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Fall From Grace

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Chapter 1: Freedom

He believed freedom meant being able to do whatever he felt like doing.

That was an absolute bliss to him, especially since he had the expanse of eternity on his side. And because of this infinity combined with his curiosity, Samael was far from ever being bored. He was content in his freedom, or just about. Curiosity was a funny balance of wanting and searching, and in one moment, Samael felt for something particular. He just couldn't put his finger on what it was. He gave it a good few moments to ponder on it, but eternity inevitably let the mind wander and soon he lost interest. There was time to figure it out later - He had a thing to do.

His Father's order had been plain and simple: Let there be light. Not that this gave Samael any idea on how to execute his Father's wish. However, as he drifted through the darkness of the freshly created universe, he felt it. The divinity rushing through him, tingling in every fibre of his being, the anticipation of the "next step" just at the tips of his fingers, waiting on him for direction. It felt truly marvellous.

Wings spread and arms raised, Samael channelled his divine energy forward. Feeling the gases connect, melting together and beginning to gleam from an immeasurable force. At his palms the heated mass formed from his will into a gigantic ball of blazing light. Joy began to fill each cell of his being as he watched, lowering his hands, the new creation ease into a steady glow. The smile on his face was equally brilliant.

Now there was light.

The first light in a sea of darkness.

"I did it Father!" Samael gasped in surprise and stared at his work, overwhelmed.

"As I had requested." God responded calmly, His presence humming in the space around Samael. "This is the Morningstar. The first star to shine its light into this realm."

"The Morningstar…" Samael breathed in utter fascination, watching as the star pulsated and he could have sworn it reacted to his own heart's rhythm. Or did it react to his will to pulse? Perhaps it was just his excitement and imagination playing tricks on him, but about one thing he was fairly certain:

The Morningstar was special.

And he had been the one to create it.

"Stop that, Samael!" his Father's voice echoed, sending spine-chilling vibrations through his body. "Your work is of purpose, but the star is not special and not yours. Continue with your task, until the universe is bright and ready for what is to come."

Completely tensed up and shaken, Samael felt his excitement dimming, his joy reduced to a small, helpless spark that threatened to be extinguished by another chiding.

"Yes, Father," he quickly muttered, blinking away tears. "Forgive me…"

And so Samael continued to create stars, effectively, yet with hardly the same excitement and joy than with his first creation. They were all perfect, but none of them felt as special as the Morningstar.

For a moment of his existence - it might have been months or decades or even millennia, no one could really tell - he had been busy wandering on his latest work. A rock tucked into a stars orbit, called Earth by his Father. And although his brother Michael had provided him with the material to built it, Samael considered the overall construction of Earth as his personal masterpiece. Because what would have been so special about a ludicrous mass of plain dirt, without him shaping it into something more?

He loved working on Earth. It was not at all like the Silver City, with its smooth edges and curved structures. The perfect example of static, constant and firm. Everything looked clean, tidy and… dull. But Earth was different. It was breathing. Living. Changing. He had to admit, his Father's wish on creating this natural cycle had seemed rather odd to him at first. Why would there be the need for things to wither, if new ones would replace them just the same afterwards? Why not have an immortal, everlasting nature?

He had asked his Father about it, but He had shooed him away. Vexed, Samael had left and decided to find the answer to his question about Earth himself.

So he travelled along his creation. His painted canvas. His artwork. The planet's surface was blue water with a green, massive continent embedded in it. The planet was capped the at lowest latitude with ice and snow, where he had shaped massive glaciers like abstract sculptures, towering over the freezing seas. A bold, neat piece from afar, but the charm was when you got up and close to see the details.

He soared along the highest peaks of rough cut stone and the thick, humid hills of endless green in the mid of the continent. Attentively he passed by some of the places he had made bare, with nothing left but a covert of warm, ocherous sand. Only a few spots he had sprinkled with water here and there, making the surface shimmer from the constant heat of his sun.

He took his time, even though the idea of time was hardly a logical construct to him. Observing this nature, as his Father had called it, he came to an interesting understanding of his surrounding: It was the cycle of life and death that ironically made nature immortal. Growing and dying, re-growing and dying once again, over and over within fascinating intervals of warm and cold periods. His creation was perfect, as was everything made in his Father's name, of course, but still it filled him with a sense of pride to know that he had been the one to create such beauty.

"Again with the pride, Samael." God's omnipresent, harsh voice rang from above and pulled him out of his thoughts.

Samael's body shivered as he passed by a mountain ridge. A heavy tremor rang through his wings, moving all throughout his bones and into the tip of each of his feathers, the power of God's voice overwhelming and causing his wing muscles to stop working. Spiralling downwards he hit into patch of rough plates of stone that cracked and crunched from the impact. He grunted and shook from the strength of his Father's power, but managed to carefully push himself back onto his feet, dusting off his robe.

"Have I not told you often enough to swallow and drown it? You are not to have it strike roots and cloud your perception."

God's Voice reverberated through Samael's core, anchoring him to the ground. A sudden urge sparked inside him, slowly crumbling his blind obedience towards God, and causing a rush of protest in his veins.

"Why not enjoy my work, Father?" he called into the skies, "It felt good! And it's my creation! Just like the stars are mine!"

"Guard your tongue, son!" His voice thundered, making the ground beneath Samael shake. "You do not own a single piece of dust and your pride is making you arrogant! Get back to the Silver City and watch over your younger siblings."

Samael stood to the grounds rumbling, his confusion apparent. How was it arrogance, when he was enjoying the fruits of his labour? His brows narrowed, an angry resistance building inside him. "You didn't answer me!"

"I do not need to explain myself to you, Samael! Now go home, or else."

"But… ," He felt one more burst of energy course through him, vibrating through his body and words. He braced himself, the rest of his words tumbling out quickly, "I don't want to watch over the fledglings now! I want to-"


His Father's voice roared inside his mind, forcing him to his knees. He watched as the rocks beneath him began cracking and breaking off at their edges, and for a brief moment he felt a sharp pinch of hurt inside his chest upon seeing the surface he had shaped break apart in his Father's might. Swallowing down his protest he complied and slowly rose to his feet, head hanging low. His strength for resistance gone.

"As You wish... Father," he sighed quietly and pushed himself off. Ascending, he gave Earth one last mournful look before bursting into the void to transition onto the realm of the Silver City.

He did not stay in the Silver City. Not for long anyway.

The ceaseless chores and obedience alongside his siblings had him drained of any joy and excitement. Even playing his pranks on his siblings couldn't keep him entertained for long. Especially knowing that, no matter what he did, it always seemed to anger his Father, ending up in him being reprimanded. Though at least that small amount of attention was better than nothing.

Instead, he rather spend his time on Earth, even though he knew he would be taken back through the power of his Father at some point. Here at least he could pass the time with his curiosity rather than feeling stuck all the time.

He would watch as Earth would turn through its nature cycles on and on. He'd marvel about the beauty of his creation that had found its ways to perfect itself with each spin it made. Although he did feel something missing. Not on Earth in particular, but a feeling he had towards it. It wasn't truly his anymore. The once so raw chaos of Earth had now calmed down all on its own. The cycle of life and death he had implemented by his Father's wish, caused nature to be a fully independent force on its own. The pride he had once felt at its moment of creation had dimmed and Earth wasn't making him happy like he wanted to be.

It didn't help when his Father had shown off His latest project and plopped the lifeforms on the planet, displaying to Samael how they perfectly fit into the natural cycle and began to develop on their own. He spoke in length of these creatures, with such affection and delight, and said nothing to Samael on his work with the planet. The conversation left him with a odd feeling, an uncomfortable yearning that came out of nowhere.

Omniel, one of his younger brothers assigned to watch these new creatures, said they're evolving. He told Samael about the lifeforms having become massive creatures by now, dominating land, sea and air. They were very impressive to look at once Samael stood face to face with them. He found them to be enjoyable companions to observe and play with, even though they seemed to be more interested in eating rather than playing with him. But he didn't mind, as he was aware their rows of sharp spiked teeth could not harm his skin. The ones he particularly enjoyed to play with were the big flying creatures Omniel called Ornithocheirus.

He had watched them as they travelled all over the ocean onto the other side of the planet, in order to find a place to perform a special mating ritual. Calling out for female partners, ready to impress them with their size, strength and, amusingly, their colourful ridge on their long beaks. Apparently the rule was "the bigger the size and brighter its colour, the better" in order to succeed at finding a mate.

He took his time, once, to follow one of the male creatures on its journey. Watching from afar as it fought its way over the stormy sea, snapping for fish without stopping, pressing further towards its set goal. He could see the creature becoming weaker on its journey and it went to its absolute limits, but it never caved in. It always continued to travel, only taking breaks were absolute necessary and never was it dawdling, driven by its inner compass and programming to procreate; To become immortal by creating life.

It was fascinating. Seeing such endless determination, the will to keep on going onto this bizarre and ruthless journey, even when the creature was old and fragile and close to dying. It was taking the risks, no matter what. It would die without regrets, having taken the journey to get the chance to create offspring one last time.

Nobody forced it to make the journey. It simply felt the unwavering need to do it, no matter what. Pushing on and on with a seemingly endless amount of willpower, free from disapproving looks and demeaning judgements.

He knew that feeling. That Curiosity: like an invisible force it was his engine, pushing him forward, upward. His path to joy and fulfilment. His freedom… But he was not allowed to be curious. To ask questions and to explore. In fact, he was reprimanded for exactly that by his Father.

No… I'm not free, he realized with a wave of bitterness. And neither are my siblings.

Then what was this freedom he was following this entire time? This feeling that sparked at his lighting of the universe? He felt the craving to embrace it ever since he could remember being created. He craved to know, to understand.

He was aware that his Father knew everything, which was the reason why Samael continuously sought his presence. However each time Samael tried to approach Him and ask for guidance, God dismissed him. Reminding him to continue his duties and if he was in need of comfort, to seek it from his Mother instead. But Samael was sure that his Mother wasn't the right person for his questions, as he was looking for information and not coddling. By that point Father would end the conversation and disappear to his study. He and his siblings heard less from Him and it was a rare sight to see Him out of His study nowadays.

His Mother tried to make up for God's absence, but Samael could tell She was heartbroken from the neglect. He went to Her one day with his soul hurting and in desperate need for a healing embrace. But when Her presence, bright with warmth and love, tenderly enveloped him, it felt harsh and bitter to touch and left him stinging. Her soothing words were tinged with grief and rage, and he realized just then, that even his Mother was not the comfort he needed or wanted.

So Samael continued to persist in his Father's company. He had made it to the study and quietly snuck into the room to catch a glimpse of God's newest project. He was noticed right away, which didn't surprise him as God was omniscient, but he noted gleefully he made it in two steps more than the last try. Progress.

As he was pushed out the room by his Father, Samael managed to take another peek at the project. From what he had observed so far, the creature God was relentlessly working on looked rather similar to Samael and his siblings. But it was far less graceful in its movements and even without wings, with no possibility to fly. Always walking... The idea of the little creature not being equipped with wings truly made Samael wonder.

"Why did you not give him wings, like you did to us?" he asked, as his Father continued to guide him out of His study.

"You really do not give up on your questioning, do you, son?" God muttered as Samael turned to face Him, both standing at the threshold. "He lives a different life than you. And Earth is not like the Silver City. He does not need wings. They would limit him."

Samael tilted his head to the side, looking puzzled.

"Limit him? But… that makes no sense." Samael looked back into the study before turning to his Father and continued, "Without the wings he is less agile, cannot pass a distance in a short amount of time and will be hindered from so many obstacles in his way. How would a set of wings limit him?"

Thinking about it, Samael pitied the little thing. This creature didn't know the pleasure of warm winds ruffling your feathers, pushing you higher through the sky, and how it brushed over your skin as you cut through the clouds.

"It's not always about the physical possibilities, Samael. It's also about the emotional experiences when your body is at its breaking point. Especially the emotional burdens." God explained cryptically, looking down at His son. "The human has something else that expands his boundaries and makes up for the missing wings."

"Human..." Samael repeated the creature's name with a new spark of curiosity and tried to catch another glance around his Father. "What does he have? What did you give him?" he asked, biting his lip. His dark eyes expectantly travelled upwards to look at his Father's expression again, the height of Him easily forcing Samael to crane his neck back to see better. He stared expectantly.

God's aura pulsated and a moment of quiet tension spread between them. "Free will," was His answer.

There was a small shimmer in God's eyes with the words that Samael immediately caught, but wasn't sure what to make of it. Amusement? Irritation? Sorrow? Samael couldn't decipher it, but he was intrigued. What did His Father mean? Instead of wings, He gave the human creature free will? Was free will making the human mobile, he wondered. Before he could ask, his Father took an effortless hold onto his robe's neckline, and carried him into the adjacent hall, opposite of the study.

He knew there was no point right now to ask more questions, for now. His Father had certainly picked up on the countless questions buzzing in his mind, but he was confident that he would get his answers from Him. He would not stop until he'd understood everything he wanted to know. Samuel was shaken from his train of thought as God released him, feet making soft contact with the floor. He watched, adjusting his robes, as his Father turned back towards the study. Suddenly a thought formed and Samael's final question echoes into the room.

"Did you give it to us? Free will. Do we have it?" Samael hesitantly called out, but God continued to step deeper into the study. "Father!? Answer me! Do we have it?" He started to run after Him, his body trembling from the growing realization. He frantically called out for a response. "Will you give it to us after the human!? Will we get free will from you?" The archway to the study began to glisten with a transparent film at first, but then abruptly shifted into a smooth marble wall as he was in fingers distance, sealing the study and effectively shutting him out.

"FATHER!?" Samael slapped his hands against the cool surface, the sound echoing in the hallway. He knew the conversation was done, but a small part of him held out for a response nonetheless. He stayed in the hallway, hands braced on the wall, waiting for an answer he knew wouldn't come. The only result from his lingering was the growing yearning inside him, and it was suffocating.

Anger crept up inside him. Why was it his Father hadn't answered? Had he been right? Had they truly not been created with free will? With freedom? Because, he was sure, if God had, He would have said so. His conclusion was rather simple. God decided for His immortal children to not be truly free, but instead gave freedom to the wingless little human. And it seemed that his Father never even intend to give him and his siblings free will either. It felt unjust. But did He not always say He was just?

Had He lied to them all?

Samael took off, confused and hurt. In silent suffering, he returned to his sanctuaries on Earth. He enjoyed the changing temperatures of night and day, the humidity and sounds created by the wind rushing through the forests and across the sheer mountain peaks. This was a much more pleasant place to be in, than the endless boredom of the Silver City, with its corresponding chores attached to it and, of course, Father's harshness, anger and neglect towards his curiosity. Here he actually experienced joy. His illusion of freedom. Until he'd be forced to return. As always.

God continued His work on the humanity-project and eventually had put two specimen on Earth in a secluded garden in the middle eastern hemisphere of Earth. Samael had yet to figure out where this garden was, it was nowhere near his usual haunts, but was pretty sure it was in one of the newer landmasses that had ripped itself off the main land. Samael, yet to be deterred in his curiosity, found God in his study and asked about the two humans. God looked at him with an almost askance expression, but answered his question. He explained that the male now had a companion, which was very different in form from the other. When Samael persisted, God gave him a wary glance and clarified.

"A female… I know you want to see her, son, but you may only watch from above. Do not interfere."

"I wouldn't dream of it... Father," Samael quipped back with a dark look, flaring his wings to fly away. Before he could push off, God turned fully to face him.

"You are to love the humans, Samael," God's voice suddenly rang inside the study.

Samael flinched, quickly recovering with a quiet scoff.

"Love them?" He ground his teeth, his hands curling to shaking fists at his sides. Had his Father no decency? No idea about what He was demanding of him? He, who never had shown a single drop of affection towards His children, especially not him. And now He had the guts to order him to love something that would not even love him back.

His own thought process suddenly made him freeze and his eyes began to water, a painful thought nestling in his mind and slicing into his heart. The humans might not be the only ones who don't love him back.

"Yes. Love them. You and your siblings are to love them more than you love me. You are to be kind to them, guide and help them on their way to greatness."

Samael's jaw locked - He couldn't respond. His chest and throat had tightened to the point it hurt and so he turned away from his Father and took off without another word.

Heaven wasn't the same for him after that. The thought of his Father having granted this new species actual free will, something he hadn't given any of his angelic children, gnawed at his thoughts. Until it buried into his immortal soul, and settled like a blight on his essence. Samael's inner distress showed in little things - his speech became sharp and scorning, his posture less open. His very light twisted from a soft warmth into a bitter heat, but his family was oblivious to his deterioration and suffering.

In fact, as obedient and loyal children, Samael's siblings reacted with similar contempt to his rebellious behaviour as their Father. They shunned and ostracised him from their gatherings, ignored him in conversations and even berated him to his pranks. Samael was soon forced to linger at the edges of the Silver City, where he could rest from the constant scorn. All the while bound to watch his brothers receive their fair-share of attention and affection from Him.

Samael knew that he was crumbling under the loneliness, but he was for sure not going to apologize for his curiosity. It would mean nothing in the end. But he wanted his brothers attention back, so he decided to take baby steps and offer to assist his brothers with their assignments. With one exception; Michael was an ass and Samael knew he'd be losing more then his sanity trying to get that brothers affect back. So for the rest of his siblings he ended up doing boring things like training the fledglings or writing down transcripts of God's words. The tasks were endless and growing in complexity. Designing the process of transcending souls to heaven was the most recent project he helped in, but it left him troubled.

The assignment had led him to retreat to the outer corners of the Silver City. Feet dangling off one of the outermost towers, he stared into the celestial distance. Wondering if his Father planned to bring the mortals into the realm of light, once they passed away. Would He grant them an eternal afterlife amongst angels? After they already had their life of free will? How exactly did the humans make use of their free will anyhow? What was a female human? And what was it, that had his Father so obsessed with these little, insignificant creatures to whom He gave so much more than His own children!?

He didn't know. And that just made the pain worse, because he felt that there was no way he could appease his siblings or his Father, not in a way that felt right for himself. The Silver City didn't feel like home for a long time and so Samael disobeyed. All of them. Pulling himself away and out of heaven's confines, descending to Earth and seeking out the answers himself.

Dipping through a set of fluffy clouds he aimed for what his Father had named the Garden of Eden. At once he felt the protection around the garden, not giving him the possibility to simply fly inside from above. Skimming the area he spotted what seemed to have been marked as the entrance and landed gracefully. In front of him was a broad ornate golden gate, crested with images of petals, vines, and grapes. Atop of the gate, Enochian runes were carved delicately into the metal frame and gleamed with divine light, reading: The Garden of Eden - Humanity's Paradise.

He licked his lips in nervous excitement. This was the only place he could think of where he could get answers to the buzzing whirlwind of questions swirling back and forth in him. And he was determined to get what he came for.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: Eden

Inhaling a deep breath, Samael took the last few steps towards the gates. He looked at its guardian Gadreel. His leather armour was embellished heavily with images of his assignment; carved with cascading ferns and vines that branched from a gate, stamped deep into the centre of the chest piece. In his right hand was a deadly mace, an impressive weapon that was polished to the point of blinding and held with reckless confidence. Samael saw his brother's mastery in the weapon. Gadreel was definitely dressed for the role, the image of intimidation, but bore him no threat.

He hadn't taken part in the bullying and seclusion towards Samael. Gadreel wasn't unkind to his brash and cocky behaviour, but would often find himself curious about the things the archangel spoke about.

As Samael approached, Gadreel tensed, gripping his mace and spread his wings fully. Black-green feathers rustled softly from the movement and stood striking to the gates they shielded. He tilted his head at Samael, confusion just visible in his voice as he spoke.

"Brother? What are you doing here?" he asked, a soft frown gracing his features.

Samael stood a comfortable distance from his younger sibling, hands relaxed at his side.
"I just wanted to catch a glance on Father's new creation," he explained gleefully, barely containing a little excited hop where he stood. He folded his wings partly, pushing out a humid breeze as they settled behind him.

Gadreel slowly relaxed at his brothers usual chatter, his mace lowered and settling at his leg. Wings still flared at full mast against the gate, he let out a soft laugh, "You mean the female, Eve, yes?" Upon seeing Samael's eyes shifting to look past his wings, he let out another laugh, shaking his head in amusement. "You're so curious... Couldn't you watch from above?"

"Oh come on, brother!" Samael all but threw his arms up in the air, his outrage comical. "You know you can't see a thing at that height, through all that...greenery"
He gestured animatedly with his hands as he trailed the sentence. He leaned towards his brother, hands clasped together and looked at him imploringly.
"Would you let me see how this Eve looks like? Just for a moment…!"
Samael's lips curled into a sweet charming smile, knowing his ways of persuasion affecting a few of his brothers. "I'd be in your debt."

Gadreel eyed him with uncertainty, his smile vanishing. "Samael… You know Father's orders towards me regarding Eden." His tone held no humour, reciting with clear conviction, "No one is allowed to go inside without His permission."

Samael thought as much. Sighing, he stepped closer until he was near enough to place his hand on his brother's shoulder. Patting it fondly, he started to speak in a low tone, as if sharing a secret.

"Have you seen her yet? I've heard she looks very different from him - is that true?" Samael pressed on, his excitement never wavering. "Does she really have horns and hooves like a goat?"

"I…" Gadreel was clearly flustered, trying to hide a smile while still presenting a look of indignation. Finally gathering his bearings, he whipped his head to Samael, baffled. "Where did you hear that from?"

Samael's eyes twitched in suspicion, a smirk blooming across his face as leaned into Gadreel, moving his arm to wrap around his shoulders.
"You have seen her, haven't you?" Samael crowed in delight, draping himself on his brother who was clearly amused and equally berating himself.
"Oh by Raphael's locks, please just let me take a glance, Gadreel!" he playfully whined, his smirk brightening into a grin. Suddenly Samael dropped the grin, eyeing his brother sideways and speaking casually, "You know… the humans could also just decide to walk up to the gate and have a look at us!"

Gadreel looked back at him startled.
"Brother! You know that's ridiculous." He laughed the comment off, his smile resurfacing.

Samael continued to eye the gates over their shoulders.
"Oh, but is it?" Samael challenged him with a raised brow. "They have the freedom to do whatever they want, didn't you know?"

At that the smile on Gadreel's face dropped, pinching his brows in surprise. His voice was filled with wonder and puzzlement.
"How do you mean?"

Samael's playful tone dropped and became seriousness. He continued to keep his arm on Gadreel, his hand clutching the leather.
"Well, Father gave them free will. They can do whatever they want to do, as far as I know. They could also act against Father's wishes. So… they could just come over here and have a chat with us. I suppose they could even demand of you to let them leave, if they want to. They are not forced to stay, are they?" He spoke casually, his loathing and displeasure audible. He watched as Gadreel pulled himself away, removing Samael from his lax perch promptly, gawking silently a few feet aside before answering.

"I… I don't think they…" Gadreel licked his lips and tilted his head down, eyes unfocused and blinking frantically as he processed Samael's words. He shifted his weight from one foot to another, wings trailing behind his movement and weapon tapping his leg.
"What do you mean, they could act against Father's wishes? Nobody can do that."

Samael shrugged lightly before continuing, his tone becoming increasingly bitter.
"Well, they could, I guess. He made them free, Gadreel. Completely free. Not us. Them. They do not have to do what He demands." He could see his brother's mind racing; the rapid inner debate he was having and the thoughts he struggled with.
"Brother… I think… I think we need to take it. Father is not going to give it to us." he muttered, his voice turning more agitated as he spoke.
"He created them with it, and I think that He hasn't planned to ever give us freedom, to decide on our own. I think… we need to demand it. Fight for it, if necessary."

Taking in trembling, heavy breaths, Gadreel made a step closer, stopping just inches away from him. He was tensed and struggled with Samael's explanation, but never broke eye-contact. With a soft sway he tapped his mace against Samael's chest.
"You're talking about defying Father, Samael. All of us." he breathed in an anxious whisper, the weapon digging lightly into his brothers robe, "You can't be serious. He already knows your thoughts, brother. He knows the outcome of this-" But Samael cut him off.

"That's exactly my point, Gadreel." He spoke in the same anxious whisper, ending in a breathless hiss, as his hand wavered over where the mace had touched him. "Don't you see? He's making us stay His obedient, spineless minions, without having to do a damn thing, simply because we fear His power over us. We fear His rejection and his wrath, and He even demands for us to love them above Him!" His head shaking, he pushed the mace away and firmly grabbed at his brother's shoulder.
"But we don't have to - At least I don't want to. Just look at how little He cares about us… and how much time He keeps spending on these humans! He's not there for us when we need Him, So why follow Him at all?"

"Samael…" Gadreel watched him with a frown creasing his forehead, "Father does things for reasons we cannot understand."

"Well I am done not understanding!" Samael shot back, tears burning in his eyes, threatening to escape. "I am done asking. I am done seeking His guidance. I've tried to satisfy Him, tried to earn His forgiveness, His attention and affection, and each of my efforts have left me with nothing!" He spat out the last bit, wings bristling in response Samael shook slightly, eyes bright with rage.
"He's not how I want Him to be as a Father... and I seem to not be able to be the son He wants me to be…" His voice trailing, the ache heavy in his voice. But it quickly passed, affirmation commanding his voice. "And I am done being pushed around, suffering under His presence, because it feels as if He's suffocating me."

A long moment of silence spread between them, the space filled with Samael's heavy breathing, before Gadreel let out a sigh and stepped up to him.
"Look, Samael, you do what you wish to do. You've always been… headstrong." Biting on his lips, Gadreel glanced into the thicket surrounding them, his jaw muscles tensing. He appeared to juggle with a thought on his mind.
"But… I'm not sure about what you said. If this freedom - if it is right..." He trailed off, eyeing Samael.

"Well… think about it." Samael stood tightly, his voice critical. "If you want to continue being a mindless slave or if you seek what they have. This…" He made a motion with his head. "This very moment, Gadreel, you have a choice. A real decision you can make… to change things..."

Briefly holding Samael's gaze, Gadreel turned and walked up to the gate. Placing his right palm against the conjunction, the Enochian runes began to glow and with a clank the gate swung open.
"This is all I can and will do for you, brother." Gadreel uttered, still facing into the opened gateway. He turned his head, but not looking at Samael, his posture decisive. "At least for now."

Baffled, Samael studied his younger sibling knowing what was going on inside his mind very well. Gadreel's eyes flickered with overwhelming deliberation, a whirlwind of questions and considerations storming around inside his mind. So much time had passed by with Samael spending thoughts on them. He was sure Gadreel would continue thinking about all of them as well and perhaps his brother would be the first to understand his wish for freedom.

"Thank you, Gadreel. I really mean it." Giving his brother a last pat on the shoulder, he entered Humanity's Paradise.

Stepping into the garden, all he could feel was the sticky heat radiating from the sun and the impressive humidity. Samael never felt so uncomfortable and clammy, and his wings offered no relief in this condition. While he wilted in the heat, quietly striding along, the plants flourished enthusiastically under it, his sight was nothing but obnoxiously dense green. The air was filled with the fragrance of blooming flowers, and the melody of bird calls and insects' thrums. The sun warmed everything it touched, fuelling the cycle of growth indefinitely.

A distinct humming caught his attention, standing out to the gardens ambient melody. Curiously Samael sought it out its tune soft and high, gentle and warm, a sharp contrast to his Father's deep, thundering voice. With his wings halfway folded he pushed forward, brushing aside ferns and thick bushes, until he reached a clearing. A small, idyllic meadow greeted him. Colourful flowers spread in front of him and a small rivulet of cyan blue spring water sidled through the grass, passing by a pomegranate tree with shiny red fruits.

But neither of these things were capturing his attention as much as the figure crouching at the small stream. Samael quietly made a step back into the bushes, wanting to only observe for the time being. He carefully tucked in massive wings as he went, so as to not to draw attention, until he was fully hidden. Fascinated, he took in the sight of the human and he was instantly able to tell that this must be her.


He had seen the male's appearance his Father's study. Adam had looked pretty much like Samael and his siblings, albeit without the wings. But she… she looked so different, inciting a strange light feeling in his stomach that felt like butterflies fluttering inside. He let his eyes roam over her features, taking in her light golden skin and slender curves and pronounced hips. Her muscles were more delicate. Her hands were small and Samael found himself swallowing the moment she picked up a flower, wondering how her fingertips would feel like brushing over his skin and vice versa.

He watched with a building excitement as she hummed along, smelling the bloom before entwining it into her long, dark wavy hair. He smiled and held back a delighted snicker upon hearing her tune become more cheerful. She swung herself around, ambling over the grass and carelessly dipped her feet into the stream, sprinkling water around. The movement of her chest caught his attention and his heart began to thunder from a heat spreading inside him which he couldn't name. Subconsciously he made a step to the side to follow her, when suddenly a branch beneath his feet snapped. Startled, his wings sprung wide open with a loud thump, forcing the thick bush surrounding him to unmistakably bend and crack. Staring at her, caught in the act, he froze.

With a gasp the female turned, instantly catching Samael's feathery outed form. He could tell she stared not only at him, but particularly his wings. Blinking and slowly coming back to his senses, he watched in shock as she started to walk towards him. He stumbled backwards, mouth agape, trying to think of what to do.

"H-hello... you…?" she carefully called, her eyes wide with curiosity as she hesitantly stepped closer into the bush. Brushing ferns and branches out of her way, she shyly bit her lip. "W-who are you?"

For a brief moment he gazed at her lips, petrified, before he snapped back aware again of his situation. He desperately looked from side to side, searching for a way to hide or really just any smart way of weaselling out of this situation. He couldn't simply fly away; the barrier from his Father shielding the garden like an invisible dome. He also didn't have the power to make her unsee what she had undoubtedly seen, leaving him with no way to safely escape. Licking over his dry lips, he folded his wings tightly against his back, and eyed her cautiously as she continued towards him. Left with no other options, he took a deep breath and braced himself for making first contact.

"I… I'm Samael." he stuttered, feeling his wings back into a wall of trees effectively blocking his retreat.
Her smile made his heart skip a beat. Her lips curved shyly, the tips of her teeth just visible under her lip. He found it a curious, but also a charming gesture.

"Hello, Samael." she greeted, stopping at the edge of the grass, "I'm Eve."
She kept a few feet distance between them, not stepping into the undefined area of his private space, clearly noticing that he was uncomfortable with his position.

"I know." He quickly squeezed his eyes shut, shaking his head with a sigh, "I mean, I've heard about you." He kept rambling on, confused about his own reactions with his fingers twitching and his mouth running dry. A strange physical reaction he hadn't experienced before.

"Oh…" She tilted his head and pointed at his wings. "Are you like a bird?" she asked innocently, eyes wandering past his shoulder to his ruffled appendages.

He looked back at her, baffled. "I'm… I'm an angel." The comparison with a bird caused him to let out an amused snicker. Of course she had no idea what he was and could only relate to the things she had seen in the garden. "Not a bird."

"An angel? That sounds amazing!" Unexpectedly, she stepped closer and into his space, standing inches away from him. Her smile never dimmed as she offered her hand to Samael to take.

"Come with me, Samael. Let us sit in the grass and then you tell me what an angel is, I want to know more!" she cheerfully said, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear with her other hand.

He looked at her in a daze, the scent of jasmine and roses hitting his nostrils the moment she stepped closer. He still hadn't gotten over the earlier reaction, and with her smell and smile, he was left in a speechless stupor. All he could manage was to give his hand to her, and a jolt rushed through him as her fingers gently brushed over his own, closing around them in a soft hold. The sensation reverberated through his body, leaving goose bumps on his skin. How was it a simple touch felt so thrilling, he wondered. A simple touch to the hand between his siblings had never felt like this. Not even close.

Taking a calming breath, he felt his own curiosity sparked. She was truly different than anything he had ever seen before and he wanted to learn more; to know about these differences, explore whatever he could find out, even though he felt utterly clueless. Fortunately Eve seemed rather confident making the first steps in their encounter, and Samael was more than happy to oblige, slowly closing his fingers around hers.

He let her lead the way, quietly following her back into the clearing where she sat down beneath the red fruit tree, pulling him down. Slipping her hand out from his, Samael felt a brief sense of mourning, at the loss of her warmth against his skin. Sitting next to her, he watched as her long tresses of hair settled over her chest and shoulders, her shaped mounds showing little nubs peaking through. Blinking he looked back into her eyes, noticing how his cheeks felt warmer than before. What was going on with him?

"So tell me, Samael, what is an angel?" she asked, reaching out and cupping his hand in hers as she settled comfortably on the ground.

Samael licked his lips, a smile growing as he stared at their joined hands for a moment, before he eventually answered.
"Well I am… a different species than you. Not human, like you. I live in the Silver City with my family. My Father is the one who created all of this," he looked around them briefly before his eyes rested back on her, "and you."

"Your Father? He is our Maker? He is God?" she asked, moving to lay on her side, using one arm under her head to prop it up.

Nodding, Samael rested back on his arms, legs outstretched.
"Yes, that's Him." He smiled weakly, but couldn't hold back the sadness in his voice. He paused for a moment, just enjoying the shade of the tree and garden melody, and the warmth of each others presence. When he decided to go on talking, the sadness in his voice still lingered.

"Eve?" He started hesitantly, but her smiled encouraged him on. "What is it like to have free will?"

The cheerful expression on her face suddenly turned into confusion. "What do you mean? Free will?"

Samael adjusted himself, sitting up.
"Well, my Father created you with free will… and I wondered what it is like. To not have to do what you are told to do. That… that you have a choice." he elaborated, taking note of her innocent look, before casually laying back onto the grass.

But Eve continued to look at him with honest confusion. "I don't understand… What does choice mean?"

He let out a surprised breath. She didn't even have a clue what a choice was? What free will meant? She didn't know that she actually had it? Oh, he could see the devious little trick his Father had played with the humans, but Samael gladly wanted to destroy His little scheme with some clarity and truth. He felt a grin curl onto his face at the thought of doing something his way, instead of the supposed plan Father was leading.
"A choice… It's when you are able to decide if you want to do something or not." He looked around, gaze landing on the tree branches above them, as an idea popped into his mind. "Here… let me show you." Getting up, he reached up on a single branch of the tree, picking one of its bright red pomegranate fruits and holding it out towards her.

To his surprise, Eve wasn't too pleased with his move, instated quickly jumping up and away from the presented fruit. Her brows pinched together in worry as she spoke.
"No! We're not supposed to take a fruit from the tree. God forbid it!"

"But that is the point, Eve. Nobody can actually forbid and force you to do anything. You can decide to take it or not." Samael explained and kept his hand outstretched.
"If you chose to take it, you do it not because someone told you to, but because you want to. So… feel free to decide what you want, since, you know... that is what it means to be free."

Eve swayed from one foot to another, biting on her lower lip in thought. "You mean… I could just take it? If I wanted to?"

"Exactly." he nodded with a smile, his hand still outstretched. He waited, feeling a rush inside him, nervousness, he realized. Could she truly just… take it? Well, if she were truly free, then yes. "So… do you want it?" he asked with a playful little smirk.

Eve slowly stepped closer, oddly nervous, her eyes never leaving the pomegranate in his hand. Then with an abrupt move, she snatched the fruit from Samael's open palm. A moment passed of quiet shock between the two before Eve broke it. She let out a soft gasp of surprise, and he watched in fascination as her shock slowly transformed into something else, her eyes sparkling and the most radiant smile spreading across her lips. He could even hear her heartbeat, thundering in there close proximity and electrifying. With a laugh, Eve spun around, raising the pomegranate like a prize.
"I… I took it!" The glee in her voice was clear, ringing across the meadow. "So… that means… I made a choice! Right?"

Samael nodded once more. "Yes. You did. And… from the looks of it, you seem to enjoy that decision you made." he commented, watching her sway and swing in a happy dance. He felt a surge of pride, for showing Eve her own freedom, at his accomplishment, and that light feeling inside his stomach again. It churned and rose to mingle in his chest, a pleasant burning sensation.

She eventually placed the fruit aside and took a hold of both of his hands.
"Angel Samael, come, lay with me."

He could see a sudden change in her eyes, there was something in them, he could instantly tell. She seemed slightly insecure, but also eager. Her dark eyes glistened with a hint of mischief and secrecy. He knew she had something in mind and he was curious to know. He felt himself being guided to the grass, Eve laying him on his back, his wings untucking and spreading out at his sides. She then laid down beside him, her breasts lightly touching his arm as she moved in closer. Quickly Samael adjusted himself, until he had her gently tucked against his side, his arm around her in a half embrace. Her weight pressing on his side and wings, warm, soft, odd and more.

He swallowed.

This was not how he had ever lain with his siblings.

She looked intriguing to him. Her physical attributes, obviously differentiating her from her male counterpart, were causing a strange stir inside him. His breath quickened when her fingers brushed over his arm, and he easily felt her body heat through his robe. He watched her hesitate, fingertips playing along his shoulder as she looked back and forth between his wings and his eyes. Her question was clearly visible in them and he found her caution thoughtful and charming.

"Go ahead… You don't need to be afraid."

Biting her lip, she smiled and ran her fingers carefully along his wingbow.

And he shuddered.

She halted and slightly pulled away, glancing back at him, but he just stared back at her, wide-eyed, in awe and shock at the same time. It wasn't that his wings had never been touched before. Of course they had been. But not like that. Her touch made his chest tighten and spread a feeling of warmth in his stomach, making him feel all fuzzy. When he continued to stare at her, Eve slowly brushed her fingers back onto his wingbow, gliding down and into the thicket of his soft feathers.

This was like nothing he had ever experienced before. It was scaring him, yet, at the same time he found himself wanting more, melting into the grass beneath her touch. He let out a soft, trembling moan. An unexpected sound that was so heavy with desire, rushed heat up his cheeks and down into his loins. What was that?

Suddenly he felt Eve shifting her weight, her left leg moving over him to straddle his thighs. She continued tracing her fingers from his wing, over his chest and down his other side, the white fabric of his robe tickling wherever she touched.

"What are you doing?" Samael whispered, his voice hoarse and shaking.

Eve's small smile grew bright as he spoke. She opened his golden belt, took a hold of the hem of his robe, and brushed the fabric slowly up his thighs. "I feel a desire rising inside and cannot do else but yield to it. Let me show you…" she breathed, her voice having turned low and seductive.

He shivered beneath her touch, fingers curling into the thick grass. He suddenly had the feeling of having walked into his Father's study without permission and having seen something that was never meant to be seen. A feeling of shock, angst and guilt of trespassing, of doing something forbidden. And deep down he knew that the consequences would end up in him being punished.

But despite this thought of the possibility of crossing a forbidden line, he couldn't deny the pull he felt. Something was drawing him forward, into the unknown, into the dark and dangerous den. He panted as Eve's knuckles lightly brushed up his flanks, as she lifted the robe further. Pulling it off over his head, he allowed the fabric to pass easily through his wings as she tossed it aside. He watched as she bent over his tall frame, her palms placed to his chest and undoubtedly feeling his hammering heart.

"You are very beautiful, Samael." Eve whispered as she leaned closer to his face, her lips ghosting over his. She shared a quick and trembling breath, before closing the gap and placing a chaste kiss against his parted lips.

He didn't know what to say, how to react or what was even happening. He felt feverish and his chest bursting from an unknown pressure. Her nude skin was warm against him, her slender fingers tensing and lightly curling into his chest sent yet another jolt into his loins, making him let out desperate sounding moan that vibrated against her lips the moment they touched his own.

A kiss - so tender and innocent. Nothing like the ones to his cheek given from his Mother. This was different and he felt an almost desperate need guiding his own movements along. His hands raised to her thighs, anxiously brushing up her flanks and arms. He raised his head and with a sigh, covered her lips with his own, mimicking her move from before, but with more vigour and urgency.

And she seemed to appreciate it very much - a whimper escaping her as their lips met and parted. Her fingers curling further into his chest as she pressed against him. The buzzing and humming of the garden's inhabitants was long blurred out from his heartbeat throbbing in his ears. His eyes were glued to the mesmerizing sight of the human female doing things to him he couldn't even describe or name. The light smell of jasmine and roses lulled his senses into a comfortable state and when he felt her lips part against his own, he followed her lead and did the same.

Her tongue gracefully glided along his bottom lip and slipped past the plum flesh, stroking and curling slowly, blowing his universe apart. He moaned, louder than before and squeezed his eyes shut, his palms clutching at her upper arms for a moment. His body began to move on its own, his hips rolled up and he felt something warm and damp, but he couldn't pinpoint what it was.

He was intrigued and elated, from every move she made and everything that she was showing and doing to him. She thrilled him with the unknown and lured him, inciting a desire that began to burn in his every cell. It was more than he could have hoped for and certainly more than he had expected, when he had entered the garden.

Eve pulled away, panting as her hips continued to grind harder down against him. She smiled brightly, cheeks blushed a soft pink, lips red and swollen.
"Mmmm… you taste as delicious as berries, Samael." she purred, pushing herself up and reaching between them.

Following her hands' movement, Samael gasped at the sight of his groin. That had not ever been like that! He felt panic bubble up inside him, but when he tried to push himself up and out of her hold, it was already too late and she slid down on him once more. He winced, more from the shock than pain, when he suddenly felt warmer down south. He wasn't sure why he had expected her move to be painful to begin with. It was in fact quite the contrary. It was very pleasant.

Eve seemed to have picked up on his unease, and carefully raised her palms to brush over his cheeks. She moved up and down, slowly, obviously having practice with what she was doing. Moaning, she let her head roll forward, her long, dark hair falling onto his chest and face.
"Mmmm… you feel different than Adam…" she commented with a light smile on her face, "Bigger… and better…"

Oddly, the image of an Ornithocheirus' colourful beak come up in his mind, but he quickly brushed it aside. The feeling of pride about him being higher ranked in some sort of comparison towards the human male however stayed. "W-what are... you…" he panted, another moan escaping him as he frowned, "What… is this?"

A pleased whimpering fell from her parted lips as well and her dark eyes held the gaze of Samael with joy and longing. "We call it connecting. Do you like it?"

He nodded, his breath laboured. "Y-yes… Yes I... I do…" Swallowing he tried to understand what it actually was that he was feeling. He felt warm, buried inside her and she was pleasantly wet and tight around him. The friction of her tightness around and movements on top of him, were both pleasant and maddening at the same time, and left him with a rising urge inside him to feel more. Looking back up at her he watched her breasts swing above him and, without thinking, leaned up to catch a hardened nipple with his mouth.

Eve's response was intoxicating. He saw her eyes flutter, head rolling back into her neck and her back arching, pressing herself harder into his touch. He groaned against her skin, feeling his hardness pulsate with each move she made, numbing his mind as it pushed his desire higher and higher.

"Yes… there… and there... Samael… Can you feel it?" she panted, rolling her hips and angling herself the way that gave her the best kind of pleasure.

He felt a different spot inside her and forced himself to pay more attention to the way he slid in and out of her. He noticed the trembling and tightening of her whenever he hit a certain spot, apparently much more sensitive.

"Y-yes… ngh… I feel it…" He realized he wanted to see more of her sweet reactions and firmly moved his arms around her waist, causing her to stop her movements all together. She was about to protest, but giggled in surprise as he shifted them around, rolling her beneath him. His wings spread out open, trembling with their joined movements. Lower arms pressing into the grass at her sides, he ground his hips against hers, feeling himself slide in deeper than before. The penetration and friction was a sweeter pleasure than anything he ever experienced, nothing stood to its comparison. He found himself happily drowning when a pressure began to quickly build up inside his groin, causing him to increase the speed and strength of his thrusts.
"Eve… so good… Ngh… but… I need… more…"

She arched up in the grass, fingers moving to brush into his curly hair, pulling his face down into her neck. She groaned passionately against his ear, tightening around him to increase both their pleasure to the fullest.
"Yes… yes more… Can you feel it? The pressure? It's most wonderful when it releases…"

He panted into her neck, his wings trembling from every thrust of his hips. He closed his eyes once again, inhaling her scent and planting kisses against her heated skin, trying to wrap his mind around everything his senses experienced. It was like a flood, overwhelming him in every way. Suddenly Samael heard her mumble his name. He lifted his head to look down at her, watching as she hotly breathed his name again and again, understand only then, that she was almost in a delirium of pleasure, moaning his name in a prayer of desire.

"Samael! Yes, Samael… release with me..." Eve whimpered, her voice frantic and pleading. Fingers digging into his scalp, her legs moved to grip against his hips, the extra friction urging him on faster. She quivered beneath him, her walls clenching onto his length, drawing and holding him in desperate waves as she fell over the edge. "Oh yes Samael!"

With a deep trembling groan, Samael felt the pressure rise to the point of unbearable, and his vision began to blur. His loins felt to tighten and draw up to his stomach and an electrifying rush washed through his body.
"Ugh… Eve… Oh heavens!" he cried out, hips buckling sharply on their own accord as he felt a release in his groin that felt as sweet as the whole interaction before.
He shivered, goosebumps covering his skin as his muscles spasmed uncontrollably, until he eventually collapsed on top of her. Sighing, he rolled onto his side, feeling exhausted in a whole new way.

When he saw her eyes gazing at him with continuing fascination he tilted his head and smiled, not sure what the appropriate thing to do was after the activity of connecting they just had.
"Is it always like this? This… connecting?" he asked carefully, his breathing going back to normal.
His body was still on edge, tingling from oversensitivity and his stomach feeling light and all fuzzy once more. How come he never experienced this in his eons of immortal existence? He looked back onto his companion, all soft and warm and more, and he decided that he didn't care for his Father's reasons.
"You may only watch from above. Do not interfere." Why had He wanted to rob him of this experience?

This was what he wanted; To feel, discover new things and learn from her. Connect with her. His heart thundered at the thought of her soft body in his hands, of the sweet long moans pressed into his mouth, more breathtaking than any heavenly choir, and of watching as her eyes fluttered in sweet salvation. His Father had never made companions for His angels, no matching piece that could come together and make a new form of whole.

Brushing a few strands of loose hair out of her face, Eve nodded, but added a shy shrug before she scooped herself up and moved to snuggle against his side.
"Well… it has never been this good with Adam before. This was quite amazing… You were amazing."

He deemed that he liked her movement a lot, especially with both their chests touching. Automatically he slung his arm around her frame, hand holding her side, chin resting on her head as she rested above his heart.
"Oh… Thank you…" he whispered, smiling, feeling once more pride build up inside him. "It was… fascinating… thrilling even. Pleasant to a degree I haven't known before."

Eve however let out a sad sigh, drawing circles on Samael's chest. "It used to feel good with Adam, too… but lately not so much anymore…"

Samael hummed, mingling with the vibration of her finger on his chest.

"How so?"

"He's spending a lot of time wandering around recently… always leaving me behind. I feel lonely… sometimes even with Adam right there… sometimes even because he is there…" Her voice had become a whisper, her finger ending its movement on his chest.

He couldn't understand the male humans behaviour at all. How did Adam not see the beauty and perfection in Eve? How was it he rather spent his time elsewhere, instead of devoting his time with this marvellous woman? Clearly Adam was a fool for not wanting to connect with her as often as possible. His eyes wandered into the distance, his thoughts on another plane of existence. "I know that feeling of loneliness."

Turning in his hold she looked at him. "But… you said you have a family. Other angels, right?"

"Yes, but you can feel lonely, even with plenty of people surrounding you." he answered, the bitter thought about his distancing siblings and callous Father causing a deep tearing pain in his chest.

Eve seemed to think on his words for a moment and shortly after smiled gently back at him. "Then come to me, and neither you nor I have to feel lonely." Leaning up she captured his lips with hers in an eager kiss, quietly asking for more.

His body and mind felt soothed from her words and touch. However it also ignited a new wave of carnal desire in him. Laying with her, connecting and releasing with her felt unbelievably liberating. Perhaps, he wondered as his lips melted against hers, this is a piece of the freedom he wanted to claim for himself. If so, he wanted it all. He wanted to know more, indulge in it and draw out every ounce of joy he could.

Pulling away for air, he rested his forehead against hers, noses touching lightly.

"I would like that." He bit his lip, a pleasant surge rushing into his groin he could easily decipher by now. "Would you… desire to connect with me again?" When her head quietly nodded against his in affirmation, Samael quietly moaned when an image came up in his mind.
"I want to try something…" he whispered and guided her along to rest on her palms and knees. Aligning himself behind her, hands firmly gripping her hips, he buried himself back inside her with one firm thrust.

He had found joy in making her squirm and tried to please with more than just the connection of their loins. When he observed Eve hand moved to touch herself where they had connected before, he was intrigued to see what he could do there, given that he had much more freedom to use his hands. So he tried to mimic the movement of his lower body with a finger, and soon she had whimpered and begged him to insert a second and third.

She had been in a wonderful fever, sensual and carefree, and she had moaned words into his ear that made him blush. At another time, he had noticed how his own mouth watered when she had reached one of her heights. He had followed a strange urge and nestled his head between her legs, eagerly drinking from her warm, dripping sanctuary. And he had no other way to describe as anything else but divine.

The sun travelled above them and Samael had truly indulged himself in the yearnings for carnal activities. He had connected with Eve countless times, amazed about her lasting stamina and ever returning lust to feel him again. They drank and ate when needed, rested when they felt like it and connected their bodies again with the desire to drown in each other, always curious about trying out something new.

Until the voice of a man popped their blissful bubble.

"Who are you?" the man called out angrily as he approached the two, "And why are you laying with my woman?!"

They startled and quickly got up on their feet. Samael sized up the male, recognizing him immediately from his Father's study, before he had been planted in the garden. Adam. His black, short curly hair sticking to his head clammily and small droplets of water still glistening on his tanned skin indicated he recently took a swim.
"I… I am Samael." he answered and felt a strange wave of guilt washing over him. Looking between the humans, he frowned in confusion and turned towards Eve.
"Why… is he so angry, Eve?"

She gasped, worry and guilt spreading on her features.
"I… I… I thought you might not return, Adam." She uneasily looked at Samael, frowning and obviously seeming uneasy about Adam having walked in on them.

"You promised not to ever lay with another man!" Adam shouted, panting in fury.

Irritated by Adam's statement, Samael looked at her expectantly.
"Did you promise him, Eve?"

She turned to him tensely, her eyes wide and pleading.
"I'm sorry Samael… I thought… I thought I can do what I desire. I don't have to listen to him if i don't want to, right? That's what you said, Samael, isn't it? I am free to choose."

A feeling started to manifest quickly in his chest and Samael felt his throat tighten. It was hot and cold and promptly shattered, small shards trailing down his gut. A word came into existence, describing what had just happened and he felt the air kicked out of his lungs.

A lie. She was free to choose to take or break a promise, to feel guilt, but it settled wrong in his stomach. Was the connection they shared, him opening his heart and body, worth nothing to her? He felt ripped open and bare, the memories of the afternoon a mockery of warmth in his chest.

Adam stepped up to Samael and poked his chest, "What makes you think you can simply lay with her? She was made for me!" he hissed, unimpressed by Samael's wings.

"Made for you?" he scoffed and shook his head. Straightening himself up to stand tall in front of the male, he tensed his wings in warning, "Well she's free to lay with you or not-" He paused for a moment, confidence surging through his body, before pressing on boldly, "And I believe that you were not enough for her, since she mentioned I was bigger and better than you when we connected and-"
He had to admit that he was caught off guard by the male's punch, not that it had any effect on his cheek except a short pinch. Adam on the other side, wincing as he shook out his hand, glowering back at him.

"Stop!" Eve jumped in between the men, pushed them away from each other and turned to Samael. She spoke anxiously, "Samael… please… Would you…?"

He felt his throat tighten when he realized that Eve was asking him to leave, and a wave of new emotions came crashing down on him, making him blink at her in shock and hurt. Turning away from her, tears began to trickle down his cheeks. He held back sobs, reached for his clothing and put his robe back on. Glancing back at her, he looked for some sort of assurance, but instead all he saw was guilt and shame. Composing himself as best as he could, Samael headed back into the thicket into the direction of the gate, hearing Eve as he had already rushed out of her sight.
"I'm sorry Adam… It was a mistake… Come, sit with me and take a bite from the fruit."

That was everything Samael was to her. Something she felt sorry about.

A mistake.

Samael was so lost in hurt and anger, at the betrayal, unobservant to the smouldering plants he left in his wake. His eyes pitch black in fury, the air visibly boiling around him by the time he reached the gate. Gadreel immediately noticed him, and opened the gate for him to exit the garden.

Gadreel looked at him, obviously disturbed from Samael's wrathful and hurt look. "Brother… Are you alright? How was it?"

Stopping dead in his tracks, Samael turned to his sibling and quietly glanced at the engraving in the top of the gate. Humanity's Paradise. It had been a paradise for him for a while, even without him being human. And within a blink of an eye it had become something else. He blankly looked back at Gadreel.
"What's the opposite of paradise?" he asked, feeling as though the warmth he had bathed in throughout the day was pushed out of his body in an instant.

Confused, Gadreel stepped up to his brother.
"I guess… I guess that would be hell. A place of pain and damnation." he answered quietly, obviously disturbed from Samael's question. "Why?"

Samael flung his wings open forcefully, almost hitting his brother with the wind it created.
"That's what it was like." he muttered through gritted teeth and with a heavy flap, pushed himself off.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Judgement

He tried to find peace at his usual hideouts on Earth, but couldn't draw the joy from his creation like he once had. Taking flight into the cold of space, he retreated to the solitude of Earth's moon. The vast dusty landscape a mirror of his own emptiness and devastation. Here he could watch the planet he had helped shape to its marvellous beauty from afar.

Fingers clinging onto his robe as he slung his arms around his legs, he rested his chin on top of knees, her heated moans still quietly echoing in his ears. He took in a sharp breath, shaking his head as if this could help him get rid of the memory, but all it caused was a tingling sensation in his nose when he caught a hint of jasmine and rose, her scent imprinted on his robe and skin. He debated whether or not to burn his clothes, but he didn't want to have to explain himself to his Mother.

Again and again he tried to rid himself of the images popping into his mind, but the view of Earth remained a constant reminder of the Garden and tore at the fresh wound in his chest. So he took his gaze upward, seeking comfort from the Morningstar instead.

Having felt uniquely connected with the blazing construct of plasma and gases, Samael sulked and poured out his tormented heart to the star. His creation responded to him with a mind of its own, sending subtle tremors into his soul, soothing the deep cuts he had suffered from his latest trip to Earth.

Here, on the gray canvas of the moon and with his star as a silent comfort, he replayed the events of Eden over and over in his mind.

He had trusted Eve, given her not only a part of himself, but offered her everything of his being, his very soul. He had let her into his heart, had felt a connection with her, he had never had with anyone else before, had trusted her with this precious gift. And she had betrayed his trust.

It took him a while to understand why he felt that way. The realization, that she had once made a promise to not lay with another man than Adam. And yet, she had pulled him into the grass with her. Had moaned his name in sweet deliriums, whispered her desires into his ear and filled his heart with love and affection. He had felt loved and accepted, wanted even.

How could he have been so naive, to think what he gave to her was special and that it mattered to her? She had been free to lay with whomever she wished, but since she hadn't told him about her promise to only lay with Adam, the feelings he had offered to her, his heart held out towards her in his hands, felt utterly wrong. And so he thought it all to be wrong, because it left him with nothing but pain.

Until Eden, his greatest pain had come from the neglect and reproach from his Father, but now the torment of Eve's betrayal on his emotions, her decision of not telling him about her promise and her careless use and discard of his body and feelings, made him drown in a swamp of despair and pain that felt completely new to him. New and more cruel than any other pain he had experienced before.

He kept sulking for days until his hurt and sadness turned as cold as the moon's surface he sat upon.

The shining squares and white tiled Grand Plaza of the Silver City were almost empty as everyone was busy with their assigned duties. For days Samael had ignored his Father's calls until eventually he felt physically pulled back into the Silver City by Him. He knew it was a last, firm reminder to come more or less willingly, before God would have completely torn his last shreds of will away from Samael and simply made him appear in the throne room. A force and experience Samael rather prefered to avoid, which was why he decided to comply and go to his Father. But without rushing, so he had decided to go by foot.

"Don't dawdle, Sam! Father awaits you." Michael grunted, his spear pointing towards the grand tower as he escorted Samael along, his set of white wings towering over Samael's semi-folded ones due to their bulkier wingbow.

He hated when Michael called him that. It wasn't just the short form he disliked, but the way Michael spoke it with disdain and condescendence. It wasn't a secret among God's children that the two archangels had disliked each other ever since their creation.

"Don't you have anything better to do, Mikey?" he snorted back, "I don't know, something like… get your fill of 'awes' from the fledglings by showing off your oh-so-supreme combat skills or braiding your ridiculously long hair? I mean, seriously, what are you? A mammoth?"

But Michael dismissed the comment about his long blonde hair with a shake of his head. "Just go on with your jokes, little Sam. You know what? I will actually have the best time as I'll watch what Father will do to you as punishment. This time, you've gone too far, brother."

Biting his tongue, Samael refrained from commenting on Michael's remark on his being created just barely after him, and kept his response down to a deep grumble.

A voice suddenly rang out from a passage to their right. "Stop shoving me around, brother! You'll pay for that!" Slowing down his walk, Samael observed as another of his siblings, Midael, heavily armoured, forcing Gadreel to move forward towards Samael and Michael.

"We will see about that, Gadreel. First, you're going to pay for your transgressions. You have been called from Father and you will obey," Midael grunted, his spear aimed at Gadreel's back. "Move!"

Enduring the humiliation, Gadreel moved forward, joining Michael and Samael shortly after. "Samael! This is not right! Tell them! I didn't do anything!"

Samael frowned. He stayed silent, not able to form words or grasp the devastation that had spread inside him since Eden. How did it all have come to this? What had stood at the beginning?

Ah, yes… Free will.

He wanted to have it, longed to embrace it with a burning inside him that was stronger than anything else. But God didn't grant it to him or his siblings and he realized now, that He had not planned on ever giving it to them either.

He hardly noticed that they had entered the tower, his mind as numb as his body, if it weren't for the constant light pokes from Michael's spear. Arriving on the top floor, Samael could already feel the thundering vibrations of anger from his Father through the door of His throne room. Fear rose inside him, when he suddenly felt himself lose control over his wings. They retreated into his back against his will. A first small show of power from God.

He clenched his jaw as he stepped inside the massive hall, tensed his muscles and forced himself to stand upright, but it was to no avail. When he felt the might of God brutally crush onto him, it first caused Gadreel and then himself to drop to the white floor with heavy grunts. Looking over at Gadreel, he noticed his black-green wings were drawn back as well.

Michael and Midael both stepped back quietly, keeping their distance to the scene that was about to unfold. They stood guard, watching intently, although not sure what to expect.

Even without looking at him, Samael knew his older brother carried a gleeful smirk, anticipating to bathe in the disciplinary measures from God. Panting and swallowing, his palms on the ground, Samael's lips curled back in anger. He despised whenever his Father forced him to bend to His will, especially after everything that he had done for Him and never receiving anything in return.

"You have no idea what you have done!" God's voice roared through the room, forcing its way into Samael's bones.

The impact was so powerful, that Samael was sure, if it had been just a little stronger, his Father's words would have crushed his bones. Gasping, he tilted his head, barely able to catch a glance at his Father's robe. "And what have I done, Father?" he grunted with disdain.

He felt a sudden sting on his cheek that soon turned into a sickening, pounding burn. God's hand had smacked against him with a sickening crack. He knew, the force was calculated once again and just hard enough to not break anything, still, it hurt like nothing else in existence could. And it hurt not only physically, but it also left an emotional scar on his heart and soul, being struck by his Father.

"Hold your tongue, Samael! You've ruined everything! You and Eve, and your childish naivety, your forsaken curiosity! You've tainted her and Adam, as well as all of humanity that is yet to come!" He bellowed, loosening some of His tight powerful hold.

"What…?" Samael asked, "I haven't… I haven't tainted her… I haven't ruined anything! She's the one who betrayed my trust! She hurt me!"

But God insisted. "Oh, but you did ruin everything. You brought sin and evil into this world, Samael! Humanity is flawed forever because of you. It will drown in chaos and pain."

His Father's words shook at his very core. How was that possible? Why was it yet again all his fault? How had he brought sin and evil into the world?

"Your pride again, Samael!" God shouted, a blast of energy emitting towards His son, causing the marble floor to crack in a seam like a lightning bolt. "You disobeyed My orders. You weakened Gadreel, making him disobey. You tainted Eve with the fruit, and made her disobey as well, before you let an even greater atrocity happen: Laying with her!" Mercilessly, God forced Samael to raise his head and look back at Him, before the deity made sure to let every ounce of contempt and anger He had flood into His son's being.

Samael knew it was impossible to withstand, but still tried with all his power not to cry. The salty droplets of absolute emotional havok trickled past the thresholds and searched their way down his cheeks.

"You let her sin taint you! Your light is dimmed to the point of never able to return to its original intensity. The darkness you set free has begun to consume you. You, who once was the brightest of them all! My glorious Lightbringer!" With a hiss God moved from Samael to Gadreel, making him crumble just like the archangel, willing him onto his knees and have him panting from the power that crushed onto him.

"As for you, Gadreel..."

"Father, please let me expla-"

Another smack sounded through the hall as God chastised Gadreel with a slap to his cheek. "Silence!" God's voice roared, causing Samael to flich and Gadreel to whimper from the hit. "You disobeyed My orders as well! You let your brother shake your willpower and question My authority. You have been the one to let him enter in the first place, Gadreel. Even though you felt such gratitude and fulfillment with your task to protect the gates of Eden."

A moment of silence rested in the air and made Samael feel panic arise inside of him, not sure of what more to expect. Would he yet again be scolded and doomed to watch over the youngest siblings, to be grounded or to clean the armoury from top to bottom? Tilting his head, he glanced at his Father standing before Gadreel, the difference of height between God and his children even more intimidating now that they were on their knees.

Somehow, Samael felt this was different. This wasn't just another scolding. This wasn't small. It was grave and significant.

And that scared him.

"For your defiance, you will be sentenced to stay in the Silver City. You no longer will be allowed to guard Eden and you will be forced to take responsibility, having allowed your brother to persuade you to disobey Me." God explained and turned to Samael once again.

Gadreel began to whimper and sob and turned to look over at Samael with a defeated expression of devastation and suffering written all over him. His bright green eyes, usually sparkling with happiness, had turned glassen and pale, achromatic almost.

The tiles in front of Samael cracked further when God strode over and he could see his Father's right hand's fingers lightly twitched at His side.

"Samael, I am taking away your ability to transition between the planes as I speak. You will not be granted to leave the Silver City and I render your wings unusable until I deem you worthy of them again." He paused for a brief moment, His voice sounding heavy from disappointment. "You were amused by the humans incapability to fly and then had the brashness to lay with Eve. It's only righteous to limit you to walk like a human."

Samael's heart thundered in confusion and fear. The thought of having his ability to fly taken from him, ridding him of finding his solace on Earth, was absolutely terrifying as he knew he would be forced to stay where he would receive nothing but disdain. There was no place to hide and nowhere to have peace of his siblings. He gasped and whimpered as he felt a heavy pressure against his wings hidden inside his back. It was clear to him, it was now impossible to bring them forth on his own will, God's power constantly suppressing them.

"Furthermore," God's omnipresent voice suddenly continued with emphasis, "You will be brought to the Grand Plaza, where you will take a thousand lashes from Puriel's whip."

Upon hearing his Father's additional sentencing, Samael's lungs contracted as if all the oxygen seemed to be sucked out of them from a mind numbing kick right into his chest. He gaped, dread running through his every cell. Physical punishment in front of all of his siblings was not something he had ever expected before.

"And lastly, Gadreel will be the one to execute your punishment." God finished their sentencing and motioned for Michael and Midael to step forward and take their siblings along.

"W-what?!" Gadreel stuttered in a whisper, his head snapping up, panic spreading on his features. "N-no! No! You can't make me do that!"

An odd sound escaped Samael's throat and a new wave of hot tears ran down his cheeks, silently dripping onto the broken tiles beneath him. His fear turning into absolute horror. "No…" he heard himself faintly whimper, "No… that's not fair…" He felt as a strong hand gripped at his upper arm, trying to pull him onto his feet.

"Get up, brother! You heard Father's judgement. Come on!" Michael hissed, yanking at Samael's arm.

Nothing made sense. He didn't understand any of what his Father had accused him of. Of course, he had disobeyed his Father, as he had done countless times before, but how was this any different? How was offering a fruit and connecting with a human, which felt absolutely blissful, such a crime? How was it, that this time, instead of scolding him with some nonsensical punishment like doubled duties, God now seemed to unleash unthinkable anger upon him, sentencing him with utmost cruelty and making him suffer with his heart, body and soul? How was it, that although he was being the one who got hurt from Eve and had his trust and heart broken, he was accused of having done something wrong? How was his Father just, when all Samael had wanted, was free will and make decisions on his own without God's almightiness overwriting it all?

It all seemed wrong and so he felt the need to protest. To resist. "N-no…no... NO! It's not FAIR! Get off me! You can't do this!" Samael shouted and cried, his voice breaking apart along with his soul. "Father! FATHER!" he screamed as hot tears broke free and he panted from exhaustion and painful heartache. "You don't love me, do You?" he cried out, his emotions pouring out of him as if he was bleeding. "You hate me! Why do you hate me so much, Father?!"

Sobbing he watched as God strode back to His throne in silence, not making a move to respond. Feeling Michael's hand tightening around his arm, he turned towards his brother, devastated and trembling all over. "Michael, listen to me, please…. Please don't do this… You can't do this-"

"Oh but that's Father's orders. So I can, little Sam. And I will." Michael growled lowly, roughly pulling Samael up, using his spear in his other hand to move beneath Samael's chin. "Move!"

Samael flailed in attempts to break away from Michael's grip, but there was not much to achieve. He was effortlessly hauled up from Michael, as he was still weak from God's might and judgement crushing down on him. Feeling as Michael began to pull him along onto the attached balcony, Samael's head numbly rolled to the side, spotting as Gadreel was facing the same treatment from Midael, being dragged along shortly behind him.

"I told you, I'd have a good time listening to Father's punishment for you." Michael hissed lowly, a sinister grin spreading on his lips. "Now I'm eager to see you break apart in front of our siblings and have you repent for your atrocities!"

Samael continued to cry as he and Gadreel were flown to the Grand Plaza. Every fibre of him hurt. From the pain of Eve's behavior. From God's power making him crumble and His anger and punishment for him. And from Michael's malevolence, because even though they had never shared a liking towards one another, Samael had never thought of him to feel such contempt, that Michael would actually be delighted by him being physically harmed.

"Get me Puriel's whip!" Michael barked into the small crowd of siblings that observed the scene.

Samael's blood ran cold at his brother's cold words. Slowly more and more siblings gathered around them, noticing the significance of what was about to happen in front of them.

"Please… I… I don't want to do this, Michael-" Gadreel begged. Puriel's divine weapon, a whip with nine stripes attached to a short, silver staff, hang at Gadreel's side in a shaking hand.

"Execute your punishment, Gadreel, or things will only get worse for you. And don't you dare to even think about making your hits weak for your brother's sake." Michael sneered lowly back at him through clenched teeth.

Samael's breath quickened when he saw Gadreel turn towards him, and saw his brothers green eyes red rimmed and filled with pain, showing the despair and horror of what he was forced to do. "Gadreel…"

His glance fell onto the whip. Swallowing, Samael's eyes widened, when it finally dawned to him, that there truly was no way out of this punishment. Their siblings were watching with mixed excitement from both fear and anticipation, but no one walked in and demanded for this not to happen. No one interfered, let alone questioned the judgement. Of course not, he thought in sadness. How would they oppose God, when they were all slaves without free will?

Looking back at Gadreel, he took a deep breath to steady himself. There was no point in making his brother suffer even more than he already did. "Gadreel," he uttered again, trying to sound confident, although fresh tears streamed down his face as he nodded at his brother, "It's okay…"

Gadreel thickly swallowed, visibly struggling as he shook his head. "Samael… No… Please… I can't-"

"It's fine, brother. Really… I'm not mad at you. I know you don't want to. I'm so sorry I've put you into this position…" A pained short laugh bubbled up as he wiped away the tears from his face, with both his hands, bound from thick heavenly shackles. They clanked as he dropped his hands, their heaviness wearing them down. With a soft sigh, Samael offered a small but genuine smile. "I love you, Gadreel, no matter what you're forced to do. I forgive you." Giving him a last soft nod, he turned his back at Gadreel, waiting.

With a scoff, Michael stepped in front of him, his blue eyes shimmering with anticipation and satisfaction as he gripped onto Samael's robe collar. He roughly pulled the fabric over his shoulders and down the arms, revealing the flawless muscular torso. Leaning in to Samael's ear, he whispered darkly, "I'll watch it all."

Samael gazed after Michael until he walked out of his view. Then he looked insecurely through the rows of siblings in front of him and he braced himself for the first impact. He had felt pain before, had taken beatings and wounds from heavenly weapons when he had trained with his siblings, but never before had he been defenseless, nor had he been forced to take a hit, let alone a thousand.

"I'm s-so sorry, Samael… I… I'm sorry…" Gadreel whimpered behind him.

The slash echoed over the Plaza and cut through the chattering and murmurs of the gathered angels and a moment later, Samael's scream drew everyone's attention, rendering them momentarily speechless.

The pain was fierce. It stung and lingered like a second torment, after the impact itself. Quickly his back began to show several thick streaks of skin turning red.

When the second hit landed, he grunted and cried out again and was accompanied by Gadreel's whimpers and apologies. The material of the stripes tore mercilessly at his skin and soon Samael felt not only the hit and stinging, but also a burning of his marred back.

His lips parted and Samael's vision blurred when fresh strikes of the whip hit him again and again. The sounds of his siblings chattering and their faces filled with resentment slowly faded away, covered up from his own sobs and the menacing snaps of the whip's tails.

"Samael… brother, please forgive me… May there be salvation for our souls..."

The moment the bands tore into his flesh, Samael's sobs and cries turned into heart shattering screams of agony. His throat already felt sore, but now it began to burn from the sheer violence of his voice. The onslaught of pain made his trembling knees give in, causing him to ungalantly drop to the ground with a deep, guttural groan. He rested himself on his palms, panting, feeling as something wet trickled along his sides. Shivering he tilted his head further down and caught a glimpse of deep crimson splatters on the ground.

Jaw and teeth clenching, he tried to hold himself together, but failed when the stripes slashed down into open wounds, tearing further at his back's skin, causing him to release another harrowing scream.

The snapping sound of the whip became the beat of a monsterous symphony of pain, to which Samael gave its most prominent tunes with agonized screams and cries. Gadreel accompanied it with his never subsiding, desperate pleas for forgiveness and the mass of gathered siblings surrounding them added their chimes with malevolent shouts and laughter.

His divine metabolism tried to keep up with the slashes against his back, trying to heal the wounds caused by the heavenly weapon, but it was a slow process in general, and given the rapid speed of the beating, his body tore open more and more.

Soon the cuts on his back became impossible to count, as they had turned into a gathering of marred, bleeding open flesh of torn skin and muscles. Every strike against him send a new wave of blinding pain through his body, making him fall into uncontrollable cramps and shivers. Each hit drew the strength out of his muscles, eventually making slide to the ground into a pool of agony consisting of blood, sweat and saliva.

And suddenly the hits ended. "I can't do this anymore, Michael… Look at his back… He's bleeding… I can't… I just can't-" Gadreel sobbed in a pained voice, his eyes red rimmed and tormented.

Samael quietly sucked in trembling breaths, as he slowly began to curl up on his side and into a ball, hands moving to rest above his head like the last bit of protection he could give himself, not sure when a next hit would land on him.

With a sharp step Michael towered directly next to Gadreel, sneering, "You're only at a hundred and seven lashes. Go. On."

"At least give him some time to recover!" Gadreel begged, stifling his sobs.

"I will tell you when you can take a break. Don't worry, you won't accidentally end him. I'll make sure of that. Now, go on!"

"I'm sorry, Samael…" Gadreel muttered, inhaling shuddering breaths.

The snap of the whip was hitting him on his flank, damaging so far unscathed skin. Quickly it turned red and swollen from the next slashes and Samael twitched and sobbed in torment, his mind switching on its primal instincts for protection, and curling himself further, as if making himself a smaller target would help him endure more of the onslaught of hits.

The shouting of his observing siblings increased when Michael ordered Gadreel to pause for the first time. He barely registered Gadreel dropping down on his knees next to him, reaching out and combing through his dark tresses with trembling fingers.

"Shush Samael… Shush… You get some time to recover, brother…" Gadreel muttered under tears.

"H-how m-m-many?" Samael stuttered hoarsely, his head shifting slightly to peek through his arms still shielding his face.

Gadreel hesitated before answered reluctantly. "Two hundred."

He let out a weak groan and pulled his head back into the cover of his arms, every fiber of him feeling on fire. But he noticed that he finally felt able to breathe again, without the reflex of tensing up as he would brace himself for a next hit.

The hours passed on and his divine metabolism worked its ways, letting his wounds close up and his blood regenerate, until his skin had fully healed once again and was back to its flawless angelic beauty.

"Continue." Michael ordered harshly, not having left the side of them, but closely observed Samael's healing process.

"I'll try to be quick, brother… so it'll be over faster…" Gadreel whispered sadly and got back up.

The slashing sounds of the whip echoed through the Silver City once again, and just like before, Samael's screams set the main tune to the beat, while his skin was torn open a second time, and new cuts were added with each hit.

He couldn't focus on anything, so he wasn't sure at what point Gadreel had changed his aim, but eventually Samael noticed the vicious stripes tore into his thighs and calves, instead of his back, drawing out new waves of sharp, unbearable pain.

For an undefinable time, he felt drowning in an endless sea of pain, despair and excruciation. Again and again he was allowed to recover, only for the punishment to be continued. And each time felt like an eternity.

At some point he thought to have registered that many of his siblings had left, the crowd that watched his punishment having become significantly smaller.

Gadreel's hits had subsided once again and Michael had taken care of connecting a chain to Samael's handcuffs, to throw it above a pole and have him forced to stand upright, his body fully exposed and without the possibility for Samael to shield himself with his arms and hands.

"Last round, little Sam. Let's see how you take it." Michael spat at him and turned to Gadreel. "Make the hits as painful and hard as you can."

Gadreel followed his orders, albeit with protest, and put more force into his slashes that dug into his brother.

Unable to escape them, the hits landed against Samael's chest and stomach, marring and clawing at his skin and flesh, for the last two hundred lashes of his penalty.

Samael's voice was long broken away, his throat too sore to scream anymore. And then, all of a sudden, he fell silent altogether. A handful more slashes landed against his flanks, drawing more blood that continued to soak into his robe and run down his legs onto the ground. His mind disconnected itself from his body and the physical maltreatment, and something inside him snapped.

He realized there was nothing for him anymore. He hadn't gained free will. Hadn't gained an ounce of respect or affection from his Father, but instead had always been lambasted and scolded, never having done enough to satisfy Him, never having been the perfect son. He'd always been treated as if he was behaving in a wrong way. Like a rebel.

"Then that's what You'll get…" he breathed, his lips curling up into a small smile, his eyes distant and lost in the depths of his thoughts. More hits cut into him, again and again, but his smile only grew, until a gurgling, short laugh pressed out of his chest.

Gadreel stopped mid-swing, panting and staring in confusion. "Brother…?"

But Samael's smile turned even wider with his teeth clenched, turning it into a smirk, standing in contrast to his torment. Another row of heavy, short-breathed laughs rumbled from his throat and his eyes turned dark as they wandered over the remaining siblings surrounding him. "This won't change anything… I will keep fighting for my freedom… for having a choice!"

The expressions of his siblings turned irritated and concerned. They started to murmur amongst them in hushed voices, obviously disturbed from Samael's change of behavior.

"Continue!" Michael shouted at Gadreel. Eyes glaring scornfully, and lips curling back in anger, he stepping closer to Samael to take a closer look at him. "What, Sam? Losing your petty, little mind, are you?"

"Oh don't bother… With your mindcuffs you don't even understand the idea of choice. I bet you're even more ignorant than the humans were… They might just even be superior to you altogether." Samael taunted with a laugh, feeling how easily he could push aside the pain as he focused on his boiling anger.

Growling Michael turned to Gadreel, roughly gripping him at his throat. "FLAIL HARDER!" he bellowed and before roughly shoving him back.

Gadreel followed the archangels order and slammed the whip with even greater force, soon ripping flesh and spraying the surrounding tiles further with his brother's blood.

The lashes sliced into Samael's chest and thighs again and again, but not once did he respond with a scream or whimper. At most he let out a soft grunt through his clenched teeth, barking a dismissive laughter. Looking at Gadreel, he held his pained and confused stare.

"Come on, brother! Show him how hard you can hit. Let them see how they can try as hard as they want! I won't cave in! I won't surrender to Father's punishment! They. Can't. Break. Me!"

Michael's eyes darkened with anger at Samael's strength to withstand the beatings without further cries of agony. "Gadreel! His face." he hissed lowly, Samael's eyes glaring daggers at him with a dark smirk. "Let's see what's left of Father's most beautiful angel, when your penalty is paid."

Gadreel looked between Samael and Michael, shocked. "But Michael, that's-"

"DO IT, you disgraceful little lurdan!" Michael bellowed back at him.

Samael didn't close his eyes, wanting to indulge in Michael's rising anger. It felt almost too easy to upset him and make him explode while his own contempt and blinding wrath inside of him felt strangely soothing to his wounds. The thought of his own freedom was burning inside him like an inextinguishable roaring firestorm, his willpower bracing him, steeling him for whatever impact would come, offering Michael not even a second of weakness.

He didn't flinch, even though the impact of Gadreel's powerful strike spun his head and at the same moment he could already taste blood. His lip tore open, left eye cut through, he spat a clot of blood to the side and turned back, grinning, with his teeth smeared in dark red. "Come on! Again!" he barked in mad laughter, watching as the surrounding siblings stared at him in complete shock and horror. "What? You think this is going to break me? Nobody will ever be able to break me again, so come on! Give me all you've got!"

Gadreel continued with the punishment, although looking even more disturbed from his brother's mad behavior than the gawking brethren. The slashes carved into Samael's left and right cheek, sliced into his throat and ears with sickening wet sounds. Hit after hit landed on him disfiguring his once angelic face into a torn, bleeding lump of muscles and sinews, barely able to still cover the beaten skull that laid underneath. But Samael's gurgling, dark laughter never subsided, even when a slash cut into his trachea.

At last the punishment was over, and Michael removed Samael's handcuffs, letting him carelessly drop on the bloodstained ground. The execution had taken three full days. Three days in which the Grand Plaza had turned into a grotesque display of angelic butchering.

Riddled from his own tormented mind, exhaustion and horror of what he had done to his brother, Gadreel too had dropped onto the ground, sobbing and staring at his shaking hands with a disgusted grimace.

The Plaza had turned empty, as the last remaining siblings, who had watched the punishment, as well as Michael had left them without another word. They laid in silence for hours, breathing, regenerating, and realizing that it was finally over.

Yes, it is over, Samael thought, his teeth still bared in a crazy smirk.

I'll get my freedom. We will all get it…

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: Rebel

As soon as Samael had recovered, he began to confront his siblings, no matter if they had been to his punishment, cheering or leaving in reluctance. He talked to everyone. To their irritation though, Samael didn't approach them with anger and accusations, but instead spread his thoughts on free will and their righteous freedom. Many turned away from him, a lot of them in disdain and anger about his doings in Eden, others trying to hide their guilt for watching and not daring to interfere. They were ashamed and had not enough strength to meet his eyes.

But some of his siblings, listened.

A tall brother with broad shoulders and a stern expression on his angular face, shook his head at him, hands gesturing agitatedly. "But how can you say that? You were disobeying Father's orders."

"Don't you see, Zuriel? That is exactly my point. You can disobey. You can question His word. And yet we are all slaves to His judgement. If we do not appease Him, we will suffer His punishment. We are not free." Samael walked up and down in front of the small group that had gathered at the longtable in the Hall of the Vigilants, used since eons for meetings amongst the lower ranked angels to organize their duties.

Taking in a deep breath, Samael sighed, his eyes distant. "You know… I once thought that my wings were giving me freedom. And that this was the reason why Father made them unusable. To show me, that I cannot simply leave at my wish." He grumbled for a moment, still feeling the resistance in his back, his Father denying him the release of his wings. "Just because Father equipped us with wings, doesn't mean we are free. We are slaves, just like the humans are. They do His bidding, not even knowing that they could do otherwise, while He just watches them, and they could just walk away..."

Zuriel ran his hands through his dark ruffled strands, obviously thinking over his brother's words, when suddenly he frowned deeply, and his light blue eyes darted back at him. "Are you… are you saying, we could try the same? Walk away?"

He could tell Zuriel was intrigued from his words. Not in a manipulated way, but what he had told him, seriously made him think. His brethren had all seen or at least heard about Samael's punishment, but hardly any of them knew the full story and heard Samael's point of view. "Not quite."

Another of his siblings, Janiel, spoke up. "So then what?"

"I say, we stay." A moment of tensed silence spread in the room and Samael's expression became sly, a small smirk slipping up his lips. "And rebel."

An instant, agitated chattering and rumouring went through the room.

Janiel's eyes widened, his fists smashing on the table. "That's insane, Samael!"

Raising a brow, he stepped up to his brother and leaned down to be face to face with him, his expression becoming darker. "Are you scared, Janiel? Do you fear Father's punishment for you, after having seen what He did to Gadreel and me?"

Swallowing thickly Janiel shortly averted his eyes, clearly having to fight the images coming up in his mind. "Of course! Everyone right in their minds would be, when confronted with God Himself. It's already ridiculous that we think and talk about this. He knows. He knows everything. We are not exactly having any chances to get what we seek…" Janiel spoke harshly, not only in response to Samael, but also towards the surrounding brothers. "We cannot stand against an omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient God. That's madness!"

The rows of angels seated in front of Samael nodded in agreement, but the archangel did not withdraw from Janiel's face. "Tell me, my brother of strategies and tactics, if we were to confront Father… what do you think is the worst thing that could happen?"

Heavily breathing, Janiel thought for a second. "He could smite us… or unmake us. Remove us from existence!"

Janiel's words caused a disturbed murmur among the siblings, but Samael went on. "And what exactly would that do with our other siblings, if they'd see us destroyed in the attempt to get freedom?"

Frowning the younger angel looked among his brothers, before focusing back on Samael. "They'd fear the same treatment if they were to ever rebel like we did."

"Or…" he emphasized with a raised finger, his tongue running in between his teeth, "They'd realize we were right and see that we are not free, but slaves to our Father."

Janiel's head leaned back in realization of what he meant. "You'd ignite a spark of understanding and resistance." he concluded and slowly nodded.

"Now isn't that something worth fighting for?" Samael looked between his siblings as one after another stood up and nodded in agreement.

"It is indeed, brother." Zuriel then stepped forward with determination radiating off of him, eyes shimmering as he looked at Samael. "We spread the word among our siblings and try to gain more for the cause. Let's see what Father will do, when His angels stand in front of Him and demand their freedom."

Samael's idea on rebelling had spread rapidly among the angels. A lot of them stood absolutely appalled against his intentions to defy God as a group, but Samael quickly made it clear to them, that he would also stand in front of their Father alone, as the reason and his goal certainly were worth it.

It would always be worth it.

But the angels were still split into groups. Most continued to refuse Samael's point of view, not even trying to understand his words about having a choice. Their minds seemed absolutely resilient, incapable even, to process the idea of not having to do what God ordered.

Some angels appeared to have some sort of seed striking roots inside them, a thought being planted, but it needed a lot of care and time to grow. However, a great amount of them seemed unable to handle the thought without more guidance. The idea of choice and free will started a wave of various reactions among them. While some were intrigued and pondering into the direction of truly understanding freedom, others experienced fear building up inside them. They were anxious about the thought of not knowing what would happen, afraid of territory they had never walked before, nor had any control over. And of course they would need to handle the consequences.

Another group of angels welcomed the idea Samael had planted in them, but as their presumed understanding began to grow, so did their anger towards God. And not only did it grow, it felt strangely chaotic and unpredictable. Something Samael however didn't spend much thought on.

For Samael, the only thing that truly counted was to spread the idea, to have it sink into his siblings, give it a chance to strike roots and have the possibility for them to understand and join him in his rebellion. During his last round of his punishment, he finally understood: It didn't matter the risks he took. There would always be suffering along the way, but to give up before even facing your fear was not the answer. Right now, he felt absolutely fearless. His mind couldn't even come up with anything that would have him stop for a second in what he was doing.

The breeze was cooling his face as it brushed against him, pulling him out of his thoughts, taking him back to the here and now as he stood in the middle of the Grand Plaza. The reminders on his punishment had been removed, leaving the ground clean and beautiful once again, showing only the white tiles with ornaments just like they had always been since the beginning of existence.

On top of his robe, Samael wore his armour. A slender fitting, golden plate harnish, with mobile scales on top of his chest, back and shoulders, that gave him a high manoeuvrability, while still very protective. The scales were engraved with enochian runes, marking the armour as his personal one and displaying in small pictures the creation of the stars and the sculpting of the Earth. On a belt fastened around his waist, was his one handed sword, elegant and lean. It's heavenly metal was almost white with a hint of shimmering silver worked into it. But it's true beauty showed only if Samael was inducing his divine light into the sword itself. Then the blade would burn from never ceasing, hungry flames, able to wound whatever creature it was able to hit. It would inflict a horribly painful cut, burning through armour and into flesh.

Eyes resting on the tower his Father resided in, usually in a shapeless concentration of divine light and power, Samael felt the presence of a siblings stepping up next to him.

"Tell me, brother. How are we going to proceed?" Zuriel calmly asked, as he adjusted the laces of his swords' sheath slung over his back, his dark armour rustling and glistening.

"Well… We stand in front of Father and have a little chat. Then, if we don't get what we came for, we'll give Him reasons to reconsider."

"What if Michael and the others on His side will use force?" Zuriel's sharp blue eyes pensively observed him. "Will we fight back?"

In an instant, Samael's eyes darkened, his brows narrowing. "We do. We incapacitate, but we don't kill." he responded sternly. "I'm angry at our Father. There's no way, killing siblings is giving us what we want. And they shouldn't be the ones to pay for His wrongdoings."

A low laugh rumbled from Zuriel's chest as he rose a brow at Samael. "Quite strange still, to think of Him being in the wrong." He nudged his chin over Samael's shoulder. "Have you regained control over your wings again, or does Father still restrain you?"

Grumbling, Samael gave him a side glance. "He's still suppressing my control over them, but it doesn't matter."

Zuriel frowned and crossed his arms. "How so?"

"I don't need my damn wings to make a point," he growled, fists curling, the leather strips of his bracers squeeching as his muscles tensed. "He can take away my wings, my powers. It all doesn't matter, as long as I get my freedom and I can be who I want to be."

Zuriel observed him calmly and with growing respect, before making a step in front of Samael, blocking his direct view onto the tower to get his full attention. "And who exactly do you want to be, Samael?"

He had spent a long time thinking on that question, wondered what it even meant exactly. Being defined by his Father's guidelines didn't feel right and he never felt like himself. At first he had thought that maybe it was just the Silver City that held him back to understand and discover all the facettes there were about himself. But then, when he had been on his journeys on Earth, he realized he still had no ability to do so, and that the reason for that was not, that he just wasn't in the right location, but that it was his Father.

God held His puppeteer strings with unwavering mercilessness, not giving him air to breathe and be whoever he wanted to be. He felt continuously pressured and tried to be squished into a pre-designed mould, that was impossible for him to fit into, even if he'd mutilate himself, just to be accepted from his Father. But that time was over. He had come the realization that he needed to be away from Him and in order to do so, he needed freedom and be free of Him.

"Samael?" his brother repeated again, his eyes reminding him of the glaciers on the north and south of Earth he had created.

"My own man." he answered and saw Zuriel nodding in silent acceptance. "Free from his influence."

"Alright then… as your own man, maybe you'd like to know, that some of our siblings apparently have come up with a nickname for you." Zuriel stated, his lips pressed together in the attempts to hide a smirk.

Intrigued Samael rose a brow. "What do you mean? What nickname?"

Not able to keep his opinion hidden, Zuriel smirked. "Lucifer."

He frowned in mild irritation, but also surprise. As a part of his divine skill set, Samael had always understood when new words came into existence. He had even immediately understood Eve and Adam talking in their so far unnamed human language. "But… it just means Lightbringer." he responded with a light tilt of his head. "How's that new? I've been addressed from that by Mother and Father ever since I made the stars."

"That's true," Zuriel nodded, "But this is for another reason. You ignited a spark among us, brother. You gave us hope, light, that we can each be… well, our own man, as you put it."

He repeated the name silently and had to admit, he did enjoy the ring it had. It rolled easily at the beginning, had a sharpness in the middle and a vibrating end. With an amused nod, he appreciated the symbolism as well as the analogy of the sound of his nickname. Yes, his actions would come swift and easy, he'd be a stinging, painful thorn and when he'd be gone, his Father would feel the vibrations he'd leave behind. "Lucifer." he repeated aloud, enjoying how the name rolled off his tongue, "I like it."

The rhythmic clunking and rattling of armour and heavy footsteps made the two angels turn their heads, watching a group of two dozen siblings approach with Gadreel and Juriel amongst them.

The sight of the former Guardian of Eden was painful. The once so pious and always calm brother was long gone. And not because of what God forced him to do to Samael, but of what had happened to him afterwards. Gadreel had tried to reconnect with his siblings, tried to be given responsibilities once again, so that he could prove his loyalty to them, but much like Samael, he had been shunned and pushed away. He secluded himself in hurt but also in anger. Only upon hearing from Samael's planned rebellion, did he eventually reach out to the archangel, wanting to hear more of his idea of freedom.

Much to Samael's liking, Gadreel was eager and seemed to embrace the thought of freedom as much as he did himself. He also seemed restless and impatient, which wasn't particularly a bad thing. But what disturbed Samael was the hatred he harboured towards their siblings, who had discarded him. And that hatred had found rich soil in Gadreel's tormented heart and soul. Combined with the wish for freedom, Gadreel was on edge and difficult to assess.

"When are we going to confront Him?" Gadreel uttered. Just like the rest of the group, he was in his personal armour, a mixture of thick leather and chainmail protection. But where once had been a delicate gravure on his chest, showing the gates of Eden with plants adorning it, were now deep scratches, with no reminder of Gadreel's past assignment.

Samael's eyes snapped back up to look into Gadreel's sharp green ones. "Soon, Gadreel." he assured him and looked amongst the siblings that his brother had brought along with him. Not only Gadreel's expression changed in disapproval, but also that of the surrounding angels. He saw several of them grinding their teeth, hissing and angrily muttering under their breath.

"Samael!" a high pitched voice rang from out of the group, and his brother Puriel stepped forward, his long, straight black hair bound into a windswept bun. In a loop at Puriel's belt, he spotted the angel's whip and fought the shiver that wanted to rush down his spine at the painful memories that emerged. "Brother, I'm sorry for what Father and Michael forced upon you. If they just make a wrong move, I'll show them what the owner of the whip can do with it on their flesh."

Appeasing Samael raised his palms. "Easy, Puriel. I don't intend to hurt anyone. Let alone kill. Let's only resort to fighting when absolutely necessary. Even Michael, the prat, doesn't get the smirk wiped off of his face without him making the first move."

Puriel grumbled lowly but nodded, "Fine… whatever. As long as Father gives us what we want, I don't care..."

Sighing, Samael looked through the row of other siblings that had gathered around him. He saw several of the rather headstrong siblings like Makatiel, Shoftiel and Kushiel, but also Lahatiel, usually one of the rather shy and solitary angels. From what he understood Gadreel had taken it upon himself to persuade them to join their cause, but somehow Samael had an odd feeling about their reasons. He wasn't entirely sure they fully understood the idea of free will and why it was so important to him. But he couldn't afford to have long, exhausting discussions now. They were so close to reaching their goal. Only moments stood between them and their freedom. He could feel how their destiny was approaching, or rather, the other way around.

As they continued to wait for more siblings to arrive, Zuriel carefully took a hold onto Samael's arm, guiding him a few feet away from the group.

"What is it, Zuriel?" he asked irritated, watching as Zuriel's eyes shifted towards the crowd and back on him.

"Have you seen Gadreel's eyes?" Zuriel uttered in a stressed, low tone. "He looks mad. And the brothers he brought along almost look the same."

Frowning in doubt, Samael glanced back and observed Gadreel as he was in a heated discussion with a few other angels. He hadn't seen Gadreel often ever since their punishment, only two times, which had been too short for him to properly take note of how he had changed. He could tell the former spark of joy in Gadreel's green eyes was long gone and only the anger and hate towards the siblings, that had humiliated and shunned him, remained. "He's hurt, Zuriel. He's just distraught..." he murmured and sighed in soft explanation, understanding where that hate was coming from. Even though Samael didn't feel it towards his siblings who had treated him badly, but rather towards God. His shunning siblings he merely felt hurt and disappointed about.

But Zuriel shook his head in disagreement. "No, that's not it. At least not all of it. I don't trust him to be able to control his anger… or the others he brought along for that matter. Maybe it would be for the best if they'd stay in the back."

"I won't order anyone around, Zuriel." Samael's dark eyes shifted in discomfort.

The dark armour of Zuriel rustled as he leaned in, pressing in a whisper, "You are an archangel, ranked above them. You can order them."

Samael ground his teeth, sighing. "Yes, but I don't want to. I'm not here as some sort of leader, telling people what to do." He took a deep breath, troubled with Zuriel's implication. "I… I'm not like our Father. Gadreel can take care of himself." Upon seeing Zuriel's reluctant and still wary nod, he sighed. "Look Zuriel, everyone should be here on their own will, by their own choice and for their own reasons. I'm not dictating the cause on any of my siblings, including you. I'll stand before Father only for myself and so should you and everybody else."

The angel's head dipped and tilted in thought. "Quite the wise words and noble behaviour." he murmured and rose a brow with a small smirk tugging at his lips. "Would fit to a leader, you know?"

Eyes narrowing in jest, Samael shook his head with a low laugh and went back to the group, taking note of Zuriel's smug grin as he walked past him. More siblings had gathered, all armoured and agitatedly discussing among each other, however, the moment Samael arrived back in their circle, they became dead silent, looking at him expectantly.

"I'll say it again. I'm not your leader. I don't tell you what to do. This is your choice. I'm here to stand in front of Father for myself and demand my freedom. If you wish to do the same, then feel free to join me." Without another word, he turned back towards the Grand Tower and started to walk.

His siblings made way for him, but the vast majority hesitated upon watching Samael walk in confident, firm strides towards the tower. The angels murmured, wings twitching in nervousness, before Zuriel tucked his black appendages away with a shrug, following the archangel on his path. Moments later, the rest of the siblings followed suit, folded their wings away and rushed along to catch up together.

Samael noticed that the Silver City felt different with the angels gathered at his sides instead of being busy with their assignments, buzzing around or swirling through the air. They could still swirl through the air, unlike himself. Instead, they had chosen to draw back their wings, joining him in his walk towards God in a gesture of unity.

When they stepped through the main entrance arch of the massive tower, he heard a soft rumbling from upstairs. Undoubtedly some angels had gathered in the throne room, he figured. In silence, he climbed the stairs, one set after another. Golden ornaments decorated the walls, the railings of the stairs were carved like vines, warped around themselves, and emitted a soft dim glow. Attached to anchorages in the walls, massive crystalline chandeliers illuminated the tower's interior, but instead of candles, they shone from tiny masses of divine light, destined to shine forever.

Determined, Samael continued to climb the stairs. While he looked composed to the outside and was focussed on the inside, his immortal heart thundered from the rush of emotions and adrenaline, not knowing what would happen once he stood in front of his Father and openly demanded his freedom. Would God's opinion waver? Would He change His thoughts about not granting his children freedom, when He'd have not only one of his archangels, but a whole crowd, dozens upon dozens of his children, standing in front of Him demanding the same? Did God's hatred towards him run so deep, that he would forsake His other children's wish, only to degrade Samael even further?

He wasn't sure of the moralistic boundaries of his Father's actions. Thinking about it, he wondered if God actually had any. The cosmic confines of right and wrong, which his Father had set into existence, seemed not to apply to to Himself.

Reaching the top floor, with his siblings following suit, Samael noticed the humming had turned into a murmuring of voices behind the double winged door that lead into the throne room. Resolutely he leaned forward, pressed against the heavy sides with a huff and stepped inside.

The moment the door quietly creaked open, the voices inside the room died down and when Samael lifted his eyes, he saw dozens of heads turned towards him in a silent stare. Angels, undoubtedly siding against him, had gathered in front of the throne, all of them wearing their respective armours and personal weapons. Behind the rows of siblings blocking his path, the pulsing, vibrant essence of God floated above His throne and materialised into the personification He often times chose to wear as His guise.

"Hello... Father." he muttered darkly and began to make his way through the crowd. He could tell, Zuriel, Gadreel and his other rebellious brethren, held some distance, not out of fear of God, but rather of respect for Samael. Pensively he observed as God placed His palms to the armrests of His throne. Standing tall, Samael looked his Father in the eye, the distance towards him and the fact God was sitting, letting him look straight instead of having to lean back his head to look up at him. "I wish to be free from You, Father. I want what you gave to the humans. Free will and the freedom to make my own decisions, without having to fear your punishment, just because you are God. No one gets to decide over my fate any longer. That is mine alone." he declared with a clear voice. "So I came here to demand my free will and freedom from You. Give it to me and let me be free!"

Immediately the expressions of his opposing siblings turned darker and they began to share murmurs. God however, did not move, his eyes calmly resting on Samael.

"I demand mine as well!" Zuriel's deep voice rang as he stepped up to Samael's side, his ice blue eyes shortly giving an approving glance towards him before staring back daggers at their Father.

"So do I!" Janiel called out from behind, joining the two, his voice and stance just as determined.

More and more angels approached from behind, pressing through the crowd, voicing their call for freedom in a rumbling chant one after another. Eventually the throne room became silent once again and only the random sounds of rustling armour disturbed the tension hanging in the air.

"So Father," Samael eyed God with a dark and stern expression. "Here we are. It's not just me. We all want our freedom. We deserve it! It's our right!"

"I've told you My answer already, son, and the same counts for all of you, My children." God calmly answered, His eyes glancing over them. "I will not give you free will. You'd be well advised to leave it at that and return to your duties."

He didn't try to read Him. He had sworn to himself to not do it ever again. His jaw clenched, Samael felt his divinity burn inside his body like a raging firestorm, pulsing through his back and hidden wings. He could feel his Father's might still pushing against the feathered appendages, forcing them to stay tucked away. The pressure inside his throat and chest became painful and he felt that something inside him was boiling, threatening to explode in a blind frenzy. Teeth grinding in an almost crunching force, he was about to move, when suddenly a shift of gold and white armour caught his attention from out of the corner of his eyes.

"Move!" Michael hissed at his siblings. He had pushed his way through the crowd, his intimidating spear in both hands, using its staff like a plough. "Step back! You heard our Father. This is unacceptable. Turn around, leave and fulfil Father's wishes."

Samael shot daggers at Michael. He made a step towards him, his lips curling as he barked back at him in an angry snarl, "Or what?!"

Michael's blue eyes widened and he darted at his brother in one quick stride, his face threateningly just an inch away as he bellowed at Samael in a thundering response. "OR I WILL SMITE YOU OUT OF THIS TOWER MYSELF, YOU DISRESPECTFUL LITTLE VERMIN!"

While Samael stood his ground and reacted merely with a low growl, his siblings agitatedly grumbled and murmured. Angry and shocked gasps muttered through the room after Michael's echoing voice had faded. The crowd of angels were visibly disturbed and at the verge of snapping from the tension between the two archangels.

All of a sudden God's presence send out a tremor through the room, and Samael and his rebellious siblings were being pushed towards the archways and the attached balconies.

With a grunt, Samael crouched down against his will, the soles of his boots slipping over the white marble ground as he was moved towards the balcony of the upper floor. "This is how You treat Your children, Father? How You show us Your love? By shoving us out of the room? How just of you!" he hissed, panting through clenched teeth as he clutched onto the ground to try and have some leverage to hold his body in place. But the floor was too sleek to take a hold on.

God remained silent, and caused with a mere flick of His finger for Samael and his siblings to be completely kicked out of the throne room. But God's force did not subside on the defying angels at that point. He continued to push them even further towards the edge of the curved balcony platform.

As the group began to realize, their Father might not stop with His pressure, the angels frantically twisted their heads to check their backs.

"I can't get my wings out!" one of them hissed and grunted, seemingly doing his best to get his feathery appendages to appear, but without success.

"Me neither!" another called out in anger as he rolled his shoulders and arched his back, but no wings would sprout from his back to save him from a fall to the ground of the Silver City, a good three hundred meters beneath them. Of course they were aware that a fall wouldn't kill them. If anything, a fall from this height would merely leave a crack in the ground. But given the fact that the used force of their potential fall was evoked by God Himself, the odds stood a bit differently.

Michael leisurely strode outside, unaffected by God's might, spear in hand and looking down at Samael with a condescending scoff. "What a disgrace you are, having the nerve to stir up a rebellion against Father." he spat, his aura buzzing with the rage he held at bay. "I won't let you."

Samael felt at last his Father's pushing movement stop. But the pressure that kept his wings tucked away stayed. Scrambling up on his feet again, he balled his hands to fists, feeling his divinity collecting and igniting his fists with blazing balls of light. "That is not going to stop me, from gaining my freedom, Michael!"

Whirling his spear, Michael darted towards his brother, thrusting and slashing his weapon dangerously close. "You don't understand, snake! You slithered your way into Eden. You teased, manipulated and lay with Eve. You gave her the forbidden fruit and brought evil among Father's creation! Everything that happened from that day on, is your fault!"

Jumping swiftly to the side, he managed to doge the attacks of his brother with a safe distance. Upon hearing his brother's accusations, Samael's fists sent out a pulsing burst from white burning rage. "That's not true! None of it!"

"Of course it is! Years have passed by on Earth since your unspeakable misdeeds." Michael explained, his face torn with anger and a wave of grief. "You haven't watched what happened while you were sulking over your miserable self, but I have! Father expelled them from Eden for their defiance against His word. In unthinkable pain, the woman bore her man two sons, Cain and Abel." His voice trembling, eyes burning with rage, Michael pointed his spear back at Samael. "You know what Cain did when he had become a young man?"

The sudden change in Michael's behaviour, the uprising grief, took Samael by surprise and was unsettling. Swallowing, he realized that his brother was right. When he had sulked, as he was punished and waited for this day to come, he truly hadn't taken note of the time that passed by on Earth. Minutes, days, years - All could fly past an immortal being without feeling much more than the blink of an eye. Hesitantly, he lowered his fists a few inches, his expression wary. "What happened?" he asked quietly, his eyes staring with a mix of fear and anger.

"He murdered him! His own brother!" Michael exclaimed, heavily panting and his eyes filled with tears of anger and pain. "Do you even know what that means, murder?"

Samael couldn't help but shudder at the force and sound of Michael's words. It was a strange feeling as always, when a new word came into existence. He instantly understood the meaning, the synapses in his brain connecting and building constructions of right and wrong about it, giving it value and impact. "He killed him, just because he wanted to…" he breathed in a moment of shock and realisation.

"They're tainted, Samael. All of them. It started with Eve, then Adam, their children, and it will go on and on until the end of humanity's existence. They'll lie. Steal. Betray. Murder. All because of you." Michael spat in raw contempt, rancour and loathing.

A pressure built inside him once again, one that felt excruciating. His chest tightened, his heart ached as if it had been ripped apart, and his eyes hurt from the hot burst of angry tears welling up. Teeth clenched, Samael let out a growl, his fists tightening and shaking. "NO! That's not true! That cannot be true!" The brown of his irises began to glisten and shift, brightening and changing in colour until they were a blazing yellow-white.

Dashing forward he took Michael by surprise, tackling him mid waist and wrestling him to the ground, tiles beneath them cracking from the force. The surrounding angels from both fronts agitatedly shouted towards them and at each other, the heat of the moment overwhelming them all with a rush of emotions neither of them seemed able to control.

Michael grunted from the impact, and as Samael was about to throw a punch at him, countered with a shove of his spear, thrusting him back with ease. "Look at yourself! Look at what has become of you! Tainted, the holy light of our Father inside you almost extinguished. You're unrecognisable and not the Lightbringer you once have been. You're hardly worth being called an angel! You're a monster!"

Samael managed to catch himself with a knee and hand on the ground. The rage ate at his tormented heart, fuelling him with a burning power that gave him the necessary strength and confidence to fight. But as he was ready to attack, shouts and fast movements around him, made him turn his head. Gadreel and some of his other rebellious brothers, had drawn their weapons and stormed towards their heavenly siblings with furious yells.

He didn't know how or when it started, his mind unable to piece together the missing parts of information to make sense of the scene unfolding around him; All he realized was that all of his brethren started attacking each other. Apparently God had removed his hold over his siblings and ceased to push them away as well. Bursting open their wings, they fought in a blur of feathers, shining armours and weapons, the sounds of their battlecries resounding over the Silver City like rolling thunder.

He couldn't really focus on his other siblings when Michael stormed towards him once more, spear pointed, his divine powers vibrating off of him in a threatening melody of judgement. Samael felt that this was the beginning of something big and quite possibly the end of something as well. With rage fuelling him and his willpower strengthening his stance, he braced himself for Michael's attack.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: War

Before Michael even reached Samael, he sent out his roaring voice like an additional weapon. Being the one called Power Of God didn't come from nowhere. His voice could be like a well aimed punch or a slice of a sword.

Samael crossed his bracers in front of himself like a protective shield and the powerful echo impacted forcefully against them, but didn't manage to push him back an inch. As Michael's spear followed, Samael turned just fast enough, so that the weapon sliced past his body. With a quick snatch he grabbed the spear staff with one hand and sent a fistpunch with his other straight to Michael's jaw.

The blonde haired archangel grunted, but the hit hardly did more than make his head swirl to the side, before he got back at Samael with a feint attack. Instead of hitting, he took hold of Samael's leather bands, that kept the sheathed sword attached to his back, and tore the sheath off. "You should give up while you can still talk." he hissed, and before Samael could reach out for his sword falling, used the proximity and gripped tightly onto his throat.

With a gurgling sound Samael saw a burst of white feathers and felt how Michael pushed them both up in the air, holding onto him only by his throat. Flailing against his brother's hand, he tried to loosen the iron grip, but couldn't manage to make the fingers open. The instinct to burst his own wings open kicked in, but he immediately felt the oppressive power of his Father, still forcing them to stay put. Gasping, he estimated the height they were at as Michel took them further and further into the endlessness above the Silver City. He knew he would not die from a fall - but it would drain his energy to endure the impact.

"Enjoy the flight, wingless snake." Michael taunted as he began to swirl them both around. Gaining speed, he let go of Samael's throat with a last additional push, and sent him downwards.

He tried to fight against his Father's power over his wings. His jaw tensed and his back muscles trembled from the effort, but it was to no avail. "Blasted, shiny gaffer!" he cursed at his Father as he saw the buildings of the Silver City approaching rapidly. Managing to roll himself in the air, he could see the surface beneath him. He used the last moments he had left, spotting within a group of fighting angels, a distinct black shining armour, and thick black-red wings agitatedly flapping in wild attacks and moves of defence. "ZURIEL!"

He saw Zuriel's head snap up, his brother's sharp blue eyes catching sight of him. Zuriel fought off two attacking siblings, shoving them off far enough to push himself away and out of their immediate reach. The ground was approaching far too fast for his liking. A hopeful smile spread on his lip as Zuriel was almost in reach. It dropped immediately though when he saw Michael dart towards them from the side, wings tightly angled to dive down as fast as possible.

"Don't interfere and get back in line, you rebellious fowl!" Michael's voice roared as he tackled into Zuriel from the side, stopping his attempt to reach for Samael.

"Brother!" Zuriel called out, fearful eyes wide open. He viciously grunted, trying to get out of Michael's hold, but the archangel's grip was iron. "Noo!"

Samael couldn't hear him anymore. Zuriel's voice was drowned by the noise of his body slamming into one of the towers with an impact so massive, that it made the whole building break apart and crumble. Cracks of breaking stone rang in his ears again and again. He felt his back sustaining its impeccable shape, but to the cost of enormous amounts of energy being drained out of him. After all, being immortal didn't mean to have an endless amount of energy at your disposal. With a final thundering crack, his body broke through a last wall and smashed onto the ground that ended his fall.

Pushing aside the rubble, Samael groaned and caught his breath in the fog of dust and gravel. He got back up on shaking feet, when a cascade of thundering lightnings travelled through the clouds and a chill ran down his spine. The lightnings though weren't what made him shiver. It was the change of colour from the sky, that had shifted from its ever so clear light blue to a threateningly dark mix of orange, red and purple. The shades were twirling and shifting, looking almost alive. A frightening background layer, with heaven's sky appearing to be set on fire.

Never in his entire existence had the sky around the Silver City changed. Neither himself nor any of his siblings held the power to change the realm of light. Only God himself could do that. The reason as to why He would do that, seemed obvious the moment Samael's eyes took a closer look at his fighting siblings.

Despite his personal intentions of not wanting to seriously harm their siblings, the rebellious angels had disregarded Samael's wish and fought by their own rules. They were merciless. Without hesitation they attacked and slashed into their brethren in a wild frenzy, with heavenly weapons and wings alike. And when some of the pious warriors were obviously beaten, trying to retreat, they wouldn't cease to attack. Instead they sent down their weapon one last time in a finishing blow.

"NOOO!" Samael screamed out into the skies in despair and watched in shock as his brothers ended their siblings' immortal lives. Another first in the history of his existence. "No…" His voice broke in agony and his chest hurt from the sight, knowing that this was what the human Cain had done to his brother Abel. Murder. Intentionally ending the life of another being simply out of the means to do it. Angels killing angels. A war, the new word darkly rang in his head. The first war in existence. Another first.

Desperately looking around, he saw Gadreel wielding his mace in a deadly swirl, slashing it against a young one, who was clearly not standing a chance. With tearful eyes he watched Gadreel smash his mace down again and again. Blood and flesh spilled and he felt an odd sensation in his stomach and throat. Fighting against the urge to throw up, he stumbled out of the debris of the building in a sick daze.

The sight above him and on the grounds of the Silver City was hard to fathom. It seemed surreal, grotesque and absolutely horrifying. Dozens upon dozens of his siblings had a visage of outright wrath and not only fought against their Father's obedient soldiers, but downright slaughtered them.

He spotted Zuriel who was taking several punches from Michael, but eventually managed to put some distance between himself and the furiously raging archangel. Probably for the best, Samael thought. A regular angel, trying to take on an archangel wouldn't be wise at all. A moment later Zuriel was pulled back into a fight between lower ranked angels, and Samael noticed how Zuriel visibly controlled his attacks and held back on fatal blows. He stayed true to his agreement. Apparently he really didn't want to kill a sibling, as all his attacks were measured to incapacitate, but not be fatal.

His attention snapped back, when he heard a wild neigh coming from the left. He quickly jumped aside, just in time to not be hit by one of heaven's war chariots, pulled from two winged, four legged creatures. Guided from one of the armourers of the heavenly host, the chariot raced through the street and took off into the air. The shell was hardened with golden plates and vicious turning sickles and spikes at its wheels, cutting through whatever they touched.

He needed to do something, but in order to truly do so, and as much as he hated to admit it, he needed to be able to fly. He couldn't just stand by and watch this massacre from below. And another thought occurred to him: There was no going back. The thought about giving up held absolutely nothing for him. Nothing would have come of this, if he'd now simply give up. His Father clearly despised him for who he was, denied him to be himself and even blamed him for the most atrocious acts he bore no part in. No - There simply was no going backwards. He had to get his freedom. And, at least for now, he needed his wings to be able to get it.

Focusing his willpower, he fought against the hold of his Father, pushed and pulled at the constraints which gripped onto his wings. He grunted and growled from exertion, but soon felt the hold of his Father slowly slip away. It felt as if sinews inside him tore apart and the thick woven corpus of his Father's might that kept him cocooned, burst open. Finally and with a relieving, loud thump, his wings broke free. He knew his Father's strength was endless, yet couldn't spend the time wondering of why He would let him go.

He wasted no time and pushed himself back into the air, heading straight for the balcony he had been standing on just moments before. With skillful drive by, he snatched his sword from the ledge and unsheathed it. In an instant the white-silver metal of the blade went ablaze with divine fire. The sword sent a tingling surge through his arm, signalling to him its approval of their union like an intimate connection.

When he glanced to the main source of the battlecries echoing through the Silver City, he spotted a massive crowd of his siblings fighting against each other. He gasped, noticing several bodies falling limply towards the ground. Upon looking more closely he could see, their wings were torn, armours bashed and skin slashed open from deep, gruesome looking wounds. The bodies of his brethren in the sky shed blood in such violence, it reminded him of a sick, disgusting version of Earth's rain. Shaking the disturbing thought aside, he headed for his siblings, the grip on his sword tight.

He joined the fight and appealed at his rebelling siblings' better nature, "Brothers! Don't! Please, stop this madness! Stop killing each other! That's not what we came here for!" Blinking away tears he blocked incoming attacks, trying his best to get distance between the two groups.

"Yield, Samael!" a voice from the front row shouted and Samael quickly deciphered it to belong to his archangel brother Raphael. "Give up your blasphemous act of violence and defiance against Father and surrender!"

Samael dashed to the side and avoided the slash from Raphael's sword, keeping up a wave of counter attacks in return while using his wings to bash out on any stray attacks from other siblings.

Another voice shouted forth from the crowd, "Lay down your weapon and submit to your defeat!" Out of the blur of metal and feathers, a shining halberd, wielded from his brother Gabriel, came forth and cut down at him.

Quickly Samael blocked the attack with his own weapon, the metal clanking, emitting a burst of sparks and small flames at the impact. Teeth bared and panting, he glared at Gabriel, his golden armour almost blinding. "I will not yield, brothers. But- " he grunted, "Please… I do not want to hurt you. I merely want to get my freedom from Father. We don't have to-" But he was cut off when another wave of attacks from Raphael came crashing down on him. He powerfully flapped his wings and thrust his winbows like clubs, desperately trying to stand his ground against both his archangel brothers. "Stop this! Stop this fight! There's so much bloodshed! Just let me get back to Father and all this will end!"

"I'll make sure you will never get a chance to speak to Father ever again!" Michael's voice roared as he surprised Samael with an attack from below. Raising into the sky like an arrow, he held his spear firmly aimed towards his brother, while Raphael and Gabriel made room for Michael's impact.

The attack came hard and unexpected. Samael was able to make a small turn with his upper body, but the heavenly spear hit him nonetheless. The attack was powerful enough to break through his plate armour and pierced through the thick metal into his lower flank. A rush of pain surged through him as the sharp edges bore into his flesh, making him cry out, his body and mind momentarily shocked. With forceful pull, the tip of the spear was yanked out and hot blood gushed out of his flank.

"LUCIFEEER!" several rebelling angels called out as they saw him being hit and immediately began to focus their attacks on Michael.

But Michael wildly fought back the aiding angels with his wings, slashing and tackling them with his razor sharp prime feathers and the momentum of his spear. "Lucifer?!" Michael grunted the name, understanding the meaning of it the moment he heard it. "What? Are they making you their glorious martyr?" he barked darkly in laughter, "Oh believe me, I'll make sure all of Father's creations will remember you for who you are and what you did! Like I said. A monster!"

A new wave of anger boiled up inside him at his brothers words. Pushing aside the pain of his bleeding wound, he concentrated his wrath, fuelling and weaving it together with his divine powers. His mind was in a maelstrom of emotions, and yet at the same time everything seemed focused as if he was planting a mark for the eye of the storm to connect with the ground he wanted to wreak havoc over.

"You think of me as a monster, Michael?" he sneered darkly, pulsing waves of energy emitting from his shape, "You haven't seen me unleashed yet." With a thundering growl, a shockwave of blazing yellow-white burst off him, swallowing the army of heaven's soldiers. The wave was so strong, it sent all of them, pious and rebellious alike, even Gabriel and Raphael, several hundred meters backwards through the air. All but Michael.

The blonde archangel held his spear in front of himself, a translucent shield having formed from its tip to the end of its staff, protecting him from the powerful blow. Eyes narrowing he dashed forward, lashing out with his spear in quick, deadly thrusts.

It was hard for Samael to evade them, not only given the fact that Michael was a master in the combat with his spear, but also because his wound weakened him and slowed down his movements. Still, he used his wings in slicing and whirling motions and his sword like the harbinger of death itself. He was in a fighting frenzy and no matter the exhaustion of his limbs, his rage and willpower drove him forward, giving him the endurance and strength he needed to battle his older brother.

"Yes! You are a monster!" Michael stressed with a grunt as his spear slashed down against his brother's sword. "Lucifer, they call you, hm? Is that the name you want to carry as the monster you have become?" The pressure of the metals grinding against each other causing bursts of energies to radiate from them.

Samael's rage was blazing and his body reacted in union to his devouring anger. He could feel his eyes tingling and heating up, the all consuming fury coming alight in wildly, blazing flames. Roaring, his sword began to ignite with the same frenzy of hungry flames. "Yes, call me Lucifer!" He growled with a grin and took the name proudly. "I hope you like the light I'm bringing along!" He snarled and their weapons met again with sparks and flames.

"You bring destruction among God's holy creation and the heavenly host. You're the Devil, adversary of God!" Michael hissed with bared teeth, "If you don't yield and kneel before him, you will go down, Lucifer!"

The newly created word cut into him sharply, but oddly it didn't hurt. In his rage and anger, he felt how the description of him as the Devil sunk into his very being almost soothingly. It was as if after an eternity of not fitting in, finally, there was something that seemed to mould with his feelings, with his soul. Like there was now a fitting mould for his strange personal shape to fit into. The adversary, the Devil. The angel forsaken by God. The angel who defied God to gain his own freedom. Madly smirking and panting heavily from exhaustion, he slashed against Michael again. "My way could lead me downwards, Michael, or it might lead me up into the light. But either way, I chose it for myself!"

Wings thrusting and bashing, Michael interlocked their weapons and arms in a tight struggle, forcing them through the air towards another building. "I always knew where you would end. I knew you would be too stubborn and naive to choose the right path. The righteous path. You won't win, Lucifer. Look at your rebellious crowd. Look at them!"

The fight had raged on and on in the realm of light, without him having had any sense for the time that passed by. Whether it had been hours or days, it was impossible to tell. When Lucifer glanced around, he observed as the pious angels viciously bashed down the rebels, forcing them down on the ground. In silent horror he watched as swords and maces were raised and sliced down into the thick wingbones of the rebels. Harrowing screams began to overtune the battlecries, and soon the city's air was filled with tormented cries of agony, the streets and plazas of heaven, a gruesome public slaughter display.

"You've lost, Lucifer. Your pathetic army is routed and they will receive their punishment, just like you will." Michael muttered, knocking his head against Lucifer's with a grunt and causing him to flutter backwards and smash against the tower behind him.

Although he had no feeling for the time that had passed, he felt his energy draining. Pinned against the tower he failed to fight off Michael's spear attack, feeling his brother's one hand gripping onto his throat as the spear's blade cut in right beneath a plate of his chestpiece. The razor sharp metal soared into his flesh, causing Lucifer to cry out in mind numbing pain.

Eyes burning with a shimmer of madness, Lucifer tried to lash out at Michael, but had not enough reach. Blood starting to fill his lungs, he coughed and tasted the metallic liquid bubbling up in his mouth. With a long groan, his eyes fixated on Michael's, Lucifer took a hold onto the spear's shaft. Upon seeing his brother's expression shift with confusion, he forcefully janked, effectively thrusting the spear deeper into his body, but also pulling himself closer to Michael. "You think of yourself all so highly. Without Father, you're nothing but a blinded pawn. And me? I'm fighting to be someone. My own man." Burbling, teeth blood smeared, he smirked. "But you won't ever understand the meaning of that."

Close enough, Lucifer swung his sword with as much power as he had left in his muscle, managing to cut into Michael's upper arm. But the strike wasn't nearly hard enough to do enough damage, to make his brother withdraw.

Grinning in knowledge about Lucifer's decreasing strength, Michael laughed about his weak attempt to strike at him. With a grunt he rose his knee and smashed Lucifer back into the tower, the silver stone cracking in all directions. "I don't have to. At least I know I'm not an absolute disappointment and disgrace to our species." With a roar, Michael swirled around, keeping a tight hold onto his spear. Thrusting his wings he gained enough force and momentum, to whirl Lucifer along with him, once more, sending him towards the ground.

Groaning and coughing, he felt unable to breathe, his lungs piping in a disturbing way. His mind was dazed, his muscles sore, inflamed and exhausted, and it became difficult to come up with enough strength to use his wings properly. Flapping his massive, feathered appendages ungraciously he tried his best to catch himself, but his wings gave up and all his willpower couldn't do anything about it.

He smashed into a fountain of divine light, his sword slipping out of his hold as the delicate structure of curves and plateaus burst into a million pieces. The light, contained only by the very form of the fountain, exploded in a white-yellow flash, revealing, as it faded, Lucifer's run-down and battled shape. Lying face down, a pool of blood began to form beneath his torso, rapidly spreading out to the sides. His right wing was angled awkwardly, the upper curved bone stuck in the gravel, twitching in irregular spasms, and he hurt, everywhere.

Something pressed and cut into his back and arms, crunching against armour and bones, making him spit blood in a wave of coughs.

"Lucifer!" Zuriel's rasping voice cawed from the side, distress and tension heavy in his tone. "Brother!"

Dazed, he shifted his head to the side, and a field of grotesqueness filled his vision. Bloodied limbs of all sorts, torn, broken, severed and twisted piled up on the Grand Plaza he had landed on. Wide open eyes gazed into the distance, empty and gone from the plane of light.

His eyes travelled further over the bodies of his brethren, until he saw about a dozen rebels, among them Zuriel, bound down with chains slung around their wings, arms and legs, giving them no possibility to move. It was then, that the pressure against his back and arms increased once more and he winced, turning to look what was causing it.

Both Raphael and Gabriel stood above him, their plated boots pressing onto his back and their sharp prime feathers, piercing into his hands and arms, pinning them to the ground. Raphael breathed heavily, his once so beautiful, pavonine looking wings, covered in the blood of his siblings. He held his sword loosely, his arm seeming too tired to wield it for much longer. "You're defeated, Lucifer. Your army lost."

Gabriel joined in on Raphael's words and thrusted the shaft of his halberd on the ground next to Lucifer's head. "Your rebellion has failed. Your blasphemous defiance ends here and now. Speak your surrender, Lucifer, and you won't have to face the same fate as your fallen rebels."

He grunted as he tried to take in a breath, the pressure of Gabriel's foot against his back only adding to the difficulty and pain of his punctured lungs. "Ngh… n-no…" Lucifer huffed through his clenched teeth, looking back over at Zuriel and the few brothers that were left from the group of rebelling angels. Next to Zuriel, furiously raging in his restraints, knelt Gadreel. His black-green wings crunched, blank bone sticking out at several places.

"Get those off me, you feathered pricks!" Gadreel snarled, his teeth bared as he tried to wrestle himself free from the chains.

Michael landed between the remaining rebels and stepped up towards Gadreel. Condescending he glanced down at the furious angel. "Such foul words, misbeliever. Father's judgement will teach you reverence and gratefulness, and you might get a chance to beg for his forgiveness."

"I'm not in need of his damned forgiv-" Gadreel snapped back at him but Michael silenced him with a fistblow against his temple, making him drop on his side with a grunt.

Lucifer ground his teeth, his energy drained, although his mind was wild awake. "Always kicking down on the younger ones, Mickey…" he grumbled tauntingly.

Raising a brow, Michael walked towards him, stopping in front of Lucifer's head. "This is your last chance Lucifer. Admit your defeat and submit to Father's will."

His heart was pounding up to his throat, each muscle and bone aching to the point of maddening. The words of his brother however, made him cough in a surprised dark laugher. "You're still not getting it, Michael." Lucifer muttered, awkwardly tilting his head to glance up at him, smirking with blood smeared teeth. "I will never again submissively obey my Father. I will not bow to him. And I will NOT. BE. HIS. ANGEL!" he bellowed, eyes blazing with fire.

He felt his divinity blast in strong waves off of him, his light merging with thundering rage and all of a sudden, he could see something new in Michael's expression. A moment, very short, but still long enough for him to notice a hint of something new. Fear. He could tell Michael had noticed it as well, as the blonde archangel quickly narrowed his eyes in a threatening glare. Why Michael had felt like this, Lucifer wasn't sure, but he was satisfied to know he could shake him to the core, even if it was just for a moment.

"Then you won't be his angel any longer, Devil." Michael callously muttered and raised his spear above Lucifer's back, readying himself.

Raphael and Gabriel both slightly leaned back, giving Michael room for his final strike. With full force the spear slashed down at Lucifer, but when the tip of the spear made contact with Lucifer's armour, the weapon came to an abrupt halt. Michael let out a surprised grunt, taken aback from the force that worked against his hands.

"Hold back, Michael." God's voice echoed over the Plaza. He didn't materialize, but floated as a vibrant source of endless divinity above the angels.

Lucifer let out a frustrated sigh, spitting another mouthful of blood. "Of course you decided to jump in now! After countless of your children have slaughtered each other while you just floated around, watching!" God's power laid suppressing on him, but he felt that his Father let His divinity grasp onto everyone, making them all feel His overwhelming might.

Irritated, Michael looked between God and Lucifer, eventually drawing back his spear. Raphael and Gabriel both stepped back from Lucifer and let their sharp prime feathers pull out of his arms, before they as well looked back at their Father, submissiveness and worry written over their faces.

Shaking, coughing, bleeding and panting, Lucifer forced himself up. Releasing a long groan of pain, when he pulled his right wing from the gravel of the ground it had smashed into, he rested his hands on his knees. After a moment of regaining his balance, he pushed himself upright with a grimace and ground his jaw when the radiant shapeless light of God's substance eased down to hover in front of Lucifer.

"I had hoped it wouldn't come to this, son. There was a small amount of hope for you still left in me. But now?" He paused and the emptiness that His silence created weighted heavy on Lucifer. "You've showed how tainted you have become. Your pride has always been your flaw and now it has become your downfall. What is left of the once so bright and beautiful angel? You chose the way of ignorance and disobedience. You've abandoned and renounced your birth name and instead chose one that would display your defiance against me. And still, you lost everything you wanted, everything you had."

Holding his flank, Lucifer glared. "Everything I had?" he spat back cynically. "I had nothing! You held me a prisoner! Wherever I was, on Earth, its moon, in the Silver City, and even before everything, when there was only blackness, you had me imprisoned. Every moment of my existence You commanded me, controlled me, expected and demanded obedience. You judged, dismissed, neglected and disapproved. You abandoned me!"

Hot tears stung in his eyes as his voice poured out like burning lava, its fumes biting in his lungs, his pained heart, scarring and hardening further and further in the means of self protection and perseverance. And the outer shell that protected it, was a continuous building wrath towards the one who caused it. Swallowing, Lucifer forced his posture to get stronger and rose his chin with a hard, condescending look. "And now I'm abandoning You!"

Michael hissed in disapproval of Lucifer's words, but him as well as Raphael and Gabriel, stayed put, until Lucifer's voice had faded.

A second glowing shape materialized next to God, vibrating and sending out mixed feelings of sorrow, fear and anger. It was the Goddess, who had so far stayed out of the conflict altogether. She floated closer to God for a moment, and a rumbling went back and forth between the two.

Lucifer knew they were communicating, but they kept their conversation impossible to be understood from their children. He wondered why She hadn't interfered earlier either. There was the possibility for Her using this moment for Her own agenda against God, something She had done more frequently in the past. A last vibration emitted from Her and Lucifer saw Her disappear as quickly as She had showed up.

And then his Father spoke again. This time however, His voice thundered straight into Lucifer's core. "You will have an eternity to reconsider your words, son! But not in this realm. And nether on your beloved Earth. I cast you out of the confines of the Silver City and you will suffer your punishment away from everyone and everything you hold dear. Your rebellious siblings will be judged and punished accordingly to their actions. They will fall. Right after you."

Lucifer frowned in irritation. "Another realm? Fall? Fall where?" he wondered out loud. Suddenly his attention was pulled back to his surrounding when Zuriel, Gadreel and his other rebelling brothers called out in protest as their pious siblings grabbed them by their collars and began dragging them along the Plaza. His mind tried to desperately understand what was happening when Michael viciously punched Lucifer into his ribs against his wound, making him groan out in pain and fall back on his knees.

Gripping into his dark hair, Michael dragged him along with the other siblings, and only stopped when they had reached the outskirts of the shimmering Silver City. "What a dark day for our dead brothers, but what a glorious day to see them revenged through your eternal exile." Firmly he forced Lucifer up to stand on shaking legs.

God's glowing essence hovered near them as the rebels were getting lined up along the edge of the City. He shifted his form, first into a man-like shape of light and then into his familiar humanly looks. His untelling eyes looked down at Lucifer for a long moment, before his glance fell upon Michael. "Execute." He instructed calmly.

The blonde archangel's eyes lit up, the rest of his body followed, emitting pulses of divine light. Michael inhaled deeply and burst open his bulky white wings, with new-found powers that God awoke in him. A satisfied, callous smirk tugged up at his lips as he leaned in, whispering, "Rot in hell, Devil."

There was no time to process what happened, with God's and Michael's words both echoing in his head like a tormenting whirlwind that kept on going endlessly. With a sharp exhale, Lucifer's chest contracted from a powerful hit of Michael's palms. The blow swiped him effortless off his feet and thrust him backwards a good hundred meters over the edge of the City.

"Nooo!" He screamed in shock from the top of his lungs and his eyes ripped wide open as he could feel something inside him tear apart. A sense of belonging he had never accepted, but still, it had been there, given him a mark to orientate himself in the raging storms of eternal chaos that was his life. He realized then, he was torn away from it, from everything that his Father had created.

He was indeed cast out.

It merely took him a second to realize his wings wouldn't respond to his will.

And then he felt the burning.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6: Fallen

It started at his hands as an unpleasant tingling, but quickly turned into an unbearable clawing all over his body.

His skin felt almost as if it was on fire and when he looked at his hands, he realized, it actually was.

Blisters formed and spread all over him, his skin tore open and his hair burned away within moments. The sickening smell of his burning flesh was terrifying.

He was falling uncontrollably, unable to force his wings to work in order to slow down his descent. And when he looked back at them, he realized they too were consumed by flames. Panic flooded his veins, rushing through him with each thump of his hammering, immortal heart. He cursed out at his Father, believing He had influenced his wings once again, rendering them useless. In a frantic attempt to survive whatever was happening to him, he flailed around, searching for a ledge or something to hold onto. But his shrivelling, burnt fingers only grasped into nothingness.

He screamed louder than he had during his public punishment, the pain of his whipping merely a light scratch in comparison to what he felt now. He cried out with all the power he could muster, feeling his body being torn away from God's holy realm and forced downwards, toward the unknown.

Then the burning became worse.

It started to eat at his armour. The divine plate armour, his bracers, his boots, everything slowly disintegrating and melting floating away in the blur of his surrounding. He tried to rub and pat on the flames on his arms and chest as they licked on his skin and burned their way bit by bit into his flesh. His harrowing screams of agony soon became painful for his lungs, but there was no possibility for him to stop. The pain the flames inflicted didn't lessen, but continued to increase, with every undefinable inch of the distance he was falling.

For how long he had already been falling, he didn't know. It could have been seconds or hours, but it felt like an eternity to him. And it just didn't seem to end.

Frantic horror of his own disfigurement brought him to tears, but the salty droplets vaporized the moment they appeared, and his display of fear suffocated, while the flames continued to eat at his body. Screaming over and over at the top of his lungs, he wanted nothing more than for it all to stop.

Then he began to cry out for mercy.

"Please... Stop… Please, I'm sorry… I can't… Make it stop… I beg you… Make it stop… I'm sorry..."

He didn't even address specifically his Father, but rather sent his pleas out into the emptiness surrounding him, begging to be spit out of its tormenting bowels of pain. Panting and crying in panic, he saw his feathers one by one smouldering away into nothingness and with every lost white feather, did his divinity drain further from him. His divine batteries were literally burning away and his body suffered not only the pain of the flames, but also the lack of power and warmth the divinity had always comfortably provided him with.

And thus, he felt burning hot and freezing cold at the same time.

He vaguely noticed his wings were non existent and only a black, blistered wingbone remained. All of his feathers had burned to ash, all flesh, muscles, sinews and cartilage, charred and eaten away to a minimum. His shape was as far away from his former angelic one as it could be.

At some point his vision changed, or at least he had the feeling of something changing, as his surrounding shifted from light to darkness. He felt an odd lack of connection as he plummeted into a black mass that swallowed him, wickedly pulling at the strings of his sanity and eventually slamming him into his destination.

He landed with a thundering echo and a disgusting, cracking sound with each of his bones shattering to pieces. His meteoric impact broke the ground beneath him into a mile wide crater, with his charred body, a mere burnt corpse, being the sizzling and smoking epicentre. While he could feel every inch of his burnt and broken body, he was not able to recognize the ground he had crashed into, with his fingers unable to feel and his burnt eyes unable to see. The only thing he was sure of, was that the feeling of falling had finally stopped.

He felt momentarily comforted but was quickly thrust back into despair when he found himself consumed by an intense cold, making him shiver all over.

He sucked in trembling breaths, his fingers subconsciously digging into the ground, desperately needing something to hold on to. Whimpering, his teeth chattering, he lay flat on his stomach, his arms extended out in front of him.

After a while he noticed that with each breath he made, he sucked something dry into his mouth and nose. He forcefully coughed and spat, trying to rid himself off it, but to no avail. Groaning, he remained flat on the ground, unable to move, unable to properly breathe and speak or even look around. Every inch of him was either burnt, sore, broken or torn, but by all accounts, he was exhausted.

Again he silently begged. For the pain to stop or for his mind to pass out so that he would not have to feel, but nothing was granted to him. Although he was tired and exhausted, he lay wide awake and suffered, feeling everything.

He stayed on the ground, broken and disfigured, and for a long time he wondered, if he was ever going to heal again. With his feathers burnt away and the stored divinity inside them gone, his healing abilities were solely depending on the amount stored inside his body.

An eternity passed by until he felt his bones having realigned themselves and splinters merged together to become a whole and stable construct once again. Another eternity passed by until his muscles began to regrow and strengthen to their natural state. Eventually he watched as fresh skin was exchanging his crisp, burt shell, and at last, he had the strength and capability again to use his eyes and move.

His physical pain had stopped. Or maybe it had just changed and seeped from his fleshen shell into his heart, nestling inside amongst the other cancerous patches of agony his soul was silently suffering from. He locked it away, all of it, determined to not have it surface and break him apart.

Turning to look back over his shoulder, he could see his wingbone, strong and covered in small white feathers. At the top of the curve he spotted a small patch of membrane, but it was naked. It was the necessary foundation for his feathers to grow from, but it would need more time to regrow and only then would his bigger feathers sprout from it again.

He remembered having wrestled with his brother Amenadiel when he was younger. The fight had become quite rough and they both had moved from just wrestling to ripping feathers from the other in order to make him give up. Divine light had bled from their punctured membranes and it had taken days for the torn out feathers to regrow. But now, with his divinity already at a low, he figured the regeneration of them would need more time.

Realizing there was nothing for now he could do about their state, he pushed himself back up on his feet and silently looked up. Instead of spotting light blues or even a soft greyish curtain like on a rainy day on Earth, the sky above him now was an angry battle of dark greys, blues and reds. From what he could tell there was no direct light source, but still the place wasn't pitch black. However, it felt dark and cold and intimidating.

He made his way up the steep slope of his impact crater and once he reached the flat surface, he was met with a surreal landscape. It looked different from anything else he had ever seen and nothing like the surface of Earth he had shaped millions of years ago. While he had seen landscapes of ash after a cleansing fire or outbreaks of volcanoes, this was something entirely different.

Up towards the horizon, everything his eyes could spot was covered in ash; vast fields, hills and far away mountains. He could tell from the soft, grey particles beneath his feet, the smell and taste of bitter coals, that there was nothing untouched from the ash. It was then, when he noticed, that it was even falling from the sky. An ash-rain.

Most likely a display of anger and sadness from Father, he thought to himself. Or was it a sign for a cleansing perhaps? He didn't know.

Sighing he began to walk. He didn't have a direction and there was nothing looking particularly interesting where he was heading towards, but it was better than staying. He wasn't sure what he was hoping to find though. Another being, another landscape, a construct, anything other than endless ashen ground would hold some sort of promise.

So he walked.

And walked.

With his body in no need for food and water to sustain itself like the humans his Father had created, he felt his stamina growing over time, instead of depleting, his strength slowly but surely increasing. Although he was naked, with the regained energy he had, he at least didn't feel cold any longer.

But the endless sea of ash around him simply wasn't changing. There was nothing and it dawned to him that perhaps, this was it. That there was truly nothing at all to be found, and he was the only one here. Had his Father really sent him to a complete desolate place? Was this the punishment for his actions?

He stopped dead in his tracks, his arms hanging limply at his sides, his eyes staring into nothingness as his mind wandered to the events that had lead him here.

Flashes of blood and metal and tormenting screams of agony flooded his consciousness and in an instant, he lost his footing. His trembling knees gave in and he dropped into the cold, sticky ashen ground, crying.

The war in heaven felt both mere seconds, but also eons ago. Its wounds to his heart and soul felt vivid and fresh, but at the same time scarred since a long time. What was this place? Hell. That's how Michael had called it. Yes, hell. Gadreel had called it like this as well. The opposite of paradise. A place of pain and damnation. But back then, it had just been a word. A thought perhaps, nothing more. And now it had a shape. Material. It was real.

Staring down at his hands, he spotted his fingers covered in fresh, thick crimson blood, were just a second ago had only been ash.

"What…? This… this can't be…" he breathed, quickly brushing his hands against the ground in attempts to somehow clean them. But as he looked at the ground, his fingers dug into a pool of blood. "Wh… what.. the…"

Hell. His mind rang, and more imagines of the war popped up in his head. Severed limbs, piled up to hills on the Plaza of the Silver City. Dead eyes gazing at him, accusing him of their slaughter with silent cries.

" no I didn't…" New tears welled up in his eyes and he scrambled backwards in shock. "No! I didn't kill them… I didn't… I didn't want-" he whimpered, "-for them to die."

His heart and soul bled from the excruciating pain of the loss of his brethren and from the realization of having been the culprit leading them into their death. Head falling into his palms, he cried and sobbed, the screams of his brothers echoing in his ears.

"I'm sorry." he breathed, sniffling. "I'm so sorry…"

Michael's accusation came to his mind and he shivered at the thought of his brother having been right.

"A monster… The Devil." he whispered to himself.

Swallowing thickly, he tried his best to suppress further tears. When he looked back at his hands the blood on them was gone. Just like the puddle of blood. A hallucination, a trick to his mind.

He pushed himself carefully back up on his feet and slowly continued to stumble along, lost in the flashbacks of his actions. He wandered on, but with no sun or moon circling above, he couldn't tell how much time was passing by. It was a bitter irony, how time began to matter to him ever since it had become a concept. Sometimes it felt slow, other times fast, and yet he knew the concept stayed all the same. But still it felt different in this place. Different from Earth and heaven. Perhaps it was moving slower, he wondered. Agonizingly slow.

His attention was pulled back to focus, when his feet touched something cold and wet, clearly not ash. Blinking he realized he had reached a wide river. It's origin and destination were impossible to make out as they got swallowed from thick fog wrapping them up into a dark cocoon. The surface rippled with something moving below the almost black surface, and just like the fog, it was impossible to glance deeper to see its cause.

But despite his gut feeling to better not find out about whatever was below that surface, he was drawn towards it nonetheless. Kneeling down almost in a trance, his palms just at the edge of the shore, he leaned forward.

With his eyes widened in horror and mouth agape, he stared at the monstrosity gazing back at him. Crimson blazing eyes stuck out from a pool of black orbs. Yellow-black teeth had replaced his natural whites and his head was now a gruesome looking skull, hairless and with charred, deep red, burnt skin. Shocked he reached up to his face and gasped at the strange feel of his cheek.

A monster…

Clenching his Jaw he quickly stepped away from the water, the revelation of his monstrous face haunting him.

Yes, of course… I am a monster… They all died because of me. Everyone hates me for what I did...

"I'm sorry… I'm so sorry." He looked up into the sky, the swirls of reds and dark greys flickering from flashes of lightning. "Father?!" he called out, his throat tight. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry for what happened! I didn't want this war! Father!?"

But there was no response.

"Father!?" he called out softly sobbing. "Brothers!? Please, I'm sorry! Please forgive me…" He waited, but again there was no response. "Mother!? Can you help me? Please get me out of here. I'm sorry for what I did. I promise I'll be good! Please!"

His voice died away over the barren landscape of hell and again he felt a rush of panic rush through his body, causing him to tremble. He tried, again and again to call for his family, but neither his parents nor siblings would respond. Focusing his mind to try and at least reach out to the plane of light with his thoughts, he felt a cold blackness, instead of the warm, welcoming sensation he usually had received, and he realized he couldn't reach out to anyone from the Silver City.

The throbbing of his heart and his breathing became louder, the more time passed by with no success in hearing from anyone. At last, he tried to reach out to his star, having put a significant amount of his divinity into the Morningstar, he tried to find that special vibe it sent out, as if in constant search for his own response. He desperately yearned to feel its warmth, it's sense for belonging and it's soothing feel when it listened to his sorrows. But he couldn't sense it and it was terrifying him even more than everything else.

He realized that every single connection he once had, was gone.

He had abandoned his birth name, rebelled with dozens if not hundreds of his siblings and had sought to no longer be his Father's angel.

And he wasn't anymore.

It was just like his Father had said it would be.

He was alone.

He continued to call out for his family, but no one ever replied. And after countless of attempts, he had eventually given up. He did however manage to shift his face back to his angelic looks with a good portion of focus and willpower. But the sadness and pain he had felt since his fall remained and had turned into anger and bitterness towards those that cast him out and refused to answer.

"Be like that, you damn feathered morons and shiny smart arse!" he called out snidely. "I don't need you, Father! You've never been there for me anyway! And I don't need the rest of you lot either! I get along without you just BLOODY FINE!" He yelled angry and upset, kicking away hardened gravels of ash, when suddenly the ground beneath him began to tremble. "What the hell is it now!?" he shouted skywards, "Is that Your answer, You gigantic, stubborn greybeard!?"

The ground rumbled again, louder and louder. He could feel the vibrations coming closer at an alarming speed. Just when the spot beneath his feet started cracking, he made a jump to the side and he was just in time.

The thick ashen ground burst open and a shrieking, massive creature shot forth, towering above him. The beast was about three times his own height and looked almost like a gigantic snake. Dark, bony scales covered its backside and small, dead-white eyes gazed down at him, it's round mouth filled with pointy, sharp teeth.

"Well you're not my Father, that's for sure." Lucifer muttered, making a few steps backwards. He watched as the beast slithered its way up onto the ground, its long tail covered in green, shimmering spikes. It let out another shrieking sound, showing off its teeth again and Lucifer wondered if the creature could actually harm him. He was given a taste when suddenly the creature wiggled in a swift move and slammed its tail sideways against him.

The impact was painful to say the least. Luckily the spikes didn't hit him, but the blank part of the tail hit him into his side. With a grunt he was swiped off his feet and slammed to the ground several meters away. Obviously thrilled from its hit, the beast closed in on him in quick swirls of its snake-like body.

"You not gonna get to do that twice!" he grumbled, holding his flank and dashed to the side, avoiding the massive snake's snapping mouth. He knew he had not his ability to fly just yet, but he did have his agility and strength back. Pushing himself off he made a leap for the creature's back and got a hold onto the thick scales that protected it.

Fitfully the beast shrieked and rolled around on the ground, trying to squash its stowaway with its body. But Lucifer held onto the scales, coughing when the beast kicked up the ash and he sucked it in with a breath. "Damn monstrosity. You're certainly not made to slither around on Earth."

The creature started to buckle in waves and with forceful swings lunged its tail towards him, trying to wipe him off its back. It dawned to him, that he actually had no weapon to use on the creature as his sword had been lost in the Silver City. The rage of the beast became wilder and soon its attacks were so powerful, that the spiked tail was just inches away from hitting Lucifer full force. An idea came up and his stressed expression turned into a smirk. "Let's see just how stupid you are."

He waited, gripping tightly on the scales to not lose his balance and began to pull. "Hey! Yes you, you disgusting maggot! Come on! Strike at me again! I'm right here!" Keeping an eye on the tail of the creature, he watched as the beast shrieked and reared up, and with a big swing it sent its tail down towards him. Crouching deeper, he pushed himself off the snake-like monster, barely missed by the spikes.

A gurgling and shrill cry rumbled from the beast as its tail hit into its own back with all the power of its attack. The spikes broke easily through the protective scales and into sensitive flesh, and immediately the beast's movements began to seize. It trembled and twitched uncontrollably and tried to snap for Lucifer, but he was already getting into a safe distance. And with a last miserable squeal, the creature stopped to move altogether.

Panting Lucifer straightened himself, the pain in his flank starting to fade again already, thanks to his rapid recovering metabolism. He stood in front of the dead creature for a while longer, satisfied with the outcome of the fight - with him being alive. He wondered what that beast was and if it had been the only living thing here or if there would be more of its species he could potentially encounter.

Suddenly he stopped short, realizing that for the first time in his existence, a one on one fight had directly resulted into a death. He had actually killed something, even though technically he hadn't done it with his own hands. But he was responsible for the creature's death. His breath quickened and stuttered from rising emotions overwhelming him.

Once again, as before in this undefinable time he had been in hell, he was reminded of his dead brothers he felt responsible for. He mourned them, again, until he felt able to move again.

Blinking he stared at the dead creature lying in front of him. Had he not fought, he might have died himself. Did have a choice? No, not really. It had been a life or death situation, yet still, he felt bad about it. Not particularly for the death of the creature itself, but about him not even having thought about this outcome. One of them had to die. Yet both of them had been doomed.

Despite his win, and thus staying alive, he could not erase the feelings of disgust and guilt about his actions, and he hoped that in this vast, forsaken place, he would not be forced to having to do it again.

But this was hell.

And it was not a place of hope.

The snake-like monster didn't stay his last kill.

He encountered other creatures of various sorts, all of them hostile, visibly driven by the thirst for blood and hungry for a fleshy meal. After fighting several beasts with no weapons and armour, he figured he could make at least use of the creatures he killed. It wasn't pleasant, but the means to defend his own skin, trumped the skinning and gutting of the monsters. At first with bare hands, then with sharp monster claws, he became creative and improvised himself protective armour of bones and scales, and for weapons he crafted a spear and a dagger for the close combat. That way he didn't have to use his bare hands any longer, something, he knew he was good at, but very much disliked.

At one point of his travels through the endlessness of hell's ashen realm, quite possibly having been walking for years, Lucifer's wings had finally completely regenerated. Back to their full, white feathering and with their soft warm glow, he had to admit to himself he enjoyed being able to fly once again, although he hated the fact that he did. Everything given or provided from his Father held something he felt the urge to rid himself of, rather than use it. For now however, he saw more use and necessity in them to be able to roam through hell with a quick thrust of his wings.

Finally able to fly, he could inspect the realm he was sent to much better. He saw hundreds upon thousands of creatures, all fighting each other, solely driven with the needs to kill and feast on their enemy. He wondered if perhaps this was a place of forgotten creatures of his Father's making. Deformed, horrible monstrosities, which were not perfect, but flawed. And that perhaps this was the reason why they were here in hell, instead of roaming around on Earth.

A place for discarded and expendable beings.

A place for their endless suffering.

But if these monstrosities were truly made from his Father, why was it he had never noticed him work on their creation in his study? Did they perhaps stem from someone else?

Able to pass countless of miles with no effort, he was drawn towards a massive accumulation of hells monsters, all seeming to focus on a spot amongst their middle, trying to reach and attack. But for some reason the centre of the crowd appeared to stay empty. He decided to dive down closer, curious about what held the interest of the creatures and was baffled at what he witnessed.

Black wings with a hint of red, heavily ruffled and at several places plucked, slashed around in a whirlwind of attacks. He spotted the man in dark armour to whom they belonged and his eyes widened. "Zuriel?!" he called out, but the dark haired man wasn't responding, too busy defending himself.

Aligning his wings, Lucifer stormed downwards to aid his lost brother. Just when he was almost reaching the ground, he spread his wings to their full width, prime feathers hardening and slicing into the outer monsters of the crowd as he flew past them. The hellish creatures growled and shrieked in pain. They tried to reach out for him, but none of them was equipped to fly.

Now the other angel's head tilted up, watching Lucifer pass by with wide eyes. He continued to whirl his wings and punch at the creatures, but it was obvious he was having a hard time.

Turning and heading towards the crowd once again, Lucifer took his improvised spear from his belt. "Zuriel, here! Catch!" he called out at the other angel and threw the weapon point-blank at Zuriel's feet.

Without hesitation Zuriel took quick hold of the spear and thrusted and swung it skilfully against his opponents. While he kept fighting, his sharp blue eyes again and again flickered over to Lucifer whenever he was flying past with another powerful wing attack. Slowly but surely, they managed to cut down the monsters, until the remaining dozens decided to run for their life, rather than lose it in the fight against the two angels.

With a pile of dead monsters on the ground, Lucifer gracefully landed in front of Zuriel, tucking his wings behind his back. A relieved smile spread on his lips. "Good to see you, brother." he greeted him, his voice laboured from his throat tightening.

Zuriel looked back at him in surprise, shock and awe and stuck the spear into the ground, before closing the distance towards him. "Lucifer? Is… Is that really you?"

Huffing out a laugh, he felt a tension inside him starting to build. "Well, yes, who else could do such a nice fly-by?" he quipped to play cool and looked down at himself with a sigh. "Although I guess you've never seen me wearing this kind of armour- Ouff!" Zuriel's broad frame almost knocked him over as the younger angel threw himself onto him in a tight hug. His heart ached, feeling the warmth of not just another being, but his caring and loyal brother. In all the time he had spent alone in hell, he had at some point hardened, told himself to not expect to find a brethren of his. But now that he had, the expectation he had tried to keep low, was crushing him with joy. Even though he was too guarded to let it show.

"I thought you were- I- I didn't know you had survived-" Zuriel stuttered excitedly, quietly sobbing. He pulled away and held Lucifer's face in his palms. His eyes held captured the burdens of his past, matching the heaviness that lingered in Lucifer's. "Your Fall. Tell me."

And there joy left him in an instant once again, leaving behind only a sharp stinging. Inhaling a deep, heavy breath, he swallowed and stepped out of his brother's touch. "What's to tell? I suppose you made about the same experiences as I did. Endless falling, burning, crashing, recovering bones, flesh and wings for ages." he said matter-of-factly with a bitterness in his tone. "And wandering around in this pit of ash."

Nodding thoughtfully, Zuriel's brows came together. "Burning?" he repeated puzzled, watching as Lucifer began to look through the dead monsters. "I didn't burn… "

Scrambling through the bodies, Lucifer sighed when he found nothing of use on them and glanced back at his brother surprised. "You didn't? It does explain you still wearing your heavenly armour. Interesting… Maybe Father only gave me the crispy treatment." Anger boiled up inside him, just thinking about God, and the possibility of Him only having made Lucifer burn was outrageous. "Damn Him and His just punishments..." His face tingled and his hands had curled into shaking fists, when suddenly Zuriel's voice rang concerned.

"Lucifer...? What... Your face…" Zuriel gazed at him in shock.

"What do you mean, my fa-" The moment he touched his face, Lucifer hissed and gasped, not having thought about his changing appearance. Taking a calming breath, he focused and felt the soft warmth as his skin returning back to normal. "Sorry about that…" he uttered casually, thinking that he really needed to better control that devilish face. He didn't want for it to just pop up every time his anger got the better of him.

Frowning Zuriel stepped closer, and placed his hands to Lucifer's shoulders, taking a closer look at him. "What was that? Tell me, brother." he asked quietly and worried. "What's happened to you?"

He swallowed thickly, the change of his face into that of a monstrosity still hard for him to get along with. "It's like Michael said, Zuriel." he grunted, jaw tensing. "Didn't you hear him? I'm the Devil. The adversary of God. Pure evil and sin. I'm a monster."

Zuriel's expression darkened, as he shook his head at him. "Stop that, Lucifer, you know that's not true. You're not evil and you're not a monster. That's ridiculous." he sternly responded, his voice hard and confident. "You are the adversary, as you challenged Father. But for a good reason!"

"Oh really?!" he exclaimed pushing away Zuriel's hands. "And what about all those slaughtered brothers of ours, hm?" he growled back, the horrors about piles of angelic corpses clearly present in his shaking, angry voice. "They would live, if it hadn't been for me talking to you about getting our freedom!"

"And what kind of life would that have been, brother?!" Zuriel barked back, his own emotions starting to overwhelm him. "You showed us that we do have a choice! To not just follow blindly. To go our own way. Make our own decisions. Be our own man!"

Eyes blazing up, Lucifer bared his teeth and kicked into the ashen ground, palms outstretched to his sides. "And see where it led us!" he spat bitterly.

Zuriel quietly sighed at Lucifer's thundering voice, his shoulders lowering. "We are not in heaven anymore. We are here. In hell. And no one is here to tell us what to do."

"What are you implying, Zuriel? That this is a place where we are free? In this damned place, with nothing but monsters and ash?!" Lucifer grunted. "Are you mad!? Have you hit you head and maybe not fully recovered from your fall?"

His brother looked at him calmly, his expression telling that he was tensely thinking. "What if you were to change that?" he spoke, dismissing his Lucifer's sarcasm.

"What do you mean?" Still a bit irritated and grumpy, Lucifer crossed his arms, wondering what his brother had in mind.

"This." Zuriel gestured around them and kicked into the ashen ground. "When Michael gave you just a ball of dirt to form, you transformed the shape of Earth from it, landscaped it. You could give this ashland a try. See what you can make out of it."

Lucifer's brows went up into his hairline, his jaw slacking. Within a moment however his expression hardened again and he shook his head vehemently. "Transform this place?! No. No, Zuriel. Surely not."

"What? Why not? You could try make this a much more useful realm. Maybe even comfortable to a degree. You could try to build us a new home for us, less horrible and-"

"It's His bloody power!" Lucifer interrupted him in a roar, focusing on his face to not let it slip into his devilish appearance again. "I don't want to- I'm not dependent on Him!"

Zuriel tilted his head to the side, looking at his brother for a long, quiet moment before he spoke again. "Lucifer, He created you with this power. Use it. Not for His, for your purposes."

That sparked something inside Lucifer's troubled mind.

Of course… I could use the powers Father has equipped me with, not for, but… against Him.

His hatred towards his Father started to react with his deep hurt once again as it had before. This time however, he embraced the idea that came forth from it. He would show off just how independent he was from his Father. He'd laugh at His shiny face and use his powers to build something the way he wanted it. He would enjoy and be proud of his own work and no one would dare to tell him not to be.

"You're right, Zuriel. Let's see how He likes it, if the Devil uses his powers to defy Him even in his exile." he agreed with a dark tone, a sinister grin slipping up his lips and his eyes blazing with hellfire.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7: Hell

Lucifer stood on a small hill, overlooking hell's landscape which's endlessness disappeared into the foggy, distant horizon. He had his eyes closed for several minutes already, feeling into the powers of the realm, focusing on its functioning, its energy and composition.

But all he felt from the place was darkness, pain and despair.

Still he knew he could form the material he was given, having discovered, that beneath the ash was in fact a thick layer of brimstone and obsidian rock. Balling his fists, he let his divinity weave together with his willpower. The ground trembled and shifted, broke apart and masses of dark began to emerge from the depths. Sharp dangerous cliffs rose into towering formations, while at other places elevated plateaus with smooth, tile-like surfaces built up from beneath the layer of ash. Spikes and pillars of obsidian pierced through the ash like dangerous, triggered traps, ranging from men-size to gigantic mountains, edgy, splintered and sharp. He stopped and calmed his breathing, taking in the sight of his work.

Zuriel, standing a few meters behind him, let out a humm. "I'm not sure but… was that all?" he rang with a curious and slightly disappointed tone.

His right brow arching, Lucifer turned to glare at him. "Are you being serious?"

Defensively his brother raised his palms. "I'm just asking! Can't you make it, I don't know, more... colourful? Lighter maybe?"

"This is hell, Zuriel. The only colors you get here are ash-grey, black, perhaps a hint of dark blue and a few shades of red and yellow." he grunted.

"Alright, alright." Zuriel tried to calm Lucifer's slightly aggravated state, but then looked around sceptically. "But I don't see any reds and yellows. Where did you leave them?"

"In the abysses of hell in the form of magma." Lucifer explained annoyed, although not so much about his brother's questioning, but rather the fact that he simply couldn't draw out more from hell's composition. Sighing he pinched the bridge of his nose. "Sorry, brother. This is all that I can do for now."

Stepping up towards the archangel, Zuriel offered him a soft smile and pat on his shoulder. "It's better than nothing. Although…" he took a deep breath, his tone plaintive, "A lava pit or some flames would really bring in some variation. Perhaps you could-"

"Oh bloody hell!" he grunted with a tone of sarcasm, "You won't shut up about it, will you?" Narrowing his eyes he glared at Zuriel, half in seriousness, half in jest, and sighed. "Fine. Whatever." Giving in to his brothers wish, he once again focused his divinity onto the components of the realm. The ground in front of them broke apart into a roughly elliptical crater and filled up rapidly with sizzling hot lava. Sinking his energy deeper into the matter a broad pillar of flames shot up from the pool with a roar, reaching far into the sky and disappearing in the clouds. "There you go. Satisfied?"

Zuriel smiled back at him, "Yes very much so. Thank you, Lucifer." He observed the lava and the huge flame pillar coming forth from it. "A beacon of light in this otherwise dark hellhole. I like that."

Lucifer tilted his head, giving him an incredulous look. "You're really remarkable, Zuriel, you know that? A fierce fighter, but also hopelessly romantic. Very poetic."

A flicker in Zuriel's bright blue eyes showed a glint of mischief. "And wouldn't you know...?" he murmured tongue in cheek, not hiding the smirk that tugged at his lips.

"What's that supposed to mean?" he asked, staring at him dumbfounded. He knew his brother had always been an interesting character. Understanding humour and even being witty at times. But up until Lucifer had explained the concept of freedom to him, he had been a very pious loyal angel to their Father. And now he wondered, how the events during the rebellion and being cast out of heaven had changed Zuriel.

"Well, you're the one of us actually having experience with romance. Speaking of… you never told me. How was it?" Zuriel asked, his eyes sparkling with curiosity. "I mean… aside from the woman betraying you, obviously."

The mentioning of Eve felt strange. He did feel a pinch in his heart, but it was very distant. However, when he focused back on the hours he had spent with her, the pain faded and a soothing warmth washed through him, alongside a tingling going straight to his loins. "It was… amazing. I don't even know what was happening with me really, but it felt absolutely wonderful and it's not comparable to anything else. It was… exciting, fun, loving, gentle but also wild." he let out a soft laugh and continued rather to himself in a heated whisper, "She was soft, warm, wet... and pleasantly tight."

He swallowed thickly, feeling his lower body rushing to life beneath his armour and it wasn't as comfortable as the last time it had been this way. He felt his body yearning for that feeling again, the sensations Eve had put him in, the discovering of ways to please each other, and to follow one's carnal desires.

He glanced back at Zuriel, who was staring at him intently and, to Lucifer's advantage, was not understanding one thing he was saying. Clearing his throat, Lucifer stepped away from the flaming pillar and his bedazzled brother, looking into the distance and trying to control his own feelings. But he couldn't help the thought arise of whether or not he would ever be able to experience this kind of feeling again.


"So," Lucifer decided to shift the topic. "There's a few things I want to find out, which is why I want for us to split up. To see what else there is to find in hell. Somehow I have feeling there's much more to this place than what we have seen so far."

"Very well. I guess we already set up a meeting point." Zuriel quipped with a look up the flaming pillar. "I'll keep an eye out for our fallen brothers. Maybe we can find them and re-unite."

Sharing a last moment and an acknowledging nod, they both pushed themselves off the ground and flew in opposite directions.

Travelling hell's expanse in mere moments, Lucifer took a glimpse at a shimmering river. He could tell it was the same he had found when he had started walking through the ashen realm. He dove down, gliding just barely above the dark surface, feeling a chilling cold emitted from the inscrutable stream.

He flew along the river, looking for something that would stand out of the darkness and at last he spotted a soft green shimmer in the distance. Upon closing in, the shape of small boat appeared and as he reached it, he saw a lantern attached to the prow, which was the source of the green light. It was just now, that he noticed the boat was being made out of thick curved bones. Ribcages, skulls, arms and legs, everything seemed to be aligned to fit together like a bizarre puzzle.

A cloaked figure stood at the stern of the boat. It turned towards him and Lucifer flapped his wings just enough to float in the air next to it. "Who are you?" he asked, trying to look past the hood of the figure.

The robe on the figure's arms slid back a little, revealing blank, boney hands wrapped around the oar. Reaching up, it pulled its hood backwards, and a white skull appeared, it's jaw held with old, rotten muscles and sinews. Dark shadows pooled in the empty eye sockets and, although seemingly impossible, sent out the feeling of them looking at the angel. "I am Charon, the ferryman. And you?" the skeleton spoke, its voice vibrant, low and disturbingly soothing.

"I'm Lucifer, the Devil." he answered with a sense of pride and he felt something like completion in introducing himself like this. He enjoyed to not carry his old name anymore, leaving his old self behind, buried and mourned for in the farthest away corners of his soul. When Charon's skull inclined in a nod, Lucifer gestured over the water. "What is this river called, Charon?"

"This," the ferryman began, his head turning over the broad river. "This is the Styx. The river of the dead."

He wondered if this was why the river was a glistening black abyss. "What is it you transfer here? These monstrous creatures that attack on sight?"

A hoarse laughter rumbled from the skeleton's ribcage. "You mean demons? No. I transport what the name suggests. Souls of the dead, of course."

"Souls?" Lucifer repeated surprised. He remembered how he had tried to bond with his siblings and offered his help for some of the projects they worked on when he was younger. At some point a few of his brothers had been working on the concept of an afterlife for the humans. He hadn't understood the purpose of it, the idea of a mortal being carrying a soul and having it transferred into an immortal afterlife had sounded rather strange to him. Now however his curiosity was aroused and he carefully glided down onto the boat. "Where do you bring the souls?"

A low hum vibrated through Charon's skull. "To the tombs." When he saw Lucifer's frown, he elaborated further. "That's where they enter their hell loops. I bring them towards their punishment."

His head snapped up at the last word. Has hell turned out to be an afterlife for mortals where they would be punished? Why would his Father want that? "Hell loops?" he asked, wondering what that meant.

"Honestly I haven't seen the tombs or what's inside myself, since I cannot leave this boat. But I've heard stories from other demons." The ferryman shifted his weight and started to steer the boat forward. "Each soul has a tomb created just for themselves. Inside, they encounter their most horrifying nightmares and are suffering through their own misdeeds from their former life, driven by their own guilt. Once the experience is over, it starts again and again, for all eternity."

It was shocking, revolting even, to hear of this strange concept of punishment. But then again, his Father had always been ruthless in his punishments. "For their misdeeds…?" he asked carefully, having already an idea as to what this was about.

"Their sins. Their blasphemous acts against God's words. They killed and lied, stole and betrayed. I thought you would know, Lucifer. I've heard that you're the fallen Lightbringer. The angel who defied God." Charon muttered as he navigated them through the fog-covered river.

His throat tightened. Their sins. Just like Michael had told him. Like God had told him. The sins he supposedly initiated with Eve. "Yes, that would be me…" he breathed out in thought. Was that true? Were they here because of him? "Where are those tombs you spoke of?"

"Over there." Charon answered, pointing over Lucifer's shoulder. "Past the Pain Fields and the Forest of Shadows. It's a construct of pathways made from obsidian and brimstone. You cannot miss it."

Looking towards the direction Charon pointed towards, Lucifer nodded and offered a small smile. "Thank you for your help. I hadn't expected to find it in this place."

"Ah, you're welcome." Charon's skull turned slightly when Lucifer tensed his wings in the means to take off. "Oh, Lucifer? One last thing. Your name is spreading in hell. The fallen angel, the Devil, the ad-"

"The Adversary, yes, yes, I'm aware." he interrupted, a hint of impatience and annoyance in his voice. "What were you getting at?"

"You might not feel as if you're suffering right now. We all have our own ways to cope. But hell punishes everyone. Because hell also has its ways. The souls, demons, me, you - none of us is safe from hell's influence. Are you aware of that?" Charon quizzically spoke as he steered the boat through the stream.

Lucifer frowned, Charon's warning words irritating him. Wasn't the fact to be in hell the punishment already? Although apparently human souls received a special treatment of God's gruesome justice. But how was he being punished, aside from being cast out and brought to this place? He dismissed the thoughts, finding the dead-end not to be helpful. "I'll keep it in mind." he responded vaguely, intentionally not answering directly. It would be something he could think about at a later time, he figured. "It was a pleasure meeting you, Charon the ferryman."

Charon inclined his head, pulling his hood back over his skull. "Oh the pleasure was all mine, Lucifer the Devil."

With a thrust of his wings, Lucifer was back in the air, making dark water splash lightly against the hull of the boat. He headed towards the direction that was given to him, thinking about what the tombs and hell loops would be like. What about the souls? Was there truly no ending to their punishment?

And will there be an end to mine?

The Pain Fields he travelled across were beyond despicable and disgusting. He was nauseated, spotting how demons were not simply killing others of their kind, but gruesomely exhibiting their tortured bodies, spiked on stakes, dismembered, skinned and turned into sickening, bizarre artworks. All the while they were screaming and whining in their suffering. A haunting sight through and through.

Passing the forest Charon mentioned, he could finally spot the expense of a wide black structure that was honeycombed with pathways and more rectangular shapes he made out to be tombs. Small shimmers flashed up every once in a while and he curiously closed in on one of the lights. As he landed in the pathway, surrounded from massive walls of brimstone and obsidian rock, he saw the light he had seen came shining through from the doorslits of the belonging tomb. Folding his wings behind his back, he carefully pushed against the door, finding it unlocked.

Sharp white light blinded him and he wasn't able to see into the tomb. Determined he stepped inside, shielding his eyes with his arms and then, within a blink of an eye, everything around him changed. The light faded to a natural illumination and revealed two men standing close to each other. They had rags of fur and leather as simple armour and one of them was miserably crying. In a few meters distance towards them, stood a woman, also wearing furs, with a thick bundle of cloth in her arms that she was rocking gently side to side. She angrily looked at the crying man.

"It's all your fault! You did this! You murdered them both!" she shouted towards him.

The crying man sobbed heavily when he suddenly struck out with a knife into his male companion. "I'm sorry, I didn't have another choice. I'm so sorry. Please. I didn't know… I just didn't know! How could I have known!?"

Blood rushed out of the wound and the man took a hold onto his attacker. "What have you done to me? I didn't deserve this. Why did you kill me?!"

A cry mixed into the building sounds of accusations from the woman and the wounded man. It was a high pitched cry, something Lucifer hadn't heard before, except from small animals. When he saw the woman glancing down at the wrap of cloth in her arms, he realized that this is where the cry came from. From a tiny human releasing cries of pain and sorrow, fear and neglect.

The crying man stared at his hands covered in blood and turned to look at the woman. "I'm sorry! I just wanted for you to survive."

Lucifer observed in a mix of confusion and curiosity what was going on. With a flash, the scene in front of him changed back to its starting position and the dialogue started all over again. The same words. The same movements. The same accusations. The same reactions. And once it was over it started anew.

After the fifth time, Lucifer had enough and stepped up towards the crying man, the woman as well as the other man freezing in motion, merely observing what Lucifer was doing. "Hey! You. Human. What is your name?"

Gasping in shock and tried to calm his breathing the man turned to look at Lucifer. "I-I-I'm called Rodan. W-who are you?"

He took a good look at Rodan and thought about how to introduce himself, or if he should do so at all. "I believe…" he began slowly, "I'm the one who gets to ask the questions. Tell me Rodan, what have you done?"

Rodan's eyes widened with fear and guilt and he started to uneasily shift from one foot to the other, his hands nervously brushing through his fur rags. "I-I-I didn't mean t-to…. I-I just wanted to… I wanted…"

"Yes? I'm listening?" Lucifer pressed on, his voice stressing slightly from curiosity and a hint of scepticism. His eyes gazed into Rodan's like well aimed dagger. "What is it that you wanted? What did you desire?"

The man's face began to relax, his blue eyes shifting from guilt to something that almost seemed at ease, although it was clear that Rodan was not. His pupils dilated and his lips parted slightly with his jaw hanging slack. "I… I wanted… I wanted to provide for my family." He blinked, seeming surprised at the words coming out of his mouth. "It was a harsh winter and my woman and I have finally had our first child. There were hardly any berries to be found and my woman needed meat."

Lucifer slowly walked in between Rodan and the other humans, taking in their looks and recalling their accusations. "And what did you do?" he asked calm but firmly, his brown eyes darting back at Rodan, fixing him with his glare.

"I went out on the hunt with my best friend. The journey was rough and we managed to only hunt two small rabbits. I realized that it wasn't enough. It just… it wasn't enough for us all to survive." Rodan said with tearful eyes, his jaw tensing as he tried to hold back his sobs. "So I… I… I had to make it enough. When he was busy skinning the rabbits I… I stepped up to him from behind and… and… I slit his throat."

Killed. The human killed. His best friend. Over food?!

He felt the heat of anger starting to boil up inside of his chest and while his hands balled into fists, he felt his eyes tingling, blazing up in all consuming crimson. "And what about your woman? What is she accusing you of?"

Rodan trembled all over, unable to tear his eyes away from Lucifer's burning gaze. "I came home with the meat and… and I found my wife grieving over our little girl who had died overnight." The man sank on the ground in front of Lucifer, crying freely. "I broke down and told her what I had done… It had been all for nothing… I had killed my friend to provide for my woman, so she had the strength to nurture our child, but… but then my sweet little baby was also dead. My woman did not want to bear my atrocious secret, so she told our tribe leaders and they killed me as justice for my dead friend."

With overwhelming disgust and disdain, Lucifer took in the man's story of murder and loss and looked over towards the woman with the child in her arms and at Rodan's friend. How could someone do this? In his rebellion, his brothers had killed each other, then he heard of Cain having killed his brother Abel and now this human told him, he killed his best friend. "What made you do it? You knew it was wrong, so what set you off?" he pressed through clenched teeth, his aura seeming to darken threateningly.

"I didn't mean to… It was… it was that voice. The first tempter. The man of sin. The snake!" Rodan whispered, his voice shaking. "It's all his fault! He made me do it!"

"The first tempter…" Lucifer repeated quietly, more to himself, as accusations of his Father and Michael resounded in his head. He had been called exactly that. Having tempted Eve. Having brought sin among humans. And Michael had labelled him snake and told him how everything that was going to happen would all be his fault.

His eyes flaming up in anger once again, Lucifer stepped up to Rodan and towered over him. "No. That's not true." he growled, "I didn't make you do that. I wasn't even there. This is all your doing. And now you've got to pay for it." Turning his back at Rodan, he headed towards the direction of the door he stepped through.

"No wait! Please! You can't leave me like this, please! Help me! HELP MEEEE!" Rodan called after him, but the moment Lucifer turned away from him, his hell loop scene around him began anew.

Stepping out of the tomb, the door behind Lucifer shut close again. Upset, he stormed up and down the pathway and decided to look into other tombs to find out why their souls were in hell. He inspected almost a dozen more tombs, in all of which the human souls told him about their horrible acts when they were alive. Lying, betraying, adultering, stealing, killing, bullying, raping. And all of them tried to put the blame on the infamous, first tempter, the snake, the evil man who guided them and made them commit their crimes.

He left them to their fate in a roaring fury.

"This is all Your and Michael's fault." he hissed lowly, knowing that, although he might not be able to reach out to the Silver City, at least God could hear him very well. "Especially Michael's, that blasted scumbag! You hear me, Father? He said he would make sure that I would be remembered among humans for what I supposedly did. That I'm responsible for my siblings' deaths, but… but I didn't force them to do anything! He spread all these lies among humans! And You let it happen!"

Pushing away the wave of tears that threatened to escape him, he instead let the anger boil. He swore himself he'd find a way to get back at his Father somehow. He was after all the "Wrath of God" and nothing in this universe held willpower that was a match for him.

About to push himself off into the air, he paused when he heard a bunch of growling, shouting and laughter. Not only that. He heard actual chattering. A conversation, not far away. Following the noises by foot, he took a handful of turns in the labyrinth of pathways and halted when he met a group of three demons. Despite their horrible looks, they somewhat had similarities to a human shape, only that they had hands of claws and wide maws with sharp teeth. And one of them had horns.

They stood in a small circle and in their midst on the ground, was a small black shape, wildly shifting and he realized, this thing was were the growling came from. Having noticed Lucifer's arrival, one of them turned around.

"Oh wow! That must be him. Squee, Dromos! Look! The fallen angel!" the bulky one with horns hissed, baring his teeth at Lucifer.

The other two demons turned, their grins disappearing and eyes widening.

A slender one in a dark plate armour and with a crown of spikes sprouting from his head sniffed and muttered, "He reeks of heaven. Baah! Weak and disgusting! Even more disgusting than this damn mutt." He turned back towards the small black thing and kicked it, making it whine and yelp.

Already in a fairly bad mood, Lucifer flared up his wings, his eyes lighting up with dangerous, hungry flames. "What did you just call me?" he growled, his voice dropping to a threatening low.

"Pah! Look at him! All shiny and oh so righteous! Just like his damn Father. You think you're impressing us with your shiny wings and a some glowing eyes, little birdy man?" the horned one, who had spotted him first, barked in laughter.

That was too much for his pride and with a roar, Lucifer's face shifted into his devilish appearance. He made a lunge and shot his left wing forward like he was throwing a spear. With a crack and a wet thud, his prime feathers pierced straight through the demon's chest. The demon screamed out in pain and tried to get the feathers out.

The furry small thing took its chance and stumbled towards Lucifer, made another yelp and quickly slipped behind his legs with soft snorting.

Drawing back his wing, Lucifer watched as the demon dropped on his knees, groaning and whining in pain.

"Shit, shit, shit!" the slender figure in armour whined and quickly held his hands in front of his head, lowering down on one knee. "Okay, okay! We're sorry! Sorry, Mister Fallen Angel! Please… please have mercy!" When he noticed his friend was hesitating, he threw him a dangerous glare, hissing, "What are you waiting for, Squee?! Bow your fucking head and beg for your fucking life! Or do you wanna end up with a damn hole in your chest like Brosak?"

Squee blinked, frozen on his spot. Only when his companion grabbed for his wrist and pulled him down to kneel, did he come back to his senses. "Right... Please, please forgive our rudeness, Mister Fallen Angel."

Lucifer's breath was like that of a wild beast. His fingers twitched with the desire to squash the miserable creatures, but he held back, not seeing the necessity in killing as it would not be self defence. "My name is Lucifer. I'm the Devil." With a calming inhale and exhale he let his face shift back.

"Aye…. the Devil… We heard about you." Squee muttered, his eyes still wide in fright.

"I figured. So, your names are Squee, Dromos and the worthless sod who had the guts to compare me with my damn Father is Brosak, yes?" he murmured condescendingly. When the demons nodded one after another and agreed in whining muttering, Lucifer pointed at the thing behind his legs. "And what is that?"

The furry creature hiding behind him, nudged against his legs and wiggled its tail, seeming to notice the attention it was given.

Dromos lifted his spiked head carefully. "That's the hellhound Cerberus. Fucking useless whelp."

The hound barked, shook his little head with a huff and in a blurry motion two additional heads shifted out of it. The now three-headed creature bared his tiny teeth of his three maws, six orange eyes staring daggers at Dromos. Even though he had a cute appearance with his oversized heads and slightly clumsy movements, it was obvious Cerberus was furious.

"I think he's angry at how you treated and still talk about him. I wonder if I should burn you, so he could have a feast and enjoy some crisp demon? You know, as a form of reparation. In the means of justice." he proposed intimidatingly and the three demons quickly shook their heads.

"No! No! Please! We're sorry, Lucifer!" Dromos whined and looked at Cerberus with wary eyes. "We're sorry, you drooling little thing… We were just bored. The general gave us nothing to do, while she gets to have all the fun…"

"Yes!" Squee chimed in annoyed. "If the general would at least let us torture some of the nasty ones, we'd be very happy demons!"

Lucifer let his glare linger a while longer, but eventually nodded. "Alright. I believe everyone deserve a second chance. Don't treat him badly ever again though or I will incinerate all of you. Got it?"

"Yes, Lucifer, of course." The demons nodded and slowly got back on their feet. Looking overly submissive, they helped Brosak up, who was still grunting and holding his wound.

"You said something about torture. Who did you want to torture?" Lucifer went on, giving a short glance at the small hellhound, finding him to chew and sniffle on his right boot, apparently enjoying its consistency of dead monster skin.

"Well… humans of course. We have fun going into their hell loops and make them even more horrifying. Or we take care of the dangerous and crazy ones, who are just restrained in their tombs." Dromos explained, visibly excited, and added with a wide grin, "I'm sure you'd have fun yourself, swinging a whip or pushing in some eyeballs!"

Lucifer grimaced in disgust. "I don't think so."

"Hey, Squee. I wonder… Do you think he could, you know, convince the general…" Dromos murmured in a low tone, with a suggestive gesture.

"Ohhhh!" Squee's eyes went wide, his lips spreading into a crazy smile. "Yes! Yes, of course! He's strong. He's the Devil! They should meet!"

"He might even lead the Lilim into war against the other houses. He's surely skilled in battle." Brosak barked before coughing and spitting out blood. "Although it seems he lost his last fight, so-"

"Quiet!" Lucifer growled annoyed from their wild chattering, "I'm standing right here, you dimwits! Be careful with your tongues or you might find them to be gone."

Dromos flinched, lowering his head in a submissive manner. "Forgive us. We were just excited. Come! You have to meet our general. She's the strongest of us."

He was about to decline, when he hit on an idea. What better way to spite his Father, than by acquiring a fellowship of his own? Without the whole worshipping though, of course. What would God think about him, making himself a name in this underworld? Could he tickle the Almighty into becoming envious? Or perhaps make God hate him even more, by showing Him just how much of a bad angel he could be?

"That sounds splendid." he chimed with a dark smile, "Bring me to her."

"Don't you have a home or something?" Lucifer muttered towards Cerberus, who, despite his small size and barely reaching his knees, was happily trotting along and following the group. He was surprised to find that the hound had very high intelligence and stood in no comparison to any other animal he had encountered on Earth. It seemed he was, in a very amusing way, even outsmarting the demons.

Cerberus huffed, his three heads shaking and softly whining. The range of gestures and mimics of him were of course rather limited, but Lucifer was content with the dog almost mimicking human expressions. He was quite easy to understand. "Alright, let me guess. You won't leave my side, will you?" A wave of happy barks sounded from the furry companion and Lucifer sighed in approval. "Very well then. Just… don't lick and try to eat my boots again, understood?"

He received an agreeing, high bark from Cerberus' middle head, his muzzle revealing his tiny sharp teeth in what Lucifer deciphered to be a cheeky grin. Rolling his eyes, he tried to cover up his amusement about the hound's behavior. Would he grow out of this, or would this get worse over time, he wondered.

Throughout what must have been hours, they had ventured through an endless maze of tombs until eventually they reached a big structure. It almost looked like the mausoleum-like tombs, if it wouldn't have been for its enormous size and it having a double winged door with engravings in it. "What is this place? Another hell loop tomb?"

Squee whirled around in a pirouette and started to laugh. "That's where the crazy ones are in. The looney bin!"

Dromos snipped a finger against one of the spikes on his head, humming to the vibration. "The souls inside don't feel guilt for what they did when they were alive. So a normal hell loop simply doesn't work. Instead we have them here and get to have our fun with them. Well… if the general lets us." he added the last bit a little grumpily as he went forward and placed his claw-like hand on the door. Sigils of interlaced triangles began to glow and fade again before Dromos pushed open the doors of the building. "Inside we go, Mister Devil. The general is busy, working, you understand?" He grinned at Lucifer, receiving a wondrous look from him as he stepped inside, followed closely from Cerberus, Squee and Brosak.

It was just like when Lucifer had entered the hell loops before. With a flash, a scenery was revealed in front of him, but he had not been expecting to see this.

Massive bowls stood on top of firepits with even bigger demons, giants, stirring soups made of human souls. They groaned and screamed, slowly being cooked while their torturers poured other ingredients inside, Lucifer did not even want to find out about.

To his right, various demons of all forms flailed souls on crosses and wheels, drowning and skinning them, before joyfully carving out their flesh.

In front of him had been put a wheel-like construction into the ground, with humans inside it pushing forward a mechanism. It was like a screw. The humans were chained and when they did not push, they fell into the razor sharp shards of obsidian that they had to walk through, getting walked over and shredded from the humans pushing. The screw was structured like a mill. Its outside wall was covered with shards and the opposing wall around it was covered with the torturous shards as well. With the screw being turned, the machinery ran. Above the construct, demons stood and threw souls into the mill where they would be ground to human mush from the shards in an eternal fashion. A disgusting, never ending cycle.

Something wet dripped onto Lucifer's shoulder and made him look up, but he immediately regretted that he did. Thin, long strings connected to souls who were attached to small hooks. These went beneath their skin just enough to make it fold and still hold the bodies to the ceiling. Arms, fingers, chests, stomachs, legs, toes, noses, eyelids and ears, nothing was spared from the hooks. And because hanging didn't seem like a torture horrible enough, vermin was eating them over and over again.

The screams, cries and pleas for mercy were echoing through the seemingly endless place.

No. It is endless, he reminded himself. All of hell is. This place, the hell loops, the pain and suffering. Everything is endless.

"Just because they don't feel guilt, doesn't mean they don't feel pain. And that's what it's all about. Come, Mister Devil. The general is over at the steamroller." Dromos shook him out of his mind-boggling and detestable observation and gestured ahead.

It took a good portion of his willpower to stomach what he saw, heard and smelled, but he could mask his disgust and trouble well enough for the demons to not take note of it. "The steamroller… Sounds great…" he muttered sarcastically and followed Dromos along through an aisle of souls being impaled on spikes, like a slowly starving parade.

They soon reached another construct with a broad spiked roll that ground against a wall of small hooks. At its side stood a figure with long dark hair. Despite it being clothed with shoulder plates and leather striped armour, he could still make out the different shape. A female. For a brief moment he paused in his stride, reminded of the first woman. The one it all started with. He could swear he felt the whip lashes of his punishment for his supposedly sin of having indulged in wonderfully satisfying carnal desires with her. Eve.

Did she also end up here, in hell? Did Father also punish her for her acts aside from just casting them out of Eden?

But when the female shape turned, it wasn't Eve that faced him. The most prominent feature sticking out was the left side of her face being covered from a clean white mask. Her dark eyes locked with his, widening the slightest bit before her focus shifted back on the roll and the crank she was turning.

Dromos ran ahead and bowed down in front of her. She seemed irritated as she looked at Lucifer again with narrowing eyes and muttered something back to Dromos. The submissive

demon gestured for him to step closer.

"You're the one they call the Devil? The fallen angel?" the woman asked, her tone laced with coolness, yet a hint of curiosity that was easy for Lucifer to pick up on.

"They?" he repeated and let out an amused laugh. "Yes, I've been told my name is doing the rounds." He waited a moment, but as it seemed she was not going to respond just yet, he went on politely, "I haven't seen a human here before who was not in the tombs. Let alone expected to see one leading these demons. What's your name?"

Dromos, Squee and Brosak suddenly tucked away with a surge of cusses and ran off, seeming to be shocked and even more afraid than they had been when he had put them in their place before. He wondered what had them so terrified to run away, when he got his immediate answer.

The woman stormed towards him in a blur, her face grimaced into an almost animalistic scowl as she bared her teeth at him. "What the fuck did you just call me, you feathered prick!? I'm not a stupid, whiny, human!" she hissed at him and angrily pulled off the mask from the left side of her face.

It revealed burnt and rotten flesh all along her forehead: nose, cheek, and jaw, all just covered by small strands of sinews and muscles which were almost nonexistent anymore. Her left eye was a mere pool of dirty white embedded in a dark decaying eye socket and where her full lips should be mirrored from her right side, rotten teeth showed from holes in between the sinews. Essentially, her face was split into that of a human and something demonic. She growled. "Take that back or I swear I'll cut off your shiny feathers and shove them down your throat to make you choke on them!"

Unlike Cerberus, who responded with a defensive growl as he ducked away, Lucifer didn't flinch, show any sign of fear or submissiveness towards her, but instead raised his chin in patient resistance. "With that mask you could easily be mistaken for a human and it's making me wonder. Why would you risk it, given how much you seem to despise them?" He watched as her eyes twitched, probably from anger about his snarky remark, but she responded with a twisted grin.

"You've got some balls to stand up against me, Devil." she grunted with a laugh before her face became serious again. "But you better not push your luck."

I've got balls? What is she talking about?

"So? What is your name? Or do you want me to make one up for you?" he pressed on tongue in cheek, raising a brow half in seriousness, half in jest. "I already have a few at the tip of my tongue…"

She let out a huff and placed her mask back on her face. "Mazikeen." she introduced herself, standing proudly as she crossed her arms. "Daughter of Ophur and war leader of the Lilim."

For the fraction of a second his eyes lit up with hellfire and his lips curled up into a smile. While she was a demon, she was unlike the ones he had met so far. Much to his liking. "Pleasure to meet you, Mazikeen." He bowed his head appreciatively. "You can just call me Lucifer."

At the mention of his name, her expression became surprised. "Lucifer? Former Samael, the Lightbringer? That is you?" She asked perplex.

A bit confused about her sudden response, he shifted his weight, blinking. "Well, yes. That's me. I don't understand. I thought you knew, given you also heard about me being the Devil."

The soul bound to the roll Mazikeen had neglected, groaned out and began to laugh in madness. Annoyed she instructed Dromos, Squee and Broask to take care of the human and gestured for Lucifer to follow her. With Cerberus waddling behind them, they walked back outside and into the labyrinth of hell loop tombs. Intensely she took a hold onto Lucifer's arm, staring at him pensively. "The Lightbringer… hell's oldest creatures, millions of years old, have told stories about you."

Lucifer frowned. "But that makes no sense. I've not been here for that long." he tried to relativise with a small, irritated smile, but it quickly faded as he remembered how he had lost the feeling for time after his fall. "At least… I think I haven't…"

"The creatures came from the darkness, just like everything else stems from it. And the darkness... came from you." Mazikeen said in a hushed tone as if her words could fall apart if spoken too loudly.

"What? I don't… I don't understand. I landed here. In hell, in this forsaken ashland. I didn't create anything here. I walked around hoping to find anything else than ash." He thought back to when he arrived in hell, his divine memory not letting him forget.

He remembered how the void had swallowed him, how he was smashed into a solid nothingness and how he lay for an eternity, unable to move, let alone open his eyes. At one point he had sucked in something dusty and dry when he took a deep trembling breath. Had it been ash? Probably. But had it been there before? He couldn't recall having tasted the bitterness before that moment. And then, when he had finally been able to open his eyes and stand up to take in his surrounding, there was a surrounding. But had it been there before he landed? Or had hell somehow shaped itself after he arrived?

"How… how could it have come from me?" he asked, "I didn't do anything. I know I can shape material, but I cannot create it out of nothingness."

Mazikeen eyed him for a long moment. She seemed to go through something in her head, he could see it in the look of her eyes. There was something in them, wonder, curiosity, but also awe and a small portion of wariness. "Your fall and… your arrival. Have they been painful?"

He crossed his arms uneasily. "Naturally." he admitted shortly, hiding the onslaught of memories with a stern expression. "Why?"

Slowly Mazikeen nodded, pushing her jaw forward, tongue between her teeth. "This realm, the darkness, before it had anything else in it aside from you, it fed on your pain, your worries and despair. It developed its own sort of consciousness. With a hunger. For more pain. So it became vicious and shaped this place to inflict pain. Endlessly so. And it got its endless supply for its hunger."

He felt his blood run cold at her words and swallowed. Could this be? He had been thrown into hell as the first angel, that was for sure. But had he been the first being to arrive there altogether? And had he been the one to subconsciously feed it with his pain? "Are you saying, this, hell, with all these systems, hell loops, pain fields, and this torture chamber, it all came from me?!" He tried to keep his voice controlled, but the anguish her revelations brought onto him, tore at his very core.

"No. From the darkness." she corrected him calmly. "Hell has its ways to torture everyone. Even you."

He let out a short humourless laugh. "I've heard that before." he muttered. So was it true? Had hell's first darkness sucked up his pain and grown into everything that surrounded them now? That meant that not only the landscape had formed, but also creatures had emerged out from the pain-filled essence.

"You were the first. But…" she added, her voice getting more cheerful and a wicked smile tugged at her lips. "That's just fine. Because you've finally found your place."

"What's that supposed to mean now?" Lucifer grunted.

Placing a hand on his shoulder, Mazikeen smirked. "Isn't that obvious? In the long run, we all exist because of you. So you... are going to be our king."

Chapter Text

Chapter 8: King

He had not heard the word king before, but when Mazikeen spoke it, its meaning was immediately born, its definition settled forever. It was a position of power, granted from his very being, because there was no one who stood in comparison to him. Mazikeen explained to him that, in a sense, he was the maker of all of them. Their God. Despite him vehemently forbidding her to call him that, he knew deep down it made no difference. He was, whether it had been intentional or not, the reason for their existence. And they paid tribute to him for that. He wasn't keen on making them obey, on forcing his will onto them. After all, he wasn't his Father. But the demons held a rather natural respect towards him, genuinely desiring to follow a leader. However, they did not adhere to kindness. Only to the display of his power. They served only, whom they feared.

He parted from her then, telling her he would think about it. She had explained to him, the demons want their king to be a strong leader. He was of course physically strong, stronger than anything else he had encountered in hell, but he had a wary feeling about it all together. Being physically strong, might not be the only thing he would need. For one thing, he already knew he needed to be dominant and thread carefully on the line between being cruel and forgiving. Hell was a place of horror, but he wasn't going to let it turn him into being coldhearted or indifferent like his Father.

A soft huff and the nuzzling of Cerberus' wet muzzle against his cheek pulled him out his thoughts. The small hellhound had insisted in accompanying him and was now slung over his shoulder in his one-headed shape. Gliding through the air, Lucifer held onto the dog's front paws just in case, so that the little furrball wouldn't accidentally fall off with a flap of his wings. Somehow he felt a sense of protectiveness towards the hound and he received at least an equal amount of affection from the creature in return.

He flew past the Forest of Shadows, then back over the Pain Fields and across the Styx until eventually he could see the gigantic flaming pillar he had created, shooting like a beacon of light into the endless sky above. Upon closing in, he spotted several winged figures and his eyes widened. "I can't believe it!" he breathed out as he saw Zuriel standing amongst five of their siblings. Smiling he landed next to the group.

"Lucifer! There you are!" Zuriel called and approached him, relief washing over his expression. "We've been waiting for an eternity and a half for your return." he quipped and pointed at his neck. "What's that? Did you pick up a stowaway on your journey?"

Letting out a soft laugh, Lucifer sat his small companion down. "You could say that. But Cerberus is more than welcome to tag along." he explained and gave the dog a few scrubs along his side before turning to his brothers.

His throat tightened as he took in the appearances of his recovered siblings. All of them looked more or less fine. They only had a few wounds and scratches in their armour from fights they seemed to have had with hell's creatures. But he could tell from the lost shimmer in their eyes that something inside them was gone. He had seen it in Zuriel as well and he was sure it showed in his own eyes too - The loss of a home. A belonging.

"It's good to see you brothers." he spoke quietly, his jaw tensing as he tried to stay composed. He wasn't sure about their stance towards him, if they would be angry about what happened, blaming him for the loss of their siblings and their home. But they quickly showed him otherwise by closing the distance and pulling him, one after another, into a tight embrace.

Janiel, his angelic brother of strategies and tactics, smiled at him in recognition. "Good indeed." he spoke before pulling away, "And don't you dare feel bad for us, Lucifer. You hear me?" He gave him a warning look. "We spoke with Zuriel and he told us you're being harsh on yourself for the war."

Huffing and uncomfortably glancing at Zuriel he grimaced. "Thanks for that, Zuriel, you little snitch." he muttered, but Janiel gave him a clap on the shoulder to make him look back at him.

Emphasizing, Janiel gave his shoulder a squeeze. "Hey, we mean it, brother. Stop it. We're not angry at you." he insisted thoughtfully. "You made it perfectly clear to us what free will is all about. We chose to stand with you."

Tamiel, a slender and tall built brother, who once had been assigned with the seek of perfection, chimed in. "We fought on our own behalf. And you didn't bring us here. So there's nothing to feel guilty about."

Sighing he nodded at them. "Alright, alright. Just don't get all sentimental on me. I bloody hate that…" He appreciated his brothers' kindness on the matter and he did try to see it their way. That it wasn't his fault. That he didn't make his brothers do anything. It was true - they all decided to confront their Father themselves. But while he tried to reason with his own mind, his heart and soul were like a sponge to the pain and guilt he felt nonetheless, soaking it up as he increased the strength of the walls around him in order to protect himself and bury the darkness he couldn't discard.

"So what have you found out about hell during your journey through this forsaken realm?" Zuriel asked, watching in amusement as Cerberus plodded among the group of angels, greeting them with barks and sniffing at them curiously.

Lucifer swayed his head in an exaggerated manner, swallowing the burdens he felt and instead covering it up with a façade of humour. "It's really quite a long story. In short though… I think I'll become the king of hell."

Cerberus let out a wave of happy barks as he jumped up at Lucifer's leg and wiggled his tail in approval. His siblings on the other hand, looked at him dumbfounded and with their mouths agape.

"Yeah. That was exactly my first reaction as well." he added at the sight of his brothers staring at him puzzled. "But apparently I was the source, the energy, that started all of… this." he explained and gestured around. "And now it seems that there's a spot open to be the rightful king of this realm and its inhabitants."

"You said you wanted to get back at Father. Perhaps… this is your chance." Zuriel pointed out.

"True. I bet He'd be pulling at His own divinity like strands of hair from sheer anger. I'll make sure He can watch just how dark His brightest of angels has become. And at the same time, I'll have my own kingdom to rule as I please. And I certainly gonna make it fair. Not like our Old One." Lucifer agreed darkly, his eyes sparkling with deep rooted hatred. "Come with me. I'll show you what hell is all about. And then… it's time for an enthronement."

He told his brothers of the regions he had scouted and headed with them towards the labyrinthic system of hell loops. As he explained to them how they worked, his brothers became uneasy.

"So the humans basically punish themselves?" Janiel asked, glancing over at Lucifer as their wings rustled from their speedy travel.

"Not all of them. Only the ones that feel guilty." Lucifer explained. He had expected them to have questions. After all, he had had them as well. "The others… they get punished."

"By whom?" Tamiel went on with a flap of his light brown wings.

"Demons. All kinds of them. I'm sure you've met some of them already." He looked over to his siblings and they nodded in response. "Anyway… That's what they do. Torture the guilty souls."

Janiel looked at him disturbed, his voice shaking with irritation and sorrow. "Why do they do that? Why this hell? Why all this… this punishment?"

Lucifer swallowed thickly, his voice heavy. "Because that's the only way for the humans to atone for what they did. Through pain." He ground his teeth, thinking about how his own punishment had come along. His public flailing in front of his siblings had only encouraged him further in his quest to gain his freedom.

And look where I'm now…

Having been sent to hell, he didn't endure all of the pain to now be regretting what he had done. He felt responsible for the good and the bad that came out of it on the long run, but thinking about it, if time were turned back, he would make the same decision again. He had been determined on his path, with unshakable willpower. He would fight for his freedom again.

But what did it all mean in terms of his own punishment? Was his Father's goal truly to have him repent like these human souls? Was the goal to somehow force him on his knees and make him be sorry and become a blindly following footsoldier like his brother Michael?

Yeah… Good luck with that. I'll show You, how You have no control over me anymore whatsoever.

They flew in silence for the rest of the way, until reaching the labyrinth of tombs. Landing and tucking their wings behind their backs, Lucifer led the group towards the centre of the system. Hundreds upon hundreds of demons began to gather in the matter of seconds in the pathway, visibly agitated but holding back, clearly intimidated by the angelic group.

"Devil!" a familiar voice called and Mazikeen stepped forward, shoving aside several of her kin. "So? Have you considered my proposition?"

Setting down Cerberus, Lucifer turned towards her and nodded. "Yes, Mazikeen, I have. So what exactly do they want from me? What do I need to do?" he asked sternly, glancing over at her. "Create some endless burning light? Sculpt a new pathway into this labyrinth? A lava pit perhaps?" he asked sarcastically and rose a brow at her.

She crossed her arms on her chest and scoffed with a lopsided sneer. "For you to use your powers as the ruler of hell. You can command hell. Not just shape it with your divinity. Try and reach into the darkness you created. Call out for it. Summon it."

He didn't particularly know exactly how it would work, but he was confident and certainly willed to find out. Stepping forward he closed his eyes and focussed on his surrounding. Quickly he was able to tap into the matter of hell with his divinity, but it wasn't the connection he was seeking. Taking a deep breath, he exhaled slowly, tapping deeper into his consciousness, feeling towards his own core in the means to find a link to the darkness of hell.

He reached deeper, diving into his own depths. He lowered with great effort the walls he had built to shield his fragile core, and tapped into the pool of a sticky, black abyss, an endless chasm of despair, worries, pain and suffering. And it tore at the strings of his heart just as it did on his sanity.

On his outside, he showed no signs of exhaustion. His inside however was a raging thunderstorm. The pent up pain of eons of hurt opened up like infected wound and he dove right into it. All the emotions of being neglected, misunderstood, mistreated, shunned and blamed - everything crushed down on him like a mountain sized tidal wave, drowning him and pulling him deeper and deeper towards its unseen ground.

And then he felt it. See it. The darkness that had fed off his pain whilst he lay broken in the nothingness of hell. It surrounded him, massive and thick, but while it was dark and dangerous he didn't feel threatened or intimidated by it. Filling the void and bathing him in its cradle that was neither soothing nor frightening. It was just there. Lingering in the knowledge of the presence of him, its origin.

Now that he could reach for, feel and see it, he could also touch what the darkness had created on its own. Hell. A spiderweb of systems of torture. He could see how the first soul had arrived in hell, Abel, and how he had been the first to be put into a hell loop. How the darkness had created a separate hell just for this one soul, feeding off of his screams in his torment, his angst and despair as he suffered on and on in his endless punishment.

Punishment… Yes.

The darkness was punishing to satisfy its hunger with its very particular type of food. Pain. It wasn't necessarily just in its ways. It was indifferent. He felt Abel's pain, his guilt and his terror. And then he felt in a rush the other souls, one after another. More and more fates crushed onto him. Enduring the loads of endlessly exhausting horrors, he felt more. He felt how the darkness showed him its creation of monstrous demons. How they began to punish the souls that had no hell loops assigned to them. How they built constructs to inflict pain. How the souls, despite being crushed into nothingness, returned unscathed only to be tormented all over again.

He reached out even further until he was able to then feel each and every soul, demon, angel, as well as every tomb and every inch of the realm, pulsing to the beat of his heart, expanding with each breath he took. He felt things he didn't wish to feel. Creatures whose punishments were so disgusting, they turned his stomach. But he also felt Mazikeen, Zuriel, Dromos, Cerberus. Every being close to him and past the visible horizon. And he felt the power that came from the darkness, able to crush them all if he only wished to do so.

That is enough, he growled into the pitch black surrounding him. You're mine. My creation. You stem from me. I am your master. So I command you. Obey me!

He mustered his willpower, focused his mind that was cutting like a scalpel and sent out a call that rumbled from the centre of his being out into the vastness of hell and into each of its inhabitants.

And the darkness bowed before him.

A black fog slowly emerged from the ground beneath him, slithering its way into the brimstone wall behind him. Cracking and rumbling, the stone started to break and more formations elevated, building up higher and higher into a pointy structure. At last the peak formed into a plateau with an embedded flat surface carved into it. The fog lowered once its construction was complete, slithered back towards Lucifer's feet and disappeared into the ground beneath him.

Opening his eyes, he revealed two smouldering orbs of hellfire and looked at the towering structure reaching far into the sky, recognizing it for what it was. A throne. A display of submissiveness towards its master, created from the darkness of hell itself.

His chest heaving from the determination that pulsed through him, he felt his throat hardening. Glowering down on the demons and his angelic brothers, he burst his wings open and the fire in his eyes brightened up to an almost yellowish orange. They stared at him in absolute silence, frozen on their spot, shaken.

He knew they had all felt him. How he had sent out a shockwave throughout all of hell and into each being, no matter its origin. And now they knew his strength. While his brothers stared at him in respect and fascination, the demons showed an additional emotion written all over their disfigured, monstrous faces. Awe with a well portioned amount of fear.

With a powerful flap of his wings, he pushed himself skywards, up along the gigantic brimstone structure and lowered down throne.

"Kneel and bow down to your king!" his voice thundered in a tone much deeper than his natural one, travelling through hell and into his deepest corners.

In an instant his fallen siblings and demons surrounding him, lowered down and bowed their heads in servitude and obedience. He knew that every demon and every lost and damned soul was on its knees, no matter where they were. Now everyone knew his name, knew him to be their master, their lord and that there would be no escape from justice and punishment with him reigning over hell.

"And now…" he called out into hell with a dark glare, "Get to work and deliver punishments."

A howling began to rumble from the crowd as the demons raised and threw their fists into the air. With wide smirks, baring their teeth of their horrifying maws, they cheered for their leader.

"Hail lord Lucifer!"

"Hail to the king!"

He watched them for a long time as they slowly made their way into the crypt system, all the while continuing to cheer, bark and howl in a display of a bizarre demonic happiness. Eventually they went to work and his glance fell upon his brothers as well as Mazikeen who were lingering and intently looking up at him. He lowered down to them again and looked intrigued as the warrior-like demoness was the first to step towards him.

"You did it." Mazikeen complimented and inclined her head, before her eyes held his. Something showed in them, that Lucifer knew very well. Pride. "I vow to serve and protect you, for as long as you want me, my lord."

"You make a promise to me, Mazikeen of the Lilim? Are you aware of the extent of that?" he asked, his voice calm but dangerously low. Her stare was careful. He could see the wonder in her face and that she stayed silent with respect in order to not say something she might otherwise regret. "What I despise is being lied to. And I take it as point of pride to never lie myself. I do expect you to do the same. And if you give me your word that you will serve me no matter what, I will treat you with all the respect you deserve as an equal. But if you betray me… you will feel my wrath. So, Mazikeen, do you want to make that promise?"

Her lips parted, and her chest rose from the heavy breaths she took. He wasn't sure why that was. He hadn't scared her, that he could tell from the way she hadn't flinched or let alone blinked. It had to be something else. Was she eager? Excited? Intrigued? Or maybe all of them? Whatever it was that made her breathe so rapidly, she composed herself again just a moment later.

Lowering on her knee before him, she spoke clearly and strong. "I, Mazikeen, daughter of Ophur and war leader of the Lilim, hereby vow to be loyal to you, follow your orders and protect you with my life. I fully pledge myself to you, Lucifer the Devil, king of hell." Reaching behind herself she drew forth a slender sword and held out the weapon towards him in offering. Tilting her head up, her right eye sparkled with determination and pride.

"Very well." he accepted quietly and took the sword from her hand, inspecting it. The blade was not very sharp anymore, dented and chipped at several places, and its weight seemed unbalanced. "You will need something sharper than this to protect me though." he quipped, glancing down at her with a small smirk. "I'll create something more fitting for you. Small, deadly and elegant. I already have something in mind."

"I'd be honoured." She returned a little smile at him. "What is it you wish for me to do as my first task, my lord?"

He looked at her for a moment, thinking as he put her sword aside. He motioned for her to stand and as she did, leaned slightly closer to her face. "Take off your mask." he ordered her quietly, his expression calm and with a hint of curiosity about her reaction.

He could see her eyes, one dark brown, one bleak white, widen at his demand. Her jaw tensed as her teeth ground together and her whole posture stiffened in disapproval. "...Why?" she asked through pressed teeth, her tone careful to not sound aggressively challenging, but rather imploringly and displeased.

"Aside from the sheer fact of me giving you this order and you having just made a promise to me, to do whatever I ask of you?" he asked lightly, raising an amused brow. He respected that she asked for his reasoning. Having her blindly follow his demands would have merely made her an equal to his pious heavenly siblings, following God's every demand without thinking for themselves. Satisfied he smiled, leaning forward to be on eye level with her. "Because I do not wish for you to hide who you are and there is no need for it in this realm anyway."

"I'm not hid-"

"Careful, Mazikeen." he warned her quietly. "No lies." The shimmer of curiosity in his eyes didn't fade though. "You might think of yourself ugly, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So please, take it off and let me take a look at you again."

She caught her breath, swallowing thickly and held his gaze, visibly dissecting his words. "As you wish then… my lord." With a veil of discomfort, she reached up to her mask and removed it, revealing raw flesh, sinews and bones. She flinched when a soft murmur came from her side and threw the group of angels a dangerous glare, baring her raw teeth into a bizarre scowl. They fell silent immediately.

Lucifer didn't care for them, his focus lying solely on Mazikeen. He took in her left face's side, how the sinews and muscles attached to her skull moved slightly with each breath she took. Her head turned back towards him, letting him observe her face as a whole. While she seemed to deem her bare face's side to be displeasing and as a part of a weakness, he didn't. Both sides were of the same beauty to him, defining her as the being she was. "I think you are beautiful the way you are. And it's very characteristic. I like that." he said truthfully and raised to stand to his full height again.

He watched as her expression became conflicted, surprised from his words. "Feel free to put it back on if you wish. But if it would make you feel more comfortable in public, you could also put on a glamour and mimic your… skinful side." He chose his words carefully, not using the words "intact" or "human", as he knew they'd both be disgraceful towards her.

She looked between him and the mask in her hands and eventually put it back on. He nodded in quiet understanding. "What can I do for you now, my lord?"

"Go into the tombs. I know you like to inflict pain, so that's what you'll do. I will call for you if there is something else." He watched her bow her head before she turned and left, following her demonic siblings into the hell loop system. Turning towards his brothers he regarded them for a long moment.

"And what is it we are supposed to do, brother?" Zuriel asked gesturing among the other angels. "We are no demons."

"That's a good question, Zuriel... " he sighed and looked across the labyrinth of tombs. "I don't want to torture. I draw no joy from that. And yet… when I went into the hell loops and heard what the humans have done… what they are guilty of..." He swallowed, his jaw tensing. "They did truly monstrous things… knowingly! That's what they did with their free will. Commit horrible acts… They deserve to be punished."

"You want us to punish them like the demons do?" Zuriel probed sceptically. Their brothers closed in as well, their expressions showing their discomfort as they murmured amongst each other.

"We're not monsters…" Janiel grumbled in protest.

Tamiel pushed his way forward, muttering upset. "I agree, we're not like the demons that thrive on inflicting pain!"

Lucifer's eyes flamed up briefly and his siblings fell silent again. "I know!" he muttered at them and sighed. "Go and see for yourselves then. Listen to what the human have done. Listen to their disgusting crimes. Listen how they beg to be forgiven by just crying and saying how sorry they are." His face tingled and he let his Devil face show, causing his siblings to shift nervously on their feet. "But they aren't. They just don't want to deal with the consequences of their actions. They blame me or whatever else comes to their mind. They are cowards."

"And you say they deserve to be punished?" Zuriel asked carefully.

"Oh yes, they deserve it. They are evil. And I'll make sure they pay for what they did." He let out a humourless laugh. "To think that I made them aware of their free will… and this is what they have done with it. They deserve punishment." He took in a calming breath and let his face return to his angelic looks. "I was cast out because I sought justice. I'll see to reign this place with the justice that I have wanted for myself. Free will comes with good and bad consequences. I'll make sure the humans receive their bad ones."

Zuriel sighed, his eyes giving away his troubled mind. He looked over to the hell loop system and nodded. "You're right. There has to be consequences." Taking a deep breath he straightened his back, his dark armour rustling. "I'll look around this whole system and try to make sense of it."

"Me too, Lucifer." Janiel said spreading his wings. "Don't think of me poorly, but I want to see the humans and their guilt with my own eyes."

Lucifer nodded. Their scepticism and worry was understandable. If he hadn't seen it himself, he wouldn't simply follow his word either. "Go ahead. All of you. Please. Paint yourself a picture of the humans who ended up here."

They took off, spreading into the crypt system. He watched them disappear in the distance until a soft huff made him turn and look behind himself. "Hey… Found yourself a spot to linger on, hm?" he asked, lowering down to Cerberus who had snuggled up at the base of his throne. He gave the hellhound's head a generous scrub, receiving an onslaught of licks on his hand in return. "Protect my throne while I'm out taking care of something, will you?"

Cerberus' head rose and lowered almost in a nod. He let out a light wave of barks and his tail wiggled excitedly, before his expression became somewhat serious and his orange glowing eyes looked at Lucifer with curiosity.

"It's something personal. I'll try to be quick. Don't drool on my throne." he warned him and stood back up, eyes darting to a distant spot of the crypt system. He had felt every single soul, every being within hell when he tapped into the darkness, and one particular had left a painful, lingering ache in his chest.

He had to see him, even though he didn't know what he wanted to achieve.

The door was locked.

A thick chain was entwined through the handles of the double winged door and locked with a padlock. Just another sign that this tomb was different from the others. It looked older, more withered, was surrounded from engravings of feathers and the doorslits didn't show a light shining through that came from the inside. Upon looking closer at the padlock he noticed there was no keyhole, just a plain metallic surface.

He took the padlock in his palm, but when about to rip it off, the metal suddenly began to glow a warm yellowish-white. The lock clicked open and made the chain rustle out of its hold.

The glow had been heavenly divine. Meaning that it was most likely commissioned by his Father. A special tomb, created for a special inmate. But a locked tomb wasn't meant to be ever walked out of. Making it a prison. And it felt as no surprise that he was the one to be able to open the tomb.

Removing the chain, he dropped the metal on the ground and pushed the door open, staring into an endless, thick blackness. Looking down, he saw that not even the dim light of hell penetrated the darkness that started like a sharp cut right at the threshold. A cold breeze brushed against him coming from inside, carrying the smell of blood and sweat. A silent messenger, warning him about something he should perhaps not explore.

He didn't want to. But he felt himself drawn to do it anyway. Like a moth pulled towards the light, he felt the darkness of the room luring him deeper into its mysteries of pain and his willpower felt numb against it. It was irrational and he could feel his body reacting with signs of nervosity as he stepped into the tomb.

His eyes had to adjust for a moment, but soon the darkness made way for him to be able to see. And what he saw made his blood run cold. He gasped at the sight and in return heard a metal rustling and a husky, laboured voice.

"H-hello?" a male voice uttered, sounding exhausted and pained. "I-is there s-someone?"

He hadn't heard that voice in such a long time it sounded unreal and he immediately felt ancient. Looking up to where the voice came from, Lucifer could see the shape of a man raised several feet into the air with the help of chains. And hooks.

Hooks that were inch-thick, pierced through hands, arms, thighs, shoulders, feet… and wings. The man was had his arms outstretched to his sides, his wings twitching with the hooks pierced through the membrane right below the upper wingbones. He was still dressed in his leather armour Lucifer had last seen him in, but it had become dark as if it was slowly rotting away, suffering like his wearer from cuts and tears, and blood stained every part of his tormented body.

Lucifer swallowed down the bile that threatened to come up and stepped closer, noticing that the man's head lifted and dull green eyes stared back at him.

"S-Samael? Is that you?" the familiar voice called anxiously. "Brother?"

For a moment he couldn't speak, not sure what to say, but also feeling his voice stuck in his throat as the helpless words of his brother felt like a punch in his guts.

"Gadreel…" he whispered, forcing himself to keep his eyes on him. The maddening pull inside his chest was starting to crack at his inner walls, but he stayed composed as much as he could. He had felt his brother's presence just like that of several others of his brothers being cast out of heaven, and there was the difference between some of them walking freely through hell and some being locked up like Gadreel. One group had killed during the war in heaven. The other hadn't.

"B-brother! P-please, h-help me!" The chains rustled as Gadreel tried to move, inevitably tearing at his own flesh.

"Gadreel I… I'm sorry…" Stepping closer, he could see a pool of blood had formed beneath his brother's elevated feet, and for a brief moment he wondered once again, how much time had actually passed by in hell since their fall.

"W-what?" Gadreel sobbed. "S-Samael, please… Get me out of here! I… I don't want to be here..." He cried and his sobs echoed through the darkness.

Of course he doesn't want to be here, but that isn't the point anyway, is it?, Lucifer thought in a fit of anger. It wasn't about what people wanted at all. It was about what they deserved. But who was deciding over that? It wasn't him. It was this whole system that had a way to work on its own. He knew his Father somehow had implemented a technique to use hell as the rubbish skip for lost human souls and other unwanted beings. An equivalent to the heavenly afterlife. But had his Father also taken into account, that in order for hell to work, certain castaway beings would be forced to take actions?

Somehow hell had brought Gadreel in here and decided on the kind of punishment he received. Being left alone, his wings crippled and torn, his body tortured with hooks that put him on gruesome display for no one to ever be seen.

"Please S-Samael! You have to h-help me! Get me out! I can't do this anymore. Please… Just end me…"

Lucifer fought back the tears that threatened to escape. His body tensing, hands balling to fists he lightly shook his head. No. He could end him. No matter how merciful it might sound, he couldn't think of actually taking his brother out of existence. Leaving nothing of him behind but a sad memory. But he couldn't simply set him free from his punishment either. Gadreel had committed his own crimes during the war. He was going to pay. Because hell made everybody pay.

What pained him to know though was not only this, but also that it was all based on the innocent talk they had once had in front of Eden's gates. A small chat about free will had set everything in motion. And then punishment, pain, neglect and segregation of his family followed, turning him into an outcast before the rebellion took place. Lucifer knew all too well how that had felt like. But he hadn't paid much attention to Gadreel after the public flailing. He hadn't noticed much of how badly he had changed. How bitter, resentful and aggressive he had become.

Images of the war popped up in his mind and he remembered clearly how Gadreel had cut down one sibling after another, smashing them with his mace even if they had been no threat to him anymore. "I… I can't…" he stammered, his face and heart torn between hurt for his brother and disdain at his own words. "Gadreel, you have to… I can't… You have to be punished…"

Gadreel's reaction was swift and cut into the wounds of his own guilt even further. "You're not helping your own brother?! It's all your fault! You've tainted me! I had been happily serving heaven! You've tainted me with your talk of free will! Look what you did to me!" he hissed back angrily. "I'm not the one that should be hanging here! You're the monster. You should!"

Swallowing and blinking away his tears, Lucifer turned his back at him and started to walk.

"No! Samael! You can't leave me like this! Please… I beg you, Samael!" Gadreel screamed in panic and franticly sobbed. "SAMAEEEEL!"

With his heart bleeding out of him with each step he made, he walked out of the tomb. But not without being forced to hear his brother's shouts, cries and sobs. He shut the doors behind him, heavily panting, trying to force his emotions under control. He recalled the words of Charon and Mazikeen and ground his teeth.

Yes. Hell was a belligerent, manipulative, cruel place. And it knew how to punish everyone.

Even its king.

Or perhaps especially its king.

Being hell's king had not been as pleasantly defying towards his Father as he had thought it would be. After a while he figured that perhaps this was ironically exactly what his Father had wanted all along. To have him imprisoned in this pit, taking care of punishments of His precious but flawed human souls. And being vilified as evil. As the root of all evil. That everything is his fault and now he'd be confronted with humans having done unspeakable things because of him and now they'd blame him. His plan to defy his Father by transforming from the brightest to the darkest angel, hadn't been thoroughly thought through and he was getting angrier over time that he wasn't really sure what to do about it.

Time however passed by painfully slowly, since this was hell's way of torturing its inhabitants even more. He had ordered the demons to build him a fortress not far from the crypt system on a hill surrounded from a field of deadly spikes and monstrous hungry creatures that lingered in the fog that wrapped the area in a dangerous mystery. The fortress had just one path leading towards it. Most of his demonic servants were forced to walk in order to reach him. Only a small number of beings were able to fly. Among them, of course, were his brothers.

After his siblings' trip to the hell loops, they had all agreed on Lucifer's point of view. The human souls were in hell to be punished and they were the ones to ensure justice was served. Lucifer declared them his generals, making them stand above the demons to oversee their "work". Maze was one of the very few demons who he had given the same status and power and he appreciated her fierceness and directness, which made her a trustworthy individual he enjoyed to spend time with.

He wasn't always sitting on his brimstone throne in the middle of the tomb system, ensuring his servants were punishing souls. Frequently he left Cerberus, who had grown into a fierce, massive hound, behind at his throne and executed punishments himself. Often times to the point of complete exhaustion. When that happened, he needed to get away from it all and retreated into his fortress, shutting everyone else out.

Right now was such a moment.

At some point in his time as king of hell, he had started writing to calm himself. He did so on pretty much whatever topic came to his mind. Sometimes it were his thoughts, but he also wrote down on hell's mechanics, its demons and landscapes, the hell loops and souls he interacted with. Over the years, he had filled one shelf after another with hundreds of his scriptures. He even had found pleasure in painting, although the colour palette in hell was rather limited. But he had become fairly good at it and used his artworks to decorate his otherwise dull and sharp edged looking fortress.

The door to his chambers squeaked open, disturbing the silence and solitude he sought shelter in. "I said: No interruptions!" he bellowed out in a low thundering voice, quickly placing a clean sheet of paper above the one he had been writing on and shoving it to the back of the table. Glaring across the room, he was about to unleash a storm of hellfire towards the intruder, when his demonic general raised her hands in playful surrender.

She hadn't been wearing her mask anymore since several years. An act of self acceptance and appreciation he highly acknowledged. However, when they had gotten to know each other better and grown to enjoy each other's company for more than professional reasons, she had glamoured the demonic side of her face to match it with her human one. When asking about it, she merely told him she felt more comfortable in it now and he never pressured her into explaining it further to him.

"Easy there! It's just me." she tried to reason, but her tone and smirk were teasingly challenging. As always.

He hissed and grumbled, angry about himself for having refrained from locking his doors, assuming that no one would be so foolish to disturb him. He had clearly forgotten about Mazikeen. "Count yourself lucky, Maze. One day I might just incinerate you by accident." he muttered. "Are my guards guards still alive or did you slice their throats on your way in?" Turning to her fully, he watched as she stalked towards him. He enjoyed the way she played with his carnal desires, knowing very well what divine pleasure she could receive from him.

Her overall predatory and seductive manners were always displayed in her style of dressing, especially when she sought him out in his private chambers. With dark eyes he watched her sway her hips, barely covered by two delicately crafted leather pieces, decorated with lacing and buckles.

"No… I haven't. Although I could do their job much better..." she purred, her boots clacking on the stone floor. Confidently she closed in on him, stepped so that his legs were in between hers and she was towering above him. " you know."

Looking up at her, he let his eyes wander over her exposed stomach and up her pronounced breasts. "Mmm… I know indeed." With a low growl he slung his left arm around her waist, pulling her towards him, while his right hand gripped behind her left knee and pulled, making her sink down on his lap. "But if you were out there, you couldn't be in here now, could you?" he cooed in a husky voice, lightly digging his fingers into her skin on her lower back.

He had been frustrated and exhausted from the neverending procedures of punishment, the endless cries for mercy and the maddening persistence of the souls to not want to take responsibility for their actions. So he needed this outlet, this way to quiet his mind with lewd thoughts and something that would drown his body in an ecstasy of pure carnal lust, a rush of endorphins and adrenaline. He needed the physical pleasure to numb his mental pains.

She bit her lower lip, arching towards him and slowly let her hips grind against him in a lascivious roll. He responded with sharp gasp, his jaw tensing as he felt his lower body reacting to her friction. Maze leaned in closer, catching his lips in a hungry kiss. Within a blink of an eye she reached behind herself, and in one swift movement pressed a shimmering small curved dagger against his throat. "True… and who's going to protect you from me?" she breathed, leaning back slightly to grin down at him darkly, but continuing to roll her hips.

He tilted his chin up at her, feeling the sharp edge of her weapon pressed against him almost strong enough to cut into his jugular. "I don't need protection because of you. You know very well what would happen, if you were to just draw one drop of blood from me. Besides… your daggers were a present and it would be very rude to use them against their donor." As he waited for her reaction, he ran his right hand along her upper thigh, letting his fingertips slip beneath her leather skirt, seeking the heat she radiated. But his eyes stayed on hers, knowing she had to make a decision, as her demonic mind was torn between teasing him and pleasing her own carnal desires.

It took her just a few seconds and then, abruptly, she withdrew her dagger and slammed it into the table. Smirking back at her, he didn't waste any time and dove forward, attacking her exposed throat and cleavage. Kissing and running his tongue over her light brown skin, he tightened his hold onto her and stood up, keeping her pressed against him. He turned them both, setting her down on the table and pushed up her skirt. Her hands began to pry open his fine worked robe, removing the leather belt and admiring his physique.

Over the years he had learned and discovered lots of things in regards to carnal pleasure, learned what positions had a certain effect and how to increase the pleasure and make it last as long as possible. His first encounter with Eve had only been throughout the course of one day, so he had only been able to experiment rather shortly, but being in hell and with Maze was making it very different.

His innocence and inexperience was long gone by now and he knew how to please both her and himself in just the right ways. And while he always thrived on pleasing Mazikeen, he wasn't going short on satisfying his own desires. He let out a long stretched moan when he felt her hand stroking along his length and quickly took a hold of both her wrists.

Her eyes darted back into his, imploringly, the playful smirk still revealing the lower row of her bright teeth. "No foreplay, my lord?" she asked, teasingly changing her tone. Instead of answering he blinked and revealed two crimson burning pools. She quivered in response, understanding him without words, and arched towards him as he positioned himself between her legs.

Brutishly he thrusted his hips and felt their bodies become one with surges rushing through his body straight to his loins. Groaning he captured her lips, savouring the taste and feel of her as he let his mind and worries get drowned from the intoxication of his sexual cravings and sensations. She was always wonderfully tight and wet for him and she never complained when he took what he wanted. He wasn't being tender to her. Maze was never in the mood for gentleness anyways, but right now it wasn't what he needed either. His body craved physical exhaustion from waves after waves of divine ecstasies with fast, hard and raw movements.

With hell's time seeming to drag on and an endless supply of stamina, their activities felt as they were going on for days, and perhaps they truly were. Her cries of pleasure, his growls and groans, and their joined bodies were the only sounds that echoed through his chambers throughout the time. No guard or other servant dared to knock and disturb them. They had learned by experience and did not wish to be impaled and put as a warning sign outside of the fortress.

Finally, after countless of orgasms for both of them, Lucifer fell down onto his bed with a very quiet and exhausted demon resting next to him. He felt spent, his mind in a state of pleasant white noise, numb to thoughts and worries, numb even to the physical encounter he just had. Nothing reached him in his bubble as he laid on his back and looked at the ceiling.

"You really outdid yourself this time…" Maze panted tiredly, "Wow." Rolling onto her side she propped up on an elbow. "And you were much angrier than usual. Not that I'd complain..." She smirked, running her fingertips along his biceps. "You know I enjoy a bit of pain."

He didn't respond to her, merely laid next to her in silence. She knew his behaviour and waited, her fingers tracing to his chest and down to his stomach, drawing patterns on his abs. Still staring at the ceiling, he eventually blinked and drew a long, languid breath. It took merely a few minutes and the pleasant fog of indifference and obliviousness faded away, making space for old thoughts to emerge once more. "I've had enough of it." he suddenly muttered, feeling the age of himself and of the realm wearing him down.

Her hand stopped moving and her smile dropped. "You could have said that with a little less bitterness." she grumbled eyes lowering in a sense of hurt.

Irritated at her response he turned his head towards her, frowning. "What?" He took in her expression and replayed his words to her in his head again. "No, no. That's not what I meant. You know I don't mind your kinks, Maze." he assured her and glanced back at the ceiling. "I meant hell. I'm bloody bored by it. I want to see Earth again." He let out a humourless laugh, his tone becoming sad. "Sometimes I find myself lingering in the hell loops, just to be able to see a glimpse of it. I need to be around… people. Humans. Someone with desires, dreams, experiences. I need to get out of this ashen pit of lost and dead prospects and go were they are still living possibilities."

"You want to leave hell?" Scooping up she turned fully towards him, her dark eyes not hiding the countless thoughts that crushed down on her. "You will get trouble for that from your Old Guy…"

Of course she had to mention Him right away. He sighed. "I'm aware, but I don't care, Maze. What could He possibly do anyway, hm? Send me back? Fine. Whatever. Then I'll just pop up again. Be a bloody thorn in his side."

"What if He sends your brothers after you? What about Michael?" she asked agitated, her eyes trying to find answers in his.

"I'll see about that when the time comes." He had thought about leaving for awhile already. Now he made a decision. He sat up, swung his legs off the bed and got up and headed to his closet with various robes and armour stands. He could hear the sheets rustling after a short moment, indicating that she had moved and her barefoot steps approaching confirmed his thoughts. He knew she was not fond of his determination to leave.

Stepping up into the door frame, she observed him as he looked through his attires. With a tense stare, she crossed her arms in front of her chest. "But... I cannot protect you unless you take me with you-"

"I won't." he firmly cut her off, glaring at her. "You will stay here. I need you to be in charge while I'm gone and I am not trusting anyone else to do that. Not even my brothers."

She walked inside and reached for his left wrist, holding him to make him look at her as he was about to turn his back to her again. "Lucifer, I don't want to stay here and you shouldn't-"

With a snarl, he whirled around, facing her nude body with his own. Without her able to react, he had his right hand slung in an iron grip around her throat. "It's not my job to fulfil your wishes, Mazikeen! It's yours to fulfil mine!" he hissed, his voice so low he knew it was vibrating into her bones. "That has been part of your oath to me. You will do as I say and follow my orders! Is that clear?"

Maze choked, his grip tight enough to be painful to her, but she refrained from clutching onto his hand or arm to have him let go. She knew she had been out of line to pressure him and he was ruthless in his punishment, no matter the subject of his actions. "Y-yes my l-lord. I'm… s-sorry… m-my lord…" she pressed out stertorously.

Calming his anger and heavy breaths, he shoved her her away from him, letting go of her throat. "Don't you ever do that again." he muttered quietly, picking up a black woollen waistcoat that was decorated with golden, Enochian ornaments on its sleeves. Slipping it on and closing it with seven buttons along his side, he added a belt with leather padded loincloth and slipped into a pair of boots.

"You're leaving right away, my lord?" Maze asked carefully, putting on her discarded leather clothes as well.

"Yes. Don't worry. I'll come back every once in a while… I suppose." he assured her and headed out of his chambers. He heard her boots once again as she followed him through the main hall and out through the massive gates of his fortress. His guards straightened their posture and bowed their heads when he went to the steps leading down to hell's endless ashland. With a rustle, he burst open his white wings and looked up into the grey-red sky. "Well, dear Earth. Here I come again." Not looking back, he pushed himself off, smashing through hell's sky and bursting through its fabric into the void between realms.