His true name was rarely spoken, and in all the years that he had walked the Earth he gave to himself many other names instead. His oldest and most favored was that of Johnathon Haversham, for he fashioned it in honor of a village in the English countryside that he ravaged once upon a time. He had been the first to leave behind the kingdom that his father made, and even in those first lonely years among the flock of his father’s lesser children, he knew that designs would soon be made against him. It was in those days, in the infancy of our lives, that he rebelled in disgust at what his father had done, at these imperfect little beings that scurried about the Earth. “He loves them, unworthy as they are of such a gift. And he asks us to love them in return.” He once said those words to his cherished brother, Michael long ago, “But why should I? Why should any of us?” it was the question that Michael could never truly answer.
“Because he asks us to,” was all that Michael could offer.
But that answer was not enough. He needed to know why, no… he demanded to know why such creatures had been placed above them. After the first atoms were spun into existence and the universe blossomed with a magnificent, fiery bang—the Angels were given life. Surely, they were the most beloved of the Creator, since that spark was given to them first.
Lucifer and Michael had been the first of their kind, the most cherished of all the Host of Heaven. Others would come soon after, powerful and wise, granted the grace of God and given tasks apportioned to their strengths. “But it wasn’t enough, was it?” Lucifer remarked once, for he could never understand why his father had been so restless, so determined to create those other… things. “Look at us,” he would often say, as he strolled among the world of the living, once his brother had deigned at last to join him, “and look at them. We walk among them, you and I, and they have not the eyes to see it.”
“Why come here at all, then? Why leave Heaven to live among them if you despise them?” Michael could never understand why he his brother had left, and for all the centuries that followed, the pain of that departure would sting no less than it did on the day it came to pass.
“You wound me. I don’t hate them, if you want to know the truth… they fascinate me. But to answer your question, I’m here to expose them for what they truly are. To show our father how wrong he was to have loved them so.” Even his time among the flock had not moved his heart, instead it had enflamed it further towards the end that he envisioned. Sin and depravity, and all the anger and violent, murderous impulses that had plagued this flawed creation would become his weapons against them. An Angel’s one true power among the living was imbued with their very presence, for it above all things had the strength to sway men to good or ill. If darkness lived within one’s soul, then the presence of an Angel could work that shadow into something far more dangerous that it might be otherwise. Lucifer knew this, for he understood such things as few others did. “He gave to me a kingdom to rule over for as long as I walk among this world, and I intend to use it.”
“Hell.” Michael knew of that place, for he was there when Lucifer, with God’s permission, had brought it into existence. “So, you mean to go through with it then?”
“He has to see to understand.”
“That’s not what it was meant for, and you know that. You weren’t the only one that was there when that place was formed… remember?” Michael was not blind, and he knew the secrets that had been locked away within that place, the truth of why that realm of darkness had been created. “Or maybe you do remember, maybe the truth is that you don’t care.”
“What would you have me do? Bow to them?” Lucifer scoffed at the very notion of such a thing. It was an abomination, to think that he should debase himself before such feckless, worthless creatures. “I know what that place is, what it was for… and it will have other uses too. There, among its fevered madness, I will show our father what his creation is truly worth. He will see. Even if it takes me three thousand years or more. He will see.” It was the vow Lucifer made, and it was the last time that he and Michael had spoken to one another for more years than either of them could recollect.
The long years had passed, and the world toiled on as it always has. Of humanity there were shining beacons of goodness among the countless acts of ceaseless cruelty and bitter war, and through it all Lucifer and his chosen few had continued to walk among them. Hell had become the pit that he long envisioned, and in that place of anguish, the whispers grew. Among the many murmurs was the most curious one of all, that God himself had marked one special child from among his many flock, one that would be given the power to stand against the Devil.
When those words reached Lucifer’s ear, he became enraged beyond all measure.
“It is an abomination to think that He would deign to stop me. But to choose… one of them.” The very thought left a bitter taste in Lucifer’s mouth, to think that his father would give such power to the lowliest of creatures.
When those words were spoken, a soul that had long eluded him was firmly in his grasp.
It was the spring of 2015, and after years of scouring the world, those loyal to him had finally laid their hands upon one of his beloved brothers. It wasn’t Michael, but he would have to do, “How long has it been, Lucifer?” though his hands were bound, and cold chains of iron wrapped around his body, he looked upon the eyes of his wayward brother and smiled kindly. “What name is it that you go by now? I think I saw …what was it? A Haversham on the door when they dragged me in?”
There was only one light in this darkened space, and it came from a single bulb that hovered above his head. All about was quiet, the deep shadows obscuring just how large this room might be and offering the light touch of an echo when he spoke.
“My dear Uriel, you should know the story… It was always my favorite one, a little memento from … a few hundred years ago? That sounds about right.” Lucifer mused as he stood in the darkened room, rubbing his chin as he pondered over all that had happened in the many, many years since last they spoke. In this form, the same form that he had occupied from the first day he set foot upon the world, he was kindly looking with a handsome face and thick, dark hair that receded into a slight widow’s peak. He was tall and thin, and when he moved, he did so with a cool and easy grace. Soft blue eyes stared at the captive Angel that sat before him, and for the briefest moment there was the ghost of a frown upon his face. “You’re not still angry at me for that, are you?”
“What’s one little village, compared to all the rest that you’ve done? How many have you bound in the darkness, hmm? Your little experiment here seems to show no sign of ever ending.” Even in this helpless, captive state, there was no fear and no qualms about what must be said and done. Uriel had watched Lucifer spin his madness into the world for quite some time, and while there had been notable successes and great acts of kindness and love that still seeped into creation… the stain of his fallen brother persisted.
“I told Michael once before, and I will tell you the same… I will continue this for as long as it takes. Three thousand years or more.” There was a deathly flash in those deceptive blue eyes, glimmering like an ember in the dark, and it was the flicker of something that had always been there. “Until He sees.” And with that word the air grew cold and with it came goosebumps that teased along the skin.
“Some things never change, do they brother?” Uriel knew the stories… he knew all the terrible things that his wayward brother had done. He knew of the other Angels that he had corrupted, and he knew of the perversion that Hell had become under the guidance of his cruel and vicious hand. “So, what is that you want from me? You didn’t drag me all the way here for the company, did you?”
“It’s simple, really.” Lucifer turned and grabbed a chair that had been tucked away in the shadows of this darkened room, and slowly dragged it closer. Once he was seated, he looked at his captive, allowing the silence to grow and fester between them. “I want the girl.”
“You really are a fool.” Uriel laughed hoarsely when he heard those words, but there was fear as well. He tried as desperately as he could to cloud it behind a mask of cool indifference, but it was there all the same—a spark that had shown for just a second. “Why would I give that information to you?”
“Because you don’t want this war any more than I do.” Lucifer’s hands had been folded in his lap as he sat solemnly, but when he unfolded them, he revealed the thing that had been hiding in his grasp. The handle was simple and adorned only with dull brown leather that had been wrapped around it, and while the blade itself was still sharp it bore a look of well-worn age. “Because I know far more about you than you realize” Lucifer smiled as he spoke, and lowered his eyes to study the old, short knife that was held lightly in his grasp. “For instance, I know you have a child.”
“Liar.” Though he tried to remain stoic in the face of that revelation, there was cold sweat upon his brow, and a burgeoning tightness in his chest. It was more than a flicker this time, when Lucifer revealed the truth that he had desperately tried to keep locked away, and that fear broke across his face like a wave upon hard stone.
“Come now, you think I don’t know my own brother?” Lucifer’s laughter was mirthless, even as he ran his finger curiously along the blade, marked as it was with jagged chips along the edge. “In all the world there is only one such child, and I know she belongs to you. So, you tell me what I need to know about this… human child, and I will spare your own. I may even be persuaded to spare you too.” He pointed the blade at him, the threat cold and implicit in even that small gesture.
“You think an old blade scares me?” as Uriel spoke his brow furrowed, his eyes fixed upon the blade that pointed at him, “You know as well I… no weapon can harm us. And as for my daughter, she’s safe… and far, far from your reach.”
“She’s safe, is she? Are you sure? Are you willing to risk her life on that assurance?” Lucifer leaned back in the chair as he pondered over the defiance of the Angel that sat before him, wondering why he would hold such loyalty to a simple, human child. “Is this silly little girl worth all of that?”
“She frightens you enough that you’d drag me here, threaten my only child and brandish that in front of me. So yes, I think she is.” There was a new, bold sense of defiance welling up inside him, borne by the fact that Lucifer had gone to so much trouble just to find her.
“You disappoint me greatly. And you really should take the time to learn your history.” Lucifer held up it up again, close enough that they both could study the blade, as the dim light above glimmered upon its scuffed surface. “I believe it was once called the Blade of Solomon. I tracked it down roughly… a thousand years ago, and I’ve kept it close ever since. It was once known as a consecrated blade.” His voice lowered, as if he was sharing a secret that was meant only for the two of them. Lucifer’s voice was like velvet in that instant, calm and alluring in its timber and it left small wonder as to why he had been such plague and trouble to the world.
“Never heard of such a thing.” Uriel said, and in truth, he never had. Whatever this was, the truth or another of his brother’s clever little lies, he could not deny in that he was now intrigued.
“Well, it is a shame… because it’s the only thing in this sad world that can kill our kind.” Lucifer smiled, and his eyes grew dark as he reached a hand out and teased the flat side of that old blade across Uriel’s cheek. “It’s exceedingly rare, quite naturally and I do believe that this is the only one left in creation… perhaps the only one ever forged. So, you can see why I’ve kept it close all these years.” His hand pulled back, but the blade was firm in his grip, as if he was now wrestling with the choice of what to do.
“That’s not possible. It… can’t be.” The sweat on his brow was more pronounced, as a slithering tightness gripped at this heart like a snake coiling around it.
“Oh, my poor brother. Why do you think you haven’t heard from Adriel these last few years? It’s not as if he sprouted wings and fluttered his merry little way back home, we both know that leaving Heaven is a one-way street for us.” Lucifer didn’t have to spell it out, in that moment they both knew what was meant by the implication of Adriel’s unspoken fate. He was dead.
“Why?!” Uriel lunged against the iron chains that were wound around him, but they were coiled so tight that he could hardly budge. Beneath that human exterior, a storm was raging deep and he struggled again, desperately hoping that he could find a way to break free. “He was our brother!”
“Give me the girl!” Lucifer rose, as he towered over his captive and brought the blade down so that the sharp edge of it touched the front of Uriel’s throat with the whisper of a threat. “Or I’ll slaughter your daughter in front of you, let you watch as she begs for me to stop. And then, if I’m feeling merciful, I will end your suffering quickly. I don’t want to do this, but I need to find the girl… and you will give her to me.”
The anger in his voice boomed, and Uriel felt the power of it filling the room, the kind of hatred that festered in the dark for ages uncounted and never seemed to fade.
Long hours passed and Lucifer left his captive behind to wallow in the bleak mire of that shadowed room. He waited in silence, brooding over the idea that a simple human child could pose such a danger to him. It struck him as perhaps the greatest insult his father could devise, to gift such power to the hands of the very kind that was most beneath him. As the dusk faded into the late watches of the night, his brother Amon came to him at least.
Of all the Angels that had followed Lucifer when he abandoned Heaven, Amon had been the first to heed the call. He too had come to harbor a seething hatred for the imperfect creations that God had given dominion of the Earth to, and that hatred only burned brighter the longer he spent among their kind. Every day among them kindled those bitter flames within, charring to a blackened husk any of the hope and grace an Angel should possess.
“Do we know where she is?” the guise that Amon had chosen from himself fit the countenance of his spirit very well. His face was a weathered mask, with thinning white hair and cold grey eyes. He bore a scar that ran the length of his face along the right side, from his temple to his chin, though he would never dare confess to where the scar had come from or who had been the one to gift it.
“A small town in West Texas,” Lucifer breathed the word and smiled darkly at the implication that it carried. The child would be no more than ten years old, and largely unaware of the powers that she possessed or of the destiny that God had chosen for her. In truth, she would be an easy target, “I trust you have a plan?” he turned his eyes to Amon and fixed him with a stare that burned intensely.
“I have a poor, wretched soul waiting on the vine… ready to harvest at a moment’s notice.” It was perhaps the one thing that Amon cherished the most, the very power that lived within the presence of his kind. Of his brothers he alone had mastered the art of twisting the darkness within a living soul, as few others had done before. Only Lucifer himself could boast to be the greater master of that gift, and together they could tend to the seeds of madness in the heart of any living man or woman and bring those violent flowers into bloom.
“Get him ready then.” Lucifer’s voice shook like thunder. There would be no time to waste, this girl might not be a threat now at so young an age but given the chance she would grow beyond those vulnerable years and rise into the power that God had given her. “I want the girl dead within the month.”
“And what of our brother in there?” Amon nodded to the door behind which their captive remained.
“He may have use.” Lucifer’s gaze was drawn towards that door, his cold eyes impassive, weighing the risks and dangers that came from an enemy that could not be entirely predicted. “He might even be necessary, should you fail.” There was a pointed accusation in the words that Lucifer spoke, as if he was keen to offer his brother an unspoken warning—of that which would come to pass were he to fail.
But fail he did. On a cold and quiet night not long after that conversation, the man that Amon had twisted and turned with his corrupting touch had found the girl… and failed to do the job. She had survived that fateful night, and the man Amon trusted had disappeared. Anger roiled like a tempest within them both, as they soon lost trail of the girl and along with it any hope of ending the threat she posed. That trail grew cold and Uriel, the brother that they had allowed to live, proved to be of little use at all. He had never known her name, and that flaw had given the girl’s protectors the chance they needed. Perhaps Michael and the others had lost some measure of faith in Uriel as well, or perhaps they suspected that he was the reason that death had come so close to her that night. Whatever the cause, seven long years passed before they had even a whiff of her scent at all. And when they did at last, Lucifer was consumed with apocalyptic fury.
“SEVEN YEARS!” Lucifer boomed, his voice a crack of thunder in the dark, shaking the very walls of the finely decorated room he occupied. “Why have I waited seven years to find her trail again?!” he rose from the desk that belonged to the alias of Jonathon Haversham, a renowned psychiatrist in the greater Boston area. He looked upon his brothers with fury burning coldly in his eyes, the hatred seething and coursing a river of fire through his veins. They stood impassive, none daring to say a word, not Amon who had failed or Abaddon, whose careful scheming was always worked with skill from the darkest shadows that could be found.
Of the three Angels that stood before him, only one felt the courage to raise his voice, and when Moloch stepped forward towards Lucifer, most feared above all others, even he could not bear to lift his gaze to meet him.
“They kept her hidden well, better than we expected.” As Moloch spoke, he felt the heat of his brother’s vile fury upon him, so hot that he swore it began to scorch his skin. There was no way to color it in a more favorable light, they had failed where Michael had at last succeeded. She was no longer a defenseless child of ten, but a teenager burgeoning into her gifts. “Michael…”
“Say his name again in my presence and I will end you where you stand.” the knife was in Lucifer’s hand, the Blade of Solomon that he had kept so near for many, many years. “Seven years!” he roared but remained behind his desk, unable to decide whether he wanted to kill all of them or only one. “We could have ended this when she was a child, incapable of defending herself, incapable of learning who and what she was meant to be, but now? How old would she be now, Amon?” his hate turned upon the one that failed, and in that moment, Lucifer saw the abject terror aflame within his eyes.
“Seventeen.” Amon muttered weakly.
“SEVENTEEN!” with a furious motion he drove the blade of the knife deep into the surface of his desk, letting it stand there as the handle shook from side to side. “If she hasn’t already discovered what she’s capable of, how much longer do you think it will be before she does? A month? A year? If we thought that Michael had kept a close watch upon her then, you have no idea how well protected she will be now.” Lucifer stalked around the desk slowly and moved with intent towards the one that had failed, “And how certain are we, hmm?”
“We know only a little.” For a moment Amon didn’t wish to speak, because the information that he had was woefully incomplete. “She’s somewhere within Southern California.”
“Somewhere.” There was a vile taste in Lucifer’s mouth when he repeated that vague, discomforting word, “And not a name? Nothing that might narrow down our search?”
“Nothing,” Amon said, and Lucifer replied with a fist slammed into his face. The pain was so fierce that his sight went black as he fell to the ground in a heap.
“Then we need to draw her out, don’t we?” Lucifer towered over him, waiting for Amon to answer, curious to see if he would show even the slightest speck of the courage that he demanded from those still loyal to him. “Untested as she is, her powers will send ripples to those of us who came from Heaven and until she has learned to master them… we can feel them. Like the flicker of a candle in the dark.”
“How?” Amon’s voice trembled, an inflection that none had heard from his voice before, and one that he hated more than his own failure. But he would not dare climb to his feet again, not until his brother’s rage had abated.
“She needs to use her powers, doesn’t she? Come now, brother, even a pitiful failure like you must see what we should be done. At the height of her power she will be hidden from us, but untested and spurred by desperation, the use of her gifts may call out to us. We simply need to give her a reason to find herself, to fumble desperately until she discovers what she can truly do.” Lucifer knelt so that he could look his brother closely, and the rage that had consumed him was replaced with an eerie sea of calm deep in the well of his blue eyes.
“Chaos and blood.” The words came to Amon as a whisper, and lurking in the back of his mind was a wicked and cruel plan that began to shape itself from shadows there, “She’s seventeen… a high school student. A school.” He breathed slowly, almost afraid to let his delight be known, afraid that Lucifer would remember the depth of his failure and lash out again in vicious anger.
“How many young boys are there in this world, my brother? Lost and scared? Broken… ready to have those seeds of madness within them planted… to have them bloom into all that blood and fury?” in truth, Amon did not need to answer, for Lucifer already knew his mind. He knew the plan that was gathering shape within.
“If she isn’t killed outright, desperation may lead her to discover what she is… before she even knows it.” Amon spoke and a sneer that dripped with venom spread across his face. He knew what must be done, and he knew that it would take great work and care to see it done.
“Then that is what will happen.” Lucifer offered him his hand, and together they clasped one another tightly. With a great heave he pulled him to his feet and the shared a look that could sent the world into shadow.
“There will be many schools to choose from,” Amon warned him, knowing that he would have to be far more cautious than he had ever been before. There was no room for failure now, for this chance to reach the girl might very well be the last he would ever have, “I will have to narrow it down, so that our efforts are focused. Certain.” As he spoke those words, anger too bubbled up within.
He was made a fool once, he would not be again.
“Do what you must. Sow whatever chaos that you must sow, but do not stop until she reveals herself. When cornered and desperate, she may have little choice.” It was a gamble, that much Lucifer knew, but at this point in the game a gamble was all that remained for them to play.
In the year that followed, blood and chaos would indeed spread across the southern half of California. It was just as Amon had devised, a plan of such ferocity and cunning that there was little reason for Lucifer to doubt that which he knew must happen. And with each act of reckless malice, they waited… waited patiently for the girl to reveal herself through the gifts that God had bestowed to her.
“It will happen. In her desperation, she will have no choice.” Lucifer voice was ice, his determination as powerful as his hate, “And then…
“…and then she will be ours.” Amon said, his face contorted in a look of malice that could have rivaled all the creatures spawned from Hell itself.