Chronicles of the Children of Destiny
'Morning Stars 1 - Book 3'
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
Copyright Daniel Daly
Intensifying reality. The Father of Glory had decided that now was the time for the intensifying of reality. His children in the Realm of Eternity, the third realm which he had created, had grown used to life and the merry pathways it offered them. Yet, in the future he envisaged for them – in the character and person he wished inscribed in each of their souls - the eternal Father of Glory had decided that a period in which the lessons they had learned were to be put to the test. The lessons of life and love which so many of them lived by and claimed they believed in needed to be seen to be either genuine or, as he perhaps feared, not completely honest in word. And if not honest in word, as he felt perhaps was true for a number of them, then he would see – he would indeed see – just how honest in deed were the angels of the eternal realm.
He had made plans on this issue. The 1000 years of Saruviel’s second exile was now into its second century. The community had gone on with life as normal, living through its happy peace and tranquillity. Yet, the eternal Father had begun weaving little strands – little strands in a tapestry of life which would, in his purposes, see just who was who in the Realm of eternal life.
Whatever would be would be, in the eternal life of the Father of Glory and the divine children of eternity. Whatever would be would be.
‘The Judgement of God’
Chapter One – Gloryel's Flight
Gloryel, having flown for around 7 hours straight upwards, was hovering in mid air, flapping her wings at a calmer pace. She was exhausted. Absolutely and completely exhausted. But she was not finished with yet. She would fly the highest ever of any of the angels of eternity. She would fly upwards – straight upwards from Zaphon – until she could not fly any higher until she was absolutely and utterly exhausted. And then, her goal reached, she would fall. She would literally fall downwards, in rest, her body recovering. For she knew she would have ample time to recover before the ground beckoned. She looked upwards and decided that she would fly, now, with as much energy as she could muster until it was gone – until she had given absolutely everything she was capable of giving. And then she shot up.
A burst of fire. A burst of passion. A burst of Glory. She flew with all her energy, power, determination and spirit. She flew with fire in her heart and fire in her soul. With everything she had, she flew.
And then, at about her limit – at about her absolute limit – chest heaving, body aching, wings exhausted – she spied up above her something. A spot in the sky. And it did not, now, look too far above her. It did not look too high. Whatever it was, it was now her final goal. With strength beyond herself, she would make this mark. She would achieve this final glory.
Her wings spasmed a little and she had to slow down. But, a little burst of energy at her lesser pace helped her, and she, ever so tender in her heart, made the rock.
She climbed on to the pillar in the sky and lay there. She lay there, exhausted and before she could even wonder where she was, the gentle hand of the eternal Dreamlord touched her and soothed her into a peaceful, glorious, slumber.
* * * * *
They sat there. She watched them, in the way you observe within dreams, barely ever moving – barely ever doing anything. They occasionally spoke, but usually they sat there, seemingly going through an eternally allotted time. After a while of this, names entered her mind. Names such as Satan and Damien – Lucifer and Samaen – these names entered her mind. She looked at them closely. They looked familiar – as if she had known them personally. But they were not the same. They were different. As if she had known them, but not known them. And then one of them fell off the rock, and the dream was over.
* * * * *
She awoke suddenly. She awoke, still exhausted, but her mind a little bit better – a little more refreshed. She was okay now, but her body still needed some more time to recover. She looked around. There was, really, nothing to look at. The rock was bear, apart from a few scraps of what appeared to be clothing material. It was also not very large. There was enough room for her to lie on comfortably, and perhaps a few others if they lay close together, but that was all it could home. Having now recovered somewhat, she tested her wings. They, although still aching, would be okay. She flew down underneath the rock and looked it over. It appeared solid, a few cubits thick, and nothing really surprising. She returned to the top and sat there, thinking. Just how long had this rock been here? Why had their Father never talked about it? Why had he never commented on it? And, more importantly, just exactly what purpose did it serve? Other thoughts entered her head, and after a while, one particular thought became lucid in her mind. She looked up – straight up. If this rock was here, which indeed it was, what was up higher? What, if anything, lay beyond even the upper heights of the Realm of Eternity?
Eventually, questions unanswered, she decided that, as she had no food and did not really find a need in flying high again, as she had met her objectives, Gloryel decided it was time to return home. Sariel would be most anxious. She had left her brother and others at Zaphon, intending to fly as long as she possibly could. She had worried often, in her ascent, having persisted for so long, that her brothers and sisters could be very concerned about her. And now, with the sleep she had just taken, they could be most anxious. Time to return home.
She looked over the rock. She looked at it, in a way satisfied in its existence and, looking downwards, began her glorious descent.
* * * * *
Daniel sat with Lindsay in Zaphon keep, in the main lounge outside of the dining room. Daniel had requested Lindsay either come and visit him or for him to visit her, through the courier service, after having read a poem of hers she had composed a number of years back. It had spoken to him. Spoken to him deeply. It had meant something to him, and he wanted to express his deepest thanks and gratitude for what the poem meant.
‘It is, Lindsay, a gem. A beautiful and delicate poem which comes from a pure and true heart. I am most grateful to you for having written of your experiences with Saruviel – I am most grateful. It really is most inspiring and I would greatly like to write some poetry or some other writing with your poem in mind. I would, so greatly, appreciate this. If you have no objections.’ Lindsay, thinking over Daniel’s request, was cautious. The poem was part of her heart. Very personal to her. Very personal. But Daniel had asked kindly. Quite kindly. Perhaps she could refuse him. It was within her rights, of course. ‘I will have to think that over, Daniel. I will get back to you on that.’ Daniel nodded, grateful for a chance. ‘I do appreciate that Lindsay. Really, I do. Thank you. Well, thank you again so much for giving me this time. I would have come to visit you if you had asked – that would have not been a problem.’ ‘No, that was fine. I enjoy time in my birthplace, probably like you Daniel.’ Daniel nodded, understanding apparent on his face.
Yes, Zaphon was enjoyable to him. In fact, quite personally so. It had been his home for nearly all his life, apart from a brief stay at Ambriel’s abode with Meludiel. He had generally come to the thought in his heart that he would never leave. That it would remain, eternally, the home of the 45th of the Seraphim of Eternity. That was the plan within the heart of Daniel.
* * * * *
Krystabel, 7th of the female Seraphim of eternity, had now generally conceded the point – not completely – not utterly – but generally conceded. ‘God – he will always be what he is. Untameable.’ ‘Such is life, Krystabel.’ Krystabel thought on her Father’s reply. Yes, such was life. She looked down at the copy of the Seraphim Torah in her hands. She looked again at her own principle, section 12, principle 2, which read, ‘In the halls of Kalphon, in the Devil’s grand domain. The firstborn child of this grand hall, his heart ye’ll never tame.’ She had known, almost immediately from the time that Gabriel announced who was to be head of Kalphon keep all those years ago, who the firstborn child of Kalphon was. That firstborn child was her twin – Saruviel. He was the atrocious Devil – who father had called Satan – of the Seraphim Torah. This the community had, now, generally come to believe in.
After the first exile it had been on the angels mind, but nobody had been prepared to admit it. But now, with Saruviel exiled yet again, and after his actions towards Michael, they generally considered Saruviel the Devil himself. The infamous Devil of the Torah. The Devil, who appeared to be Satan, was mentioned in a handful of other Torah principles, as well as being implied that he was also the Dragon of the Torah. This, the angelic community, had now generally acknowledged. They had been reluctant at first. Some had suggested that God had called Saruviel Satan as a judgement rather than as a personal name. But the community, now, generally believed that Saruviel was the devil himself. Of that most people had been convinced.
Of course, Krystabel was Saruviel’s twin. And when it had been announced that Kalphon was to be the domain of Saruviel, she had sought to soften him with her persistent efforts. Yet, unfortunately, to no avail. As Torah taught – ‘His heart ye’ll never tame.’ Her brother Davriel had now started teaching quite often ‘The Judgement of God’ persistently and confidently. He was assured – absolutely convinced – of the truth of his work. ‘The Judgement of God was, to Davriel, now virtually Torah itself. Of that he seemed to have little doubt.’
His brother Rophiel also agreed with Davriel on this issue, teaching the importance of Torah scholars and their works. They were, in the words of Rophiel, ‘fundamental to the spiritual welfare of the community.’ Rophiel himself had begun a spiritual movement of dedicated angels who followed his principles called ‘Muslims.’ His religion was known as ‘Islam’ which taught surrender or submission to God himself. It was a rejection of pride and self-exaltation. Rophiel admired Davriel’s works, though, and relied upon his brother for the strength in his own movement. Davriel had also started to attract a spiritual fellowship – his movement was based around the special anointing he had received from their father. Davriel was the first to have been ‘Christened’ or ‘Anointed’. His followers now referred to him as the ‘Christ’ and the religion itself as ‘Christianity’. Followers of Christ were called ‘Christians’.
The Christian religion, which had started within the community, was not in fact the work of the Christ, Davriel. It was not, directly, his work at all. The 7 Saruvim were not the only ones of the Realm of Infinity which had come to know the Eternal Realm. The Logos, through the permission of his Father, had also been allowed access to the Realm of Eternity. Logos had chosen Davriel as a vessel within the Realm of Infinity for his work to begin. Logos required a witness of righteousness from the Realm of Infinity – for the children of eternity to know, ultimately, in the destiny Logos worked with his Father, that they were not alone.
Davriel was, in a sense, the chosen child of the Logos. He, the 70th of the Realm of Eternity, would establish the true faith within the Realm of Eternity. This was the purpose of the Logos, from which he would not flinch.
Gabriel had taken a great interest in both Christianity and Islam. They had both appealed to him as sensible and godly spiritual pathways. They did, he felt, suit God’s purposes, and would achieve the level of spirituality that Gabriel deemed appropriate.
Michael, who particularly liked some of Davriel’s ideas around destiny and the term ‘prophecy’, was also interested in Christianity and Islam. He, like Gabriel, felt these spiritualities had great potential.
Raphael had given Davriel’s Christianity some thought, but had given no firm commitment to its principles being taught at Mitraphon. ‘Perhaps in time, Davriel,’ had been Raphael’s position. It needed consideration, so he maintained.
Krystabel herself remained faithful to her own Seraphim Torah. She did not really want to take any interest in either Davriel’s or Rophiel’s spiritual teachings. They condemned her twin. They judged him, Krystabel truly felt, without the love and kindness which was supposed to be at the heart of the Angelic Community. She knew her brother had faults – that he was imperfect, and perhaps motivated by pride. But he did not judge hearts and condemn the angels in the way done to him. She had known that he had doubted their Father’s honour and his integrity – yet she felt Saruviel was honest in this judgement, and not motivated by any impure spirit. His sincerity Krystabel knew personally. Yet, especially with Davriel, she felt that her younger brother exalted himself above Saruviel, who was his elder, and attempted to take a responsibility which was inappropriate for him. He refused, it seemed, to accept his place in the hierarchy of God’s angelic children.
Yet, if that was Davriel, then so be it. The spirit of love and patience was meant to motivate her – this she understood. She desired, though, strongly, that this spirit would be reciprocated in the hearts of her angelic brothers and sisters. She desired and hoped for this quite strongly.
* * * * *
Crocus, 19th of the male Cherubim of Eternity sat looking over the flock of sheep he, as a shepherd, had been given responsibility for. He looked at the face etched onto a scroll in his hands – a picture of his beloved twin Smilax. Smilax was, like him, a devoted shepherdess. She looked over a flock of sheep, from which the community gained wool. The need for a shepherd had come earlier that year, with the creation of a new type of animal. A new and fearsome type of animal, known as a wolf. Wolves were not always gentle – not always gentle at all. It had been a dark night for a community just outside of Terraphon when the dead carcass of a sheep had been found, its body mutilated. Everyone had been shocked – alarmed greatly. And then it had happened again. Finally, with angels on watch, a wolf was spotted killing one of the sheep, a young lamb. This had alarmed the community greatly however, when their Father had been consulted on the issue, he had given them strong words on the nature of wolves – that killing sheep and other animals was part of their nature – that it was totally normal for them to do as such. The angelic community had reacted strongly, though, and assigned the new role of ‘Shepherd’ to various angels to watch over the sheep flocks. Both Crocus and Smilax had been given the responsibility.
Recently, Crocus had fended off a wolf with his staff as it had tried to devour a sheep. The wolf had growled at him a little, which scared him a bit, but had left without much of a fight. Crocus, having given the new creation some thought, wondered just exactly what his Father’s purpose was in the creation of wolves. Wether there was some lesson – some life lesson – that he desired the angelic community to learn. He thought on Saruviel and wondered privately if there was meant to be any connection between Saruviel and wolves, but he eventually dismissed that thought. Saruviel was actually the Devil and the Dragon, rather than any wolf.
These thoughts were the common thoughts of shepherd crocus, yet the most prominent were of his twin Smilax. Crocus loved her. Truly loved her. Yet, in the time he spent with her, he knew she felt not the same. That his adoration was unreciprocated, and likely not ever to be. Yet he pined for his twin. He silently worshipped her and came to many brave plots and triumphs in his mind of how to win her heart and affection. With a little bit of luck, and a whole dose of charm, he felt certain he would prevail. That he would win the heart of his beloved shepherdess twin, and that all would be right with the world.
Such and such were the heart matters of Crocus the Cherubim, on a cold and frosty Galadon morning in the heart of Terraphora.
* * * * *
Saruviel sat in darkness. Darkness. Darkness. All around the chill of nothingness surrounded him. Cold, hard, vengeful, dark, evil. Malevolent. They were there. They were still there. They watched him. They watched him and, from time to time, insulted him. They cast aspersions – derogatory statements. They entered his mind and said to him - ‘You are God. You are the Devil. You are life. You are death. You are war. You are peace. You are everything. You are nothing. You are Saruviel.’ And Saruviel relented of all his life. All his peace. All his truth. All his dreams. All his goals. All his plans. All his passion. All his vision. And then, at the end, it was complete. He was, in truth, no longer Saruviel. In the end, he was the dark lord himself, the evil one, the adversary, Satan.
* * * * *
Krystabel. Child of God. Child of peace. Child of love. Krystabel sat and thought on her twin. The lost one. The lost child. Her beloved twin. He had, now, settled there. He had now, now, become one with her. Others had come around. Other angels – suitors – romancers – lovers. But for her, there was only one. There was only one true, divine, connection. Saruviel. Her beloved Saruviel. The Saruviel she adored, wanted and needed. Saruviel.
* * * * *
Sariel, a Seraphim. He sat there, lost in endless random thoughts which had become part of his life. Endless, happy though, but endless random thoughts of life. What was a Seraphim, he thought to himself. What was he, Sariel, a Seraphim all about. What was his purpose in life? Did he have one? Was there any meaning? Was there any point? Zaphon now ran smoothly, yet after Michael’s long tenure, nothing more seemed necessary to be done, in any real way. Nothing more really. Administration. That was all it really was. Administration. And while, in truth, it did not bore him, in truth it bored the hell out of him as well. A dichotomy of life and death. Of good and evil. Of love and hate. Gloryel had, thankfully, returned. And with most interesting and strange news. A rock. A new and interesting rock. Atop the realm, almost beyond reach, a rock beckoned. And, so it seemed, it was his twin sister who had, strangely enough, claimed the glory of that conquest. Of course, he was getting used to that. She was, now, tragically competitive. She had, so he felt, been doing her very best to show him just what a female could do when she put her mind to it. This, though, did not really bother Sariel. In fact, he really just enjoyed the entertainment of Gloryel’s passion. Let the little minx strut her stuff, were in fact the private thoughts of Sariel. Of course, he would never share them with her. He adored her. He loved her. And he fancied her. But, of course, he, while somewhat competitive, did know he had an eternal challenge on his hand with his minxy little twin.
A response was called for. In fact, a most decisive response. Something to show his beloved twin what Sariel, Archangel of God, and current overseer of the Realm of Eternity could in fact do when he put his mind to it. Something which would show young Gloryel what Sariel was made of.
* * * * *
Daniel looked at his twin Ariel. ‘You’re a bitch, he silently thought to himself. A cold, heartless bitch. She had now, in the years she had been living at Zaphon, had about 1000 lover cherubim angels. And yes, he had been counting. All the time a new face popped up – a new face which Ariel seemed to have an uncanny knack of introducing to Daniel. And, in that little sarcastic voice which had started to come in, he knew she was mocking the hell out of him. Yet, really, did he care? She was only a female? What did they know? Simple thoughts on life. Mundane concerns over trivial, pointless issues of the heart. And that was, really, just about it. Complex things – well – they were a bit beyond them. Young Nadiel, she had potential. For a female, she was almost intelligent, he thought to himself. Which genuinely surprised him. Both he and Valandriel had reached a general conclusion that the fairer gender could not really grasp or cope with intellectual concepts of any substance. They were, in the end, just a bit too much for the poor dears little lovestruck minds. Of course, females had there uses. They had potential to do housework, which was always useful, as it allowed him time to focus on the more important things in life. But, of course, it was only Meludiel who seemed in any way inclining towards this sort of lifestyle with himself. And now Ambriel seemed to finally have reclaimed his prize. Of course, Ariel had at her disposal a whole arsenal of male lovers, so her need for her twin was non-existent. She could, Daniel felt, mock him and his attitudes eternally so, if she so desired. Yet, whatever. The single life would do. It would suffice. Funnily enough, God actually spoke to him now from time to time. He encouraged him and told him not to worry about it. Ultimately, everything would turn out for the best. If he simply had a little faith, things would get there one day.
Of course, Sharlamane remained at Zaphon. And she liked him still. Her fidelity and kindness to her older brother remained unchanged. He felt, perhaps, now, he could devote himself to her. When he had finally concluded that Meludiel belonged with Ambriel, and that Ariel would go on mocking him forever, he felt he needed to wise up. Sharlamane was love. In the end, Sharlamane was love. And this sister of his would keep faith in him and stay with him forever. It seemed, to Daniel, the wisest and most sensible of choices.
Chapter Two - Smilax
Smilax. Sheperdess. 19th of the female Cherubim. Sitting with her older sister by one rank, Georgia, Smilax contemplated some of the words Georgia had been speaking with her. ‘Crocus has loved you for so long, dear sister.’ ‘Yes. I know Georgia. He is attractive, but my heart is not given to him. I do not feel for him in that way.’ ‘You are beautiful sister. Do you not know he adores thee. That your fine looks have won his heart.’ ‘Yes, Georgie, I do know. So?’ ‘His heart, sis. What of his heart.’ ‘He is male.’ ‘Yes, he is male.’ Smilax looked at her sister, and considered those words. She stood up from the park bench just in front of the flowing Terravon, and walked over towards the river. She looked into the calmly flowing river. A river, merrily and happily flowing along in its eternal pleasant destiny. She thought on the Sellawon in Zaphora. There, her and Crocus had once spent an afternoon. A picnic he had arranged in their youth. It was, in truth, part of heart and memory. But he was male. They did not change. Hard of heart. Hard of soul. Not worthy of her love, her attention, her heart. He was a male. Just a male.
* * * * *
Mandy, 20th of the female Cherubim, sat inside Zaphon library. It was not her regular home. She visited occasionally, as a number of the Cherubim who had been born there in fact did. Her twin brother, Dreznadoranta, had recommended that she visit the library to look at some of the original writings of the community. They were, as it had been said before, their legacy. Their heritage.
She looked through one of the original copies of ‘Torah and Life’ by her older Seraphim brother Davriel. She was looking at the opening passage. It spoke to her. It read, ‘The Torah of God. A work of our father. A work of wisdom. A work of power. A work of drama. A work of truth. A work of life. To you, my sisters and brothers, what is the Torah? What purpose does it serve? What meaning should be gained from it? Of course, as we all know, Torah is our teaching, our knowledge, our way of life. So, in this, perchance, eternal dichotomy of teaching and life – relating the conceptual to the physical – what pathway of the eternal will you tread upon? What, indeed, will be the fate of your destiny?’
Mandy though on that. The fate of her destiny? Obvious things came to her mind. Eternal life. Eternal love. Eternal peace. Why, in the end, choose anything else. Why choose anything else at all?
* * * * *
Shemrael, Seraphim female, child of the eternal father, 10th born of the females of eternity, was considering life. She was considering life and ideas relating to how people should relate to each other. Wether, as in the ideas of life that had permeated her mind and understanding, wether things the way she understood them were reality. Wether they had any real meaning or any truth to them. She, like Cimbrel, now belonged to the Japanese community. They were, in fact, honoured as the oldest of this community. Her community had developed a strong culture of honour, formal and polite behaviour, and great decorum. This, she sensed, was the best way of life to live and maintain. The best quality of life to last eternally. Why should her sister, Meludiel, have ever considered challenging this obvious point. She had felt, to a degree, shame at her sisters carousing with Daniel. It had made her embarrassed as a Seraphim. But, thankfully, Ambriel and Meludiel remained tied together now, and Daniel showed no apparent interest in her anymore. Seemingly, and thankfully, the issue had been resolved.
She considered, though, Daniel’s recent words. ‘What is life without a bit of spice, Shemrael. Or is Japan the eternal kingdom?’ Later on that night, having reflected on his words, she wanted to hit him. But she rebuked herself, reclaiming her dignity. The child her brother had become would eventually learn his lesson. She would pray for him, persevere in faith and love with her eternal father, and redeem his fallen pride. It was part of her ongoing spiritual ministry, to which she was most dedicated. Her brother would grow up eventually. In this truth, she had faith.
* * * * *
Michael, living in Ambriel’s former abode on the edge of Terraphora, looked at the new stock of beer which had arrived. Of course, it would not be consumed anywhere near the rapidity which his young brother Ambriel had wholeheartedly dedicated himself to, but he would partake of the golden liquid over the next few years. Sariel, it seemed to him, was working excellently. The maintenance of the quality of life in the Realm of Eternity was flowing smoothly and well. There were no real complaints and people, from Michael’s perspective, approved of Sariel as the successor to Michael’s administration. Sariel was, to Michael, the natural choice. A sensible, uneventful, continuation of his work. Sariel was responsible. Methodical. Orderly. This spirit within his brother emanated from the real understanding of life and what was required to bring stability to peoples live. For the second overseer of the Realm – for the lesson he wished to teach everyone – there could be no other example or choice to make. Sariel was the only one worth considering in that role.
Of course, the others would have their turn as well. Yet, after time, they would realize who his first choice in fact was. It was the lesson they would need to learn. Following him, though, Michael had reached his general conclusion. He would speak with Sariel and, gently, persuade him of choosing Saruviel – a choice he had already apparently committed to – but one which Michael wanted Sariel to know was his best choice as well. Saruviel would bring that spark of life – that flame – that absoluteness – that intensity – which needed to be marked so strongly and early on in the realm of eternity. Saruviel was a blazing fire to Michael. A blazing passionate fire of intense and absolute authority. An angel who would brook no equal. No authority. Not even their eternal father himself. And Michael, quite devilishly now, thought to himself, let his family cope with that ego. They would learn about Saruviel soon enough. And in that thinking, Michael chuckled a little to himself. ‘The old Devil, hey father. The old Devil’
* * * * *
Gloryel, seated next to Sariel and Daniel, Ariel seated opposite her, looked at the move Sariel had made. Chess – the new variant with a 9 by 9 grid, with the two new extra pieces of God and the Devil – was challenging her. It was really making her brain work. She looked at Sariel, seated next to her, who was surveying the board, occasionally glancing at Daniel. Of course, the banter had been severe, again. Sariel, the arrogant bastard, had confidently maintained that even if Ariel and Gloryel worked as a team, they had buckley’s and none of defeating either himself or Daniel. Gloryel, of course, had responded. She would, again, take her pride-filled brother. She would put him in his place.
Daniel looked at Gloryel. ‘Of course, for a woman, you are doing alright.’ Gloryel looked at him sharply. ‘Shut up, Daniel.’ ‘I am really, dear Gloryel, surprised that a female like yourself can actually comprehend the possibilities of the Devil piece. I assumed it would be beyond your dear little capabilities.’ Sariel looked at Daniel, chuckled a little, but responded anyway. ‘Now Daniel. Such a derogatory statement dishonours you. My sister has studied carefully and methodically. She has great potential in this new variant. I would advise caution, young brother. I would advise caution.’ Gloryel looked at Sariel, smiled a little, and turned to Daniel. ‘Yes, danny boy. You better watch yourself. No telling what the Devil can do, is there? Isn’t that right, Ariel?’ Ariel looked at Gloryel and looked at Daniel. ‘I don’t think Daniel even understands the basics of the game, sister. It is all bragging. Nothing but empty bragging. He never really lives up to his words. All talk. All talk. Isn’t that right Daniel?’ Daniel looked at Ariel. ‘Well of course, Ariel. Just a provocative little devil, aint I.’ ‘I couldn’t have put it better myself,’ commented Gloryel.’ Daniel looked at Ariel and Gloryel, and then glanced at Sariel. ‘Batting for the other team now, are we, hey Sariel?’ ‘It has its possibilities, young Daniel. You should have learnt that, by now.’ Daniel considered his words. The obvious would do. ‘Of course, father is changing the Torah tomorrow. Remember we were notified.’ Gloryel sneered a little at her brother. ‘Yes, your interpretation. And we all know how reliable that is, don’t we. That works wonders for you, doesn’t it.’ Daniel looked at her and smiled. He looked up at the ceiling. ‘That’s right. Keep the faith. That’s right.’ ‘Shut up Daniel,’ the other three practically said in union.’
Two hours later, Daniel grinned a little. Gloryel had fallen, then Ariel. But they were only women, of course. Sariel had been a little bit of a challenge. He had given him a few sacrifices to boost his confidence, but taken when he needed to. It had been fun. But that, he supposed, was part of life – as trivial as it may seem.
* * * * *
Daniel, 7th born of the Cherubim males of eternity, sat next to Semyaza in his abode in Terraphora. Semyaza was blotto – wasted on the good stuff – which he had been all week. The angelic children of eternity had, now that beer had come to be, been enjoying some of the finer things in life – and suffering the inevitable consequences thereof. He pushed Semyaza. ‘You alive?’ he asked. A murmured, ‘fuggoff’, was the only answer. The others in the gang of the firstborn cherubim – the snakes as they were called – were all lying around Semyaza’s living room, totally wasted. Daniel, as usual, was the only sober one amongst them. His inevitable responsibility was getting his bastard brothers well again, helping them recover from their splurge into the nether-realm. Daniel did not drink. He never drank. He had learnt, quite quickly from observing others, that alcohol was disastrous in its after-effects. And, as such, had resolutely determined to not partake of the liquid gold. However his brethren in the snakes did not share his attitude – in fact, practically the opposite. They revelled in the stuff, and enjoyed the more delectable aspects of the life of eternity. A few of the female seraphim, including Semyaza’s twin Sharakondra, and Urakiba’s twin, Shard, which the snakes all flirted with and came onto, were sleeping in the bedrooms, some also in similar condition. Daniel, in general, usually refrained from flirting with these ladies. He liked females – quite a lot – but felt no need to carry on in the stupid way his fellow male angels did. Romance was dumb. Pointless. It went nowhere, except in false flattery and exaltation of the opposite gender. It did not betray an angels true feelings for the subject of their attention. It was all words and banter – not sincere. To Daniel, in no way sincere.
Daniel, himself, despite his good points, was something of a devil in the mould of the exiled Saruviel. Yet, perhaps, worse – and perhaps better. He was ever so sarcastic, almost insulting at times. He did not really care what others thought of him. He did not really care at all. He did not swear, directly, at his angelic brethren with the intent of malice. But he would swear quite often if he deemed it appropriate.
In terms of romance, the angel had never known the softer touch of the female gender amongst the community. It was foreign to him – unbeknownst to his conduct and experience. For Daniel, women seemed almost irrelevant in this sense. He liked them, as friends like he liked males. But that was all it would ever be for himself. They were, all the angels who carried on as such, childish and trivial. They were not themselves. They were not what they should be.
Yet, on the very briefest of occasions, he noticed Nadiel a little. Just a tiny little bit. But these thoughts were usually dismissed. Usually abandoned with and forgotten. Such a thing was not for him. And such it would stay.
* * * * *
Jesus, 21st of the Cherubim males of eternity, sat next to his Cherubim brother Michael, 22nd born amongst the male cherubim of eternity. They sat in the lounge room of Nazareth keep in the Realm of Zaphora. Jesus and Michael had been instrumental in the design and construction of Nazareth, initially known as Nazarphon. Jesus looked at Michael. ‘It cannot remain like this, you know. It cannot remain as such.’ ‘But will God ever do that Jesus? Will he ever expand the realm yet again?’ Jesus thought on his response. ‘The outer discs of Brephora, Romnaphora and Kalphora are inevitable now, Michael. Father, having listened to my suggestions, generally seemed to approve of the ideas. He did not state assent, but, as you would probably know, seemed to make his approval known and understood. Kalphora will inevitably come to be. This is now firm in my mind.’ ‘Kalphora?’ ‘Yes. Three main divisions. Canada. America. Mexico. These are my essential ideas for Kalphora.’ ‘And the other realms?’ ‘Well, Mitraphora has come to be known as the part of Terraphora which is home to the African community. Mitraphon, in the heart of Malawi, were Raphael ministers from has named its sub-realm within Terraphora as Mitraphora, as you would know. This is also true of Pelnaphora and the Asian community of which Uriel oversees in the district of China were Pelnaphon is located.’ ‘They call that Beijing, don’t they?’ ‘That is correct Michael. Now, I have spoken to the other tentatively titled communities of Brephora, were Brephon is, as well as Romnaphora and Kalphora, yet they, while temporarily adopting these names for their districts, desired greater land and room. And because of that, I spoke with father and suggested the new realms of Brephora, Romnaphora and Kalphora. I simply hope and wait on the news that Father will eventually accede to our requests and create the new outer realms. And, if he does make that decision, we will have Salem placed within Kalphora.’ Michael nodded, understanding of his brother’s vision now apparent.
* * * * *
‘Damien Bradlock. Yeh, that is fucking cool Lucifer. What do you think Satan?’ ‘I will take that one Damien,’ said Satan in response. ‘Then what the fuck is my name?’ ‘How about Alexander fucking Bradlock. After that fucking Cherubim bastard we all hate.’ ‘Yeh, okay. That will fucking do. Then what is your fucking name, Lucifer.’ ‘Darvanius. I will be a Darvanius. Lucifer Darvanius, in fact. Yes, that is the name I will stick to.’ ‘That cherubim liar? All his prophecies fail all the fucking time.’ ‘Yeh the bastard has a go. Fuckit. I will be the False Prophet himself. Sounds fucking good to me.’ Satan looked at the Saruvim Damien. ‘Why don’t we make you the Antichrist, Damien. You can piss that Davriel cunt off. Have a go at the fucker.’ ‘Yeh, okay Satan. But don’t tell me what to fucking do all the time. Okay.’ Satan looked at his younger Saruvim brother. ‘You do have a vivid imagination, Damien. Entertaining the notion of controlling me is extremely original. Of course, you will learn lad. You will learn.’ Damien looked at his older Saruvim brother. ‘Yeh, whatever,’ he said a little uneasily.
* * * * *
Kelkuriel sat alone in Semambarel’s workshop. Semambarel was away at Romnaphon with Surafel, currently teaching one of their now regular seminars. Kelkuriel, though, had declined to join them, instead deciding to do a little work at Semambarel’s workshop, after Semambarel had not objected. He sat there sensing the afterglow of his older brother’s lifetime of work. It felt smooth – polished – professional – well-considered. The afterglow had been noticed by him from youth, yet Ambriel had shared with him the notion of it’s ambience. Kelkuriel now reflected on the peace of heart and mind which his brother Semambarel obviously seemed content and at rest in. He considered Semambarel’s time spent with Saruviel. He considered the possible impact this may have made. Naturally, Semambarel was his own angel – with his own decisions. Yet what had his older brother Saruviel done in his life? What changes, what impacts, what spirit had he imparted onto the life of Semambarel? Was it good? Was it bad? Were, in the end, did it lead? He sensed in Semambarel, now, a quality. A quality his brother had not had in youth. Was this from Saruviel? Was the 7th Archangel responsible for the fruit which had come into Semambarel’s life? He wished to consider this issue – the ideas Saruviel presented – and now go off and learn from Kantriel and Daraqel and others who had known him well. Did the teaching of Saruviel have a quality which the other angels saw not? To this question, Kelkuriel would gain an answer.
* * * * *
Kantriel sat next to Daraqel in the lounge of Kalphon keep. They had chatted for a while, mostly just drinking from a pitcher of melit water in front of them. The subject of discussion had been alcohol – the golden beverage that lit their realm. Young Ambriel, and others, had been the subject. And the effects upon him had been quite noticeable. Daraqel had commented that such actions led to quite stupid behaviour. Having received the knowledge, just recently, from a conversation with Seraphim Daniel, Daraqel had reflected that the alcohol did not seem to be for the best. It seemed, to Daraqel, a substance much better avoided. Not one to give the mind the kind of life and spirit it required. Kantriel had generally agreed. They had, both of them, considered those angels amongst the Seraphim who now partook of the alcohol on regular occurrences. Most of Davriel’s followers partook often. Rophiel’s rarely touched the stuff, though, which impressed both of them. Of course, they both noted that Davriel had judged the issue carefully and had expressed the view that long term consequences were not problematic, if the beverage was taken in sensible moderation. Rophiel, seemingly, strongly disagreed. But didn’t, technically, mind a tiny little bit on extremely rare occasions. As long as no improper behaviour resulted from this. Yet Daraqel, in Daniel’s advice, had agreed to abstain completely and utterly from ever partaking of the product. Daniel had stated he would, over a few millennia, have the occasional drink. But that his long-term plan was to eliminate the product 100% from his dietary intake. Yet, so he advised, if Daraqel was sensible, he would never touch the stuff. An idea to which Daraqel had acceded. Kantriel had given, also, such a commitment. They had considered, ultimately, the witness for their beliefs which they required. To be taken seriously in what they stood for, they could brook no slurs or character insults, which occasionally drunk angels received.
They had, both of them, drunk the substance when it was first introduced. It seemed palatable and nice. Yet they had reached their conclusions recently, and now total abstinence was their decision. Of this they would not relent. It was decision based on holiness, which they would maintain and adhere to throughout their eternal future.
* * * * *
Daniel sat in his dormitory in Zaphon. He looked at the beer on the small bookcase next to his bed. Beer was okay. It tasted alright. He would, in fact, drink it for a while. But he would never get drunk. He would never cross over into the insanity some of his other brethren in fact did. He was happy, now, with his advice to Daraqel. And, on other subjects, happy with the conclusions he had reached. Michael, he guessed, would be okay over the long haul. He seemed to have a reasonable understanding on the nature of life – on the nature of eternal life. He would probably go on making sensible life decisions when he needed to. Saruviel would remain Saruviel – eternally intense. Daraqel and Kantriel were, to Daniel, sensible and wise in listening to Saruviel. His theology, for want of a better word, drove them to absoluteness. It made them think and fight, far beyond what they had shown in youth, for a standard and quality which would endure, Daniel now felt, eternally so. Davriel was sensible. A leader. Determined. Passionate. Judgmental. But dedicated. He would persevere. His protégé, Rophiel, was made of similar stuff. They would, inevitably, keep the faith. It was what they were made of. The whole team – all 70 of the male Seraphim – were under control. They would wise up when they needed to. They would fall into line when they had to. The bright sparks amongst them ensured this.
Of course, Semyaza really had his hands full with his flock. 1,400,000 was a hell of responsibility. As a Seraphim he had a hell of an important responsibility to maintain an extremely high standard to ensure the consistent quality and way of life their realm enjoyed. He knew, ultimately, many would exceed and rebuke him for casual attitudes and displays which they had walked on past. Yet he also knew, from close examination, that this was their pride – not their heart. They would fall back to their own ways, eventually. It was not, really, much of a contest over an eternal walk. At 45 on the list, his was an awkward position. No real glory. No real chances like Michael, Saruviel and the others above him possessed. Ambriel at 60 got a lot of attention, especially because of what he was like, and Davriel had it made at 70. In the end position 45, like a number of others around him, had no real great promise. Nothing really impressive about being born at this ranking on the list. Yet, it was the truth. It would not change. It did not change. It could not change. So he would accept his eternal ranking and simply make the best of it. Only, ultimately, his fidelity to his Father and obeying him in this position would earn him the honour he sought. Perhaps, eventually, Father would grant him some of his heart’s desires. Perhaps eventually.
Chapter Three - Masculinist
‘Daniel, you are a dork. A masculinist dork.’ ‘Really Meludiel? What makes such a formerly fair maiden as yourself consider the feminist nonsense which is currently running through the realm.’ ‘Dear brother. If you are so naive as to consider me a feminist, then you have a lot of learning to do.’ ‘Wadya see is wadya get.’ ‘Shut up Daniel.’ ‘Heh, heh, heh.’ ‘I assumed you were to intelligent to mock, dear brother. Nobody really takes much of an interest in you anyway. We simply occasionally notice you to assuage your fragile ego.’ ‘Well of course. And it is so fragile. So very fragile. I would die, oh dear beloved, if not for the assuagements of your tender mercies. Oh, how lost I would be. Oh how lost. Woe is me. I am undone. Life, can it now have any meaning. Oh woe. Oh bother. Oh whatever.’ ‘Shut up, idiot,’ replied Meludiel. ‘Oh woe,’ continued Daniel unperturbed. ‘Shut up.’ ‘Oh woe.’ ‘Shut the hell up.’ Meludiel said, slightly riled.’ ‘Mmm. Temper temper temper. My we aren’t upset are we?’
Meludiel decided a response was necessary to her brothers jibing. ‘You know, at least Ambriel knows how to love me and show me a good time. He is not afraid to meet a women’s needs. And for that I will stick with my twin. You can go to hell.’ ‘Sensible life decision, bimbo. About time.’ Meludiel looked at him from the corner of her eye. ‘Yeh. That’s you. I have figured you out. Pretty basic in the end. You were never really after me, were you. Were you. Just pushing us together, weren’t you?’ Daniel looked at her, thought on simply saying yes to her, but decided that the truth was important right at that moment. ‘Yeh, well, maybe Meluidel. Maybe. But not totally. You do know, don’t you, despite myself, I do love you. And that probably won’t change.’ Meludiel looked at him, saw the serious look on his face, and nodded. ‘Yeh. I know Daniel – dearest. I know.’ She gave him a quick hug, but the two of them soon returned to their witty jibing dialogue.
* * * * *
Satan, out of character, chuckled. ‘He really is a dickhead, isn’t he Lucifer.’ ‘He’s a fu**head, Sat. A total fu** head.’ ‘Definitely,’ agreed Damien. ‘Yeh, but I think the chicks dig him. He is a bastard, but they like bastards. I’m sure of that.’ ‘Good point,’ noted Damien. ‘Good point.’
* * * * *
The Father of glory looked into the hearts of his 3 Saruvim children of Infinity who were present at Zaphon observing Daniel and Meludiel. He felt, while he did object usually to interfering in the freedom they desired, that they deserved an object lesson about what women did like, just so they would get the point ultimately. They had, in the end, not fallen to evil. They were nasty, malicious, and hate-filled – but would never fall to the power of death. They had made life choices. They had made life choices.
* * * * *
And then he was not were he had been. A place – all white – out of time – out of space. And there sat his father, face discernible yet unfathomable. And he beckoned his son, who came forward and sat next to him. ‘You are not happy, are you?’ ‘No.’ ‘Do you challenge me still?’ ‘No. Not really. I’ve learnt some basics. I get the point.’ ‘Death beckons, child. Its desire is for you. It yearns for you, to caress you, to soften you, to hold you and to defeat you. Will you yield to her passionate glory? Will you taste the secrets of her heart?’ Satan looked over at one of the endless, dressed in black, the ankh hanging from her neck. He looked at her, noting her fine looks, her beautiful raven hair, her delicate breasts, her, in her naked glory, yearning for his touch – for his caress.’ ‘Are you tempted, child of God? Are you tempted?’ Satan looked at her. He looked at her, and reached his ultimate conclusion. ‘Okay, I’ll repent, you fucking cunt. I will fucking hate you forever if I have to. I will fucking bear that grudge.’ ‘But you will repent, you say?’ Satan looked at the endless child. The oh so delectable, delicious and pure child of the endless. And then turned away. And then he was gone, returned to his brethren. Returned to the paths of life. The father of glory smiled to himself. He had not been sure if the idiot son of his had any intelligence left, but he had come to himself. And in that, a number of plans and ideas fell into place. A number of destinies could be fulfilled in a more happy and pleasing way.
* * * * *
Daniel sat with Sharlamane, Meludiel and Ambriel in Ambriel’s abode near Zaraphon. The four of them were enjoying a meal. Daniel, having reflected on some of his sister Meludiel’s recent comments had, in a way, repented of some of his what he now understood as juvenile behaviour or attitude. It had been commented on occasionally in recent years, but he had only started to act upon it. It was, so he felt, what he showed his brethren of his life in his behaviours and actions which needed to change, rather than the fidelity of heart he had towards them, which would never change. This, though, he hoped was understood by his brethren. Daniel had contacted Shemrael before leaving for Ambriel’s abode with Sharlamane in tow. He had told her he had gone out to ‘resolve’ things with his brother and sister. Shemrael had told him, quite directly, that in Ariel there was another sister with which he needed to resolve things. That had not impacted on Daniel with the intent Shemrael had desired. In fact, only highlighting the opposing thoughts to such a reconciliation in his mind. Daniel had reached his conclusion on Ariel. With all the lovers she’d had for so long now, he could not – would not – trust her again. It would be asking too much of his soul. He felt that, in all honesty, with Sharlamane more of a future could be gained as a personal companion. Her personality suited his more greatly and he felt he liked her substantially more than Ariel to prove the merit of his case.
This, interestingly, had become the subject of conversation between Ambriel, Meludiel, Sharlamane and himself at the evening meal.
‘Eternally, Daniel. Eternally it will work with Ariel. I know you and Sharlamane are now very close, but in an eternal friendship which I feel your heart needs and desires, Ariel is the best choice for yourself.’ Sharlamane tried not to hear Ambriel’s words spoken to her older Seraphim brother Daniel. She picked at some of her food with her fork, and continued the mild banter with Meludiel. But she was listening in on their conversation. She was listening in, most anxious to hear what Daniel would say next.
‘This is a theory of yours, Ambriel. Just a theory. Who can really say what eternal life will bring us. The friendships we need. The loves we desire. The choices of heart we will inevitably submit to. Who can really say.’ Sharlamane smiled, inwardly pleased at her brothers response. ‘God knows, as he always has done, dear brother. As he always has done,’ replied Ambriel, the faith in his words obvious. Daniel looked straight at Ambriel, and then at Meludiel. Sharlamane continued the mild banter with Meludiel, but she was aware of what Daniel was thinking. She was aware that Daniel was thinking of his twin, Ariel. It was a danger for Sharlamane. A great danger for the choice her heart had made. Yet what could she do. If Daniel, ultimately, agreed with Ambriel’s wisdom, she would lose him. He would go to Ariel. He would win her, and be with her. And she would not have the choice her heart desired. Yet if this came to be, what could she do? What could she really do?
‘Of course, brother, I know you still love my twin. She has told me as such. Despite you wanting to resolve things, as it were, they remain unresolved. And, perhaps, this is not that bad.’ Ambriel looked at Meludiel, and reached out to stroke her hair, which she accepted in love. ‘I love Meludiel, like you, Daniel. I always will. Yet I cannot deny her heart towards yourself, and I do know that it was and still is a pure love between the both of you. So, I have made a decision. From time to time. Perhaps once a year for a few weeks, I will leave this abode. And at that time, if you wish, you may stay with Meludiel. You may stay with her and show her the affection which is likewise in your heart.’ Daniel looked straight at Ambriel, and turned to Meludiel. ‘Is, is that alright with you sis?’ he asked her. Meludiel looked into Ambriel’s eyes, knew his seriousness on this issue, and knew also that she had enough love for more than just one. ‘Yes, Daniel. It is, I think, a good solution. One which may work for many years to come, I think.’
Sharlamane, hearing this idea, then wondered to herself, just perhaps, her and Daniel might likewise be able to spend some such time together. Perhaps, in this idea, she could find the time to express her love for her older brother.
* * * * *
Semyaza, extremely hung-over, and proud of it, pinched his twin Sharakondra on the bum. She herself was still feeling the effects of the good stuff, but nevertheless responded by slapping Semyaza on the arm. ‘You know you like it, honey. Why fight it.’ Daniel, seventh-born of the Cherubim who had noticed that his brothers had, once again, started to come to after a night of solid drinking, commented sarcastically. ‘Your way with your beloved twin never ceases to amaze me, Semyaza. The grace and kindness you show her – simply overwhelming.’ ‘I wish,’ said Sharakondra just as sarcastically. ‘Who are you to talk, Daniel,’ started Semyaza in response. He picked up a beer which had not been finished and started sipping on it. Sitting down, he turned to Daniel again and continued. ‘I mean, really, you have never been with a woman as far as I am aware of. So why should I really give a damn about your view?’ Daniel, having been scolded by his older brother, nodded knowingly in response. ‘Yes – women. Well, they are for friendship, I suppose. Perhaps useful for friendship. But I see no real point in that with most of them. Too trivial for my way of thinking.’ ‘Thanks Dan,’ said Sharakondra. ‘And, oh by the way, fuck you.’ Semyaza grinned at his twins comment. ‘Yeh, Daniel. You know how to win them.’ ‘If winning them, as you put it, were ever important, I guess I would make an effort. Yet certainly not in the vain way you show to your beloved.’ ‘Who is your beloved, anyway, Daniel. Its that Nadiel chick, isn’t it?’ asked Semyaza. Daniel nodded. ‘Yes, Nadiel. A typical female, I suppose, in many ways. Some good points. Almost intelligent, for a female. Almost intelligent.’ ‘For a guy you sure lack it,’ said Sharakondra, who was used to Daniel’s insults of the fairer gender. ‘You should know, anyway, the Nadiel is hung up on your older Seraphim counterpart. You probably could not win her, even if you wanted to, danny boy.’
Daniel nodded, taking in Sharakondra’s comments. It was true, he was vaguely aware of Nadiel’s infatuation with his namesake Seraphim older brother. He presumed it was possibly based on numerology, which had become increasingly popular amongst the angelic community. Both Nadiel and Daniel added up to 45 in numerological speaking. This, apparently, meant equality with the opposite gender, a big deal to many in the angelic community. Interestingly, if both name numbers added up to 100, apparently this was the basis for intellectual conversation that would be stimulating and articulate. Of course, perhaps the ideal was when both numbers added up to 70 or 140, which indicated Seraphic harmony. For many it was a choice of these three basic principles of numerology in finding the ideal angel to share time with. Of Course, other numbers were significant, yet those were the main ones concentrated on. Daniel himself saw no real basis in scientific reasoning for why this should be so. Yet it pleased the community, so he did not really care either way.
Daniel, himself, was an angel of reason. Of logic. Of rationality. To him, such things as numerology did not really make that much sense. It was akin to trying to tell the future, which he knew lay un-crafted, unable to be revealed. Planned for, perhaps, as his cherubim brother Isaiah would teach, but nevertheless un-crafted. Daniel, in his scientific mindset, had really rejected much of the so-called fantasy beliefs of numerology and other things which much of the community went into. He was, so he fancied himself, something of a scholar amongst the angels. He studied at Terraphon often, having become a close friend with the second-born of the Seraphim, Gabriel. Gabriel had come to call Daniel an angel ‘greatly beloved’, as he had a thirst and a passion for knowledge which seemed insatiable. Gabriel had also said that like his Seraphim older brother, he would likely be gifted in the interpretation of dreams. That understanding dreams and visions would become a vital and important part of the Cherubim’s life.
This seemed in fact to be true as in a recent Hebrew festival, of which community he was part of, he had been asked the meaning of certain dreams by members of his community. And, strangely enough, he found himself able to give what seemed like the correct understanding and interpretation for these dreams. It seemed as if it was a gift with which he had been blessed.
Of course, the recent encounter with his younger Cherubim brother Nebuchadnezzar, in which Neb had shared with him dreams of glory over a kingdom named ‘Babylon’, and having seen Daniel in these dreams, had challenged Daniel greatly. It was true, there was a Babylonian people, of whom Nebuchadnezzar belonged to. Yet he was not their head. Not yet anyway. And the dream seemed to speak of a place, a kingdom, while similar to the realm of eternity, in some ways different. In some ways unique and not quite like what they had known in their lives so far.
Daniel had tried his best to give Nebuchadnezzar the answers to these dreams, but had left it with his best guess of them relating somehow to the dim and distant future. That they had meaning, but for a time yet to be. It was the best solution he had available to him at the time.
Another of Daniel’s friends, the 52nd of the Seraphim, Mishael, had shared with him dreams of both he and Daniel as well as two of the Cherubim males, Hananiah and Azariah. They seemed, after Mishael had explained them, to be in the same vain as the dreams Nebuchadnezzar had shared with himself. As if they came from the same dim and distant land of the future.
Wether this was ultimately the truth or not, Daniel could not say. Yet dreams, seemingly, played a major part in his life. A major and inevitable part, perhaps eternally so.
Yet, in dreams of the heart, towards any sister of his, be it Nadiel, or some other, love seemed not to be part of Daniel’s life. Not in any major way or form. It was for the best that way anyway. If, ultimately, he needed the kind of emotional commitment to someone that this kind of love spoke of, he would find that in his eternal father. Of that he had no real doubts.
* * * * *
Gloryel sat, reflecting on her recent conversation with her eternal father, and the attitude of her brother Sariel. She had become aware, through her Father’s words, that Sariel viewed her as something of a rival. In the traditional ways established in the Realm of Eternity, Father had declared with no uncertainty that male Seraphim were to rule the Realm of Eternity for the time being. Yet, after speaking with his daughter recently, Gloryel had become aware that such a reality was not, and never had been, intended to last eternally so. So father had said, their ego demanded the position of authority, as well as their bravado and pride. Yet the heart of his daughters would, one day, placate and, in a sense, triumph over their male counterparts. Part of the plans of destiny, so her father had said, whatever that really meant.
And because of this, God had encouraged her to continue to challenge herself and Sariel and others, to show them just what Gloryel, eighth born of the female Seraphim of eternity, was capable of.
And so Gloryel made some plans. Some plans for entering various contests and competitions at the Kalphon games. The new games of Tennis and Cricket both appealed to her. They were team sports and, while Tennis was mixed and always had been, Cricket was by and large a male thing. So she would train at this cricket to show – to just show them – what a female could do when she put her mind to it.
* * * * *
Davriel, seated at his desk on the upper level of Bethlephon keep, his twin Rachel downstairs preparing their nightly meal, contemplated life in the realm of eternity.
Torah. Both Seraphim and then Cherubim. And then Commentary. And Kabbalah. These were the early emerging spiritual teachings within the Realm of Eternity. Torah was God’s work – everything else angelic. Yet notions of the idea of ‘inspiration’ behind these other works had become common. As if they had been, since their birth, ‘God inspired.’ This notion made sense to Davriel. Their realm ran, as it always had, under the governance and maintenance of their Almighty Father. Nothing escaped his notice. Nothing escaped his eyes. He was everywhere and in everything, bringing all matters to the conclusions – to the destinies – that suited his eternal purposes. And in this belief, Davriel felt that his destiny, as the Christ, was to bring forth a community – a special community – dedicated unlike the rest of the angelicdom to eternal principles of spiritual living.
There were, in Davriel’s mind, insights on the Torah – insights on the way it could be wrongly applied – which needed elaboration. And, particularly, the notion of upholding a way of life – a halachic model – which was inhibited by its simplicity of failing to embrace new and greater understanding. He felt that so many of the angels simply lived by basic principles of Torah, neglecting the whole message anyway, and failing to embrace the new teachings and understandings.
Yet he also knew, from his own experience with the eternal spirit, in the form of a dove at his anointing in the Sellawon, that the illumination of the mind, heart and soul to spiritual truths was, ultimately, in the domain of their eternal heavenly father. It took the work of God – the breathing of the spirit of life – into the soul of an angel to, in a sense, renew that angel to life once again and all that came with it.
The idea of a new beginning, or a new birth, had come into Davriel’s theology. It stood like this. The angels, since their birth, had come to know the realm of eternity and all that seemingly went along with it. Yet, for some, they had grown, in Davriel’s mind, stale or bored, with the lives they were living. As if they knew everything and felt life no longer had any great meaning apart from the regular routine.
The antidote to this was the ‘New Birth’ – the ‘New Beginning’ – the emergence of the new, spiritual angel. And in this life – this new life – he, Christ, was fundamental. His teaching – the Gospel – would be the teaching for the new angel. The angel dedicated to a life of vibrancy, spirituality and love. The life they had always been destined for.
He felt, in his heart, that events in the realm had been leading to this. That the purpose of the Torah and its commentaries were, in a sense, preparing the angels – preparing them in their younger years – for the life – the real life – that their father had created for them since their birth.
For Davriel, the anointed angel, this was the life of a ‘Christian’ among his ecclesia. This was his purpose in life. And for this purpose Davriel would not cease until he had accomplished the vision that he sought.
Sitting there he contemplated his next key objective. The ‘Christ’ of the Cherubim. When he had been anointed by the spirit that afternoon, the spirit had spoken into his mind. He was the chosen one amongst the Seraphim. The one who was last, yet first in honour. Yet, amongst the Cherubim, for whom he would prepare the way, would come the Cherubim Christ. And the spirit had spoken into his mind the name of the Cherubim who, amongst all his brethren, would be the Christ over the greater flock – and that name was the name of the 21st of the male Cherubim – the name of Jesus.
Davriel had not told Jesus of his destiny. Not yet. Yet, in the plan that had formulated in his heart, Davriel would speak with Jesus and, if he consented to becoming the Christ of the Cherubim, would baptize him with water in the Sellawon himself. Such was the plans in the heart of Davriel, 70th born of the male Seraphim of the Realm of Eternity.
* * * * *
‘Jesus Christ! It has an interesting ring to it, I think. Could become popular.’ Jesus looked over at his younger brother, Michael, and smiled a little. ‘I am not really sure if I am Christ material, Michael. Perhaps you could do a better job?’ ‘Nah, you can have the glory, Jesus. You are older than me by one place, so the honour is all yours. I am sure that Davriel knows what he is talking about.’ Jesus nodded, not entirely convinced of Michael’s words, but hopeful regardless.
Earlier that morning Davriel had spoken with Jesus and confirmed a dream Jesus had had the night before. Jesus was the chosen one. He would be the Christ for the Cherubim. The one who would bring new life to the community for his own angelic followers.
Jesus had accepted his calling. Sitting in Nazareth keep, he though on the special baptism that Davriel had planned for himself at the Sellawon in the next few days. Elders amongst the Christian community would be there, ready to affirm the new Christ. The chosen of the Cherubim. It would be a day of days, Jesus thought to himself. A day of days.
* * * * *
Logos, firstborn of the Realm of Infinity, looked at the figure amongst the Cherubim community. The figure which Davriel had chosen. The figure of Jesus. He looked at him carefully, invisible to him. He looked at him, noting the facial features, the physical build and the way he spoke and all his mannerisms. He looked at him, and finally shook his head. He had never met Jesus before. This particular Cherubim had not crossed his path. And, perhaps, he now knew why. Father had been keeping him from meeting him.
Jesus was, in more ways than one, Logos himself. They looked, spoke, and acted in exactly the same way. It was as if Jesus was an exact copy of himself, the Logos. As if they were two, and yet one. To the Logos it was a mystery. A divine mystery.
* * * * *
Jesus, 21st born of the Children of heaven, perhaps the true chronicler of Logos’ and Cherubim Jesus’ destiny, stood with his brother Michael, surveying the scene before them. It was the first meeting of Logos with the Cherubim Jesus, and Jesus child of heaven, was moved. These 2 others were himself. Latter incarnations of his spirit. He felt them alive in himself, even if they felt not him. It was a mystery his Father had brought into being. A convoluted plan of his sister Eve, destiny herself. Yet there was a purpose, so she said. A purpose to the eternal life of destiny.
Chapter Four – Sariel the Cricketer
‘Six!’ the angelic score-angel yelled out. Sariel, having just bowled the ball which his twin Gloryel had hit for six decided to use one of his three allowed challenges for the game. ‘I challenge,’ he said to the umpire. The umpire walked over to the side of the oval on the outskirts of Kalphon keep to investigate the soil were the score-angel indicated that the ball had come down on. There was a long rope which wound its way around the entire oval. After a thorough inspection were the score-angel indicated the ball had landed, that being over the rope, and all the angels around the boundary line telling the umpire to concede that Gloryel had hit the six, the umpire acknowledged the score-angels call. He went back to his place at the bowling crease and raised both hands to indicate the six, to which a rapturous applaud from the gathered crowd responded.
Sariel did the math in his head. Three balls to go in the match. Gloryel needed 5 runs to tie and 6 to win. And he was to bowl the final three balls.
His ego, to say the least, had taken a bit of a hammering in the last few months. Gloryel had announced at dinner at Zaphon one night that she had been carefully practicing and studying cricket. That was 6 months ago. In that time, not only had she quickly learned the rules and how to play the game, but she excelled exceedingly. For a female angel, she was outstanding at the game. Her hitting strength was not as powerful as the males, but her finesse, timing and touch were generally acknowledged to be the best in the competition. And all of this in under a year.
Today was the final. The Zaphora district team had made the final, challenging the champions of Kalphora, of which Gloryel had made the cut from some trial games. Sariel had mocked the choice initially, suggesting it was just because Gloryel was an elder in the realm that they had given her a go. But he had come to eat his words. Gloryel was, at cricket, simply glorious. She bowled effective medium pace, but very clever leg spin. Her fielding was first class, already amongst the best. But in batting she led the averages in the competition by over 10 runs an inning. She had the highest average ever attained in the Realms trophy cup, just a little above 70 runs.
Her innings today was another excellent effort. The team captain, Kantriel, had reserved her, unlike normal practice, down the order a bit in today’s match. Instead of opening as usual, she had come in at number 6. But she was already on 32 runs, and if she gained a not-out, would finish the competition with the first season average of above 70 runs. An outstanding effort, really, and one which made Sariel review how he viewed the so-called fairer gender.
Yet, all things considered, he should not have been that surprised. Cricket did not always rely on strength, but skill was a huge factor in the game. Gloryel herself was not a big angel, but was skilled enough that it didn’t matter. If her talent kept on improving, more females at cricket seemed an inevitability.
He walked down the pitch, scratched at the dirt a little and muttered to Gloryel, ‘Now don’t get nervous, dear sister.’ ‘Not on your life,’ she responded resolutely. ‘Good to hear.’ Sariel walked back to his mark, bothered a little by the strength of the retort.
Sariel was a quick – not the fastest, but talented and consistent. He came in with his usual stride, delivered the ball and, ‘whack’ - 2 runs. Gloryel came down the pitch and murmured a few words to Daraqel, her batting partner, and went back to her crease.
Sariel was nervous. 2 balls to go. 4 for a win for Kalphora, 3 to draw, 2 or less for Zaphora to win. He would have to put in an extra effort.
He came in, pitched the ball, and yet again another 2 runs resulted.
The crowd of angels around the oval started buzzing a little more. The situation was nerve-racking – the closest finish to a final yet. So much more, considering this final would go a long way in the points tally for the Kalphon games, with perhaps only tomorrow’s marathon deciding the ultimate victor.
The Kalphon games were held primarily in the last two weeks leading up to mid-year. The Marathon was held on the last day. However, in the first 5 months of the year, various team sports begun which culminated in the Kalphon games, cricket and soccer being amongst them.
The result of this match could go a long way towards determining just who won the games this year, with both Kalphora and Zaphora, along with Pelnaphora still being candidates for victory.
Here it was. The final ball. Sariel was, to say the least, nervous. He tried calming himself and thought on the ball he had already decided to bowl. A ‘slow’ ball. A ‘trick’ ball, in a sense. Hopefully his twin would be caught off guard. He charged in and just at delivery point, changed his style so the ball came out slower.
Down the pitch Gloryel had suspected something would happen, but was still caught off guard a little. Nevertheless she managed to whack the ball out into the covers and yelled ‘2’ to Daraqel. Zac on Zaphora’s team did the fielding and threw the ball, with his best aim, straight to the bowlers end right at the wicket. The ball, surprisingly, struck the wickets, just at about the same time Daraqel’s bat was coming into the crease line.
The crowd hushed. Gloryel looked nervous. Daraqel looked down at the line and at the umpire. He thought he might have made it, but wasn’t sure. Sariel looked at the umpire and asked, ‘Well?’
The umpire looked at the crease for a few moments more and finally, after much deliberation, raised his finger. ‘Out’. Daraqel was out.
Sariel looked at the umpire and asked, ‘The one run counts? It wasn’t short?’ ‘It counts, confirmed the umpire.’ Sariel nodded. The match was drawn.
Later that night, after dinner with the match being the talk of Kalphon, Sariel found Gloryel in the lounge of Kalphon keep, surrounded by a number of her close female friends. ‘Here he comes’, whispered Aquariel to Gloryel. Sariel began cautiously. ‘Well, sister. Congratulations. You have outdone yourself. Your batting this year has been the best we have seen, and you can be rightly proud of yourself because of it.’ Gloryel nodded. ‘Thank you, Sariel. Your bowling has been quite good as well.’ Sariel nodded. ‘Thanks, sis. Well we have tomorrow to decide the thing then. I guess the competition this year may be decided by who wins the marathon, if the winner is from Zaphora, Pelnaphora or Kalphora. Fortunately, we of Zaphora feel we have an excellent chance. Michael himself will be running the marathon for us this year. It should be wonderful to watch him in action.’ Gloryel nodded. ‘Uh, who, if I may ask, will be running for Kalphon?’ ‘Now that would be telling, Sariel. You will have to wait until tomorrow to find out.’ ‘Oh, well, fair enough. Well, I’ll be off then. Take care, dear sister. And once again, congratulations. Sariel turned and walked off, Gloryel watching him go.
‘That would have been hard for him,’ Aquariel said to Gloryel. ‘He’s got a lot of pride,’ agreed Brindabel. Gloryel looked at were Sariel had walked off to and nodded in agreement with her sisters. Yes, pride. Such, seemingly was the stuff the male angels, perhaps Sariel in particular, were made of.
* * * * *
Samael, 64th born of the Seraphim, took the news well. It was not the greatest thing to share with a brother, but when Seraphim Daniel explained the mystery behind his name and why himself he bore the looks of the Samael from the Realm of Infinity, Samael understood. Samael, 64th born of the Seraphim of Eternity, was indeed, so it seemed, the incarnation of the prior Samael of the Realm of Infinity. His looks had been changed, though, to those of Satan, firstborn of the Saruvim, the Devil of the Realm of Infinity in the new realm of eternity. He had been given these looks as part of God’s judgement upon Samael. It was, in a sense, part of God’s punishment upon Samael for his bad deeds. Yet the Samael of Infinity had been honourable as well, and because of this his looks had been given to the Seraphim Daniel of the Realm of Eternity.
This information God had shared with the Seraphim Daniel and had asked him, sensitively, to share with his Seraphim brother Samael. The keyword, of course, had been sensitively.
Information that God had not shared with Daniel, though, was that he himself was an incarnation from a prior realm again, the realm of heaven. He was, in truth, the spiritual incarnation of the 45th child of heaven, the dream lord Daniel. Daniel the Seraphim did not yet know of this, though. It was information God would share with him at a later time – at a later time when fate and destiny chose it wise to reveal such things.
* * * * *
Saruviel sat in the netherworld, alone, lonely, bored and depressed. The darkness, as always, surrounded him – perhaps in its own way offering comfort to a soul now lost to the children of eternity. He’d had much time now to contemplate, yet again, his rebellion – his second rebellion and, in truth, did not like his current situation one little bit.
As before, Ambriel was his only regular visitor, providing the food and candles and other minor supplies to assist him in his existence. And, of course, the Torah was his only reading material – something he had now grown oh so familiar with.
He suspected, knowing his God, that another 1,000 years of service to the netherworld was due unto him. Some time had passed, of course, but so much still remained.
Today, though, was Ambriel’s visit. He sat in the section of the netherworld were Ambriel usually arrived, transported by the Shadow angels. He had thought, occasionally, on the shadow angels and wondered at their purpose. He knew one of them by name – ‘Karanasius’ – which had been shared with the community. When they had first taken him to the netherworld with his fellow Seraphim, he had counted 7 of them. Perhaps there were more, yet he knew not. He wondered, occasionally, how old they were: so much so that, today, if he had the opportunity, he would speak with them and inquire into this detail.
Time passed. Saruviel thought, from time to time, that time being so hard to measure in the darkness, that perhaps Ambriel was not coming this day. Perhaps he would not come again – a fear which often haunted his mind. Yet – no. He had to trust his God, as Ambriel had never failed to return.
Suddenly, a light emerged above him. And the vortex came into being, as a Shadow angel, transporting Ambriel, came down to land in front of him. Ambriel smiled at Saruviel, and the shadow angel started to rise when Saruviel spoke to it. ‘Karanasius – or whoever you are. Can I speak for a moment.’ The shadow angel paused, and floated down to the ground. He looked at Saruviel through his shadowy cloak, the figure behind that cloak unable to be seen. ‘Yes, Saruviel. I am Karanasius. What would you speak of.’ Saruviel paused, considering his words, and spoke. ‘What….Who…are you?’ Karanasius remained silent for a moment, finally speaking. ‘I suppose, Saruviel, now is as good a time as ever to speak on this subject. There are 7 Shadow Angels. We each possess a different name, mine being Karanasius. We are, each of us, older than you Seraphim, living in the Realm of eternity prior to even Michael’s birth.’ Ambriel looked puzzled. ‘You are older than even Michael? he queried. ‘As we should be, Ambriel. For we are the Ozraphim.’ Saruviel stood looking at him, quite stunned. Of course, the angels had always known that the word ‘Sera’ meant 4 – it was the fourth number in the Angelic tongue, following Ona, Ora and Ozra, being 1, 2 and 3. There had often been speculation as to exactly why the Seraphim were called after the number four, but few had ever really contemplated there actually being older angels. Saruviel, thinking just on that, asked the obvious question. ‘The, I presume, there are also Oraphim and Onaphim in our realm.’ Karanasius looked at him. ‘Yes, Saruviel.’ Saruviel continued. ‘And how many of them are there?’ ‘There are 2 Oraphim and 1 solitary Onaphim.’ Ambriel asked the next question. ‘What is the Onaphim’s name.’ Karanasius, under his cloak, smiled. ‘Why, our oldest brother is known by many, many names Ambriel. Yet the name he usually goes by is simply ‘Metatron.’ ‘Metatron!’ both Ambriel and Saruviel mouthed to themselves. ‘I will go now, Saruviel, if there are no other questions.’ ‘No, no. Thank you Karanasius.’ The Shadow angel departed, hovering up to the ceiling and disappearing.
* * * * *
Above the Diamond City, were the children of Heaven resided, 70 in number, lay another city – a city still, as yet, unnamed – but usually simply referred to by those who knew of it as ‘home’. Karanasius came flying home, after being with Ambriel. Karanasius flew into the small city – really village – of home, and landed near the doorway of a building. Entering inside, three other figures saluted him, each sitting on a table in conversation. He sat down on a spare chair, and spoke. ‘Well, they asked me some questions today. And I told them about you Mettie. Gave them some information.’ Metatron, taking a drink of orange juice, looked at Karanasius. ‘Mmm. I suppose it was about time K.’ Logos spoke up. ‘Metatron, you always take things like this too casually. Michael will now have all sorts of questions, and Sariel too. They will be queried, now, on a fundamental – Authority. It is the firstborn they respect, as you should know.’ Metatron took another drink of orange juice and looked at Logos – the Word of Infinity, he being one of the two Oraphim of Eternity alongside the other of the Oraphim of Eternity, the other figure sitting at the table, ‘Memra’ – the Word of Eternity.
Memra looked at Logos, and she smiled. ‘Dear husband, like Metatron I occasionally feel you are often too headstrong in your comments, as you should know. Let Metatron handle this as he sees fit, if you are so concerned about the status of firstborn.’ ‘Dear daughter of the Moon, I say it as I see it. You should know me by now.’ ‘Oh, beloved child of the Sun – you do intend to burn so brightly and put me in my place, don’t you.’ ‘You may argue your case with your false assumptions, never really understanding practical reality beloved – what the masses listen to – and because of this I will always remain far more listened to and respected than yourself. For I know how angels think, wife of mine. I know their hearts and what they will believe.’ ‘Yourself as a sacrificial lamb is your idea for the future humans. I mean, I can understand sacrificing a real lamb as atonement – it is so much more authentic, I feel. Yet you – you ‘the Lamb of God’ – as atonement for their sins? Humph.’ ‘It is a moment of drama, beloved. They will believe in me thereafter. In fact they will flock,’ stated Logos confidently. ‘The seed of men in God’s loin at this very time are not, in the end, that stupid dear Logos. They will work you out. They will, ultimately, note your mistakes.’ ‘You speak of the seed of Israel in his loins, do you not. Those you have called to yourself.’ ‘Aye, Logos. I speak of them. They will remain loyal to me, now – for I love them.’ ‘I may, in time, challenge that notion beloved. I have spoken with father regarding his future plans and have made certain requests regarding the children of Israel. In fact, I have requested to be amongst them in the manifestation.’ Memra looked confused. ‘You – you have requested to be an Israelite? But, no. That will cause too much confusion with them. They will not understand you, your ways. They would rather kill you than listen to you, for I know them.’ ‘And that, beloved, is exactly my intent.’ She looked at him confused. ‘What do you mean.’ ‘Death at the hands of Israel – my own beloved people – that will be the most suitable ultimate sacrifice. The possibilities are amazing.’ Memra looked at him and shook her head. ‘My children will despise you. They will refute all of your claims. They will never listen.’ ‘Do not be so certain, beloved Memra. For who can say, in the mysteries of time, just what will be.’
Karanasius, who had been listening to the familiar dialogue, spoke up. ‘Anyway, Mettie, perhaps you should speak with father now about Zaphora and Terraphora. I think, now, they will want to meet you. Perhaps, now, it is time you made yourself known unto them.’
Metatron took another drink of orange juice. ‘Fuck it. I think I will have a beer.’ He got up from his chair, and went to the cool room and retrieved a cold pitcher of beer. Taking a glass from the cupboard, he poured himself a drink, and took a deep mouthful. ‘Ahh. That hits the spot. Look, K. Don’t worry so much. I will see them one day. Not for now though. Not for now.’ Karanasius nodded, accepting Metatron’s decision. ‘As you see fit.’ Metatron, who was also known as the Word of the Children of Heaven, sat happily drinking his beer, as outside time passed by in its usual fashion.
* * * * *
Elsabel, 12th born of the female seraphim of Eternity, sitting in her twin’s abode, that of Valandriel, in the realm of Terraphora looked at her twin and felt, perhaps now, perhaps now was the right time to ask him the question. ‘Valandriel. Do you love me?’ Valandriel looked up from the scroll he was reading, straight at her. ‘Yeh, I love ya babe. Do you know who won the football match in the recent Kalphon games?’ Elsabel looked at him, fury in her heart. ‘You! You! You man!’ she said, with a vicious tongue. ‘Look, babe. Don’t get so uptight, ok. Its not the end of the world, ok. Lighten up a little.’ ‘You don’t love me at all, do you. You have never loved me.’ ‘Here we go again,’ Valandriel said sarcastically to himself. ‘More of the love bug which is still going around, for God’s sake.’ Elsabel continued in her drama, unperturbed. ‘It would have been better if I had never been born – NO – if YOU had never been born. At least then I would know true love. Love willing to show its heart – to show its affection. You are afraid to show your love, aren’t you Valandriel.’ ‘I don’t know what it is about this Love thing, but it turns otherwise normal angels insane. I am really beginning to think Daniel really has it worked out.’ She looked at him, and then a little curiousity came in. ‘How does your pathetic friend have it figured, then. Go on. Explain if you dare.’ ‘What good is love, Elsabel. What good is love if the next moment you are threatening me? Is that love? Is that love? Is that a heart which has truly considered how it supposedly feels for someone else? Or is it a heart high on the spirits of love God surrounds us with. They aren’t really love, you know. They are show offs. It is commitment. It is only what you are willing to do for someone else that really matters. You may love them – but love is a passion which changes with the wind. If you don’t care for them. If you are not willing to, dare I say it, stick with them through difficult times – to suffer with them – how can your love be anything more than a fleeting fancy. A wonderful, yet, strangely, hollow reality. A nice feeling, dear. But not what matters most. Not what matters most at all. In fact, Elsie – nowhere near, ok. So don’t bloody lecture me on love,’ he finished, the slight tone of anger more apparent.
Elsabel looked at him, and backed down, humbled. What her twin said clicked. It clicked in a way which greatly convicted her, showing her coming up short on what she thought was true.
She looked downwards. ‘Sorry, Valandriel. Sorry dear.’ And bursting into tears, she left the room.
In the throneroom of God, the flame of God flickered onto a bright – ever so bright – spark of purple, and lasted as such 7 solid minutes, before returning again to a bright orange.
Chapter Five – The Wisdom of Valandriel
Daniel, sitting with Valandriel in his abode, contemplated his older brother’s words. ‘Truth, Val, has many perspectives. Many, at times, paradigms which almost seem in opposition to each other to the inexperienced eye. So it is with Angels. Each of us perceives, often, the truths we hold to as the correct ones – so much so that we often too soon inviolate in our hearts the valid beliefs of others.’ Valandriel nodded, understanding. ‘Elsabel, and so many others of the females value love, in general, as the highest of virtues. It is the fundamental truth, as Ambriel so elegantly expresses, which they value most of all. Of course, you do know that they do care as well, don’t you?’ ‘Yes, I know,’ replied Valandriel. ‘Brother,’ continued Daniel. ‘We each learn at our own rates and come to spirit and spiritual truths at our own learning. Why, brother, should we exalt in our hearts our own selves beyond that of others? They will become what they need to become in the fullness of time. Pride has no place, but beckons the fall. It is fool’s gold – tasty at first – but with such a bitter after-effect. It is vainglory, not in harmony with the simple truth of what we simply are. Do you understand?’ Valandriel stood from the couch and went into his kitchen, returning with a glass of melit water. Taking a sip he looked at Daniel. ‘There is no glory in you, Daniel, you know. Not one little bit.’ ‘No. I am afraid not, Valandriel. For were will that end me, brother? Were, after the glory of the day, will that leave me? Mmmm?’ Valandriel nodded. Inevitably, it seemed, he had come around to Daniel’s philosophy, as he had so much prior in life. It was, in the end, an eternal focus. Not the here and now. Not even one of a few million, billion or trillion years. But of the eternal, never dying, unending. And such, now, was the choice Valandriel had consented to.’
In the throneroom of heaven, the flame of God again turned purple for a moment, yet then displayed a rainbow of colour, then dark black followed by brightest white and then, suddenly, filling the entire throneroom, the entire symphony of over a trillion colours, in an Almighty flare of Glory. End then, as soon as the display had occurred, it returned to purple, and then a bright red flickering.
* * * * *
‘Memra. It really is best if they get to know you first, I think. Father created the Realm of Eternity through yourself, so it would be best if they knew their creator before they knew me.’ Sitting in the main keep of ‘Home’, Metatron was in conversation with Memra, the Word of Eternity. Logos, the Word of Infinity, was out the front of the keep in conversation with his Father. Logos himself, while not directly involved with the creation of the Realm of Eternity – although indirectly in a sense as it was through Logos that Memra came to be, the woman coming from the man.
Logos, in considering his future incarnation and the work of God in what would be mankind had decided to do things, in a sense, in reverse order. Adam would be created, and then would come Eve. Yet Memra and ‘Israel’ would precede Logos and his Ecclesia, ‘The Church’. As a husband gives honour to his wife in allowing her first place in his heart, so she would be allowed to precede him with the advent of Israel prior to his Ecclesia. He had, now, chosen names for himself and his bride Memra. His name would be dedicated to the Salvation of God – ‘Yeshua’. His bride would be ‘Mary’ of a region to be named ‘Magdala’. In his mind, so much of his future had already been planned out. Of course, he had other concerns as well. He had recently petitioned his father regarding the Realm of Infinity and the need for ‘Twins’ for the males who went without them. His Father had declared that, in the fullness of time, this would be arranged, as it had always intended to have been. He thought on the one within his Father’s loins who would be his human father, Yosef. Yosef would beget him, while at the same time he would be conceived of the Holy Spirit. He would, however, cause deliberate confusion in his church on this issue at the beginning, until they again began to accept the true basis of history and truth. Yet, his bride would grow up one day from their fundamental naiveté.
‘Very well, Metatron. As you wish, I will make myself known to them. As Sariel is currently chief administrator of Zaphon I will introduce myself to him first of all.’ Metatron considered that. ‘Actually, I would prefer if you went to one least considered. Stuck down in the netherworld were he is all alone, suffering his punishment. Father has spoken to me and stated that, if he shows the attitude he has recently shown again upon visitation, that this time his exile can be drawn short. After all, his second exile was in the main due to a purpose God had planned – to draw forth from Saruviel his evil at the hands of Satan.’ Memra nodded at that. ‘Yes. I did think that was what he was doing, and quite harsh on Saruviel because of it.’ ‘The punishment was for this reason. If he had been truly devoted to the forces of goodness, the evil one could not have ultimately influenced him to do what he had done. And thus punishment was called for. Yet Saruviel, in truth, has already in the main repented of his earlier rebellion, which to Father was his way of growing up - becoming adult.’ Memra looked at him. ‘Then why, Metatron, was the punishment so hard? If that was the case, why punish at all.’ ‘A basic lesson, sis. Saruviel needs to be taught responsibility. In reality the rebuke was to correct him for slack attitudes which had crept in. Saruviel is one of father’s dearest children, and he needs to be fully aware of his place of birth as time unfolds. He is not yet as responsible as Michael, so a wake up call was warranted. So father administered a severe rebuke to give him a wake up call. In the end, Saruviel will be all the better for it.’ Memra nodded, finally understanding the wisdom of God on this issue.
‘I will depart later on today, brother. I think I will have a little lunch, read some of that new book from eternity, and then depart.’ ‘Stay a while, sister. Let them enjoy your company, get to know you. For their service they deserve it, ok.’ ‘Ok.’
Later on, as Memra was preparing to leave, Metatron sat in the keep drinking some beer. Life was good, he thought to himself. And just then he wondered if his old man would like a drink, which he occasionally partook of. He was not a grand drinker, was God. He’d never been drunk, and rarely went beyond one drink. Metatron had been drunk often, though, quite enjoying the stuff, and the later rush. But, of course, hangovers were the bane of his life – perhaps something his eternal father had worked out. But, in the end, Metatron thought to himself one simple word. ‘Whatever.’
* * * * *
Sariel, sitting in his office in Zaphon keep, heard a knock at the door. ‘Come in,’ he spoke out loudly. Entering the room came Gloryel, his twin. ‘Hello bro,’ she said smoothly. ‘Hello dear sister,’ replied Sariel. ‘What, may I ask, brings you here today.’ ‘Oh, nothing really. Just passing time I suppose. How have you been? Have you been practicing at cricket?’ Sariel smiled at his twin. ‘Desperately,’ he said, the slightest tone of sarcasm apparent. Gloryel turned her face, and gave out a little chuckle, then turning back to her twin. ‘Would you care for dinner tonight.’ ‘That sounds wonderful, Gloryel. Here in Zaphon?’ ‘How about Glimmersphon, for a change. Some time with Dameriel. I want to talk with you about, of all things, some of Saruviel’s earlier ideas and his time at Glimmersphon. Perhaps, if we can gain insight into what our brother was going through, when he returns to us we may be able to at least understand what was on his mind.’ ‘A good heart, sis. Very good to see your loving concern for him. I do appreciate that, as I care greatly for him, as you may know. Yes – I already look forward to the discussion. It should prove illuminating.’ ‘Of course,’ replied Gloryel, picking up a quill from his desk and examining it. She played with it for a few moments, looking at Sariel from the corner of her eye. Strangely, now that Sariel was in charge of Zaphon and sat as first on the council, she had grown attracted to him. He had grown, she felt. Earlier in life, like all of them she guessed, he was so innocent. Yet now – now as time had passed, and he had grown in knowledge and wisdom – he seemed a more polished product than he had been at first. Smooth, well mannered, charming and sophisticated. Such qualities had gradually become what Sariel, in his administration of Zaphon, had become known for. She was, in her twin, now somewhat impressed.
‘Till later then,’ she said, giving him a little wink and departing. Sariel, watching her go, smiled a little to himself. As strange as it may sound, the spirit of romance seemed, between him and his twin, to almost now, after so long, be coming to the fore. And that romance, if it were to eventuate, was something he actually, in the affections it could bring, looked forward to. Life, it seemed, could be now quite happy for the eighth born of the Seraphim of Eternity.
* * * * *
Saruviel, sitting in the darkness, saw a light approaching. That was unexpected – Ambriel was not due for weeks. As the light came closer, he could see it was a lamp, filled by a figure of a female – yet with no wings. She came near to him and he looked up into her face. She spoke. ‘Well, child. Have you learned your lesson?’ ‘Child?’ Saruviel queried. ‘I am your mother, dear son. Saruviel looked at her, instantly working it out. ‘So a Mother is a female parent, I take it?’ ‘Correct. Well done.’ ‘Are you God’s wife?’ ‘I am Logos wife – the Memra of Eternity? I and Logos are the two Oraphim which Karanasius spoke to you about. We are the Oraphim of Eternity and Infinity – I of Eternity, he of Infinity – Yet, in truth, belonging to the other realm as well.’ Saruviel considered that. ‘And what of Metatron – to were does he call home?’ ‘The three of us live, with Father, at ‘home’. It is were you were conceived. Metatron is the Father of the children of Heaven, just below home, of which there are 70 children? Below heaven, the Realm of Infinity and below Infinity the Realm of Eternity – your home?’ ‘And Metatron – does he have a wife?’ Memra nodded. This Saruviel was, in truth, one of the bright ones. ‘Not yet, child of mine. Yet his wife is to be born soon. Paradise, as it is to be called, is to be betwixt Heaven and the Realm of Infinity. We have spent an eternity, it seems, thinking over his wife’s name. We now have quite a list of names to choose from for his dearest. Yet, father tells us, she bears a name already, for she was born many a year ago in his loins, yet he permits us not yet to know her. She is being taught, formed and carefully knit together as we speak. She is to be an ornament of glory, humble and kind, and we truly look forward to her advent.’ Saruviel nodded. So it is, at the top, Home then Heaven, then soon Paradise, then Infinity then Eternity.’ ‘That is correct, dear child. Yet, it seems, the children of Heaven have been making great plans, and desire 6 more heavens, in the shape of a hexagon, with themselves at the centre. They are to be the first of the 7 heavens, each other heaven in the form of hexagonal points at a great distance from them, yet on the same horizon.’ Memra smiled. It was, in truth, quite strange. Sharing this basic knowledge with her son gave quiet pleasure, also as he was greatly curious so as to know and understand the knowledge. ‘These religions that Ambriel speaks to me of that have taken over Eternity. Rophiel’s Islam, Davriel’s Christianity and the Bahai one. What is behind these ideologies? Are they significant?’ ‘Yes, dear child. For example, Metatron is based solely on Torah knowledge – the Torah’s of Heaven, Infinity & Eternity. In your realm of Eternity, however, it will be Cherubim Judah who shall prevail in this regards. Judaism shall be the dominant form of ideology, yet most shall flock to Noah, who works in harmony with Judah. It is the Israelites who shall stand with Judah. However, in Infinity, Christianity will be King. Logos will teach his Torah their, and later his Gospel, so he tells me.’ Saruviel nodded, taking in that information. ‘And Heaven, and what of Paradise?’ ‘Paradise is Rophiel’s reward, dear child. He has been given the privilege, with Islam, to chart the Torah for that Realm. Even now he calls it the ‘Koran’. Metatron’s wife shall, inevitably, be of this faith. And, in heaven shall remain the Royal Torah. The subtlest and wisest of the words of God.’ Saruviel nodded. ‘What about home?’ Memra looked at him, looked away briefly, considering her answer. She returned her gaze. ‘Does not the infinite one know all things, dear child?’ ‘Ah, I see,’ said Saruviel, instantly understanding. ‘Actually, that answers a lot of questions.’ ‘So it should,’ she responded happily. ‘Now, come. Your time here is over with. Your sister Krystabel misses you greatly. Now, remember. Show her some love. She deserves that for her suffering.’ Saruviel got to his feet. Somehow, since Karanasius had left him, some hope had come into his heart, and he felt that he may be leaving soon. That God had shown his son some mercy and given him a break. For that, he was quite grateful.’
She surrounded him with her spirit, and they rose, through the netherworld, to new life above.
* * * * *
Logos sat with God, humbled by his father’s words. ‘Jesus, the cherubim, the Christ. He will fall?’ ‘Pride will be the end of him, child. Pride will be the end. He is 21st of the Cherubim. Yet, through Enoch, the 21st will be recorded as Azazel. This is the name to which he shall fall – the name to which Israel will send the scapegoat.’ And his fate? In the words of Enoch, eternal damnation. Nothing less than that.’ Logos nodded. ‘I see.’ ‘At what cost, then, is his redemption?’ ‘The refuation of Enoch.’ ‘And how shall I accomplish such a thing?’ God looked at him. ‘Very well then. Inspire the lad. Give him confidence. Teach him the hidden mysteries he will not know of. Yet, in the hearts and minds of men, relegate his words to falsehood. Deny them. And people will ignore his claims.’ ‘Yet, father, the truth to them?’ ‘They are true words, Logos. Yet there is a principle within life. One can change one’s mind. Even if reluctantly, it can be done. If you were to, perchance, consider such a thing as that.’ Logos looked at God, and thought on his disciple John. He thought on John and the Cherubim Daniel. So alike, in so many ways.’ ‘When necessary, I will humble myself father. Unless you would ask me otherwise?’ God looked at Logos, and considered his options. ‘Interesting. Dare I ask, will others you have disciple be of like mind?’ ‘I feel, in the fullness of time, the Ecclesia will accept your judgement. You will forgive us won’t you? You will forgive my pride – my vanity – my vainglory, will you not?’ God looked at his child. ‘Well, yes. As you progress I will teach you. I will share with you one whose word will not bend or break. One whose word is inviolable mercy. One in whom you will grow fond.’ ‘And his name?’ asked Logos?’ ‘Why David of course,’ replied the God of eternity. Logos was actually caught unawares. ‘Oh, David. Oh, of course. I was forgetting. The Lord’s mercy endures forever, as he states.’ ‘And is it not the word of God, child of mine?’ Logos looked at him. ‘Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmmm.’ He looked at God. He looked at him with a sly look, from the corner of his eye. ‘You are a cryptic old bastard, aren’t you?’ God looked at Logos, and shook his head. ‘Well, lad. I have been around for a while, haven’t I?’ Logos shook his head. ‘Whatever.’ And the conversation, then, turned to lighter subject matter, that of the recent Kalphon Games.
* * * * *
‘Saruviel said to me, as I recall his words, ‘It is an issue of authority. God’s dogmatic Torah, or our legitimate freedom as creatures of life.’’
Sariel nodded. ‘Sounds familiar.’
‘And then he went on to argue that unless we claim our freedom we will be forever in control of God, suited to his whimsical ways, not our own beings, our own angelic selves.’
‘The thing is, dear sister, while we are indeed angelic beings, created in the image of God, it is just that point exactly. We are creation – not eternally existent beings. As such, while one can endlessly dispute the notion of rights, God is simply capable of dictating our lives as he sees fit. It is within his power and ability to do so. What, I feel, Saruviel failed to grasp was the reality of God’s sovereignty. But further, and in God’s defense, he failed to realize that, as God has no great need of servants for his own life, our purpose in serving him is for the good of us and our own community. You see, God does not need to push us around, as Saruviel maintained. Nor does he in fact want to. The Torah is clear, dear Gloryel. God is an eternal being, not subject to whims of the moment. All his decisions are considered and acted upon in the light of eternity, and for us his dear children, in our own best interests.’
Gloryel thought on those ideas thoughtfully, sitting within the dining room of Glimmersphon keep, Dameriel and his twin Florel both listening attentively. Dameriel was the house-steward, or even overseer for want of a better word, of Glimmersphon keep. Glimmersphon was one of the oldest keeps of the realm, located on the northern shores of Golden Lake, just to the west of Zaphon on the upper disc of Zaphora.
Dameriel spoke up. ‘Saruviel had interesting ideas on the idea of eternality. He once spoke to me, in a speculative fashion, that we, in terms of our origin, emanated from the eternal spirit of deity, from the power of God, and that in this sense we are of eternal nature and eternal being and authority like God himself. Because of that Saruviel declared to me we have sovereign and undeniable rights as angelic creatures.’
Florel nodded, ‘Yes, Dameriel has spoken to me of that idea before.’
Sariel, chewing through a piece of steak, which he was particularly enjoying, as he always did when visiting Glimmersphon due to Florel’s excellent culinary skills, thought on that idea.
‘So we are eternal like God, are we?’ queried Sariel.
‘Were else could we have come from?’ asked Dameriel. ‘If God was all that existed, then we are made up of his substance in some way. In this sense, perhaps, we are co-eternal with the Father, even if we don’t have the powers of our father.’
‘It sounds, interesting,’ replied Gloryel. She looked at Sariel, took a sip of wine, and happily said, ‘Most interesting.’
Sariel just nodded.
Later on, when they had retired to the upper living room of Zaphon keep, Sariel turned to Gloryel, the question burning in his heart.’
‘So was Saruviel, in a sense, correct? If what Dameriel says is true, is what Saruviel says correct?’ Sariel asked his twin. Gloryel just tilted her head, and said, ‘Who knows,’ and returned to the book she was reading.
* * * * *
He was nervous – quite nervous. Crocus, 19th born of the Cherubim of Eternity was, in truth, more nervous than he had ever been. Smilax had consented to dinner with him. To discuss, as she put it, life, love and other mysteries.
He dressed carefully, checking his best garments for any spot or stain.
Later, awaiting his beloved, he thought on her face. She was the beauty – the beauty – he had desired for oh, so long. Perhaps – perhaps now, she would consent to be with him. He could only hope.
A knock came to the door, and Crocus got up to answer. Smilax stood there. She kissed him on the cheek and gave him a small red rose. ‘Here. If you can accept a Rose of Love, then perhaps we may spend more time together.’ Crocus, very carefully, took the rose from her hand, invited her in, and left for the kitchen. Returning, he placed the rose inside a vase of water, and placed it in the centre of the table which had been set for dinner. ‘I have a nice bottle of wine, Smilax. I hope you like it.’ She looked at him, and gave a slight nod of approval.
Later on that night, they had been in intense and deep conversation, each learning more from the other than they had previously known of, especially the surprised Smilax. Crocus, it seemed, was not full of that spirit which she so readily disdained. He was careful and sensitive. Perhaps, in truth, she had misconstrued some of his earlier ways and conversations amongst his male friends. Perhaps he was just trying to fit in with them. It was a conclusion which she had, rightfully, come to.
As the night came to an end, she again kissed him, this time on the forehead. He took her anxiously to the door, and before she disappeared she turned and spoke. ‘Crocus. You have, I guess, done well. You are at least behaving properly now. If you like, I will spend more time with you. If you like.’ Crocus nodded, and smiled a little smile. Smilax gave a subtle smile back, and left.
He watched her go and, as she disappeared, and he returned inside, he gave the subtlest of glances towards the throneroom of Zaphon, and breathed a sigh of relief.
* * * * *
Saruviel, sitting with Krystabel, in the lounge of Kalphon, was relieved. She sat quietly, paying attention to him. She listened carefully to his words, yet asked no questions. Of course, being Saruviel, he spoke to her little, and rarely asked questions. She knew him, now. She knew that was so much of the nature of her beloved. Yet she sensed, also, something else. A peace had, it seemed, finally settled in the heart of the seventh born of the Seraphim. As if, in time, he had let certain things go. As if he had reviewed and revised certain prior conclusions, and now worried less. Whatever the cause, she was content that the days of the Dragon were, now, hopefully behind them. And so, quite pleased, she sat and rested in the spirit of peace coming forth from the seventh born of the Seraphim of Eternity.
* * * * *
Daniel sensed something. A spirit had departed the Realm. One of God’s most powerful sanctifying spirits had left them, perhaps for the time being, perchance satisfied with work it had completed. He knew that Spirit. He knew it well. He had been born in it – and it had never relented upon him until he had done something. Accepted the rights of God. Accepted the Sovereign Lords’ rights to judgement. It had, in truth, been what he had fought since coming into being. Judging, questioning, challenging, all within the heart of the 45th born of the Seraphim. He had never spoken of it, and even now the remnants of that spirit left countless scars on his soul and on his pride. Inside that heart there were, in truth, too many spirits willing to crucify his father if he at all possibly could. His vengeance and hatred towards God, inside that heart, was kept only in check by his knowledge that peace must ensue between them. Peace and the realization that he also did care for his Father. At this stage, while he trusted God’s wisdom enough to not interfere in his judgements, he would not grant him the kind of respect he perhaps should. His pain in youth was, in the end, too extreme. He had felt hate surround him. Hatred, dark evil, and the spirit of negativity too much for him to bear. He had lived under the weight of death, only coping as best he could – grinning and bearing it, unable to escape his quandary. And so, in truth, he looked at God and said, ‘Well, I have to put up with it – don’t I?’ Yet, silence was his only ever reply.
He knew, in truth, it was childish to bear a grudge. That forgiveness and letting go of past hatreds was the road to healing. Intellectually he understood this. Yet, try as he may, and whatever would be, his heart was now his own domain. No other, no matter who, had a say. That was the reality of life for Daniel of the Seraphim.
* * * * *
The father of Glory considered Daniel’s dilemma. Daniel needed to know that God, in the end, was what he was. Yet, he remembered the design of Daniel. He remembered it and, while perhaps he should new regret the consequences, realized he could not. Daniel was who he was. And he would sooner ask the waters of Golden Lake to freeze over than disturb the heart of a child dear to him
Chapter Six – Jesus the Cherubim
Jesus stood in front of the gathered crowd of, in the main, Cherubim, yet also filled with a small number of Seraphim. They were just north of Zaphon, on the shore of the Sellawon river. Davriel approached the 21st of the Cherubim, and asked him. ‘Child of God. Beloved Christ. Are you willing to receive holy baptism. To be anointed anew in the rivers of redemption by the cleansing spiritual water, and anointed anew in the fires of passion, with the burning purity of the fire of God. Jesus responded. ‘I am ready.’ Davriel guided Jesus, to be the Christ, down into the waters of the Sellawon. The crowd hushed, looking on anxiously. And then Davriel baptised Jesus into the waters of the Sellawon, holding him under for 3 seconds.
In those 3 seconds, Logos cleansed, washed and took away the uncleanliness of centuries of behaviour which had not always been of the highest of standards required of a Cherubim.
And then, emerging from the Sellawon, the fire of God, Uriel, who had accepted the Christian faith, purged Jesus and imparted some of his spirit of fire into the heart, mind and soul of the Christ Child.
He stood before them, the lamb of God, and spoke three words. ‘Be at peace.’
* * * * *
The crowd was silent. Rophiel, taking the stand, began his sermon of vengeance. ‘Of sin, we must relent. In the burning fury of our creator, only the purest of souls will taste the paradise of eternal life. Our Jihad must be against the sin within – in complete submission to Allah – and to go beyond the word of Torah in completion of the work of the Spirit of God. Our Holy War must be eternal and triumphant. Let no soul turn you from your path of complete dedication – a dedication our rivals make a pretense of, yet sin is in their heart. We – the people of Islam – the holy children of God – will, in the end, be the triumphant ones, alone tasting the good gift of God’s eternal life.’
The crowd cheered. There holy prophet – the one who spoke on behalf of the holy one, blessed be he – had spoken truly. Of their passion and fire for the living truth of the Koran, they would never cease.
* * * * *
Bahaliel smiled. Bab had informed him of the words spoken at the baptism, and he himself had witnessed Rophiel’s speech.
Bab looked at him. ‘Well. Shall we proceed?’ Bahaliel answered. ‘Unity, in time, will be achieved. Our spirit will infuse, over time, their hearts in acceptance of each other. And then, in time, another voice will bring the good news. Bab nodded.
* * * * *
Michael sat in the library of Zaphon, studying the Seraphim Torah. He also had the first volume of the Cherubim Torah before him, having been of recent giving it thought also. And he thought on some of the new teachings of Davriel and Rophiel. Saruviel, sitting next to him, commented. ‘Of knowledge there is no end Michael. It is a pathway we walk along, travelling through our lives of new understanding and illumination. So many cherished absolutes are, at times, replaced by the new vision. Yet many remain unending truths. God knows the eternal pathways. He knows each of them. His joy is in the new life we represent, and the delight in being able to assist and help us in these eternal pathways. He no longer, though, takes in all knowledge of them. This he has shared with me. The plan of his daughter Destiny has been worked through – by so many voices – and the guide of the Words of Life will eternally guide us onwards. God’s good pleasure, now, is to partake of this journey with us. And his love for each of us is manifold as a result.
Michael looked at him, a warm tender smile on his face. ‘It just goes on, doesn’t it?’ ‘As the waters of the Sellawon flow without cease, whatever will be will be, and eternally so.’ Michael smiled, placing his hand of affection on his brother’s shoulder.
* * * * *
And so, in a spirit of zeal and evangelistic fervour, the community of the Realm of Eternity came alive with a passion for spirituality. There were many who preferred the old ways – the old, stable and comfortable ways. Yet, so often, these were challenged and even ridiculed by the new found zeal of the new movements. In Jesus, the Christ child, so many of the community formed an affection and dedication to. Gabriel of the Seraphim accepted upon himself holy baptism, being anointed in the waters of the Sellawon. After him, a large number of the Seraphim likewise did. In fact, in a few months, nearly all had joined either Christianity or Islam. Bahai had a small following amongst the Cherubim – those who believe they were the enlightened ones – whereas those who simply adhered to the traditional pathway of Torah were few. Amongst the latter group Michael stood firm, alongside one fifth of the Seraphim, including Raphael, Uriel, Sariel, Cimbrel, Cosadriel, Judael, Davriel, Remriddel, Toraniel, Gandel, Sadurael, Daniel and, finally after much contemplation on the nature of truth and the nature of God, Phindwell eventually sided in the main with the older group. Daniel himself considered Jesus, in essence, the best role model on what an angel should be about. Full of fire and passion. Yet he remained faithful to the traditional ways, refusing to budge from then, and disagreed vehemently with many of Christianities doctrinal points, while acknowledging many of the others. He also considered Islam legitimate, yet only studied it rarely, showing a bit more of an interest in Bahai. Michael and Sariel remained centred on Torah. While Sariel adopted a degree of Christian influence, even being baptised, ultimately his heart was not in that faith, and he drifted around to some of the teachings of ‘Noah’ and his basic faith, which was the simplicity of the observance of the basic requirement of a Torah life, imbued with a sense of the freedom that life offered, and following ones own hearts and dreams. Noah taught peace – that if united in a sense of peace and acceptance of others – with darkness and violence, such as Saruviel had shown, being rebuked in the heart – then most ways of behaviour and belief could be accepted and studied out and delighted in as one saw fit.
As time passed, divisive behaviour, to a degree, entered the hearts of many of the angelic children. Each community felt, in its heart, they were the true believers. That others were not sincere – not as devoted – not as genuine in their claims. And that each was, ultimately, hypocritical in what they taught. It was Noah, Job and the Cherubim Daniel who maintained the peace amongst the divisions, with such a strong influence with their words. Each of them claimed this simple truth: ‘Pride is in your hearts, children of God. As if each of you are the ones – the only ones. Do you not remember that each of you are beloved children of God? Or has the spirit of pride defeated you?’ And so, particularly to the Cherubim Ezekiel and his gathering, these three Cherubim were held in high esteem.
The Cherubim Daniel favoured Michael as the best role model, instead of Seraphim Daniel’s preferred figure of Jesus. Sariel contemplated both perspectives, having many discussions with both Daniel’s – Cherubim and Seraphim – to be illuminated on their perspectives. In the end, Sariel felt this. Was not God – their heavenly father – the best example? Yet this wisdom he kept to himself so as not to accept the spirit, which he deemed as idolatrous – which had started to affect the hearts of the children of eternity.
* * * * *
Davriel sat in Bethlephon keep, considering the impact Jesus the Christ had started making. Jesus, now, had an opportunity to bring, in the mind of Davriel, the sense and purpose of God’s judgement to the angels of Eternity. Perhaps, right now, was the time. A time like no other to be grasped, in which to mould the children of God in a way which would shape them and make them fit for eternal life.
He remembered when he had been first appointed to Terraphon library, a position he had, after due consideration, turned down, preferring to remain at Zaphon library. Yet, later on he had taken a period at Terraphon, when the angels had moved around for 50 cycles. It had been the only real time in his life in which he had not lived in Zaphora. Looking back at that time, he had noted something that he had found interesting. He had noted that nearly all of the Seraphim had left Zaphora to live in Terraphora. And that, eventually, only 2 remained – Michael and Daniel. And that, after Sariel took over from Michael, only Daniel had remained. But shortly afterwards, Daniel had briefly stayed with Meludiel in Terraphora, before returning to Zaphon. And Daniel had remained in Zaphon ever since. Later, Davriel returned to Bethlephon and had also remained since then.
He thought on his opportunity to mould angels – to bring them to the way he desired them to be, through the work of his protégé Jesus. And he thought on Daniel. Perhaps, carefully, he could talk with Daniel and encourage him in the ways of the Christian faith. Perhaps Daniel may take some of his understanding to heart. It would certainly be an interesting thing to attempt in relation to his brother. What Daniel would ultimately think might prove interesting.
* * * * *
For a while, Daniel did in fact accept Christian faith. He underwent baptism, truly believing some of the knowledge Davriel and Jesus had imparted unto him. It had been a great and grand revelation – almost one he had known to a degree from younger years, having read the Judgement of God and Torah and Life – and then coming to terms with the new Gospel of the Christ and the teachings of Davriel.
For around three and a half solid years Daniel was extremely dedicated to Christian faith, being very zealous to promote it to all amongst the Cherubim, rarely though with any real success in winning others, despite his valiant attempts. It seemed they had already made their conclusions on the Christian faith, and did not need the words of this new zealot to impress them. Yet, regardless, he persevered, until, one day, something came to him. Something about faith and life and God. And he left Jesus and Christian faith that day. He left it totally. For a while he considered again the faith of Michael and traditional Torah, especially some of the new Torah Ideas that Michael had been developing amongst the Israelite community. Yet, in their embellishment of Torah, he found much he disagreed with – as if it had strayed from the original words of God.
It was with the Cherubim Noah, who maintained a simple faith, based on the very basics of God’s Torah, rejecting all latter additional material as unnecessary, that Daniel ultimately levelled out. Noah accepted the Book of Judgement, the Seraphim Torah and the Cherubim Torah. Michael’s Israelite Torahic writings he disavowed as too strict, as in the mould of Rophiel’s writings in particular. Noah put this idea to Daniel, an idea he had already formulated himself.
‘Daniel. If you are going to add spiritual maxims, ideas, principles and wisdom to God’s Torah – IF you are going to do that – then at least be sensible enough not to claim it as anything other than your own words. And, further, at least make them right. At least make them true. There is just too much pride in the rest of them, brother. Too much pride. Be honest. Be truthful. Be true. And if you show them some grace, you will win their hearts in the end.’
Noah spoke those words to Daniel because, in truth, he sensed that Daniel had longings of his own towards spiritual teaching and ideas. That Daniel, too, desired to start his own religious crusade, in a sense.
Daniel thought on Noah’s words, and made a conclusion. IF he claimed that his teaching was completely his own – yet if he also claimed that he had asked God to have an influence upon it, through his prayers – yet not claiming to know what, if any, God’s influence would be – then perhaps, if his work was ultimately of a high enough quality, perhaps people might listen to him. In that he could only hope.
* * * * *
Matrel sat opposite Amiel in Shadlaphon keep, the place which had come be their home. They had now been together, again, for quite some time. There was in no real way a burning passion of love between them – no great infatuation – no earnest desires. They were, in truth, simply comfortable with each other. They suited each other as companions, it was not a fussy relationship, and they basically got along. For Matrel the relationship was actually working for him on a personal level. He basically got someone to talk to in Amiel, someone to sleep with, someone to share meals with, and someone to occasionally have a game of chulara, or the new chess game or some other pastime. He was, basically, satisfied with life, and was pursuing, on the side in a manner, intellectual pursuits in the occasional study of theology, philosophy and various other branches of knowledge. He also played Tennis quite competitively now. He was somewhat lanky in his younger years, but all the training he had done for some time now had fleshed him out and muscled him up. And, funnily enough, he was just about the best tennis player in the realm, others occasionally challenging, but he usually remaining on top.
Amiel was in a similar mind to Matrel. She, however, quietly loved him for the simple fact that he was there and faithful. He seemed happy with her, and in a practical way it suited her to have her angel twin loyal to her. It was now the way she liked it, and they generally got along quite well. She, like Matrel, was not overly consumed with the passions in life, but simply happy. It was no more complicated than that.
Currently, they were playing the new chess game, and Matrel had been talking about a new variant he had been thinking of. A nine by nine board, as opposed to the eight by eight, with two new pieces – the God piece and the Devil piece. Amiel found the idea interesting and had suggested he make up a set and start playing it which, now, he had decided to get around to doing.
They played their chess game, happily that day, sipping on melit water and listening to the budgies in the birdcage near the window chatter on.
Amiel won the game that day. She, in fact, won more often than not, but Matrel was competitive winning about one third of the time. Amiel was, in truth, more intelligent than Matrel. She was brighter by nature, it would seem, but Matrel was slowly improving in these areas. She had noted that his studies were continuing, and that he seemed a little more sophisticated, on the whole, then he had been in previous years. It was interesting, that. Interesting to see that over a long period of time, life got a little more complex and interesting and that, surprisingly, a greater degree of happiness and peace was associated with this. It was, actually, quite nice at times simply to be able to contemplate various ideas. To simply think and wonder. To ponder and contemplate. It was, perhaps, the purpose of angelic life to do this. Perhaps, through this growth and enjoyment, life gained the meaning that it served. Perhaps that was what it was all about.
* * * * *
Yaramiel sat next to his twin Valeriel in Helyphon Keep. It was late in the evening, the twilight gradually diminishing into darkness. Valeriel was laying comfortably against him, stroking his arm, as the two of them gazed into the log fire burning before them.
The two of them, perhaps, were in love. The two of them, twins by birth, were now really quite committed to each other and in each other found the meaning of life which gave great ease of heart and peace of soul in, perhaps, submitting to a divine idea – the idea of a twin finding culmination in the other.
Yaramiel worked part time now, as no other requirements were to be made of him as the realm functioned well enough on a less rigorous workload with the well established work patterns making, through experience, life much easier for the angels of eternity.
Valeriel prepared their meals most of the time, and washed their garments. They both looked to Helyphon’s garden, and received regular food parcels, which they also had to sometimes collect themselves.
Yaramiel had talked to Valeriel about their lives and, together, as a couple, they had essentially agreed that for the foreseeable future the status quo remain the status quo. They really did not want any change at the moment. To herself Valeriel felt that, perhaps, many millennia from now, she may pursue some of the interests she had gradually developed. But for now she was quite pleased to remain with Yaramiel and simply enjoy living. It was completely sufficient in every way for now. And for Yaramiel, while not quite identical, similar thoughts pervaded his thinking. Really, he now enjoyed his work and left life to give its own simple pleasure. He didn’t, now, want it any more complicated than that simple truth.
They watched the fire for hours, well into the night, and as it burned down, Yaramiel lifted his sleeping twin from the couch, took her to their bedroom, and laid her on the bed. He lay down next to her, looked up at the ceiling, said a quiet prayer of thanks to God for his life, and drifted off to slumber.
* * * * *
Cimbrel, sitting in the library of Terraphon, studying through various texts in preparation of a lesson on mathematics, was interrupted by Shemrael who now likewise resided in Terraphon, having become chief social counsellor there, upon the request of Sariel for Shemrael to be closer to her twin.
Shemrael sat down next to Cimbrel, noting his smell. It was Cimbrel’s distinctive odour and she noticed it was similar to her own, perhaps especially as now that they were regular visitors to the Japanese province of Terraphora, were they partook of distinctive Japanese cuisine.
Recently, Gabriel, under instruction from Sariel, had notified that Cimbrel and Shemrael’s time in Terraphon was nearing completion and that they were to be appointed chief overseer and chief counsellor on, for what was intended to be now a permanent basis, in the new keep intended for Japan. The new keep was to be called Tokyphon, and it was to be the main keep for Japan, operating in a similar way in which the other main keeps operated. In fact, in Sariel’s new agenda, many many new major keeps were to be built in the recently established provinces, a major keep or capital for each province. Over each capital it was intended that a Seraphim male and his female twin be appointed. The male was to function as Overseer for the province, and the female twin to work in an appropriate alternative role, amongst the significant roles available.
Cimbrel had been quite excited at the news, now realizing that the gift of authority which had been granted to the 7 Archangels, was now being extended to all 70 of the Seraphim Angels. And, in his discussion with the other Seraphim, the announcement that Sariel had been filtering through the community of this being his agenda, the news had been overwhelmingly positively received. So many of them, in truth, were greatly looking forward to a position of authority. In a very great way, in fact.
Shemrael sat down next to Cimbrel, placing her arm in his, which he happily took. The two of them were quietly at peace. Quietly at peace and, happily, looking forward to what lay ahead.
* * * * *
The small crowd was gathered. Sariel spoke his words, words which God had ordered him to speak. ‘Is it Rebellion in thine heart, children of God? Is it Rebellion in thine heart? Or do you seek, truly, that which is Good – that which is Holy – that which is perfect? On behalf of Almighty God I declare unto thee his words. Passion can unite. Passion can divide. Truth is elusive. Beware your pride. If Zaphon’s glory is what you seek. To stand upon its lofty peak. Then dedicated ye’ll need to be. Unto the truth that lightens thee. Go forth and conquer with thy words. Until all angels as one have heard. And then the truth will be made known. Upon those God calls his righteous own.’
Rophiel, Davriel, Jesus, Noah, Abram, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Saul, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Bab, Bahlaviel, Gabriel, Michael, Daniel and a number of others stood in front of Zaphon, listening to Sariel speak from the steps of the entrance to the keep. They had been gathered to hear his words. And, now, having heard them, they chatted with each other for a while, gradually dispersing.
Michael thought on them. They were, really, challenging words. So Torahic in many ways. And, he questioned, were they likewise directed at himself? Was he, Michael, likewise within this exhortation of God? He wondered. He wondered.
Chapter Seven – Michael and Karanasius
Michael, sitting in his abode, heard a knock at the door. He went to open it and was greeted by Karanasius. ‘Michael. Would you now like to meet Metatron? He is happy enough to meet you now, and I know you have heard a little of him now.’ Michael nodded. It was time, it seemed, to meet the oldest of all angels. The very oldest of all.
* * * * *
Saruviel, sitting in Kalphon, was at peace. It was gone. Something was gone. Something great and powerful, terrible and awesome, was gone. A weight had been lifted from his shoulders and he was now, finally, at peace.
‘SARUVIEL. COME TO THE THRONEROOM OF KALPHON.’ The voice had spoken, loudly, and he heard it. He knew who it was. He left his office and made his way to the throneroom, finding it empty, the flame of God flickering above the throne.’
God spoke quite quickly. ‘SARUVIEL. YOU HAVE WORK TO DO. WORK TO DO – ELSEWHERE. YOU WILL BE LEAVING THE REALM NOW. YOU WILL NOT BE RETURNING FOR A LONG TIME. A VERY GREAT AND LONG TIME. I HAVE WORK FOR YOU TO DO ELSEWHERE.’ A vortex appeared in front of Saruviel. He looked at it, a little scared. A little scared and uncertain. What the heck did God mean? Work to do elsewhere? And he had just gotten home? He spoke his concerns. ‘Father?’ God responded, ‘NOW SARUVIEL.’ Saruviel looked at the vortex and, in obedience to the divine calling, entered into the unknown. And he was gone.
* * * * *
Gabriel was considering his options. ‘Mmmmm. Mmmmm. Mmmmm. What options do I have?’ He sat there in Terraphon, considering his next move. The Seraphim males, now had been appointed to their various keeps in their own provinces. This, it seemed, would be the basis for were glory could be sought from. And, in the very primitive instincts of Archangel Gabriel - Archangel of Terraphon – Archangel of Rome – he thought on the glory – the eternal glory – he could achieve. It would be war and conquest, one day, for Gabriel. He would marshal his Roman troops and one day conquest would be his. Michael was passive. He cared not greatly for such competitive notions. Yet, if he did, he was subtler in how he played the game. Others, he felt, would be passionate for times, yet fall away. Sadurael could be a concern at times. The Mongolian Prince would build empire, inevitably. Perhaps waiting after Gabriel’s initial work. Yet, Gabriel believed, he would have greater staying power. God had told Gabriel personally that Michael was due to return to Zaphon soon, resuming his former position with Sariel to be returned to England, his appointed dominion. And, so it seemed, to so many of the Seraphim now extremely satisfied with their own particular dominion, the glory of firstborn was not at all necessary. It was not necessary to rule from Zaphon. So many of them had concluded, having reflected on years under Michael, that their beloved older brother was a kind heart. He was appropriate in Zaphon. He was appropriate. But glory was available, so they would challenge. Each would challenge, seeking the power each desired.
* * * * *
‘Well Daniel, what province do you bloody want?’ Daniel looked at Sariel, and finally made his response. ‘I will take a small section of England, the Yorkshire section. I am quite happy to work under your authority in England. You are sensible and will make good decisions for England. I would be quite happy to be on this team. But, I want to start with Phanuel, somewere near Ambriel in their provinces. Just an extremely brief sojourn at Yorkshire, just to have that placed officially as my dominion, but then working under Phanuel and Ambriel. And, by the way, I don’t want them to know my dominion. I don’t want anyone to know. Ok?’ Sariel looked at him. ‘Under my authority, then? Doesn’t that bother you?’ ‘We are all under God’s, anyway. And I feel in a united team effort, the glory can be ours in the end. And I would rather be on a team. I think that is the way to go.’ ‘Well you had better watch Phanuel and Ambriel, brother. You had better watch them, as they have quite a team up and running.’ ‘Exactly why I want to work there initially. I will outfox them, eventually.’ Sariel grinned. ‘And I really thought you were ethical, Daniel. I had really thought that.’ ‘Oh, I am ethical. Just not stupid. I will take advantages – legal advantages – when and were I can. Ok.’ Sariel nodded, happy enough to have this old devil on his team. ‘It should prove interesting, Daniel. It should prove interesting.’
* * * * *
She lay against him, upon his shoulder, occasionally stroking his arm, seemingly quite happy. Crocus, though, was still quite nervous. They’d had a number of visits together in recent years and, now, Smilax seemed to be accepting her twin in ways in which many of the elder Seraphim community did. Crocus, while happy to have this happen, almost felt if he was enjoying a delight in life too soon. As if he was supposed to wait until she had become completely satisfied with every aspect of his life before she would show affection. But, no, she had gradually come to be quite affectionate towards him, and no great length of time seemed to have been required. Yet, still, he was nervous.
And then, when she asked if he desired her company in the bedroom that night, he almost said no, as if such a thing could not happen. But he had not. He had, after consideration, acceded to her offer, and they spent the night together, comfortable in each other’s arms, almost happily in love.
* * * * *
Aquariel sat next to her twin, Gabriel, inquiring into his thoughts. ‘Empire – Glory – Passion. Were does it all lead in the end, Aquariel? Were does it all lead in the end?’ Aquariel looked at him and decided that, ultimately, if he could not yet answer that question, she would not do so for him. She knew how to answer it. She knew the purpose. She would let Gabriel, though, find that answer for himself.
* * * * *
Semambarel stood on the top of the highest tower of Mexiphon, the newly built keep established in the province of Mexico in Kalphora. He was now designated chief overseer of Mexico, a new position of responsibility, far greater than any he had previously been given.
He had not, really, ever sought any such glory. He had never, really, ever sought any such power. He had been content to live a quiet and simple life, working in his trade of penmaking. But that, now, had come to an end. And while Mexico was by no means the biggest of provinces, being third in size in the Kalphoran region, after the United States, the name given to the central region of Kalphora, being a conglomeration of all the little provinces which had been called States by Saruviel, and then after Canada over which Loquiel had been given authority, it was still of a significant size and the responsibility quite reasonable.
Semambarel himself tended not to link that greatly with either Saruviel or Loquiel. In a sense, while he respected Saruviel, he was still a little cautious. Instead he preferred keeping closer contacts with Halyudiel, who was Spanish like himself, living in the Spain province in Terraphora. And, down in the Brephora district, which spoke nearly all Spanish as well, apart from Raguel’s Brazil which connected to his own Portuguese people, he maintained close contact as well.
He wondered to himself, from time to time, what his future would be – were his loyalties would ultimately lie. He pondered and eventually concluded that, probably, he would side with Saruviel as his brother had been such a strong influence upon him early in life and was so passionate and dedicated.
And Loquiel Semambarel did quite like. Loquiel was, perhaps more than just about any other angel, trustworthy. Loquiel remained now, in the eyes of Semambarel, more trustworthy than Ambriel and more consistent. Loquiel, it seemed, never lost sight of his responsibilities and was always quite concerned with the welfare of his brethren. As strange as it may sound, perhaps around these two particular brothers – Saruviel and Loquiel – Semambarel’s best interests lied. Of course, there was Simonuel down in Cuba. Simonuel may prove interesting over time. What his motivations and dreams were, Semambarel was not sure. But he guessed that, over time, his answers would come forth.
* * * * *
Cosadriel was walking around Reykjavik Keep, in the province of Iceland, a section of remote Terraphora, way up against the Rim, covered mostly in Ice, thus the name. His twin, 15th of the female Seraphim, Oshanel, was inside with various cherubim decorators, arranging some of the finishing touches to the interior of the keep, now nearly ready for full use.
Cosadriel was oh so fond of his twin sister. The two were inseparable. He adored their lovemaking, and he found her to be the most attractive of all the female Seraphim in his opinion. Perhaps he was biased, but he found her extremely attractive. And she fitted with him perfectly. She was everything he could possibly desire.
Cosadriel, as an angel, was extremely fit and athletic. That was his specialty, and he competed effectively at the Kalphon games because of it. He was actually quite happy to be on the Terraphora team, not having escaped the obvious point that Terraphoran’s were all of a similar facial look and bore the same fare skin. In the Kalphon games coming up, Cosadriel was ready. His fellow Icelanders were training carefully, and the team as a whole was going to challenge. They would, if they could, bring glory to Terraphora and Iceland. For the immediate future, apart from the establishment of Reykjavik keep, that was his major objective.
* * * * *
Having been appointed overseer of Kalphon and Kalphora in general after Saruviel’s departure, Sariel having informed the community that God had spoken to him to tell him that Saruviel would be absent for the foreseeable future, Kantriel was busily at work preparing his district for the Kalphon Games. Kantriel himself had been appointed overseer of the state of California, within the Province of the United States. His brother Daraqel had been appointed over the state of New York, on the other side of the US. Just before he left, Saruviel had also been using the basic term of the United States of America to describe their province. It seemed an appropriate title to use, so they had decided to stick with it. And he had referred to the USA as a Country and not a province, preferring that new name instead.
Kantriel was assessing his team’s strengths. As host of the games he felt practically obligated for his team to perform well. Naturally, each district was dedicated to achieving success, each determined to win. Because of that, Kalphon need not try to emerge victorious on every occasion, but he felt it important, as Saruviel had done, for Kalphoran’s to perform well.
The sprint seemed to be the most highly anticipated event in the upcoming games. Almost as if it was the pinnacle of the games glory. Kalphora had a number of sprinters, and Kantriel felt that, perhaps, in this event they would emerge victorious. He feared Terraphora the most. His oldest brother Michael would, undoubtedly, be professionally at work to ensure Terraphora’s victory. His long term skill and established professionalism would be a feared rival. Now that Michael was established in England, it should prove most interesting what that province emerged like. Yet, apparently, Michael was now soon due to return to Zaphora as overseer again. If that happened before the games, the disruption might – just might – assist Kalphora in its objectives. Time would only tell, he guessed. Time would only tell.
* * * * *
Daraqel sat within Neyophon, the name given to the newly established keep to oversee the state of New York. His twin, 24th of the female Seraphim, Kaladel, was in the kitchen preparing his and her nightly meal. Neyophon was an impressive keep, still under construction. So far it was twice the size of Zaphon and would perhaps go further still, as it was still being built.
Daraqel was contemplating the absence of his brother Saruviel. Of course, Kantriel had acted as overseer for Kalphon previously, as had Sariel, yet Sariel was seemingly to soon be appointed overseer to England with the return of Michael to Zaphora.
Daraqel rightly assumed that Kantriel would be dedicated to his work as Kalphora’s overseer, yet his main concern was, with the upcoming Kalphon Games, wether Kantriel could bring the degree of professionalism necessary to the games which Saruviel undoubtedly exhibited. Kantriel was competitive and dedicated yet, in truth, none could replace the intensity of Saruviel. He, as others had often expressed, epitomised the notion of the ‘Challenge’. It was, in a sense, what Saruviel embodied.
Yet, it would be interesting to see Kantriel, perhaps, pushed to the best of his capabilities. It would be interesting to see just what his older brother by one position of birth was capable of.
* * * * *
Gloryel was high in the sky, flying in the heights of Zaphora. She spied, down below, the lights of Zaphon as they came on, embracing the descending twilight. Up here, she was happy. She felt a buzz. Almost as if the spirit of life had entered her and challenged her to soar into the heights of eternity. Down below Sariel was likely soon finishing his administrative tasks for the day. She had been around him, now, for quite some time. And she was growing attached. In all honesty, she found him cuter and more attractive then she had ever done. Handsome, in fact. And of course, while she might not say as such to others throughout the realm, she was silently very pleased that it was her twin who had been appointed replacement to Michael and, in a sense, earned the status of secondborn in authority in a way. And, for her, that meant she was second to Elenniel, having taken Aquariel in that sense who was Gabriel’s twin.
She had been watching Sariel closely recently. He was, indeed, in training for the upcoming Kalphon games, being intended to captain the Zaphora cricket side. She had been, likewise, now placed on the Zaphora team. They were, now, team-mates. And she was quite happy about that.
Of course, it was uncertain at this stage as to whether Michael would remain in England, or return to Zaphon before the beginning of the Kalphon Games. Perhaps he would return just in time, or perhaps not.
In the end, she may be playing on the Terraphora team, and not on Zaphora, as she would follow Sariel to his new appointment without hesitation. She felt, now, that she didn’t really want to leave her twin and would rather stand by him. Perhaps, through the sheer fact that he had been given honour, she should likewise honour him. But also, she loved him. Not with enormous passion, but a steady and calm love, one of being prepared to commit to her brother now.
Ambriel, while she still loved him, was not the centre of her heart anymore. And while Sariel had not quite claimed that prize either, he was certainly more in favour than the bright flame she had once pursued. Time did strange things, it seemed, with love. It was not always expected, but perhaps, in a simple way, what should be. Perhaps, in that simple plan of her father, it was what would work the best.
* * * * *
Sariel received the news from his Father that Michael was indeed to return to Zaphora, and that just on the eve of the Kalphon Games. At this stage, Sariel was to administer the Zaphoran team as a priority, to prepare them for Michael’s return. After that Sariel would take over Michael’s job as overseer for England, and join Gabriel’s team in the Terraphora district.
Because of this, while Sariel knew he would have to devote himself very carefully to the success of the Zaphoran team, he would undertake his own personal training in private, so as not to give any hints away of his gameplan to other Zaphoran’s as, when the day came, he would be playing on the Terraphoran side and not the Zaphoran. And, perhaps, that was no certainty as Gabriel would likely captain the Terraphoran side, which meant he would have to really earn his place, which would not be easy amongst a growing list of competitors.
But he would persevere and, with luck, be ready on the day.
* * * * *
The Cherubim Lindsay was seated in the library of Zaphon. Davriel was seated opposite her, sipping a mug of coffee, reading through her new book on poetry. She’d had made a dozen copies of the book and inquired as to wether Davriel would like a copy for Zaphon library.
‘Well, it should be fine Lindsay. It is a bit different – not the usual kind of poetry we get here. You see, the Zaphoran community is quite conservative and old fashioned, not given to much of the new trends of the Terraphoran community. Just the way we like it, you see. And your book, especially the poetry on erotic love, may be quite challenging to us here in Zaphora with more mundane tastes. But I will allow it in to the library. Some angels may take an interest and, if they do, I will be sure to let you know, ok.’ Lindsay smiled. ‘Thanks Dav. I really appreciate that. Yeh, I know some of the poems are a bit cheeky. Just my way, you see. Its true, though. Terraphoran’s are a lot more, I guess, liberal than you Zaphoran’s. They are far more open to new ideas. Davriel decided to correct her on that point.
‘Lindsay, it is not to say we are not open to new ideas. Perhaps it is just more of a case that we are well established, now, in the way we do things, not given to change that easily, and not greatly desired either. We are sort of happy with the way things are. And, although Terraphora is quite old now, it is still a vast place and will naturally take a heck of a lot longer to ground itself on its own values and ideals. Just the way of life.’ Lindsay nodded, making sense of those words. ‘Tell me Lindsay – have you been baptized yet?’
‘Well, now that you mention it, yes actually. Although, the truth is that I am not really that fussed about Christianity in a religious sort of sense. Don’t get me wrong. I do hold to its teachings. But I don’t get carried away with them. Sort of more of an influence and a grounding rather than anything else, ok.’ Davriel nodded. He understood that position. It was, in truth, what he had gradually gravitated to in his expectations as the father figure, in a sense, over the Christian faith. His young protégé, Jesus Christ, was as zealous as ever. But Davriel had mellowed somewhat from his initial fervour. Perhaps, in a way, he had gotten to the extremes of his religious faith and, having been satisfied with the knowledge and understandings he had gained, felt less concerned now. The realm flowed on under the Torah. It, really, needed no great embellishments. It sufficed.
‘Well, I’ll be going Dav. But I’ll see you round sometime, ok?’ Lindsay waved at him as she left the library, while Davriel took a sip of coffee and returned to the poetry.
* * * * *
And, as it had done for many years now, life in the Realm of Eternity progressed on its merry way. Throughout the realm, in generally, the angels were quite happy. A period of peace had replaced the turmoil of Saruviel, and lives were now full of quiet and sometimes not so quite joy and celebration.
For many, though, thoughts were turned to the up and coming Kalphon Games – the first major District Championship – and the first major Games in which the provinces would be recognized as well. For so many of the angels these games seemed like the perfect opportunity to set records and gain glory – eternal glory. Many of them were in training for much of their week, aiming at setting new personal records and achieving victory for their district.
It would be a time of peace, love and joy for the angels of eternity. And, further, it would be the Battle for Zaphon’s glory, so Sariel had declared. After a great deal of deliberation, Sariel had made the final decision that, with the absence of Saruviel for the foreseeable future, the next overseer of Zaphon – the one to replace Michael’s second tenure – would come from the district which won the Kalphon Games – and would go to the overseer of the province which achieved the most Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. That would, now, be the decider for who was to have the Glory third.
And so, as that news filtered around the community, the hearts of the 70 male Seraphim steadied themselves and, for those who sought such a prize with everything they had, preparation for the games and the Battle for Zaphon began in earnest.
‘The Battle for Zaphon’
Chapter Eight – Michael and Karanasius II
And so, Michael, in the arms of Karanasius of the Ozraphim, ascended upwards. Travelling upwards, at an enormous speed, although there was no wind resistance, they passed certain planes. Although it came and went rather quickly, they passed a realm which looked similar to his own far below, and then soon afterwards another smaller realm. And then a much smaller still. Finally, they neared what could only be described as a tiny city, and landed, there form changing upon landing.
A figure approached, and put out its hand to Michael, who accepted it and shook it. ‘Well, hello Michael. I have known you, of course, for many years, yet you have not known me. Come on then – lets have a beer.’ Michael followed, who he presumed was Metatron, towards a building, which looked like a basic keep. Just near the keep, though, a very strange looking angel, one without wings, with a long grey beard and a great number of strange wrinkles on his face, was on his knees, digging in a small garden with a tiny shovel.’ ‘Who is he?’ Michael asked Metatron. Metatron looked at the old man, and looked at Michael. ‘Oh. Mmm. Him, huh. Well, I guess, if there was anyone you would ever wish to meet, then I suppose it is him. I will wait inside. Go on, you talk to him.’ Metatron walked inside, leaving Michael staring at the old man. Nervously, he walked over to stand next to the man, who then stopped digging, and stood, looking at him. He reached out and placed a hand on Michael’s shoulder – a personal hand, as if he had known him forever. Michael looked at him strangely, and sensed something about him – as if he was someone who he should know, but quite couldn’t name. ‘Who – who are you?’ he asked, innocently. The old man looked at him, and spoke in a tender, yet strong voice. ‘I am your father, Michael.’ Michael looked confused. ‘But, but, God is my father.’ ‘I know, Michael.’ He looked at him for a moment, not making the connection yet. ‘But how can I have two fathers?’ ‘You don’t son. You have only one.’ ‘But that would mean you are God.’ ‘I guess so, son,’ said the old man quite frankly. Michael looked at him, and the connection was then made. ‘Then…then this is your form? Your real form?’ ‘It is the body I have chosen for myself, son. It is true – in my essence I am eternal spirit. Yet this is also me. This is my human form.’ Michael stared at him. ‘You know, father, you are a lot less confronting in person.’ ‘Now why would I have it any other way, mmm? Now go on. Go on inside. Speak with Metatron. He is one I would wish you to now get to know.’ God removed his hand of affection from his son’s shoulder, and stooped down returning to his digging. Michael stared at him for a few moments and then, at his God’s request, made his way inside to Metatron.’
‘He is so….so…’ Metatron interrupted him. ‘I think the word you are looking for is normal, Mikey. Really, in person, he puts on no great pretenses. He is on old father. An old loving man. He is, in truth, our home. The heart of this place here called home.
They spoke, then, at lengths. Metatron began an introduction to the hidden life and history of ‘home’, and talked on various other subjects, illuminating the mind of the firstborn of the Seraphim of Eternity.
Later, Michael thought on the words shared. Knowledge had been imparted – strong knowledge. And, through this wisdom, he would temper his own thoughts and, again, seek the destiny within life his eternal father spoke unto him.
* * * * *
Cosadriel, fifteenth born of the male Seraphim of Eternity, stood next to the rim, on its easternmost point, looking down at the ice flow which shimmied down underneath the realm. He wondered to himself, just then, were such ice eventually, if anywhere, levelled out. It may prove interesting to find out some day. Bantriel, ninth born of the Seraphim male, spoke up. ‘Why the heck did you want to come here, Saddy? Not much here but Ice you know. We have that in our cool-rooms.’ Cosadriel nodded. Yet his curiousity had been aroused on an issue and, out of that curiousity he had decided to act. ‘Well. Here goes,’ he said, and began his shovelling of the ice. Bantriel looked on, slightly amused. Whatever the idiot was doing, he would give him the help he had asked for.
Three Months’ later, after constant digging, the ice being firmly packed but generally not to difficult to move, especially now that Radrukiel, Gamrayel, Dameriel, Pendrael and Azrael had joined in with the digging, they had finally reached their destination – the nadir of the realm of eternity. It was quite easy, now, as they could rest against the void, going no further than a few cubits. The team looked at their leader Cosadriel and asked him. ‘Well what now?’ ‘We go up,’ stated Cosadriel confidently. ‘This might actually prove interesting,’ commented Pendrael, 49th born of the Seraphim of Eternity. Radrukiel looked at him. ‘Maybe. We’ll see what is up there anyway.’
One short week later they hit metal. Clearing the ice away, Cosadriel yelled out a huge surprise. There were all sorts of engravings over the metal. Clearly their heavenly father had placed it there. The team of 7 angels were, really, hugely happy that, after so much time and effort, a reward had finally been given. They very quickly, with a fresh new energy, cleared more and more ice, eventually coming to the edge of the metal, which appeared to be a large circle approximately 140 cubits in diameter. Going up the sides of the circle, after a cubit the edge ended and they stared working inwards. Each of them were enthralled and hoped for a great reward for their efforts. A day later, having cleared away all of the ice upwards about 5 cubits, they stood on the platform of metal, which had a central beam a cubit across going upwards. Up at the top of the Realm, a whole host of Cherubim and Seraphim had gathered, having been informed of the discoveries. Sariel had stated that they would wait until the team had finished what they were doing before having a look.
‘Well, here goes,’ said Cosadriel. They began again, this time though, the work was over practically immediately as they came to the roof of the beam, which spread out, again about 140 cubits across, being replaced by earth – presumably the earth of Zaphora. They all looked at the new patterns. There were 7 major panels, each in a circular shape, in the form of a circle surrounding the upper beam. And each panel had around it 70 knobs, in the forms of dials. Around each dial were the names of the 70 male seraphim. Cosadriel found that the dials could be pulled out, turned, and set in place for each of the different Seraphim.
Bantriel, examining the panels, came to a conclusion. ‘They are entrances.’ The team nodded as one – it was a conclusion they had quickly come to.
The next three weeks were spent, in vain, trying all sorts of combinations to open the panels – yet to no avail. And then, finally, Radrukiel suggested, in order of the team as they had begun, their own 7 names be set to the dials. So one by one, they tried each combination, moving around in order. Upon the 7th effort, when they felt they had probably failed, something happened. Cranks turned and the panels popped open. The team looked at each other. Success.
Each of them entered their panel, into the darkness.
Climbing up the steps, lights came on above them. As they each entered, before them, lying around a big cavern on basic beds, were the 7 Shadow Angels. Karanassius looked at them. ‘Well it is about bloody time.’ The team laughed. ‘I should have expected you,’ said Cosadriel. ‘Finally,’ said Karanassius. ‘Come on, lads. Our time is served. Let’s get the hell out of here.’
Later on in the week, the team discovered that, due to certain words of pride the shadow angels had once spoken, they would be left in the netherworld until found – however long that might be. Yet, to the praises of heaven, the Shadow angels were no longer slaves to the darkness but could now, finally, take their place amongst the children of the Realm of Eternity.
Sariel, noting the number of 7, appointed each of them as the Chief Overseer’s of Guidance to the 7 major keeps. It was not an administrative position, yet a position of mentorship and teaching. And, in this, the 7 Ozraphim angels of the Realm of Eternity finally took up positions in the home they had for so long desired to rejoin.
* * * * *
Raguel sat in the council chambers of Brephon Keep. Gathered around him were the other nine Seraphim Council members of Brephon keep. Amongst them were Talzudiel, 43rd born of the Seraphim, Sosteriel, 44th born of the Seraphim, Penoniel, 62nd born of the Seraphim, Yaramiel, 20th born of the Seraphim, Mistrel, 21st born of the Seraphim, Abraqel, 48th born of the Seraphim, Talutiel, 34th born of the Seraphim, Desdrael, 57th born of the male Seraphim and Othaniel, 58th born of the male Seraphim of the Realm of Eternity.
They sat there, deep in conversation each of them. In time the original angelic names of the realms had been replaced, to a degree, by more common names. Each keep still retained its angelic name officially, yet other names were more commonly used.
The district of Brephora was now known as ‘South America’, again divided into what were called ‘Countries’ within the district or province of South America. Each of the Seraphim on the Council were devoted to one of the major countries. Raguel watched over Brazil. Talzudiel watched over Columbia. Sosteriel watched over Venezuela. Penoniel watched over Paraguay. Yaramiel watched over Argentina. Mistrel watched over Chile. Abraqel watched over Uruguay. Talutiel watched over Bolivia. Desdrael watched over Peru. And, finally, Othaniel watched over Ecuador.
The team were discussing the next major Kalphon Games, and what had become the divisions set up by Saruviel in his re-appointment to Kalphon. Each district would now enter its own team – one from each district. Of course, the seven districts were Zaphora, Terraphora, Mitraphora, Pelphora, Brephora, Romnaphora and Kalphora. Each of the 7 districts would now compete for the ultimate prize – District Champion of the Kalphon Games.
The conversation, now, had become intense on these games. Each district was thoroughly determined to challenge the others to emerge triumphant and victorious. And the team of South America were concentrating on all sorts of things.
‘Training.’ Talzuidel stated it quite simply. ‘The greater the level of training, the greater the success. If we train the most – if we train harder than all the others, we will win. I am sure of it.’ Raguel nodded – a well proven theory in his thinking. Abraqel, sitting next to Yaramiel, spoke. ‘Weights. If we lift heavy weights our muscles grow. From all my years of hard labour, I have found this undoubtedly true.’ Yaramiel, sitting next to him, spoke in concurrence. ‘He is definitely right. I think if we concentrate on those two keys with our best athletes – Training and Weights – we will come out on top.’ Talutiel spoke up. ‘How about some Torah tactics? Some of the Dragons’ moves?’ Raguel looked at him. ‘Would you like to explain?’ Talutiel responded. ‘Subtlety in how we compete. Not being so obvious when and were we are trying to win – and when and were we make our most dangerous attacks.’ Raguel looked at his brother Talutiel, and smiled. ‘Mmm. Yes, I think that is an excellent suggestion. Really, a great idea.’ Desdrael from Peru spoke up. ‘As with Talutiel’s ideas, let us incorporate this into a general team strategy. A focus for how we attack the games overall, and our individual events strategies. I think, though, the individual strategies, for the sake of harmony and unity and a team approach will work better if directly tied into the overall focus.’ Othaniel from Ecuador spoke. ‘Yet, there are also other approaches. Strategy – subtlety. Yet, mystery is a tactic to employ. To shield ourselves in a shroud impenetrable in the way we conduct ourselves and play in the events. To not be so obvious in anything we say or do. To be difficult to work out and fathom. With this mystery, they will find it difficult to defeat us.’ ‘Sounds good,’ agreed Sosteriel from Venezuela. Raguel looked at Penoniel. ‘Do you have anything to add?’ Penoniel sat, thinking on that. ‘The general ideas seem to have come forth. I would suggest, in the end, a simple reminder. The most passionate, the most dedicated and the hardest working team will triumph. If that is ourselves, then we instinctively know what to do.’ The council members looked at Penoniel and, slowly, nodded in agreement. Raguel nodded his head also. ‘Yes. These are the first games we enter into as a district. Let us be sure, brothers, that we emerge victorious. Let us be sure.’
* * * * *
Michael, currently sitting on the council of Terraphora, having been appointed to this position by Sariel to replace himself due to the necessity of Seraphim membership on the councils for the upcoming Kalphon District Games, looked around at the team.
Cosadriel from Iceland. Bantriel from France. Radrukiel from Russia, who likewise shared a seat on the Asian council. Dameriel from Ireland. Pendrael from Wales. Azrael from Scotland. Halyudiel from Spain. Gamrayel from Germany. Ulantriel from Greece. Michael from England. And, finally, the head of the Terraphoran Council, Gabriel from Rome.
A war of power was in the air. Gabriel had spoken to Radrukiel carefully on certain points of etiquette, but was reminded of Radrukiel's rights as Russia fell within the districts of both ‘Terraphora’ or ‘Europe’ and ‘Pelphora’ or ‘Asia’. Radrukiel assured them he would remain totally professional, and carry out his duties with propriety and dignity. Gabriel felt reassured after that.
He looked at Michael, the new English representative. And, then, he looked at the team. Speaking, he said, ‘Victory will not be easy. We know what to do. We must simply do it. Around the council, heads nodded. A War of Powers was about to begin.
* * * * *
Semyaza looked at the team. Gabriel had permitted them, now, in the spirit of generosity and rights of the elders amongst the Cherubim to form new provinces within the district of Terraphora. The divisions were as such. Urakiba administered Portugal. Ramiel grabbed a tiny little province – Andorra. Kokabiel chose Belgium. Tamiel chose Luxembourg. Ramel chose Switzerland. Daniel chose the Netherlands. Ezeqiel chose Switzerland. Baraqiel claimed Austria. Asael claimed Yugoslavia. Armaros claimed Czechoslovakia. Ananel chose Poland. Zaqiel chose Hungary. Samsiel chose Romania. Satael chose Bulgaria. Turiel chose Albania. Yoramiel chose Corsica. Araziel chose Malta. Crocus chose Cyprus. Dreznadoranta chose Leichtenstein. And, finally, the Christ who had accepted his responsibilities, chose a number of nations – to which Semyaza did not object. Jesus chose Denmark, Sweden, Norway & Finland. To them he assigned the four Cherubim named after the four firstborn of the Seraphim. Michael claimed Denmark. Gabriel claimed Norway. Raphael claimed Sweden. And Uriel claimed Finland. These four Archangels were the four key archangels in the agenda of the Christ. He called his team the ‘Scandinavians’. Semyaza agreed that Christ would co-ordinate between Gabriel at Rome and Semyaza, who set up his own division within Rome. It would be the ‘Vatican’ – the home to Semyaza, within Gabriel’s jurisdiction, in a sense, yet separate. Joining Semyaza in tiny, key powers, were Randel at San Merino, within Rome’s jurisdiction again, Mandorra at Monaco. And Sendar, Dalnarra, Radric & Jalmono within Asael’s responsibilities at Yugoslavia. In fact, in time, the first two hundred of the Cherubim joined ranks with Gabriel, Semyaza and Michael’s quarters, stationed in Europe.
* * * * *
Sariel, now stationed in Zaphora, thought on recent events and the newly assigned provincial heads of Europe. He reached a conclusion then, and made this judgement, being announced via couriers to each keep. ‘Each District shall have assigned to them 100,000 Cherubim males each, each as workers of authority within their own area. The division and rations of the Districts shall be exactly equal. In this sense, each District will have equal resources in personnel to rely on. This will, then, be a fair division.
* * * * *
Michael took the news well. Sensible judgement, he thought of Sariel. Sensible judgement indeed. It would now make it a level battlefield. Each province had, most definitely, a real chance in the now postponed Kalphon District games. It would, now, become a struggle of monumental proportions.
* * * * *
‘Sorry, Daniel. Life goes on son. Life goes on.’ ‘Yeh. It would be bloody Saruviel. It would bloody be.’ Daniel was depressed. Saruviel had been given the glory. The glory which Daniel knew was waiting – for which he had dedicated himself to – had been given to Saruviel. He had not received it. And then, he knew were he was on the list. Stuck down at 45. Irrevocably, inevitably, undeniably, eternally, stuck down at 45. Really, not much glory down there. Not much at all. By then, they had done it all. The kings had established glory, peace, sovereignty, power, authority and all their grand and noble visions. He knew that after him would come 25 others, stuck with the rut end of glory. But, he finally concluded, in his misery, that as he was 45th born of the Seraphim, he probably couldn’t expect to receive the glory any sooner, no matter how hard he worked. He would just have to wait and be patient.
‘Sucks, don’t it, Daniel.’ Commented Noah. Daniel could only glumly nod. ‘Now what?’ ‘Well, lad. Use your bloody imagination. Nothing much else to do, is there.’ ‘Not really.’ ‘Get to it then. Get to it.’
* * * * *
Valandriel was considering his options. Some things had got around to the Seraphim. Certain rewards had been stated, that were available. Service was required for them. The greater the service, the greater the reward. Valandriel took the hint, and considered his options. He was worried. Daniel was his competition. The stupid love bug Ambriel was perhaps a concern, but everyone else was a joke. Davriel might cause problems, but Daniel was the threat. He would now watch him like a hawk.
* * * * *
Ambriel sat with his twin. He was worried. Worried. Bloody worried. Valandriel. Daniel. Those two idiots had known all along. He was now 100% certain of this. God had whispered a few things about life and holiness – knowledge and reward. Truth and error. And Ambriel was worried. Daniel had an advantage. The bugger remained the longest in Zaphora. He knew, now, how short-sighted he had been. He had forgotten that their father, as strange as it may sound, liked loyalty. And Daniel had proven the most loyal. He had remained at Zaphora the longest, only leaving after Michael left.
Ambriel had been in love. But he had been blinded by love and, now, he was not so gullible. He would not be played for the fool so much that he had been previously. He would keep his eye on that Devil Daniel, and watch Valandriel like a hawk. He knew, now, that there was a degree of Glory coming later on. A great degree of Glory. So he would be careful, and watch his step. He would take out his opponent, with the subtlety the lamb of God was capable of. He would, not again, be taken for the fool.
Chapter Nine – The Rock
‘Officially, 17 Cherubim have likewise claimed to have made it to the rock. Of course we have no absolute way of verifying this, but the descriptions of the rock from each of them all seem to concur and are in harmony with what you stated.’
‘And roughly how many do you think attempt to get there,’ persisted Gloryel with her line of questioning towards Davriel.
‘It is taken as something of a challenge, and mostly male cherubim, as you would expect, take up the challenge. But we have no real way of knowing for sure. What we do know, as each of those who claimed to have made the rock state, it seems to be directly upwards from Zaphon. A number of stated that, like you, they fell directly downwards, and when they spotted the ground they were just above Zaphon. So, really, it shouldn’t be too hard to find if you are fit enough.’
Gloryel nodded, taking in that information.
Davriel spoke to Brindabel, his chief librarian assistant in Zaphon library. ‘It is 17 isn’t it? You have apparently been keeping the records.’
‘I am not sure what we will do with the information, Davriel. Our library is now overwhelmed with articles and, while I don’t doubt the importance of the ‘rock’ as a significant landmark in the realm, keeping everyone’s record of encountering it seems a bit much.’
‘Yes, I know what you are saying. But we have confirmed much of the detail of the rock with the records we have kept so far. I guess what we should be looking for is some sort of measure from angels who have made the distance as to the approximate number of cubits upwards.’
‘They all say about 20,000 cubits. Quite a flight upwards,’ commented Brindabel.
‘That sounds about right,’ responded Gloryel. ‘It is a heck of a flight, but just manageable if you persevere. From up there the realm below looks like a big spread out expanse of greenery, highlighted with little bits and pieces here and there, which seem to be the keeps and other things. Really, the view is quite spectacular from the Rock. Truly something to behold.’
‘A question is, is there anything further up?’ asked Brindabel.
‘That is a good question,’ said Gloryel. ‘When I looked up it was as if the general bluish colour of our realm was gradually subsiding towards a brownish haze, probably at least another 10,000 cubits skywards. But whatever could be up there is beyond me.’
‘Perhaps another realm like ours,’ said Davriel jokingly.
‘Perhaps,’ replied Gloryel.
‘But wouldn’t it be fascinating,’ replied Brindabel. ‘If there was another Realm up there, with Angels like us?’
‘But why wouldn’t they have contacted us,’ asked Gloryel.
‘Oh, I don’t know. Maybe they can’t. Maybe they are restricted in some way like us.’
‘Could be,’ said Davriel. ‘Perhaps we should try to find out one day.’
‘Now that would be something,’ concluded Gloryel.
At that moment, coming into the library, Sariel’s personal assistant Georgia spied them and came over to sit with them. ‘Well, what are we all discussing?’ she began.
‘The rock, of all things,’ replied Brindabel.
‘Gloryel’s rock?’ asked Georgia.
‘That’s the one,’ responded Davriel.
‘I have wondered, myself, wether I would try and fly up to see this rock, if I could. Yet I am usually so busy with Zac that I can barely find the time.’
‘You really love your twin, don’t you?’ commented Gloryel about Georgia’s twin, Zac.
‘Yes, I love him. Madly in love, really. Zac is so handsome and respectable. Such a good example of a cherubim angel. Oh yes, I know I sound terribly biased, but shouldn’t we be about our twin. Really.’
‘Yes, I guess,’ responded Gloryel.
Georgia continued on, speaking about the virtues of her twin, but Gloryel was focused on her own beloved. Sariel, now, had become increasingly closer and closer to Gloryel. Especially so in recent months with all the time they had been spending together and the friendly rivalry developing into a bond of respect, friendship and love. For so long it had been Ambriel who had occupied that special place in Gloryel’s heart. And when he had once broken her heart she had believed, perhaps, it may never mend. But in the way the angel’s eternal father worked, she had been inevitably drawn to Sariel as the only realistic alternative to her heart’s malaise and, as time had passed, and the rivalry had turned to quiet affection, Gloryel had seen qualities in her twin that she had perhaps failed to notice in younger years. And, now, as Michael’s replacement, he had become more and more central to the heart of Gloryel, eighth born of the female Seraphim of Eternity. Perhaps, for Gloryel, it was becoming a time to love. Perhaps a time to love indeed.
* * * * *
Daniel felt something, almost available to his heart. A choice. A choice of being fair and honourable with all his brethren – about not trying to take all the glory in life, by not trying to outshine his brothers and sisters. He, like them all, had talents and skills and could compete with them. But the spirit within said – be gracious – be fair – be kind – be gentle – do not try so hard. For Daniel, a witness he needed. A witness of himself, just to describe what he was like so others would know, and let himself be what he was. In patience, he felt, what he needed would come to be. And so he would wait, and remain content.
* * * * *
Ambriel, later on that day, felt a spirit quickly returning to him. A sensible, quiet spirit, reminding Ambriel of who and what he was supposed to be. And Ambriel, then, felt a lot better. This spirit said to his heart, his glory would remain untouched – his love his alone. And to continue in that love towards his brethren knowing that, in the fullness of time, such love would lead him home. And Ambriel smiled, later on that day. Ambriel smiled and felt better about his brother’s Daniel and Valandriel, almost happy that they too would one day gain their glory.
* * * * *
Rophiel sat in Mitraphon keep. He sat there thinking on words Sariel had spoken recently. ‘Is rebellion in your heart, children of God?’. He thought on his Koran, and how it had become increasingly popular. He thought on Gabriel who, having started to intermingle strongly with the Muslim community, had contributed so much of his own personal wisdom to the literature of Islam and the Koran itself, now nearing completion. And he thought on God who, so Gabriel claimed, had spoken with him a number of words and ideas he wished placed within the Koran to, so Gabriel had said, justify the fact that Rophiel was truly dedicated of heart in many ways and that he did in fact favourably view, to a degree, some of the teachings of his son. Because of that, Rophiel felt he stood justified.
He thought on the recent revelation God spoke to the community of the Christians and some Israelites regarding Jesus. That Jesus was, indeed, like Rophiel, one of God’s precious children, his very own son, being 21st of the Cherubim, and that too hear what Jesus had too say was indeed the will of God. And then the church had taken it for granted they had God’s approval as, like Rophiel, God had justified the mission and desires of the Christian faith.
Rophiel understood, then, that there were degrees of God’s word – degrees of God’s authority – within the newly established religious views. Rophiel, then, placed the Christian faith before his own, in a sense, accepting essentially that Jesus was likewise chosen of God, a holy messenger, yet that he, Rophiel, was to be the last of the true prophets. Yet, within the small Bahai faith which had been slowly growing, Rophiel placed some words within his literature to, in a sense, justify them likewise, as carrying on at a later time, with new devotion, the work of God in its purpose of sanctification and holiness. Rophiel, a faithful child of God, knew ultimately that the purpose of holiness through submission to God was the ultimate ideal and that, regardless of religion, those who submitted in this sense would find favour with the Almighty.
* * * * *
Today Sariel found himself in the library with Davriel and Brindabel for lunch. He usually ate in the dining room of Zaphon, almost in line with the degree of formality which often accompanied Sariel the Seraphim, but today he felt like a change and decided to spend his lunch hour with his younger brother Davriel and his older sister Brindabel. Brindabel was Phanuel’s twin, and often worked at Romnaphon with Phanuel in the library there, and often at various libraries throughout the Realm, even the major scholastic one at Terraphon which she had been head librarian at for some time. Brindabel, like Phanuel, was of the Koori tribe within the emerging Romnaphoran community. The Koori were amongst the first of the settlers in Romnaphon, which had gradually become known as Australia, the alternative title for that area of Greater Terraphora. The Koori were distinguished by there darker skins and were similar in facial features, in many ways, to the Indians of Pelnaphora. Almost like another family, some had maintained, yet also distinctive. But Brindabel, now, generally called Zaphon library home most of the time, visiting Romnaphon mainly to spend time with her twin, whom she was reasonably close with.
Sariel and Brindabel, as Seraphim, had known each other for centuries now, and like most Seraphim were quite close friends. Sariel felt, in some ways, drawn to the Romnaphoran community, and many angels who were of the Celtic Families of Angels, who resided often in England, had migrated to Romnaphora and practically claimed it as part of the Terraphoran community. In a similar way, the original tribes of Kalphora, the Navaho and Apaches and so on, had likewise been taken over in their Communities by many of the growing English community, that being were many of the Celtic Angels had taken as home. Of course, there were broad ranges of families in the angelic community based on facial features and skin tones, which had been the deliberate plan of God to set up sub-communities, with particular land, within the larger Seraphim and Cherubim community. Yet, they were all of one God, and this reality it was generally concluded made life more culturally interesting, rather than one particular family type. In this range of families, there were exceedingly larger groups like the Celtic and Aryan Angels, the African Communities, and the Indian and Chinese communities, all of which were quite large. And then there were family communities of lesser size, going right down to very small ones. All this, so Davriel often maintained, was in the purposes of Almighty God.
Sariel was a Celtic Angel, calling England home when he was not in Zaphon and Zaphora. Like him, his twin Gloryel, with her ravishing red hair, so typical for the Celtic Angels, called England home, and was something of a patriot.
Sitting there, watching Rachel who had just arrived with a special lunch for her twin Davriel, Sariel observed how close Davriel and Rachel, who had always been very close twins, really seemed to get along with each other so very well. Davriel, in his spiritual work as the so-called ‘Christ’ of the Seraphim community had very strict spiritual rules in many ways, clearly delineating between the roles of female angels and male angels. Jesus, the ‘Christ’ of the Cherubim community, likewise followed in Davriel’s steps, and the Church, which unsurprisingly Islam had followed with even greater zeal, was very traditionalist in the way it viewed the roles of male and female angels. Sariel, himself, was into the concept of ‘equality’ in defining the relationships between the male and female angels. Gloryel had shared with him her own conversations with God, speaking of a time when females in the Realm of Eternity would have the upper hand. Sariel had come to assume that, perhaps after all the male Seraphim had been given the responsibility of rulership in the Realm, God would allow the female Seraphim such a time of responsibility. And, with that idea in his mind, Sariel had remembered to remain respectful and courteous towards the fairer gender of the Realm of Eternity.
He thought on his brother Daniel’s very sexist attitudes from time to time, and instinctively felt he might get his come-uppance one day. But he also knew Daniel’s attitude was mostly play, and sensed that Daniel was dealing with the ethical issues of equality that Sariel himself had also faced in his own way and in his own time.
Yet, looking at Davriel and Rachel, he wondered just wether they might be right in some ways. Perhaps there were roles – perhaps there were ways of operating – that simply made the most sense. Perhaps. But whatever else, it was the love between Rachel and Davriel that Sariel admired, causing him to think of the growing love between himself and his own twin Gloryel.
Gloryel, now, was becoming more and more important to Sariel. In his early years Sariel had been a great loner, spending most of his time alone in various keeps, suited to what really had been quite a shy nature. But with the appointment over Kalphon to replace Saruviel, Sariel had engaged in far more social contact and had, in a way, come out of his shell. And, in hindsight, he saw the act of his father to appoint him to Kalphon as the wisdom of God in fostering the growth and heart of his son. And, as he had grown in confidence, especially with the appointment to Zaphon, Sariel had gradually grown more and more interested in sharing his life with another angel. And, inevitably it seemed, his very own twin Gloryel had more and more become the ideal choice to satisfy that desire. There had been rivalry at first, but this had never been to the detriment of respect. And through that friendly competition Sariel had grown more and more affectionate towards Gloryel. And now, in truth, he felt he loved her. And in that love, in the time which had come for Sariel to love Gloryel, he had felt a time was approaching to, in the way others did, consummate that love and adoration. Yes, for Sariel of the Seraphim, a time to love was at hand.
* * * * *
The 7 Shadow Angels, having been appointed as Overseers to each of the main Keeps of the 7 districts, were in the main lounge of Zaphon keep, chatting with Karanasius, and anticipating the upcoming Kalphon games. The 7 keeps the Ozraphim Shadow Angels had been appointed to were Karanasius to Zaphon, Brendakius to Terraphon, Shalvornius to Mitraphon, Cardasius to Pelnaphon, Rendorius to Brephon, Shadvanius to Romnaphon and finally Lelldorius to Kalphon.
They had entered into an agreement. Like Sariel had declared the winning district province overseer to be Michael’s second replacement at Zaphon, the winning district Ozraphim overseer would replace Karanasius as head of the Ozraphim for that time period – unless of course Zaphora emerged triumphant, which would lead Karanasius to retain his position.
They were happy, now, the Ozraphim. For so long their words of pride in what they would accomplish in the Realm of Eternity had been held against them, imprisoned to the netherworld of the Realm until, it seemed, their allotted time had come to pass. But now they were free – free at last – and they had greatly been enjoying the work their brethren had accomplished in all the years that they had rarely, apart from Karanasius on infrequent occasions, been allowed to partake of.
In truth, they were no longer the Shadow Angels. The were now the Ozraphim of Eternity, third behind the two Words of Power – Logos and Memra, the only two Oraphim of Eternity, and Metatron the solitary Onaphim of Eternity, born before even the Children of Heaven, being the firstborn of all of God’s children.
Michael had recently met the Onaphim and the Oraphim, as well as their eternal father at ‘Home’. And since then he had been gradually getting to know the Ozraphim, spending time with Brendakius at Terraphon.
Michael, who had always assumed he was the firstborn of the Realm of Eternity, now knew that he was, in fact, eleventh all up in the list of the children of God of the Realm of Eternity. Preceding him was 1 Onaphim, 2 Oraphim and 7 Ozraphim – 10 in total, making him eleventh on the list of power which, in the end, was still quite satisfactory, especially considering he seemed to wield the majority of the power in the Realm.
He had listened to much of Brendakius teaching regarding the formation of the Realm of Eternity and had found it fascinating. Yet, they had been banished to the netherworld upon their words of pride and a short time later Michael had been born – and unto him had been given the responsibility for the administration of the Realm.
The Ozraphim’s responsibilities, now, were those of Mentors to the overseers of the 7 major keeps. In truth, while they did not have the knowledge of the keeps overseers, they had age as their guide, and spoke from the heart on important issues – advice which was always taken seriously.
Yes, the Ozraphim were now happy with their new lives, and looked forward anxiously to the upcoming Kalphon games to liven the lives up of what had been a long and desperate punishment.
* * * * *
In a realm of splendour, Saruviel was entranced. Entranced.
* * * * *
Gloryel looked at her twin Sariel nervously. It had finally come. After centuries of knowing him, yet never sharing a bed with him, he had finally asked if she would like to spend the night alone with him. And she was ever so nervous.
They had dined in the smaller dining room at the end of Zaphon keep, one designed for special occurrences, and only able to accommodate a small number. They had eaten a special meal of Roast Beef and Vegetables. Meat had become a popular meal amongst the angels, now, and Roast beef was particularly favoured.
They had eaten, mostly silently, both seemingly anticipating the night ahead.
He had been smooth – so smooth with his words – saying exactly the right things at exactly the right time. And she knew he was sincere in what he had said.
And so, after the meal and coffee, they were now in his dormitory, the room having been set apart for the overseer, and they were slowly undressing in front of each other.
Soon they stood naked in front of each other, and they gazed at each others glory.
He came over to her and placed his hands on her head. And then he spoke three words. Three pure, simple yet profound words she had been longing to here. ‘I love you.’ And then he kissed her and the night passed on in passion and love.
* * * * *
And so, yet again, her twin was gone from her. Krystabel, who had slowly as her life had passed, grown to love, respect and even fear Saruviel, was once again separated from her loved twin. She had asked father where Saruviel had gone, and God had told her. He had told her, forbidding her to share with others. That Saruviel, now, was in another realm – another plane of existence – were other beings lived and resided. Other beings in their youth – other angels of glory and other beings as well – ones who were yet to be born yet resided in the glory of God’s Kingdom within his loins, as it were. In fact, it was were each angel had been birthed, and Saruviel had been returned there. Father had told Krystabel that Saruviel had been through an ordeal. A life-long ordeal of rebelling, in a sense, against the authority of God. Yet that rebellion had now been completed, and Saruviel, in his repentance, and in the peace of heart he so desperately needed, had been returned to the bliss of divine origin to rest and receive the love of God and of his yet to be born brethren.
It was a different state – a different life – so God told his daughter. Yet in her heart, and in her dreams, the secrets of this life resided – and Saruviel was to be, later, born again – anew – to reclaim the soul that needed to be his.
And so Krystabel rested in that knowledge – in that love – and silently thanked her father for the Grace he had shown her beloved twin.
* * * * *
‘You really are an angel of adventure, aren’t you Saddy?’ stated Cosadriel’s twin, 15th born amongst the female Seraphim of Eternity, Oshanel. Cosadriel had just entered the most challenging of all the events in the Kalphon Games, a new event known as the ‘Challenge’. The Challenge consisted of a series of 5 major events, each more difficult than the last. First there was the flight around Zaphora to see who was quickest. Points were awarded on placing’s. Second was the tree-cutting contest, with the points awarded to who could cut down the most trees with an axe in 1 hour. Third there was the boulder challenge, points awarded to who could carry a rather large boulder around he Kalphon sporting ground the furthest, points being awarded on distance. The fourth event was the long distance run, now named the Marathon. That was always exhausting and many angels often did not finish. And the final event was the climbing of Mt Zadar in the Aldur Mountain ranges, the highest mountain in the realm, with wings tied behind ones back in the ‘Azraelesque’ tradition. Cosadriel, alongside about 100 other angels had entered the ‘Challenge’ not just for the glory, but also for the substantial points which could be awarded to the victorious competitor’s team total. Cosadriel was to compete for Terraphon, being the official overseer for the Iceland province.
Alongside his twin Oshanel, they now resided in ‘Reykjavik’ keep, the main keep for Iceland. Oshanel herself had no great sporting ambitions, but admired her twin for his extraordinary athleticism for which he had always been famous. She was also so very proud of him for his recent discovery of the portal to the underworld beneath their realm, and the freeing of the Ozraphim angels – the Shadow Angels as they had been known as. Yes, it was true, Cosadriel was an angel of adventure, and Oshanel always felt a rush being around him and was often inspired to stay fit as well with the strict training regime he maintained. Cosadriel encouraged her to choose a sport to excel at, yet she simply exercised and left it at that. But she had slowly been considering tennis as a sport to take up and try her hand at. Who knows – one day she might become quite good at it, if only she tried a little.
‘Without a little adventure in life, dear sister, what could life possibly be worth living for.’
Oshanel smiled at her twin’s response. It was the kind of thing he said often. ‘Oh, you know Saddy. Friendships. Relationships. Love. Romance. Those things.’
Cosadriel smiled a little sarcastically. ‘Simple women’s occupations. Men have a much higher calling.’
‘So you are not given to matters of the heart.’
‘Only in victory speeches,’ he replied, yet with a smirk on his face.
‘Oh Saddy, you are a tease.’
Cosadriel proceeded to give his sister a kiss on the forehead.
‘There’s your romance.’
‘Oh Cosadriel. How romantic,’ she replied, ever so sarcastically, but inwardly ever so pleased to receive the kiss from her twin who had never shown a great deal of romantic interest.
‘And if I win the challenge, I may even kiss you again.’
‘Men!’ said Oshanel, shaking her head.
* * * * *
Daniel sat in his abode in Zaphon keep, reading through a poetry book of his older brother Uriel. It was a book kept in Zaphon library, and its covers were starting to come off. But out of a sense of sentimentality they had not replaced it with a more recent edition, letting its ancientness be a pleasure in and of itself. But while he was reading through the poems light-heartedly, they were not the preoccupation of his mind.
He had been thinking over the many aspects of his life and the importance of various issues. First and foremost there was a decision of his heart he was about to make. He had just spent a few weeks in Yorkshire were, living in the ‘Hull’ keep he had befriended young Sariel of the Cherubim and begun a new and exciting friendship. Sariel, he found, was an extremely deep thinker as well, well versed and understanding in the type of theological ideas that occupied Daniel’s own thoughts. They’d been up each night, discussing Torah and life and had grown strong in their friendship, and he was now disappointed to have left him. But in his long term planning, such was the necessity. After a few weeks here at Zaphon, he would make his home with Ambriel in the Romnaphon district. This was, perhaps unethically as Sariel of the Seraphim might have suggested, for the purposes of gaining further insight and understanding into how Phanuel and Ambriel in particular addressed issues of governance and administration, and particularly how they handled people. Daniel was sure, especially with his early youthful focus on numerology and the fuss he had made about it, that he was to be 45th in rulership, alongside his name-number and rank of birth, in the Realms position of authority. Naturally it was a long way off, but he intended to make his mark, then, as absolutely positively as he possibly could. Perhaps life was not a competition. Perhaps life was simply life, which was the main attitude he had shared with Valandriel especially for so long. But despite that truth he held to in his heart, he, not unlike Saruviel, had points to prove. Yet for Daniel of the Seraphim, ultimately, it was a matter of a spirit of excellence. For so long he had studied Michael in his work as overseer of Zaphon keep and knew he had to achieve something to prove himself because of it, stuck down at number 45 were few bothered to worry about issues of authority. So Daniel had remained in Zaphon. He had doggedly remained in Zaphon, determined to prove his loyalty to the God he had greatly mixed emotions about. When Terraphora had been built, and so many of the Seraphim had taken up residence in Terraphora. Daniel felt he may be proving his point. But his victory came when, after Ambriel had left and he was finally left as the last remaining long-term resident of Zaphon with Michael, that Daniel felt he had almost proven his point. And then Michael had appointed Sariel, and departed for Terraphora, leaving Daniel alone as the longest resident of Zaphora. And, at that point, he knew he could do something with his life. At that point Daniel truly believed in his heart he could prove a point and gain the glory he instinctively desired, despite so much of him which claimed otherwise.
With Michael gone, he had paid close attention to Sariel, but felt, if becoming obvious, and for other personal reasons, living in Terraphora for a while might be for the best, which he ended up doing with Meludiel at Ambriel’s abode near Zaraphon. But that had not lasted forever and soon he found himself back at Zaphon, to were he had remained for quite some time.
And now, with the appointment of the provincial overseers by Sariel of the Seraphim, Daniel had taken Yorkshire, but had not let anyone know of his choice apart from Sariel. For the future, though, he would stay in Romnaphon, near Ambriel and Meludiel, which would always be joyful, and work with them for a while. Sariel had authorised the stay with Phanuel, declaring it to be for Daniel’s own personal reasons, to which neither Phanuel or Ambriel had objected, caring for the wishes of their brother. Naturally Phanuel’s future reign would have to be observed closely, and better to start the sooner, but for little Ambriel he was eternally worried. Ambriel loved like no other angel. Daniel, after years of introspection, had concluded that that was simply how God had put Ambriel together, and such was life. And in all honesty he felt like he would be cheating to try and love like his younger brother. But he knew, especially as time passed and his own tenure of authority approached, he would have to show SOME love. A loveless ruler would be the bane of the realm, better left forgotten.
He knew, now, that Saruviel was to take over from Sariel. And for that he was worried. Saruviel would undoubtedly leave a mark never to be forgotten. His attitude of excellence and perfection Daniel honestly felt outshone his own. But he had time on his side. He would live through the era of Saruviel, noting everything, and one day he would make his response. A most definite response.
But first and foremost, beyond any of these things, was a decision – a crucial decision of the heart, involving romance. Daniel had decided to ask Sharlamane to accompany him to Romnaphora district and to live with him as his partner. Of all the angels he had known for so long Daniel had gravitated to Sharlamane and felt she was the most suitable life companion. He was not strong in his relationships with female angels, apart from Meludiel, but he found solace and peace in Sharlamane and was certain he desired her to accompany him. But the decision of his heart was at the words of Ambriel. Because for Ambriel, only Ariel could satisfy Daniel’s greatest longings and desires for a mate. He appreciated Ambriel’s perspective, but ultimately did not agree. The way Daniel understood life was that there were plans and destinies, but the heart did not always work that way. It went were it wanted to go and no destiny could ultimately thwart that. And, because of that, he had chosen Sharlamane, and was happy in his choice.
He put the book down and looked at the picture of Sharlamane by his bed. And he looked also at the picture of Ariel, behind that picture, a picture of his twin he had long held on to. The heart of Daniel of the Seraphim was a deep and twisted thing, in its way, perhaps a heart not like many others of the Angels of the Realm of Eternity.
* * * * *
Ambriel sat with his twin Meludiel in Canbraphon keep in the Romnaphora district, at the end of a hot day, laying on a recliner, drinking iced melit water. Meludiel had her eyes closed and Ambriel was carefully staring at her sweaty top and her nipples pointing through her new red T-Shirt. He felt a little excited at the sight, but didn’t want to say anything to her, knowing how conservative she was on such issues. Ambriel was, in truth, very attracted to Meludiel. She was one of the better looking of the female Seraphim, but all were attractive in their own way, although Meludiel had a joyful charm and quiet nature which had instantly won him for very young years. When they had finally gotten together, Ambriel had spoken his deepest love to his twin, coming from the deepest emotions of his heart yet, in truth, it was not just love which motivated Ambriel. Although he would never say as such, a carnal aspect of how much he was physically attracted to Meludiel had always been there. He knew, or he believed, that this was the main reason Daniel had like her as well. He enjoyed looking at her. But Daniel, now, was becoming less of an issue. While at first he had accepted Ambriel’s offer of visiting Meludiel occasionally, he had come to Ambriel later and said such a thing, ultimately, with the love between Ambriel and Meludiel, could not be. There could only be one Angel for Meludiel, and that was inevitably her twin Ambriel. This was the conclusion Daniel had spoken to Ambriel of. Ambriel knew that Shemrael was largely behind that decision. She’d had cutting words to many about the sense of propriety and decorum the community needed to maintain, and Daniel had been greatly convicted because of it. Perhaps Ambriel should really thank Shemrael, he had often thought to himself. One way or another, his Japanese sister had accomplished the desire of the heart that Ambriel, although he might not always say so, but truly did have. And now Meludiel was for him alone.
He gazed at her body and looked at her nipples and, just then, he noticed Meludiel was looking at him, with a smile on her face. She looked at him, straight at him, for a few moments, and then her eyes gazed up towards their bedroom and then returned to his. He knew what she wanted.
They were passionate that night, in the heat, and later on, when Meludiel was sleeping, Ambriel realized just how lucky he was. His sister was divine and he was thankful – oh so thankful – to his eternal father that his own love for her had prevailed.
* * * * *
Elenniel was with Michael at Pelnaphon keep, were both were currently residing on a brief holiday. Michael had left England for good, staying at Pelnaphon, just before his return as the realm’s overseer with Sariel’s return to England imminent, to take up residence at London keep were Michael had been staying.
Elenniel had long resided at Pelnaphon, under Uriel’s overeersmanship, working as premier artist and chief of the art and design division. Mistrel was head of musical performance and theory, while Martrameena, 23rd of the male Cherubim had just recently been appointed head of the Drama division, following Quadel’s departure for his new provincial responsibilities.
Elenniel was nervous – very nervous today, but she did not know why. God had spoken to her in a dream the night before and in his subtle ways told her Michael had something he wished to ask of her. Something of fundamental importance. And because of that she was nervous.
The two of them were in a garden on the grounds of Pelnaphon, looking over a small pond filled with goldfish, some of the keeps artistic designs adding colour to the scenery. They had eaten a small meal and Michael had since gone quiet. But very shortly he spoke up.
‘Yes Michael,’ she replied.
‘Do you remember that book I gave you a few cycles ago. The book by Rachel.’
‘‘Love and Romance,’ you mean?’
‘Yes, that is the one. Can I ask you, do you remember how it ended.’
‘Why yes, Michael. I do.’
‘Good,’ he said.
A few quiet moments passed, and Elenniel thought silently on the final events of that book, now overwhelmingly nervous because she sensed what just might happen next.
Michael stood from their park bench and came around in front of her. He looked straight at her, speaking. ‘Elenniel. You know how I feel about you, don’t you. How I have always felt about you.’
Elenniel just nodded. And so, Michael got down on his knees, took out the ring from his pocket, and spoke to his cherished twin sister.
‘Elenniel. Queen of Queens. Delight of my heart, and fairest maiden in the Realm of Eternity. Elenniel, my beloved – will you, will you marry me.’ And he presented her with the ring.
Elenniel looked at the ring for a few silent moments, and looked at her beloved brother. She only had one word for him.
And Michael’s life was then complete.
* * * * *
The father of Glory hummed a merry tune, in the way only God could understand and appreciate. He was happy – so happy. Coming to home, finding Logos and Memra present, he shared the good news with them, news they had sensed was coming. And then he spoke to Metatron, who smiled, but seemed not as pleased as Logos or Memra.
Later on, God thought on Metatron’s reaction and, to himself, knew he needed to respond. But the Realm of Paradise was not due for millennia, and the final home of Glory not due until long after than. His firstborn son Metatron would have to wait.
Chapter Ten – The Amphitheatre of Zaphon
In the amphitheatre of Zaphon a small assembly of angels were gathered. Sariel stood on the dais, with Gloryel in the front row, seated next to Elenniel and Michael. Behind them sat the other heads of the Major keeps and a few other assorted dignitaries. Sariel was in the process of giving his speech, signalling the end of his tenureship over Zaphon, Zaphora and larger Terraphora.
‘Ultimately, as many have often commented, continuity is what I sought in my time in Zaphon. Continuity from the work of Michael, especially after the rebellion, a sense of stability and normality. And, hopefully, I achieved that. My time here was marked, apart from the continuation of the general running of regular activities in the realm, for me personally by the great sincerity of heart I found in all of you towards our work for each other and our heavenly father. Each of you have contributed valuable insights and comments which have only enhanced all our lives, and for this I am grateful and thank you all.’ Sariel proceeded to give the assembly before him a short clap, Gloryel likewise doing so.
‘Now, the final part of today’s business is to announce that, contrary to the earlier decree that the triumphant province in the up and coming Kalphora District Games would designate the next overseer of Zaphon and the realm, God has instructed me that my original choice of Saruviel as the next overseer following Michael’s return to duty is insisted upon. God has this to say on the matter. All of you, my children, know the power of your brother Saruviel. He is the most intense of angels. Yet, in his own quiet way there will be qualities within him, contrary to what many of you may wrongly perceive about him, that need to be shown. That need to strongly be shown and viewed by the whole community. This reason is the pre-eminent reason as to why Saruviel must be next overseer for the Realm of Eternity.’ A bit of chatter began at that announcement, which did not surprise Sariel. He continued, ‘From my perspective I wholeheartedly agree with our eternal father. Saruviel has qualities of excellence we all need to see. As we know he is currently resting, at peace in the heart of God, were restoration is taking place. Yet he will be returned to us one day, and then we will all see the true Saruviel, the dear brother we knew from birth.’
He paused, letting those details sink in, and took a small sip of water from the glass in front of him.
‘I would like to close by saying one simple thing. Thank you. Thank you to each and every one of you. Our life here in eternity is a marvelous life, and one day I suspect each and every one of you may be standing here, saying something similar. And I would encourage you, be thankful, ever appreciative for the simple gift of life, and the pleasure each and every one of us gives to each other here in the Realm we call home.’ With those words spoken Sariel stepped down from the dais, and the small assembly engaged in an afternoon of small-talk, eating may of the fineries Phindwel had prepared, and drinking till their hearts content.
* * * * *
Having made the final arrangements for the moving of their luggage in one of the newly designed stagecoaches, being led by horses of all things, which had also proven useful for riding, Sariel and Gloryel had decided to fly by themselves to London Keep in England, their new home. Sariel had established London Keep with others a while back when Michael had still been overseer of Zaphon, yet Michael had been London and England’s first official national overseer in the newly appointed districts and nations, as he had been for Zaphon. Yet now, with his self declared culmination to the overseership having taken place with a small ceremony at Zaphon attended by a few of the elder of the Seraphim and Cherubim, Sariel was on his way with Gloryel to take up his new role as Overseer for England at London keep.
Terraphora had been the name initially applied to all the outer realm. But now it particularly meant the area of the Realm administered by Terraphon Keep. As such, Sariel was now answerable to Gabriel in the first instance, who was Terraphon’s Overseer from Rome, and then Michael who was the whole Realm’s overseer. But of course, in England Sariel would generally run the show, taking over from Michael who, ironically, would take over from him at the just left Zaphon.
Reflecting over his time at Zaphon, Sariel gave thought to something which Michael had said. In Sariel Michael had found a solid and reliable continuation of his work in Zaphora. An Angel who had not sought out his own glory, like some Michael felt might in future years, but had put the good of the realm first and foremost in his work, excelling in areas of public administration and duty. Sariel had been a true professional, perhaps the best choice in the end, due to the Angel’s general humility, to set the example of what the new overseer should endeavour to be like.
And now, it was Michael again, but not forever. At the ceremony Sariel, to Michael and God’s approval, had announced that Saruviel would be the next Angel appointed as Overseer to Zaphon Keep and the Realm of Eternity. It had been a shock to some, and undoubtedly it would be talked about in high circles for some time to come. Saruviel, of course, was presently absent from the realm. All that Michael had been able to tell everyone was that he was presently in the ‘Heart’ of God, enjoying a much needed respite from trials of the heart he had been going through. Perhaps, upon his return, he would take up the overseership of Zaphon – or perhaps a lengthy wait to readjust. Whatever the case may be, nobody except their father knew of the time of Saruviel’s return, and it was anticipated Michael could be overseer again for quite some time.
They had stopped the previous night in Zaraphon, and would spend this night with Gabriel at Terraphon, who had just left Zaphon a few days before themselves. Sariel, thinking to himself, thought it would be good to catch up with Gabriel again and discuss affairs of Terraphon, particularly the up and coming Kalphon Games. From what he had heard whispered Terraphon fancied their chances in the up and coming games, spouting Cosadriel from Iceland as their main chance to actually win the games, that is if he proved successful at the ‘Challenge’ which all Terraphon hoped he would. Iceland, were Cosadriel was overseer, was quite near England, yet Ireland, were Dameriel was overseer, was closer still. Michael had given Sariel some of the basic plans of England for the Games, laying out the basic strategies as he had made them, but left Sariel to modify and formulate his own as he saw fit. They were now competitors and, while he respected Michael’s integrity, he knew that Michael and Zaphora would be fiercely competitive in the Kalphon Games. It would most definitely not be a competition for the faint of heart.
As they neared Rome, were Gabriel was overseer of Terraphon from, Sariel motioned to his twin that they should start descending. As the circled downwards, Sariel gave some thought to his sister. They had been intimate for the first time, recently, and then been overcome in their affection for each other. And now Gloryel was constantly there, as if a new bond had begun between them. At first it was almost as if being smothered, being surrounded by her day and night – but in reflection, given their long history of competitiveness, and the affection he now had towards her, he really wouldn’t have it any other way. She was now his twin and his partner, and in her he found consolation.
* * * * *
Meludiel looked at the snow, confused. She turned to Ambriel, ‘Snow? In Summer? What the heck is going on?’ Ambriel considered that, but was not overly concerned. In the early years of the Realm they had not really known the seasons, but when Terraphora had been made by God, the four seasons of the year had gradually grown noticeable by the Angels of Eternity. They had not come quickly, but slowly, but as time passed, and then one day with a fateful announcement for Gabriel confirming this, the seasons had come to the Realm of Eternity.
Today was the middle of Summer and, despite this, the Aldur Mountain Ranges had received a shock fall of snow for a few weeks. And, because of that, with the news being reported to Canbraphon were Ambriel was overseer of the Australian Canbraphon Territory, which extended far beyond the limits of the grounds of Canbraphon Keep, especially to the south, he had decided to go on a surprise holiday with Meludiel, despite the fact they had not long been at Canbraphon. He had bid Phanuel farewell at Romnaphon, which was not far from Canbraphon, and he and Meludiel started their trip via stagecoach to Terraphon and the Aldur Mountains to see the snow and, what Ambriel planned on, to go on a skiing trip, which had started becoming quite popular and of which Ambriel was quite skilled. He had kept the news about the snow to himself, though, not sharing that news with Meludiel, and planning on surprising her with the skiing holiday. And she had been surprised indeed.
‘Yes, snow sis. And such a perfect snow to go skiing on, don’t you think.’
Meludiel looked perplexed. Skiing? I don’t think I have done that yet. But ok, I am up for it.
‘Good,’ said Ambriel. He pointed to the side of their chalet were they had arrived the night before, Meludiel not spotting the snow on the mountains above them. ‘There are our skis. We should be able to manage flying up to the peaks with them, and it will be a long and wonderful ski down.’ Meludiel nodded, ever so pleased to be doing something like this with her twin.
They skied for hours, flying up to a number of different peaks to try new runs. They were not alone, though, a number of nearby residents also joining them on their endeavours.
They had lunch with the Angels who watched over their chalet, and then spent the afternoon on the slopes again. All that day, for Ambriel, it was like another bonding session with his beloved twin sister, one who he had grown ever closer to as the years had passed.
Later that night, after he had been outside the chalet for a while, Meludiel wondering were he had gotten to, Ambriel came in and beckoned her to come out to the side of the chalet with her. Coming there, they came to a large spa pool, whose water was being heated by a small fire underneath the metallic spa. Ambriel cautioned her, ‘Don’t try and touch the bottom of the spa in the centre of the spa – the hole section – or you will burn your feet. But we can sit on the seats of the spa and enjoy the warm water.’
Meludiel looked around, but was sure they were alone, and then began disrobing, Ambriel doing the same. He watched her as she undressed, trying not to be noticed, but Meludiel did notice, silently enjoying the fact.
Soon they were sitting together in the water, enjoying its heat in the cold winter-like air, and Ambriel bringing some drinks which he had placed beside the spa. They were mildly alcoholic, and after an hour had passed, Meludiel felt a little tipsy.
They eventually got out, and returned inside, Meludiel rushing to the burning fireplace. In front of the fireplace was a sheepskin and, lying down, Meludiel motioned to her twin. ‘Shall we, beloved?’
As he lay their, caressing her body, Ambriel felt his life, truly, was now complete. Nothing else could make as happy as he now was. Nothing else at all.
* * * * *
‘You are dear to me Sharlamane. So very dear. I know you know full well how close I have been to Meludiel in the past and, in truth, there is a place in my heart reserved just for her. But she is inevitably with Ambriel, and I desire no further interference in that relationship. So it leaves me without a love in life. This does not really bother me, you know. Not really. I have been alone for so much of my life, not really being that good at relating to my brothers and sisters. But that is just me, you know. That is just me.’
Sharlamane nodded, knowingly. She full well knew the nature of her older brother.
‘But while I have longed after Meludiel for so long, you have been there to. And often it is yourself who has mended my heart, when she was not available. And so I ask this of you, dear Sharlamane. Accompany me to Canbraphon were I am to now live. For reasons of my own, I am desiring to live at Canbraphon, and occasionally at Romnaphon, for a time period. And later, but please tell no one, but later to Yorkshire in England, for that place is to be my permanent home.’
Sharlamane remained silent, lost in thought. She considered what Daniel had asked of her, and her own longings towards him. And she considered that, while he had expressed a fondness for her, he had not expressed love. And so she was caught. She longed for Daniel, but wanted him to return that love – wholeheartedly. Not simply to accompany him somewere as a friend, a confidante. But as a partner – a life-mate. Someone who meant everything to him. And so she was caught, and knew then she needed time to answer properly.
‘Daniel, I care for you. Please, whatever else, do not doubt that. But I will need time for this decision. If I am to leave Zaphon permanently and ultimately reside in England, I will need to think that over. I don’t think I have ever been to England after all, and am not sure I will like the place, although I do trust Father’s creation. So I will need time to consider, dear brother. Please give me that – some time.’
Daniel looked at her, sensing something. Something which Sharlamane needed to hear, which he had not really said to her. And, in his heart, knowing just how much he loved and appreciated this Cherubim sister of his, he decided right then to take the risk.
‘I love you Sharlamane. I love you. Please, come with me. Be mine – my heart, my soul. Be with me, Sharlamane. Come with me, please.’
She looked into his eyes, knew he meant his words, and silently nodded. He had said what she needed to hear, and he was now hers. Thank God he was now hers.
* * * * *
Ariel was at Pelnaphon, were she had been staying for a while, spending time with Elenniel in particular, and Michael as well, when Elenniel shared with her news she’d heard about Daniel and Sharlamane’s move to Canbraphon. Michael had not yet fully moved from Pelnaphon to resume his overseersmanship at Zaphon, and was still technically residing at Pelnaphon. But he went to and fro from them often, mainly to spend time with Elenniel at Pelnaphon to whom he had just recently proposed, and he passed on the news that Daniel had shared with him to his twin. Elenniel, in discussing her planned marriage to Michael with Ariel, who had been the first to hear the news of the impending marriage, shared the news Michael had given to her about Daniel and Sharlamane’s move. Elenniel had not given the issue much thought, but when Ariel had burst into tears, Elenniel had asked whatever the matter could possibly be. But Ariel had simply remained silent, quietly sobbing.
It was later on, in her room, that Ariel felt nothing but remorse. It had been the last few years – the last few years in particular – were things had started making sense. She had seen the way Daniel wooed Meludiel, not really bothered, but she had seen the way Ambriel had felt about the situation, and the way his heart had been broken. And then, when Ambriel and Meludiel had grown ever and ever closer, especially when Daniel had finally given up pursuing Meludiel, Ariel had reached a conclusion on the issue of the twin, and the purposes of God’s design. And then she had felt remorse – an unbearable remorse at all the lovers she’d had, almost to the defiance of her twin whom, despite his affair with Meludiel, had never really known another love. And the remorse she felt was deep because, now, after all this time, he heart had been given to her twin and she had longed to be with him. Recently things had improved, but then they had been rocky again and now, Sharlamane, who had always been their for him, now Sharlamane had claimed his heart, and he was lost to her. And she sobbed. Early into the hours of the morning she sobbed and, holding her picture of her beloved twin, cried herself to sleep.
* * * * *
‘So what is love, Valandriel? What is love?’ They were in their new residence in Romnaphon, Valandriel having been assigned to the Australian state of Southern Wales, named after the Terraphoran nation long ago by the first settlers. Phanuel oversaw the Romnaphoran District, which had also become known as Australia, and had divided the districts into various states. Romnaphon was located in Southern Wales, but Phanuel was presently in the process of moving the main administrative centre of the Realm to Canbraphon, an idea he had discussed first with Sariel and Ambriel, and then confirmed with Michael as the first order of business he’d had returning to his role as overseer. Michael had no great objections, as long as the established traditional role of Romnaphon since its establishment remained. God had designated those tasks for the seven major keeps, and Michael felt it important to continue like that. But strictly speaking, Phanuel could move the head of governance for the realm to Canbraphon if he so desired.
Elsabel, who had been reclining in Valandriel’s office in Romnaphon, had long been considering asking this question to her brother – a question about what love was supposed to be, love being a virtue not that highly esteemed by her twin.
Valandriel, hearing the question, was ready. He, in truth, had softened from his earlier response to an important question Elsabel had raised. He had favoured commitment at that time as the more important virtue but, having known that while he favoured commitment over love, he had not expressed the truth that he felt love itself was also of grave importance. The beauty and joy of feelings it gave to others was, in truth, very important to his life and, while he felt commitment the supreme virtue, he knew he had not really expressed his heart to his twin the way he should have. Since then they had stayed together though, but he had been distant from her, reluctant to express himself for fear of being called hypocritical. But his sister, in a sense, had just saved him from his agony.
He got up from his desk, came over to were Elsabel was sitting, sat down next to her, cradled her in his arms, and kissed her. ‘What I feel for you – what I have always felt for you – that is love Elsabel. I love you dearly and I thank you for asking that of me.’
He kissed her again, and she went giddy in his arms, years of tension diminishing. A light of love had been restored to the Realm of Eternity and in the throneroom of God the flickering lights of God turned from a bright and passionate purple, to a vividly exciting red.
* * * * *
‘SO SON. WHAT IS LIFE WITHOUT A BIT OF PASSION. MMMM?’ And then, finishing their conversation, the eternal father of Glory went silent. He had given his son Gabriel some words of advice and encouragement – not to so easily be set back in his schemes of glory. His father had said to him, ‘Passion and Warfare are the heart of a life of Glory, child of mine. An inevitable part. Peace should always reign in the hearts of my children, and love through peace. But in conflict, child of mine, do not be tame. Rid darkness with light. Conquer evil with good. And when, in the fullness of time, I give you the glory your heart desires, remember the blood you spill is in my name, for the glory is at the expense of evil men and of nations long lost to the heart of God, filled with their idols of stone and metal.’ These words had been lost on Gabriel, God hinting at things hidden in the distant future. But he was encouraged nonetheless, and in the spirit he had found in his heart of recent years, he felt fear diminishing and passion returning. A strange and exhilarating passion – of life and death – love and hate – war and peace. A passion most fierce.
* * * * *
Michael sat with Elenniel in the upper lounge of Pelnaphon keep, discussing Ariel. Elenniel had shared with him Ariel’s reaction to Daniel and Sharlamane’s departure for Canbraphon, and had made the connection that Ariel, now, after all this time, felt something for her twin. Something deep and emotional.
‘Yet Daniel is an awkward soul, sister. Most awkward. I have found him to be quite frustrating at times, especially in his almost insular behaviour towards many of the brethren, treating them as if they were not worthy of his company. I have often felt pride is in his heart – that he feels himself, in some ways, superior to others. As if he is a special gift of God, above us others in his own way.’
Elenniel considered that thought. ‘Perhaps there may be some truth in what you are saying, brother. But remember, God made each of us Seraphim and Cherubim in the way he wanted each of us to be. We are vessels of God’s design – pieces of art in living motion. Should we be so harsh to judge God’s creation which he cares for and loves dearly. Do you not think God is aware of how our brother is as a person.’
Michael knew he should agree with Elenniel in some ways, but spoke on. ‘Yet, dear sister, does God excuse all our slovenly ways and attitudes. Does not the Torah reprimand us when we fall short of the standards set for us by God?’
‘Yet, brother, he will have mercy on those he will have mercy, and other judge with greater strictness. It says as much in the Torah of the Cherubim.’
Michael considered that thought, unfamiliar with the particular passage, but sensing it indeed Torahic in nature.
‘Yes sister, you are right. He will have mercy. But I wonder if our dearest younger brother truly deserves such mercy?’
‘He is learning, Michael. All of us learn and need time to adapt to this thing called life. We have not all worked it out, dearest brother.’
‘That is true. Yes, you are right. Daniel deserves the grace of God as much as any Angel of God. Perhaps I was too harsh.’
‘Yet it is true. He is an awkward soul at times.’
Michael laughed at that final concession.
‘But what of Ariel, sister. What of her love for him.’
‘That is, ultimately, between Ariel and Daniel. I do not think we could really play matchmaker, something both would later despise us for, especially Daniel’s precocious heart. Yet, perhaps, in prayer to our father, who knows all things and matters of the heart, a solution in time will come forth. Remember, brother, we must trust in our God. All things work for good for those who trust and love him. In that I have faith, dear brother.’
Michael nodded, consoled by those words.
* * * * *
Ariel sat in her room, alone, in Pelnaphon keep. She had made up her mind – she would be leaving Pelnaphon soon. Leaving to live in a remote part of Northern Terraphon, in a home for her and her alone, one of a number set aside for such solitary sojourns. And there she would remain for she knew not how long – there to remain, and bewail her loss. Eventually she knew she would have to return to society – to return to her brothers and sisters who cared for her deeply. But only when a point had been reached – a point in which her heart was dead towards her twin, a point were her heart would no longer feel sorrow. And then, in her new life, she would start again, begin again, walking into the newness of life as her own person, her own angel of glory.
But for now she would allow herself to feel sorrow, and in Terraphon feel the pain and allow it to do its purpose, and ultimately come to the healing she knew she needed to feel. And then she would have peace.
* * * * *
Travelling to Canbraphon by coach, Daniel sat with Sharlamane, happily conversing from time to time, but happily sitting quietly with each other. Sharlamane, at that moment, was staring out the coach window, her mind lost in thought. Daniel was looking at her, with a feeling of love in her heart, but just at that moment felt a twinge in his heart. A twinge, as if something had happened, and a part of him was no longer what it should be, as if it had died in a way. He sat there, saddened for a moment, and suddenly started crying. For no reason he could formulate he started crying.
Sharlamane turned to him. ‘What is wrong, Daniel. Whatever is the matter.’ He looked at her, dried his eyes, and spoke.
‘I, I. I don’t know. But something is wrong. I feel it in my heart, my soul. As if something has died within me, a part of my heart, my soul. And I don’t feel right – I don’t feel right at all.’
Sharlamane put her arm around her beloved, and caressed him. ‘Do not fear, Daniel. I am with you now. I will be that part of the heart you need. I will be with you, dearest brother. I will be with you.’ Daniel nodded, consoled somewhat, but his heart was not right. Something had gone wrong, and no matter what else, he would not be consoled until it was put right.
* * * * *
Ariel met Ambriel and Meludiel in the small keep near where they were holidaying, were she had come so far in her journey to the end of the world, and agreed to stay with them for a short while. Ambriel had sensed instantly something not right with Ariel, and later on that night, after Meludiel had gone to bed, he knocked on Ariel’s door.
‘I know what you are saying, Ambriel. But I will not let my heart feel this way forever. I simply won’t. I had never, for so long, really cared for him that greatly. But then I did, and it was if a connection I had not even known existed became alive to me. And then Daniel was everything I wanted and needed. But he is with Sharlamane, and his heart does not love another easily. I fear he is lost to me – forever lost. So I will let my love for him die – I will let my heart die – and one day I will be born anew, born again, and I will be whole. I will be Ariel and I will be whole, with all that I am.’
‘Yet alone, sister.’
‘God will always love me, and I will never be alone, brother. I will never be alone.’
Ambriel looked at her, lovingly, and touched her hair, brushing it. ‘Dear Ariel. You are my sister, and if not for Meludiel, you would be one of the first I would choose to be with. But that connection you felt, it will always be there. No matter how much you try to deny it, it will always remain. Trust me, dearest sister. He will come to you, one day. He will come to you and you will find the love your heart seeks. Believe my words, sister, for they are true.’
Ariel looked straight in his eyes and wished ever so much that what he was saying was true, but her heart faltered, and she could not believe. ‘Perhaps, Ambriel. But you and Meludiel were always meant to be together. It is just the way of things. But Daniel – he has a mind of his own – he always will do things his way. It is just the way he is.’
Ambriel nodded, understanding, but just brushed her hair. ‘Have faith, dear sister. Have faith.’
* * * * *
He knew she was hurting, as Daniel was, but God remained silent and did nothing. He thought on his beloved Ambriel, and the kind words he had spoken of his God. And he loved his cherished son because of them. But God did know, in the destiny planned, that Ariel and Daniel would find each other one day – and find the love that they needed to share with each other. It may not be soon, and would perhaps come in a most unexpected way, but Ariel’s heart would one day heal, and wholeness would again be hers.
Chapter Eleven – Daniel and Sharlamane
Arriving at Romnaphon on their way to Canbraphon, Daniel and Sharlamane were greeted by Valandriel and Elsabel, with Phanuel sending his greetings. Valandriel had agreed to accompany Daniel and Sharlamane on the short trip down to Canbraphon, sitting with them in their coach. They had a change of horses at Romnaphon and, driving along down south-westwards towards Canbraphon, Valandriel made happy conversation, but the other two remained silent most of the time. Eventually he commented on this.
‘Dear Daniel. You are my brother, and I love you dearly, but I have never really known you to be so silent around me. It is most usual that we are discussing issues of life in great detail, contemplating all the mysteries of things. But you are so silent today. Tell me, whatever could the matter be?’
Daniel looked at him briefly, but did not comment, returning his gaze to the window. Sharlamane spoke up for him.
‘Valandriel, Daniel is not feeling well. Not feeling well at all.’
‘Is he sick?’ queried Valandriel.
‘Not physically. But, perhaps emotionally. A little earlier he burst into tears, for no apparent reason, and said something was wrong with his heart. Perhaps he is just being silly, or perhaps his mind is playing tricks on him, but I fear something is wrong – something I don’t know how to explain.’
Valandriel looked at his younger Seraphim brother, and decided to try and cheer him up.
‘Look, Danny boy. You can’t let life get you down, ok. God knows it has its trying moments, but it is good in the end, isn’t it? We have always concluded as much.’
Daniel, turning back to Valandriel, finally responded.
‘Yes, Val. That is true. I really can not say what is wrong with me. I have no logical reason – no reason at all. I just feel that something is wrong in my heart, and I don’t know why. I really don’t know why.’
‘The heart is a mysterious thing,’ continued Valandriel. ‘Its emotions can run deep – incredibly deep. And the creatures of logic we men are can be caught unawares by feelings of emotion we sometimes hide from ourselves, them reaching up and grabbing us when we least expect it.’
Daniel looked at his brother – he looked right into his eyes, and then turned and gazed out of the coach again. Finally he replied. ‘Yes, we are creatures of logic, aren’t we? Perhaps especially you and I, as we have always been. But is that not how Father made us. To be so logical.’
‘Yet he made you to love, as well brother,’ interjected Sharlamane. ‘The way you have long felt for Meludiel, and hopefully now me, also shows you can love. It is not beyond you, dear brother.’
‘Of course, you are right, Sharlamane. But of this feeling in my heart, I have no logical answer. Perhaps only the mystery of love can explain. Perhaps only that.’
The coach went silent for a while, almost as if the three of them were reflecting on Daniel’s last words. After a while Valandriel excused himself to sit on top with the coach driver, and Daniel sat again alone with Sharlamane. Looking at him, Sharlamane could tell his heart had not yet healed, despite her comforting. Perhaps time. Perhaps only time would bring the healing he needed.
* * * * *
‘To Sariel. May God’s richest blessing be upon you.’ The three other angels present at dinner, Gloryel, Aquariel and Sariel, likewise raised their glasses in a toast to Sariel’s new life following his departure from Zaphon.
‘Why, thank you Gabriel,’ responded Sariel. ‘But really, you shouldn’t have.’
‘Nonsense, brother. You served us well in your time, and we all appreciate it greatly.’
‘What next, Sariel? What next?’ queried the effervescent Aquariel.
‘Home, I guess. Taking up the overseersmanship for London keep and looking over England. But, for the first matters of duty, working on our cricket team. As Gabriel just said, Terraphora stands an excellent chance in the up and coming district games, and if England can contribute by winning the provincial cricket challenge, it will go a long way towards Terraphora’s victory.’ Sariel turned to Gabriel, ‘So is Daniel’s representation of Yorkshire still to be kept secret? He insisted that nobody know where he was to be overseer.’
‘He has voiced a similar idea to me, and I have agreed to honour his wishes. Of course, as he is Yorkshires overseer, which is not even a fully fledged province, but a county of England, you will have responsibility for him Sariel.’
‘I know Daniel can be unpredictable at times, but he is a citizen of law as we all are. He should be manageable,’ responded Sariel.
‘Let’s hope so,’ replied Gabriel.
Gloryel, who had lost interest in the discussion going on between Gabriel and Sariel, had started a conversation with Aquariel. ‘Any plans for competing in the games?’ Gloryel asked Aquariel.
‘Oh, dear sis. I wouldn’t dream of it. Getting hot and sweaty for the sake of pride is a male’s prerogative. We women are too intelligent for that.’
‘Yet I hear there is a record number of female competitors this year – nearly one third of the overall tally.’
‘Is that right,’ replied Aquariel, considering that thought.
Gloryel took a sip of wine and looked around the private upper dining room of Terraphon Keep, located on the upper fifth level, the highest level of the keep.
‘Were is the throneroom in Terraphon?’ Gloryel asked Aquariel.
‘Oh, it is on this level as well. Apparently God’s throne is always on the highest level of each keep. His way I suppose. It is just down the hallway at the northern end of the keep. There is a small chapel area just before entering the throneroom. And it really is a spectacular looking throneroom. Beautiful stained glass windows, featuring pictures of the elder Seraphim, and lovely engravings and woodwork. And the throne is spectacular – you really must see it.’
‘Funny, I have been to Terraphon a number of times, but mainly just passing through. I have never actually seen the throneroom.’
‘It is a place I visit often, sis. I need God’s presence in my life. I need to see him, and talk with him. But he almost never responds personally to my inquiries. But you know, that is his way. He speaks when he speaks, and rarely otherwise. An interesting thing, though, is that the flickering flames of God’s presence nearly always burn blue here in Terraphon. Rarely does it ever change colour. In fact from what I have heard, each major keep, now, seems to have a particular flame burning in the throneroom.’
‘Is that so,’ responded Gloryel, interested. ‘What are they?’
‘Well, Mitraphon nearly always burns green. And Pelnaphon is always yellow. Brephon is always orange and Romnaphon is nearly always passionate red. Of course, Zaphon is often a whole host of colours, but Davriel tells me it is more consistently purple than any other colour.’
‘And what of Kalphon. What of dread Kalphon?’
‘Would you believe, black flames of darkness, if such a thing were ever possible.’
‘Amazing,’ responded Gloryel, and took another sip.
‘Oh, when are you planing on returning to England?’ asked Aquariel.
‘The day after tomorrow. We thought we would rest here for a while.’
‘Good. Tell you what, tomorrow afternoon let us spend some times in the gardens. We will luncheon there, and you can tell me all about you and Sariel. There have been whispers, you know. We your brethren are not totally ignorant of what goes on.’
Gloryel blushed. ‘Seemingly.’
All four of them chatted on a long while into the evening, sipping on wine and brandy, as the night of darkness steadily went about its business.
Reflecting in bed that night, lying next to the sleeping Sariel, Gloryel reflected on the life of Terraphon. It was certainly like Zaphon in its own way, yet altogether very traditional in many ways. Perhaps that was Gabriel’s purpose for the keep and the district of Terraphora, to a degree. It was certainly a comforting atmosphere whatever else. These and other thoughts filled her head as she meandered along the pathway of waking to rest.’
* * * * *
After lunch, the four of them were meandering through the gardens of Terraphora Keep, Sariel with Gabriel and Gloryel with Aquariel. Aquariel had been gently pressing Gloryel for information on the state of affairs between herself and Sariel. Gloryel had been a little reluctant to be so open at first, but had gradually been more forthcoming.
‘I guess, Aquariel, that I and Sariel are probably closer than we really ever have been. Oh, like you, I remember our youth in the Garden when each of us Seraphim were almost children of God, gently loving each other, and speaking ever so merciful words. But time has, in its way, perhaps hardened our love. Oh, I don’t know, perhaps not so much hardened, but made us a little more cautious.’
‘I do know what you are saying, Glory. We need an unguarded heart because of it. We need to let the blossoms of youth take control of us, and lead us in the Angelic ways of Glory to which we were born.’
‘Yes, so true. And, perhaps, towards my twin, such ways of love have been born anew almost. We are closer than we have ever been.’
Aquariel, carrying her umbrella, and dressed in such a feminine dress which she had also likewise urged Gloryel to wear, giving her one of her own, stooped down and picked a lily from the gardens, bringing it up to her nose to smell it.
‘We are like flowers, dear sister. Each and every one of us females of eternity. And, perhaps like the Rose, in many way our lovers are often thorns, guarding as and adding our adornment. But, inevitably, a bee comes along taking our honey, and we are left to produce more honey, and anxious wait another bee.’
‘So is Gabriel your busy bee,’ inquired Gloryel gently to her sister.
‘Oh Gloryel,’ responded Aquariel with the gentlest of laughs.
They continued to walk around the gardens of Terraphora for some time, occasionally chatting, occasionally waving to the men who were standing by the pond, discussing who knows what.
Eventually Gloryel spoke. ‘Is he, dear sis? Is your beloved twin the one which now fills your heart. Like others I know you have had so many different lovers. I myself have known a great number. But for me the twin has seemingly become the most important object of my affection. Is this true with you also, I wonder?’
Aquariel remained silent for a moment, looking over the gardens, and then turned to her younger sister. ‘I think, perhaps, my destiny with Gabriel is a long and mysterious one. I do not really know in the maze and mystery of my heart, which even I am yet to unravel fully, wether I can know just one true love. You see, so many of my brothers I fancy and enjoy spending time with. And perhaps this is as it should be. But, yes, in truth Gabriel seems to stand alone in many ways, and I am drawn to him in ways I am not drawn to others. But perhaps this is all natural, Gloryel. Perhaps all natural. Perhaps the normal inclinations of our heart will lead us to spend special, eternal moments with our twin. As if they are to captivate our hearts like no other. Yet we are not alone, and never truly can be. So why should we be so restricted to love our twin alone. But yes, Gabriel is important to me.’
Gloryel thought on those words and, perhaps seeing some truths of her own secrets of the heart spoken openly, silently resonated with much of what Aquariel was saying. ‘Perhaps, dear sister. Perhaps.’
Sariel and Gabriel, a little way off standing by the pond, had instead been discussing more masculine concerns, particularly the chances of England in the cricket competition at the up and coming district games. Sariel had concluded that Romnaphora was the main enemy and, due to their small population, with the allowance that they compete in the competition as a district rather than a province, their competitive spirit would be extreme. Even then, surprisingly, England still had more Angels in its population than Romnaphon, which was the least populated of the seven districts. But they were ever so patriotic, and extremely challenging at cricket in which they excelled.
As Gloryel and Aquariel waved to them once more, Gabriel spoke up. ‘So, dear brother. Is it true. Is Gloryel now the flame which lights your realm?’
Sariel smiled a little, aware much had been discussed behind the scenes about his new relationship with his twin.
‘The light which lights my realm. How ever so poetic, Gab.’
‘Oh, I try.’
‘Well, perhaps. Yes, we are closer than we have ever been. Remarkably so in many ways given our competitive natures. Recently my twin has expressed her deepest devotions to myself, and I shared likewise similar sentiments. In some ways, this commitment, is difficult. For in some ways I feel closed in on, almost as if I have had to surrender certain parts of my life. As you know, when I was younger I was alone a great deal of the time, and got used to great personal freedom. But now I am hampered, seemingly, in every direction. It is discomforting in some ways, but my heart does tell me it is for my own good. And to trust that Father knows what he is doing in my life.’
‘I am sure Raphael would agree with that,’ replied Gabriel. ‘He has often had you upon his heart.’
They chatted on some time more, eventually seeking their sisters and retiring inside. That night was again pleasant, an enjoyable meal, but not so much revelry. But it was a time of peace and love for these four special angels of eternity.
* * * * *
Gabriel, having persuaded Sariel and Gloryel to take the coach lead by horses back to London, was standing in front of the coach, looking at the horses, with Sariel beside him, Gloryel already inside the coach, with Aquariel talking to her.
‘I will say, Sariel, it has been good catching up. We didn’t have much time in Zaphon at your farewell ceremony, and this has been a good opportunity to know you on an even more personal level.’
‘We all seemed to have opened up in some ways, from what Gloryel has told me. Perhaps it is the atmosphere. Terraphon is a such a beautiful keep, and the surrounding villas and other keeps are also something to behold.’
‘Such is the beauty of Rome, the eternal city,’ replied Gabriel, the name given to Terraphon Keep and the surrounding conglomeration of homes and buildings.
‘Well, I wish you well. These horses are well fed and watered – we take very good care of them, you know. Of course, with the way the coach system operates throughout the realm, you can never tell what steeds will be in your stable from week to week. But whenever we have new horses we feed them and take care of them as well as possible, as I am sure all the keeps throughout the realm do so.’
‘They really have helped, especially for goods transport. It is difficult to imagine that in the early years of the new realm and in the old days we actually had to cart the goods around ourselves in sacks and barrows.’
‘It was hard work for many, especially at Brephon and Raguel’s team. Of course, we had to grow most of our own fruits and vegetables and could not rely on Brephora for everything, but they contributed such a vast amount of food produce for our consumption, and it had to be transported manually by individuals. It really was time consuming and hard work, so Raguel informs me.’
‘He has told me that often himself,’ responded Sariel. ‘Fortunately these horses have plenty of stamina, and transporting goods is so much easier since God brought them to be. It is hard to imagine life without them.’
‘And of course,’ continued Gabriel, ‘the coach system for personal transport is a godsend. A great help to us all.’
‘Mmm,’ nodded Sariel.
They looked at the horses with silent admiration for a few moments, before Sariel spoke. ‘Well, we must get going. I really have enjoyed my time her, brother, and will visit you again soon, I promise. And you must come to stay with us in London for some time.’
‘Perhaps on my usual circuit throughout Terraphora District. I do that once a cycle in the first year. So I will likely see you in a few months anyway. But, besides, the Kalphora District Games is nearly upon us. I am sure we will meet then.’
‘Indeed,’ replied Sariel.
Sariel got into the coach, and sat next to Gloryel, who turned to kiss him. They farewelled Gabriel and Aquariel, who waved
To them as the driver made his way along the road, headed for the next major keep. It had been a light-hearted and enjoyable time for Sariel and Gloryel, but London and their new responsibilities beckoned.
* * * * *
Leaving Pelnaphon for what was intended to be a greater absence, Michael returned to Zaphon to more fully begin again his tenure as overseer for the Realm of Eternity. He felt refreshed, in a way. In Sariel’s long tenure, Michael had enjoyed his time with no real responsibilities required of him. He had been allowed to enjoy the pleasures of the Realm, and had taken silent pleasure in that fact. But nobody escaped work responsibilities forever and, approaching Zaphon, he smiled at the familiar spirits surrounding him, that feeling of coming home, and getting back to things long held off.
Georgia had suggested that, if Michael really preferred, she would now leave and open up the personal assistant position for someone of Michael’s own choice. Michael did not worry about Georgia’s suggestion, sensing she wanted to spend time with her twin Zac anyway. Funnily enough, at lunch on his day back, Cindradel greeted him and, when he asked what she was currently occupied with, she responded not much really, subtley hinting that she perhaps wanted her old job back. When Michael asked the question, she replied, ‘Oh, well. Alright, if you insist,’ to which Michael just chuckled.
Sitting in his office, Cindradel brought in a cup of coffee and some papers which Georgia had prepared on recent activities and duties. Michael sat there, even enjoying the smell of the room, and sensing Sariel’s spiritual afterglow from his long tenure. He sensed in that spirit professionalism. Quiet, mature, professionalism – one of an angel dedicated to doing his work most responsibly, and with a care for routine and detail. And it was a spirit he felt, now, he should learn to emulate and continue in the work of both is successor and predecessor.
He sipped on the coffee, savouring its flavour, and took one of the chokkie bikkies, guiltily enjoying its taste, but careful not to eat the second one Georgia had provided. He knew full well how weight could be gained quite quickly, especially in office work, so would be careful in what he ate. But a chokkie bikkie every now and then would not hurt.
Sitting there, looking at his office and turning to look out at the scenery, Michael found himself quite happy. Quite happy and consoled in a way – as if his life had great meaning again and that he was important and mattered. It really felt good to be back in his office that day and work, the little he had to do that day, was a pleasure rather than a burden. Yes, at that moment in time, things were good for the firstborn of the Seraphim Angels of Eternity.
* * * * *
Ariel was up early that morning, looking at the slopes. Meludiel declared she was not up for skiing that day, but suggested Ambriel and Ariel go if they wished to. Ariel asked if Ambriel was up for it and he consented.
They skied the whole morning, Ariel finding consolation in her brother Ambriel. Ambriel had always been admired amongst the female Seraphim. Perhaps Ambriel, more than any angel, emulated what an Angel could be – should be. He was gentle and loving. And cared so greatly for each of his brethren. And as the years passed that care had only deepened and matured.
Ariel loved him, naturally. But she knew him bonded to Meludiel and, despite the fact that at the moment he was close by and someone to put affection upon, she thought better of it. And, she realized, such an affection would only be forthcoming because of the current state of her heart, trying to silent the hole within it, which she had believed only her twin could fill.
At lunch they returned to the chalet, were Meludiel had been spending the morning working on a rather lavish lunch of fruits and vegetable, all cut up to perfection, with tasty dressings. There were also a number of chicken kebabs which she had obtained the day before, looking rather tasty as Ariel and Ambriel came into the kitchen were Meludiel was busily at work.
As they ate and enjoyed their meal, Ambriel noted that Ariel’s attitude seemed to be improving. Perhaps she was getting better. Perhaps, now, the sojourn she had planned for Terraphon could be forgotten, and she could return to her more regular life. In his plans, after speaking to Meludiel, he would see if he could encourage Ariel to remain with them for a few weeks in which, hopefully, she would fully return to normal. He would make excuses to keep her around and, keeping his eye on her, pray to his Father. He was sure time would heal her wounds.
* * * * *
Krystabel was busy at work in Kalphon, working in the kitchen helping with the meals. Kantriel currently oversaw the running of the keep in Saruviel’s absence, a job he had increasingly become more and more adept at. Krystabel, without Saruviel, almost felt obsolete at times, and had taken to working in the kitchen to feel useful.
Although she knew Saruviel was in a place were he was healing – healing after a lifelong devotion to an idea – an idea of his own authority, rejecting any allowance of God or others to have a say – Krystabel still missed her twin.
She knew he would be returned to her one day, and that her life, then, would have greater meaning to it. They had never been that close growing up. Never really. In their youth, very early youth, as for many of the Seraphim, the twin thing had been an area of amusement and play. But it had lost meaning after their early innocence. But then, later, as they had developed, it had become more important in matters of the heart. And when, in a sense, the time had come for Krystabel to settle down and find someone to spend eternity with, Saruviel had been the logical choice. But he was Saruviel – he was Saruviel. And loving him would never, perhaps in all eternity, be easy. But, again, loving him would be everything. She knew the extremities of her twin, his passion, his perseverance, his devotion to excellence beyond any other standard set and really, in truth, beyond his own capabilities, despite the pride which motivated him. And in that extremity, passion could be most fierce – most incredibly fierce. But there was also a spirit to Saruviel – almost a dark spirit of rest. A spirit like night, in which he was restful, calm and at peace. It hovered around him often, comforting him when none else would or could. It was a spirit that Krystabel, herself, had also become familiar with, reminding her of her twin but, in a way, comforting her for her own sake. It was a quiet and calm spirit, gentle and almost eternal, it seemed. She felt, after years of consideration, especially in conversation with Ambriel who shared his own insight, that it was a spirit of their father, a spirit which was the restful heart of God – a spirit, always there, but usually subdued or hidden by the burning passion of God. Ambriel told her, bluntly, that God had placed this spirit on Saruviel for a long time – since very early on. That, for Saruviel, such a spirit was necessary to calm the passionate drive and emotions of the seventhborn of the Seraphim of eternity. Yet, it seemed, in choosing Saruviel, God had placed that spirit on Krystabel as well, and it was in recent days, at rest at night, that the darkness surrounded Krystabel and gave her solace and peace.
In that darkness, in the peace she found, Krystabel rested and reflected on life and the nature of her father. She reflected on how much there really was to God and that, in the needs each angel had, needs she often felt could not really be filled, that her eternal father had his own way of addressing issues of the heart and he worked to the needs of his children in his own way, often beyond their initial understanding but later, with illumination and experience, she often perceived just how wise her father was. And, away from the passions of life, in her own quiet times, when that spirit was upon her, Krystabel reflected on life and its many absurdities and wonders, and silently thanked God for both the passion and peace life was. So, finding consolation in this, she turned to her kitchen-work, trying her best to set the kind of example she knew an elderly Seraphim should, and patiently waited for the return, one day, of her beloved twin.
* * * * *
Cosadriel looked at the boulder. Really, it WAS bloody big. He had tried it yesterday, and after about 20 cubits, given up – it was too bloody heavy to lift that far. But he knew he was up against some tough competition, and if he was to win the challenge he would have to lift the weight as far as possible. Fortunately for him, not too many of the other challengers had bothered training with the boulder, from what had been told to him most concentrating on the other events in the ‘Challenge’.
Cosadriel himself was incredibly fit, and didn’t worry so much about the flight around Zaphora or the marathon. With his extreme athleticism he felt he could handle those events without to much difficulty. And he had long been involved in mountain climbing, so felt the Mt Zadar challenge was well within his grasp. But the more challenging of the events to him personally, the tree chopping and the boulder lift, were beckoning him to take up the challenge of. For the last week he had been chopping wood out at various forestlands in Iceland, and then carting it for firewood to gain strength. And now he was ready for the boulder lift. The Kalphon Games were now only 3 weeks away and, in this final few weeks, he felt he would devote all his time to mastering the boulder lift. If be a stroke of luck he could win this event, which would be his weakest, he felt sure he would win the challenge and gain the points for Iceland and Terraphon. If he did, Terraphon had a huge chance of winning the first District Kalphon Games.
Oshanel was a few cubits away, sitting on the grass, drinking a flask of melit water. She watched him happily, shouting out words of encouragement. Strangely, having her there watching him, encouraging him, really made Cosadriel happy. They had become closer over time and now, especially in recent weeks, Cosadriel found himself enjoying the company of his twin more and more. She was attractive, funny, and brought a light humour to his life. She was, in this sense, a compliment to his personality, rather than a foil. She suited him and having her around now was quite pleasant.
‘Come on Saddy,’ she yelled. ‘I bet you can’t carry it all the way around the grounds. Go on – I dare you.’
He looked at her, annoyed at the challenge, but with his enormous pride, decided to accept it.
He picked up the boulder, walked the short distance to the race line, and put it down. He rubbed his hands, looked at his twin, and yelled, ‘You asked for it.’ And then he began.
Half way around the circuit, going ever so slowly, Oshanel was amazed. Her twin’s pride was enormous. When others would have given up, Cosadriel was stubbornly persevering, albeit slowly, seemingly determined to meet her challenge. With about a quarter of the distance to go, she was right next to him, encouraging. ‘Come on, bro. Come on. You can do it.’ But, alas, with about 20 cubits to go to a full circuit, he dropped the stone at his feet and collapsed exhausted. She came over to him, lied down, put her arm on his chest and said ‘Amazing. Truly amazing. You will win. For sure, you will win.’
Cosadriel just puffed and puffed, but there was a sure and certain smile on his face. He was ready.
* * * * *
‘On the edge of life, challenge the challenger, ya big lug.’ Azrael reacted to the scolding words of his twin sister Kwintakel. They had been discussing things after the recent Terraphoran team meeting for the up and coming Kalphon games, and Kwintakel had been lecturing her twin on the boastful comments both Oshanel and Cosadriel had been making about Cosadriel’s chances in the games and the ‘Challenge’ in general.
She had insisted that Azrael now enter the event – she had absolutely insisted. And when he had bemoaned his lack of preparation time, she had asked him wether he was an Angel or a Mouse. And then she had begun quoting his own Torah principle at him, which annoyed him greatly, but nonetheless motivated him extremely. For the past three days Azrael had been pushing himself at his running as much as he possibly could. His focus was Cosadriel who he felt would be his main competition. He knew at the Mt Zadar challenge, despite Cosadriel’s likewise great experience, he would take his older brother. At woodcutting, for physical strength, he felt he could take Cosadriel as well. But it was in the flight around Zaphora and the run in particular, which he was sure Cosadriel would have the edge and he knew – he knew – he had to do well in those events to have a chance for victory.
Gabriel, who had been watching Azrael today, was silently pleased – for Terraphon, with the intense personal competition between Azrael and Cosadriel, things looked very good indeed. But for Azrael, the team focus was not his thing – this was personal. He would challenge the ‘Challenge’ and the ‘Challenger’ and come out victorious. He was determined on that.
* * * * *
Elenniel was happy – quite happy. She was in her workshop in Pelnaphon, working on a painting of, of all things, her twin Michael. Inspiration had come upon her and she had decided to paint him, mainly from memory, in a very authentic and accurate like portrayal – almost in the original style of painting which strove for accuracy over style.
She wanted a new painting to put in her room to think on of her twin. She had one, of course, but that was painted millennia ago, and was starting to look quite tatty. It was time for a new one, she had concluded, and with inspiration took to the task.
Shelandragh had come in to say hello, and looked over the work. ‘Original style, huh? And Michael by the looks of it.’
‘Why yes, Shelly. I am glad you noticed.’
‘What is wrong with the painting you already have. Let me guess, you’re sick of it.’
‘Oh, I could never be sick of a painting of Michael. But it is so old and worn out now, and I don’t have the heart to try and restore the piece, so have decided on a new work. Something, again, to remind me of my newly beloved.’
‘Newly beloved? Oh, that is right. He proposed or something, didn’t he?’
‘Yes he did. And from what I have gathered, when we marry, we may be the first to do so in the entire realm.’
‘Interesting idea – I’ll have to look into it some time.’
‘Perhaps you should.’
‘Anyway, did you see my latest painting?’ continued Shelandragh.
‘The one of the strange looking Angel with no wings?’ queried Elenniel. ‘And the long pointy hat?’
‘She is supposed to have that hat, ok. It is in the book I read about her.’
‘And why is that?’ asked Elenniel.
‘Because she is a witch?’
‘A witch? No what on earth could a witch possibly be.’
‘Oh, she casts spells and practices magic. There are three of them in the book I read called ‘The Three Witches’. It is a new fantasy work.’
‘‘The Three Witches?’ Fascinating. I will have to read it sometime.’
‘Yes, perhaps you should. Anyway, there is a dragon in the book, and I think I will paint a dragon next – continue the theme.’
‘A Dragon? You mean from the Torah? What, is it a painting of Saruviel?’
‘That is what many angels think, isn’t it? That Saruviel is the Devil Dragon. Frankly I think he was simply misunderstood. The Dragon is someone else. Someone else entirely.’
‘Perhaps,’ replied Elenniel. ‘But if not of Saruviel, then who?’
‘Oh, the Dragon is a fierce creature. Like a gigantic lizard, which breathes fire?’
‘Breathes fire? How on earth does it do that?’
‘I am not sure exactly. Some sort of chemicals in its mouth which it ignites somehow. But I am not really sure. However, the painting I think I will paint should have him breathing terrible fire, and perhaps fighting the Three Witches.’
‘It sounds ominous.’
‘Thank you Elenniel. You have inspired me.’
Elenniel just laughed.
‘Tell me. How are you coping with life without Michael. Now that he is back at Zaphon and head honcho again, you must miss him.’
‘I suppose that is why I am painting the painting of him. To remind me of him. But, you know. Life goes on. We have not always been together, in fact separate for the majority of our lives now. So I am used to being away from him. But yes, I do miss him. But his work is important to him. It defines him in many ways, and I cold not ask him to leave it for my sake. Thinking about it, perhaps I myself could make some concessions. I don’t normally visit him in Zaphon, but perhaps I might. Perhaps soon, go and surprise him, if you know what I mean.’
‘I am sure he would love that,’ replied Shelandragh. ‘Well, do you fancy some lunch. I am quite hungry.’
‘Sure,’ said Elenniel, putting down her brush.
As they made their way to the lunchroom of Pelnaphon, Elenniel thought again on the idea of visiting Michael at Zaphon. Perhaps, indeed, it was a good idea, and perhaps a long overdue one.
* * * * *
Rebellion! Was rebellion really in the heart of Davriel, 70th born of the male Seraphim of Eternity. He wished and hoped not. In fact he was sure not. He had written ‘The Judgement of God’ precisely because he did not believe in rebellion, but in obeying God Almighty. But now, still reflecting on Sariel’s words to the religious hierarchy, Davriel was not completely sure of himself. Was his text pleasing to God? Did God in fact like someone apart from himself teaching spiritual ideas of their own merit, apart from that taught in Torah? Did this displease God.
He had spoken to him a short while ago, but God had been shady, stating that Davriel’s text was generally understood by the community as emanating from Davriel. And in that should there be any real concern, God queried his son quite strangely.
Yet, Sariel had stated those words. He had stated those words. In the end, though, perhaps they were merely cautionary. Sariel had indeed asked ‘Is Rebellion?’ in the form a question. He did not say those gathered were rebellious, but questioned them. Perhaps, in that case, it was something of a warning. A warning to not go beyond the boundaries of Torah, something which Saruviel seemed to have done. Perhaps it was just that – a warning. A warning to keep them on the straight and narrow path. And if that being the case, it was appropriate for Davriel to be concerned with those words. To be concerned and understand the lesson being taught. But still he worried.
Christianity, now, was an established religion in the realm, alongside Islam and the Bahai faith. Alongside the traditional Torah faith underpinning the latter religious developments, these religions, Davriel felt, enhanced the spiritual life of the Realm of Eternity.
Jesus himself had become something of a wonder, becoming incredibly popular amongst his church, being the centrepiece of their spiritual lives almost in a sense, even rivalling God. Of that Davriel had minor concerns, but only minor. Perhaps it was a teething experience, having a flesh and blood spiritual mentor to which they could all look up to. In time they would return to the simple faith in God to provide all, and accept the Christ on the terms he should be accepted. Perhaps their devotion to him was a minor concern, but Davriel was sure time would sort out all such problems.
Rophiel, likewise, was well respected amongst the Muslim community, especially under his chosen name of Muhammed. But the devotion to him was not as centralized as that towards Jesus. He was the ‘Prophet’, but did not rival the Most High in Muslim theology, something which they had accused Christianity of perhaps teaching in the way they viewed Jesus.
As for Bahai, Bahaliel and the Bab had no real problems. They were respected in their own communities, but in no real way idolized or viewed as anything other then the very real and fallible angels that they were. Silently, to himself, Davriel felt Bahai seemed to have the right balance when it came to the way they viewed their religious elders.
But, whatever else, the valuable contribution each religion gave to the life of the Realm of Eternity Davriel honestly felt was greater than them not having been there. And in that he took consolation.
* * * * *
Sariel and Gloryel had now settled back into life in London and were eagerly anticipating the soon to be held Kalphon Games. Sariel had been sharing with Gloryel that the games now went all over the realm in a sense, with many events being competed in at differing locations throughout the realm. But, of course, the majority of the events were still being held at Kalphon.
Sariel was ready for the cricket team, and had been chosen as captain. Gloryel had also been selected, and was slated to bat down at number 5 as well as bowling her leg-spin, to which she had become quite accomplished. As a female she was not physically as strong as the males on the team, but she was incredibly fit at the moment, and had excellent hand-eye co-ordination. While she may not be as physical as the males, in the sport of cricket skill itself played such a large factor that she was able to successfully compete when good enough.
It was honestly felt that the main competitors in the cricket competition would be the undeniable Romnaphoran's, who had taken over from the English, were the game had been developed, and had become astonishingly skillful at it. The South Africans were also passionate for the game down in Mitraphora, and the Indian team, captained by Gandel, was fiercely competitive as well.
Cricket was played universally now, but certain nations within the provinces had taken it up in a major way, others barely having time for the sport. This did not really bother Sariel, but he found himself preoccupied with the thought of slowly promoting the game to bring a larger audience to it. Time would tell on its popularity he generally conceded.
Sariel fancied Terraphora’s chances at the games, as most Terraphoran’s likewise did. They were not yet boasting they would win it, but they were quietly confident. They feared Kalphora most of all, but felt they had the slightest edge with Cosadriel and Azrael. Time would tell if they would be right.
Chapter Twelve – Gloryel's Inquiry
‘Yes, Gloryel. Initially it had seemed like a good idea. The perfect way to motivate the angels and to bring the best out of them. But, ultimately, father had decreed to me that it was not in the best interest of the community to decide the next overseer on the basis of victory in the Kalphon Games. And he had again reminded me that Saruviel had been his personal choice to be third overseer of the Realm.’
‘Does the community now know this?’
‘Oh, a number of the elder Seraphim were at my farewell ceremony, and they would have likely passed on the news. Really, it may have been a motivator for some, but only some. For most, the Kalphon Games had their own glory. Anyway, the victor may not have even wanted the job, which would have made my decision look stupid. I think the decree for Saruviel to be next overseer is the best choice in the end.’
‘Yes, Saruviel. I did notice, like the rest of us, he was different when he returned to us the first time, and even more so the second time. He was so very frustrating to me personally in the earlier rebellious years. But, hopefully, wherever he now is he is healing and getting over it. It would be a disaster if the old Saruviel re-emerged.’
‘In a sense, Saruviel will never change, sis,’ continued Sariel. ‘But he will grow wiser with experience. And whatever his motivations, if they truly are in our best interests as he had always maintained, I am sure he will act for the good of us all. We need to simply trust God and his decision.’
‘I guess so,’ she replied, but sounded unconvinced.
* * * * *
With two weeks to go before the games, Kantriel was a busy angel. Kalphon, he felt, was ready – as ready as it could be. All the events, through years of experience, were ready to be undertaken and all the equipment used was newly polished up and in good shape. There was, for the first time, to be a major ceremony to celebrate the games right at the beginning. Kantriel had liaised with Uriel at Pelnaphon to arrange some dancers as well as musicians to perform at the opening games ceremony, and Mistrel had been a common sight in the halls of Kalphon for the past month. If all things went to plan, the hopefully spectacular opening ceremony should set the pace for the best games Kalphon had ever held.
Of course, Kantriel was excited about the prospect of Kalphora emerging victorious in the games. With his own pre-occupation with organising the games themselves, Kantriel had appointed Daraqel as team leader for Kalphora. Daraqel, like Kantriel, had long resided at Kalphon under Saruviel’s tutelage. He was experienced, now, and in his own overseersmanship of New York, Daraqel had been growing in leaps and bounds recently, and seemed more of a leader than he had ever been. Almost as if, from his long history with his brother, as if Daraqel had steadily and patiently walked through his life, knowing that one day great responsibility would be his, and steadily worked towards the goal, albeit quietly, of being ready and prepared for such a situation. And now, now with his leadership being put to the test, Kantriel was greatly impressed with his closest friend.
He felt they were ready – that his team was ready – and that only the Almighty’s own preferences would interfere with Kalphora being victorious. Yet Terraphora was to be feared. They would probably take the medals in the ‘Challenge’ as well as the points for the other minor placing’s the various events now allowed. There were two major systems of points to judge the victors for the games. Firstly the medal count. The medal count itself boosted the percentage of points from the points gained for each placing in each event. There were 7 districts. The district which gained the most medal points were awarded a 70% increase in their total points. Second were awarded a 60% increase, all the way down to last which gained a 10% increase. As such, getting a good medal tally was extremely important, perhaps more so than the overall level of placing’s points. Such was the reward for excellence, finishing in the top three.
Kalphora, perhaps, had an advantage in the placing’s’ points system. While every district could theoretically enter as many competitors as they desired to, Daraqel had ensure Kalphora entered the most, right up until the two week deadline which expired that day. In fact, he was just down the hall from Kantriel, keeping him informed of any late entries to respond if they felt at all necessary.
It was late in the day, when Michael himself entered the ‘Challenge’, that Daraqel showed up in Kantriel’s office.
‘Funny, you know bro. I should have expected that maybe, one day, he would take an interest in such events, but he has finally done so.’
‘Huh?’ said Kantriel in response.
‘Michael. He has done it. He has entered the ‘Challenge’.
‘Michael. Well he may get some placing’s’ points for Zaphora, but against the competition he is up against he doesn’t stand a chance.’
‘Maybe. Well, do we need to respond, or let it go?’
‘I wouldn’t worry, Dar. He is firstborn, but that matters not, ultimately, on the sports field, everything else being equal. He is just another competitor. We have him covered.’
‘If you say so. But he is a crafty old soul. We should watch him, just in case,’ objected Daraqel.
‘Mmm. You know how the community feels about spying. Not to into it, preferring their secret training.’
‘Yes, I know. But, technically, it is allowable under the current rules of the games. The clause on the issue allows observance and any questions competitors feel free to answer for themselves. We should perhaps take this opportunity to use our advantage. We will be legal.’
‘I’ll leave that to your judgement, Daraqel,’ responded Kantriel. ‘But remember our rep. It is still not healed after Saruviel’s rebellion. We need to be seen as clean cut, after all.’
‘We should be ok. People have forgiven us.’
‘If you say so. But the ball is in your court. I’ll leave it up to you.’
‘Gotcha. Well, talk to you later. I have some thinking to do.’
Daraqel waved goodbye to Kantriel, and returned to his office.
As he sat there, Kantriel gave some thought to Michael’s entrance into the challenge. After a while he concluded, perhaps, that it was simply Michael’s pride at stake. That his older brother needed to be seen as one of them, seeking the glory as well. He concluded that that was all it was.
* * * * *
‘I will crush him, like I will crush this beetle,’ said Cosadriel, defiantly.
‘Don’t kill the beetle!’ yelled Oshanel, alarmed.
‘Only kidding,’ said Cosadriel, flicking the beetle away. ‘I don’t need to crush a beetle to show how much I will crush Azrael’s phenomenal ego.’
‘Azrael’s ego?’ chided Oshanel. ‘Sure, I know he has a big one, but Cosadriel. Saddy, Saddy, Saddy.’
‘What!’ he exclaimed.
‘Just be sure you beat him, ok. Be sure of that.’
‘Will do sis.’
* * * * *
‘See this log. This is Cosadriel. And this is what I will do to Cosadriel.’ In front of his twin Kwintakel, Azrael flexed his muscles, brought up his axe, and with one might chop, cut the slender but strong tree log in half.
‘Just make sure you do it in the challenge when it means something, and not when it is easy.’
‘Will do sis.’
* * * * *
Elenniel rubbed down Michael’s sweaty body, not yet really commenting, but privately ever so happy about her twin’s current training. Since the beginning of the two weeks to go to the beginning of the games, Michael had spent four days, with almost no sleep, running, chopping, flying, climbing and carrying a boulder just a little bit larger than the one used in the games. Of course, he needed a rest. He had pushed himself beyond any possible imaginable extremities for an angel. But Elenniel noticed something in him, something which had, perhaps, finally, after centuries of humbling himself, reacted in a way. He’d never had a point to prove, had Michael. He was firstborn and knew the responsibility and example he must set. But the ‘Challenge’ had triggered something. Something about the pride of being firstborn, and Michael had launched into his training like no angel before him, and perhaps no angel to come. And Elenniel had been pleased.
At the moment his body looked oh so fit and athletic, unlike any Michael she had ever seen and, despite his tired state, his massive drive and ego propelled him forwards.
‘I will sleep all Sabbath day, and the next one before the games,’ he had promised her. ‘But trust me, I know what I am doing.’
Elenniel was not really sure if he did, or wether it was his ego driving him, but he was motivated unlike he ever had been. And seeing the firstborn of the Seraphim angels of eternity truly motivated was something to behold.
* * * * *
In his heart, the father of Glory showed his son Saruviel some images. Some recent images of Michael and his current attitude. And he advised his son Saruviel not to forget this. Not to forget the capabilities of the firstborn of eternity.
* * * * *
‘Well, are you going to enter the challenge?’ Sharlamane queried of her mate.
‘Hell no,’ responded Daniel. ‘Way too many egos in that competition for me. Really, Michael. I had no idea. Besides, I will get to such things later on. Not an issue for now. Not for now. But later, yes. I will respond. Just in my time, ok. In my time.’
Sharlamane nodded, happy at that reply, and confident in her beloved to live up to his words.
* * * * *
Gabriel considered it for a while. He was aware that the time limit had elapsed for entering the games, particularly the ‘Challenge’, but was sure an exception could be made if he was polite. But, in the end, he decided, like others, to let it go this particular time. Perhaps, in the end, too much of a struggle. Too much of a personal struggle to make any possible victory worthwhile. No, he would let this one go, but one day he would respond as well.
* * * * *
‘So you really think Michael will win it, do you Ambriel? Don’t you think Cosadriel will? He is the one everyone is raving about. Does Michael really have a chance?’ queried Meludiel to her twin.
‘I know Mikie. I know him deep down. If he has entered this, and wants to win it, he will. He won’t let anything stop him. It is the way he is, deep down. The way he really is.’
‘I will take your word at it.’
* * * * *
‘So you are not taking on the ‘Challenge’, huh?’
‘No, Val. No, I don’t think so,’ replied Daniel.
‘So you are going to let him have the glory, are you. You are going to let Michael take the gold.’
Daniel stared right at Valandriel, and considered that.
‘What? Are you trying to provoke me? God knows you should know ego is not one of my problems, despite me often being accused of having one. I am a careful thinker, Valandriel. And, besides, these are still early days in the life of the realm and its competitions. In a way, considering eternity, they will always be early days. But like I told Sharlamane, I will respond one day. In the fullness of time, when I am happy with myself.’
‘When you have worked up to it, don’t you mean?’ responded Valandriel.
‘What is that supposed to mean?’
‘I know you Daniel. You get to things – things like the challenge – after you have well sounded them out and know every little intricacy involved in such a thing. You take your time to make it easier for you later, instead of doing the hard work in the first place.’
‘And what is wrong with that?’
‘It makes you lazy, ultimately. You put things off, as I have noticed, with the attitude that you will eventually get to it. But, surprise surprise, eventually rarely comes around.’
‘I trust my instincts, Val. Even if you don’t have faith in me, I will go the way I feel I should. It is my way, I guess. It is what makes me me.’
‘But you do realize Michael will likely get the glory for this event, and not likely to be forgotten. Perhaps you should enter even for the sake of entering.’
Daniel looked at him, carefully, and considered that.
‘Well, yeah. I see your point. Look, ok. If I can get in I will enter. I won’t train the way Michael is training – I won’t go diehard. But I will try to win in the events if I get in. But only to satisfy you, ok.’
‘Good. It should prove interesting.’
* * * * *
‘Well, Daniel. It is against the rules of our competition. But under this rule, an exception can be made if all district leaders agree to the entry. So, tell you what. You have my approval. Now, if you go and ask Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Raguel & Phanuel if they don’t mind, I will allow you entry.’
‘Thanks Kantriel. I appreciate it. I will let you know.’
* * * * *
Getting to Michael last of all in the circuit he had chosen, Daniel had gained approval from all the other district heads for his late entry into the ‘Challenge’. Time was now short – only 4 days to go to the beginning of the games. If Michael said yes, he could practically forget about training, given the short time. But he would at least save face by entering the event.
He found Michael at Zaphon, running around the sport ground near the keep. Elenniel was with him, watching him intently. He looked at his older brother as he practically flew around the course, so intense he had become, and almost thought better of it. But his pride was at stake.
Later, after Michael had played with him, suggesting ‘Maybe not Daniel’, but later acquiescing, Daniel wondered what he had gotten himself into. But it was too late. He would have to compete now, and suffer the consequences.
* * * * *
That night God spoke to Daniel in a dream. A dream of glory, pride and humility. And right at the end of the dream, Saruviel appeared and asked him this question, ‘Well are you going to win?’ and then he awoke.
* * * * *
‘So how heavy is Michael’s boulder?’
‘Bloody heavy,’ responded Valandriel.
‘Bloody heavy. Mmm. And you are sure this one is about 10% bigger than his?’
‘Pretty sure. It was a bugger moving it, but if you are going to win, you will have to insanely fit in three solitary days.’
He looked at the boulder, regretting every word of his pride he had responded to Valandriel with, but set to it.
Sharlamane watched intently and Ariel, who had showed up, clapped to him, encouraging him.
As an angel, Daniel was actually quite well built. He had a bit of belly, which he’d always had, but structurally he seemed like the kind of angel who could do well in such an event. He tried lifting the boulder, and found it heavy. And then he said something to himself, encouraging himself, and lifted it up. Yes it was heavy.
‘Go slow to start with,’ he told himself. ‘Just get used to the weight of the boulder – hold it up as long as possible first without moving. That will come later.’ Surprisingly, in a comfortable position, he found himself able to hold the boulder in his arms, as long as he didn’t move greatly. And then, thinking something, he put the boulder down, and motioned to Valandriel.
‘Come here. Help me take the boulder to the starting line.’
‘What are you planning.’
‘I have an idea. It might work.’
The two of them manoeuvred the boulder to the starting line, and Daniel spoke.
‘I don’t think I will win the other events. Probably beyond me. But I have an idea for this one – a tactic. And it might work.’
‘Well,’ responded Valandriel. ‘What is it.’
‘Obvious in the end. Time me, ok. But be patient – this could take a while.’
Grabbing the boulder, with the others looking on intently, Daniel began his marathon. His crawling marathon. He lifted the boulder, took a small step, and stopped, holding it comfortably again. Yes, it was alright. He felt he could hold it like this for hours if he had to, which he just might.
As the others watched on, Daniel, one step at a time – one agonizingly slow step at a time, with long rests between each step, slowly and inevitably completed a full circuit of the lap. After 2 hours, when he finally completed the circuit, Valandriel was grinning.
‘Make sure you keep it quiet, Danny, but that is the record. But how much further can you go?’
‘We’ll see,’ he responded.
3 hours later, having completed the second lap, he finally threw down the boulder, having had enough. But while he was physically drained, he knew he could do more. Perhaps, if he kept this method to himself, he would win the event. But as Valandriel had said, he would have to keep quiet.
* * * * *
The following day, they were at the wood-chopping. Daniel had the rulebook in front of him, which he had studied overnight, and had brought with him a large circular piece of leather, which he had strapped around him.
‘What the heck is that for?’ asked Valandriel.
And, at the forest they were in, Daniel unhooked the leather, placed it around a tree, and started climbing the tree. When he was just under half the height of the tree, were the trunk was a lot smaller, he stopped and tied the leather circlet around the trunk, levering himself against it. And then, taking his axe, he began chopping at the much slender tree, it taking far less time, even with his short climb which he was good at, then it might have taken.
Getting to the bottom of the tree Ariel questioned him.
‘Can you do that? Chop it up there? Doesn’t it have to be at the bottom?’
‘The rules state that the trees must be a certain minimum thickness, and chopped a maximum of halfway from the bottom up to the top. I had noted it was thinner halfway up, and devised this leverage to allow me to cut there.’
‘You really are exploiting those rules, aren’t you.’
‘Hey, I didn’t come up with them. But it’s legal. Its not my problem if others don’t do it as well.’
‘Ok, fair point,’ replied his twin.
* * * * *
The rest of his second day of training was spent simply doing push-ups to get as physically strong and fit as possible. He went through litres of melit water, but it seemed worth it and, at the end of the day, he felt strong – as if he had done a great workout, which he had done.
* * * * *
The following day they were again at it, and Valandriel looked at him. ‘Ok. Maybe, MAYBE, you have 2 of the 5 covered. But you will still need one other strong event to be sure. So which is it?’
Daniel looked at Valandriel squarely. ‘Like Michael, I know a very quick training before an event can prime you for the event. So I will run today. I will run all day if I can, around these grounds, only stopping for water. I will run and run and run. And then we will see.’
And so Daniel ran that day – all day he ran, and towards evening, when it was mostly just a walk, he finally stopped, and then collapsed.
Ariel and Sharlamane looked at him. Valandriel looked at him. And then Valandriel said to his sisters. ‘Yes, I know, he is an idiot. But he might just do it. He might just do it.’
Ariel and Sharlamane just nodded.
Chapter Thirteen - Training
He woke that morning, having arrived at Kalphon late in the evening, retiring to one of the tents set up for the competitors. He’d been training not to far from Kalphon on the last day, but not in the immediate vicinity. But now he would have to be read.
He felt his body – it was tired and sore. But one thing he did know – he had not really ever pushed it. He had not ever really sought out the extremes it could go to. He thought on Sariel’s twin, Gloryel, and how she had made the rock. From all reports that was one hell of a flight, which meant if a female could fly that high, a male could do more – so much more.
Valandriel and Sharlamane were also in the tent next to his, along with Ariel. They had become his team, in a sense, and he was glad to have them on board. Thinking on Ariel, he had noticed something different in his twin – something which had noticed immediately when she had shown up. As if she had been through a great ordeal, and then given the answer to her dilemma. He had prayed for her the last few days, and would again pray tonight that God would minister to her in the way she needed.
Looking out on the dew filled fields, it was a cool morning, already soothing his body. Well, it was now or never. If he was going to win the challenge it was up to him. Up to him and his own bloody determination.
* * * * *
Michael flexed his muscles. His training was complete – he was ready. The firstborn of the Seraphim of eternity would, now, show just what he was capable of.
* * * * *
‘Are you ready Az? Are you ready?’
‘As ready as I will ever be, sis.’
‘You better be,’ responded Azrael’s twin, Kwintakel.
* * * * *
‘It’ll be easy. They haven’t a chance.’
‘I don’t know Saddy. You better be ready.’
‘Relax.’ But Oshanel did not share her brother Cosadriel’s confidence.
* * * * *
The ceremony, this year, was actually quite something to behold. Kantriel’s professional attitude shone through, and the first of the Kalphon District Games began in earnest.
The games were set over 7 days. The challenge began on day 3. As such the competitors had extra practice time if they wanted it, but most took the time to rest and watch other events.
The scores at the end of day 2 were close. Only a few hundred points separated Terraphora at the top from Romnaphora at the bottom. But the Challenge could factor heavily.
* * * * *
‘So, Daniel. As you were the last official entrant, you will compete last in all events of the challenge. The advantage is that you will see what went before you, but you will have to chase down the best of them to win. And of 137 entrants, it could be a long wait for certain events.’
Daniel nodded. It would be an interesting wait.
* * * * *
The first event in the challenge was the boulder lift. Cosadriel set the early pace, completing just under half a lap. Azrael fell about a cubit short, throwing down the boulder in disgust.
Michael, second last entrant, managed to get a few cubits past Cosadriel and, realizing he had achieved the greatest distance, decided to leave it at that to conserve his energy.
And then Michael, Azrael, Cosadriel and most of the others of the 137 entrants plus a growing crowd witnessed the beginning of a spectacle.
When Daniel had completed the first quarter of the lap at an excruciatingly slow pace, the crowd just wondered. Yet, 3 hours later, at the end of the day, when Daniel had completed two full circuits, there had been heated debate by many onlookers, firstly at the legality of Daniel’s approach and secondly, after finding no real statements in the rules forbidding such an approach, questioning the ethics of it.
But, at the end of the day, when it had generally agreed Daniel had played within the rules for the event, he received the full points.
But he had not made any friends that day, and Michael eyed him cautiously.
* * * * *
The second day of the challenge event was the wood-chopping. Daniel was again last to go, and this time his approach, with the leather belt to climb the trees higher, was challenged by practically ever other competitor.
Kantriel settled the issue with this statement. ‘It is not beyond the realm of reason to have aids and tools of various natures in other events to assist in achieving victory. The rules state that no such aid should be used which would contribute to an illegal victory or one against the spirit of the event. The rules in the wood-chopping clearly state that a competitor may chop the tree up to the maximum of half the height of the tree. The aid Daniel chose allowed him to exploit this to the maximum the rules allowed. But I will stress this point – his aid was not used to exceed the allowance of the rules. He played within them. Like yesterday, Daniel showed ingenuity. His first place is fairly awarded.’
Later on Michael came out and found Daniel and congratulated him. He had seen Kantriel’s point, and then realized that Daniel was exploiting the situation to the very best of his own advantage – but he was doing so within the legal rules, with the intent of achieving legal victory. As such, for Michael, he was ultimately ethical enough. Perhaps against the established tradition of the event, but traditions are meant to be enhanced from time to time.
Regardless, Daniel perhaps had an unbeatable lead, but the next events he was weaker at.
* * * * *
Cosadriel won the flight around Zaphora and then the following day Azrael won the mountain climb. But Michael did exceedingly well in both events with Daniel much lower down.
On the final day Daniel still had a strong lead over Michael, with Cosadriel in third and Azrael in fourth.
It had come down to the marathon. For Daniel it was now or never.
* * * * *
Michael won the marathon and, counting his points quickly, knew Daniel needed to finish 45th or better to be counted the overall victor. And so he counted – he counted them in, coming to 44. And then waiting, he spied an angel running up, and urged him on. But the angel collapsed to the ground, heaving greatly – he was exhausted.
Just then Daniel came into sight and was approaching the other angel. Michael just watched on as the other angel managed to get back to his feet and struggle on. At the finishing line it was unimaginably close but Kantriel, who was adjudicating, looked at Michael as the two angels crossed the line – and he looked at him and said ‘Well’. Michael nodded knowingly. It had been close, but he knew well now which angel had sneaked home by the slenderest margin.
* * * * *
Ultimately, with Daniel on 1102 points and Michael on 1100, Daniel had been declared the official winner of the Challenge, and the points had gone to Terraphon. Cosadriel had come in third on 930, and Azrael on 870 back in fourth.
Later that day Daniel sat in his tent. Sharlamane was with him and Ariel presented herself. She quietly came up to him, kissed him on the forehead, and said ‘Well done’.
Later that night Daniel was relaxed. In some ways he had proven a point he’d had. People had often underestimated him. But he could do great things when he needed to. It was what he had within him – that spark of potential. He knew, of course, his brothers and sisters had that spark as well. And he knew he would not always be victorious as he was today. But winning the Challenge was satisfying. Very quietly satisfying.
* * * * *
Elenniel rubbed down Michael’s still sweating body. He was in cool-down mode, as he had been for hours. It was as if he had come of an incredibly great high, and was now deflated in a way, extremely restless. But he was, personally, quite happy.
He felt he understood why Daniel had achieved victory. Daniel had worked to his own mental strengths and taken every advantage he possibly could. In this manner he had out-thought his opponents. Michael, himself, had focused on the traditional methods and, apart from Daniel, had proven the most successful.
But Daniel’s challenge had been excellent. His younger brother, now, was starting to live up to the kind of reputation a Seraphim truly deserved. And Michael was just a little bit proud of him because of it.
* * * * *
‘Come on Oshie – thirds ok. At least I still got a medal which Az-Pants didn’t get.’
‘Yeh, but only third. And you were so bloody confident.’
‘I know. Forgive me. But there is always next year.’
‘Yes there is,’ Oshanel responded positively. ‘And you can bet we will be ready then.
* * * * *
‘A white ribbon. A white bloody ribbon for fourth place. It’s bloody embarrassing.’
Kwintakel, despite herself, grinned a little. In truth, out of 137 competitors, Azrael had still done exceptionally well finishing fourth and winning the mountain challenge, but to finish behind Cosadriel by one place – well that was certainly ironic.
* * * * *
England did in fact emerge as the strongest team in the Terraphora pool of the cricket competition. Sariel, in his selection qualms, finally decided on Cosadriel from Iceland, Azrael from Scotland and Pendrael from Wales, the captains themselves and overseers of these provinces, as the three selections for the Terraphora team. They had not competed in the knockout competition in the first week of the games, due to commitments in the ‘Challenge’ competition, which Daniel the Seraphim had won. But Cosadriel had played in the final game with England, the day after the ‘Challenge’, representing Iceland, and had nearly led Iceland to victory single-handedly. As such he had been Sariel’s first pick.
The following week began the 7 team knockout competition. Statistically Romnaphora had emerged as the most successful provincial team in the first week, so gained admission straight into the second round of contests in the second week. This left Terraphora to play Brephora in the best of three games, Kalphora to play Zaphora in the best of three, and Mitraphora to play Pelnaphora in the best of three, all three games for each team on the first three days of the second week of the District Games.
Terraphora won the first two and had the choice of resting the third game because of it if they wanted to. But they played against Brephora, and won again, mainly with the intention of staying fit, sharp and focused.
The other two winners were Kalphora and Mitraphora, which had just edged out the strong Gandel led Indian/Pelnaphoran team.
In the final three days, Kalphora played Romnaphora three times, and Mitraphora played Terraphora three times.
Terraphora, funnily enough, lost the first game against Mitraphora, the south Africans being jubilant. But Sariel gathered the team that night, spoke encouraging words to them, especially to Gloryel, and they came out as focused as they could be the following day. And with success. They defeated Mitraphora by 7 runs, their opponents just falling short in the 50th over.
The next match, though, was a whitewash. Sariel had grown confident and urged his team to push like hell. They amassed 310 runs, a record for the competition so far, and Gloryel made 179, an unbelievable effort. When news came later that day that Romnaphora had just edged out Kalphora in the third game, they made ready to take on the valiant ‘Aussies’ which they had feared from the start.
* * * * *
‘Warnie – we have to worry about Shamus Warne, or ‘Warnie’ as they call him. His leg-spin is terribly effective, and he will likely go on after this competition to lead the averages in spin and even overall bowling. He is only new to the sport, starting a few years ago, but he is deadly. And his ‘Flipper’ is a challenge on the best of days. Watch him. Whatever you do, watch him. It may even be better to go conservatively for a while, and conserve our wickets, rather than taking him on. He revels in the challenge so they say, and if you hit him for six he gets passionately furious and tries even harder. Let us play him out of the game and go soft with him. Play to his ego, but don’t play against his ego, ok.’
The team nodded at Sariel’s words, having been familiar with playing the newly emerging leg-spin champion earlier that year.
Sariel, looking over the team in the dressing room, was satisfied. It had come down to this – the final. One match to decide the winners of the Cricketing competition in the first Kalphora District Games. It would be intense – definitely intense – but victory could be achieved if they stuck to their gameplan.
Romnaphora, batting first, made 287 and seemed happy with that. Sariel grimaced at the score. While they had just made 310, that was against a lesser team. Chasing 287 against Romnaphora would be the limit of their capabilities. They would have to be flawless to win.
Gloryel had been promoted to opener for the final, and amassed a safe 53, before edging a quick and getting caught behind. As she came off, and Sariel passed her on the way to the centre, he nodded to her satisfied. ‘Good effort, sis.’
‘Go get em, she replied.’
The very next over Warne was on, and the run-chase slowed up for about 7 overs while Sariel steadily saw him off. The rate required, so he figured, was now approaching 7 and a half or so, but Warne had bowled 4 of his overs, and they were now saving him for the last 12 overs, were he would bowl 6 of them. Cosadriel had just come to the pitch, and as he was a big hitter, with Warne out of the way, Sariel walked down the pitch and gave him the permission he had been seeking – ‘All out attack’.
Cosadriel made it to 113, before being bowled by a quick, and Warne had been back for a few overs. Cosadriel’s effort had been spectacular, but they were not home yet.
After the fall of a few quick wickets, a nervous Sariel was left with number 10, with 17 runs to get of 15 balls. It would come down to him – he would have to show, now, what the English captain was made of.
With one over to go, 5 runs were needed for victory, and Warne was bowling. The first ball saw his partner run out, but he was at the batting end with number 11 down the other end, with 5 balls to go and still 5 runs needed.
3 dot balls followed. 3 balls no runs, and with 2 balls to go, Romnaphora had started bragging.
Warne came in, and Sariel edged it. But, surprisingly, the keeper missed it and it trickled down to the boundary, just before the fielder could cut it off.
The scores were level. 1 run to win and no runs for an official tie.
Sariel was sweating, nervous as hell. He looked to the boundary, and Gloryel was sitting there, looking at him intently. He would do this for her – he would do this for his sis.
Warne came in, and it was a quicker one, but Sariel had already decided his approach. Coming down the crease, with an Almighty heave, bat connected with ball, and it sailed over the boundary with a massive six. They had done it. Terraphora had won by 5 runs, and Sariel was the hero.
The whole team rushed from the boundary, surrounding Sariel, and lifted him up on their shoulders chanting champions all the while.
The drank a lot of beer that afternoon and into the night, and when Gloryel found herself snuggled up in Sariel’s arms that night, pawing over her champion, Sariel thought to himself ‘Life just does not get any better than this.’
* * * * *
The Father of Glory gently woke Saruviel from his slumber in his heart. Saruviel, awake to God and inquiring for the reason of his being woke up, was taken by God, spiritually, to Hendraphon Keep, just south of Kalphon. Saruviel silently observed the few cherubim who lived there, him not being able to be seen by them in his current state, wondering why God had brought him to Hendraphon of all places.
God spoke to him softly after a while – in a new, softer voice. A voice not like one he had been used to speaking with his brethren – a voice of his personal father.
‘Saruviel, son. Do you remember what happened here? Do you remember the conclusions you reached: about life, myself and issues of authority.’
Saruviel slowly nodded, remembering it was from here he had reached his final conclusions leading to the rebellion.
‘Saruviel, I have some questions for you. Are you an infinite being? Do you have infinite understanding? Do you know the consequences of every decision and every effect? Do you know what I mean when I speak of universal harmony?’
All that Saruviel could really do was shake his head.
God went on to speak.
‘Saruviel. You are an adversary, in a sense. You are meant to, in your role as Kalphon’s overseer, be the epitome of the challenge in life. You are to seek excellence – being the ultimate competitor – the pinnacle of perfection. But, in all that Saruviel, you are to also realize your limitations. There are things beyond you, things you are not capable of.
Your desire was, secretly hidden from others, yet known to myself, was simply to rule the Realm of Eternity, established over the firstborn Michael. You were, in your own way, jealous of him. You sought the position he had been given by birthright. But this was not surprising.
Yet I need you now to know something, dear child. Michael is, perhaps, the most suitable of all the angels of God for the administration of Zaphon. It is the way I made him – it is his very nature. Michael will not fight like you, Saruviel. He will prefer peace to war, friendliness to hostility, kindness to hate. His essential nature is to be responsible and to do the will of God. As such I need you to know this truth. Administration of Zaphon and Zaphora is something which Michael is inherently suited to and suitable for. It is totally natural for him to be in this role.
Yet you, Saruviel. You are suited to Kalphon and Kalphora – it is where you fit in life. Do you understand me? By this I am saying in the very same way Michael fits at Zaphon, you fit perfectly at Kalphon. It is your heart and nature to be of that community.
And when Michael is at Zaphon and yourself at Kalphon, and when Gabriel is at Terraphon and the rest were they should be in life – fulfilling the roles they were made for – we have harmony then, dear son. We have harmony and the lives of the children of eternity flow oh so more smoothly. It is that lesson: harmony: which I wish you to think upon in your slumber. Yet do not think upon it forever, for soon your rest will be finished, and you will be given the opportunity for which you once strove so hard to achieve.’
And then Saruviel was returned to slumber, and God returned to the things of eternity with which he was forever preoccupied.
* * * * *
Daniel sat in thought. He sat in thought, a few days after the culmination of the Kalphora District Games, in which Terraphora had emerged triumphant, followed by Kalphora, Brephora, Mitraphora, Zaphora, Pelphora and Romnaphora.
He sat in thought, reflecting on life. Thinking over how he, perhaps now, should finally address some issues of the heart and soul he had neglected for some time. One particular issue was his pride, which he felt often led him to assume he knew more than he actually did. He felt, from time to time, he exalted his own thoughts above the wisdom of the angel’s eternal father but, in reflection, he often chided himself for this, realizing the infinite knowledge and understanding of God.
Based on that thought, which had come to him recently, Daniel considered his own finite nature. He was not everything which God was, or was capable of becoming. Really, he was quite limited in comparison. But what did that mean? He knew, in the end, he would have to accept himself for what he was, despite perhaps the yearnings for something greater – something more from life than it currently occupied. But he rebuked himself thinking this, realizing something which had been a cornerstone of this thought for so long.
He was not alone – not isolated – not one. He had brethren. And while Daniel himself wished in his heart he could communicate his affection towards them all, perhaps in the way Ambriel so excellently did so, he realized he had shortcomings, perhaps even fears, in the way he was able to actually do so. But one thing was true – one thing was intellectually acknowledged – each of his brethren was likewise important and each also deserved their own slice of glory.
He thought on his older brother Valandriel. Valandriel, like Daniel in some ways, also sought out the glories of life. Valandriel had assumed one day he also would have his turn at administering Zaphon keep and was already in the process of training himself slowly and carefully to set the best and most responsible example any angel possibly could in the esteemed position. Daniel honestly felt that Valandriel’s reign, when it came, would be memorable for, if nothing notable in itself happened, simply for the high level of professionalism and excellence it would set. Valandriel would be a well-rounded administrator, understanding all facets of life in the realm of eternity, and seeking to understand the holistic approach – how it all worked together - in the life of the realm.
Daniel had considered this approach of Valandriel often, and new a response was needed. Everyone knew that Saruviel would be next in line, and whatever came from him would simply be what it would simply be. But life went on, and Daniel honestly felt that Valandriel’s overseersmanship would precede his own. For Daniel, it was ultimately the excellent example that Valandriel would undoubtedly set which he knew he would have to respond to in some way. Ultimately, for Daniel, if no other Seraphim challenged Valandriel’s approach, Valandriel would end up being the one the most highly esteemed of by God his father.
And, because of this, Daniel knew he would have to be original. And in that originality, he would likewise have to be excellent. That was, in the long term, the challenge of Daniel the Seraphim’s life. And that thought preoccupied much of his time.
His twin, Ariel, was in his thinking as well. But, now that the intensity of the Kalphora Games was behind them, they had again gone their separate ways, and he was with who he desired to be, Sharlamane.
To Daniel, now, it was a mystery, the twin. He knew Ambriel word’s, but had so many personal objections. Time, it seemed, would be the only way to answer his dilemmas. Time and patience.
* * * * *
Michael, having been informed by his father that Saruviel was due to return in three short months, was thinking on an idea. Perhaps he should throw it at him straight away – test him out. The community had now accepted that Saruviel was to replace Michael as the third of the overseers of Zaphon and Zaphora, and Michael felt, perhaps, a challenge for Saruviel in throwing the role to him as soon as he had returned to the Realm. And, after a while, he had concluded that he would give him one week to settle in upon his return and then present him with his new duties.
‘Let us see what he is made of, he thought to himself.’
* * * * *
In the months following the first district games, Saruviel returned to the realm after his respite in the heart of God, and soon found him appointed as overseer for the realm. His first business had been settling certain religious issues in the realm, establishing the importance of God’s torah, almost contrary to his earlier motivations.
Later that year, Sariel and Gloryel had notified Zaphon of an intended visit, primarily for the reason of discussing certain aspects of the life choices and earlier teachings of Saruviel the Seraphim.
Saruviel had forgone much of his earlier rebellious ways and, in repentance, seen the way he exalted his own self as the major factor or major fault in his reasoning. But much of what he had held to he still gave thought to, slowly and with more consideration, as he shared with Sariel and Gloryel.
For Sariel and Gloryel, the notion of their origin was of grave importance. Both of them had taken an interest in this idea, which they fervently discussed with Saruviel.
For days they discussed how they might have come to be and what, if anything, they had been prior to this point. Saruviel shared with them that before they had been born to Zaphon and the Realm, each and every one of the Seraphim had been forming in the heart of God – and in that heart were hidden memories which each of them still possessed, almost unknown to them, but subconsciously there anyway. Reflecting upon this one night, Gloryel seemed to think, in many of the dreams she often had, that there was some truth in this idea – that they had an earlier life, gone from them in some ways, but in others still with them, and a part of their sacred personal history.
But the culmination to the discussion was once and for all settled for them by Krystabel, who God spoke to on the subject. He had affirmed their belief that they had come to be of the Spirit or power of God and that, in this sense, they were composed of an eternally existing nature. God told Krystabel that the Angels were manifestations or expressions of the heart and love of God, coming forth from his very essence, as the whole realm was. He had said this to Krystabel ‘You are of me, eternally with me, and we are one.’
This seemed to settle the discussion point for most of them, yet Davriel, when this was shared with him, got very excited at that information, and almost made it out to teaching something which it didn’t seem to teach. But, nevertheless, the angels unity with God was a point for quiet celebration in the community and the new philosophy found a welcome home and answer to some of life’s questions with many an angel of the Realm of Eternity.
* * * * *
Back in London the normality of life returned for Sariel and Gloryel. Passion had been a recent preoccupation in life, but commitment had remained and the two of them were now, inevitably, in love.
They were playing Tennis one day, at the back of London Keep, and enjoying a friendly competition, so much part of their natures now. Sariel had been witty as usual, the normal friendly banter, and Gloryel had been enjoying it tremendously. Just then an idea came to her and, as she pretended to sprain her ankle while serving, holding it tenderly, Sariel came over to see what the fuss was.
And then she fell into his arms and whispered to him, ‘Oh brave hero. My saviour.’ And then she kissed him with the love of her deepest heart. Sariel pulled away after a while, smiled at her, and whispered, ‘you devil’.
* * * * *
Saruviel sat with Krystabel in Kalphon keep. He was home, again. And he was restored. So many years of anxiety had been dealt with in the heart of God and God had given him the answers he had needed. It was inevitable, God had told him, that Saruviel would face such issues again in life – but he would have this lesson in front of him and, with experience, he would know the right way to go.
He had been there for a week now, the responsibilities for running Kalphon still being handled by Kantriel, when Michael presented himself.
‘Saruviel. Brother. I have some work for you.’
Saruviel looked at Michael, a little surprised at not being given greater time to settle in once more, but happy enough to hear what his oldest brother had to say.
‘What work is that Michael?’
‘Sariel had his turn. He did an excellent job. I am off for another long holiday. Your up next. Enjoy. Oh, and don’t come asking me for advice. If you don’t know what to do by now, you never will.’
Michael then left, and Saruviel sat there perplexed, looking at Krystabel.
Krystabel spoke. ‘You know what he has given you, don’t you. It is now your turn, brother. It is now your turn.’
Saruviel looked at her, understanding coming in, and smiled. After a while he spoke. ‘Mmmm. Ok then. Let’s go.’
And the reign of Saruviel began.
Chapter Fourteen - Accusations
Rebellion. They had been accused of rebellion, by Zaphon’s new overseer. Davriel and Jesus, Rophiel and the Bab and Bahaliel had been singled out and told, quite specifically, to repent.
Saruviel had spoken to them for quite some time on the nature of deity, authority and responsibility. He had lectured them on the pre-eminence and importance of God’s Torah as the foundational spiritual teaching of the realm and rebuked them quite soundly for their own, as he perceived it, self-exalting works of their own spiritual agendas. He had singled out Jesus in particular in this respect.
‘Jesus, 21st of the Cherubim. You are ANGEL and NOT God. The hearts you hold sway over you hold sway over unethically and inappropriately. It is not your place, nor ever will be, to dictate to them their heart relationship with Almighty God, which he himself instructs us through holy Torah. You shall repent, Jesus Christ. You shall repent.’
These were the first of many changes Saruviel brought to the Realm. Ultimately, the new religions themselves were allowed to continue, but in a greatly modified format – one which, so Saruviel instructed, was to give the glory to God and not to any angel.
This was the first of many decisive initiatives Saruviel brought to his millennial reign over Zaphora.
With the religious issues becoming more settled, Saruviel turned his attention to the overall progress of societal advancement on each of the major levels as based on the notion of the 7 keeps of the Realm, each with their own particular focus. Saruviel taught each overseer the importance of excellence and seeking a higher standard. Furthermore he encouraged creativity, innovation and new thought – all for the purposes of embellishing the life of the realm and bringing both a more sophisticated technology and advanced way of life.
Ultimately the millennial reign of Saruviel was known for the notions of ‘Progress’ and ‘Development’, in a sense, being built upon the work the Angels had already achieved.
In truth, as all did note, Saruviel was a strict authoritarian, which ultimately did not surprise too many of the angels of the community. Yet, while he was tough and demanding, he was fair and each angel knew they would be treated properly if they undertook there responsibilities as they should.
From the throne of Zaphon’s glory, the eternal father knew that Saruviel, whilst many a time wishing his son would show a greater heart, did appreciate the backbone he was placing within the hearts of the Angelic community. They were becoming stronger – more capable of dealing with the reality of life. In achieving that result, it seemed, Saruviel’s method seemed to work the best. It was not necessarily pretty, and not everyone liked it, but it got the job done. And as the millennia approached culmination, and Michael’s return to the job beckoned, most Angels were quite satisfied with the sense of purpose Saruviel had brought to each of their lives.
He had challenged so many of them to exceed themselves and to be the best that they could be. And so many of them, despite some bruised egos, were appreciative of the work of the Seventh of the Archangels of the Realm of Eternity.
And, then, Michael again. And despite the rousing applaud Saruviel was given at his farewell speech, it was as if everyone silently breathed a sigh of relief.
Life was, now, back to normal again. And, for now, whatever would be would be in the realm of eternity. Whatever would be would be.