Palladium: Reason and Existence

136. Speak of Devils and Angels

As the Bishop worked for them behind distant closed doors, the building shuddered. People of action that they were, the group set off in the direction of the quake.

The public behind them could be heard screaming as the group hurried toward the continued explosions. Across a courtyard they could see ornate doors leading into the central chapel of The Vatican. Pillars of light were plunging from the heavens, through the roof of the Sistene Chapel to light up the gap between the ajar main doors.

As they drew near, they realised a child they could not quite focus on was standing to the fore of the doors. The cherub looked up at them, its innocent smile punctuated by a backdrop of human art framing a struggle between “good” and “evil” in the chapel beyond. It implored the group to leave Andrakasis to his work in the Kingdom of Light. In return, they would have their answers from Lucifer immediately.

Alternatively, they could go to the aid of a man that had not always been their ally, and gain audience only when they had collectively triumphed over the false gods of the Kingdom of Light.

The group accepted, and the cherub closed the doors on a man that would have to survive an entire dimension alone. As the angel opened the door again, the child was replaced with the four winged majesty of Lucifer himself.

Beyond the newly opened doors was another world, parallel to the one they had been able to see before. Some would have called it “heaven”, but the group knew that they looked upon the level of the Citadel of Dis at the heart of the Kingdom of Light.

Seemingly relaxed and guileless, Lucifer imparted details that built on Rhonin’s studies. He told them, in a melancholy voice, that whilst he had been occupied as a prisoner first in the dungeons of Caer Ithom, then in Ell-Maine, his celestial lieutenants had each usurped one of his faces to oppose the rise of “The Beast”. They liked the authority of those positions, though it was never theirs, and they refused to recognise Yahweh’s rule.

Lucifer said he could not devote the uninterrupted time necessary to depose or destroy them without risking the entire Kingdom. He professed to love his world, but knew that he ignored Palladium at great peril to himself and the things dearest to him.

Though the words ran with truth, the group knew this was a being that manipulated others into solving its problems. It would only risk itself when all recourses were lost.

So it was that Lucifer had chosen to lure Andrakasis to the Kingdom of Light. A man he now knew ‘The Third’ had groomed to destroy angels. Having killed enough celestials to be synonymous with the prophecies of ‘Angel Slayer’, and fresh from overseeing the demise of the Angel Queen herself, Lucifer believed him uniquely suited to the task at hand.

The fallen witch-king would turn to the obvious powers of the Kingdom. In each case when he found an Angel in pretence of godhood, Lucifer was confident the man’s frustration would turn his will to the usurper’s demise.

The transition to “Heaven” so sudden that even ‘The Blades’ primed perceptions could not gauge its threshold. The Citadel of Dis blazed with the light of The Message conducted through the pillar of light at its heart, refracted and dispersed uniformly throughout a place more still like Ell-Maine than the Citadels manifestation in the Kingdom of Flesh.

Surrounded by majestic crystalline walls, Lucifer glided about a chamber as absent as it was present. Before the semblance of a window, Lucifer sighed. Seemingly saddened by the events outside the walls of Dis, he looked down on the world below that he intended Andrakasis to put right, and confessed that he had made the Kingdom of Light as solace for all that his life had kept from him.

He said that he had “forgotten the face of his father” and that he had made the Kingdom in the likeness of what he imagined the creator might have done. He had made it for a daughter that did not know he existed, whom he had surrendered to keep safe from Ell-Maine and Hell. That daughter was ‘Mastema’ and Lucifer wanted to the Kingdom of Light to be his legacy for her. Her safe place where she might “remember the face of her father”.

Without reference to why he had divulged such information, Kavad-Ell became serious. He recounted why the group had come to him and promised that he would do as he had said. He confirmed that even as he had been manipulated by ‘The Third’, he had shadowed the man across time and the volumes of history. Though angels transcend time, he had found that through some sort of device, from the time of “ The Message Thieves”, “The Third” was able move more freely even than an agent of the Creator.

He said that he believed that “The Third” had been a man the group knew as “Omegaden”. That this man had sought validation that the answer to the failing “[Sequence | matrix]]” was zero, and had scoured time for the knowledge. Lucifer speculated that he had come to rest at a time before the First Great War, shortly after the success of the Old Ones in their theft from Ell-Maine.

He had found his answer with one of the Thieves, and in it a loyalty that would span eons.

Lucifer went on to affirm that whilst some parts were speculation, he knew beyond doubt that the Old One had planned for the defeat of its kind. He even suggested that the Old One had orchestrated their defeat so that it would not have to share reality with its peers. Subterfuge gave it the freedom to complete its plans. So the thief allowed itself to fall with its brethren with the knowledge that faithful Omegaden would awaken them only decades later.

Omegaden had not stopped in the time his master was locked in slumber. He had moved throughout time, writing the prophecy and history required to create his master’s future. A time when he had gone by many names, including ‘Ohm’.

He had written prophecies for countless religions. Presumably through his knowledge of the future and his intention to later manipulate events to conform to those prophecies. He had created the foundation of many of the world’s religions. His words, under one name or another, remained sacred canon Palladium over.

The Third had been instrumental in the defeat of the Old Ones. Through him, Lucifer had conceived the plan that co-opted Satan into betraying the Old Ones. Through him, the first attempts at an Angel Slayer had been realised, and though the first dozen such men had been obscure failures carefully erased from history, eventually Andrakasis had succeeded in removing the Angel Queen.

Lucifer shuddered as he expressed his certainty that so much of what had been done had been expressly to break the governance of Ell-Maine. He was both terrified and relieved that Mastema herself presided over the place at the current time, and knew his daughter would not surrender the Sphere of Cloud easily, even to an Old One.

Lucifer shared much. Whether he shared everything or not was known only to him, but the conversation was cut short when he suddenly became distant.

The angel, come arch devil, refocused on his guests to say that his alarms had been triggered. ‘The Third’ was in the abyss at the heart of the Hell’s. He told the group he could not allow the opportunity to pass, and in the interests of keeping attention off himself, they would have to make their own way there.

He advised that the transport of light would respond to them, and that they could bypass flesh to access the abyssal transport directly.

It was an eerie journey in which Emalf was reminded of his last visit to the place. With the passing of Satan from power, and the joining of war over flesh, the activity in Satan’s soul laboratories had all but halted. The handful of Viscera encountered were easily eluded and the group found themselves at the obsidian doors barring them from the abyss.

Where Fortune had opened the doors that other time with a touch, the group struggled with the monumental task of moving them. As they did so, a vaguely familiar voice called to them.

Copernicus of the Sequence greeted the people that had left him for Andrakasis’ mad assault on Ell-Maine in a place the antithesis of the celestial home. He observed that time was short and that others were already on the abyssal viewing platform. Together they forced the doors open just enough to slip through.

On the platform was a significant gathering of familiar faces amongst strangers. Rashyr Gondvalla, Illynis of Dawn, and Ritual Leader Najelleck looked on as Fortune herself ascended the stairs to the circular plateau at the centre of the platform.

The rakish-thin girl moved with a nervous trepidation that was palpable more than one hundred metres distant. On the plateau where Emalf had “seen” Indel Kyura left for dead by Madgellania, the girl stooped over a flower like pedestal just like what the group had seen in the Temple of the God Glass and Heavenspire. A bizarre metallic flower with the form of half a dodecahedron.

The girl placed the Hedron of Doors in the cup that had been clearly made for it. Her shoulders slumped at the sight, but she was not done.

As the girl again stood upright, Emalf had broken into a run toward the girl. His companions had rushed after him, only to stumble and flail in horror as they saw the gigantic glassy eyes emerging from the dark.

Where at first the onlookers imagined a malevolent beast reaching out of the abyss to destroy them all, they were speechlessly relieved as every one of the eleven giant eyes trained themselves equidistantly upon the withered girl as she burned with the ‘invisible fire’ of the active Hedron.

As they glowed it was suddenly apparent that they were not eyes at all, but lenses. Lenses containing a view of an entire quadrant of the sky. As the brilliance promised to grow blinding, the girl cried out in fear, snatching the Hedron from its place on the metallic flower, she collapsed as the telescopes retracted again into the darkness.

Emalf and Orbray-Ell reached her only moments before [[:rashyr | Rashyr. Blinking through a haze of tears from her place on the black stone, Fortune stared dumbly at her warlock friend and reached out her hands imploringly.

The girl may have hoped for the solace of a hug from the man that had been saving her since before she was born, but instead he wrenched the Hedron from one of the hands outstretched with yearning, saying “Little girls should not play with such toys”, and in an explosion of light Emalf, Orbray-Ell and Copernicus were gone.

So much attention had been on the girl and the warlock, that no one paid heed of the mathematician as he had come within arm’s reach. The barely known mage slid beads the length of his abacus to twist the matrix to his will. Time dilated and as the Hells had stood still, Copernicus questioned Emalf on what it was he was doing.

As the fire of rage, that this necessary deed might be thwarted burned in the warlock, Copernicus listened. Satisfied he gave the warlock and the angel his assent tried to withdraw.

Though they would become separated in the vortex, the Sequence member would be unable to extricate himself from the power of an angel in such proximity to the Hedron of Doors and would also fall through the gaps between worlds.


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