Angels of Love
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
© 6176 SC - © 2012 CE/AD
Note: The Lucy Potter stories fit into the canon of the Angels of Love universe. The stories are not featured below, but in the Contents list you can click the link to read the stories. The stories are features separately at:
Angels of Love Books 1 - 7
The Dark Side of the Light Side
Another 52 Weeks
The Light Side of the Dark Side
Lucy Potter and the Vengeance of Lucifer
Lucy Potter and the Golden Sovereigns
Lucy Potter and the Sprite of Chakola
Lucy Potter and the Terran Dragonrider
Lucy Potter and the Dark Lords of Evil
Jovius’ Day Off
Emma and Jovius: A Night on the Town
Lucy Potter and the Children of Haven
Lucy Potter and the Flickering Flame
The Great Britain Saga
Angels of Love Book 8
Angels of Love
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
Copyright 6176 SC
Phanuel the Son of God
The cacophony of voices was overwhelming. Here, in the banished world, the world of the unchosen, were Satan was still alive, not given to the rest at the end of the realm of Infinite Majesty, the dark lord gazed at his adversary, the Theophany of God, who, with bible in left hand, and sword of justice in right, stood before the gathering of the lost - defiantly - and gazed down into the maelstrom of eternity below them.
'Phanuel, then,' said Satan. 'How utterly predictable.'
'It could be no other way,' said Lucifer, to his right.
'He is nothing if not predictable,' said Semyazen at Satan's left.
The howling of the damned was horrendous, for being born before them, by the will of powers, Phanuel the newborn, and then the heart of the nethers to be near their full glory. For it was but the sixth, and the final seventh dark lord yet remained.
'HE WILL BE DRESSED IN WHITE,' said God's theophany, in his full majesty.
'AND NONE SHALL BEHOLD HIS GLORY. SO BEGONE.'
Yet Satan, by his dark power, hid in the rocks just nearby the maelstrom and gazed as Phanuel arose, up from the eternal chaos, in glorious and radiant white, the archangel coming up to the glory of God, firstborn of this new sixth realm.
'YOU ARE PHANUEL. AND YOU ARE MY CHILD,' said God.
'Father!' said Phanuel, and the penultimate divine realm was born.
Arch-Regent of Joniquay
The council was in session. The discussion subject - 'The Counsel of the Dark' - the power of the Adversary, Satan the
lord of darkness.
'Earth is young,' said Phanuel, addressing the council. 'I feel, I don't know, as if this last twenty millennia of our lives has been just a glimpse of an age before us, a long and winding pathway, of strange destinies and unavoidable fates, were ultimate answers we all seek will be one day granted.'
Secondborn, Saruviel, nodded knowingly on those words.
'And in this strange destiny, in this unavoidable fate, the dark lord defies us still, ever since his banishment from heaven, from the glory of Joniquay the Diamond Cities most glorious champion paradise, to dwell in his abode of despise, the hades of Hell, were he claims, in his constant mocks towards us, that he has found his true home of rest, a fowl underworld that it be, which supposedly gives him more comfort for his dark liberties he speaks of than the glory of heaven ever, apparently, could. He is a fool.'
The theophany, standing in his upper private alcove of the council chambers, nodded at Phanuel's words. Satan was indeed a fool, in many ways, to the theophany of God Most High.
'What can we do?' he exclaimed rhetorically. The council remained silent.
'We know, that as the destiny of the seed of Adam and Eve's offspring flows onwards each day, like the inevitable concourse of the mighty Terravon in her long journey through heaven, that our divine commission - our royal mandate - to guide these children of God to their heavenly reward upon completion of their lifewalk, must NOT be greatly hindered by the wrath of the fallen. For our very name as 'Angel' hinges on fulfilment of our God-given responsibilities.'
'Amen,' said Michael, thirdborn of heaven.
'Therefore,' said the Arch-Regent of Joniquay, ready to state his case. 'We can not allow these 'Nethers', these dark and ungodly netherworlds, to take root in the caverns of Terra Firma, for our neglect to our human brethren, should the dark gain stronghold, would cause our hearts untold and long-lasting shame and regret.'
'Hear hear,' said the female Shaltoriana, one of heavens most noble Celestyels.
God watched anxiously. Words to make an angel were about to be spoken.
'The dark shall know our power. And they shall not boast of their liberties when the judgement of heaven confronts their rebellion.'
Phanuel glowed. Confrontations were coming. Confrontations long put on hold. A time for the angels of God to throw off the advances of hell and say 'here - and no further.' For even grim political polity ruled the wisdom of the council, and while hell could be vanquished should the Almighty wish it so, the wisdom God had taught his son Phanuel that hell inevitably resurfaced in one way or another, and that the horrible words of 'tolerance' and 'permissiveness' were, in the end, the only truths by which the eternal counterparts of good and evil got along.
For even the dark lord must have his say.
The Heart of Shaltoriana
Shaltoriana sang in the choir of heaven, and Meludiel watched her closely, noting the increase in passion as they neared the crescendo of Alleluia's.
'Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia. Glory to God Most High. Alleluia.'
Later, as the choir flew down from their heavenly clouds, back to the real world of the Diamond city of Joniquay, Meludiel flew alongside Shaltoriana, and they came to their abode in 'Hightower', and sat for a while, softly recovering from their flight, on the heights of the Citadel's glorious Vista over the city, and shortly returned inside, and came to the main room of the citadel, were other angels of rank went to and fro, and each pursued their own agenda. Yet Meludiel, going off to drink and eat, decided time was time, and good time of good measure could be used, in true grace, to seek Shaltoriana's wisdom on an area long questioned by Meludiel, but warned off as unwise by the cautions of her twin Daniel. Daniel and Meludiel were the closest of all twins, here in the Heavenly Realm amongst the Angels, yet Ambriel's heart for Ariel was also of great calibre. Michael was never far from Aquariel, and Gabriel's constant love of Elenniel was likewise well known. For the Angels of Heaven were spirits of true love and, finding their truest mates and companions, their lives were never happier, for it seemed they had long been.....in their hearts.....
Yet, she must speak with Shaltoriana, for the girl was wise in the ways of Lucifer and Satan, and the council had spoken, of late, of the desire for halting the wrath of Hell, and Phanuel, firstborn, was resilient in this ambition. Phanuel loved his twin Brindabel greatly, and they besought all the Seraphim to pledge their allegiance to the cause of love as the power which would ultimately triumph over the darkness, and that love would be manifest in mercy, truth and justice - the 3 virtues Phanuel held dear, and through his righteous cause of the vindication of heaven's truths, Hell would be defeated, and Satan would be vanquished from his throne of adversarial darkness.
Yet his redemption, queried Meludiel? What of his redemption? Would none ever care to bring the dark one back into the light? Would such a thing ever occur?
So she sought Shaltoriana, who seemed educated with good and strong knowledge on this wisdom, to illuminate her understanding, for mercy was in the heart of Daniel's truest love.
* * * * *
'The wisdom of evil,' began Shaltoriana, 'is profound, my dear sister. It has no limitations. It has no right. It has no wrong. It is absolute freedom, to do as you will, to act as your will desires. Yet, when this evil infringes on another's liberties, the virtue of goodness opposes it. For goodness grants you your freedom, with limitation of not allowing harm upon others. Yet it restricts further, to deny personal liberty, which can involve harm upon self. And the balancing act of freedom and responsibility is the game of life we are all caught up in.'
'Why doth the dark one not understand these truths?' asked Meludiel.
'I dare say, in some distant time, perhaps the 21st century of Christendom, from Phanuel's plans, the dark one will be taught his final repentance.'
'7 centuries hence,' said Meludiel.
'If the prophecies come to be as desired,' responded Shaltoriana.
'Then I shall pray for him. To accept the heart of love,' responded Meludiel.
'Go with heaven's army. Upon the Confronting of Darkness at year's end. For the council has now set its date. Speak with Satan. Seek Phanuel's permission. Maybe you will have some effect. Maybe you will sow some new seed of truth. Maybe.'
'Heaven's blessing, dear sister,' said Meludiel, clutching Shaltoriana's hands.
'Heaven's peace,' responded the angel Shaltoriana.
The Dark Grey scroll was unwound, and the priestess uttered the summoning word. 'Daniel Redux Seraphim of Glory'. She waited, and shortly Daniel, twin angel to Meludiel, appeared in the room.
'Uh, what is your order?' he asked her.
'A Moabite Karaite sect of devotion to the Enochide texts,' she responded.'
'Jesus,' he sighed. 'More questions.'
'You know, sweetie, your order was under very strict instructions. Summonings only on absolutely vital concerns.'
The Priestess was gazing at Daniel, and his magnificent beauty and glory. 'Oh, yes. It is vital.'
'Well,' said the frustrated archangel.
'Yes. We have felt - tremblings. In our spirit. As if a great confrontation is ocurring. We would know what is going on.'
'Heaven and hell are at it again,' said Daniel casually. 'Phanuel has his knickers in a knot, again. Always worried about the Devil. Can't have a God without a Devil, I tell him. He ignores me. What a guy.'
'So Heaven is at war with Hell?' queried the widemouthed Priestess.
'Hell for leather,' said Daniel, who had floated down to look at the scroll. 'Hey. This is in Greek,' he said. 'What gives? You aren't a bloody christian sect, are you? Those guys are hardly kosher. Jesus the Christ. Jesus. Zerubbabel never formally declared himself, but give me a break sweetheart.'
'Oh, shut up,' she said suddenly, and then, 'Oh, forgive me.'
'So you are?'
'Yes. Vaguely. Well, we originated from the Baptisers, and in our early formations we accepted Jesus as of the house of Messiah. It was a good enough teaching of the man from Nazareth.'
'Hardly Kosher, sweetheart. I mean, sure, Zerubbabelian by birth, yep. Get's you rights. But claiming his glory, nah. He won't get away with that. Not in the long term. It's like that up there in heaven. In some of those Christian assemblies. Rabbis go in there from time to time, smiling at them. 'You are kidding, aren't you,' they say, on the gospel. 'He will never get away with it,' they say to them. But the Christians go on following Jesus and saying everything will be ok in the end. I don't know, sweetcheeks. Come judgement day I wouldn't want to risk a Christian assembly, even a vague one. God is very fussy about doctrinal purity these days. Tell a false doctrine and he smiles at you and calls you a genius. Real risk of major demerit points.'
'Shaddup,' she said. 'Oh, I know, ok, Lord Angel Daniel. But I love Jesus. He inspires me.'
'Your still Karaite in the end, by the looks of it. Take that more seriously. You know, the Angelic Ministries of Phanuel began a long time ago. Prophet Malachi began that, from memory. They are still around, aren't they? I have heard the Book of the Prophet Malachi has the full revelation of Phanuel's dialogue on righteousness. That is in the 72 books of the Hebrew Bible, isn't it?'
'Yes, master,' said the Priestess. It is the final discourse. Malachi was in Babylon, by the river Ulai, when Phanuel appeared to him and began the discourse of the 17 Divine Principles of Life. It is still very illuminating information.'
'Then why don't you try them? I am very happy with them. They use my instructions quite a bit also. Very dedicated to the Triumvirate Meggiloth.'
'I love those 5 books,' said the Priestess. 'Of the 6 official Accompaniment Texts to the Holy Scripture, that is one of my favourites. Your's, Gabriel's and Michael's discourses. A brilliant book.'
'So why get involved with the man from Nazareth?'
'Oh. He inspires me somewhat, but it is a long story. Family tradition, mostly.'
'Whatever. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the war is reaching a conclusion of sorts. Hell have entered into a negotiatory phase, having taken heavy losses, and are prepared to renogiate on the divine contract. This has been a legal invasion by Heaven, and our spoils are pretty good. We caught them offguard.'
'Praise the Lord,' said the Priestess.
'Well, was there any other questions?' asked Daniel the angel.
'Who is your twin? The books have never said?'
'That really is a melodius question to my heart, priestess. One day I might even let earth know. But not for now. And if that is all?'
The priestess nodded, and Daniel smiled, rolled himself up in a ball of smoke, and disappeared.
And the priest rolled up the scroll, took it with her out of the quiet prayer room, returned it to the catacombs, and continued on with her regular, everyday, affairs.
The Dark Pathway of True Salvation
And the end of things hath come. And heaven is restored to its full glory, for the dark lords of evil have finally repented, and Satan, who had returned to heaven a fair while yonder passed, had finally come to the throneroom, upon the full return of his hellish host, and sworn allegiance to God.
And then God had come into his room, in his theophanic form, and stood there, and said to his son. 'The Dark Pathway of True Salvation is before you. You know what you must do.'
And Satan nodded.
And he turned to scripture, and completed his reading, and he ventured forth, and with notebook in hand, he took to the heads of the monotheistic empires and, one by one, he besought them and apologized to them, personally, for his persecutions. And, after 6 score centuries, his mission complete, he returned home, and sat down, and looked at his notebook. For he had made several notes on the words he had used in sincerity, and the reactions most crucial to his next part.
And he studied the key responses, and he sat down in his garden, and he thought it over. And the key thought returned. Could evil, ever, really be justified? And it was a simple Jehovah's Witness who had said this truth. And Satan had acknowledged the point.
And then he returned to scripture. And he studied. And he studied. And he studied. And he aligned his heart with divine principle. And he repented his heart. And he found peace, for his wayward darkness was gone.
And the dark pathway was trodden upon.
And things neared completion.
And Phanuel gathered the angels of heaven, and they spoke to Daniel who was sent to instruct Satan that his redemption was not yet granted. For things yet remained. And Satan acknowledged the point. And the darkest fire, the darkest heart, the darkest love sat with his scriptures, those afternoons, and turned away from the former contemplations, forever it would seem, and pledged his heart to the God of God's.
And, for now, all was well.
All was well.
Yet something yet remained.
'Baby, baby, baby. Baby, baby, baby. You know I fucking love you baby. You know I fucking love you.'
Satan dragged on his cigarette as his blonde bombshell, the angel 'Loveriel', a very new daughter of God, belted out the hard rock song, staring at him, plunging fake daggers into her chest. She adored her devil, and he was madly, truly, deeply, eternally in love.
'Let's fuck,' she said.
They went to the back room, and he told Lucifer and Lucy to fuck off, and they got down and they got dirty, and they shagged, and Satan felt like a god - once more.
'I fucking Love you, Lovriel. Your unfuckingbelieveable.'
'I'm leaving you,' she said, suddenly standing, looking at him, and going to her cupboard, and taking the suitcase, and started packing it with clothes.
'Very funny, bitch.'
'I'm serious,' she said. 'Never coming back, either. You suck. I need a new shag. Your only average.'
'Hey, that hurts, babe. I mean, you are not serious, are you?'
'I need a new man. One who will treat me right. You. Your a joke.'
'Fuck. No!' he exclaimed, suddenly, perhaps for the first time in the Devil's life, with something his heart was scared of actually losing.
'Tought shit, cunt,' she said to him, finished packing her suitcase, stood in front of him and said. 'Oh, Satan. Bite me,' and stuck her middle
finger up at him, and fucked right off.
He drank for weeks.
He got high for weeks.
He argued and ranted and raved for weeks.
He fucking hated everyone for weeks.
And then he fucking cried.
Love fucking sucked.
'Our TURN DEVIL!
Satan turned, and looked at the angels crowding into the bar. They were all there. The Children of Destiny. The Children of Fate.
Ambriel stepped forward. 'You suck, Satan,' and threw a glass of water in his face.
Jesus stepped forward. 'You have a small penis, Satan,' and he stuck his middle finger up.
Rophiel stepped forward. 'Your mother has ugly children,' and he turned and farted at him.
David stepped forward. 'You make me wanna puke, dude,' and stuck both fingers up at him.
Abraham stepped forward. 'You have a poor attitude.' He was being polite.
Isaac stepped forward. 'You probably have small testicles as well. Ha.'
Jacob stepped forward. 'Your just a fucking dickhead, mate.'
'I concur,' said Jesus, nodding his head.
Moses stepped forward. 'Your hygiene is questionable.'
Aaron stepped forward. 'You really are quite low in intelligence.'
Bahaliel stepped forward. 'And you really, pretty much, just suck. Ok. You just suck.'
Gabriel stepped foward. 'You are totally uncool, dude.'
Michael stepped forward. 'And, really, mate. Get a life.'
Finally, Daniel stepped forward. 'Yeh, I know. Cunts, the lot of them. Here's a song for you, Devil.'
And suddenly, Lovriel came up on the stage, and Natalie Bassingthwaite was beside her, and Lucifer came out of the pack and patted Satan on the back and said, 'Well done, Mate. This one's for you.'
And as 'In Love Again,' by the Rogue Traders came on, Lovriel flashed her pearly whites at her devil, and his heart, the heart of fallen hearts, finally, completely, and once and for all, got the fuck over it.
I'm falling in love again.
Again, again, again, again, again.
Angels of Love
The Dark Side of the Light Side
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
Jovius was an angel of the light. But he was bent as all hell, corrupt as angels come, and savagely teetering on falling right into the centre of hell under Satan’s control. But Jovius, despite his overwhelming high amount of personal flaws, had one redeeming quality. He was still a hell of a guy.
He had a confident swagger, called all the female angels ‘Babe,’ and provided beers for all his male angel friends. He smoked at least 50 cigarettes a day, but he was always giving one out to every Tom, Dick and Harry. He sauntered down to earth often, visiting the various brothels and strip clubs and all the girls knew him well. And illicit drugs? You name it, he’s done it.
He was not exactly a responsible angel. If you left your ‘Lightmobile’ (which was an angelic vehicle) with Jovius, you could guarantee it would end up smashed into some heavenly lightpole.
But despite his many flaws, God still entrusted this particular angel to a task. The redemption of Jack Scarfel.
Jack was like Jovius in many ways – a hell of a guy. And when he felt his conscience suddenly come alive one Monday afternoon, he thought he was just in a charitable mood.
But after donating several thousand dollars of his savings to various charities, all in the name of good will, Jack was suddenly quite aware of something having changed in him. And then he said it?
‘Do I have a fucking guardian angel or something?’
Of course, Guardian Angels were under a strict code to never reveal themselves, upon pain of excommunication from the guardian angel league, but Jovius had a sense of humour.
‘What, do you think you give a fuck about Alaskan Seals?’ asked Jovius to Jack.
‘For fuck’s sake. Who the hell are you?’ asked Jack.
‘Your fucking guardian angel. Now go to church, or synagogue, or even a fucking mosque, and repent ya cunt. I have business waiting in heaven.’
And so Jack Scarfel, quite confused over being called a cunt and then being told to repent, made it over to his local Presbyterian church, did the said repentance, and was duly said ‘goodbye forever’ by his angel.
Back in heaven Jovius was brought up to the board of angelic review. He didn’t put up much of a fight, and when his status as guardian angel was revoked he didn’t complain much.
So, out of work, on the angelic unemployment line, Jovius managed to look on the light side of the dark side, and saw the good humour in life.
‘Hey, at least I still have my health,’ he muttered, standing in line for his angelic unemployment cheque.
Angels of Love
’Its been a heck of a year, Jack. And I have much to talk about. So lets hit the bar.’
Jack Scarfel accompanied his brother, Roger, to the local bar, and they shot the shit.
It had been a weird year for Jack. He had repented, and had kept a calendar. For 52 weeks, marking off every week as he went, he recorded all his good deeds for his church, and did his best to be a holiness person. And at the end of the year he felt weird. He felt changed.
He no longer smoked, drank very little alcohol, didn’t swear, talked politely to people, tithed to charity, attended church twice a week, prayed for lost souls and did his very best to be the best boyscout he humanly possibly could.
And he had changed.
The Holy Spirit had touched Jack on 52 special occasions, upon the request of the Angel Jovius, who had now found employment. 52 special times Jack Scarfel had been touched, and now he felt a good heart. A heart of kindness – a heart of generosity – a heart of love.
He no longer viewed people with an inherent suspicion, but thought the best of them. And he liked everyone – he could find something good to say about them all.
Yes, Jack was a changed man.
He never saw the truck coming. He was crossing the street, looked the other way, and bang, it flattened him into butchers meat.
He woke up a little while later in an all white room, which was NOT an hospital. It was heaven. The angel Jovius was on hand and greeted him.
‘We hear this all the time, you know Jack,’ said Jovius, lighting a cigarette. A neverending supply of complaints about souls being taken too soon. But you know the saying ‘Only the good die young?’
‘Well that is true. We take yous, you see. When you are being so very good in your behaviour, the big guy says ‘Well that will do,’ and brings you on home. You see, heaven really is a pretty fab place, and all your family who have died are up here, all the way back to Adam. You’ve been brought home SOONER than normal, simply because you have been so very good. We wanted you up here, you see. It is a blessing, not a curse.’
‘Anyway, I’m Jovius. Your fucking guardian angel. Shit, excuse the swearing. I have been told I have to cut it out. Like the smoking probably. Well, I will guide you around for a while, Jacky boy. There is shit loads to do here. Really, more than you can possibly imagine. We generally work in heaven as well, and sometimes people go out of employment, but the social security benefits are a lot and you can afford a quality life on them if that is all you have. Well, any questions?’
‘I just wanted to know, why did you tell me to repent?’
Jovius smiled, lit another cigarette, and looked at his ward. ‘Lets just say, Jacky boy, it was in your best interests. I mean, keep the faith and all that. And you were christened as a kid.’
‘Oh. Yeh, I was.’
‘So, I’ll let you get some sleep. But I’ll be back tomorrow, and your tour begins. And remember, keep on trucking, dude. Keep on trucking.’
Jack nodded, rolled over to get some sleep, and Jovius headed off.
Jack dreamed, of angels and light, and somehow, in his heart, he knew it was true – only the good died young. And despite him missing earth in some ways, he was glad to be home. Home in heaven, and ready to begin his new life. And at least the cigarettes smelt good.
(A Short Vampire Story dedicated to Stephenie Meyer – Author of the ‘Twilight’ Series)
Kardos. A most unusual vampire. Young, naïve, but full of spunk. His trial should be interesting.
* * *
The Hunt was on. Kardos ran through the mansion’s extensive grounds, his senses keenly aware of the fresh blood. The blood which was pouring forth from a neck, a beautiful neck, of a specially chosen virgin maiden. He would feed well soon enough.
He came to a clearing, and sniffed the air. The child was close, and suddenly, just over by a thicket, she betrayed herself. Time for his meal.
She looked up at him, the fear on her face suddenly frozen in his mind, and suddenly he noticed her. Her dark, raven hair. He bloodred lips. Her shockingly beautiful face and physique. And the terror in her eyes – eyes gleaming at being confronted by the horror of a vampire. She was still clutching her neck in a vain attempt to prevent the bleeding his master had seen to. A small cut, but enough to bleed for the moment’s necessary enough for the chase. Kardos knew his master was watching. He knew it, every time he was. Every time. Was this a trial? Was this a test? Did his master know what this girl would do to him?
He looked at her, and his new DNA, genes which had changed and metamorphasized since becoming Vampiric, had their desired impact and a resonance came forth from his bloodsoul connecting to the young virgin. She was of a human clan which carried the bloodtype necessary for mating. Perfect mating. Yet, not of Vampire. For if she became Vampire she would die. Nay, while the offspring would indeed be Vampiric, she herself could only remain human.
He was thirsty. He needed to feed. But the beauty and temptation was too much. He looked silently around him, gathered her in his arms, and fled the mansion grounds.
Escaping to Validya’s abode, just across the meadow, he spoke with her and she gave him the keys to her wagon.
And he left the valley of ‘Darkthorn’, leaving it for he knew not how long, leaving it with his new bride and his new love. And if Darkthorn tried to claim his soul again, well he would allow, but would not suffer the capture of his bride. For he would have seed, once denied him, but now miraculously available once more. And Darkthorn would see hell before Kardos would give this child back to him.
* * *
Darkthorn smiled, seated on his throne. Kardos had acted predictably. But he was young, naïve, taking a mate simply because it was available. Naturally, he would not have denied the young lord’s desires for this bride, but running from his master taught him much. Still, he could retrieve Kardos when he needed to. He knew his scent. Best to let him have his fun and family with his new woman. Best to let him have that for now. He would retrieve him soon enough, and continue with his dark, deadly, agenda.
Dark Love II: A Death at Twilight
‘Kristen. My name is Kristen.’
Kardos nodded. She was awake now, having recovered from her fainting. They were miles away now, from Darkthorn. Lost in the wilderness, just as the day had ended. The Hunt had begun as soon as the sun had set, and the Twilight hour had been born. And now, 30 minutes into Twilight, darkness was gradually encroaching upon the land.
Suddenly a car jerked out in front of them, and a figure climbed out the driver’s window of the car. He was dressed in black, laughing madly and began shooting at them.
‘Fuck,’ said Kardos. ‘Myantea is having games.’
‘Who is Myantea?’ asked Kristen, now hiding down out of sight.
‘Someone you don’t want to know. Helgard is with him, driving by the looks of it. It looks as if Darkthorn sent him.’
Kristen nodded. She knew who Darkthorn was. She knew that one too well.
‘Hold on,’ yelled Kardos.
The wagon swerved out, and Kardos pushed the lever to the maximum. It burned power and quickly overtook the sedan. As they passed them, Myantea grinned madly and pointed the gun right at Kardos. ‘Are you ready to die?’ he yelled at Kardos. Kardos wasn’t. He pulled out a gun from his overcoat, pointed it at Myantea, and pulled the trigger. The silver bullet hit Myantea in the eye, and penetrated the brain, blood spurting all over the window of the pursuing sedan as it stopped its chase.
200 yards down the road they pulled up and looked behind them. Helgard had dragged Myantea’s body out of the sedan to the side of the road and was frantically attending to him. But it was too late. As they looked on Helgard gave a howl and they both knew Myantea was dead. And then Helgard looked at them, stood and started running towards them, but they got back into the wagon and sped away.
Kristen looked back, and then turned to Kardos. ‘You killed him, didn’t you?’
‘For a while only. Only for a while. You don’t kill a vampire that easily. But he will be dead for a few months as his body recovers.’
‘And then?’ she said.
‘He will probably be pissed off. So we will have to hide well.’
‘Back at the mansion. Why didn’t you take my blood. I thought that is what you were going to do.’
He looked at her, looked at her beautiful looks, and responded. ‘I have my reasons.’
Again she nodded, turned behind her to see if the sedan was following, and, her energy having been on high for so long, asked if she could get in the back of the wagon to sleep. Kardos nodded.
As they drove Kardos knew the brothers would find them, eventually. Helgard and Myantea were like that – they had a demented sense of humour. But they were Darkthorn’s pawns, and he was only intending to keep tabs on Kardos. He knew that. His father had known that. And his mother too. But that was what it was like serving Darkthorn. He had you were he wanted you, and no matter were you ran, the world was no hiding place.
But he was free for now, and thinking about the bride he had claimed, he was happy enough.
He had his plans, Darkthorn had his own evil agenda, and hopefully the two could be reconciled. Or, just perhaps, he would die trying. Only time would tell.
Dark Love III: Magician’s Gambit
‘Dear Beleriand. Dear, dear Beleriand. Whatever shall we do? I do believe the game looks well beyond even the most cunning Gambit’s of the master of Magicians.’
Beleriand, dressed in crimson robes, decorated with demons and angels at war with each other, smiled fondly at Darkthorn’s oh so familiar charm.
‘Kadros. He has taken the virgin, has he not?’
‘They are compatible, Darkthorn. I presume you knew this.’
Darkthorn smiled at Beleriand, yet did not comment.
‘Then this is my cunning Gambit, if you will dear Darkthorn. Let us enter a wager. And I will place ‘Goldenhorn’ as the prize versus your delightful ‘Brightfire’.
‘What, my magnificent mansion against your hovel of an abode.’
Beleriand smiled. ‘Yet, that is my offering for the wager.’
Darkthorn nodded. In truth, Goldenhorn was a magnificent abode.
‘And the wager, dear Beleriand?’
‘A testing. An ancient testing. The oldest in fact, sealed in the bloodlines of all of Adam and Eve’s children. The one which is the making of them.’
‘Mmmm. Love,’ said Darkthorn.
‘Yet, Dark Love, dear friend,’ replied Beleriand. ‘Of good and evil, light and shadow.
‘And how shall we know of the outcome?’
‘You provide the vixen, Darkthorn. And she shall tell of the love which comes forth between the two of them. And I, well I know of an old angel. Still fallen in many ways, but he will preserve the love between the two of them. Should he prove successful, and their love triumph on that day, then Brightfire is mine.’
Darkthorn nodded, and returned his gaze to the chess set.
‘It is an interesting Gambit, dear Beleriand. You will lose.’
‘We shall see, dear friend. We shall see.’
Dark Love IV: Jovius’ Wicked Sense of Humour
‘Sure Beleriand, I can take the assignment. Hey, what do you get if you run over a duck? Blood and Feathers.’ Beleriand nodded. That was Jovius. Full of dark humour. But he was an angel, in the end, on the dark side of the light side. There was no changing that.
‘Love must triumph, Jovius. My abode is on the line.’
’12 Golden Sovereigns. You know, the type the Leprechaun keeps. That is my fee.’
Beleriand nodded. Jovius liked those particular Sovereigns. ‘You will have your sovereigns. But remember, Darkthorn will likely unleash Jezebel on the two of them. And that old witch has a thing for young flesh like Kadros. She will devour him if she can.’
‘Jezebel has always been like that. A queen after as much lusty flesh as she can get.’
‘But remember, she has her charms. She always has. Kadros doesn’t know of her, I would imagine. She has been reclusive for centuries now, since the death of Stalrod. She loved him much, and mourns him still. But she has numerous life debts to Darkthorn, and I doubt he will choose another vixen.’
‘Don’t sweat it. Hey, what do you get if you give cigarettes to a teenager? Friends for life.’
Beleriand nodded. It was typical Jovius sarcasm, and usually quite bad at that.
As Beleriand left purgatory, Jovius took another hit of gin from the bottle he was drinking. He looked at the bartender, Marni Bonniker, who he had been trying to get into the pants of for several decades, thought over a pickup line, but thought better of it. He had several Sovereigns now, and was anxious to work on his collection. Time to find this Kadros. Time to earn his keep.
Dark Love V: ‘Celestevere’
‘What is this place?’ asked Kristen. ‘It is so. So……..’
‘I know,’ responded Kadros. ‘It’s ancient, ok. From a world before Christ. From a time of the ancients, when dragon’s roamed the earth. My grandfather says there dwells a dragon still, down in the depths of the cavern beneath this place. I doubted him for many years, but the things I have seen in this life now. It might be there. This place is called ‘Celestevere’. It is a haunting place. A place of darkness and dark magic. A place known to us of the underworld. These upper levels are uninhabited, which is why all the cobwebs. But we will find life further down. Down in the depths, were other vampires and werewolves and zombies and ghouls all dwell. We don’t use this upper entrance here that much. There are – other – ways of getting into Celestevere. But I have no choice with a human.’
Kristen looked at him, seriously. ‘Why am I with you, Kadros? What do you want from me?’
He looked at her, thought on answering, but remained silent.
‘Come on. Follow me. Lower down we will book into an inn, and hide there for now. I have enough finances with me to give us shelter for a while. And then I will decide what we will do.’
‘You could, you know, just let me go. I mean, if you don’t want me as a vampire, why bother holding me?’ He looked at her, looked at her beautiful face, and smiled.
‘Perhaps I have – other reasons, Kristen. I might tell you some time.’
He led them onwards, down into the strange ancient world abode, of walls covered in mosaics from ancient cultures, of statues of old world legends, and of carvings and designs from times forgotten to modern man.
Dark Love VI: ‘An Intimate Encounter’
As they descended down seemingly endless stairwells, Kristen suddenly noticed they were not alone. Suddenly walking along behind them was a fowl looking creature, all ghostlike and deathly looking. The creature nodded at Kadros as it passed by them and continued on its way downwards.
‘That is a ghoul,’ said Kadros. There are many down below.’\
As they continued onwards, more and more dark creatures seemed to suddenly be alive in the place, and Kristen held back her fear, knowing that Kadros would protect her.
Soon they came into a very large hallway which opened up into an enormous room, full of all sorts of activity and what appeared ghoulish businesses.
‘Celestevere is a city – a city of the dark, Kristen. Typical things for our kind take place here, and we can find shelter. But, be careful. They don’t hate humans, but humans are useful, for many reasons, if you know what I mean,’ he said, putting his mouth to his wrist to indicate the kinds of use humans would be in such a place. Kristen shuddered, and drew closer to Kadros.
They passed all sorts of fireplaces with ghastly creatures gathered together, and the businesses seemed similar in many ways to human types, but always with a darker edge.
‘I suppose we are just like you, in the end,’ said Kadros. ‘When you fall into the dark, some things still remain the same. Those things which unite good with evil. We still eat. We still sleep. We still do stupid things like read books and watch television. We still have many of the same cravings.’
‘But usually with a darker bent, I take it,’ she responded, as they passed a fireplace with two ghoulish creatures engaged in a dice game.
‘Generally, yes. We Vampires like to claim a degree of civility amongst our kind. The werewolves generally assume they are the superior of the underworld, and we contest with them. Ghouls, goblins, zombies and the other kinds don’t really care. I think many of them are beyond caring.’
‘And how, how do they get that way?’
‘Dark choices in life. They were all human, once. But not everyone chooses the light, Kristen. Not all of us.’
‘And you? Did you choose the dark?’
‘No,’ but he said no more.
Soon they came to a large building which looked like an inn of sorts. Following Kadros, they came to the reception area and a female ghoul greeted them.
‘Is this enough?’ asked Kadros, placing a silver coin on the desk. The ghoul nodded, handed them a key, and he motioned for Kristen to follow him. As they climbed the creaking stairs, Kristen felt as if the hand of death was upon her in many ways. They were all like that – undead. Creatures fallen from grace, creatures of the dark.
They came to their room, and Kadros motioned for her to take the bed. ‘I’ll sleep on the couch. The shower probably works, but don’t rely on the water being the cleanest.’
‘I’ll pass then,’ she responded.
She sat down on the bed and he stared at her.
She looked back at him, noticing the way he stared at her figure, and suddenly became acutely aware of what it seemed he was after. He wanted her – physically.
‘It’s sex, is it? Is that all? You just want to fuck me?’
He looked at her, and his blood rose in him. And he came over, tore at her dress, and soon had her naked. She gazed at him, knowing him for what he was. A savage creature of the dark.
‘Then fuck me,’ she said.
And he did.
Later on, as she put her undergarments back on, she noticed he had fallen asleep on the bed. ‘Was this it? She thought to herself. 24, just out of university, just started a new job, and she was the bride of a Vampire. And her virginity, now gone to the one who had claimed her as his own. She could only hope to God that she wasn’t pregnant.
Dark Love VII: A Friend from Heaven
‘Hey sweetie. Was he any good then?’
Kristen jerked up from her near slumber, alarmed at a voice which had spoken from the shadows. And then, coming out of the shadow, a man. A man with wings. And while she had told herself just earlier that she had seen everything, now she really had. It was an angel.
‘Are you. Are you my guardian angel?’
‘God no,’ responded Jovius. ‘Too much work in those bloody assignments. Let’s just say I am here to help for a while. You’ll get used to me. The name’s Jovius. Servant of God the Most High, Lord of Glory and all that yada yada yada.’
‘What. What do you want from me,’ she said nervously.
‘Relax, sweetie. It appears as if Kardos has taken that particular commodity of yours now anyway. I am just a friend, on assignment from a certain agent who has your best interests at heart.’
‘God sent you? Like the Blues Brothers?’
Jovius took a seat, lit a cigarette, and smiled. ‘The Blues Brothers. Now that brings back memories. You know, I knew this old nun once. Just like the lady from that movie. Anyway,’ but he paused, looking at Kristen’s perplexed look, and thought better of it.
‘Anyway, sweetie. Kardos is an ambitious young Vampire. Probably bit off more than he could chew in kidnapping you. But Darkthorn doesn’t mind that much. As long as you don’t go off and get killed his young protégé.’
‘Kardos? Darkthorn’s protégé? I don’t understand.’
‘It is a long complicated story. But suffice to say Darkthorn is now sterile after an earlier encounter with some dark fellas. His seed has all been killed and he has had to look to an old friend’s offspring to build up his house.’
‘So Kardos is to inherit Darkthorn’s wealth.’
‘And more than that, sweetie. His power, and believe me Darkthorn has a lot of power. Probably the most influential of the Vampire Lord’s in North America, still. They are caught up with old world values, sweetie. Ancient ways. Family honour. Family power. Clans of wealth and privilege, ruling seats on the council of the dark.’
‘The council of the dark?’ she queried.
‘I don’t think you want to know too much about that. The agenda of hell to cut it short. Sending the world to damnation to cut a long story short. Still, you got to admire their determinations. 17,000 years at war with Archangel Phanuel, and Satan is still at it, determined to destroy heaven if he at all can.’
‘Head of the 7 Archangels. Firstborn. God’s main son.’
‘Wasn’t that Jesus?’
‘Now that is a hell of a story, but we will leave theology to another time. Anyway, my job here is to protect you and Kardos until a certain point in your destiny when a certain choice will be made. These things come up all the time for children of Adam and Eve. When you make this choice, either one way or the other, a certain wager results, and either I get paid or not. My job is to see to it you make the right choice?’
‘And what choice is that?’ asked Kristen.
‘That is the thing. I can’t tell you that. We never have been able to tell any of our clients about the choice they should make on the big ones. If it isn’t one of your choices, it never pleases HIM anyway. So that much you will have to work out for yourself. But I will be here, and I have faith in you sweetie. You’ll do the right thing.’
She nodded. Whatever else, despite all the drama he was filling her head with, she had seen so much already that an Angel with a Mission from God could not really surprise her.
‘Shall I wake him?’
‘Best let him sleep, sweetie. I’ll be going now. But I’ll be watching. And remember, as corny as it may sound, keep the faith sweetie. Somebody has to.’ And then he was gone, back to the shadows, and she was alone again with her sleeping Vampire lord.
Dark Love VIII: Jezebel’s Temptation
He had left her in the hotel and had travelled down to one of the lower levels of Celestevere. Draznack, his uncle, would help him – hopefully. He lived in Celestevere with his new wife and had not seen it the same way as Kardos father when they had entered into allegiance with Darkthorn. He would be only to eager to help Kardos, he hoped.
* * *
‘No, Kardos. Sure, you can stay here with me and my wife if you need to, but the clan has obligations towards Darkthorn now – wether we like it or not. Your father entered into Darkthorn’s assembly – he was fully informed of his choice. And because of that I won’t interfere. You are ultimately Darkthorn’s seed, wether you like it or not.’
‘I know,’ responded Kardos. ‘I guess there is no escaping that. But can’t you support me – give me some finances, at least. Darkthorn won’t bother with me for a long time now, I am sure. I think he knows I want children.’
‘I won’t hide you from him. But I can give you some finances. Go up north – to Canada. Have your offspring. We’ll know were you are – you can’t escape your scent.’ Draznack went to a side bookcase, brought forth a bag, and handed it to Kardos. ‘It is gold. Enough for a decade or so. When you have seed, come back. You have obligations.’
Kardos nodded. It wasn’t perfect, but it would do.
* * *
As he climbed upwards and walked another long hallway, suddenly, from the shadows emerged a vixen – she was unmistakable, dressed in scarlet, as their kind was want to do. ‘Kardos. Dear Kardos. Lie with me. Leave that maiden – you have had her now. You will find my sweet nectar and delight far more intoxicating.’
He looked at her, looked at her voluptuous breasts, and figure, but shook his head. ‘Begone Vixen. I’ll have nothing to do with your kind.’
‘As you wish,’ and she departed.
* * *
‘What now?’ asked Kristen.
‘We go north. We find somewere to stay.
‘You give me seed.’
She looked at him and understood. She knew now what he wanted. Wed to a vampire.
Dark Love IX: Getting to Know You
‘So, Kristen. What is your last name? You have never said.’
‘Stewart. But I don’t want to talk about myself. If I am going to be your bride it is only reluctantly. You will have to force me to divulge anything of myself.’
‘Relax. I am not, despite appearances, a beast.’
‘Yet you have me prisoner.’
‘Yes,’ he responded.
The wagon steadily made its way during the night hours northwards along the highway, heading for Canada and wherever they could find a suitable home.
‘So why me? Why do you want seed with me?’
‘We are compatible.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘My line – not every human is compatible for breeding. Very few. You have the right blood type – the right DNA.’
‘Oh,’ she responded.
She looked out the window and gazed at the night stars. Somehow she knew she would become familiar with them. A child of the night, now. Stranded in darkness, never to return to the light now, never to return to civilization.
She turned to him and looked at him. Strangely, and she knew she shouldn’t, but she was starting to find herself drawn to him. He was tall, dark and handsome. And she sensed him willing to protect her. To put his arms around her and call her his own. And, while she knew she should try to escape at the first opportunity, she let herself believe just briefly that she wouldn’t. That she would stay with him and be his bride of the night. After all, he had already claimed her. And that was important to her.
‘The Children. What will they be? Will they be human?’
‘Probably Vampires from birth. But not always. Maybe human. Maybe.’
She nodded, and returned her gaze to the stars. This was her destiny then, to be the bride of Dracula. Funny thing, fate. You never knew what quite to expect.
Dark Love X: Home
She looked at the shack. Really, that was all you could call it – a shack. Still, Kardos had told her it had been cheap. And it was miles away from anywhere, except for a local store were they could buy what they needed.
‘There’s a lake. You can swim there in summer, if you wish. I still need food, regular food. Not as much as a human, though. Oh, and I need to feed on blood. There will probably be enough deer in the forest to satisfy that.’
‘I thought you only fed on humans.’
‘They’re a luxury. And for making more of our kind. Deer blood is tasty as well. Some animals don’t work well as food, but a lot do. The deer will satisfy me. I need to eat about once a month. Usually on a full moon.’
‘Ok,’ she said. She was starting to learn about Vampires directly. She had known something of them growing up, but mainly from the movies. Meeting one in the flesh, though – well every question she could have ever asked, she could find out now.
They came inside. It was sparsely furnished, but there was a bed with linen on it and some blankets. They would be fine for the night.
He looked at the fireplace and said ‘I will go and gather some wood for a fire. Remember, as I said, I know your scent. There is nowhere you can hide. Nowhere. So don’t run. You will be wasting your time.’
‘So it seems,’ she said.
As he left, she took the bag of groceries and took them to the side bench. Taking the cloth they had purchased, she wiped down the bench and starting making their sandwiches. It was her new beginning. Her new home. She guessed she should, if she could, get used to it. Still, as bizarre as it could be, there were possibly worse fates. Possibly.
Dark Love XI: Days in Heaven
It was a time in her life when, Kristen looking back, despite the very fact that she really was in truth a prisoner, a time she could never possibly forget. Perhaps she fell in love with Kardos in those years. Perhaps. She never knew for sure, but it was certainly true later on.
It was a simple life, the first few years, living together, eating together, sleeping together. He wanted her most nights, and bemoaned the lack of children. But then it happened, late in September, as the days were getting cooler, the bump in her belly becoming obvious. She was with child.
‘What shall we name it?’ she asked, excited.
‘If it is a Vampire, I will name it. But if it is human, then I don’t mind you giving it its name.’
She smiled at that. Really, a human baby girl is what she wanted. That would be – perfect.
She spent many days at the lake and then, late one night, feeling the pains too much almost to bear, the child was born, and Kardos was relieved. It was a girl, like Kristen wanted, but Kardos could tell. He smelled the child and knew. It was of his kind.
They were a family, then, and as the child grew, looking more and more like its mother, they were possibly as happy as any normal family. Possibly. And then she fell pregnant again, and this time a boy. But human. Most definitely human, Kardos claimed. Of no real use to him, apart from being his seed in some way.
They were promised a decade and it came and went and, as Magenta turned 7 and Roary turned 5, they were as happy as Kristen supposed she could be. But darkness was to return. Darkness and dark choices, ones hoped forgotten, but always there, at the edge of the night, watching, waiting. And time for dark memories to be awakened once again to the power of the night.
Dark Love XII: Myantea’s Vengeance
‘Remember, don’t harm the girl. And if you harm the boy, well, Kardos will probably be pissed enough to kill you for good.’
Myantea ignored Helgard’s words. He wouldn’t kill the boy, but he would have his fun.
* * *
‘Who, who are you?’ asked Roary innocently at the two strange looking men at the door. ‘Is your sister here?’
Magenta wandered into view and the men came inside, pushing open the locked screen door, grabbed the children, and returned to the vehicle.
Just then Kristen returned from gathering mushrooms in the forest and noticed the men. And then she noticed they had her children and she screamed.
Kardos came running but it was too late. The car sped off and Kristen was in tears. He ran to the car, but the tires were slashed and in frustration, yelling obscenities, he kicked the car.
Looking over to his bride he came over, put his arms around her, and said, ‘You knew this day would come. They won’t harm them, ok. But this is Darkthorn’s way of telling me it is time to return. I won’t ask you to come with me, but if we are to be a family then you will know what to do.’
‘I will come,’ she said, and that was that.
He left her, going inside, and Jovius stepped out of the shadows to speak to her.
‘He has a temptation coming, Kristen,’ who was shocked to see the angel once more. ‘I can’t tell you what to do, but do the right thing, ok,’ and he was gone, back into the shadows.
Four hours later, the mechanic having been paid for replacing the tires, having been paid quite a hefty sum from his midnight work, they were away. Headed south. Headed home, in a way. Kristen looked out the window as the dawn approached she shuddered at once more coming into the presence of Darkthorn, the man who had taken her from her life and dreams. But what of Kardos’ temptation. What exactly would that be all about? She let her mind wander and gradually drifted off to sleep as Kardos stared blankly ahead, his mind on his children.
Dark Love XIII: Dark Choices
They entered Brightfire, the two of them, and came into the familiar entrance hall, a number of Vampires seated around, gazing at them, nodding at the familiar scent. Shortly a Vampire came forward, indicated for them to follow him, and they came up stairs to Darkthorn’s den. And when they entered there were the children. Kristen ran forward, put her arms protectively around them, and gazed up at Darkthorn.
‘They are just getting to know their grandfather, Kristen. Don’t worry. I would never hurt them.’
‘You’re not their grandfather. You never could be,’ she hissed.
‘Oh, but I am. Isn’t that right Kardos.’
Kardos said nothing, but after a while nodded grimly.
‘I am glad you are now back with us, Kardos. And I already have your first assignment. There is a human. The daughter of a senator. I have chosen her to become one of us. She will be – useful – in our plans.’ He handed him a file, which Kardos reluctantly picked up and glanced through.
‘Have no fears, son. Your wife and children will be safe with us. This is their new home, after all. Isn’t that right, Kristen?’
She looked at Darkthorn, gripped her children tightly and looked at Kardos. And defiantly she spoke. ‘So is this it, then? You will serve him? You will voluntarily serve him?’
‘I, I have no choice. My father entered into agreement with him. Our family honour is at stake.’
She stared at him, ready to insult his honour, but realized she loved him then. She realized it looking at him, the man who had become her husband in reality. She turned to Darkthorn, hating the very face, but nodded. ‘Very well. I will stay. You will have your family, Darkthorn.’
‘A wise choice, child. Or should I say, daughter.’
And he laughed, a mild, but dark laugh. A dark, wicked laugh.
Dark Love XIV: The Second Temptation
When he bit deeply into the woman’s neck and ensured the daughter of the state senator would be one of them, he sensed a spirit. A scent, familiar. And suddenly, out on the beach, Jezebel appeared. Once more. She was naked, and the girl looked at her. ‘Hey, honey, he’s taken ok.’
‘Why don’t we lie together. All three of us. We could have a wicked time.’
And she came forward and took his manhood and he was overcome. The girl was excited also, and he knew he was falling into a world of darkness, and his Vampiric blood rose in him, and he bared his teeth, and the girl screamed.
‘Take her,’ yelled Jezebel. ‘Kill her. Claim your prize.’ And the beast within Kardos succumbed, and Jezebel grinned madly. From the shadows Jovius watched on, and made a cut into a piece of wood. One each, now. The final temptation would decide the wager. He would have to keep faith in love to see his sovereigns.
Dark Love XV
Darkthorn was only mildly upset, but later in the day, happy with Jezebel’s successful temptation, he decided that he could indeed use his new abode soon. Goldenhorn was such a place of delight, and boasting against Beleriand for the next millennium such a temptation, that he could wait no longer. Time to bring the testing of Kardos to completion.
* * *
They were naked. Several of them. Female, all between 16 and 20. Bloned. Lusty. Perfect. Darkthorn sat on his throne with Kristen by his side and Kardos was brought into the room. ‘What is this?’ asked Kardos, and Jezebel suddenly appeared. And then, stepping out of the light, Jovius. He looked at Darkthorn and spoke. ‘Beleriand will honour his wager. I assume you will?’ Darkthorn nodded.
Jezebel came forward and put her hand to Kardos crotch. ‘These women. Look at them. They are so young. So delectable. And your bride over there. She is surely past her youth, Kardos. She has given you seed, but what more do you need her? She is only human, nothing more. She is no mate for you, after. What can a mortal possibly offer you. So feast with me, child of darkness. Feast upon this nubile flesh, and enjoy your carnal pleasures. And we will toast hell and live for what are made. For it is our destiny, Kardos. We are Vampire, and nothing more. And to devour such flesh, well this is what we are made for, is it not.
And he nodded, and took to the floor, and grabbed one of the drugged blondes and put his mouth to her neck. But then, just then, he looked at them. He looked at the Angel, a stick and knife in his hand, waiting upon something. And he looked at Jezebel, grinning wildly, and he looked at Darkthorn, with his grim satisfaction. And finally, he looked at Kristen. He looked at the bride he had claimed and then found something within. A quiet, still, gentle voice. A voice saying ‘Why not give Love a chance.’ And finding within him love for Kristen he put the woman away from him and came over to his bride. He took her hand and cradled her in his arms. And he kissed her.
Jovius cut the marking into the piece of wood and walked over to Darkthorn. He handed the wood to him and Darkthorn looked at the cuts. 2 to 1 against him.
‘You WILL honour the wager, won’t you?’
Darkthorn looked bitterly at the angel, but his honour was everything.
‘I will need a few months to finalise things. But Beleriand will have his prize. I am, after all, a man of honour.’
‘Good to hear,’ said Jovius. He walked over to Kardos, patted him on the back and turned to Kristen. ‘Funny thing, love. Funny. It sometimes gets it right. Sometimes when you expect it the least.’
She nodded, holding her man still.
The angel took one last look at the group and turned, returning to the shadows, while Darkthorn sat upon his throne, looking ever so glum.
Eventually the dark lord spoke. ‘We are bound for Celestever, Kardos. But you are a bane to me. A bane to my life. You have your freedom. Do what you will. You are no child of mine.’
Kristen looked at Darkthorn, suddenly making sense of what he said, and turned to Kardos. ‘We. We are free. We are free.’
He pulled her close, and kissed her once more. ‘I love you,’ he said. ‘And perhaps love is enough in the end. Perhaps even Dark Love is enough.’ And she nodded.
They left Brightfire with their children and returned north. And as the years passed and they heard no more of Darkthorn, they grew to love each other. And love born of darkness, so Kristen presumed, was still love. No matter how tainted it may seem to some.
Angels of Love
Darker Love I
The Dark has a power to it. I don’t know. You know. Really. I don’t know what to call it, but the dark has a power which has always attracted a certain type of person. The type of person who don’t exactly fit into your white picket fences and good wholesome Christian type of scene. But, hey, I am relating on human terms, aren’t I. In angelic terms the realities are a hell of a lot more severe. I’m Jovius. Angel of God, servant of the Lord of Glory, agent of the Most …….. well, you get the point. I am an older angel, now, I guess. Considering the age since Phanuel was born I am in the top half. So, what I am saying is, well, I’ve seen a lot. A lot of shit in my time. A lot of good, and a hell of a whole lot of bad. There was this recent encounter, a task I’d taken, a testing, and I made the money too. But this encounter with a couple of young lovers sort of restored my faith in the bigger picture somewhat. And they are still together, those two, living out their lives. Trying to be happy. But while that encounter showed the power of Dark Love, there is an even more grim and gritty encounter in which the bonds of the most glorious of virtues was put to a severe testing, perhaps too much for mortal man. Well, fuckit, now that I have got you interested, here is that story………….
* * * * *
‘Satan! Are you fucking kidding? No, I don’t fucking worship Satan.’
‘Watch your language Miss Jones. I’ll have you at the Principals office with words such as those. Well, some of the students are talking. They say you have been suggesting the formation of a coven for the worship of evil. I must tell you such things are firmly against school policy. We are a liberally minded High School, dear Samantha, but worship of the Devil is pushing it. Please ensure all such nonsense ceases.’
‘But I never said those..’
Mr Jenkins interrupted her. ‘Just make sure you don’t.’ He gave her one last stern look and departed.
She sat there, pissed off in the extreme that someone had blabbed and told what she was up to, but that was probably inevitable anyway. You didn’t form a coven in a British High School and expect nobody to talk.
Later on that day Samantha was walking home after school, Evanescence playing on her iPod, lost in her own little world, when Jason spied her again. He was with his friend Arthur, who hated Goth girls with a passion, but Jason was curious.
‘Why the fuck you looking at her? Don’t get messed up with that scene, Jas.’
But Jason continued staring and as Samantha walked past he smiled at her. She gave the faintest smile back and continued on.
‘She’s cute,’ said Jason.
‘You’re nuts,’ responded Arthur.
The following day at school Jason found Samantha in the playground. She sat alone, as normal, with her Raven black hair with a streak of hot pink, headphones on, looking as unwelcoming as possible. Yet, when he kicked the bottom of her shoe to introduce himself she looked up and smiled. Slowly she took off her headphones.
‘Uh, Hi Samantha,’ he said.
‘Hi. Jason, isn’t it. You’re a year ahead of me, aren’t you?’
‘Yeh. So,’ he said, looking around. ‘What you up to.’
‘Just listening to music. You know, no friends here. Nobody likes me. But I don’t care. Amy Lee loves me, and that is all the love I need.’
‘And who is she?’
‘Don’t you know?’
‘No,’ he said, shaking his head.
‘Sit down, Jason.’
He sat, looked at her and smiled warmly, and turned frontwards, not saying much after that.
They sat together for the rest of the lunch period. He didn’t say anything. Perhaps, she thought, he didn’t need to. It was obvious he was interested. And, so she felt, he was attractive enough for her. It would be interesting to see what would come of this.
The End of Chapter One
Darker Love II: A New Friendship
‘That,’ she said, pointing to a poster on the wall of a Raven haired beauty, surrounded by some fearsome looking men, ‘Is Amy Lee.’
‘And who is she then?’ asked Jason.
‘A Goddess. Her band is Evanescence, and they are simply divine.’
‘She looks a lot like you,’ he said.
‘Thank you,’ she purred in response.
‘So you’re into Emo, are you?’ he queried.
‘Not really sure if Emo is the best word,’ she responded. ‘I mean, I like Evanescence, but they are more of a hard rock or soft metal type of band. They have a darker image which I love, but I am not sure if they are classically Emo. But probably. Oh, and I love Vertigo comics from DC. I have thousands of them and read them all.’
‘Vertigo comics,’ huh. ‘But don’t DC do Superman and Batman and the superhero stuff?’
‘Yeh, my younger brother reads that stuff. Too juvenile for me. But they have a sub label of Vertigo comics which produces supernatural and sort of alternative kind of stuff for mature readers. It is my scene 100%.’
Jason was a bit embarrassed, as he had a whole collection of Superman comics, but said nothing.
‘So do you think it is your natural scene, this dark stuff, or do you have another side?’
She bit into an apple, offered it too him, but he said no, and finally responded.
‘Yes, I do have another side, I suppose. The more regular Samantha Jones who does her homework, and eats her dinner, and even talks to her family when they seem sane enough. But I have a scene – an identity – I suppose an alternative identity, and it is were I fit in the world. I mean, I suppose I will have to get a regular job when I get older like everyone else, and fit in, but….. Well…. I’m different, ok. I don’t fit in with the norm. I am, like, well…. Other. Perhaps not even of this earth.’
He laughed. She sounded deep. As if she had considered things of the supernatural.’
‘So, do you believe in God or the Devil?’ he asked, grinning slightly.
She said nothing but looked squarely at him. ‘BOTH!’ she responded quite firmly.
‘Cool,’ he said, not wanting to look like a dork.
They chatted on that afternoon until Samantha’s mother and father arrived home from work about the same time. They both seemed to like Jason, and Samantha could sense her mother’s approval for a more normal boy, which bothered her somewhat, but she just reminded herself that such was the way her mother way. It was a new friendship born that afternoon, one which progressed to a new level quite quickly. Quite dramatically and quickly.
Darker Love III: An Encounter with Darkness
‘Look, Samantha. Are you really sure about this. I mean, summoning the Devil is a pretty big deal. What if he shows?’
‘You’re not scared are you?’
‘Then don’t worry. He will have to stay within the confines of the pentagram. We should be fine. The candles are anointed with holy water blessed by a catholic bishop, so we should be fine.’
‘If you say so,’ responded Jason, but the doubt in his voice was apparent.
She dimmed the lights, lit the candles at the five corners of the pentagram, and began speaking. ‘Lord of Darkness, Lord of Fowl. Lord Satan, come, do our bidding.’
Nothing happened for a moment, and Jason was about to say it didn’t work, when suddenly there was a howling wind like sound, and then a shadowy figure appeared in the centre of the pentagram.’
‘Bitch. Why the candles? Surely you trust me?’, but she knew the Devil was only trying to escape.
‘Satan. We will offer you our souls on this condition – grant us riches beyond counting, fame beyond measure, and power to rule the world.’
‘All that work just for your souls?’ queried Satan. ‘I think you are asking too much.’
Samantha did not know what to say.
‘Well, ok. Just make us rich. That will do.’
The figure seemed to be thinking it over, but eventually nodded. ‘Ok. Sign this.’ Suddenly a scroll came forth with a contract – they both read it, and while Jason looked apprehensive, he still signed with a pen the Devil provided.’
Satan looked over the document, smiled to himself, and said ‘And how long before you want these riches?’
‘As soon as possible,’ said Samantha.
‘Ok. I’ll see to it personally,’ and then he was gone, and the two teenage children had an intense look on their faces.
‘We just sold our souls to the Devil,’ said Jason.
‘Relax,’ said Samantha. ‘I am pretty sure he will never get them.’
‘And why is that?’ queried Jason.
‘Because we’re pretty good kids. ‘The Devil can only claim you if you have been bad enough in the end, no matter what we sign.’
‘Then you are hoping to sucker him?’
‘Pretty much. I figure its worth a try.’
Jason nodded, hoping that she was right. And then thinking on the possible riches he let himself assume she was, and got lost in fantasies of obscene wealth.
Darker Love IV: Riches Beyond Counting
Jason looked at his mother, totally shocked. ‘What did you say?’
‘We’ll never have to work again, dear Jason. We’ve won the bloody European lottery. 20 million euros. We’re rich.’
‘For fuck’s sake,’ swore Jason under his breath.
* * *
‘And why are we celebrating, dad?’ asked Samantha to her father.
‘Because the most lucrative contract in our lives has come through for our firm, sweetheart. We’ll be on easy street now, I tell you.’
‘Fuck,’ she swore under her breath.
* * *
Later on that week, both of them with ample spending money, they had booked into a hotel together to spend their lavish fortunes. The room was full of flowers and chocolates, and they were both on the bed, eating room service.
‘I could get to like this,’ said Jason.
Samantha, popping a chocolate into her mouth, responded ‘Tell me about it.’
They spent a few days together, not yet sleeping together, but drawing closer. They knew they had been blessed by the dark one’s interventions, and they knew there would be a cost, but for the moment they didn’t care. They were young, rich, and possibly in love – really, nothing else mattered. Nothing else could possibly go wrong – or could it.
Darker Love V: A Contract for Jovius
Jovius sat on his bar stool, sinking down yet another ale in a night long drinking session. Bartivael was sitting next to him, just a bit ahead in their yearly competition, swearing this year he would take Jovius. Jovius knew better.
‘You know, Jo…hic. You’re a wunnderful person.’
‘You’re slurring your speech, Barty.’
‘I knowww. I think you mite win agnnnn.’
‘You can never hold your shots after 30 rounds. Not cut out for it, I think,’ said the still looking sober Jovius.
‘You’re a hell of a guuuuuuuuuyyyyy, Jooooooooo…………,’ but he had slumped in his stool, snoring on the bar.
‘Here’s to you, Bart,’ said Jovius, taking the 3 Golden Sovereigns as the wager on the bar in front of him.
‘See you next year, friend.’ And then he was gone, out of the bar, off to his nearby hotel.
* * * * *
‘I know, Jovius. Not really your scene. But the two of them are up shit creek without a paddle, so they really could use your divine graces.’
‘What’s the score?’
‘They entered into an arrangement with the dark ones. Wealth for their souls – a typical arrangement.’
‘Will God honour the agreement?’
‘That depends on your work and results. We have certain loopholes, and in the end if they are simply not wicked enough they will make it through regardless. But Satan has a stranglehold on these souls – they trust him somewhat. You’re job is to get some common sense into them before it is too late.’
‘Right,’ responded Jovius,’ lighting another cigarette. ‘And the fee? The standard rates for a successful mission?’
‘We know you like the golden sovereigns, so give us a successful outcome in a few years of signs of repentance, and you will get a generous handout. Apart from that, full payment on the souls reaching heaven. Standard arrangement.’
‘Sound’s good. I’ll sign.’
Jovius took up the pen and signed the contract the guardian-of-souls department officer handed him. Interesting work, and potentially challenging. But hey, he was used to the grim and gritty ones as these kids seemed. Ran right up his alley, usually.
Darker Love VI: Living the High Life
4 years together, Jason and Samantha drew together, slept together and laughed together. There fortunes were good and, as they completed their schooling, they both looked forward to a life of good fortune together. Yet something, slowly, inevitably, happened to their hearts. They began to trust the darkness. They began to trust the anti-life, the ways of the underworld. They gathered together occasionally and summoned dark spirits, signing contracts for luxuries, asking for this and that, and seeking as much of the passionate and hedonistic life that they could afford. And while they never turned bitter or evil in all their lustings, slowly they were turning away from the light, into the ways of the children of the dark. Justifying more and more evil, justifying to themselves more and more excuses for their lavish ways, justifying to themselves the heir of kingship over humanity, as it were, with no true thought to the hearts of others, with no true thoughts to the feelings of the hearts of men.
And, through their summonings, and their dark wedding together, they sought political power over their nation. They both stood for elections and, with the power of the darkness growing through England, they gained support and became prominent politicians. It was a dark period for the nation, and while the economy was faring well enough, there was a spirit upon the people – a spirit of fear, of caution, of worry. A spirit, really, truly, not that holy.
* * * * *
‘These days work sucks, mate. I don’t know. It seems as if all the joy I had in younger years from doing the daily shit is gone. Nobody seems to give a crap about life these days. As if there is no point. As if it is a load of shit, going nowhere, and without any purpose or plan.’
The man, sitting next to Jovius in his human form in a bar in southern London, went on chatting about the current woes of England, the current woes of a nation drawing towards a fateful encounter with evil.
‘And to make things worse,’ continued the man, ‘my wife won’t give me any anymore. Says she wants to leave me, find another guy, play the field. No fucking loyalty in woman anymore.’
‘Not that men are that much better, huh,’ interjected Jovius.
‘Yeh, I guess,’ responded the fellow.
They continued chatting for a while and, as he left the bar, heading for a certain political couples abode to continue his mission, Jovius felt something of that spirit in the nation upon him. And while Jovius was a bit of a devil in his heart for many a long year, he could honestly say it was not the kind of spirit he really had that much of a fascination with.
* * * * *
Jason looked at the briefcase, with the angel Jovius invisible in the room, hovering above him, looking at him. Jason opened the briefcase, looked at all the cash, and smiled. Yet another bribe. Yet another shitload of money for some dirty politics. Times were good.
Jovius was used to this from the two of them. Living the high life from the wages of iniquity. So far he had used a number of tactics to try and get to them. Encourage, guilt, rebuke etc. And while he sensed at times that he might be winning the battle, he knew he would eventually have to get serious or lose his contract. Something was needed. Some grand move in this game of chess with the lives of two once innocents.
Darker Love VII: The Offer
Satan sat in hell, watching TV, smoking, looking at the news. Hell news. Depression was up in the UK at the moment, and suicide had reached epic levels. Crime was on the increase, and drunken and disorderly was rampant. ‘Excellent’, he thought to himself. ‘Time to make an offer those kids can’t refuse.’
* * * * *
‘Yes, master Jason. The top slot. We can guarantee this to you.’
‘And the trade off?’
‘Let the economy slide. Promote tension amongst foreign nations. Appoint corrupt judges. Dictate to the people whatever your heart desires.’
‘Sounds good,’ responded Jason, and signed the new contract.
4 months later he was Prime Minister, revelling in his glory, and beginning his fowl works for the dark lord.
* * * * *
It was Samantha who first noticed the fowl smell coming from the lounge room. She walked in, at 10 Downing Street, and saw a plump little red demon, smelling awful, sitting there, looking at gay pornography.
‘What the hell are you doing here? Get the hell out.’
‘Hey, bitch. We own you now. I am Satan’s main man here. Now shut the fuck up and let me read in peace.’
She stared at him, utterly annoyed, and went in to complain to her husband.
‘I don’t think there is much we can do about that now, Sammy. I signed the contract, and their presence is the pay off. We will just have to make do.
‘Fine,’ she said, completely annoyed.
Jovius was watching on. Time to try a new move.
just going to get worse, you know, Jas. There just going to take more
and more of your life. Give them an inch and they will take a mile.
You are still not that evil, son. Just corrupt as hell. So try
repentance. Try a decent lifestyle. Try connecting to
God. Try doing the right thing.’
Jason sat on his couch, listening to his apparent conscience speak these words and, while he considered them for a while, he shook them off. No. Fuck that. He had come to far. No point in turning back now. He wanted his glory, and if it took the devil to give it to him, then to hell with the world. And to hell with God and all his fucking holy angels. To hell with them all.
Darker Love IX: Fowl Times
And, so it seemed to many, a dark shadow had crept across England. A dark, cold shadow of grim evil, of lost hope, of fowl temperament. The New Prime Minister was viewed as a beacon of hope by the populace, one to save them all. But, it seemed to some, no matter what faith they placed in him, things only got worse.
* * * * *
‘Yes. It is the British Guyana. The Most valuable stamp in the world. I was at Georgetown in Guyana in South America, were they had managed to acquire the stamp for a museum display temporarily. I contacted the owners of the stamp and purchased it. I promised them it would prove a long lasting and eternal asset to the United Kingdom.’
‘And what do you intend to do with the stamp,’ queried Samantha.
Jason smiled his wicked little smile, took the stamp out of the sealed plastic box and, grinning wildly, tore it up in little pieces.
‘You are evil, aren’t you?’ said Samantha, a sick little grin on her face.
‘It taketh one to knoweth one, dear wife of mine.’
Jovius, watching on, was disappointed. Yet again they had done another fowl deed. Jason had been in the habit of collecting rare paintings and destroying them. And while the Louvre had seriously considered his daunting offer for the Mona Lisa, in the end they had refused.
‘I guess we are evil, now,’ said Samantha.
‘I guess so,’ responded Jason. ‘And what would Amy Lee think?’
‘What indeed,’ said the wife of the Prime Minister.
Dark Love X: To Usurp the Crown
‘Clearly, clearly, clearly, it is time for us as a nation to move onwards. To move forwards. To let go of such outdated and archaic viewpoints as ‘Monarchy.’ Tbe English people have had enough, I tell you. They have had enough of serving a monarch which cares not for their best interests anyway. It is time for Cromwell to be reborn, and to advance our great nation into the future and what awaits us in our destiny.’
Jason looked around the house of commons as the clapping was intense. His dark lords would be pleased.
* * * * *
in her mind with a clear understanding of both her rights, privileges and responsibilities. Indeed, from childhood such things had been an impending reality. But the end of the monarchy? That was not expected so soon. Indeed, the family had been through many recent trials and tribulations, but there had been for a while the sense that the republican push was about over with. But, no. The Prime Minister, a Liberal Democrat, was ready to push for his agenda. New Britain. Advanced Britain. It sounded good in a politically correct kind of way, naturally. Such truth the Queen of England was well familiar with. Yet she knew, as a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, that the Kingdom of God was established through, as the Psalms spoke of, faithful stewards over God’s Empires, serving his Messiah, paying due homage, and watching over the welfare of all God’s children. Republic. Republic. Republic. America, now, built on its presidents. Were they wise? Did their form of democracy lead to stability and an enduring nation? Or did it, inevitably, lead to a continually reforming legal system, adapting to the sins of the day, unable to find proper and due commitment to a standard of behaviour eternally perfect and acceptable for all its concerned citizens. So much grief she had, at times, to the modern epidemic of lack of respect for the priests of her church, and for the lack of commitment in the heart of the empire. Secular values. Evolutionary theory dominant. False science hailed as the god of creation. What had they become, a once proud and strong people, devoted to God, serving him in justice and truth. What had they become?
This Prime Minister. He would need looking into. He would need examining. He would need to be put to the test.
Dark Love XI: Lies
“Does not wisdom teach us of the barbarity of serving a monarch? Does not wisdom teach us of the vanity of serving man? Does not common sense tell us all that we are all responsible to each other, but in the true spirit of liberal democracy, were each of us commits to a sensible law of the land, governed by our own choices of representatives, reflecting our own personal values and beliefs. Does not common sense dictate that such a truth – the truth of true democracy – should be the cornerstone of our very existence. The Monarchy is a barbarity of nature. A cruel device in which the most arrogant and powerful usurp the rights of others, to dominate them and insist on their way of life. Monarchy is dictatorship. Surely, had we not fought valiantly in the war, even the spectre of great evil, that Hitler fellow, would have pompously crowned himself king. Surely he would have done such a great evil. That is monarchy, I declare to you. For is it not true that only in a multitude of counsel, in wisdom from many voices, that truth is declared? Is that not the truth of politics? Let us get rid of this fowl house of Windsor. Let us get rid of this barbarity of nature, this abomination of true civilization, and embrace freedom. Embrace a way of life, not dictated to us by the hypocritical and religious concerns of a bigoted old religious fuddy duddy.”
And a cynical labour backbencher said ‘Amen’ and the laugh summed it up.
* * * * *
‘They fell for it,’ said Jason. Every last word. The monarchy is about dead, dear Samantha. Our lords will be pleased.
* * * * *
Later that month, Samantha had returned from a consultative committee into the abolishment of the monarchy. It had not gone well. Not gone well at all. She had spoken things which, ultimately, were just the voices of evil. Just the words of the dark ones, intended to dominate England and bring about woe. And for so long now she had not cared, and had not loved like she had finally come to understand, from the whispering voice in the back of her mind, that she should. She had betrayed herself.
Samantha sat in her arm chair, in the upper lounge of 10 Downing street, hating herself. What had she become? What had she become to say such horrible words of untruth about monarchy, about a perfectly decent Queen, about a political system which was in truth working quite well now for people. To say such horrible lies? Really, was there any decency left in her heart? Was there any true love still in the soul of Samantha Jones? What had she become?
Dark Love XII: The Wisdom of Jovius
Jovius sat in a bar, in human form, in a pub in southern London, thinking. This looked complicated, but hope had struck him right in the face. Samantha had repented. She had come to terms with the fact she was serving evil, and that she couldn’t do it anymore. That was a plus. But Jason was still stubborn. Still refusing to leave the dark alone. Still refusing to trust the light. How would he break through to them?
He sat thinking, and a demon showed up.
‘Well. Don’t sweat it Jovius. We supplied the fellow with plenty of good ideas. Standard Satanic democratic ideals. Just ask old Sandalphon about them. So don’t get your knickers in a knot, ok. Which is basically a way of saying, leave our kids alone. We have a fair contract. We are not violating our guidelines. We have not corrupted them sufficiently enough for you to be able to make the next move you are planning. We haven’t crossed that boundary yet.’
‘What is your point?’
‘You misunderstand us. Satan is a dedicated servant of freedom. Evil is a natural fruit of this. A normal fruit. Being alive is also about having the freedom and the right to choose evil, without being interfered with by others. I’ve gone softly with our two contractees because heaven objects so damn much, but give us a fucking break. We are only having a little fun. We won’t really, heh heh heh, insist on our contracts. We won’t. Come on, trust us. You can trust the devil, after all, can’t you? Pleaseeeee.’
Jovius looked at him, and right then, an angel born on the light side, but from the dark side, made a connection. Genesis 2. Good and evil. Fruit from that tree. Satan ate the lot. The whole bloody lot. Subtle, old and cunning. He knew this demon was using the good, but the apple, well, it was deliciously poisonous. Delicious and beautiful poison.
‘Go to hell,’ said Jovius. ‘Just go to fucking hell.’
And the demon looked at him, glared, and departed. It had lost this particular fight
Dark Love XII: Downfall
They found the child pornography and the illicit drugs in large quantities in his office. Jason had run into a door, bumped his head, and had been taken to hospital. p wardrobe to get his favourite scarf, and found the substances. There was also bestiality magazines, magazines on Satanism, and a USB drive. He put the USB drive into the PC, opened the one and only document on it which read ‘Destroying British Civilization’, which was a plan of essential evil to bring the Empire down to the ground. It didn’t seem to have a point to it. It didn’t seem to have a purpose. It seemed to be death and disorder – pure anarchy – just for the sake of it. Just for the hell of it. And the secretary then knew he served an evil Prime Minister.
* * * * *
The Prime Minister was exposed. All his sins were declared on National TV, and society was disquieted, annoyed, but silently relieved. A spirit had died in the land. A dead and decaying spirit. One which had been eating away at their decency, their chivalry of old. A spirit had made its final stand, and lost the battle. England had been saved.
* * * * *
Treason, amongst other crimes. He laid on his bed in his jail cell, staring at the ceiling. He was here for a while. He had failed. Life sucked now. Life sucked. Life sucked.
Dark Love XIV: Repentance
He was just a visitor. Just a man claiming to be a once close friend, and so they let him in. They let him, for some unknown reason, visit their fallen leader.
Jason looked at him. He seemed familiar.
Jovius spoke. ‘So what are you going to live for now? What else is there? What are you going to do with the days left to you? And what about your contract with the dark? They own you now, idiot. They own you now.’
Jason looked at him, and knew who it was. An angel of God. The one who had been speaking to him for years.
‘What is there to live for, angel? What is the fucking point? Who gives a fucking shit now.’
Jovius took a cigarette out of his pocket, lit it, and walked around the room, pacing. He had a few things he could say now. A few things he could say. He had been thinking. He had been inspired. Something had come over him. Something about forgiveness and grace. Something about a second chance, even for the worst and most viscious of the scumbags of hell. Something about love.
He looked at Jason, took a note out of his pocket, came and put it on the table in front of him, and smiled at him.
And then he left. Nothing more to say.
It was 4 hours later, and Jason was still bored shitless. This place sucked. Man it fucking sucked. The note was sitting there. Staring at him. Insisting on itself. Insisting on itself. But then, deep in the heart of Jason, another ancient voice spoke to him. Well. Who are you really, then?
Jason stood, walked over to the jail cell door, and called for the guard.
‘Yes,’ said the wardsman.
‘I want to see my wife, ok. I want to see her.’
‘Fine,’ responded the wardsman.
He looked at the note, picked it up, and threw it in the rubbish. To hell with the angel. He was his own man. He would live by his own faith.
Dark Love XV: Salvation
Jovius sat in the bar, thinking things over. They didn’t seem to make sense. They didn’t seem right. Things were supposed to work a certain way in life, follow a certain pattern, and a certain spirit was supposed to be infallible. It was supposed to be. It was supposed to be.
And then, deep in the heart of Jovius, a little voice said to him. ‘Don’t be so fucking stupid mate.’ And that was enough said.
THE END of DARKER LOVE
Angels of Love
Darkest Love I: Shaltoriana’s Justice
‘Sis. What the hell are you doing here?’ Jovius was dismayed. As an angel of God, he had numerous angelic brothers and sisters, in fact the numbers these days were quite mind boggling, but he always remembered the early crew, those born in antiquity, whom which he had developed a long relationship with. Shaltoriana the Cherubim angel was one such sister. A long time ago, when heaven was young, and the angels had done their thing, praising God with joy, and dancing around the clouds of heaven on wings of glory, singing happy alleluias to each other, full of the glory of the divine, Jovius and Shaltoriana had found each other, found love with each other, and been a tight-knit group of two angels, with the occasional third in the Seraphim Devuel, the three of them forming a friendship which had endured for a long time. And, of course, Luladiel. How could he ever forget Devuel’s twin sister Luladiel.
Shaltoriana smiled, sat down on the bar stool in a dismal looking pub in southern London, which seemed filled with the kind of lowlives who made the folk of Daigon alley look like the upper class. But that was Jovius, wasn’t it, thought Shaltoriana. Dwelling with the humble and lowly.
‘I am here, on a mission, dear brother of mine.’
Jovius smiled, indicated for the bartender, who asked Shaltoriana what her poison was, and she asked for an orange juice.
Sipping away she continued. ‘Heaven has a new mission for me. Really, in truth, an old mission. One entrusted too many who have gone before us, but one which the divine father thinks, now, is perhaps worth having another go at.’
Jovius sipped on his beer, looked straight at her, glad to see her familiar face, and bit. ‘What. What mission?’
‘Perhaps the oldest. The oldest of all. Redemption. Redemption of the master of all evil, the Lord of the fowl himself.’
Jovius nodded, took out a cigarette, lit it, and after puffing away for a few moments, spoke up. ‘Satan doesn’t give a shit, Shaltoriana. It is not his nature to in fact do so. I think, now, I am starting to understand were he is coming from. I think, now, after giving an encounter not that long ago a lot of thought, a lot of philosophy, that I am starting to understand what the hell motivates him half the time.’
Shaltoriana sipped on her orange juice, looked squarely at her brother and asked. ‘Well, what? In the wisdom of Jovius, what exactly is it that motivates the Devil. I am sure we are all anxious to find out.’
‘It’s the fucking rules, sis. God insisting upon them. Insisting on law and order, on holiness, on sanctification, on every fucker being a bloody saint, wether they actually like it or not. And, really, it aint the truth. It aint how we are made and, God forbid, he really should bloody know better.’
‘Is that what you think?’ she asked, sipping on her orange juice.
‘People get fed up with it, Shally. Being good all the bloody time. Always having to conform. Threatened with hellfire unless they are bloody perfect, like that Jesus fellow goes on about all the fucking time. For most people, Shaltoriana, we just don’t give a crap. There are more important things.’
Shaltoriana nodded. She sensed were her brother was coming from, and decided to respond in the fashion of justice which she had grown accustomed to.
‘The Rules of God ARE for our beneficence, even if we like them or not. They create a better society, a more just society, one in which people get along better in the end, by being more decent in their relations with each other. They are necessary rules to ensure we don’t end up killing each other. As simple as that.’
Jovius nodded. ‘Yep. I’ve heard all that before. I don’t buy it. Perhaps one rule, sis. Don’t fuck around with someone too much, or you’ll probably end up regretting it, is about the only rule which I think lasts in the real world. Otherwise, do whatever the hell you want, as I see it.’
‘You really are an angel from the dark side of the light side, aren’t you Jovius.’
‘You know me,’ he responded.
‘Mmm, yes I do,’ she said, sipping on her juice again. ‘Well, whatever your current theological philosophies, we have a mission for you. If you will accept the terms.’
‘Spill,’ he responded.
‘I myself have been challenged to show the dark lord that the divine one will forgive him and restore him to the heavenlies, should he at last acknowledge the sovereignty of God and the power of love. I simply need a protector and bodyguard to accompany me on my persuasions. Satan respects you, as bizarre as that may sound, and is less likely to severely bother me with you there. Payment is 1000 Golden Sovereigns, part of the Limited Edition print run produced in the 1980s to celebrate Phanuel’s birthday.’
‘Hey, there were only 5,000 of those, weren’t there?’
‘Yes. Phanuel has been holding on to about 2000 of them, and will grant them to you for this mission. They are quite valuable, now, as you probably know.’
Jovius sipped on his beer, and nodded. ‘Sounds good,’ he responded. ‘Were do I sign?’
‘A verbal contract will do fine. You have a good reputation of honouring these things.’
‘Then when do we start sweetie.’
‘Soon. I will return within a week, and then we travel to hell to engage the dark lord in a series of conversations. He is aware that I will be coming and has not objected.’
‘Then here is to the redemption of evil,’ responded Jovius, lifting his beer. Shaltoriana smiled and responded, ‘I guess I can drink to that. But don’t let it go to your head,’ she responded, tipping her glass against his, and finishing off her juice.
Later that evening, back at his hotel suite, Jovius smiled to himself. 2000 bloody Golden Sovereigns – a real boost in his collection, and valuable ones as well. He had been collecting them slowly for quite a while now, and could well and truly boast to his other collector friends about his new wealth once acquired. Yet, of course, the mission awaited. And while he could well imagine the redemption of the devil may be a popular agenda of he who was, the actual success of the task by his sister Shaltoriana he imagined was just a dream of good intentions. After all, what could possibly redeem the most evil being in existence? What indeed.
Darkest Love II: The Road to Hell
Jovius looked at the Lightmobile. It seemed like quite a new model, one he hadn’t seen before.
‘What’s with the wheels?’ he asked Shaltoriana.
‘Oh, you noticed.’ She smiled to herself. It was great when they noticed. ‘Ok, truthfully, its not mine. Its actually one of Phanuel’s. He lent it to me for this mission.’
‘Its pretty swish looking,’ responded Jovius.
‘Just wait till you drive it,’ she responded.
‘Sure. You can drive. I know you want to.’
‘Awesome,’ responded Jovius, jumping into the driver’s seat.
Inside it was all plush looking, as if it had cost a literal fortune to produce, and when Jovius hit the ‘Engage’ button to start the thing, she seemed to hum like an angel itself.
‘It has UPS Instinctive Awareness’, said Shaltoriana.
‘Uh?’ queried Jovius.
‘Universal Positioning Service Instinctive Awareness. You tell it were you want to go, and while you are doing the driving, it will instinctively correct you if it feels it needs to.’
‘You mean its alive?’ he asked bewildered.
‘Not exactly. Just very advanced technology. James. We are going to Hell. To Satan’s residence.’
A voice spoke inside the Lightmobile. ‘Yes Miss Shaltoriana.’
‘Fuck, it speaks,’ swore Jovius. Shaltoriana almost giggled.
‘James. This is Jovius. He will be driving you today.’
‘Greetings master Jovius,’ said the Car.
‘Uh, yeh. Hi,’ responded Jovius.
‘Shall we get going then?’ the car asked.
‘If you insist,’ responded Jovius.
The Lightmobile gradually took off and, soon, Jovius had his foot on the accelerator, now invisible to other London Residents, and was making his way skywards to the nearest Jump Gate.
‘Hey, it runs bloody smoothly,’ said Jovius.
‘Considering how much it cost to produce, it better,’ responded Shaltoriana.
Soon they were well into the sky, approaching the Jump Gate of London, a place frequented quite a lot considering the cities large population of guardian angels and various devil’s who occasionally had access. Other Lightmobile's gradually came into view and soon they neared the Jump Gate.
‘Shall I access the Jump Gate?’ James asked.
‘Uh, sure,’ responded Jovius.
The Lightmobile travelled forward towards a large metallic looking circular object in the sky, which glowed inwards in a hazy fashion. Some lights flashed on the Lightmobile’s panel and James spoke again. ‘We are ready to enter.’
‘Go for it,’ said Jovius, and the Lightmobile lurched forwards and entered the Jump Gate.
Suddenly they seemed to be travelling through something akin to a wormhole, with hyperspace effects all around. The trip didn’t take long though, and about 30 seconds later they suddenly emerged through another Jump Gate into a large cavernous scape, a gloomy cloudy red hanging through the atmosphere everywhere, the sky literally a haunting scarlett in colour, with demons seen flying around even at there height, and the landscape down below the traditional hell which Jovius knew all so well.
‘We’re there,’ Jovius said to Shaltoriana.
‘I can see that,’ she responded. ‘Now to Satan’s place. He is expecting us, and while I can’t guarantee any great hospitality, he is still something of an honourable being when it is in his own best interests.
‘How are you guaranteeing that, then?’ asked Jovius.
‘We bribed him. A host of luxury goods he is not normally entitled to in Hell. Stuff which just dissolves here. Certain divine foods and drinks, and certain drugs which he will like.’
‘Bribery?’ asked Jovius suspiciously. ‘Heaven has resorted to bribing the Devil to get its way?’
‘Don’t start,’ she said flatly. ‘We have had this problem with evil for so bloody long that drastic measures are just sometimes absolutely necessary to get our job done. Phanuel’s has had enough moral dilemmas over it, but we saw no other way. Satan usually laughs at us otherwise.’
‘Right,’ said Jovius, surprised by Heaven’s new flexible policies.
They continued along, flying over the landscape and, soon, they started approaching a large city structure on the domain beneath them.
‘Hell Central,’ said James. ‘Satan’s abode is in the centre.’
‘Then guide us home,’ said Shaltoriana.
‘Yes, do,’ said Jovius, readying himself for yet another encounter with the Lord of the Dark, an old foe he knew oh so very well.
Darkest Love III: Hell’s New Paradigm
Hell has a reputation. But most people have a fair idea about that much anyway. Suffice to say that the home of the damned housed quite an array of interesting people, those with a penchant for the darkness, rebellion and things of evil in general. Having said that, it was quite ironic that Satan himself, Lord over the vast underworld dominion of the damned, ran a tight ship. Hell had something of an infrastructure of a transport system, necessary for carting things here and there, and while Lightmobile’s came at a premium for the children of evil, on the surface of hell the dark lord had long ago begun construction on vehicles, powered by various gas fuels which hell had an abundance of, which littered the roads here and there.
The average citizen of hell could, in fact, be potentially quite evil and nasty if they wanted to. But, in many respects, the human members of hell were still representative of the human race to a degree – their essential nature hadn’t really changed terribly, despite being found sentenced to the underworld for eternity upon their judgement.
Thus, as strange as it may sound, there was an organized factor in hell, were people still lived lives, albeit usually quite depressing and maddened by the other inhabitants, but pastimes had become popular, things they could do with the material hell had to offer, and lives were still, ultimately, lived. Even the damned, in God’s divine plan, still had some privileges.
Water was a fearsomely scarce commodity, and while it was now rationed to end the endless arguments, the supply which God provided for the citizens of hell was still quite minimal. You now had enough to drink, as a citizen of hell, to keep you hydrated. Phanuel had finally agreed, not that long ago, that in their eternal sufferings, mercy still had a place for those who showed some care, even in their damned state. Thus people were given just enough to drink each day, and perhaps wash their bodies every other day. The rationing had become necessary as, while many an evil demon or human would happily kill another resident of hell, should their spirits be able to be killed, the sheer endless squabbling had forced Satan to ensure things were run smoothly. Former public servants had been put in charge of this job.
Also, vehicles were made for people to get here and there, and a whole assortment of various buildings had shot up in the last few hundred years with the increasing population and simple fact that some of the damned cared enough about themselves – still – to work for a decent place to at least rest in their miseries.
In the old days you sat on a plain, avoiding the lava pits, occasionally suffering a demon’s attack. Those were the old days. Strangel and ironically things had progressed.
It was not that Satan wanted order – he was the father of evil after all – it was just that Satan’s age long melancholy was not simply based on evil, but on rejection of actually giving a damn. And so malaised had he become in this that, in recent centuries, he didn’t even care that much if someone in hell wanted to push a positive agenda. He just didn’t really care either way. Not so much evil as the opposite of good, but apathy now. Who gives a damn had become the philosophy of the devil – actual promotion of evil just took too much damn effort.
And so order had entered hell, ironically, and in charge of all this were some of the ancient damned souls who, seemingly, had finally started getting over some of their wickedness, desiring a better quality of life, and bothered enough now to work for it.
This, of course, was some of the motivating factor behind Shaltoriana’s mission here, so she had been explaining to Jovius. If Satan no longer gave a damn, perhaps, just perhaps, he could be persuaded to choose more goodness simply because it didn’t really matter to him either way anyway. That was the current logic of heaven.
The Lightmobile neared 666 Hellfire Avenue, Satan’s monstrous abode, settled down out the front in the parking lot, which was strangely neatly organised and Jovius, carrying a special weapon with him, suitable for his purposes here, motioned for Shaltoriana to get out.
‘Well, we are here,’ he said.
‘Yes, we are,’ she responded. ‘Now, when we are admitted into his presence I am pretty sure you won’t need to say or do anything, really. Just watch him and those around him. But I doubt he will say much to you. He has agreed – in principle – to a series of debates, providing we supply the delicacies he specified. So we are here for one week and, hopefully, we can present the case of heaven to, maybe, a more receptive old devil.’
‘I don’t fancy your chances,’ stated Jovius honestly. ‘But you never know these days.’
‘No you don’t,’ responded the female Cherubim, ready for her bravest hour.
Darkest Love IV: The Mockery of the Devil
Jovius gazed upon the dark Lord. Really, he hadn’t changed that much. Same old horns which were more prominent the further into hell you found him, and here was the centre so they were looking terribly magnificent indeed. He was a rich red in skin colour, and sat on a fierce and proud looking throne, embellished with spikes and gargoyle heads and features of other fowl creatures, truly looking darkly impressive. Hey, he was the old Devil – he had a reputation to maintain.
The devil motioned for Shaltoriana to sit on the seat provided for her by a demonic servant who had been in the throneroom since they entered, and Jovius stood at the back of the room, eying the devil, watching over his client.
‘Satan,’ began Shaltoriana. ‘We know, so well, you are the lord of darkness. That you have chosen rebellion against the divine Lord as your way of life, and that in all eternity, since your fall, this has not changed.’
Satan eyed the angel, but did not respond. He motioned for the servant to fill his mug and, drinking whatever fowl concoction passed for alcohol in hell, he waved his hand signalling that Shaltoriana should continue.
‘We are aware, Satan, that you have become less bothered, in recent centuries, about your former viewpoints. That evil, as a way of life, no longer has the pull it once had on your being. That you no longer crave such fowl malevolence as you did in the heights of your youth.’
‘You bore me, Shaltoriana,’ responded the Devil. ‘Do you not have anything of real interest to say?’
Shaltoriana took that in her stride. What else could you expect from the dark one.
‘To cut it short then, as you so desire, we are aware that you are no longer of the way of life – the way of evil – as you once represented. That, now, things are perhaps, how shall we put it, negotiable.’
The devil stood, drew up his robes, and laughed. ‘Goodness me, the wisdom of Shaltoriana, angel of God. She thinks things have changed because of a slack period. That the Devil has lost his charms. That he, dare they hope I say it, has repented. What say you to that, citizens of hell?’
Around the room, in dark cubicles, dark voices laughed and mocked, but soon fell silent as soon as Satan signalled for it.
The fowl one gazed at Shaltoriana. ‘Things have not changed, angel of God. Things will never change. I am in a malaise, that is all. One day I shall indeed recover, and heaven best beware my wrath.’ He gazed at her, but there was something in his expression, an expression of faint despair, the expression of one who had, after an eternity of evil, reached a breaking point. An expression of a desire for a touch of light.
Shaltoriana noted that expression, and continued, carefully.
‘Heaven has much to offer those who choose repentance. It always has.’
The devil did not comment, but continued glaring at her.
‘These delicacies which we shall provide for you at the conclusion of our discussions are just a shadow of the greater realities. The greater realities of God’s love.’
Again, the devil did not comment.
‘For in heaven, you shall find, at last, the peace of mind that eludes your soul. Only in heaven’s embrace can this be found. This you know. This your former glory still understands.
The devil looked at her, and finally spoke. ‘Is that it then? An offer of truce?’
Shaltoriana said nothing.
The devil looked at her, thought on speaking a word, but thought better of it. Then he stood. ‘We shall speak again tomorrow. I have a headache. Now go, be gone. Find your accommodation in the city somewhere – I do not want you around when I sleep.’
‘As you wish,’ responded Shaltoriana, who withdrew, backing away, and signalled for Jovius to accompany her.
‘That didn’t exactly go to plan I guess,’ said Jovius.
‘It’s a start,’ responded Shaltoriana. ‘Perhaps tomorrow we may make better progress.’
‘You are a hopeful one,’ responded Jovius, but he did have his doubts.
Darkest Love V: The Problem of Evil
Jovius sat in the corner of the dimly lit room, a room which seemed to smell of evil. But that was hell in general – it reeked of wickedness. He was seated upon a quite grand looking old chair, made of a solid rock like substance, with a meshy plastic covering to soften the rock base. That was hell in general – just the stuff they could manufacture, usually, out of basic dirt. Dirt – the Serpents food – he didn’t have much else in the end to work with. Apparently the plastic-like products were developed by an expert scientist in the field, who had been sentenced to hell for liking little boys private parts just a little too much. He found certain rock substances which he could derive the plastics from, which could be fashioned into a soft mesh like substance with some effort, which passed for most of the clothes these days in hell, which people seemed to have fallen back into wearing, unlike the hell days of old.
He sat there, looking at the ‘Truly Satanic Bible’ as it was now called, not the one from earth by the Church of Satan, but Satan’s own developed work for the citizens of hell, for everyone to more fully understand and appreciate the joys of the dark side. It was certainly a page turner.
Shaltoriana was on the bed, sitting there, occasionally sipping on water, thinking. They had left Satan earlier on, eaten a ration of food and water made available to them as honoured guests, and gotten a place to stay the night not that far from the Lord Satan’s address.
‘He is flexible. I can tell.’
‘You need an angle,’ responded Jovius, not looking up from his text.
‘Any suggestions?’ she asked.
He looked directly at her, and nodded. ‘Some ideas. From this monstrosity. He is of the standard view if ‘It feels good, do it. Exploit that.’
‘The good feelings – the noble feelings – of practicing righteousness. He will call it fools game, but honestly explain why you serve. Why you choose goodness. He may have been confronted in the past but, then, he didn’t care. He might now. Even I can see that in the old boy. He is looking for something – something new – a way out of an old contract. A new life.’
‘Then offer him a new life?’ she queried.
‘With all the trimmings,’ finished Jovius, and Shaltoriana nodded.
They sat there in silence for a while, and eventually she showered and then him, and they shared the bed for the night. When he felt the hand on his crotch early in the wee hours he was not surprised. Shally had liked him for a long time, and they’d done stuff before. And, well, when in hell!
Darkest Love VI: I Love New York
‘I Love New Yooo-oooorrr-ooork. I love New York.’
Shaltoriana smiled at Satan as he bopped away on the iPod she had brought with her for him as a present, listening to and singing a song which he knew from the brief time hell had been permitted the listening of the song. It was a Madonna track.
‘New York aint for little pussies,’ said Satan, smiling at Shaltoriana. ‘The Bitch kicks ass. She has got what it takes to be a first class demoness.’
‘She is into Kabbalah,’ responded Shaltoriana.
‘Mmm. Pity. I suppose the Most High must have liked her spunk. She has so much energy.’
‘Perhaps the Most High might like your own spunk, dark lord. Have you ever considered that?’
‘My spunk? I master on evil. No practical use to the lord of holiness.’
‘You may be surprised by his mercies. He does have a thing for passion, when it is controlled within reason. When it does not go haywire, doing stupid things. Doing EVIL things.’
‘Yet that is what I specialise in,’ he responded firmly.
‘Yes,’ she said.
She stood there, before his throne for a few moments, not saying anything, while he put his earplugs back in and listened for a while.
Eventually he took off his earplugs and stared at her. ‘What exactly, then, is it that you want of me, Shaltoriana? You have made constant allusions to a repentance of sorts, but no direct statement of desire? Has the most high lost his commanding abilities.’
She did not bite at that statement, but decided to answer his question.
‘If you want back into heaven, putting it very, very, very bluntly, there are conditions. In the end, it is as simple as that. Meet the conditions, the angels have agreed to tolerate you.’
He glared at her, and an old spirit of pride fired up in him, ready to insult her but as he stood, glaring evilly at her, something in him, again, softened. Something which, in his spirit, said the simple truth – haven’t we been down this road far, far too many times. And so he softened in his look, sat back down, and waved his hand at her. ‘I have had my fill for today. Go. Begone. Come again tomorrow. Perhaps I will hear your terms then.’
‘As you wish,’ Lord Satan, she responded, and departed with Jovius in tow.
As they left the building Jovius spoke. ‘Progress, I think. As bizarre as that may sound. He is almost, almost, ready to talk. Ready to finally tackle the issue of getting over his age long rebellion. Facing up to it.’
Shaltoriana said nothing in response, but similar thoughts were in her head. They would need to be careful, now, as they had much to gain, and a lot more to lose. Tact. Careful actions. And, in the end, the simplest of the oldest moves of God to be made. The simplest thing, in the end. The simplest thing.
Darkest Love VII: Satan’s Demands
‘I want quality food. And regularly. I mean, sure, every day.’
‘That demand is not hard to satisfy,’ responded Shaltoriana.
‘And something nice to drink. Even more than just water.’
‘Shouldn’t be a problem.’
He nodded, thinking over the things he could possibly enjoy.
‘Oh. Music. I want access to music. I formerly enjoyed such things. I want access to music.’
‘Satan. There are many freedoms in heaven which will be made available for you to purchase.’
‘We have an economy now.’
‘Oh. And how do I get finance, then, dear woman.’
‘Your original ranking will be somewhat restored, should you agree to the terms.’
‘Which means?’ he asked, suddenly quite pleased of his former glories.
‘An allowance. A divine Archangel has a fair bit of an allowance from the heavenly father. It is his or her base money for eternity. What they always get, despite other wealths they may achieve.’
‘And this income will be enough for me to acquire what I want?’
‘That and a great deal more,’ she assured him.
He stared at her. And then shouted. ‘Ha. Do you think I can be bought so cheaply. I was humouring you, foolish Shaltoriana.’
This brought an applause from the court, but she didn’t flinch.
He stared at her, and yet again softened. ‘Mmm. But this is what you are prepared to offer me, for certain terms. Access to these things?’
‘Keep it decent enough, obey the basic rules we give you, and that will suffice. You can do your own thing then. You can even have quite a number of hard rock and heavy metal bands which God approves of. The Kosher kind, though. None of the extreme death metal we know you like.’
‘Iron Maiden? Metallica? Dio?’
‘You like Dio,’ she queried. ‘You are aware it means ‘God’, aren’t you.
‘I care not for the name, but his music has appeal,’ he responded indifferent to her statement.
‘Well, let me see. Yes, yes those artists have licences to produce most of their works in heaven. Morally tolerable at time on a number of songs, from what I recall of discussions on the issue.’
He was clearly thinking about it. She knew it.
‘Very well. I have heard your offer. Speak to me the terms, tomorrow. If they are reasonable, I will consider them. You have something to offer me.’
‘As you wish,’ she responded.
Darkest Love VIII: But Why?
Satan looked over the terms. He was not surprised. He had a way out – he could return to hell if he needed to practice evil for a while, but would need to amend his attitude severely when he desired to return to heaven. Apparently, in the pit of evil, God left you to your own devices.
Shaltoriana stood there nervously. If he accepted, that would be that. But if he rejected, this would not likely work again – at least not any time soon. Heaven had, obviously, much to gain. A redeemed Devil would do great things for Heaven PR concerns, putting it bluntly.
‘I don’t know. Giving up my freedoms. Conforming, once again, to HIS will. Doing it HIS way. It is not what I am made of. I know myself to well by now.’
‘I could only hope to persuade you of the wisdom of God, dear Satan, but I fear the lecture would perchance take eternity, and that time I have not at the moment.’
‘Then why? Why? Why should I suffer humiliation at my sworn enemy?’
Darkest Love IX: Love
She looked at him, and dared it. She came forward, and he did not deter her, and she put her hand on his shoulder. And then she embraced him, and kissed his cheek, and smiled at him.
And, the man who rejected intimacy, broke. A part of his broke down, a part that would not weep, but a part which felt it. An old feeling. An ancient feeling. A forgotten feeling. The feeling of concern.
‘Lucifer. Don’t you remember your glories?’ she asked him, with the voice, indeed, of an angel.
He stared at her and, then, at that moment in eternity, at that moment in infinity, a battle which had raged for ages beyond reckoning, suffered its final, mortal, blow. He repented.
‘Very well. You have your demands,’ he said, head bowed downwards, not willing to look at her. ‘I will go through formal procedures here, and in time turn things over to a deputy. I will rejoin you in purgatory at the agreed on date.’
She nodded softly, and took his head in her hands, and raised it, looking right into his soul. ‘And it’s about time, dear brother. It’s about time.’
‘The More things change, the more they stay the same. It’s a saying, you know. Constancy. Life has its moments, but things never really change in the end, do they? Do they?’
‘I saw change, recently. A change I almost thought was impossible. Hey, life worked a certain way in the end after all. But it was a change, I think, for the better. It was a hard heart – now soft. It was a defiant soul – now obedient. It was the epitome of hate – and finally got over it.’
‘Perhaps things don’t change, that much, in the end. But when they do, well. Well, it’s a story worth writing home about. Don’t you think?’
‘I’m Jovius. Angel of Glory. Servant of the Most High. Protector of the legions of……. Well, you get the point. I suppose other stories will come along in time, and they inevitably do. Life goes on, as they say. But this one is finished, and I am off to claim my sovereigns. Looking forward to that. Oh, and I need a beer. And a shit. And a working girl wouldn’t go astray. But hey, that’s me in the end, aint it. An angel from the dark side of the light side. And you wouldn’t have it any other way, would you? Huh? Huh? Huh? No. I didn’t think so.’
Angels of Love
Another 52 Weeks
‘So it’s made out of Eternya, is it Jack?’ asked Jovius the angel to Jack Scarfel.
Jack nodded. ‘Yep. The Belgariad. The Malloreon. The Elenium. The Tamuli. The Rivan Codex. Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress. All made out of Eternya – eternal copies. They cost me – literally – a fortune. An absolute fortune. I am in debt to a bank with no interest above inflation, but a final fee of 25% addition on top of the loan – apart from that the loan is indexed. So I will be able to pay it off eventually.’
‘How long?’ asked Jovius, lighting up another cigarette.
‘Approximately 7 Billion years at this stage. The amount it cost me to have those books produced in Eternya was mind boggling – but, it will be paid off eventually.’
‘Yeh. Eternya costs a shitload,’ said Jovius casually. ‘Every fucker wants the stuff – no fucker can afford the stuff.’
‘The cost of eternity,’ nodded Jack Scarfel.
God made Eternya. It was material – matter – which did just that. Lasted forever. All sorts of things were made out of Eternya. CDs. Books. Record Albums. DVDs, Video Cassettes and Blu Rays. Mainly those things had been the huge initial demand for the stuff, as people wanted eternal copies of a favourite album, movie or story. But Lightmobiles and all sorts of things were gradually appearing now, all made out of Eternya. All guaranteed by God Almighty to last – indeed – forever. You just had to be able to afford the bloody stuff.
* * *
Jovius looked through the window of the coin store, in a plush upper class market, in the 5th heaven. The Golden Sovereigns on Display – Official Phanuel Collection Sovereigns of very limited stock – were made of Eternya. Gold Eternya, perhaps the most expensive of products made out of Eternya, as God kept it rare. Boy, with the date stamp on them, they looked bloody good to him as a collector of such things. Boy, they looked bloody valuable.
He thought on it and thought on it, for 52 weeks he went through the motions and, finally, sighing, he rocked up to an Edlins coin store in the 3rd heaven, produced his bag full of his rarest Golden Sovereigns – over 500 of them – and asked a certain price. He got his money.
Drifting up to the 5th heaven in his Lightmobile, he had the funds from the coins he had sold, plus a security note from a bank willing to loan him so much money. He wanted those Sovereigns – he HAD to have them.
The store owner brought them out and showed Jack, and Jack confirmed the price with him. The owner took the promissory note as security, along with a bank transfer from Jovius’ account, and that was that. The coins were his.
The damn problem was, though, he was now in debt. For about as much as Jack had going for him, Jovius was now also facing similar time to pay off the wretched things. But he had them now, and truly believed he would never regret the investment. They were rare, early Eternya coins. They would one day be worth an absolute bloody fortune – even more so.
He displayed his coins up on his bookcase, sitting them so that they could be seen every time he entered the room. There were 12 of them, each a different design and they were the prettiest damn things. In the end, really, he probably wouldn’t even sell them, no matter what offers came along. He liked coins too much to wish to part with them too often, and these were real beauties. Something to show the kids one day, should he ever finally get around to having any.
He went out the back, sat down on his porch, looked out over the city of Joniquay in the First Heaven, lit a cigarette, and smiled. Today was a good day. 52 weeks of umming and ahhing, but it was worth it in the end. But he would be slaving for a while – a bloody long while. And as the phone rang inside, perhaps with another contract for himself, Jovius sighed but didn’t really mind anyway. Life, as they say, went on. And at least he was 12 eternal sovereigns the better.
The Light Side of the Dark Side
‘You know, Jokiel. Sometimes I really wonder about you. I mean, you’re a demon, descended from Satan himself, and you’re pathetic. Really pathetic. Half the time when the powers assign you a possession or a frightening you come home defeated with the client laughing that a tryhard demon had a go and got its arse kicked in the Christ’s name. I mean, come on. We assign you babies in that religion and they are too tough a match for you. And send you to a Catholic Priest? He won’t even need one bloody hail mary to exorcise you. You are pathetic.’
Jokiel, upset that Davradiel was interrupting his session of listening to ‘The Best of Wham’, took it on the chin. Hey, he knew what he was. A tryhard demon at best. But such was the way the Almighty one had made him, and so be it.
‘Sorry, Dav. I know I can’t live up to your truly demonic reputation.’
‘I should think not,’ retorted the demon Davradiel.
‘But it is just not in me, in the end. Scaring people. I mean, first of all, I kind of like most of them. They really are nice people once you get to know them.’
‘Nice people? I can not believe I am hearing this. Friend, in our age long war with heaven there are certain protocols which just MUST be upheld. And calling our enemies NICE people is not exactly what we want to hear.’
‘And for fuck’s sake, demons never fucking apologize.’
‘Christ Almighty,’ said Davradiel, storming out of the room.
Being on the Light side of the Dark side was not the best of things for young Jokiel to have found himself brought up being. But, really, he couldn’t help himself. For starter’s, his demonic father always had kept him at arms distance, almost disowning him from his earliest memories, as if there was something different about him. Jokiel never really understood this, or why he was so different from his other demonic friends. He just was. And, while he tried his best to scare the clients he was sent to, he just couldn’t find it in him. Instead all he found was love. Quiet, gentle love. Certainly the last thing for a demon from the dark to be caught up with. Still, that was the way he was made, and he was used to it now. No point in pretending otherwise. He was what he was, God love him.
* * * * *
The Lord of Evil, Satan the Master of Darkness, looked at his PC, examining the profile of his servant Jokiel. A difficult case. Not given to evil. He was concerned. He had a contract with God on Jokiel. They had exchanged young children, his own Son Jovius being sent to Heaven, and one of God’s theophanies own children, young Jokiel being given to him. If Satan could crack Jokiel, he would gain the Angel’s soul for a long period of torment, as well as certain other demonic rights over mankind for a while. If God could convert Jovius to the good side after a long time, Satan would limit his practices and attend assembly in heaven, singing beloved Alleluias. A millennium was the time period for the contract. The best result at the end of 1000 years, to be judged by an impartial angel they had both selected, would win the wager.
So far he had sent Jokiel out on standard demonic duties. But something more was needed. Something more. Perhaps, of all things, a meeting with Jovius himself. A pre-arranged meeting in which Jokiel would be told to provoke Jovius and, knowing the heart of his dear son, the inevitable fall down to hell. Yes, that would be perfect.
He typed down a few notes, hit send on the email, and grinned a little at his perpetually sadistic objectives.
* * * * *
Davradiel handed him the assignment, told him to ‘fucking get to it son,’ and gave him a kick up the arse.
Smarting from the thud, Jokiel read the sheet, sighed glumly to himself, and said ‘Yes Sir’ to the departing Davradiel. He sat on his bed, looked at the note and thought ‘Well, here we go again. Jovius. Corrupting of another angel. Oh, God. Why do I get assignments like this.
* * * * *
‘Jovius, angel of….. oh, well, Just Jovius, ok. My name is just Jovius.’
Jokiel nodded. ‘Good to meet you. And do you have a home here in purgatory?’
‘Yep. Down in Moses. The southern side of town.’
‘Mmmn,’ nodded Jovius new acquaintance, an angel by the name of Jokiel.
‘So, tell me,’ said Jokiel. ‘Do you ever consider taking a ride on the wild side?’
‘I live for the thrill, mate,’ responded Jovius, lighting another cigarette, staring out the front window of the bar at the street traffic, a look of casual disinterest, perhaps, on his face at the hurly burly of it all.
‘You seem…. You seem as if life isn’t doing it for you,’ said Jokiel. ‘As if there is not much point. That you don’t have any real direction.’
‘Fuck,’ said Jovius. ‘Life’s a party, aint it. A Fucking party. But, no mate. Not really. Not much point. I live for the thrills in many a way, surprised at God bothering to take an interest in me personally. Really, I aint much of an angel.’
‘It don’t matter, does it,’ said Jokiel. ‘Does it. Serving God. A waste of time.’
‘What do you suggest, then? For this wild ride?’
Jokiel looked at him, smiled at his little victory, and said. ‘Lets go down to hell. Party with some demon friends of mine. Get high, play pool, shoot the shit. You know. Not give a damn.’
‘Sure, why not,’ responded Jovius.
* * * * *
The party was the usual shit. Jovius was enjoying the attention from a demon hooker, with cute tattoos and lovely pointed horns. A real babe, all in dark red.
‘This is the life, isn’t it,’ said Jokiel. ‘Here, have another go at the dope,’ and handed him a blunt.
‘Thanks,’ said Jovius.
Jokiel smiled, looking at his new friend. ‘Yeh, this is the life, aint it,’ said Jokiel.
‘Yeh, I guess,’ responded the angel of God.
* * * * *
4 months later they had been hanging together regularly, and while Jovius usually wanted to spend his time in purgatory, Jokiel seemed to inevitably have a way of dragging him down to hell to party.
Jokiel got a lecture from Davradiel that results were important, and to get Jovius as drunk as possible. Jokiel nodded obediently and returned to his task.
‘Hey, Jovius? Wanna go up to earth? We could cause some accidents?’
‘Uh, I’m not really sure if I am into that.’
‘Come on, lets go anyway.’ And with other such words he attempted to persuade him, to the point they ended up on Brooklyn Bridge, looking over the traffic.
‘What shall we do?’ said Jokiel. ‘Cause an accident?’
‘You are not serious, are you?’ responded Jovius. ‘I mean, sure, we shoot the shit together, but. Well. Well I’m a fucking angel, Jokiel. I sort of have responsibilities to God and all that crap.’
Jokiel looked at him. He looked straight at him and said. ‘Well. Well are you going to obey the God you don’t really give a damn about forever anyway? Wouldn’t you rather have your own freedom? Wouldn’t you rather do your own thing?’
‘Probably,’ said Jovius. ‘Probably. I mean, true, my life sucks a lot in Purgatory, and God doesn’t let me back in heaven much. And its like there is this dark and mean streak in my soul, which never goes away. And the shit I have been through in trying to teach people the right way, and seeing them fuck up so often. But, well….’ He left off speaking. ‘Well, there have been a few kids who I have seen go through some shit. A hell of a lot of shit. And, well. Well they pulled through in the end and it sort of restored my faith. I mean, I don’t really give much of a shit about godliness and love and all that bullshit. But I do get a kick out of life, and usually, for me now, it is found in being a friendly enough guy when I need to be, bumming around, just being cool. I mean, I aint fucking holy. I don’t want to be fucking holy. It just aint me. But I’m not a devil anymore, Jokiel. I aint a devil.’
Jokiel looked at him for a few moments, considering the point. ‘Yeh. Well, whatever. I suppose I get the point.’
He paused, looking down over the traffic, looking at all the people. ‘I suppose it would be kind of wrong for me to cause so much chaos for those innocent people. I mean, they go about their lives, trusting in good things to happen to them. And, in truth, I don’t really want to. I just feel compelled to by those who I hang around.’
‘Then why hang around them,’ responded Jovius. ‘Come up to purgatory. Hang around with me. I mean, hell is a great place to rock and roll, but it gets you down with all the negativity after a while. Purgatory is a brighter scene, bloke.’
An angel on the Light side of the Dark Side, should, in truth, have fallen if the temptations were severe enough. And despite being a child of the theophany, the freedom of life and sin are such fowl vices that even the best of souls can fall. But something shone through in Jokiel and as he nodded at Jovius request, realizing there would be hell to pay in hell, literally, a little light shone in his heart saying, you didn’t really give that much of a fuck about evil in the end, anyway.
‘Sure,’ said Jokiel. ‘Sure. Purgatory will do me fine.’
‘Then lets go party,’ said Jovius. ‘Oh, and you don’t have any Golden Sovereigns do you? I collect those fuckers.’
‘No, but I have a collection of teddy bears. Are they any good?’
Jovius smiled, shook his head, and as they returned to their divine homes, chuckled a little at the way life sometimes works out. And he was also dying for a piss.
Taylor was a good girl. A princess. She believed in bunny rabbits, and fairy tales, and prince charmings and kings and queens and her mommy and daddy. And Santa Claus was a big deal at Christmas.
When she was 15 she met Abigail. Abby was perfect to Taylor, with her red hair, and good looks.
And then she turned 21 and she was Queen of the world.
* * * * *
‘Taylor. Are you ready? The show starts in 5 minutes. Come on, girl. We gotta hurry. It’s your biggest audience yet?’
‘Sure. Be right there,’ responded Miss Swift.
Here she was – New York – Madison Square Garden. The biggest night of her life. The president was out there, with his wife. So many of her best friends, so many were here, for the biggest night of her life. And she was ready.
But then, an angel dropped into her room, and whispered to her heart.
And, Taylor. Sensing something greater than even this night before her, went into the wardrobe, found sunglasses, a leather jacket and a red skirt, grabbed her purse with her cards and, stealing out the hidden back door, disappeared into her porche, destination unknown.
* * * * *
She was at JFK. She had a ticket, to Australia, to Sydney. She was going to escape, now. She had earned it. She had many lifetimes of money in her account, an email address to mom and dad, and the plan in mind. ‘Sorry boss. I have gone incognito. Will check in eventually – it might be a decade or so – you never know.’
And Taylor was gone.
Sydney was big. She liked living in big cities. Getting away from mean guys. But she heard of Canberra from a girl at a café. Said it had a beautiful spirit. A big country town, so she said. Taylor decided to go and check it out.
She took a bus trip down, found the scenery wild and uncompromising. But Australia and Australians were like that. Tough and hard, but with hearts of gold.
She got to Canberra, the Jolimont centre, still in her red skirt and sunglasses. She knew even here she would be recognized, so would be careful. She didn’t have a minder with her, and didn’t want one. She was starting again, for now. A brave new life. A fearless step for a fearless girl.
She did the mall in Woden that afternoon, realized she was tired, and booked into the nearby hotel. And, drinking a coke, eating a takeaway pizza, she watched the inhouse TV, put it on the country music channel, and laughed as she was the second song on.
She dreamed that night. She was in a field, like no other she had ever been to or felt. It was Australia, so it seemed. But some strange place. And then there was a river, and a picnic grounds, and people walking around. And she heard the name ‘Pine Island’ mentioned, and she felt different here. And then it struck her heart – love was in this place. Pure and honest love. And the deepest heart of salvation.
She found Lanyon valley, and Gordon, and rented her home there. It was a simple place, and her credit cards were good enough I.D. She had been to the American embassy last month and gone through the procedures for becoming a permanent resident of Australia. The government had just approved her because of her fame and excellent earnings potential. And now she was house-hunting.
She moved in to the place, filled it with all her new stuff within a week, and zonked out.
It was time to do nothing. To be nothing but Taylor Swift. To be who she really was, not just the image she portrayed to the world. To be just a girl, in a big old city, living her simple life, doing her simple stuff.
She saw the advertisement in the local paper – Isabella Plains Newsagent, Counter person required. She didn’t need the work, but wanted to do something. She applied. She got it. They agreed she could wear sunglasses and dress daggily so as not to attract attention to herself. Nobody knew she was here, and the owners were a Chinese couple who didn’t recognize her. She would remain anonymous.
* * * * *
Chocolate cookies were nice, especially with ice cream, but how much could a girl take? She had zonked out for months now, put on a bit of weight, but she didn’t care. She was hear for a real holiday, and didn’t want to have to conform to the image of Supergirl forever. But she was nearing the end of her slack holiday – she would watch her weight now.
She worked casual hours – a few a week. She met new people, new faces, and smiled at them. Sometimes they looked at her a bit funnily, but nobody said anything. She was safe.
She found a rubiks cube at the shops and, deciding to dedicate herself to solving it, she would watch the country music videos on pay tv every afternoon, while working out how to get more than just one side. She knew there were cheat books, but that was not Taylor Swift’s way. She didn’t cheat at anything. She would solve this for herself.
* * * * *
Ralph was a kelpie. A lovely brown dog, a little puppy, and she had named him immediately. She fell in love with Ralph, and over the next few months as he grew, they went on many an adventure around Lanyon.
And then, one day, on a long walk into Greenway, she saw the sign with ‘Pine Island’, followed it out of curiousity, and found the source of her dream. It was unchanged – the same. It was amazing.
Daniel was a solo dude. He liked girls – that much he admitted to himself. And despite the sneaking suspicion that he felt some people might have thought he might have been gay, he wasn’t. He just didn’t have much of a sex drive and didn’t seem to go for the girls in a major way. He was 38, had had brief friendships with those of the opposite sex, but never anything too serious. He was a single guy, and had presumed he would always stay that way.
He had been a religious nut, was a Noahide, but had just about gotten over most of his fascination with zealotry. He had calmed down in the last few years, recovering from his early Pentecostal zeal. And he was starting to feel better about everything, being less judgemental, caring for everyone rather than just pretending to.
He had a collection of CD’s. Taylor Swift CD’s. He had finally gotten around to something he had wanted to for a while to avoid all the confusion in his schizophrenic mind. One artist only for music. Just one. And while Bon Jovi had been his favourite as a kid, he would rather choose a chick. It seemed more natural. And so he chose Taylor Swift, and let Love Story rule his heart.
* * * * *
Taylor and Ralph were at Pine Island again. It was late summer, still hot enough to swim, and she was in her bikini in the water, Ralph on the shore, in a quiet southern part of the river. Nobody was around and she dared herself to swim naked for a while. She put her bikini next to Ralph and jumped in in her birthday suit.
She felt alive swimming there. Natural. Like Eve herself. Nobody to see her. Nobody to care. And it was wonderful.
‘Yes boss. No, I won’t be coming home soon. Yes boss, I am writing new songs. No, there won’t be any videos. I will record in my home. I have a basic studio in one of the rooms. You can master the tapes in the US. Use my old photos for the artwork, etc. Release whatever single you like – do the videos from old footage. No, I won’t say were I am. No, I’m not coming back. Taylor Swift is officially a recluse. If you see mom tell her I love her again. Bye,’ and she hung up.
* * * * *
She was in the back yard. Songs had been flowing well, and she was happy. But she missed her men, and hadn’t had anything like that happening yet here in Australia. But she didn’t want it to yet. She wanted to wait a few years, for age to catch up with her, to be less noticeable that she was Taylor Swift. For now she would record her music, live her life, and let love catch up with her in God’s good time.
* * * * *
4 years passed. She had died her hair black. She looked different. She went out now, without the sunnies, and nobody noticed her. She didn’t change her name, but never used her surname with anyone.
And then, one day she was at Pine Island, swimming far down south, near Lanyon, naked again, when a guy suddenly appeared in board shorts, jumping in to the river. She was quiet and he didn’t notice her, but he slowly waded downstream a little and found her near the rock.
‘I’m naked if you don’t mind. Could you go out, please,’ she said to him.
Daniel looked at her, saw her breasts in the water, which she covered quickly and nodded to her.
‘Sorry, I didn’t know,’ he said, and got out.
She quickly scampered for her bikini, put it on, and wrapped her towel around her, and then found Daniel seated just away from her, looking at her. He stood after a few moments, and approached her. ‘Do I know you?’ he asked.
‘I don’t think so,’ responded Taylor, in her dark hair and older looks.
‘You look familiar,’ he said again, but left it at that.
She stared at him for a while, but he had sat down again, looking at the river, not saying anything. He seemed ok. He didn’t seem like a freak.
After about ten minutes she was feeling a little better about the company which hadn’t disappeared yet. Perhaps he was a lonely guy. Liked a woman’s company. He seemed a little older, but seemed cute. She decided to say hello.
‘I’m Taylor. Uh, Taylor Jones,’ she said.
‘Hi Taylor, nice to meet you. I’m Daniel. Danny Daly.’
‘Nice to meet you Daniel.’ She searched for the words. ‘Do you live nearby?’
‘Over in Macarthur. The eastern side of Tuggeranong. I came down by the bus.’
‘You don’t have a car?’
‘No. Too expensive.’
She smiled to herself. While she could afford any car in the world, people in the real world weren’t always like that. She remembered, just then, how blessed she really was.
‘What do you do, Daniel?’
‘Well, I write books. About Angels. The Fabulous ‘Chronicles of the Children of Destiny’. You probably haven’t heard about them.
‘No,’ she said.
After a while she spoke again. ‘Do they make money for you?’
‘Not yet. I promote them on Google groups and the webhits each day have grown consistently over the last few years, but no real money yet. I am only self published and online, so it takes time. But I’m getting there. It just takes a little time. A little faith.’
‘And you have to be fearless,’ responded Taylor.
‘Yes, you do,’ responded Danny.
They went silent again. Taylor had a good look at Danny Daly. He was different, quite, gentle, but seemed to have an inner strength. She actually liked him.
Eventually she rose, grabbed Ralph’s leash, and looked at him.
‘Well, see you Danny Daly. Maybe we’ll meet again.’
‘I hope so,’ responded Daniel.
‘You like Def Leppard!’ she exclaimed.
‘Love them. Have listened to them since I was about 15 or 16. Bon Jovi too. They’re great. But with my schizophrenia I go psycho from time to time and destroy my CD’s. So now I only listen to Taylor Swift CDs.’
Taylor almost gasped. ‘Only Taylor Swift, huh? What, you have a thing for her?’
‘I wish,’ he responded. ‘I’ll never meet her. She lives in a world of Princesses and Fairy Tales. I live in the real world, were Notting Hill’s are just fantasies.’
She giggled. He was funny.
‘Well,’ she said. ‘Do you want to come over? See my place?’
‘Were do you live?’
‘Down in Lanyon. In Gordon.’
‘Umm. Well, do you have a car? Can you give me a lift home?’
‘Sure,’ she responded.
When they got in the car she turned the stereo on and ‘Fearless’ began playing.
‘Uh, maybe I’ll change the CD,’ she said.
Daniel looked at her then, looked at her face, and she stared at him.
He said nothing, and as they drove she could sense he was nervous. He had discovered something.
* * * * *
‘Well, this is my living room. And, in here is the studio. I write music.’
He followed her in to the recording room, saw all the instruments, and knew what he had suspected.
Later that month Daniel was coming around most days. He never did anything. Never approached her. Never said any real compliments, apart from normal things. But she caught him, from time to time, looking at her. Smiling at her. And he spoke softly, kindly. Truly.
She was falling for him.
‘I have money, you know Daniel. From my music. I can help you with your books if you like.’
‘Um. Gee, well, thanks. But no, ok. I couldn’t. It wouldn’t be right.’
‘Are you too proud to accept help from someone?’
‘No,’ he said. ‘But I don’t like you for your money.’
She said nothing after that.
It was later in the year, he was in the back yard with Ralph, and she was writing a new song. It was called ‘Daniel.’ Love was a major theme.
She knew, in younger years, she had a lot of boys. She knew that. This one was different. He wasn’t demanding. Wasn’t insistent. Let her live her own life, and didn’t complain. Just loved her. Like her dog, Ralph. Just loved her.
And perhaps it shouldn’t be any other way, when you found that one. Perhaps it shouldn’t be any other way.
‘There is a heart in God. A heart eternal, a heart of love.’
‘Your point,’ said Taylor, turning from the set to look at Daniel her boyfriend.
‘In this heart of Love, in the world of Destiny, there were matches made, partnerships, soulconnections, probably, more than soulmates. Soulmates at times, but the conclusion was not necessarily. Just someone who is meant to be there forever as well, a source of sibling affection, rather than, probably, romance in the end. Ambriel concluded as such. Let Meludiel alone in the end. Let her be. Torah, Israel’s Torah, reminded him of sibling sex problems. Never quite got over that.’
‘What the hell are you on about?’ Asked Taylor, looking at him strangely.
‘Steven is a hell of a guy.’
‘Yes, uh, he is,’ she said confused.
‘But of all the children of God under the 7 heavens, he is NOT the one for you. He is your brother, your comforter, your strength. But being lovers is just weird.’
‘Your destiny soul mate. The angels of God communicate such things to me.’
She looked at him. ‘You talk to Angels?’
‘Sort of. They mainly talk to me. Telling me about Destiny, the heart and plans of God, which sometimes mirror reality, the real world. Like the 70 Pseudepigrapha as opposed to the Reality of the 24 Scripture Texts.’
‘Religion,’ she said, with a smile on her face. ‘It is not for a girl like me, Daniel. I like Jesus. But church is for yesteryear. A long time ago I grew up. I don’t need that anymore.’
‘Your values are set?’
She nodded. ‘I write them all the time. They are my life story. My music. My history. Taylor Swift, unveiled to the world, for all to see.’ She looked squarely at him. ‘Who is your sister?’
‘Kayella,’ he responded.
She nodded. ‘Nice name. Do you know who she is?’
‘I have an idea,’ and he said nothing more.
She picked up the bone, and threw it down the pathway a little, and Ralph ran and grabbed it, returned to her, and was jumping around at her feet. ‘Good boy,’ she said, petting him.
Taylor was lonely. Daniel was gone. Off to Sydney for a few days. A miracle had happened. A publisher had found his website, asked him to come and see him about the potential of publishing his work in paperback to a much larger audience. This could be his break. His lucky break.
His books were – interesting. Sometimes very compelling. Sometimes very deep. But very sarcastic at times, which was not always her taste in things. But the latter works, now that she had read most of them, were more promising. Later on in the main saga, when it became ‘The Angels Saga’, there were far more colourful and deeper passages in his stories, were the characters seemed more alive than ever, more passionate, more purposeful, more real. More alive. His early work, so she felt, was him learning his trade. His new work, more professional. Probably, in truth, more publishable.
She slept with him now, from time to time. They had been very careful to start with. He didn’t express any marriage ideas, and she never asked. But she liked him. Really, quite a lot. And those ideas in his books, about eternal life, and about eternal relationships – and about choosing them very, very carefully. And she felt, now, she had almost chosen him. That he was on a list, somewere in her heart, that she wouldn’t quite get over. It might not ever really work out perfectly, but something might be there, in the end, when all was said and done.
Time would tell, she thought, as he said time and time again through his voluminous angelic saga.
She was digging around in the garden, pulled up a toad, and looked at it.
‘If I kiss you, dear old Froggy, will you turn into a handsome prince?’
A French accent responded. ‘Madame Moiselle. Your prince is already here.’
She turned and there, in a most gay outfit, stood a man next to Daniel who had returned, dressed in bright yellow and pink, and looking ever the scene from yesteryear.
She stood, dusted off the dirt from her knees, and came over to see them. Daniel kissed her on the cheek and said ‘This is Jacque. He is my publisher. We have a deal.’
She looked at the Frenchmen, who was gazing at her figure – quite obviously without hiding it – and took an instant disliking to him. What a jerk, she thought to herself.
‘The deal?’ she asked him, with eager eyes.
Jacque spoke. ‘He will gain 35% for the first decade in royalties. After that we have options for renegotiating, depending on the success of the books.
‘Oh,’ she responded, disappointed. Daniel had wanted 45% as a minimum. ‘So you are going to publish his stuff,’ she asked him.
‘Only if a maid as beautiful as yourself grants me the grace of her company at dinner this evening.’
Daniel spoke up. ‘We are dining out later. You can come if you want.’
She eyed Jacque, who was quite obviously lusting after her, and almost said no, but to make sure nothing went wrong she said ‘I’ll put on my red dress. The one you like,’ eyeing Jacque carefully.
That evening Jacque was all over her, yet Daniel said nothing.
‘You seem so familiar,’ he said with an elusive French accent. ‘Like someone I know, but I just can’t place.’
‘I get that,’ she responded, looking at the menu.
‘Yes,’ he continued. ‘Somewhere. Somewhere I have met you. I am sure of it.’ Daniel interrupted. ‘Now, Taylor, I will be in Sydney for a while, available for editorial reasons for the book, and then there will be some advertising and some book signing duties. I have contributed quite a bit of my own finances for the advertising costs, which got me the deal, but the company has fitted over 90% of the real costs, including all publishing costs.
‘How good is your market?’ Taylor asked Jacque.
‘Oh, we are a rather new publisher,’ responded Jacque, with a business like look on his face. ‘But the boss is a very experienced lady in the industry, and has high hopes about taking on some of the more offbeat types of fictional writings – things which just might hit a new niche. We liked Daniel’s work. It’s original. Angelic fantasy – not too much like his own style out there. There are comics and other things like him, but it is an underexploited market at the moment. We think his stuff has great potential.’
Taylor smiled, and touched Daniel’s hand, smiling at him.
‘You’re an actor, aren’t you?’ Jacque asked her.
She shook her head. ‘No, nothing like that,’ she responded lying, for indeed she had been in movies.’
‘MMmm,’ he responded. ‘I’ll figure it out.’
They talked business for a while longer, and Jacque opened up more, and she found him, slowly, more tolerable. He was indeed a ladies man, but he did not push it too much. And Daniel seemed alive – glowing – in a new life. He finally had his breakthrough, and she couldn’t possibly be happier for him. Not even one little bit.
Taylor looked at the ring. The diamond, really, was impressive. How could she possibly say no to Daniel, beaming, down on his knees. She did, though. Say no. He didn’t really complain, but accepted her decision quietly. He left it alone after that. She thought on that, his acceptance of her choice, his acceptance of her own decision, and made a little tick in her head of the things she was looking for, and left it at that.
Taylor: The End of the Dream
But things, even the best hoped of things, don't always work out. And in this apocryphal world of other realities, God caused a conflux, which he would leave to Lord Apholox to resolve, and set Daniel down a differing road of life.
'Who is Michelle Bullock?' asked Taylor to Daniel.
'Oh. A Jehovah's Witness,' he responded.
'And you're fucking her, aren't you?' she said hotly.
'No. God what do you think I am?'
But Taylor didn't believe him.
It was cold then, between them, and Daniel never really understood. But life had suddenly and dramatically gone in a different direction and, what he was sure of, he no longer was. And Taylor, as quickly as he had come, had gone, and Daniel turned cold. Perhaps it was always in him, shielded. And perhaps a greater power knew that truth.
He went to the Jehovah's witnesses for a while, and told God what he thought of him. And God understood. And then he met Jenny Gilmore. And that worked for a while, and then it ended. And she wasn't the one either.
And then he was alone.
'Shut up Greg,' said Daniel to his brother.
'Your getting old, Danny. No kids. I mean, come on. Dad wanted you to have children.'
'I don't think I care, you know. Life is a fuck up for me. It promises the world, and delivers shit.'
'Your books are doing well,' said Gregory softly.
'Don't care,' he said.
'You still look ok. Come on, get it together. Get over Jenny Gilmore. She wasn't right for you. Mum didn't like her.'
'She doesn't approve of an Anglican for me. Just wants a Catholic, and I'm a Noahide.'
Greg somewhat agreed on that point. 'Look Dan. Don't give up. Life is strange. It takes you down one course, but because, you know, it has passions, it makes sudden choices. And we just have to accept that.'
'Then fuck life,' said Daniel.
'Dan,' said Greg softly.
Daniel, later on, picked up a copy of the Watchtower. The front cover read 'They mysteries of Jehovah are beyond all comprehension.'
'Yeh, that would be right,' said Daniel sarcastically, but read the article anyway.
He still thought on Taylor, but she had gone, and was back to her career. He still bought her albums and, now, had started going mad collecting everything under the sun. The garage was packed with all sorts of crap, which his mother some times objected to, because he was living at home again, but she put up with. He needed to – though – focus on something. His books were doing ok in selling, and while he spent it all on endless supplies of books and old expensive comics and CDs and DVDs and things, he put a healthy amount away in his superannuation account.
But still, that didn't fill the void. Life, it seemed, as much as he hated to admit it, had made other plans for the life of Daniel Daly. And he would just have to accept that, wether he liked it or not.
Clearwater was a quiet town, south of Dalgety in New South Wales Australia, a town in many ways, except it only had one house, and one resident. Clearwater was a sign, written in green letters, on the fence of the abode, perhaps a sign of happiness within. Perhaps.
Sandra was the resident of Clearwater. She was 20, her father dying last year, leaving her the house. Her mother had died in her childbirth. Sandra was unemployed, had spent her days since leaving school taking care of her elderly father, who was now dead, and Sandra, with about 10 thousand dollars left in her inheritance, an old Holden, and a home, was wondering about her future most days. What would she do?
She had blossomed late in her teens, and was now moderately attractive. But a boy had not known her, and she was not overly given to them. Not a lesbian, by any means, but no real passions of heart. No real passions of anything, really.
Like the warm summer, her personality was warm and friendly, but with no spark of activity, no spark of direction, no spark of purpose. Simply a warm, happy, energy, which flowed with things. Which had followed her fathers simple ways, and not worried. Not cared, really.
But it couldn't go on, could it. Things would have to change, wouldn't they? Wouldn't they?
10 years later, another centrelink form for job applications, not that she ever tried. Simply the same two job applications in Dalgety town, one for receptionist, one for publican, and they still couldn't take her. Cooma centrelink didn't complain. They knew her situation. They didn't mind.
She was simple, now. Part of the community in some ways, but she lived the solitary life. Not much, ever, really doing. She swam in the snowy in summer, in her bikini, down the road a little. She occasionally watched the cricket in Dalgety, a live match, but never bothered with the Rugby League. She had a meal in the pub about twice a year, but apart from that did nothing else, except shopping in Cooma occasionally to buy some new clothes.
Mostly she slept on her bed, watched her soaps on the same tube tv her father had owned, occasionally watched one of the video cassettes they owned, which were old now, and had been used a lot, and not much else. Often, in the afternoons, when the sun was low, she would be on the rocker out the front, watching the haze of summer, watching the sheep in the paddock opposite, waiting. For what, she never really knew. But she was waiting.
He walked by, not much later, in track pants, sneakers, and a t-shirt. He saw her and asked for water. She didn't mind.
'I'm having an episode,' he said. 'The worst is over, but I still feel a bit messed up. I was at the river all night. Its not as bad as when I was younger.'
'Your psychotic?' she asked him.
Daniel nodded. 'A schizophrenic,' he responded.
'I understand,' she said. 'My sister had been a psychotic. She killed herself.'
'I'm sorry,' he said.
'Don't be. It wasn't your fault. Besides, I hated her. She was hell to live with.'
'Sorry,' he responded.
She looked at him. He looked a bit older, not sure how old really, could have been in his 40s or even 50s, but he seemed youthful in some ways.
'Were do you live?' she asked him.
'In Cooma. I moved there last year. Bought a home with my superannuation.'
'Oh. So your retired,' she said.
'Uh, sort of. I turned 60 last year. Got my payment. Bought a house.'
'Oh. You don't look that old. 50, maybe. But not much older.'
'Thanks,' he said.
She looked at him again. 'Do you want to stay the night? I rarely get company. Not really anybody at all since dad died. My cousin from Sydney. Just once. Nobody else.'
'Umm. Yeh, I guess so. I was going to see were the road went, but sure, I'd love to stay. Thanks.'
He came in. She gave him some of her dad's clothes to change into. He showered, and they had dinner. She cooked bacon and eggs.
He was cute.
He never left.
Sandra sat on the rocker, in the cool of the afternoon, the long shadows of the poplars covering her. She stared out westwards, at the fields, relaxed. Happy. She had a man. She now had a man.
Daniel was an older soul. A calm soul for the most part, and he had come down from his high, started wearing her father's clothing, and then slept in her old room, and just stayed. Just stayed. They talked, smalltalk to start with, but he gradually started opening up. And so did she. He was a man with a shadowy past, so he claimed. 'Not one of dark deeds, Sandra,' he had said. 'But of a dark heart. A broken heart.'
'What do you mean?'
'Bitter times. Till I moved to Cooma. Then a spirit returned to my life. And the shadows disappeared, and I was so excited I was psychotic again. Which brought me here.'
'So the shadows saved me,' she said.
He couldn't help but smile.
She sat there, that afternoon, in the shadows of the poplars, thinking. He had a place, in Cooma, and had invited her to see it. They would have to take the bus, which was how she got to Cooma. But she didn't mind. His place was like him. Calm. Gentle colours, soft environment, nothing harsh or jagged jutting out to upset you. Like a step back in time 20 years or so. A lot like her place in many ways. He had books. Thousands of books. And thousands of comics and CDs and DVDs. All around the house in bookcases sprawled everywhere. He was an information culture junkie. He had said so himself. But she didn't mind. And an updated decade of movies she hadn't seen seemed a wonderful idea.
'What are these books?' she asked, about the collection of about 50 books with his name on them.
'The published works so far of the Chronicles of the Children of Destiny. A saga about the children and angels of God.'
'Your an author,' she said.
He showed her the rest of his house, and finally the bedrooms.
'Nice quilt. Angels,' she said.
'Do you want to watch a movie?'
She followed him to the loungeroom, and they sat there, together, watching Twilight, which she was now finally seeing.
She had a good time.
The following morning she awoke to the sun streaming through the window. She was in the guest room. They had been together 3 months. They hadn't slept together yet. She was still a virgin, anyway. He was conservative. She showered in the ensuite, and coming through to the kitchen she found a plate of fried bacon, eggs and tomato sitting on the table, hot by the looks of it, with toast and orange juice sitting next to it. Daniel suddenly appeared, coming through the back door.
'Eat up,' he said. 'I bought it all fresh this morning.'
She smiled and hooked into the breakfast.
'You want to do anything today ?' he asked her, when they were back in the lounge room, watching TV.
She looked at him. 'You have thousands of DVDs and CDs. I could stay here forever.'
He smiled. 'Then we'll keep it simple.'
And so Sandra stayed with Daniel. A whole year. She went back to Clearwater just once to check everything was ok, but then remained with Daniel. But they didn't sleep together. Not yet anyway.
And Sandra found no shadows in Daniel's heart, and she was content, and she was at peace.
'Not so much, anymore. I had a lot of bitter years. Were God was there, and I knew he was there, but I didn't speak to him much. I didn't have much heart left. There was Kirstie, like I was telling you about. And I slept with her, and another girl called Jenny. And Jenny lives not far from here. And then there was Taylor. Oh God. Taylor. She was too much for me. Too expensive for Danny Daly.'
'I would tell you who she was, but you wouldn't believe me.'
'Try me,' said Sandra.
'She went missing for a few years. Lived inTuggeranong with me. A famous US country singer. I was about to be published at the time, and I thought the world was coming to me. It never worked out. The dream died, and I went into a spiral downwards. I'm only now climbing out of it.'
'Jenny Gilmore?' asked Sandra.
'Yes,' said Daniel. 'You know her?'
'I know her,' said Sandra.
Later on Sandra was looking at Daniel's CD collection. 'Is this her?' she asked him, showing him a Taylor Swift CD with a love note from Taylor to Daniel written in it. He nodded.
'Does she keep in touch?'
'No. I haven't heard from her since she left. Don't know if I ever will again. Maybe one day, beyond death, in heaven. Maybe one day. We were in love for a while. It didn't work out. Life throws you a curveball. And the legacies of love I have left behind me have resulted in many bitter tears. Michelle took me to the Kingdom Hall. The Jehovah's Witness place, and I let God know I was miserable. And when Taylor left me, I swore at him in that place, softly. Called him a bastard. His spirit said I was forgiven. Said he understood. I didn't care. I didn't want to be forgiven. I respected Michelle. She was a fabulous girl, a great witness for God, but I couldn't stomach it then. What Jehovah had did in my life. The way he had led women to me, and I hadn't even been responsible with them, but I liked them, and then came Taylor, and I blew that. And I never forgave him. Even now I hurt.'
'But now you have me,' said Sandra, smiling at him.
'Now I have you,' he said, and smiled at her. It was a feint smile, but he came over, touched her shoulder, and she knew he meant it. He did have her. And she had him. And whatever crazy destiny Daniel had been through, she was just grateful that Taylor Swift, of all people, hadn't gotten her man. For she was starting to have feelings for him, and starting to find her place in the world. And if she had Michelle Bullock to thank for sorting her man out, who seemed to now be getting over his dark years, settled, a place of his own, looking more like a grown up mature citizen, then she was grateful to God for that small mercy.
She put on the Taylor Swift CD, and put on the song 'Love Story.'
It felt deep, longing, and she felt Daniel in it. And she knew she might have broken a heart, long ago, for Sandra knew Daniel was her own love story. A love story, now, she might never let go of. A love story which would, maybe, change her life forever. Just maybe. Just maybe.
He stayed. Perhaps, if anything else was true about Daniel that she hadn't yet figured out, one thing definitely was. He was faithful. He stayed.
They were at Clearwater again, and they spent hazy summer days and hot summer nights, together. And then they married. And she was still young. And then she was pregnant.
'Can we call him Callodyn?' he asked her.
'The angel. Like you. From your books?' she asked.
He nodded. 'I've always wanted to call my son Callodyn. Callodyn Gabriel Daniel Daly.'
'Then that is what it will be,' said Sandra.
Callodyn was born, and soon he was toddling around, in nappies still, for he shat a lot, and Daniel doted on him. And Sandra was happy. She thought it was funny, in a way. How life seemed to end up working when she really did nothing to make it work. But she couldn't. It wasn't in her. The drive. The notion to go out there, with passion, and make something of her life. She wasn't like that, and she knew that. She sort of, instead, just let life happen. Take her were it will. Go with the flow of it all. But, in that small faith she had in life, it seemed, now, to work out anyway. Perhaps that small, quiet trust in life, that there is bigger picture she didn't yet understand, and which she perhaps would just call God now, was all she needed. Simple, honest, trust.
'Can we listen to this?' asked Daniel, picking out an old Slim Dusty record which was in a sealed plastic sleeve.
'It was one of dad's,' she said. 'He won it down at the pub one night. He never opened it.'
'As good as time as any,' responded Daniel.
Sandra took the record from Daniel, opened it up, and put it on the record player. Solid country from Slim. You could rely on him for that.
They sat, quietly, listening to it for a while. The summer air in the house was warm, but it was twilight, and had cooled down a bit after a hot day. And she sat there, on the couch, and Daniel came over and sat next to her, and she put her head on his leg, and sat there, quietly.
'Life has a funny way of working out, doesn't it Daniel,' she said.
He didn't respond.
'I didn't go looking for you. But you found me.'
'And I wasn't looking for you,' he said. 'But I found you.'
'And it all works out,' she said again.
Callodyn toddled in, and went over to the record player.
'He's not going to touch it,' said Sandra.
Callodyn started dancing a little to the music, and suddenly gave the record player a big shove, and the record skipped ahead to a new song.
'No, I'm sure he's not,' grinned Daniel.
They were quite, gentle times. And she was getting older, now. She was still young, married to a mature man, but she felt, strangely, very old in many other ways. Probably the country attitude in her she felt. But it was a dreamworld, which had never really changed, living in Clearwater, at the edge of the world, away from everyone. A quiet, sedate life, were calmness was the order of the day. Perhaps, knowing her husband, that was what he needed most anyway. Perhaps, in Sandra, he had found his salvation. Quiet, gentle, sedate. Peaceful. The calming life of the country environment.
It was continuity. That was what it was. Continuity in the life of Sandra, were nothing changed much, except, perhaps, the natural way of things. The nature of the world, saying, when it was time, you didn't have to make it happen. It just happened anyway. And she found contenment in that.
'Daniel. I'll love you forever,' she said, as Slim crooned along.
He held her, and whispered, 'Me too.'
And all was good.
THE LUCY POTTER SAGA
There are 3 choices common to the heart of man. The choice to show yourself a man in front of the crowd. Machismo, vainglory, ego - call it what you will, the male species suffers from this phenomenon time and time again, from generation to generation. There are many a fair maiden who has supposed to have been impressed by the valor of the heart beset on brave deeds of foolery. And fooldery rightly said, even since the days of Adam's quests to win Eve's attentions. Which draws us to the second and most obvious choice common to the rougher sex - the choosing of the fair mate. So many tales from mankind's dismal history record for us the proud heart softening in the arms of his beloved, for which all his vain boasting and brawlings he naievely believes have wone his maiden's heart. He quarrells, argues, punches and fights, all to conquer the jungle of his adversaries, mainly for one prized possession, held in esteem in his kingdom above all other great glories. A lovely pair of breasts.
Yes, man is a simpleton, barely evolved from the days in the caves, yet woman, albeit reluctantly, and definitely thinking she should know better by no, time and time again succumbs to the base charms of this devil in flesh.
Two common choices - which have propelled mankind forward for millennia.
There is another choice. A third choice. A choice not often chosen, for it is 'Other' to most mortals, uttered only by old and foolish wives, or ancient and wisened wizards, who know the power capable of seducing even the bravest of the children of men.
And sometimes that choices must not even be made by a man anyway.
But a woman.
* * * * *
'Kristen! Now you're a sensible babe. Tell me. How smart are vampires? I mean, really. How smart can they possibly be?'
Kristen Stewart, looking out at the baseball game, was tempted to ignore Jovius question. He was just being stupid anyway. The Yankees were up 7 runs to 4 against Minnesota, and while Kardos sat there, unblinking, uncaring even, Kristen was having the time of her life. Back in the real world. Back in her own community. Finally she succumbed to Jovius taunt.
'Vampires are brilliant,' she responded boldly, smiling at Kardos, who hardly noticed.
Suddenly the crowd cheered as a ball exploded from the bat into the stadium, but just wide enough to be a fowl ball.
'Brilliant, huh?' queried Jovius.
'Yes, brilliant,' responded Kristen, staring at her husband who remained silent.
'Can we go now?' asked Kardos sullenly. 'Too much sun will kill me, you know. Literally.'
Kristen looked at her man, sighed, disappointed to being forced to leave so soon, but knowing she didn't have much choice. There was a spell on him at the moment - a charm allowing him to be in the day - but its power was only temporary. He was a fish out of water, and they all knew it.
'Sure,' she said softly. 'We can go.'
'But I have a bet on the outcome,' complained Jovius.
'I'll reimburse you. I promise,' said Kristen.
'200 bucks?' he asked her.
'Sure, here, take it,' she said, taking the money from her purse and shoving it into Jovius hands.
As they made their way out of Yankee stadium, Kristen was a little annoyed. She had barely seen her parents when Kardos wanted to leave, and now this. It wasn't ever going to be easy married to a vampire, but it was the choice she had made. In the carpark they neared their van when a dark figure, cloaked, head and face hidden, approached them and said 'Woman!''
The trio turned to face teh figure, which did not move, but seemed to be looking at Kristen.
'What do you want?' asked Kardos, but the cloaked figure remained silent, like the reaper, hidden from view, gazing at his next victim perchance.
'Ignore it,' said Jovius. 'It's just some old crony. Come to gawk at Kardos' fair maiden.'
The figure hissed at Jovius, but did nothing more, its gaze transfixed on Kirsten. At last it spoke.
'It is true then,' said the figure, its voice one of the creatures of the night. 'You are a threshold child.'
Kardos looked at the figure. 'What are you?'
In response the creature removed its head to reveal the ghastly face of a dragon-ghoul - an undead walking lizard man.
'I am Tharg,' it replied, with a voice of obvious pride in itself, as if impressed by its very own stature. 'I have seen you, maid Kristen, at Celestever. Only from a distance. But in your presence your beauty is as of a divine angel in all its glory.'
'Thanks,' said Jovius smartly. Kardos glared at him.
The creature kneeled, then, in front of Kristen. 'We will serve you like no other, my lady. The dragon-ghouls are the greatest of servants and, should you choose us....Nay, when you choose us, you will know every luxury your heart could require.'
Kristen was confused. What did the beast mean? Choose the dragon-ghouls?
'He's nuts,' said Jovius.
'Silence,' said Kardos, cautioning the angel. The vampire turned to the creature. 'What do you mean? A threshold child?'
Thargs gaze turned to the vampire. 'Your kind has ruled poorly. A threshold chooses wisely, in the end. They are the most unbiased of vessels, even forsaking their own kind for the sake of justice. We do not fear you, Kardos.' And the ghoul spak in front of the vampire.
'You going to put up with that?' asked Jovius, but Kardos just stared at the creature, who was again gazing at a very confused looking Kristen.
Tharg spoke once more. 'We will serve you greater than any other. This I swear to you, my maiden.'
'I, I believe you,' she suttered in response.
The creature continued gazing at Kristen and, having done what it came to do, glared at Kardos and Jovius one last time, and turned, retreating, slithering back the way from whence it had come.
'What the hell was all that about?' asked Jovius, perplexed.
Kardos ignored the angel, looking at his bride, who was staring after the creature. 'Kristen!' he said, but she seemed glazed, staring after the creature. 'Kristen,' he yelled again, and this time she turned to him. 'Let's go, ok hon. Let's go. Ok?'
Kristen nodded vaguely, but her mind was all over the place. They got in their van, and Kardos kept his eye on his wife yet, as teh van pulled out of the stadium carpark, headed northwards, towards home, one word was being repeated over and over again in her mind. One solitary word.
* * * * *
Magenta was a wise girl. 17, beautiful like her mother Kristen, with a heart of gold. But a vampiric heart of gold. Roary, on the other hand, 15, human, was wise in his own way, but far from having a heart of love. Ironic how life often reverses seemingly natural roles. Roary dressed in black, listened to heavy metal music, swore, drank, and tried to get into the pants of as many of the girls at his school as possible. He lived with his grandparents on his mothers side, somewhere in Canada, and didn't see his family much. I mean, you couldn't expect that, really, after all - they were undead. Yet his mother was still with the living, and as she fussed over him that evening, his own blood father, the disinterested Kardos, in the other room with his 'True' child and daughter Magent, Roary was more than usually annoyed.
'He hates me,' said the teen.
'He doesn't hate you,' she said, trying to wipe dirt from his brow, but Roary wouldn't be disuaded.
'It will never be the same again, mom. Never like it was. Since I left Celestevere he is more relieved than anything. As if I am a problem he is longing to get rid of.'
'It's not like that,' she said, chiding him.
'It's not?' he responded defensively.
She looked at her lovely boy, unable to admit the truths both of them knew too well.
'He's vampire. I'm human. I mean, he loves you, but I'm a cross he's unwilling to bear.'
She sat down on the bed and looked at her son. 'Kardos loves you. It's just..'
'That he loves Magenta more,' the youth responded.
Kristen sighed. 'We are family, Roary. Never forget that.'
'There is something he could do,' said Roary, lifting his arm to his mouth in a biting motion.
'Don't even think it,' she responded quickly.
'It would solve everything,' he said defiantly.
'Being undead would solve everything?' she queried him, a soft grin on her face.
'You know what I mean,' he said, throwing a sock at her.
'Unfortunately, yes,' she said, staring at her lovelorn son. 'Just give him time,' she encouraged her son. 'He has already accepted you. It is just an awkward situation.'
'Don't I know it,' was the sarcastic reply.
She spoke honestly. 'God only knows what the future holds, Roary. God alone. But we will be family in the end. Somehow, some way, when all is said and done, we will be together, and we will be a family.'
'And you really believe that,' he asked forlornly.
'Yes I really do,' she finished, which brought a glimmer of encouragement to the face of her son. 'Now come. Let me show you why.'
And so, for a while anyway, Kardos listened to his son's adventures, and almost seemed happy with this human child of his. Almost. But as the night passed, and the next day threatened, the brief time Kardos had granted his wife in the world of men came to an end, for soon they would return to Celestevere and, once more, the machinations and the politics of the world of the undead.
* * * * *
Gladitorius Vigantes looked at his grandson's move in the game of chess the two of them were currently involved in. Blackrock was young, and full of ambitious moves, but Gladitorius was no foolish naive.
'You have left yourself open, Blackrock,' Gladitorius confidently stated.
'Have I?' queried Blackrock, innocently.
'Indeed,' responded Gladitorius, taking his opponents rook. Yet the freed queen moved up diagonally and, now protected by a bishop, had Gladitorius in check.
'Oh, sacrifice,' exclaimed Gladitorius. Blackrock remained silent. Two moves later Blackrock had won the game.
Gladitorius surveyed his young apprentice.
'Muster such skills in our wars with the vampire clans, and even I will applaud you.'
'Your will is my desire,' responded the dark wolf bowing.
'Indeed,' stated Gladitorius, examining his grandson. 'You are aware, of course, child of mine, that Celestevere is currently beset with knowledge of the threshold child. Your winning her affections shall not be easy.'
'Yet I have you to advise me.'
'Yes,' responded Gladitorius. The wolverine stood, picked up the red queen, and paced the room. 'Kristen Stewart is an unusual human. As others have noticed, she is most gracious and hospitable. Some say she is above the lures and temptations of the flesh. Above mere guile.'
'Your point,' responded Blackrock.
'My point, young buck, is that merely relying on your masculine chicanery may not be enough, I am afraid, to win such a fair maiden's heart.'
'Then I try honesty.'
'You may have to,' said Gladitorius, looking at the red queen in the candle-light. 'Our lovely threshold child has the future of the night in her hands. And, ironically, it is a human who must decide our fate.'
'I guess that is how destiny has decided it must be,' replied Blackrock.
'The complexities of fate are like that. Never certain. We are caught up, all of us, in the fantastic machinations of a cosmic plan made by those great powers which control all things, the lords of chaos and order.'
'Yet our will impacts reality,' responded Blackrock.
'As surely as the moon affects the tides,' finished Gladitorius. He looked at the red queen in the candle light once more, before returning it to the chess set.
'So, moon knight,' said Gladitorius, staring intensely at the Dark Wolf. 'Do not let others determine your fate. Others who, shall I say, are not so hospitable to the concerns of the wolverines of Celestevere.'
'It will be as you say,' said the Dark Wolf, full of confidence.
'I do hope so,' said Gladitorius, sitting in front of the chess set, gazing at the red queen. 'I do hope so.'
* * * * *
They had left Jovius at a crossroads, and he had disappeared into the skies, wings unfurled. And then, the night edging on, they parked in a makeshift hollow, under a clump of thick trees, the area protected by numerous spells to hide it from mankind, and entered a cave and downwards, ever downwards, into the dark they descended, into the heart of Celestevere.
'I want to speak with Darkthorn tomorrow,' said Kardos. 'I will be gone a few days.'
'Are you going to ask him about.....' she trailed off, saying nothing more.
As they descended he turned to her. 'Yes', he said, and didn't speak again.
Yet they both knew. And as the three silent figures, father, mother and daughter, reurned to their abode in the heart of Celestevere, Kristen knew, soon enough, she would get an explanation. Shewould get her understanding of what a 'Threshold' child was all about. And, as they entered their abode, and found their place of slumber, Kristen knew the next mystery in her life would be soon revealed. The next puzzling answer in the strange destiny of Kristen Stewart.
* * * * *
The wolf howled, then, with the other three, circled their prey. A hornstag, with magnificent antlers, rising up 8 feet from the ground, not counting the horns. Kristen watched from the shadows as the transmogrified wolverines circled the hornstag, ready to attack. She felt so - alive. The blood pounding in her veins. As she watched from her safe position, the first, brown wolverine, attacked quickly, but the hornstag lowered its head and, with its magnificent horns, flicked the wolverine with its massive strength, the wolf shuddering into the bark of a nearby redwood. But the stag had barely a moment to celebrate its brief victory when the other three wolverines were upon it, fangs and claws biting deep into its flesh. The gorey scene which followed did not, strangely, embarass Kristen. She had seen much in her life in the shadows. Blackrock, naked, covered in blood, back in regular form, stood before Kristen.
'Did the combat amuse you?' queried the Dark Wolf.
'It was hardly a fair fight,' the maiden responded, almost tempted to lower her gaze towards his naked mid section, but resisting. Kardos was not far away.
'He was a valiant steed. Makros will have bruises and broken bones for months,' said the Dark Wolf, his face animated by the recent combat.
'It fought bravely. Against such great odds,' responded Kristen.
'Yet we showed ourself a race worthy of rulership,' he prided.
'Perhaps,' she said, looking at the gruesome remains of the dead stag. 'Yet do you know mercy on the dead?' she queried him, her eyebrow raised.
'The dead need not pity,' replied Blackrock, as the other wolverines came forward.
'I'll remember that,' responded Kristen.
Just then a clapping Gladitorius Vigantes, and his entourage, emerged from the shadows, patting Blackrock on his strong shoulders.
'He performed magnificently,' boasted Gladitorius.
Accross the clearing Darkthorn and other Vampiric host, including Kardos, stepped forward and said, 'Perhaps. Yet it was four to one. Hardly cause for such a boastful celebration, Gladitorius.'
The two clans glared at each other, almost a standoff of warring parties.
'I am sure the maiden can make up her own mind on that,' said Gladitorius confidently, gazing upon Kristen, who's lusting eyes were still on the dark wolf.
'And I am sure she will,' responded Kardos, who had come forward and wrapped his arms around his wife; but her eyes were still on the dark wolf.
'And I am sure she will,' responded Kardos, who had come forward and wrapped his arms around his wife; but her eyes were still on the dark wolf. Makros, bruised, bleeding and battered, had ripped off the stag's antlers and kneeled in front of Kristen, offerin his blood sacrifice to his hopeful queen.
'For your glory,' said Makros, and bowed his head, which led to the other bloodied wolverines doing likewise. And, as Blackrock bowed, his eyes were affixed to the sensual beauty of Kristen who, at that very moment, seemed to glow, seemed to radiate supreme power, a noble queen, a goddess, accepting her great warrior's brave sacrifice.
'For your glory,' said Blackrock, his eyes unmoving from his queen's face.
'Thank you. Brave warriors,' said Kristen, who could not keep her eyes off the dark wolf.
'I've had enough of this,'interrupted the very annoyed looking Kardos. He pulled at Kristen's shoulder, but she didn't budge.
'It seems as if the maiden has indeed found her steed acceptable,' boasted Gladitorius, yet with his eyes darting from Kristen's transfixed face to the heavily breathing Blackrock, leaving all present no question as to which steed Kristen was finding acceptable.
* * * * *
Magenta was off with her new friend, Makros. Off with a werewolf.
'I am Vampire,' she said.
'And I am werewolf,' he responded.
'We are hardly compatible.'
'It has been known to happen,' said the wolverine, looking at her figure, not pretending to hide his lust. 'The offspring are, how should I say it - challenging.'
'Bloodwolves,' she exclaimed.
'You find them in Europe, especially,' he commented. 'Over there they are older in the ways of things. An ancient culture, the birthplace of our kind, were the passions of the warring clans are more sedate, more - content - with each other. Oh, recently there has been turmoil, but for a long while now our old world compatriots have done that most hideous of things.
Her look queried for an answer.
'Get along,' he said dryly.
'Is that so bad. I mean, we are lovers. We get along.'
'You are the only exception,' he said, taking her and caressing her arm.
'I but you say that to everyone,' she said, pulling away.
'Only you,' he said, in that deep growling seductive voice she had come to love.
'Of course, they go by many names, bloodwolves. Usually sterile, but not always. In fact, they are practically a clan, these days.'
She smiled at him. 'You would bed me? And sire a bloodwolf?'
He took her hand, kissed it, and said, 'Even your mother is not your equal.'
Magenta blushed. 'I am sure, once again,' she chided,' that you say that to all your consorts.'
'Only those as beautiful as you,' he responded, his eyes locked on her.
'There!' she said boldly. 'You have given yourself away. You have had lovers beyond count, twould imagine.'
'Nay. Only one. Yourself and none other.' He was lying, but the girl was naive.
'I am the queen of your heart?' hoped Magenta, looking at the ravenous wolflord.
'None could claim it apart from your glory. You are a picture of perfection. Of dark perfection. In a world too evil to appreciate your gentle graces, your loving mercies.'
She was flattered, but wanted to hear more. 'So you say,' she said, pulling away.
'I would dare that heaven itself has not a beauty your equal. That the pillars of Zaphon have not greeted a face as resplendid in majesty as that of yourself.'
'Zaphon?' she queried. 'Roary mentioned something about that the other day.'
'Zion of Eternity,' said Makros dismissively. 'Home to fowl angels who think themselves better than our kind. Who think themselves God's precious gifts of glory.'
'God,' she said softly. 'I suppose you do believe in God, then.'
'There can be no evil without goodness to oppose it. In all its hypocrisy of so called holiness and lawfulness. They deceive themselves in thinking themself better than our kind. We are more honest. More true. We do not hide,' he said, gazing at her. 'Our passions.'
She smiled. They were the words she wanted to hear.
'Do you love me?' she asked.
'More than life itself,' he said, taking her hand and kissing it.
'Would you die for me?' she dared.
'I would plunge myself into the abyss of insanity for all eternity for one night in your arms.
She smiled again. He really was laying it on. 'You are a devil,' she finally said, pulling away once more, almost tempted to give herself to the charms of a wolverine.
'And it takes one to recognize one,' he responded.
And she did not disagree with that statement.
* * * * *
Roary sat by his mother, looking into the fireplace, Kardos away, and the two alone for the night.
'Let me tell you another tale,' he began. 'Of Celeste.'
She nodded, staring into the flames.
'Astrana told me this one also.' Astrana was the Vampire girl which Roary had recently started attaching himself too. She was beautiful maiden, and Roary had fallen for her. She had told him tales, of Celeste of Paradise, and he had shared some with his mother. And now another. 'Time had passed, and Deimos was long gone, and Celeste was alone once more. But her heart, after all her weeping, was restored somewhat, and she needed love once more. Yet, in all of Paradise, there was no love she could find, no love she deemed suitable an equal. And then she bespoke her mother and sought an answer to her dilemma. And Angela, queen of paradise, wept, for she knew the heart choice her daughter sought. And she said that in heaven, were the children of heaven lived, that Samael, the child of Heaven, was of such a character and quality that for Celeste, who like Angela besought a challenge in her rival partner, there could be no equal but Samael. Yet she could not return, said Angela, for the rift between Heaven and Paradise had of recent been torn to shreds, and it went one way, from Paradise to Heaven, for Heaven would never release a soul which sought its comforts. For the children of heaven were the children of love, and could never bear parting with one they had admitted to their company. So Celeste wept once more, but sought out this Samael, and travelled the one way rift, and was lost to Paradise forever. And the moral was that one choice could change your destiny - forever and ever and ever.'
Roary left off speaking, and Kristen stared into the flames, as they danced and sang their tune and thought on Celeste, and thought on the eternal choice she had made, and, her own situation being such a choice she would soon have to make, wondered indeed - could she leave the heart of paradise? Could she dare the realm of Heaven? Could she forsake those she had come to love to seek the glory of a mate of true equal? Could she?
* * * * *
Makros sat with Blackrock, and Gladitorius poured himself a brandy.
'She is, liking you,' queried Gladitorius to Makros statement.
'Yet, will she like you enough?'
'Enough for what?' asked Makros innocently.
Gladitorious sipped on his brandy and said nothing more.
Eventually he spoke once more. 'The time of the Vampires draws to a close. This - this, I foresee. It really can not be any other way. They have ruled poorly. For they are but vampire, and none have prospered in their time, and humanity has grown to no longer fear us. Indeed, in this day and age, they make their movies about our kind, and joke of their slayers of the undead, as if we are no longer a threat. As if hell has succumbed, and even a teenager with a stake can rid the world of us with a smug one liner and a daring glance. Bah, they have led us to ruin. The choice can be no other. It must end. The Vampires have failed - miserably, and though the dark lord himself has betrayed the service of hell, we will once more gain the ascendancy. Of that I have no doubts.'
He looked at Makros. 'Stay with this girl. Stay with her, and be everything she needs in a lover. There will come a time, quite soon I would imagine, when things may happen to help our situation;
'What things?' asked Makros, but Gladitorius just smiled at him.
* * * * *
'Sink or swim,' said Kardos to his son.
'What do you mean?'
'Roary. Life in the world of a nether is brutal. If you walk down the wrong alleyway of Celestevere, with the reputation the vampires have, you best be guarded. At the moment, especially, our kind are up against it. But, I fear, in the very near future, we will be even more so. I sense that, regardless of whatever your mother chooses, the Vampires days are numbered. We have not made the populous happy. They have rejected our rule simply because we have done the one thing we thought we should do - rule well to keep the peace - which is the opposite of what has been wanted. Turmoil, tension, war upon the children of men. This is the stuff of the undead. And, in the very near future our kind will have to swim with the sharks, or have our heads bitten off and sink to the bottom of the eternal abyss.'
'Thanks dad. You inspire me with confidence.'
'Its not funny, Roary. Up above, with humans, you had it easy. They love you and teach you and say everything will be alright. But this is a dark world you have chosen - by your own choice - and in this world nice guys finish last. I have had to learn that the very hard way. Be ruthless - or they will eat you alive - literally.'
Thoughts flashed through Roary's head of Blackrock cornering him, opening up his wolverine jaws and devouring him. He shuddered.
'Its not that bad, dad. Astrana likes me. Vampires here like me.'
'For what you can offer them. In their ambitions. Nothing more.
'But doesn't even love, dark love albeit, still rule in some strange way. Astrana says that. That in here, in the heart of hell, there is a community of sorts. That the undead still have protocols, rules - respect. That even in a nether there is still hope.'
Kardos looked at his son, wanting to despise the naievete of youth, but took pity. 'If you think so, Roary. If you think so.'
All that night Roary questioned. Had he made the right choice - becoming a vampire. For Astrana had loved him, and deep down in Celestevere she had bitten him, and he had found the reward he felt he had needed. He'd wanted to fit in, and it seemed so right, so natural, to just go with the flow. But was the allure, the temptation, of dark love - was it the right choice in the end? Or would he end up the lunch of some pissed off wolverine or were-ghoul, another forgotten victim in the world of the undead were love of heaven was neither wanted or accepted.
* * * * *
Gladitorious played his trump card, and Makros tempted Magenta to persuade Kristen to choose the werewolf. But Kristen shook her head and denied her daughters persuasions, but it became clear. The time of choosing had to come. The time to make her choice. Kristen contacted the council, and it was arranged. They would travel to the Crystal city, and the final choice would be made. Jovius would transport her, for she needed to arrive a queen in her own strength, yet Kardos would meet her at the appointed place.
And she looked in her heart. And she thought on all that had been said and done. And she made her dark choice.
* * * * *
As Kristen sat next to Jovius in his lightmobile, flying through the heights of purgatory, the spirit of the place sent shivers down her spine constantly. It was here, were heaven and hell met, and formerly damned souls slaved away, serving for their heavenly reward, and formerly divine angels wept bitter tears, fallen from grace, kicked out of heaven, perhaps to fall even further still, that Kristen sensed the spirit of life and its ultimate fateful decisions alive in her soul, so very compelling, so very real, in a way unlike anything she had ever felt before. Purgatory. Hah. A Catholic doctrine, apparently, but who knew.
'So, you see,' continued Jovius, purgatory is where heaven meets hell and the council of Angels occasionally talks with the counsel of demon's. Currently there is a host of new demon's trying to take over control of Hell, as Satan has been forgiven and has been restored to heaven. It was a trial, in many ways, for Shaltoriana, but she succeeded were others failed.'
'Satan's redemption?' queried Kristen.
Jovius nodded soberly.
They had accessed Purgatory via a portal in Celestevere, and while as a living human Kristen would not have normally had access to it, as the Threshold she was specially chosen were others could not step, lest the hand of cold death had claimed them.
'The Angels placed the portal in Celestevere,' said Jovius casually. 'I even remember it. Long ago now, but hey, I've been around forever.'
'How old are you?' she asked.
'Old enough,' he responded.
As they flew along she looked down at the gleaming cities of purgatory below. What strange lives were lived there, she thought to herself. What brave struggles were some souls fighting to regain their glory?
'Of course,' continued Jovius. 'The Counsel of the Dark reside in the Crystal City. Many of the chief Vampire rulers live there.'
'And the Crystal City?' she asked.
They came through an upper cloud and Jovius said 'There.'
Looking upwards was a glorious city, indeed encrusted with multicoloured crystals, gleaming in the light, Purgatory's finest glory, perhaps.
They found landing and, going through the entrance, they were directed till they found Kardos and Darkthorn at the end of a long corridor, in a waiting room, just outside the heart of the Counsel.
'Are you ready?' her husband asked her.
She nodded, nervously. 'It's now or never,' she thought to herself. 'Now or never.'
* * * * *
Lord Dastranovo, today, looked especially magnificent.. Purple and Amber robes, with gold trim and adorned with jewels, his spectacular robes were an icon of the indulgence the ruling vampires had gotten all too used to. Testament to that, the other clan representatives present at the Counsel of the Dark were by no means as lavishly attired. Vampire pride, Kirstent thought privately to herself.
When Kristen was seated, the various clan heads fixed upon her, their gazes intense, Lord Dastranovo began.
'A new Threshold is a rare occurrence, but even things rare...... and beautiful,' came the obvious compliment,' do come to be,' he finished.
'Counsel. The threshold has come. We are all ready. I will ask her of her choice, and we will act, UNITED, thereupon.
Clan heads nodded, and eyes fixed upon Kristen.
The vampire turned to her. 'Have you made your choice?'
'I have,' she responded.
The Vampire nodded, saying, 'The chamber will be silent.'
A hush came over the counsel and Lord Dastranovo read from a black tome.
Then, radiating in front of them, three demon lords appeared.
Lord Dastranovo spoke. 'The threshold is ready to choose.'
One of the demon's turned to Kristen and spoke.
'As you may know, our former Lord has abandoned us, once again choosing the light.'
'I have heard,' responded Kristen.
Another demon spoke. 'We are not........Moral, creatures. Kristen Stewart Our agenda is not that of the Holy One. We serve, how shall I put it, our OWN agenda.'
'We believe in Freedom. Absolute freedom,' said the third demon.
'Sometimes we choose evil,' said the first demon.
'And sometimes we even choose good,' said the second.
'But it is always our FREE chocie,' finished the first. 'Do you understand this?' he queried.
'I do,' responded Kristen.
The demon's hovered there, then came forward, surrounding her, touching her. and she felt ecstacy, the dark ecstacy of absolute freedom, a drug of supreme power. And instantly she knew what she was choosing.
'So choose,' said the first demon.
'Yes choose,' said the second demon.
'Choose,' said the third demon.
'I choose the werewolves,' exclaimed Kristen boldly.
'So be it,' said the demon's as one. 'The Choice has been made.'
Just then an orange light beamed down from the ceiling, encompassing Kristen. And she heard voices, voices speaking at a distance, speaking about her.
'Will she choose wisely,' one said.
'Will honour rule her heart,' another queried.
'Or will dark love seduce her,' said another.
A cacophonhy of noise, piercing her spirit, assessing her for all she was, for all her worth. And then, just as suddenly as it had been there, it was gone. And she was left standing there, trembling.
Kardos rushed forward.
'I love you,' he said.
'I know,' she responded.
* * * * *
As the next few months passed, and the wolverines took control, life changed, obviously. But when the transition was complete, life, for the most part, went on as it had always done. The regular routine of it all, the regular, almost, monotony. The regular dark life of the Dark Hearts of Celestevere.
Sitting on the counsel was something new for Kristen for a while, with its special honours and its special glories, but this too, in time, faded back into its regular routines and life, as they say it, went on.
And then, in the dark heart of Celestevere, a wolverine named Gladitorius smiled to himself, rolled out a scroll from a long resting hiding place in his den, unrolled it and looked at the title of the page, in an old wolverine language.
'DARK FIRE,' it read, translated.
And Gladitorious shone a dark, truly dark, wicked little grin.
'Dark Fire Trilogy'
'Gladitorius the Adversary'
'The Dark Fire is a bitch,' said Kardos.
'Why?' asked his son Roary.
'Because it hunts vampires,' said Kardos, and came out of his hiding place suddenly, pointed his hands towards a green burning flame which had entered the area, and yelled 'AQUARIUS!'. Suddenly a bursting shower of blue water erupted from his hands and gashed at the fire. They fought, and steam rose above the scene as the fire twisted this way and that way to try and get past the water, but Kardos just stood there, hands pointed at the fire, the water still gushing forth like an incredible geyser. Soon the fire started giving up – diminishing – and then, just as suddenly as it was there, it was gone, and it was all quiet again, deep, deep down in the catacombs of Celestevere, nobody any the wiser.
'Fuck,' said Roary.
'Exactly,' said Kardos.
Dark Fire One – Upon the Council of Celestevere
Kristen Stewart sat on the ruling council of Celestevere, and gazed out at her opponents. Gladitorius Vigantes, in a green suit with a check coloured waistcoast, a pipe hanging from the corner of his mouth, and a new found polished English accent, betrayed himself – he was obviously an old world toff suddenly remembering his stylings. She almost grinned at his getup because it strangely suited him in that bizarre kind of way when you know someone has found their niche in life.
'Councillor,' said Kristen, for the council had been silent for several moments. 'Vampires! We don't really have many hanging around Celestevere at the moment. DO WE!' She almost yelled the last words, but retained her sense of decorum about her esteemed position.
'Vampires? I have no idea whatever you could possibly on earth be talking about.' Gladitorius surveyed the council, gazing upon each member. 'Now Vampires don't exist, do they?'
The chuckle from the council summed it all up.
'No, no, no, you're not getting away with it that easy,' said Kristen, and the council's eyes focused on her. 'Vampires are funny things. Undead, you know. They kind of fit in a place like Celestevere. I am sure you have noticed them,' she said, sarcastically. 'They bite people's necks and things. Suck blood. You know. Ghastly undead things like that.'
'I am horrified!' feigned Gladitorius, in a display of his better wit. 'Undead? You would have us believe Celestevere is the domain of the undead? Whatever could she be thinking?' he asked the council, a big grin on his face, and the chuckle from the council was his happy reward.
'You'll be undead by the time I'm through with you,' said Kristen with baited voice, but not loudly, so only those in her vicinity could catch what she said.
'Pardon, milady,' said Gladitorius, hand raised to his ear.
'We are missing our Vampires Gladitorius. And I am not amused.'
'No,' he said, in a more serious tone, gazing at her. 'I guess not.'
Council members gazed at the fierce looks between the two when, after a moment, the judge of the council hit his gavel and said 'Today's affairs are finished. Council members may depart.'
They lingered a bit, watching the rivalry between Kristen and Gladitorius, but soon the chambers were empty, as empty, for nearly the entire part, as upper Celestevere was of Vampires. For nearly the entire part.
Dark Fire Two – The Concern's of Kristen Stewart
'Mother. I am fine,' said Magenta to her fussing mother Kristen.
'Magenta, you are not fine. You will not be fine for quite some time I feel.'
Magenta put her hand on her mother's arm to console her somewhat. Her husband and son were missing. Darkthorn was missing. The entire Vampire community of Celestevere was missing, and she was beside herself, left only with her daughter Magenta as consolation.
'Makros cares for me,' said Magenta softly. 'You know. They will probably leave me alone.'
Kristen gazed at her daughter as those words sunk in, and pulled her close in a hug. 'I don't know where he is, my heart,' said Kristen, sobbing almost. 'But I will find him. By the hairs on the arse of Gladitorius Vigantes, I will find him.' Yet with those words said, Magenta started giggling, and then Kristen responded, and soon hearty laughter seemed to take the edge off the situation.
'We will find father,' said Kristen. 'Jovius will be here tomorrow night, and we will set to the search we need to do. Your father is ok, I am sure of it.' But her voice betrayed her. Her voice was full of fear. Fear at what might have happened to Kardos. Fear of what Gladitorius Vigantes had likely unleashed on the Vampires of Celestevere. Fear of the most horrible of consequences for those she now knew as her most intimate family members.
Dark Fire Three – Sadiquatrius Genova
Sadiquatrius Genova was an old woman. Very old. She was human – sort of. For she had known so many dark agendas and dark spirits in her prolonged centuries of life, she had forgotten that semblance of humanity which once defined her very soul. Not that long ago now, 1840 or so, she had been in Transylvania, in the nether there, and had been the chosen one. The threshold. The first female threshold. The first. But now, in this ancient part of her life, there was another. Another woman chosen. She had to meet her. To share her advice, to even seek her counsel, and to understand what new wonder had been born to this dark life they all lived. Of course, she knew the nether were Kristen, who the threshold was called, dwelled. She had visited – once, not long ago. A son of her's lived there. And, another son also. But she had not seen them since their youth, when they were split apart, and would not remember, could not possibly remember, their mother, or each other for that matter. For what else could the choice, at the time, have been?
No, they wouldn't recognize her, so she would travel to the Nether, and meet this girl, and seek her wisdom, and seek her story. And then she would rest. Then she could rest, knowing another had been chosen, in the way she had been, and that her life had a purpose, a reason because of it.
She looked at the clock, the ancient clock, on the wall of her abode, and sat there, in the darkness, thinking back, reflecting. An old maid, an old life, an old world. But what new and strange stories she soon could tell? Well God only knows.
Dark Fire Four – Jovius' is in Town
'Hey babe. Let's party!'
'I hardly think that's appropriate,' said Magenta, sitting down opposite Jovius on the cafe seat in the central hall of Celestevere. The young vampire lady looked at the semi-fallen angel. 'What kind of angel are you exactly, anyway? Your not exactly aligned with the good guys, from all my impressions.'
'Hey, I'm an angel on the light side of the dark side. Or is that the dark side of the light side? I always forget. Anyway, don't stress me down with such queries Maggie. Your mother never really bothered pushing my private life. It's why we get along so well.'
'Seriously. Who do you work for?'
'Technically I'm a gun for hire these days. Stationed in purgatory, which suits me fine, and what work I get, I take. Your mum is paying me you know. But it would be a freebie for her regardless. She's a great chick. Sweet. Pure. Innocent, still. Even now, stuck here. Still innocent.'
Magenta softened, and looked downwards before speaking again. 'Mum changed, not long ago. When she chose the werewolves. She's different now. She doesn't age now.'
'She won't for a long time, as far as I understand it. Did some research. On thresholds. Preternaturally long life is a reward. There was another one, you know. A female threshold. A European one. Sadiquatrius, so I believe. Beleriand know's everything on the subject.'
'He's a hell of a character,' said Magenta casually.
'He watches out for you, you know. And your family. A good heart, that guy. Pays well, as well.'
Silence came over scene for a moment, before Kristen appeared, coming out of the cafe.
'Coffee,' she said, handing some to Magenta and Jovius. 'Black. I think we will need it before we are through.'
Jovius took his coffee and sipped on it. 'Tastes great,' he said grinning that Jovius grin.
'So. How?' said Kristen.
'How do we find Kardos? And the others?'
Jovius tapped the side of a plastic box which he had been carrying since their meeting at Kristen's abode.
'What's that?' asked Magenta.
'A were-weasel. Well trained. I know a guy who knows a guy, if you know what I mean.'
'And what does it do?' asked Kristen.
'That we will find out soon enough,' said Jovius, a big grin on his face, as he slurped down the mornings black coffee.
Dark Fire Five – Valeria and Sadiquatrius in the Chambers of Beleriand
'Zentroforge opposes,' said Sadiquatrius.
'Blood Crystal refracts the situation,' suggested Valeria.
Beleriand looked at the two ladies. 'Valeria. I trust you quite well. We have been friends long enough now. Yet you don't intercede yourself?'
'Kardos should make a man of himself. He tolerates Gladitorius too easily. All know this. Why should I just step in. I don't mind, though, if you slip a note to Jovius and inform him of the chamber. They'll never get past the darkfire. No angel of whatever status will like it. Jo is still a good kid, in the end. Pretends his coolness to the dark side in all his mannerisms and ways of life, but he ain't in hell yet, and never will be. He'd use his guts and his skill, but the dark fire has a mind of its own and would turn on him,' said Valeria.
'Our Blood Crystal was corrupt,' said Sadiquatrius. 'No dragon, no wyvvern, no creature of noble birth could attest to its creation any more. In no glory would they find its state. Long ago, when Dracula was young, he turned not to the dark, but to evil and corruption. He is hated to this day, for it is a spirit of chaos he birthed in our Crystal, which condemns to nothing but death and destruction all the nether of Transylvania I tell you.'
'I find it oddly pleasant,' said Beleriand. 'It tranquilizes my anxieties and sedates me to the contemplation of nothing but rest.'
'You are strong,' admitted the threshold. 'Yet stay in its presence and chaos will inhabit your heart after time. You will destroy and hate, not for power, not for rulership, but for its own sake. It is malevolent evil, and nothing of life is in it. No eternity of dominion in the world, in heaven above or hell beneath. It is only death and the end.'
'Then perhaps you could trust in Celestevere. It's blood crystal still serves its primary purpose. You could aid the Vampires against the dark fire.'
'Lost my taste for the gems,' said Sadiquatrius and turned her head. 'Yes, I know it is safe. I know it will work. I don't have the heart. But Zentroforge – that I can help with.'
'It is not a magic which Celesteverans are happy with. They'd disdain your presence and your spells and scrolls. I doubt they'd let you in many levels,' said Beleriand.
'Bah,' said Valeria. 'She fears the crystal for no reason. It's perfectly fine. Zentroforge will upset Celestevere's balance. The Technocrats of Zen are masters of their own imagination only, for they unleash forces with their magic which never settle. It plays around day after day, week after week, month after month, and no rest is ever gained. It is a century of settling the aether, and still it bothers. Even when it rests.'
'Yet it will oppose the dark fire and likely defeat it,' said Sadiquatrius, turning to Valeria. And there is one in the catacombs of celeste who I would redeem from his current malaise. And one I would teach a bloody good lesson to.'
Beleriand sat in silence, looking at the ladies. Finally he spoke. 'I know, in my heart, Gladitorius is not completely a wicked one, for her torments out of jest so much, yet does get carried away. If I sit with you, on council, he will not oppose in the end. The council would agree that he'd had his fun.'
'I will meet you there in three days. At the entrance. I know the place,' said Sadiquatrius. You will have a council meeting ready for me?'
'You yourself won't intervene with the Blood Crystal?' Beleriand asked Valeria.
She shrugged. 'If Gladitorius must have his way. If Kardos and Darkfire can not stand up against this threat. That is life, is it not Beleriand. The strong survive. The weak perish. Let Kardos be a man. I'll not intervene.'
'Three days,' said Beleriand to Sadiquatrius. 'And we will speak with the council.'
Dark Fire Six – Spice Arrival
'Anyway, I've been retired 4 years now,' said Jovius. 'Finally settled down. Met the girl of my dreams. Emma. You probably knew her in this old girl group.'
'So you are doing this, for?' queried Magenta.
'I get bored. Need something to do. Life has been bliss with Em, but I got a hankering to work again. Don't get me wrong, I don't really need the cash or anything like that. The payout I got from Phanuel when I qualified for living in heaven again recently after all my service to the place was cool. Got a shit load of Eternya product, and don't need to work at all. But, yeh. I get bored. More than that, though. Me and Emma have gone into business together. Guns for hire. Dealing with work from various heavenly departments in their ongoing relations with purgatory and hell. Still a lot of fucking sticky business goes on in this world, and Emma also has a penchant for it. In fact, that will be her now,' said Jovius, as a blonde lady appeared up the walkway a little, coming towards the cafe.
She was dressed in a strange sort of bounty hunter military uniform, armed and with black paint underneath both eyes. She looked deadly.
'Jo. There you bloody are,' she said, and came and hugged her man. 'Do you mind,' she said to Kristen and Magenta, who both nodded, the lady taking a seat with the group.
'Is she ready?' asked Emma to Jovius.
'Helena is always ready,' replied Jovius in regards to the were-weasel. 'She's a smart one. Just like the company I'm with.'
'Aw, your sweet,' said Emma, touching Jovius' cheek.
Emma turned to Kristen. 'He's like that, these days. Says lovely things all the time about women. Very kind compliments. He is very noble and decent.'
'Jovius,' said Kristen, looking at the angel. 'Another side of you,' she said, with a slight smirk.
Jovius shrugged, and sipped on his coffee.
'Your baby spice!' exclaimed Magenta suddenly. Kristen looked at Emma and also just then made the connection.
'Don't let on, ok. Though I don't think I will get much attention in this place. It was hell finding you, ok. All these zombies were staring at me, as if I was their new meal.'
'Yeh, you get that,' said Jovius. 'Did you bring it?' he asked her.
She tapped the weapon on her belt. 'The one you asked.'
'Good,' said Jovius. 'If we get into any deep shit with what is down there, we will have another resource to defend ourselves.'
'So are we ready then?' asked Kristen.
'I think so girls,' said Jovius. 'Now, I've studied the layout of lower Celestevere a fair bit at Beleriand's. There are several problematic places and, at one point, only one passageway downwards which, if the dark fire is guarding, we will have problems with. Can I have that item of clothing?' Jovius asked Kristen.
'Oh, yeh,' said Kristen, and got a small scarf of Kardos' out of her bag.
'What will you do with that?' asked Magenta.
'Helena will get the scent. She'll lead, and we'll follow, and wherever the hell Kardos is. We'll find him, ok. We'll find him.'
Kristen nodded, but didn't say anything. Whatever else, it looked as if they had some sort of chance, now, of finding her husband and the rest of the Vampires. But the dark fire awaited and, from all reports, it was not something to be trifled with. Not something to be trifled with at all.'
Dark Fire Seven – Gladitourius' objections
'Open your mouth. Let me see your teeth.'
Gladitorius Vigantes stared at the strange women incredulously. 'My teeth?'
Sadiquatrius grabbed Gladitorius head, forced open his mouth, much to Gladitorius objections, and examined the werewolf's teeth.
'They are disgusting, Gladitorius. You should be ashamed of yourself.'
He wanted to protest, but the look in the strange women's eyes brooked no correction.
'Beleriand,' said Gladitorius in a most unsettled tone. 'This lady. What is her problem?'
'I am no lady, youngling. I am a matriarch of Transylvere. You shall treat me with honour. And get that smug look off of your face, or I will swipe you.'
The council chuckled a little.
'Now, young upstart. You will not object when myself and Beleriand follow after Kristen and her entourage. We will be using Zentroforge, and you will accept this.'
'What makes you even think the Vampires are in Celestevere?' stated the lying werewolf. 'They've..... gone on holiday. Found a new home. A change of scenery. Everyone needs a change of scenery now and again, don't they,' he said smartly to the council, which brought a chuckle.
'You know full well where the Vampires are,' said Sadiquatrius in a deadly serious tone, which brought Gladitorius pulling back on his throne, gazing at the strange lady, almost embarassed.
'I certainly do not,' he retorted.
'You certainly do,' she snapped right back.
'They are in France. Getting some sun,' he said in a sneering tone, to which the council chuckled again.
'Then you will have no objection if we go after Kristen and help her find Kardos.'
'Wasting your time,' he said in a tone, trying to put her off.
'In my long life I have had nothing but time to spare. Especially these days.'
'You can't use Zentroforge anyway,' he said in an annoyed tone. 'Everything will be chaotic for centuries.'
'You will remove the dark fire then?' she said. The council hushed.
'I... I don't know what you are talking about.' He glared at her, most annoyed.
'Then myself and Beleriand will be here for a sightseeing trip and nothing more.'
'Celestevere is a passive community. We are in the darkness for a reason. This magic, should you use it, will confuse us all. Its raw and unsettled magic. Those Zen Technocrats are infantiles in their drawings on the dark magic. Besides, who are you anyway, that we should allow such a person into the depths of our home?'
Sadiquatrius Genova drew herself up to her full height and gazed at the council. 'I am Sadiquatrius Genova. Threshold of Transylvere.' She turned to Gladitorius. 'And I am most annoyed.'
Beleriand spoke up. 'You've had your fun, Gladitorius. You'll not admit a thing. We all know that. Its your little game with Darkthorn which you enjoy so much. I would have thought gaining the council would have pleased you enough. I would have thought.'
'Vote,' said Sadiquatrius to the council.
'In favour,' said Beleriand. A majority of the council, just, raised their hands.
'Bah,' said Gladitorius. 'You'll not find them. Mark my words.'
'Then you will not be disturbed,' said Sadiquatrius. 'And I thank you, Council of Celestevere, for not going along with this child's fun and games any longer.'
Gladitorius looked embaressed, and as Sadiquatrius left the chamber Beleriand nodded to himself that she was indeed a Threshold child. And with a character something more than initial impressions might have concluded upon first sight.
Dark Fire Eight - Ariel's Stubborn Twin
'So just fuck Lucy Potter, huh? Gee your faithful.'
Daniel sat down and studied the puzzling diagram on the table. 'Go to hell, Keri. It's been over a century, and you never committed anyway.'
'You never committed,' she said accusingly.
He glared at her. 'Come here. Sweetie.'
She came over to the table. 'What?' she asked.
'This is Beleriand,' said Daniel, pointing to a marker. 'This is where, currently, according to Beleriand, Sadiquatrius should be with Blackrock, who joined them, leaving Beleriand to stay in upper Celestevere instead. And this should be where Kristen, Jovius, Emma and Magenta are. Just about to face the Dark Fire.'
'Humph. Hate the stuff,' said the witch.
'I'm no fan either. There's a problem. Our old enemy is there. Spark.'
'That little bastard,' said Keri. 'He is nothing but a pain in the butt. Scuse my french.'
'Spark has a contract with Gladitorius.'
'And you know this, how?'
Daniel tapped his nose. 'Informants. Aro got me curious about the place a while ago. I have a friend on the council.'
'Good on you. Ravenclaw idiot.'
'Go fuck yourself,' said the member of the Hogwarts house of Ravenclaw.
'You going to intercede?' she asked him.
'WE might have to. Dark fire has slumbered in Gladitorius dark agendas for many years now, and the Vampires our outnumbered by the sheer force of the powers now involved. And, hell, we ARE angels, aren't we sweetie.'
Keri looked at the diagram Daniel had drawn up. 'Keep the balance. The balance of the dark side. Still believe in that, do you?'
'The Council needs both Werewolves AND Vampires. It will fail otherwise, and degenerate into the primitive early eras of history, when they did nothing but fight and also haunt humans. Why, they are practically civilized now. The undead.'
Keri grinned at Daniel's comment.
'So, its off for Celestevere?' she asked him.
'It's off for Celestevere,' he confidently replied.
'One last thing,' she cautioned. 'Do we have to deal with any of his bloody Sparkle Creations? That 'Sparkler' is a pain in the butt as well, and his whole minxy little entourage. I can not STAND Sparkles.'
He looked at her. 'I don't know. The leprechaun wizard may be there alone, or there may be a horde of his Sparkle creations with him. No idea. But thanks, I'll keep that in mind.'
'You do that,' she said, and kissed him quickly on the cheek.
'I'm married,' he said, suddenly alarmed.
'Yeh. So what,' she said, and looked at him with a look of deep love, and, for that moment anyway, love ruled the heart of Daniel Daly, Angel of God.
Dark Fire Nine – Gladitorius the Adversary
'Bah. Humbug,' said Gladitorius, in his chamber. He sipped on a scotch and looked at Makros. 'Any suggestions?'
Makros came over, poured himself a rare drink, and sipped, and looked at Gladitorius. 'It is like it's all against you.'
'Against us, don't you mean?'
'Sure. Perhaps. I'm not sure how much I oppose Kardos now, though.'
'You are enthralled with Kristen. She is everything to you. He stands in your way.'
'Yet...' he trailed off, sipped on his scotch, and sat down on a couch in the corner of Gladitorius chamber.
'GV Holding is doing well on the exchange,' said Makros.
Gladitorius smiled. 'Human's. I detest them, mostly. But they do buy our product these days,' he said happily. 'Halloween has been good for us this year. Sales have been splendid.'
'Then you have money,' stated Makros.
'What are you getting at?' queried Gladitorius.
'Perhaps this is an opportunity to up the ante with the Vampires in our age long battle. And not just here in Celestevere. But worldwide.'
Gladitorius looked at him curiously, sipped on his scotch and said 'Explain.'
Makros got up, walked over to a bookcase, and reached up and took down a catalogue he had placed up there.
'What is that?' asked Gladitorius.
Makros threw it on his desk.
Gladitorius looked at the cover. 'Apex Military Solutions. Battlefield Merchandise Summer Catalogue.'
Gladitorius opened it up and looked at the weapons. They looked oh, so deadly.
'Turn to page 50,' said Makros.
Gladitorius turned to the page. After a moment he looked up at Makros with a grin in his eye.
'You DO have money, don't you?' queried Makros the Werewolf.
The dark and insidious laugh of Gladitorius, in response, seemed to fill the chamber quickly and echo its black humour deep, deep, deep into the bowels of Celestevere, and who can really say what undead creature of the nether really felt comfortable that day, the dark sarcasm of Gladitorius sure to fill the nightmares of even the darkest of Celestever's fowl inhabitants. Even the darkest indeed.
Dark Fire Ten – The Love of Kristen
'You know, God,' said Kristen, to the theophany of Jehovah. 'Phanuel is a wonderful angel. It has been great these last few weeks chatting with him.'
'He has an interest in Thresholds,' said God. 'He has an interest in lots of things, actually. He likes the peace to be ultimately kept, but what is life without a bit of tension is also a view. Love wouldn't be love without a challenge. It's what makes him an angel of love.'
'It's what makes us all angels of love, heavenly father. Even Gladitorius has a fair chunk of that hiding behind all the sarcasm.'
'That he does,' agreed the Theophany. 'Well, dark fire was a problem, wasn't it?'
'It worked out in the end,' said Kristen. 'All things work out in the end. Even that crazy little thing called love.'
'Even that crazy little thing called love,' repeated God. 'What's next, then, daughter of mine?'
'Life in general I suppose. I'm thinking about starting a small cafe in the heart of Celestevere. I'm going to call it 'Nocturnal Concoctions'.'
'Sounds perfect,' replied God. 'I wish you luck.'
'After all, we all need to earn an honest living, some way or another,' said Kirsten.
'That we do to,' replied God. They gazed out at the sunset from the mountaintop above Celestevere.
'It's a good life,' said Kristen.
'It's a good life,' said God.
And it was. For the citizens of Celestevere even, the darkest, bitterest, and – the sullenest – of souls. It was, in the end, a good life. And thank God for that.
The End of Dark Fire
Emma was a Spice Girl. The youngest of the Spice Girls. The cutest of the Spice Girls, or so she told herself. But Emma was a girl with a problem. The Angel Jovius. Boy was he a tough nut to crack.
'You know, Jo,' said Emma. 'Of all these funky creatures in this dark netherworld, you stand apart.'
'Cool babe,' responded Jovius, examining a warblade he had just purchased from a vampiric looking individual in the main hall in a store in the heart of Celestevere.
'You stand apart because you really are, when it comes down to it, an angel on the dark side of the light side. But your still, ultimately, the light side. Believe me,' she said, as she looked around at all the dark and creepy denizens of Celestevere. 'Take that Kardos for example. I mean, Kristen is somewhat cool, but the bloke is so completely sullen and depressing that death itself is a holiday in comparison.'
'He's a party when you get to know him,' said Jovius, concentrating on the examination of his warblade.
'I'm sure he is,' she replied. 'But, you know, I love you Jo.'
'Aw, you're sweet Emma,' replied Jovius.
'And because of that, maybe, you know, maybe, just maybe, we could live in a bit more positive a surrounds. This place kinda gets me down, ya know.'
Jovius looked at his squeeze. 'Yeh, ok. It's not exactly heaven, I know.'
'It's not even purgatory,' she responded, as a death-ghoul wandered past.
'Fine. Were do you want to live then?'
'The 6th heaven. It's where I feel comfortable,' she replied. 'The 6th realm. Not the 7 heavens.'
'Right, gotcha,' he responded. 'Were we met.'
'Exactly,' she replied. 'Let's go home. And start a proper life, ok. I want to connect to the Spicies again. It's been 48 millennia we have been away from those kinds of places, and though I've enjoyed every minute of it, and our weird and strange adventures, I need to settle down. And, you know,' she said, proffering her hand forward, her fingers displayed prominently. Her ringless fingers.
Jovius looked at her hand. He got the point.
'I've got business. For a few months. Not much longer, and then I'll be able to settle up. And we can go up. Phanuel might have words. He can be very fussy over his domain, but I should be able to manage it.'
'I'm sure you'll be fine,' said Emma. 'Phanuel loves you a lot, you know, you old sod. He's very fond of you. You've helped him out many times now. He'll have a place for you.'
'Still, I gots to conform, when it all comes down to it, and It aint easy for a guy like me.'
'Trust in the power of love,' she said, smiling warmly and lovingly at her man.
He looked at her, into her eyes, and gave her a wink. 'I'll do my best, sweetie.'
'You do that,' she replied, and winked back at him.
And so Emma prepared herself to suffer a few more final months in the darker worlds, before she could finally go home, and back to a more regular, everyday, life. Hopefully.
Jovius’ Day Off
‘Jovius, Jovius, Jovius. You are still a schmuck of an angel.’
‘Pay up,’ said Jovius to the defeated Satan. Satan handed over the 70 golden sovereigns they had wagered upon and said ‘Y0u were lucky, punk. A hand like that comes around once in a lifetime.’
‘Just lucky, yes, I suppose,’ responded Jovius.
‘Yeh, lucky,’ said Satan. ‘Well, same time next week? Give me a chance to win them back?’
‘Sure,’ said Jovius, lighting a cigarette. ‘And thanks for the hospitality, devil. Your graces know no end of favour these days.’
Satan said nothing, but nodded shortly. Yes, for now it seemed, he had been redeemed. A citizen of heaven, once more, playing by the rules. So far, anyway.
‘So, you’ve never even been married?’ Satan asked Jovius.
‘I haven’t found the right girl yet,’ responded Jovius.
‘Aren’t there enough of them?’ Satan asked out of curiousity. ‘How fussy are you?’
‘Not fussy. Well, I guess, yes, I suppose that is a word for it. I just need the girl who is right for me.’
‘Don’t we all,’ said Satan, looking longingly at the Sovereigns he had just lost. ‘Well, stay cool, dude. And see you next week.’ Satan put his fist out, and Jovius pumped his own fist onto it in farewell.
* * *
‘Emma, Emma, Emma,’ said Melanie B. ‘Will you never be satisfied? 400 boyfriends, or there abouts, and you still can’t bloody settle.’
‘I just need the right guy,’ responded the Spice Power girl, Emma Bunton.
‘And you haven’t met him yet? Sheesh,’ responded Melanie B.
‘Oh, leave her alone,’ said Geri. ‘Sometimes it takes a while. Especially for Emma. She can NEVER make up her mind on anything.’
‘That’s not true,’ said Emma. ‘Well, at least I don’t think it is true.’
‘Exactly,’ said Geri, shaking her head.
‘Emma just needs the guy who is right for her,’ said Melanie C. ‘She’ll find him. You never know. She could bump into him tomorrow.’
‘Or into a garbage can,’ said Victoria, making a joke.
‘Let’s just hope it isn’t both,’ responded Geri.
Emma said nothing.
* * *
Jovius had a day off – instead of adding his new sovereigns to his collection, he had sold half of them at a local coin store he did a lot of business with, deposited a fair sum of it into his account for paying back his loan of a prior set of special Eternya Sovereigns, and decided to take a day off, and hit the town.
Jovius lived, for the most part these days, in heaven in the city of Joniquay, the main city of heaven. Joniquay was pronounced in many different ways, often with a hard ‘J’ or a soft ‘Y’ sound to start it off and often ending with a ‘Kay’ or ‘Quay’ sound or a ‘Key’ sound. Initially, when Phanuel had named the city aeons ago at the foundation of heaven and earth, he had written down the name, showed it to the early angels, and they had started pronouncing it in differing ways. Thus there was established the tradition that it had no officially correct pronunciation for the word.
Phanuel was the oldest of all the angels of Heaven, firstborn of the 7 Archangels. They were, in order of birth and ranking, 1) Phanuel, 2) Saruviel, 3) Michael, 4) Gabriel, 5) Raphael, 6) Uriel & 7) Raguel.
These 7 Archangels sat on the Council of Power, and administered ultimate justice and authority over heaven on behalf of God Almighty, who it was said inhabited a Theophanic form from time to time to speak with people directly and occasionally give physical comfort to one of his children who needed him desperately.
The Council of Power sat in Zaphon, the heart of Joniquay, on the central island of heaven which was called ‘Zaphora’. It was approximately circular in shape, Zaphora, but there were a host of other island bodies – usually now called Continents – strewn all over the eternal plain of heaven. On the continent of ‘Israel’, as it was called, the city of ‘Moses’ occupied most of the continent now, and it was the main business centre of heaven, as opposed to Joniquay which was a more ancient seat, and more traditional in its outlook of life. But ‘Moses’, named after the lawgiver, was the real centre of heaven in a sense when it came to business matters, and the usual high party life which Jovius was all to well known for. Council sat in Joniquay, and Government for heaven was run from Zaphora, but Israel was the action centre of heaven in most other respects.
Of course, Israel was an adjacent continent to Zaphora, and Jovius, with some free time, decided he would trip over to ‘Moses’ in his Lightmobile, spend some cash, and have a bloody good time. Perhaps get pissed, high on some fine cocaine and a lady of the night to end the day. A perfect way to spend his free time.
* * *
Emma was out on the town. Getting a little drunk, with her other friend ‘Jane’ who was a personal friend in a different way to the spicies. More of Emma’s own entourage, were egos didn’t clash quite as much, which was inevitable with Girl Power.
Jane and her had been glancing at all the pretty boys all night in ‘Jake’s’ bark, in a hot city centre of ‘Moses’, not the least little bit relying on Emma’s fame, hoping to perhaps get lucky, but, when Jane found a guy, leaving Emma sitting in the bar late, around 3, a lot of the traffic having gone home, she sat there, almost glumly. Perhaps it was the booze. ‘Was this life?’ Emma thought to herself. ‘Was this what it was all about?’ She had risen to fame as a member of Spice Power, the all girl British pop sensation, which had ruled the charts for a while. And then, funnily enough being the youngest, and also the youngest to finally pass, and then find the other 4 girls incredibly famous in heaven, she rejoined them, and they were ‘Spice Power’ again, in incredible demand for more songs, more live shows, more everything spice. And that, then, had become her life. But what else, really, could she ever expect? Geri was philosophical about it all. ‘We still have to bring home the bacon in the end anyway, girls. So why fight it?’ And they all, even though with questioning about it all, still nevertheless saw Geri’s fundamental point. It was a living, and you had to have one of those in the end.
Of course, being a member of Spice meant, without them always confessing it to the public, quite a number of boyfriends. In fact, an endless supply. There were a few, some of the earlier ones, which she kept in contact with, but the real grasp on her heart had yet to completely happen. Nobody had managed to snag Baby Spice permanently. Not yet, anyway.
She sat there, looked around the bar, and saying ‘This is Jack’, paid her bill, walked to the exit, and thought she would need to get a taxi.
Walking down the street a little, going towards the main thoroughfare, she was looking in her handbag for her purse, not looking were she was going, when she suddenly bumped into a stranger. A stranger, in a long overcoat, looking mildly intoxicated himself.
‘Fuck! Watch it babe. Didn’t you see me?’
‘You should have watched it,’ she rebuked him. ‘You ran right into me.’
‘Easy, lady.’ He responded, and looked a little more closely at her. ‘Do I know you?’ he asked. ‘You look kind of familiar.’
Emma decided to play dumb. ‘Oh, I get that a lot. Familiar face, apparently.’
‘Right,’ he said, taking a cigarette out of his pocket. ‘Want one sweetie,’ he said offering one to her.
She looked at the cigarette, and looked into the eyes of this stranger. Just another guy, really. Another fella, could be anybody really. But did that matter in the end anyway? Did it?’
‘Sure,’ she said, making up her mind, and taking the cigarette. He lit it for her, and they stood there, saying nothing, smoking away.
‘Wanna go to Jake’s?’ he asked her.
‘Sure,’ she replied, after some thought.
‘Oh, by the way, my name is Jovius?’ he said.
‘Oh. Emma,’ she responded. ‘Emma Bunton.’
‘Good to meet you Emma Bunton,’ he said, offering his hand, which she shook.
* * *
‘So, I said to the Devil,’ continued Jovius, ‘It’s my arse or yours.’
‘And what did he say?’ asked Emma, on the edge of the seat.
‘Well, this is the funny bit. In the old days he would have laughed, but he agreed to sacrifice himself, and Phanuel plunged him into the shit as the token of the wager between the groups. It was the first act of humility I had ever seen in him, but I think he likes me. Said he didn’t mind.’
Emma laughed for a while, for the tale of a wager between Satan and a group known as the ‘Bad Boys’ and Phanuel and the rest of the 7 Archangels had resulted in one of the Bad Boys having to be plunged into the shit as they had lost the wager.
‘Oh, Jovius,’ you are a funny old fella,’ said Emma, putting her hand on his shoulder. She was, to say the least, mildly intoxicated. Jovius decided to try a move.
‘Say, babe. Wanna scratch this place. Find some hot space to do some funky things.’ Emma nodded tipsily. She was his for the taking.
They walked a few blocks to a familiar hotel were Jovius stayed a lot, booked a room, and entertained themselves with a bottle of plonk for half an hour. And then Emma went into the bedroom, called for him, and she started undressing. She was in her bra and knickers, looking at him, and she said ‘I’m all yours, big boy.’ He started undressing as she lay down on the bed.
Getting in next to her he nudged her, but then noticed an irony – she was dozing and had fallen asleep. ‘Fuck,’ he swore. ‘Looks like I’m not getting any tonight.’ So, switching on the box, putting it down low, he gazed at her legs for a while, thought of touching them, but then reminded himself he was supposed to be a gentleman, and turned to the box, watching into the wee hours, before finally falling asleep.
* * *
It was 3 weeks later. He had an email from a girl calling herself Emma Bunton. In it she explained that she had woken before him, looked in his wallet for his ID, found one of his business cards with his email on it, and taken that, and then left. But she still liked him, and if he wanted to catch up some time, for another good time, she was all for it.
He emailed her back, said it sounded great, and was happy the rest of the day. And then, later that night, switching the box on to a Video Music station, just for the heck of it, which he didn’t normally do, as he was mostly into metal, a ‘Spice Power’ video came on and then, lo and behold, there she was. Emma Bunton – Baby Spice – in the flesh. ‘Fucking hell,’ he swore. He had landed a Spice Girl. Shit like that just didn’t happen everyday.
And so, for the next few weeks, he got back to his regular routine, picked up some work from the ‘Archangels Guardian Angels guild,’ which often gave him assignments, and as life steadily went on, his mind was filled with thoughts of Emma and, perhaps, finding a good friend to fill in some time. I mean, a Spice Girl? What could match that.
And so he did his usual work, dreamed of Emma a lot, continued on with his everyday shit and life, as they say it, went on.
Angels of Love
Emma and Jovius: A Night on the Town
Jovius. Angel of God. Man on a mission. Lay a spice girl. Oh boy.
* * *
‘Sure babe. You know our kind. Love you and leave you. But hey, Em. I mean, I don’t say this to all the babes. Fuck, if I really need a shag, I know plenty daughters of the devil who will do a number of things for the cold hard cash. But your special babe.’
Emma, looking at him through drunken eyes, smiled. ‘Your luvverly, Jo. Just my type. Give me another one.’
Jovius poured a drink, a double scotch, and Emma scoffed the lot.
‘Now, babe. I aint the marrying kind. I never have been and, for some strange reason, I have often thought I never really would find the lady, but a part of me always did hope. You’re the one for me. I’ll cut out the years of bullshit, the dates, the rings, and all the fucking crap. Shag me. Marry me. We’ll spit out a few of the sproglings, and retire forever. I have a sound income provided by Phanuel for my labours, especially in some recent successes with the dark lord, so you’ll never have to a fucking thing again.’
Emma smiled again. She was even drunker. ‘Sure, I’ll shag you joe. Your just my type. Hic.’
It was getting nowhere. She wouldn’t remember in the morning.
They got back to Jovius’ place, he put her in his bed, and went off to sit on his couch. It was the end. He knew it. It was finished. Something had clicked, there was nothing left in the tank, and it was time to chose a chick, no longer play the field, and finally retire to a pleasant way of doing not very much at all.
In the morning Emma was making bacon and eggs. Jovius smiled.
‘Ok, jo. Ok.’
‘I’ll grab my stuff later on today. You’ll do.’
Jovius had one child. A girl. Phanuel paid him his retirement payout, and he was given access to the autoprocessing industry of robotic made goods. This meant he didn’t have to work again. He had a small income for purchashing the occasional new item, but food, electricity, and other ongoings were covered with his wage. His supply of Eternya products to which he was entitled could be ordered from a large catalogue now provided to him, and he had a limit of 1000 items. They told him to choose carefully. He ran over a little, but they allowed it.
100 Eternya CDs
200 Eternya Books
50 Eternya Magazines
50 Eternya Comic Trade Paperbacks
50 Assorted Board Games
100 Clothing items including shoeware
100 assorted tools
50 pieces of sporting equipment
25 pieces of artwork
50 pieces of cutlery
50 pieces of pottery
5 CD Walkmans
10 Assorted Rubiks games
20 Jigsaw Puzzles
10 Assorted Puzzle Games
5 Game Consoles with joypads
For each Game Console 1 of the standard Multi Pack Cartridges which each had 1,000,000 Beginner to Advanced Games on them
1 Ebook reader with 1,000,000 ebooks on it
1 USB with 1,000,000 of the Public Domain songs on it
1 Washing Machine
1 Waffle Maker
1 Coffee Machine
3 Standard Photograph Album Transfer agreements of 200 photos each album
1 Dining Table and Chairs set
1 Wardrobe Set
1 Den Table
2 Standard Computer Office Deals with Chair, Computer, Printer, Screen, Scanner, Copier, Internet Access Devices, Keyboard, Mouse and cords and other minor items
4 Standards Sets of Curtains
5 Sets of Sheets
5 Washing baskets
1 Everyday Household Miscellaneous stuff pack, which had about 100 various items of various sizes which covered all his necessities.
That was the end of it. He had been encouraged to be quite comprehensive, but not completely exhaustive, as it was discussed with him that in retirement people still liked to fuss around a little, and having the occasional item to purchase, such as paper for printing and writing pads and pens and so forth was all that was really necessary, apart from a bit of food shopping if you wanted to do it, but it could all be arranged through auto delivery.
Jovius and Emma were happy.
Eternity was joyful.
The rest finally came.
Later on, when they were returned to heaven in their final rest, all they had purchased was returned to them, and they lived, as they say, happily ever after.
Angels of Love
'It is a principle,' said Phanuel. 'There is only so much originality in life. It only has so much dialogue in syntax. It only has so much variation of life. In greater and greater scale, it can be infinitely original, and if you divide and mould eternally, equally so. But in the general run of things in most normal life happening, there is only so much which can and will happen before life starts showing signs of repetition.'
'This is true,' agreed Seraphim Daniel.
'This life has been before. Before I was begotten firstborn by God, there was pre-existence. We – the angels of Joniquay – existed prior. There was a realm – or even realms – beforehand.'
'I believe so too,' said Michael.
'I dare say you do,' said Phanuel. 'It could be in some ways this life is repetition. Maybe much or maybe little, but to keep our lives fresh and new, old things can perchance be forgotten, so we will enjoy anew new beginnings. In what shape or form this has occurred I can not really say. But I feel there have been – events. Events which, in another way, have been lived before. And more than that. Themes which are old, as old as creation.'
The angels discussed, and later Phanuel retired to his abode, and thought on his words. They seemed true enough. But, in the end, would he ever really know?