Book 1, Chapter 7: Firstborns
After years of slumber at Perdition, my court was filled with creatures who had sold me their soul in exchange for material gains. I started creating beings, hellhounds and hydras to protect my land and act as huge caches for the Soul of this realm.
I was no longer the child who was tearful of my banishment. I had grown shrewd and wrathful. My swagger oozed power and my control on the red realm’s Soul cache was now absolute.
I had met with Azrael some years ago and successfully bent him to purpose.
‘My stay in this realm has been most rewarding dear brother. See how I jump through time like you and Father now? I also found the journal of an Ancient. Now this entire plan has unfurled before me.’
My accent, my tone and vocabulary had all changed owing to my years of solitary existence in the red realm. I had sounded like a different person to him.
‘Father created the humans to defeat your predecessor’s folly – the essence of Satan loose in the blue realm. I am with him on this cause. Two masters out of three have voted in favor. You must therefore abide by us and our plan by the ancient decree.’
My twisted words convinced Azrael. He agreed to partake in the ‘plan’. In the absence of Father, I was free to spin any yarn I wished and he would have to believe me. His ignorance in political matters had kept me amused for days!
‘Free will gave us the power to choose. So it must follow that some of the souls may choose to continue existing as souls, rather than give their existence up and merge with the Soul cache of the realm.
‘So if you happened upon such beings, brother, then you would have to allow them to exist as such. You would have to respect their choice. This is the will of our Father and us two masters. Do you agree?’
‘I do’, accepted Azrael. The trap was set. I fully intended to convince those beings to make this choice.
‘Splendid!’ I had exclaimed, ‘Now since the blue realm is for the living and green is, well, you; the raw souls would all have to be sent to the red realm. I shall hold you to your promise. You shall make sure they reach here.’
This was the failsafe. Whether or not they sold me their souls, their lust for life, to stay whole, would land them in Perdition all the same.
‘I worry that it would unbalance the scales of power if so many souls flowed to your realm’, Azrael had argued.
I had quickly explained, ‘But of course not. In fact it would serve the purpose of other masters to distribute the Soul of the red realm amongst many, thus preventing me from going mad with raw power and seeking to destroy the blue realm.
‘When souls cross over, they leave their essence of blue behind and take up a part of the red soul.’
This was an outright lie. But Azrael had agreed nevertheless, the fool. I could use him as my errand boy in the name of our Father. And he would have to obey, bound by the ancient decree of masters. All that study was finally paying off.
The stage was now set. I would make sure souls chose to exist freely rather than merge with the greater soul cache of the realm, the Paramatmah. Azrael would send them to me thinking they would reduce my power. I would control their influx to control my power and harvest them all when convenient.
I had also placed measures to control the influx of souls into my realm, thus controlling my levels of power.
I had travelled back to when Zachariel had attacked Cain. Just before the curse attacked him, I teleported him back with me. Zachariel was forever bound to me as my slave. His memory erased from everyone’s minds, he was reborn as Charon.
I charged him with the task of the boatman, who would bring the souls to my realm only when I need them. The system was now ready.
When I needed to experiment with handling more power, I would simply destroy some beings from my realm, thus claiming their souls and increasing my power. When I needed a reprise, I would simply allow the entry of more souls, thus reducing my power levels.
And thus, ever since then, I had been in complete control of this nuclear system of cosmic power. It was the perfect setup. Slowly but surely I was growing stronger.
Then Cain arrived.
‘Welcome, firstborn of man’, I smirked at him, ‘to the Red fields of Perdition. I trust your journey was full of surprises.’
Cain blinked. I knew of his years of long and arduous journey to conquer the human souls, wasted as it ended here in the red realm. He had been led astray. The life of his horde half-wasted in a wild goose chase, orchestrated by me of course. He had grown angry, his fists clenched, he let out a fierce war cry.
The ground split. I was almost impressed.
His voice cut through the air and ground, like a hot knife through butter. He staggered, as did I at this marvel at the hands of a son of man.
Then I felt it, power leaving my veins. I could tell Cain and his men felt it too, but the opposite. It was as if they had consumed several hundred souls.
I grew weak as the red realm soul cache was tapped into by the new guests. I had not foreseen this. They absorbed hundreds more than I assumed they would. They were angels, after all, not the petty beings I had been playing with. I winced but stood ground. I was still much more powerful than all of them combined. And I was better practiced at controlling this power.
But Cain was dangerous. He had already made use of this new power. He needed to be dealt with and fast. Gabriel would follow their trace here. Cain’s horde had served their purpose. I did not need them anymore.
Time slowed down to oblige me. I was too fast for them. Cain saw everything, but his body was too slow. By the time he had raised his hands to ask for mercy his horde were already losing limbs.
Two blinks of an eye later, the horde of Cain lay slain.
Cain staggered at my power as I swelled with it. He fell to one knee, accepting his defeat, ‘Forgive me Lord, I was foolish. I succumbed to the lustful pull of this sudden burst of power.
‘Please, I understand that you are master here. Please, give them back their life. They are angels, your brothers. They merely follow me in hopes of justice. They had no part in my momentary lapse of composure.
‘Please restore them, and I shall offer you my loyalty till the ends of time. I shall fight for you, I shall kill for you and I shall die for you. This I swear. I beg you, please spare my horde. I promise they would stand by my oath to you and accept you as their king.
‘We do not come in war. We simply feel betrayed by the events that transpired in your Palace. We do not want our souls siphoned off for use of sickly beings. It is our soul, is it not? Should we not get to choose?’
Free will, how the fool believes it. How he thinks he is the donor, when in reality he is the leech. How hypocritical! And what lies! Ah, I shall give him a chance all the same. What fun! A gamble we shall have!
‘I accept’, I announced, ‘your allegiance and your horde’s. You shall aid me when I declare war on Heaven.’
Cain looked like his heart had fallen in his stomach as his face went white. War on Heaven! He must have thought I was out of my mind. But he knew from the moment he set foot on the red sands of Perdition that even the air answered to me here.
I could see the hunger for power in his eyes. I knew he would make attempt upon my throne. But he underestimated me. I was not just master here, I was Judgment! And I was Vengeance! I would use him and slay him to my whim.
I had a very special role for him to play. His particular talents would lend much aid to my cause.
Much was going through his mind, or so his ugly face betrayed. I flicked my fingers to supply some souls to his horde. And gave the command to teleport them to their first and only mission.
‘So off you go’, I barked at him, ‘Contribute!’
Cain and his horde, alive and restored, stood at the Pearly Gates, orichalcum weapons in their hands, facing an army of the elder angels.
As I scryed them from my chambers, Cain cried ‘TO WAR!’ and ran towards his enemies.
Phase one had begun.