of seven demons at once.
One of the fallen angels, a cute looking Easterling girl with somewhat curly hair, glanced up at the coffin. She seemed to be one of the few angels willingly there, using a strap on to penetrate her screaming victim. She smiled and mouthed the words, “Show time.”
The fallen angel pulled out of her victim and motioned for another demon to take her place, gave him a sharp smack on his ass, then turned and left the orgy. She stuck her fingers down her throat and vomited up a small device, looking like a Platinum Point; the currency of the world of Terra. The fallen angel smashed her fist against the PP, causing an immediate explosion that shook Dajex all over. She looked ahead and saw that the conveyer just ahead has been destroyed by an explosion of high magnitude. The flames still surrounded the conveyer where the track used to run. Dajex panicked, and began to frantically pound against the glass door. “LET ME OUT!!!” she screamed! “I DON’T WANT TO DIE!!!” She fell off the edge of the conveyer, trapped in her crystal Kamikaze…
“Gotcha,” Xönel smirked as he took aim. “A girl? A pretty one at that,” he muttered to himself. The crystalline coffin was falling, still about six kilometers off the ground and falling as fast as gravity could pull her. He saw the beautiful angel smashing her fists against the crystal casing of her coffin. The terror in her eyes signaled that she was a person who had never experienced death in the afterlife. “Well, let’s hope you can still fly, little angel.” He set his sight just above her left shoulder.
Dajex screamed as three bullets screamed past her head, shattering the top third of her coffin! She didn’t question just what happened, or how she had gotten so lucky, but she shoved as hard as she could. Her wings extended, but the young woman had not repaired the damage to them! Her body screamed at her in pain as she pulled her largest set of wings from behind her and once again, glided as best she could through Hell. She adjusted her other wings to gain lift from the wind as best she could, painful though it was, and lo and behold, her wings lifted her from a collision course with the ground to a steady, but dangerously fast trajectory to a few kilometers south of the Chasm of the eighth circle of Hell. She pulled up on her wings, causing herself to stall out for a moment, losing a great deal of her speed. She descended to the eighth layer, once again in control of her flight. However, there were now people who acknowledged her presence as a threat; knives, gunshot, anything that could be harmful was being hurled at her at dangerous speed. Time to get below the radar, she told herself. She flew towards the nearest chunk of land in the eighth circle. She hovered above the chasm leading to the ninth layer of Hell, and soared to a waterfall, circulated through from the river Styx, its origin. She glided through the waterfall, and weaved back and forth behind it, effectively shielding herself from three-fourths of the projectiles thrown at her. “You will not have my wings,” she snarled to no one.
As demons began to approach where she was, she folded her wings back for speed and soared as far and as fast away from the demons as possible. A couple of kilometers inland of the fissure, she calculated her landing zone, and hit the ground running. Her feet almost tripped over themselves, but she soon found her footing and trampled across the rocky terrain. She dove behind a cavern wall, and slid to a stop on the ground.
“Well, this is something you don’t see every day, lads!” a faceless demon in a golden cloak spoke. “An angel just fell into out laps! With wings even!” Dajex looked around the room, pulling herself to her knees. The humble abode was well furnished with gems, rocks and a thousand little tokens; money it seemed.
“Are you even paying attention?” another spoke. Three men in cloaks approached her. “Think of the money we can bring in for this one!”
“Please…don’t hurt me,” Dajex spoke as she pulled her knees in towards her body, looking as weak as possible. She pulled on of her down feathers and one of her pinion feathers subtly from her wings; she felt them harden and sharpen within her grasp.
“What? Is she serious?! Ha!” the third smirked. “Do you know where you are, little woman?” the second asked.
The leader approached her with knife drawn. “Welcome to Hell. May this encounter be a sign of things to come.”
“I could only hope to be so fortunate,” she spoke as a dagger-like feather flew from her hand. It hit the third demon, causing his body to erupt into flames. As the remaining ashes from his body fell into the hellish wind, Dajex plucked a pinion feather from her wing. It hardened immediately and she rushed into the leader of the three, causing him to bleed out from his stomach. He collapsed, and turned to dust slowly.
“You wanna dance, little man?” the angel snipped. The demon dropped his obsidian sword and fled quickly into the hellish horizon. “That’s what I thought.”
She picked up one of the cloaks of her fallen victims and shrouded herself within.
Xönel was first on the scene of the crash. The shattered coffin had a great amount of blood, but not enough to justify the angel crashing while within it. He studied the rocky sky of Hell, looking at the trail of bullets, knives and other implements of destruction flung at the angel. He started chasing the trail, which was sparse, but quickly led to one of two waterfalls that existed in the eighth circle of Hell.
“Where are you off to in such a hurry, boy?” a man with a white cloak asked, holding a pistol to the side of Xönel’s head.
“Well, sir, isn’t it obvious?” Xönel spoke with a straight face. “I am going my own way to thank Deity for the opportunity to suffer eternally because he deemed me unworthy to enter the heavenly realm that we both fell short of.”
The Whitecoat pulled the hammer back on the gun. “I am not amused. Don’t lower me to your level; my salvation will come.”
“How will you know?” Xönel asked.
“I will imagine that someday I will get killed by some demon like you, and His favor will rest upon me, and He will bring me to the gates of paradise,” he replied simply.
“Ah,” Xönel replied. He brought his arm from its resting position at his side up to his opponent’s wrist, knocking the pistol out of his hand. He grabbed the wrist and snapped it around behind his victim, covering his mouth with his other hand. He released the hand, grabbed the crown of the Whitecoat’s head. “May his favor rest with you today,” he spoke gently. He snapped with both hands and the Whitecoat’s body fell limp, then disappeared. “Good clean kill; no mess, no dust, no trail,” Xönel muttered to himself.
“Hm?” he thought to himself. He saw a couple of piles of ash and a gold cloak on the ground. He scooped up a pile of the dust with his left hand. “Still warm…she’s close!” he declared to himself. “The Whitecoat must have been investigating the murder. My apologies,” he spoke to the white cloak that lay on the ground. “You just picked the wrong suspect.” He dropped the ash back to the ground, but felt something graze his palm on the way down. “A feather? She’s good…she knows how to fight. She must be alive.” He took off towards the trail left by the cloak’s tail on the ground. “Stay alive…I’ll find you soon.”
Dajex fled through the cavernous levels of the eighth circle of Hell. Red and brown cloaks…where could they be? she thought. Why am I doing this? Why am I even here? These are demons…was that girl trying to use me? I cannot trust anyone but myself here. After all, they are in Hell for a reason…right? She felt herself tear up out of frustration. No…I need to be strong. No crying. Just keep running…just keep running…
She collided with a humanoid being that crossed her path. “Dammit!” the boy shouted. “Where are you off to in such a hurry?” he asked, rubbing his head. “Well, no matter, I’m in a hurry, so if you will excuse me,” he finished without waiting for an answer.
“Wait,” she requested, seeing the figure in the red cloak. “I…was told that I need to speak with someone like you.”
“Like me? What the hell does that mean?” he asked in retort. “I don’t particularly like to associate with those in gold cloaks, and like I said, I have things to do. Be quick.”
“I…am an angel!” she blurted out.
“O…kay? There are a lot of angels down here. They fall from Heaven left and right,” Xönel replied as he approached her. “Take off your hood! Now!” he whispered. “This is a matter beyond anything you could have imagined at this point; take off your hood!”
Dajex did as she was told. “It’s you,” he spoke. All Dajex could make out was a smile on his face. “Pardon me for a moment, but I need to remove some witnesses.” He drew from beneath his cloak two pistols. Seven demons, three wearing white cloaks, one wearing a brown cloak, and three without any clothes whatsoever, were staring at them. He turned and fired one shot out of each pistol. As the bullets hit two of the Whitecoats, two more bullets opened up as his left pistol aimed up towards a cliff where the third Whitecoat sat in watch, and his right aimed at ground level. He fired a bullet out of both, causing the third Whitecoat to erupt into a cloud of dust, as well as one unknown bystander. He then turned to his left and aimed one of his pistols forward and the other just over Dajex’s left shoulder. He fired one more bullet from each of his pistols, slaying the final two unknowns. He then aimed his pistols, both of them, towards the brown-cloaked humanoid, two meters to his right. “Sister of the Eternal Pyre! Identify yourself and your purpose!”
The woman removed her hood and raised her hands. Her hair hung in curls down her cute, round face. Her brown eyes and dark hair looked adorable to see, especially in such a place as Hell. The glasses on her face framed her deep eyes, giving her a sense of intelligence in contrast to her childlike features. “Sister of the Eternal Pyre; Lady Thrüx, Organization Member #2009. Purpose is to investigate the crash on behalf of The Morningstar.”
The man holstered his guns, satisfied with this answer. Thrüx pulled a compound bow from her back. “Knight of the Morningstar! Identify yourself, your purpose, and why you have violated protocol in allowing a witness from outside the brotherhood witness massacre in the name of your faction!” The man removed his hood and raised his hands. His face was pretty; almost feminine in appearance. A little bit of scruff on his chin and his natural eyebrows, however, pegged him for a male. His hair lay six inches off his head, parting down the center, and layered in the back. His mahogany eyes shown with a natural wild look to them, as if Dajex were staring at a creature of the night. “Knight of the Morningstar; Xönel the Unborn, Organization member #1986. I am under direct orders from the Son of the Morningstar to retrieve this individual from the crash. She has value beyond either of our lives; you would do well to let her live.”
“Well dammit, Xönel, if you just told me it was you, there wouldn’t have been a problem,” she spoke as she replaced her bow behind her. “So who is this one?” she asked, bobbing towards the two. “I don’t know, but for right now, we need to return to Stone Tower,” he replied.
“Don’t I get any say in this?” Dajex asked.
“No,” Xönel replied bluntly. “You are a slave, you have no rights.”
“Excuse me?!” she argued. “I am no slave, demon. Show a little respect.”
Xönel’s hand quickly met her neck, and lifted her off the ground. She felt her feet dangle in the wind and the crush of his fingers around her neck. She began to suffocate and black out.
Her head fell and slammed against the cavernous ground of Hell. “Uhn…” she groaned, regaining her senses. His eyes gazed down at her with apathy. “You are weak,” he began. “You will know your place, slave.”
“What…are you…?” she gasped.
“I’m a fucking demon. Do you think I care what happens to you?” he replied as he strapped a black ribbon-like collar on her neck, frilled along the edges and adorned with crosses dangling on chains. “You ready to go, Thrüx?” he asked.
“Anytime you are. I’ll cover your escape,” she spoke. “Angel, the stone tower is about seven kilometers to the north of here. You will at least be safe there.”
Xönel grabbed the leash attached to the slave collar on Dajex’s neck. “We’re going now.”
Dajex ran along, trying her best to keep up. She wondered if maybe she could use her feathers to kill him, but she was unsure if she would make it on her own without him or Thrüx to back her up. Through the rocky terrain, a petrified wood, and around an acidic lake, they ran at what seemed like a dead sprint. Dajex began to feel tired, and her body wanted to throw up.
Finally, they all stopped. Dajex fell to the ground and panted. Xönel fiddled with one of the rocks, and the rock face began to break open, revealing a darkened cage.
“Get in,” Xönel spoke. The demon pulled on her leash; she gagged and fell on the floor. She looked up from her knees, holding her neck. As the rock face closed, she looked up to her two captor demons. The girl known as Thrüx smiled, as if nothing was wrong with anything that just happened. The man known as Xönel, however, stared down at her with dead eyes. Their half-shut look was almost terrifying to her. He seemed to say “you are a burden. Learn your place.” She kept her eyes locked with his terrifying gaze until the rock face closed, and darkness enshrouded her.
Dajex crawled over to a corner and huddled down inside it. The cage was far too small for her to stand in, and the cage was covered by a thick, strong blanket. She held her knees towards her body; and began to rock back and forth. “What’s he gonna do to me?” she whispered to herself. “Who is this guy?” Nothing. “Why did he lock me up?” There was no answer. “Is this my eternity…to be locked in here forever?” She asked the questions to the unresponding darkness. Tears flooded down her cheeks as she began to giggle hysterically. “Ah…this is how it ends…” she snickered. “This is my eternity now. How delightful! It’s so beautiful down here…and all the pain is all so dull…I can’t feel it at all! It’s just like heaven! Hahahahahaaa…” she smiled insanely. Her mind was breaking; her spirit became torn, and everything she ever thought she was became nothing but a memory. It was there, in her spell of insanity, her eyes began to see…perhaps she was not insane at all, but simply enlightened to everything she had always known in her heart to be true; that everything that had happened, and everything that was to happen, all fit into place in Deity’s plan. Perhaps it was her desperation, but somewhere in her heart, she thought more clearly than she had ever dared before. “Maybe…he can be killed,” she whispered to herself. “Maybe Deity isn’t all-powerful,” she continued. “All-powerful is impossible,” she began to think in her madness. “Even if he could create a mountain that he himself could not climb, that would render him within a limitation of reality, unable to climb the mountain. If he could climb the mountain, then he would be rendered useless within the context of creation of something he couldn’t do.” She thought just a bit longer, and came to this conclusion: “Deity’s power is second to that of paradox. Now then…how does one create a paradox?”
She thought. For hours, she thought, until finally, without an answer, she keeled over to the ground, ready to be resigned to an eternal sleep within a lonely cage. Her last plea she bestowed upon the merciless void was a song. She sang as if pleading through an old Hymn that she might have known once upon a time, and let her voice ring in her cage.
“Here I am…here I am…Isn’t it odd?
Forsaken by demons, forgotten by God…
Angelic dreams, Heaven’s wings scream forth in Hell
Alone as I cry, as alone I fell.
Captured by the devils eye, lusting at me.
Blinded by the darkness, unable to see…
Fallen from grace for all eternity…
My god, why have you abandoned me…
My God, my God…oh why have you abandoned me?!
Dajex was awakened by the sound of commotion all around her some time later. Through a three centimeter hole in the curtain around her cage, a light shined through. It’s dim, flickering light seemed to be from a very, very old chandelier which she could make out through the hole. The light passed into her cage, and as her eyes re-adjusted, she saw a silhouette of some small bunch of objects. She crawled over to them and picked them up gently. The shadow outlined six roses, clipped and well tended. She held them to her bosom and lay back down. However, within seconds, the curtain on her cage lifted. She held her left hand up to her eyes, shielding herself from the light of the chandelier. Dim though it was, it was the brightest source of light she had seen since arriving in Hell. Torches surrounded the cavernous room where she lay within a cage. A smooth marble floor reflected black and red in response to the open fires from the wall. The room was as long and as wide as a European Football field, and Dajex sat where the south goal would stand. Opposite her, where the other goal would have lain, a large wooden door, carved with care, full of images etched into the mahogany. Lying on the ends of what would have been the half-field line, there were two iron doors leading to unknown areas of the structure in which she lay. At the edges of the cavernous room were dozens of cages, some empty, but most inhabited by what seemed to be naked humans, some alone, but others paired with a “mate.” They lacked the sharp teeth, metallic eyes and more defined hair that the demons possessed, but lacked the wings and heavenly glow of the angels. They looked more human than anything else; but no human bodies ever came to the afterlife; only the spirit.
A voice began to speak; the mahogany doors opened slowly. “Good morning my fellow Hellions and fallen friends! Today is a great day to be dead and burning in Hell!” it shouted enthusiastically.
The cage doors opened; the humanoids crawled outside. Dajex didn’t move. She sat huddled in the corner of her cage under the gold cloak she still possessed. Don’t see me, she thought. Don’t see me…please…
She heard the sound of footsteps just outside her cage.
“She killed demons? She looks so weak,” one voice spoke. It was the same voice that had been booming through the great hall.
“She did,” a familiar male voice replied. “But now that she doesn’t know who her friends and enemies are, she doesn’t know who to kill. She’s just confused.”
“Well you WERE pretty rough with her yesterday, weren’t you Xönel?” a female asked.
“I did what needed to be done,” Xönel replied. “I got your angel here in an efficient manner.”
“So you did, Xönel,” the first man laughed. “So you did. But you can drop the militant attitude now; your mission is over.”
“I know, Tyrlex,” Xönel began. “It’s just how I bounce.”
“Xönel, never say ‘bounce’ in that context ever again,” the female replied.
“Thrüx, when I want your opinion, I’ll ask for it,” Xönel replied.
“Hey now! That’s not nice!” she retorted.
“Thrüx, stop global warming and shut up,” Xönel shot back.
“See? Now she’s pouting!” Tyrlex spoke. “You went and broke her fragile ego!”
“Oh c’mon Thrüx! You know I love ya!” Xönel replied jovially.
“Sempai hates me!” she replied in a faux-sulking manner.
Dajex pulled the cloak from her face and looked up. “Wh…what are you?”
Xönel looked at her. “I told you. I’m a demon!” he spoke calmly.
“Then how are you…so…” she uttered, unsure of how to word herself.
“Normal? Jovial? Humorous even?” he replied with a smirk.
Dajex looked at him, as if to say “Yes, but I didn’t mean it to be offensive.”
Xönel, Dajex, and Tyrlex laughed in good nature. “You must have scared the bajeezus out of her, Xönel! She’s terrified,” Tyrlex snickered.
“Oh, you should have seen him,” Thrüx began. “He was all like ‘I AM ALPHA MALE!!! HEAR ME ROAR!!!’ It was amazing!”
“I was not THAT bad!” Xönel defended.
“Oh bull crap, Sempai,” Thrüx replied.
“Girl, I will destroy you!” Xönel snapped.
“You know,” Dajex interrupted, rather infuriated, “Between cloaked demons, murdering demons and demons trying to clip my wings, I think I’ve been a pretty damned good sport about all of this. Could you please tell me WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!”
The three stopped and looked in her cage. “Just like you, Xönel. Always straight to business,” Tyrlex replied.
“I AM NOTHING LIKE HIM!!!” she shouted.
“Relax, slave,” Xönel retorted. “There are worse demons you could be compared to.”
“But let’s not dwell on this,” Thrüx intervened before this argument could get worse. “You desire and explanation? I will give one to you.”
“No parables! I want the truth exactly as it is!” she demanded.
“This is Hell, slave,” she spoke gently, slowly crawling towards her. “No lies, no tricks. Just the painful and honest truth of things.”
Two of the humanoids from the cages crawled towards her cage on their hands and knees. “Mistress! You haven’t paid any attention to me today!” one of the two girls spoke. “And after all she did!” the other pouted.
“Patience, my pet. I have a story to tell!” Thrüx replied.
“Oh Story time!” the first one spoke.
“Y-you!” Dajex stammered. “You are the fallen angel from the second layer! You were…raping an angel with…a toy!” she spoke, a little disgusted.
“You remember? I’m flattered!” the fallen angel spoke. “My name is Rastlykx, Slave of the Eternal Pyre. I am in servitude to Lady Thrüx.” She stood about the same height as Dajex; perhaps a centimeter or two shorter, and had a strong build. Her skin was smooth and her Easterling eyes as gold as the sun. However, her peculiar feline ears and thin layer of fur, and a long black tail gave her away as a half breed. Her hair hung in loose curls to her back.
“Then you are…?” Dajex continued, as she looked at the other female fallen angel.
The blonde haired slender female with deep blue eyes who had healed Dajex’s body sat on her knees in front of her. Her skin on her face was fair, signifying her original race as a Northerling. However, her skin began to discolour to a blue-green at her neck, and artistically blended into iridescent blues and greens through her torso, giving her the effect of wearing a one-piece swimsuit, save the definition of her breasts and her reproductive organs. “I’m glad you made it,” she spoke softly. “My name is Rak-Xime, Slave of the Morningstar. It is an honor to serve you.” She bowed her head lower than hers. “Though you be a slave now, too, you are now the headmistress of Lord Xönel, my master. And more importantly…you may be the key that unlocks the gates of Hell. I am in your debt.”
“Wh…what is this?!” Dajex spoke.
“Just as she said,” Xönel replied. “You are my headmistress now. Though you both will be more important than any demon in the coming age, this would all be for nothing if we could not obtain you.”
“I don’t understand…” Dajex spoke, calming a bit, but still intimidated.
“The gather around,” Thrüx interjected. “I will tell you the story that we know thus far…”
All gathered around Lady Thrüx. “As all stories like this begin, it all begins once upon a time in the world of Terra. The one you know as Deity, whose origin remains unknown, came across the world known as Terra. We do not know why He chose to create life on it, or if it was Him who created life. All we know is, for as far as the Terran Race can remember, the idea of Deity’s Rule has been fixed in the minds of all. There was never a question; Deity knows all, Deity sees all, Deity can create and destroy all with but a whim.
You have read His book, the Holy Charge of the Almighty. You can read the stories, the words, the parables, the wars, the miracles, and anything else you desire to find. However, no where in this book does it say the following; that Deity is eternal, or unbeatable.”
“You mean to say,” Dajex spoke, “that Deity can be killed?”
Thrüx laughed. “No no no! No one can be killed more than once, silly! You are already dead if you are here! However,” she turned somber. “He can be DEFEATED. That is to say, if a creature in the afterlife ‘dies,’ he or she is sent to one of three places. One is the Gates of Heaven, the second is the Clinic of Purgatory, and the third is the Reworks; a place that is known as ‘real Hell.’ It’s the place where you hear about when you read The Holy Charge. Torture devices, fiery pits, writhing, hacking, burning, and a world of unpleasantries that I would never wish upon anyone; even Deity Himself. It makes sense that an angel, spirit, cherubim, or other ‘angelics’ would be sent to Heaven’s Gates. Likewise, Demons, Fallen Angels, and other ‘demonics’ would be sent to the Reworks. Finally, those whom Heaven is unsure, or really, who they feel can be manipulated into guarding Heaven from Hell, should the case ever arise, would be sent to the Clinic of Purgatory.
However, the point is not where you go after you ‘die again.’ The point is simply to point out that Deity is not all powerful. Logically, he cannot be all powerful.”
“Wow. It’s like you read my mind! I was just thinking this last night,” Dajex interrupted.
“Actually, you were reading our minds,” Thrüx replied. “Here in Hell, we may not be psychic, but reality only exists in a weak stature. While we may not break the rules of reality, we can bend them to our will. Dormant telepathy is one of these traits. If you thought this, than surely you have come to the same conclusion; Deity is at the very least, second to the power of Paradox.”
Dajex nodded. “But how do you utilize a paradox?” she asked.
“Up until recently, within the past fifty Terran years, we were wondering the same. We poured through the texts, the religious documents of The Holy Charge, as well as the texts that have been forgotten by man. Finally, on a spark of intuitive genius, a fallen angel named Nejinx found a little rule that had slipped through the cracks. As you know, magic, conjuring, witchcraft and other forms of ‘supernatural’ power are forbidden by Deity. This, in and of itself, meant nothing. However, a word came up in one translation that had been avoided deliberately throughout Terra at the time that the Charge was written. That word was ‘alchemy.’ Now stay with me, this is where it starts getting good. Finding a shaman who had been sent to Hell was not hard; even if they had not practiced witchcraft in life, many have taken to such magiks after death as a means of survival. This was not hard. However, finding a well-learned set of physicists was a little trickier. The geniuses you know from life such as Descartes and Einstein are, in fact, here in Hell for their ‘blasphemous ideas.’ However, they could not be accessed. They lived in their learning in life. It was their ambition. Because of this, their torture was deprogramming and loss of all knowledge they had obtained in life. This was unusually cruel for The Damned to do to these geniuses…it was what they loved most. Much like our two Patrons from the beginning of time, they chose to access the fruit of knowledge, and were sent to Hell.
It was this that set Nejinx in a fit of genius. Magic was forbidden, and the fruit of knowledge was forbidden. Alchemy was the key. The mixture of technology and magic is a complete paradox. But as I was saying…technological experts were needed. Nejinx had a friend she had known in life, by the name of Thiekx. He was a demon who was a nuclear and mechanical engineer. A genius by all standards. However, he was a kindly man who often gave credit for his own ideas to others. He was the man who actually invented the ‘Power Armour,’ that was used in about 2100 AD on Terra.”
Dajex looked very confused. “Well, I guess that was a bit after your time,” Thrüx continued. “But it all fit. Thiekx and Nejinx have been working tirelessly for the past half a century on this, and finally have developed a working set of alchemic processes.”
“So you have a way to defeat Deity?” Dajex asked.
“In theory, yes,” Thrüx replied. “In our experiments on former angelics, such as fallen angels, we have been able to prove this theory. We have also used this technique to bring down some angels that take little ‘business trips’ to Hell.”
“So why do you need me?” Dajex asked.
“You have wings,” Thrüx replied. “There is only one way out of Hell, and that’s up, little angel. While we may be able to bend the rules of physics according to our will, we have limitations. I’m sure you noticed that the top of Hell is about three kilometers above the first layer’s floor. We can jump no higher than a full kilometer on a good day.”
“So you want me to carry you out of Hell, at risk of my own well being and defying everything I have ever known?” Dajex asked, a little taken aback at their presumption.
“No,” Tyrlex spoke. “All we need are these.” He plucked two feathers from under her cloak; one down and one pinion. She squeaked in a hint of pain.
“You are free to leave and die as you see fit,” Xönel spoke. “Or, you are welcome here anytime you wish.”
“I thought I was a prisoner,” she uttered in annoyance.
“You have the option to leave at any time,” Xönel spoke. “You are not a prisoner, but if you choose to live here, you will remain as my headmistress. No one is here against their will.”
“I’m sorry? These people choose to live like this?” Dajex asked.
“Yes,” Rak-Xime spoke. “I am here because living as a slave here is far better than trying to make it on my own.”
“You are serious?” Dajex asked.
“Yep yep!” Rak-Xime replied.
“So…what’s your name anyway?” Thrüx asked.
“Oh. My name is Dajex,” she replied, but then she threw her hands over her mouth in surprise. “T-that’s not my name!”
“That is correct,” Tyrlex replied. “One of the curses of Hell is that we are no longer able to say our own name. Some kind of bullshit idea, trying to break us of ourselves by taking our name and putting the Devil’s Mark in it. Ridiculous, right?”
“But for now, that is your name,” Rastlykx spoke. She bowed in honor. “Welcome to Stone Tower; base of operations for The Knights of the Morningstar and The Sisters of the Eternal Pyre.”
“How come my wings didn’t get healed, Rak-Xime?” Dajex asked.
“Simply put? I didn’t have the time,” Rak-Xime replied. “Besides, mending broken wings isn’t like mending broken bones. Something a little more personal is required.” She held out her hand to Rastlykx. “If you please, good slave.”
Rastlykx’s claws extended and slashed the palm of Rak-Xime’s hand. A trickle of blood ran down to the ground. She placed her palm in front of Dajex. “Drink, just a little bit. Dragon’s blood has wonderful healing power.”
Dajex turned in disgust. “No!” she declared.
“Oh for god’s sake, when will you newbies learn that it’s not all vampires and zombies?” Xönel retorted. “Drink the damn blood so your wings will heal properly.”
Dajex looked hesitantly at the group. All seemed to agree that drinking the blood was the right idea. “Alright…I’ll do it…”
She licked the palm of Rak-Xime’s hand. Her life-force Htasted sweet in her mouth for some reason, and when she felt it trickle down her throat, she felt herself relax into a sort of bliss. Suddenly, a sharp jolt shot through her wings. Three more followed in succession as she twitched in pain. But as the last one faded, she felt her wings rebuilt and renewed as strong as they had ever been. “Wow…” was all she could utter.
“Hm…” Rak-Xime muttered, whist trying to find something to wipe her wound with.
“Here,” Dajex spoke as she removed her golden cloak. “Use this.” She expanded her wings and stretched them out, as if just waking up from a long nap.
The entire room, noisy with chatter before, fell to a deafening silence. All stared at Dajex. She felt very awkward as the group gazed at her wings. She thought she could see a glimmer of joy in their eyes as smiles took to their faces.
Tyrlex spoke to the peering eyes with a smirk. “I told you it was a good day to be in Hell.”
The hall erupted with laughter, cheers, and other sounds of jubilation.
“What is that about?” she asked.
“According to them, you hold the future of the entire universe, both the living and the dead, in your hands,” Xönel replied. Whether you choose to fight or no, you have given us the means to fight Deity. You have given hope to those who have been condemned to an eternity of suffering. I think they are entitled to cheer.”
Dajex looked about as the demons celebrating in her presence. She was still uncertain about the whole situation; to be in the presence of demons and now-fallen angels; it was everything that she had been told was wrong and sinful. Nakedness, carnal desires, vampirism, magiks and alchemy; she didn’t know what to think. And yet, she felt more appreciated as a slave in Hell than a free woman in Heaven.
“So who is your master?” she asked Thrüx.
“I have no master,” she replied with a smirk. “No man’s gonna get ME down!”
“You do not have a husband?” Dajex continued.
“Nope!” Thrüx replied. “I am happier because of it!”
“Gender is not a big deal in this realm. You can be a woman and still have power. In fact, many of our females have male slaves that they keep around as…toys,” Xönel spoke with a grin.
“We are not so sexist as that asshole you call ‘Lord’,” Thrüx replied with hate in her voice.
She felt taken aback. She had always had disagreements with the teaching of Deity, but never had she heard someone speak with such hate towards Him. “You can just up and SAY that?! What if he heard that?”
“First of all,” Xönel spoke coldly, “he stopped listening to us a long time ago. He has the cruelty to cast us down here, but He still has a slight conscience. It makes Him uneasy to hear the sound of what goes on down here. He chooses to block it out so that He can sleep better at night. And second of all, what more is he going to do to us, hm? He has already condemned us to damnation. For all intents and purposes, this is the lowest one soul can ever be.”
“Why do you hate Him?” she asked.
Tyrlex spoke first. “I was never given a choice or a chance. I was condemned to Hell because I was the product of a human and The Morningstar. Surely you know of him; he is called The Undead Sun by you angelic types. The first of the fallen.”
She gasped. The son of the Undead Sun? She was associating with Morning-star Kin; she knew this to be punishable by eternal fire. Of course, she was already in Hell, but nonetheless, she felt very vulnerable.
“I hate Him because I was condemned here for being a Zion,” Thrüx chimed in. “Once upon a time, we were His chosen ones; now we are but eternal Hellions, doomed because of our having ‘killed’ His son. I did no such thing.”
“He threw me into the pit a long time ago,” Rastlykx spoke. “I was depressed in Heaven, as you can probably see.” She held out her wrists, bearing scars from knives and razors. “I was caught one day by my Husband. He turned me in and I was condemned to the fourth layer of Hell. As my crystal coffin began to crack under the pressure of the water, I felt the water come shooting inwards. The coffin hit the floor of the River Styx and shattered, leaving the water crushing me, and the wounds on my body bleeding out into the black water. Hands held me down…I was unable to move, and soon my blood ran out, and I was carried to the reworks. I awoke, barely able to move, still low on blood. But then they carried my body to a vat of boiling acid. They…tossed me in, and my wings were burned to the root. My skin began to boil off. They picked up what was left of me and re-grafted my skin to my muscles. It was…more horrible than anything I could have experienced on Terra.” She paused, a dark look in her eyes. “I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone! Not even the little fucker who laughed as I was screaming in the vat of acid! So why the Hell did it happen to me, huh?! I wouldn’t wish this fate upon Deity, who cast me down here to begin with! So why the fuck would a merciful god wish it upon me?!”
Rak-Xime went next. “My husband refused to touch me. The few times he did, it was unpleasant and unsatisfying. One day while I was taking a shower, I found that the shower head had other uses besides just getting one’s self clean. However, on one of those rare occasions that my husband wanted action, I was in the shower, doing what was most fun in the shower. He caught me. I begged him not to tell anyone. He agreed, and we had sex. However, afterwards, he left our house to go “talk to some angels.” When he came back, he was accompanied by fellow angels who labeled me as a sexual pervert and tossed me down here. I was raped and sodomized by several of those beast creatures. I became pregnant while in chains, and throughout the pregnancy process, was repeatedly raped by these creatures. I was then moved to a different area of the second circle, where tentacle creatures violated me without rest for days on end; all while I was still impregnated with the beast-like incarnation of the creature who raped me. As I felt their disgusting, slimy fluid inside me, I felt myself begin to contract. The creature who had raped me had been killed, and taken the body within my womb. It pushed itself out of my body, and used by broken body, basted with hellish semen, as food. It devoured me fully. The last thing I remember is my own blood from my legs flooding over my body. When I came to,” she continued with fiery anger in her eyes, “my wings were gone. The creature had devoured them long before it had gotten to the rest of me. They had reconstructed me. The Whitecoats laughed as they reconstructed my body; I was screaming the whole time as they fused my limbs to my body. They joked about how my screaming must be how I sound between the sheets, and how my legs, as they fused them back on, should stay off, because I was used to having my legs separated. They finally put me back together and tossed me outside the reworks, telling me to fend for myself and how I deserved what I got.” She scowled and turned back to Dajex. “That is why I hate Him.”
“I hate Him for many reasons,” Xönel began. “He plays with human lives like objects. Surely you recall the story in His Holy Charge about the man who was rich and righteous who lost everything. True, his riches were restored to him. He was not the victim. The victims were his wives, his servants and his children who had been killed in a bet with a demon. They never got to live the rest of their lives. They didn’t get their life restored. They were taken and never given back. All so that He could prove to a lowly demon that His servants were loyal to a fault.” He scowled. “As for me; what he did to me personally, was his condemning me to Hell for my love to another man.”
“You are gay?” Dajex asked.
“No. In fact, I prefer women. However, I am open to love in all its forms without exception of gender. And he…was a wonderful man.” He felt a little smile creep to his face. “He was my lord; a Westerling noble who had made his way to be the King of the Empire of T’zen.# The Alexandrian# Empire was always having brutal wars against us. He was a tall man of dark hair and strong build. I was his servant boy; beginning my service at the age of fourteen. He had already ascended the throne by age nineteen.” His voice trailed off. “That is neither here nor there. The Zionists attempted to conquer our nation. They failed. However, as we were a relatively free state, we allowed Zion refugees live within our nation. Many of them continued to attempt to convert us to their religion. It ended in the brutal assassination of my lord and lover, as well as the taking of my life. His punishment was to be cast into the darkness that not even Hellions step into. To step forth in the darkness would be to lose one’s self. I do not hate Him for this reason alone; I find his actions disgusting. I would never wish Hell upon anyone; not even the god that cast it upon me. If He is love, and love is merciful, than surely He would not grant eternal damnation upon anyone. He is a cruel god. I despise Him.”
“These are just a few stories. Every being in Hell, demon or angel, has a story. You might be surprised who you will find down here,” Thrüx spoke.
“I…can’t believe this,” Dajex spoke. “I think I need some time to think.”
“You are taking all this rather well, little angel,” Tyrlex spoke. “Take all the time you need. We have an eternity, after all.”
“Perhaps we should go for a walk,” Xönel said. “No chains necessary. I will address you as an equal, lady Dajex. I can give you a tour of the tower; no more stories or bashing of your Deity. Is that okay?”
“I think so,” Dajex spoke with a smile.
“Here,” Xönel spoke as he took off his cloak. “You wear this. I don’t want to cause any scenes, and your wings would attract a lot of attention.”
“Wh…what about you?” she asked, staring with a blush at his naked body. She stared at him, up and down. Though he was by no means sexually aroused, her eyes showed a hint of fear and admiration of him.
“And just what are YOU looking at?” Xönel asked with a slight smirk.
“Master, stop teasing!” Rak-Xime spoke with a grin. “You are horrible, you know that?”
“All I did was take off my cloak,” he laughed. “Perhaps you should wear it instead of holding it and staring at my rifle.”
She snapped out of it and pulled the cloak over her head, covering her blush in the hood.
“We’ll leave you two alone,” Thrüx spoke as she rolled her eyes.
“Master? Please don’t forget about me just because you have a new slave to have your way with,” Rak-Xime smiled with a blush, but also with a hint of sadness.
He beamed down at her with a gentle smile. “Fear not, slave. You are still my good little girl.” He stroked her chin with his hand, bent down and kissed her cheek. “Be a good girl while I’m gone.”
“Yes, master,” she spoke with a smile as she crawled back to her cage.
“Is she your…lover?” Dajex asked.
“She is my slave,” he spoke as they walked out. “She does what I ask her to do. That said, I would never harm or rape my slave.”
“So she…consents to you?” Dajex asked.
Xönel chuckled. “Only if she is in the mood. Although I cannot think of a time when she hasn’t been.”
Dajex stared at him in awe. “Oh relax,” Xönel spoke. “I would not lay a hand on you unless you asked.”
“Th-that is not what I was talking about!” she replied.
“Of course not,” Xönel responded as he walked towards a steel door on the side of the main chamber.
“With the exception of evacuation and sneaking around, we usually use these doors to get out of the basement here,” Xönel spoke. “We have all kinds of secret exits out of this place, but most of them are only used on the rare occasion that we have to sneak someone in or out.”
“Such as the one you threw me in?” she spoke with a slight bit of anger in her voice.
“I apologize for being so harsh, angel,” he spoke firmly, but genuinely. However, I am not one to mince words when the entire future of everything that you have ever known to be true or lie is on the line. Suck it up, angel. It’s Hell.”
She shot a look at him that would have killed if looks could slay the dead.
Xönel opened the door and stepped in. Dajex followed. Within was a small cement area, no larger than ten square meters. A nondescript stairwell that hugged the walls of the unusually tall square room seemed to climb upwards for kilometers.
“We are in the basement of Stone Tower, the HQ of our operations,” Xönel began. “These stairs will lead you anywhere within the first ten stories and the basement, of course.”
“How many stories does the tower have?” Dajex asked.
“Twelve, plus the basement,” Xönel replied as the two climbed the stairs. “Every one of the layers above the first floor is a surveillance floor that monitors the activity in Hell. The second floor monitors the first layer; the third floor monitors the second layer, and so on. The first floor is a grand foyer and meeting hall for all eighth layer residents of The Knights of the Morningstar and The Sisters of the Eternal Pyre. We have smaller citadels on every layer with a meeting hall, but only surveillance for their particular level. This particular citadel is the flagship of the other eight.”
“What is on the upper two floors?” Dajex asked.
“I can’t tell you that. It’s classified,” Xönel replied with a smirk. “Let’s step outside and locate ourselves in the grander scheme of things, shall we? I think you need to know where you are in the realm of Hell. I will tell you everything I know.”
The two walked up the stairs one story to the main level, Xonel leading her by a leash. “Sorry, policy and all that,” he spoke sheepishly. “I don’t want you getting attacked by our own.”
The first floor was almost identical to the basement auditorium, except for the lack of cages, and the large door was on the opposite side from the basement’s. This one was not mahogany, but pure onyx, seemingly pulsing with white energy coursing through its faults. On the end opposite of this door was a golden throne adorned with rare and valued gems of all kinds. It’s seat was covered by a plush velvet cover, and the back arose to about three meters higher than any being’s head could hold. A marble staircase a half a story high wrapped itself around the throne at a distance of two meters. The rest of the floor was lowered from it, and was finished with well made, but worn wood.
Xonel led Dajex through the door. He pressed his hand against it, and the pulsing lights flowed through the faults towards Xonel’s hand. He removed his hand, and the door resonated in familiarity with him, and creaked open. Dajex stepped outside after him.
“G’day, ladies and gents,” Xonel spoke to a couple of hooded figures just outside. The figures had their weapons aimed at Xonel and Dajex.
“Destination?” one spoke plainly.
“No where,” Xonel replied. “Taking my new slave for an orientation walk.”
The two lowered their guns “As you wish. Ensure that you stay within the safety boundaries of the tower. The Whitecoats are unusually restless today,” the other spoke.
“Yessir,” he replied plainly. “Shall we?” he asked Dajex. He held out his hand. She looked at him with a bit of uncertainty, but then took his hand. What else do I have to lose? she chuckled to herself.
Not more than a half a kilometer in front of the main door was a very steep cliff. The two stopped and looked over the scenery. “Everything the light touches is our kingdom!” Xonel cracked.
Dajex laughed for a moment, but then slowly became more somber. Her gaze began to turn quite sad as she looked about the new world she was to call home. The cliff showed her a great realm of thousands of random demons. Gunshots could be heard occasionally, but most demons seemed to have hand weapons. Many of the demons walked right on by as others were slaughtering each other. There seemed to be an unwritten rule about “if you are not involved, don’t worry about it.” Witness to crime doesn’t seem to have any effect in this realm. The realm seemed to extend well beyond her sight; not surprising given the millions of souls in this realm alone. A few kilometers beyond the cliff she stood on was a four kilometer wide crevice in the ebon-grey rock of the eighth layer; anyone who came to the edge of this cliff was shot on the spot from below. This appeared to be what led whatever unfortunate soul stupid enough to fall in to the ninth layer.
A loud bang snapped her out of her daze as a sniper from Stone Tower opened fire on an unidentified demon approaching the tower.
“Holy crap!” she cried as she ducked in panic. “What was that?”
“We have snipers all over the tower. If a demon without a brown cloak enters within a kilometer of the tower, we open fire with intent to kill,” Xonel began. “Only those with red or brown cloaks or those escorted by someone with a red or brown cloak are allowed within. After that, there are guards at both of the main entrances, and you must confirm your membership of either the Knights or the Sisters before you are allowed in or out.”
She turned back around at the tower. The base of the tower had four buttress-like pillars rising two score meters high on the four corners of the rectangle building. The building itself stood rather tall; hundreds of meters high, carved from the living rock of Hell. While it was no skyscraper, it certainly was the tallest structure she had ever seen. All around the seemingly rectangular building was a single walled ramp, which entwined its way up the tower subtly squeezing the tower into smaller dimensions the further it went upwards. By the time the ramp had reached the top floor, the dimensions of the tower has switched from the football field size it had been on the bottom floor to the dimensions of a split-level house. All on this fortified catwalk were dozens of armed figures in brown and red cloaks. Some had their weapons aimed at Xonel and Dajex. Dajex felt herself shake.
“Don’t worry,” Xonel spoke calmly. “That is their way of reassuring us that we are under their protection. It’s a sign of respect for them to aim at us, and it is a sign of trust that we allow them to aim at us.”
Dajex felt herself calm a little, but she did feel uneasy with the business end of a sniper rifle aimed at her.
“So what exactly is the deal with the Sisters of whatever and the Knights of the Undead Sun or whatever it is anyway? You guys seem to have a pretty tight organization,” she asked simply.
“These organizations are the best way to ensure that you don’t land yourself in the Reworks more often than is bearable. The Sisters of the Eternal Pyre are the women wearing brown cloaks. They are the largest Hell-faction, made up of the Lustful from the second circle, holding about 65% of the membership, and the Wrathful of the eighth layer, making up 30% of the Sisters. The rest are members of other circles that we have found trustworthy.” He smirked a bit. “The Treacherous of the ninth layer are the only populace not represented by either the Sisters or the Knights. They make for very poor allies, as I’m sure you can understand.”
She giggled a bit, despite herself. “And what about you and the other males?”
“I am one of The Knights of the Morningstar, the fraternal organization of the two. Similarly, we are also made up of the Wrathful and Lustful,” he spoke. “We, the two factions, have become family to one another, comrades, and often lovers as well.”
Dajex let a slight giggle and turned slightly red.
“Did I say something funny?” he asked, a sly grin creeping to his face.
“No…nothing,” she spoke through her laughter.
“Do you blush at the word ‘Lover’?” he jeered.
“No, I do not!” she blurted in a fit of giggles. Her wings began to flap joyously underneath Xonel’s cloak.
“Careful with those,” he spoke, still smiling. “You don’t want anyone to see those.”
“Oh, right,” she spoke a little more cautiously. She finished her fit of giggles and then calmed down to a more somber expression. She gazed out into the distance, and couldn’t help but notice the violence all around her. It seemed to get worse as she gazed further off to the horizon.
“Why is it so much worse out there?” she spoke as she pointed into the distance.
“The world you knew once upon a time, called Terra, was finite,” he began. “It was round and had an edge at the atmospheric break into the void of space. Hell works on different rules. It is flat. Or rather, every layer is a shallow hill. The hill comes to its peak around the ridge of the Great Chasm. This is the only physical connection between the layers of Hell. This subtle hill gives Hell the illusion of having a horizon. The realm of Hell is constantly expanding to make room for the new souls entering. While there is no ‘edge of Hell’ per say, there are lands we call ‘The Wyld.’ Stay with me here, this all has a connection to your question. The Wyld lands are in a state of chaos. They are not formed; they are simply existence in a form of non-existence. The further you go, the more chaotic it gets. This has many effects on demons and angels alike. Likewise, the further that you go beyond the horizon, the more quickly this change will occur. Many of the beings on the horizon are mutated, both mentally and physically. However long it takes for the chaos to take its toll, it will always have the same effect; a devolution into a mutated form of primal machine, unable to comprehend more than its natural needs. Most of the time, this involves the four F’s: Feeding fleeing, fighting, and fu--”
“I think I got it,” Dajex interrupted with a slightly embarrassed look on her face. “So that is the result of the devolution that takes place along the horizon?”
“Correct,” Xonel spoke. “We may be Hellions, but we still have rules to maintain some form of order over the realms of Hell. We cast the criminals who cannot abide by our rules beyond the horizon. They are to be shot on sight. There is a mark on their forehead; what you would recognize as ‘The Devil’s Number,’ 626. This is not the mark of the devil on his favorites, but rather those whom The Morningstar has cast out as unruly and thriving in chaos. Thus they are condemned to the incarnation of chaos beyond the horizon. Many wear white cloaks. You know of them; The Damned.”
“Oh right! The Whitecoats, right? What are they?” Dajex asked.
“They,” Xonel began, “are those who remain loyal to Deity even in damnation. Their name represents their own beliefs on how they are being tested and martyred in Deity’s name. However, to the rest of us, they are considered damned because they have a far worse punishment than any of us. They are so in denial about the cruelty of their god that they believe that righteous action in Hell will redeem them in the eyes of Deity.” He sighed in pity. “None of them have yet to be redeemed. I do not believe they ever will. They are violent zealots who are hell-bent on preaching His word in Hell, and ensuring His will, or rather, His dirty work, gets done. Sometimes a full-fledged angel will come down to Hell, but these are Deity’s most trusted minions; born and bred to believe in self superiority, and a devout belief that the torture of one’s soul is the road to redemption. They torture souls for enjoyment in the name of Deity. They can leave at any time they wish, however. They just need to fly up through the passage to Hell, the way you came.”
“How could He do this?” Dajex spoke. “What about the Prophet? Doesn’t he have anything to say about this? He preached mercy and order in life! He can’t let this happen!”
“He has no say in it, sadly,” Xonel spoke. “He is here in Hell, suffering for those who accept Deity’s ‘love.’ The Prophet was too kindly for Deity’s purposes. A hippy, really. Love all, serve all. He is a shining example of the best in humanity, with some godlike powers to back it up.” Xonel smiled. “We invite Him here to play poker once every few days. A kindly chap, really. However, a pacifist, and thereby wishes no part in our endeavor. Most of the time, He is trying to find a way to deliver his mother from her damnation; but that is another story for another time.”
Dajex couldn’t believe her ears! The Prophet in Hell with His mother? Angels coming to Hell to torture souls? “Angels torturing…it can’t be!” she began.
“Is something wrong?” Xonel spoke.
“You said that the layers of the tower are surveillance for their respective layers, right?!”
“Yes,” he replied calmly.
“Do you record these sessions?” she demanded.
“Yes, we do,” he replied with a look of sadness in his eye.
“I want to see them!” she yelled.
“I will show them to you,” he began. “But I tell you right now, I know exactly what is on your mind. Looking at the video will only show you exactly what that angel is like when he isn’t in heaven.”
“I cannot believe him capable of that evil! Prove to me that he isn’t like that!” she cried in a newfound state of panic.
“I can do no such thing. I can only show you the truth,” he spoke as he walked towards the tower, motioning to the guards that there is no need for alarm. “The level you desire to go to is on the third floor. Search under your last name; Norrington.”
She took off like a shot, not waiting for Xonel. She reached the doors forty meters before he did.
“Dajex,” he began.
Dajex stopped and turned to face him.
“Nothing I can say will prepare you for what you will see. It is infinitely worse that what you are daring to imagine him doing right now.”
“I must know,” she yelled as she turned and fled up to the second floor.
She came out of the stairwell’s door and flew directly to the room that said “archive.” She threw open the doors and stepped into the darkness of a chamber with thousands of devices. There were a few that seemed to be user-interface; they had a handprint on a small control panel. She slammed her hand on the print. “Show me angel Norrington’s most recent visit to Hell!”
“File found,” a mechanical voice spoke. “Transferring data.”
Dajex felt herself come to in a green-rocked area. In front of her stood hundreds of white-clad demons and fallen angels with their backs turned to her. She froze in panic. They kneeled.
“We have been waiting for you, my lord,” a female of Medi-terran descent spoke.
“Is my sacrifice ready?” a booming voice spoke. Dajex gazed wide-eyed at the formless haze of Deity Himself. Yet, he seemed not to notice her presence. In fact, no one noticed. She remembered the machine; this must be the recording! She sat in fascination of the scene around her and her being able to relive the entire thing.
“I-it is ready, my lord,” the woman spoke. “As you desired!”
“And I shall not forget your loyalty,” he replied.
“Who is that?” Dajex muttered to herself.
“She has no name,” Xonel spoke, placing a hand on her shoulder. “She is only known as ‘Deity’s Whore,’ here in Hell. She trades her body and the bodies of her fellow demons in the hope of salvation.”
A large cage filled with children sent to Hell rolled forth. Many were unsure, and even curious as to what was going on. Many others, however, sat as far away towards the back as possible, bearing a look of shame and terror on their faces. All of the children were girls, ranging from six to twelve.
(Author’s note: for those of you who can see where this is going, I’m very sorry. To be continued.)