The
End Of Silence

In
this beginning, when God brought fullness to the heavens and the
earth, and the earth became formless and void. . .

Then
God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . .”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created
him; male and female he created them.1

PROLOGUE

City
of Jerushem, Planet Salvington,

Nebadon
Local Universe Capital.

Benei
Ha’Elohim (Sons of God)

Azazyel
(לעזאזל)
swaggered
through the crystal halls of the Jerushem Capitol building with her
entourage of angels and Terra Sons, barking simple commands and
gesturing to her servants, who immediately complied. The battle
raged, merciless and chaotic throughout the entire city. The sounds
of panic, grief, shock, anger. . . the clash of material and astral
weaponry, buildings of carved gemstone collapsing into huge heaps of
rubble, collapsing dimensional gateways, exploding travel gates. . .
The screams of the mortally wounded echoed and rebounded in a
continuous bombardment of unending sound and light waves, cascading
off of one another and amplifying within the palace rooms. It gave
impetus to the need to win, at any cost. All who stand against must
die, whether they bear arms or not. The time of theorizing, of
argument, was over. The atmosphere was thick with malice, so thick
that Azazyel had seen some angelic creatures suffocating from it. In
her mind, they were not worthy to survive and inherit a legacy of
freedom. Rooms were cleared amid the screams of the living and the
sound of gurgling blood from the dead and dying. Except for the
angels, who passed in an impressive display of ethereal flame and
light.

She
had never felt such power before, it seemed that every life she took
infused itself into her. Every time she squeezed a heart to failure,
the pulse slowly ebbing until it stopped – or punctured a throat
with her crystal blade, in that very moment the force of life shot
through her arm and, like lightning, it added a burst to what she
already was. It was exhilarating. Her small troupe quickly grew as
they stormed through the Capitol Halls, those loyal to The High
Cherub Prince attached themselves to her as if they didn’t know the
difference. Small matter, to fight for freedom was to fight for the
winner, and she definitely fit that label. Her angels were fierce and
quick, holding back nothing. The Terra Sons in her company fought
like feral beasts. She was sure that much of their ferocity was born
of the fact that most of the planet and it’s creatures were invisible
to them. They lashed out where they sensed antagonism, even sometimes
attacking her loyal angels out of blind ignorance. She wondered what
use they would be if they lacked even the rudimentary sensitivity to
emotions that they were born with.

The
Palace was massive, larger than most inhabited planets if you
measured only usable volume, and the battle continued for hours. The
sheer virulence of the battleborn wrath kept them going, without
rest, without food. It was a horror of the senses, and a climax of
the ego. On the final day of the universal week, in the last hour,
the Palace was finally rid of its defenders, and her company stood
victorious. It came suddenly, one final scream of agony as a life was
taken, and then silence.

Azazyel
stopped moving where she stood when it ended, frozen in place by a
lack of need to continue. Without enemy, she bowed her head and
rested, restoring herself. Her army did the same, angels and helper
creatures standing like statues, the Terra Sons setting up sleeping
areas and food service cantons to meet their own material needs. Many
of the personalities in her company were restless and suffered from
internal agony. The conversations in their own minds created a
humming buzz of psychotropic waves. The angels that could hear it
remember that resting time as a period of confusion and unrest. For
the most part, though, fatigue kicked in and the buzz of thoughts
trickled down to subwave sleep levels.

Several
hours later she summoned her Lieutenants and Commanders. They
gathered around her in a circle. Men, angels, ArchAngels, Cherubim,
and helper creatures; every type of self-conscious creature in the
Universe was represented. At least every kind that resonated below
the Seraphic creatures. She did not know if anything above Cherub was
presently on the planet. She re-designated the command structure,
replacing those who had been destroyed, and organizing her followers
for a long campaign against the Mikha’el Loyalists and the Gahri’el
Messengers.

There
was no way for her to know who was winning in the various sectors of
the planet-spanning city. She had control of the Palace, but an army
could easily assemble from without and smash every gemstone to the
ground in a single assault. She would not let her hard-won victory be
soiled by lack of preparation.

As
they talked, they walked. She guided them along the endless spiraling
halls and through the giant antechambers and passageways for several
more hours, ascending a gradual rise in the building’s floor plan
until they reached the highest floor. Before them, just beyond the
carved diamond arches at the end of the passage was the Throne Room.
It emitted its own pale blue light, banners and pennants hung along
the azure blue crystal walls rippled slightly in the conditioned air
flow. For the first time in the history of the universe, the throne
was empty. It looked almost disappointingly plain and pointless
without a Most High resting his grace upon it. Her lieutenants and
cadre immediately began shuffling and repositioning to make sure they
were behind her according to rank as they entered the vast room. She
glided into the huge empty space and stopped in the center, one foot
on the graphic depiction of Mikha’el’s blue and white banner grafted
in the floor crystal. That silly seat just looked pathetic. Is this
what they had fought for? Had they killed for this?

Stomping
irreverently, with a sardonic grin across her face, Azazyel
approached the seat of highest authority in the universe, the
ArchAngel City Seat of Jerushem, and sat down on it.

Whether
from trained habit or from devotion to her, she did not know, but she
smiled openly with a childlike sense of accomplishment when the
one-hundred angels that had entered the room with her bowed low,
foreheads to the ground. She noticed that the Tera Son counterparts
to the angelic lieutenants did not do likewise, and gently explained
to them that if they wished to remain with her, they should follow
the example of their betters. One of the men asked what the angels
were doing, reminding her that they could not see them.

‘Eventually,’
she thought, ‘we will rid the universe of such nonsense.

I
will unite all the creatures so they can equally share in the bliss
of this new freedom.

I
will give all of them the angelic essence.’

As
her compatriots filed in, each individual bending knee and confirming
their faith, she turned her thoughts inward, thinking aloud to
herself all of the changes she would like to see happen. And as she
did so she mused on the idea that angels had always served the lesser
beings. Oh, how easy it would be to. . . hmm, was there a word to
describe freeing a planet from its government and installing yourself
as lord?

Unfortunately
for the universe, many of her spoken thoughts were received as direct
orders by those present. Angels and Tera Sons filed out of the room
and gathered in clusters throughout the top three floors of the
palace, preparing for an assault on the universal planetary systems
as soon as they could assemble supplies and procure galactic
transport. Before the end of her first day of reign, over four
hundred thousand campaign orders had been filed by her scribes, with
administrative staff handling requests for weapons, essential majik,
and materials.

The
crafted giant planet of crystal and spirit essence, invisible to all
material beings, and invisible to all beings of higher order than
Seraphim, called Salvington by its inhabitants, turned once more on
it’s artificial axis marking the end a celestial day and the
beginning of spiritual darkness. Even before the battle for the
palace had climaxed, word of the conflict had reached the Most Highs
of Edentia and they had cut off all universal circuits to the system,
creating a quarantine – locking everyone in and everyone else out.
Over 600 inhabited spheres were now outside the regular flow of
inter-universal traffic, trillions and trillions of creatures would
live and die without knowing the perfect complexity of the Creator’s
design. One of these spheres, a material planet called Tiamat, far
away in a remote outlying sector of the universe, was set to become
the primary example for how the situation would be completely fixed.
It spun in a tangential orbit around a fresh star, tucked away in the
distant reaches far from all normal travel routes. It was called
Tiamat by the system government. The Terra Sons inhabiting this green
planet entered into a night of fear, as Darkness settled on the face
of the Deep.

*****

And
it was morning, the second day of the Fall of Lucifer.

Iridescent
threads of transluminescent quasi-matter floated in the air. It was
the planet Salvington’s version of what natural worlds experienced as
mist, or morning fog. Helper creatures wandered throughout the city,
attempting to clean up after the battles of the last few weeks. There
was an imposing silence that seemed to hold the city hostage. For the
first time in millennia, there was no song. The life of the ArchAngel
home world – the crafted sphere called Salvington – was still and
quiet, cowering in the shelter of various buildings, friend and foe
alike were avoided.

Within
the palace, a multitude of Terra Sons, helper creatures, and angels
of every order were massed around the throne. In the midst of the
room, an assembly of the elder creatures stood in a circle, three
thousand Cherubim on the right, three thousand ArchAngels on the
left, and Azazyel seated comfortably upon the throne. She pointedly
ignored the besieged visages of her adjutant staff. She grimaced at
the last comment of the current speaker, and quickly silenced the
conversation. She selected one of the Watchers and ordered, “remove
the lesser angels and Terra Sons from the throne room immediately!”
Looking back to the circle of ArchAngels and Cherubim she hissed,
“Speak not of this until we are alone.”

The
ArchAngel Tsuri’el stood in the speaker’s circle in the center of the
throne room, attempting to maintain a façade of confidence. With the
behavior of the High Cherub Azazyel and her intimate guardian
Watchers lately, She was not certain if her comment would lead to her
demise, or if it would gain her a promotion within the company. When
the room was emptied of all lesser creatures, Tsuri’el looked to the
Cherub and requested permission to continue.

“My
lords and captains,” she steeled herself for the thoughts in her
mind, to make them less beggarly and more compulsory, “it is
obvious that two main issues are to be addressed without further
delay. If we continue to only deliberate and raise conjecture, we
will never become a solid company within the universal orders. We are
not only attempting to forge a lasting benefit of freedom and
equality according to the philosophy of the High Cherub Lucifer, but
we are also in desperate need of a new way of thinking about
ourselves.” She paused to see if any would ascertain agreement.

“We
acknowledge your point, as previously stated,” Azazyel chided,
“We wait only for you to restate your concerns in a manner fit
for our status. Rather than argue your point, simply act it out, as
an example.”

The
assembly agreed, and Tsuri’el bowed her head, indicating to the
assembly that she had a request that required their support. “I
ask for the elders to permit one Terra Son to accompany the assembly
before I continue my point.”

Azazyel
looked to the Cherubim, all affirming consent. She looked to the
ArchAngels, who also assented. Before lifting her left palm to affirm
permission, she looked closely at Tsuri’el.

“I
require only that you brief the assembly as to your reason for
bringing a mortal into our circle, It is a strange request. These are
strange days to be sure, however, this request unsettles me.”

Tsuri’el
stomped her foot once, signaling to the assembly that she was aware
of the difficulty of her request , and spoke confidently. “This
Terra Son has fought close by my side during this conflict. He has
shown a remarkable ability to not only visually see all of us, but to
hear and understand our speech. In my demonstration, I wish also to
present to you exactly what happens in the mind of a mortal when he
sees us as I will present myself. I believe he is crucial to our
ability to comprehend the depth of our impact upon the ways of the
universe, my lords and captains.”

The
declaration that a Terra Son had the unnatural ability to interact
with Cherub and Arch alike set the assembly in a stir. The rumble and
wind of the Cherubim and the harmonic ringing of the ArchAngels
filled the room. In their own languages, the two sides of the circle
communicated their concerns and opinions, completely ignoring the
other race, and completely ignoring the Cherub on the Throne. Azazyel
quickly lost patience for the behavior and motioned for the Watchers
to locate and retrieve the mortal according to the request of
Tsuri’el.

*****

The
Terra Sons had converted several of the palace administrative offices
on the 4th
floor
into suitable living quarters and garrison posts. The men and women
had been brought to this world on tours that were supposed to last
only a few hours. But, as fate would have it, they were now an
intricate part of the battle for the universe. Stuck on a strange
mostly-invisible world without a sun, encircled by several planet
sized moons… they were all having an incredibly difficult time
adjusting to it all. Gathered as representatives from 762 inhabited
spheres throughout the universe, they had expected to arrive as
honored guests, take a tour of the “Heaven of Winds” as
many called it, and then return on the Seraphic transports to their
respective home spheres. As it was, many had arrived just less than
an hour prior to the battle, but many more had arrived at the base of
the towering space ports after the dead already littered the streets.
Their first glimpse of heaven was of death and chaos. Unable to
determine what to do, they unanimously complied with the dictates of
the angels that they could see and hear, which happened to be their
own planetary Princes, otherwise known as High-Cherubim. The mortals
did not know that they were picking sides in the most costly
decision. They simply followed the Princes that Heaven had sent to
them, assuming that it was the right thing to do.

In
this group of mortals, those that had arrived on the galactic
Seraphic transport from the sphere called Tiamat had spent all their
lives honoring Azazyel as their Heaven-sent guide to all things
supernatural. Their families worshipped the All-Father because their
Prince had instructed them in it. Why would they not follow the
Cherub now?

A
group of men that spoke the same language were gathered in a large
office, trying to sort out the reality that they had found themselves
in. Most of them were blood soaked, and they were all suffering from
fatigue and near starvation. Some of them hadn’t tasted water since
they left the transports the day before. There was a feeling of
general unrest in the air, of anger and despair.

A
rather large man had begun sorting out the population after the
period of rest, and many of the people just fell in step with him as
their leader. He was the first to acquire food and had managed to set
up a functioning medical unit. Those closest to him had been
operating as supply and movement coordinators. During the battle for
the palace, they had forged a secure path to the material textiles
warehouses located near the spaceport towers. Now they functioned in
an almost neutral status, delivering supplies to the mortals that
were scattered all over the city. They had obtained safe passage from
all factions and were left alone by everyone so that the people could
eat and rest properly. The large man was addressing the men in the
room.

“I
have no idea why this is happening, I would like it if you would all
stop asking. We have real issues to speak of and that is not going to
help us.”

Several
of the men began talking over one another.

“For
my part, I have heard many wonderful things about this Heaven, and I
have not seen anything wonderful here.”

“My
father’s father used to tell of the stories of Heaven, they were of
beauty and vast cities of gem and gold, shining in the radiance of
love, I wonder what happened.”

“The
angels have turned their backs on us, we are all going to die here.
This planet is not Heaven, it is worse than death.”

The
large man held up his hand, “Please people, hear me as I speak
of what I know.” The murmuring and bickering ebbed out as he
continued. “I am from a young sphere called Tiamat. It is a
world populated by many creatures, many have a taste for blood. We
have a population of mortals that are not from our world, but they
came to it from their own sphere far from us.”

At
this, many of the men gasped. One shouted in a high pitched
exclamation of “Who would ever leave their place? The All-Father
has established order and function! That is nonsense!” Many men
grumbled and nodded in agreement. Another voiced, “let him
speak! I tire of your ranting.” At this outburst, the group once
again fell into tirades, speaking over each other until the large man
slammed his hand down on a table of crystal and lapis lazuli. The
sharp crack turned their attention to him.

“These
foreigners brought with them a desire to conquer. They began by
slaughtering the wildlife that lived where they built their city of
brick and clay.”

One
man asked, “what is slaughter? I come from a sphere that
functions according to His order, I know nothing of your words for
dysfunction, please be more deliberate sir.”

The
large man answered, “slaughter is when you kill and destroy
living things. Much like what you witnessed today.” He sat down
and began pulling his boots from his feet. “My people sent some
strong men, men used to hardship in rough terrain, men conditioned by
their labor to endure hardship. We lived in the plains and the hills
around their city, watching and learning of their ways. One day they
discovered our footprints and began hunting… hunting means to
search out a creature to kill it. They killed all the men that came
to observe, I alone was kept alive. They left the bodies of my
friends in the plain, some animals who came near the city began
feasting on their flesh.” The room echoed with exclamations of
horror from the men. They could hardly imagine such things happening
to the creatures of the Father. He waited until they settled down.

“They
took me into their city and made sport of me, until one of them cast
me into a box made of reeds. His house was filled with strange
objects; glass vases the size of a man’s finger, tiny metal points
that were hollow to force liquids into other objects, boxes of
crystal and iron that created heat like a dull fire. He stung me with
the liquids day after day for months. One day, I thought I was going
to die from fever, and when I awoke I found myself a different
person. He had made me taller, stronger, and more fierce-some in
nature. He told me tales of heros and gods. He taught me the art of
conquest. He made me a mixture of his people and mine. I became my
own people, and none would receive me into their fold as their own.
In agony of the heart, I fled the city of the foreigners and I left
the lands of my kin. I found a strange tribe far from my home, on the
other side of the planet. I learned their language and became a
member of their tribe. I spent several years re-learning how to be a
man. Yet my heart let me know that I was abomination. I could not
live this way, yet none would kill me. I became despondent, and
afraid of the wrath of the All-Father. One day as I was harvesting
the fruit trees, a fearsome apparition appeared before me. He was
clothed in light, his face shone like the sun. His name was Gahri’el.
He told me that soon a new race would visit my planet, bringing tales
of a Heaven of Winds, and that I should embark on a journey to see
the Heaven. When the day came, I joined the Boat of Heaven and came
here. You see, I came here hoping for restoration, for peace from on
high. When I set foot near the crystal sea, all I could feel from
this place was discontentment and rage. When the Winds came to me…
I think you all call them angels? But when they came to me, I lashed
out in fear. I killed one of them with my sword. It was after that,
that my Prince came to gather my people that had come from Tiamat,
Azazyel the Cherub Wind rescued us from the Winds that sought to
destroy us.”

The
men in the room were listening intently to his story. He had finally
managed to gather their attention. Perhaps he could still turn this
situation around for the better. It was worth the attempt anyway,
what did he have to lose?

“I
know how to make weapons that will destroy the Winds. If you will
follow me, I will teach you how to make conquest. We have a chance to
survive and become a strong company of heros. We can force our way
back to our home worlds and return to our loved ones. We do not need
to remain here, subject to these Winds and the Shining Ones as they
slaughter one another. Follow me and I will make you a mighty force.”

He
unwrapped the silk cloth from his hair, letting it fall to his
shoulders. “I am going now to sleep. One of you will wake me in
four hours and then we will begin our new lives.” He stooped to
pick up his boots from the floor and calmly walked from the room,
leaving the men in stunned silence.

The
men clustered in the middle of the room, attempting to discuss what
most languages had no words for. Conquest and intentional bloodshed
were as foreign to the Terra Sons as breathing air was to a fish. It
was a complicated conversation, as men from over 700 worlds conspired
to become angel killers. Should they heed his words, or find another
path? What did the writings of their respective forefathers say about
this kind of situation? Every answer only created more questions.

It
was nearing the eighth hour of the day, as time was counted on
Jerushem, and many of the men had cozied into comfortable sleep
positions, when a massive elemental wave flooded the room. Everyone
instantly woke, fearing that the slaughter had once again begun. They
could feel the ominous presence, but could see nothing. One man
convulsed suddenly, crying out without words and collapsed dead from
heart failure. Many men began swinging their fists and weapons
through the air, hoping to somehow defend themselves from the
invisible intruder. But one man stood stock still near the doorway,
he seemed intent on something in the air in front of him. He nodded
twice, bowed at the waist, said something in a strange tongue, and
left the room. As soon as he left, the ominous feeling in the air
dissipated. The men looked at one another with questioning
expressions. Eventually, they felt safe again and returned to sleep.

*****

The
Watchers returned to the Throne Room, with the mortal that could See
walking
in between them. The Circle of elders had settled their arguments as
to his nature, and now observed him with rapt attention. The Cherubim
saw through windows that revealed a man of exquisite design. His
features to them were not physical. They could not see the material
body as the lower orders could see. Typically, throughout the
universe, Terra Sons appeared to Cherubim as forms of foggy glowing
light. From a few feet below whatever surface upon which a man stood,
up to his midriff, he appeared slightly rectangular, his leg motions
sending ripples of fog that revealed to them his direction of travel.
Terra Sons were differentiated from other creatures by the teardrop
shaped green flame that existed in all of their chests, in Cherub
vision this flame caused the upper body to glow a dim green within
the white fog. The head was an entertaining display of multi-hued
sparks and miniature lightnings. Each thought lit up a different set
of colors and pathways. Strong thoughts jetting out from the head
like wildly agitated tree branches in bursts of lightning and color.
Many Cherubim that spent a lot of time with Terra Sons often spoke of
the audible quality of the brain processes. A man was a spectacular
delight to look upon to these higher order angelic creatures.

But
this man was a fearful sight to them. As he entered the room, more
than a few of the Cherubim expressed shock, even Azazyel had a
difficult time maintaining her bearing. She forced herself to sit on
the throne and act well poised. Some of the Cherubim actually backed
away from him. So great was his appearance to them. The ArchAngels
saw the man as they see all men; a body and a light within him. They
saw the perfection and beauty that the All-Father had created him
for. This was how they were designed to see him.

The
man walked between the Watchers, Guardians of the High Cherub, trying
to look sheepish, but also wondering why the Shining Ones seemed to
fear him. He chose to avoid eye contact with them. He noticed that
when he focused on his own discomfort the Cherubim seemed to express
less agitation. So he stared at the
being
of
flame that sat on the Throne.

‘This
is the Azazyel that they all speak so highly of,’ he thought.

When
he finished that thought, the Cherubim once again rocked back and
seemed too close to wrath for him to bear. In fear of his own life,
he fell to his knees and planted his forehead to the floor, begging
for mercy and lauding the Shining Ones with praise for their recent
victory. He tried to speak of their glory and to declare his love for
them, but the words halted before they could roll from his tongue.
Beneath the fear, he quietly wondered why he couldn’t speak it.

As
he fumbled over his begging and praise, he heard the trumpeting voice
of an ArchAngel, and he silenced himself, shaking on the floor in
fear. He knew in his heart that they had called him here to end him.
He wondered what his after-life would be like. His people had a book
that told of the whispers of the dead leaving for Heaven and taking
up residence among the Shining Ones to learn to become eternal winds.
If this was that
Heaven,
what would his eternity be like if he was forced to live among those
who wanted to destroy him?

The
ArchAngel Refai’el addressed the Cherubim, “What is it that
agitates you about his presence, my brothers?”

Cherub
Sanliz gathered himself to reply, “He walks amid the flames, he
is as one who has been to the Eternal Isle. Yet there is something
about him that is…”

Sanliz
could not complete his thought aloud, and began shaking his wings and
rumbling out the Cherub tongue. Another Cherub spoke, “His green
flame is his nature, he lacks the normal dull glow of the Terra
Children. His head a crown of fire, like the lightning that inhabits
the outer spaces of the universe.”

Another
Cherub, “He is not like other men, and he lacks the grace that
compliments the flame. He is dysfunction incarnate. His Spirit is
untouchable. Yet he seems as one who has seen Him.”

The
ArchAngels began unsheathing their swords, one by one. An untouchable
spirit in a man was unheard of. ArchAngels would cease to exist if
they touched an untouchable. The dread thickened the air as surely as
if the room had been instantly filled with water. The man began
choking and gasping, his sensitivity to the creatures of heaven would
be his undoing. The circle of the Assembly broke up, the Cherubim had
already moved back away from him, and the ArchAngels slowly began a
retreat as well. Azazel slowly crept back in the throne, pressing her
spine against the blue crystal, looking back and forth to the man and
the angels. Her palms ached from pressing them into the armrests.
Tsuri’el assayed the situation, and began fearing for her own
existence. If they could not accept this man, then her entire purpose
would be lost. Perhaps they would destroy both the man and herself.
This could not be. She decided to chance the untouchable.

Tsuri’el
hastily glided to the man, bending to lift him by his astral body. He
swayed slightly as he stood, and she noted that he was full of fear.
She called out to gain the attention of the assembly.

“My
lords and captains! Brothers! Do you lack the courage to entertain
this one mortal? He is our friend. And according to the High Cherub
Lucifer, he is our ally and equal. How can he stand in your midst
when you fill his heart with such dread? Look upon him! You will
frighten him to his death! Stand at ease and enjoy his friendship
lest you lose him.”

The
assembly observed with rumblings and defensive posturing, but since
Tsuri’el was able to touch him – albeit she touched only his astral
form – and live, and neither did the man show signs of aggression,
they managed to regain some composure. Several noted that the man
responded immediately as they altered their emotive expressions.
Everyone relaxed significantly. The man stood still, though trembling
slightly. She moved to his right and stretched her arm out to him. He
hesitantly reached and took her hand. He was a little surprised that
it did not burn him, these creatures were made of flame after all.
But he also felt compelled to speak,

“I
am here, Tsauri’el. As you have desired, so shall it be.”

The
ArchAngel wrinkled her forehead, wondering what the statement was
meant to convey. He had spoken her name with one added inflection,
changing the meaning of it while still sounding as if he had said the
same word. She firmly gripped his hand and, aloud so the assembly
could hear, asked him, “What is your name and from where do you
come?”

“My
name is כּסף
צָרַף
,
of the sphere called Tiamat, my lords.”

“My
dear man, we do not know the language of your world, would you tell
us your name in the universal tongue?”

“In
the common tongue, I am called Kâsaph Ha’Tsaraph, my lord.”

The
room once again filled with the sounds of the Cherub and Arch
languages.

The
rumble and harmonic notes filled the air until one stepped forward.

“I
am GaderHa’el, formerly of the Scion of the Morning. I have been to
your sphere, during the First Rising, and I am familiar with your
tongue. In the speech of your fathers I am called גדר
האל.

“The
Shield of the Highest,” Kâsaph repeated in the language of the
lower angels. “I know of your fame, my lord. My people have
benefitted greatly from your guidance.” He bowed at the neck,
“Among my people, we posture thus when speaking of you. You are
one who was above us, yet made yourself our equal to bring us through
the Rising.” Looking up at the Arch, “You have my respect,
my lord.”

“My
brothers,” GaderHa’el paused, signaling with a hand gesture that
he had misspoken, “our
brothers,
as we are equals under the edict of the Lucifer, have heard your
name. It is significant that you elucidate the meaning of your name.
In our speech the name is frightful to be borne by a mortal.”

“Yes,
my lord.” The man released Tsuri’el’s hand and performed an
elaborate courtly bow, bending at the waist with one leg extended
forward, and one arm sweeping in a semi-arch. “If the court will
permit me to properly introduce myself.” He rose, standing tall
and hooking one hand behind his waist. “I am Whitestone,
apprentice silversmith at the Capital forge.”

At
this, many of the Assembly audibly breathed relief. The circle began
to reform as the ArchAngels and Cherubim grasped that his name did
not mean what they had thought it to mean. The ArchAngels offered the
polite salutes that were commonly given at introductions of men of
state. The Cherubim settled down, all agitation put at ease. Their
wings and feet began a staccato communication that indicated their
acceptance of him.

As
Kâsaph watched them, he saw the raging fires and lightnings become
calm, and he felt a massive weight lift from his shoulders. These
creatures had thought he was someone – or something – else.
Perhaps he would follow up on this another day. He was just satisfied
to be among the living after what he had seen.

Tsuri’el
held up her right hand, motioning for all to pay attention to her
body language. She walked to a central position between the assembly
and the mortal, so they could observe both at once. As she described
the changes that would befit their common cause, her self expression
began to alter, from the fluid light that was her essence, to a
wavering shimmer. Her being faltered
somehow.
A moment, and she was a bright forty foot tall flaming angel,
wreathed in blue lightnings and thundering waterfalls. Another moment
and she looked as though the morning mist had devoured her. The
changes continued, sparks of light and blasts of electric waves
emanated from her. She stood before them, visible clearly for what
she was, without form, grace, blemish, or self-expression to guide
how other creatures saw her. She simply became Being
before
their very eyes. The room was absolutely silent. Not one wing, blade
or voice rustled the air.

The
man gasped aloud and fell back to the floor, he began muttering
unintelligible phrases, sweat drops rolled from his forehead.

Tsuri’el
feared again for her cause. This man was becoming a nuisance. On his
haunches, crawling backward from the transformed ArchAngel, he looked
more like one of the wild creatures on a newly terraformed sphere
than a Terra Son of the Most High. Tsuri’el watched the Assembly
watching the man and herself. Their expressions did not reveal what
they thought of the situation. If they would not make opinions on
this matter for themselves, she would craft their opinions for them.

“Terra
Son, Kâsaph,” the trumpet voice of the ArchAngel speech was no
longer evident in her voice.

Kâsaph
stared at her in consternation.

“Rise
to your feet and speak of what you see.” She held one arm out as
if displaying herself.

He
stood and attempted to find a cohesive sentence, stuttering and
embarrassed, he muttered, “You appear as a man, my lord. In my
sight before, you were extremely tall, like a poplar tree. Your
essence was of fire and lightnings. Your voice was like cascading
waterfalls and the shrill blast of trumpets. I could scarcely
maintain eye contact with you, and your presence brought a sense of
fear.” He paused, hoping that he had not angered her by
identifying her as a man.

“Continue,
my friend,” she said quietly, motioning with her eyes that he
should speak to the Assembly.

“My
lord, there is nothing about your presence that distinguishes you
from a normal man of my race, except that perhaps you stand a few
feet taller.” He feared for his life again, at this
proclamation, and fell to his knees to prostrate before the
ArchAngel. “Forgive me, my lord. I do not mean to speak falsely.
I do not know how else to describe what I see of you now.”

She
addressed the Assembly with raised chin, “And how do you my
brothers see me?”

There
remained a stunned silence in the room for the space of several
minutes. Finally, Azazyel addressed GaderHa’el. “How do the
ArchAngels see her?”

“As
a man.” The statement fell like weight upon all in the Assembly.

“We
Cherubim also see a man,” Azazyel whispered quietly.

Tsuri’el
walked on physical feet, a bit shakily. She embraced Kâsaph and
laughed aloud, sounding for all the world like any Terra Son.

“We
will forever change the way we communicate between the races!”
She pointed to the man next to her. “In the way of Terra Sons,
masculine identity is associated with rulership. They have kings,
which are men. They have God, whom they call HE. They identify
angelic creatures as She, because that is what we have taught them.”
Tsuri’el pointed at the man. They are called ‘he,’ and God is called
‘HE.’ Why are we relegated to a sub-status as ‘she?’ The ArchAngel
which now appeared as a man looked to Kâsaph.

“Dear
brother of the Terra Sons, would you ascertain for the Assembly
whether I would be identified as a he or she now?”

Kâsaph
immediately understood the implications, and barely maintained his
wits, muttering, “We would certainly say that you are
indisputably ‘he,’ my lord.”

She
nodded to the Cherubim on the right side of the circle of angels that
stood before the throne. Their multiple sets of wings frisked the
air, they were communicating in cherub speech so that the ArchAngels
could not hear. After a moment, one called Asazaph spoke, her voice a
rumble like mountains in a quake. As she spoke, her speech became
more plain so that the assembly could hear and understand.

“We
of the Thrones of Spheres have conceded to acquiesce to your ideas.
They are strange to speak of, we do not have the language for it
among us, but perhaps if the ArchAngels begin to live it out, your
song will build for us a suitable vocabulary, that we may begin to
partake in this new idea more fully.”

As
Asazaph completed her thoughts aloud, the quarter circle of Cherubim
announced agreement by unfurling their wings. It was a sure sign to
Azazyel that this would certainly take hold among the upper orders of
the angelic beings. Cherubim were incredibly stolid once they
determined what they would do. She rose from the throne and unfurled
her wings as well, sharing in the agreement of her own kind.

The
ArchAngels were next, voicing an agreement and signifying it with
raised swords. The room was filled with a raging whisper and a
stinging ring of ethereal blades. It was a magnificent moment. All of
the circle stood in total agreement and the elation was evident in
their expressions. For the first time, since she had sat in the
Assembly of Philosophy while Lucifer and Mikha’el argued, Azazyel
witnessed a complete unity in an Assembly. She smiled a very large
and vicious smile of self glorification.

“Summon
my Terra Son leadership immediately,” she commanded.

*****

“My
lord Azazyel, What have we to do for you? We have gathered all Terra
Sons who will be loyal to you.” The man spoke with his face to
the ground.

Azazyel
secretly enjoyed that the Terra-Sons could see her, while they could
not see the other angels. She knew, in the back of her mind, that
they could see some like Mikha’el and Gahri’el, but she chose to
allow the filling of her ego. ‘So, this is what it feels like to be
worshipped,’ often permeated her thoughts. It brought a sense of
glee, a kind of euphoria. She stared blankly at the man as he spoke,
wondering how could such a useful servant suddenly become so ignorant
and blind. Reluctantly, she rose from the high seat of Jerushem and
began gliding between the massive beryl and crystal pillars in the
High Chamber, heading for the exit that led to the space ports a mere
50 miles distant from the Jerusem Capitol building. The Terra Sons
followed close behind her.

“My
dear servant, a simple task really.” She turned her chin up to
watch several angels flying overhead, apparently in a rush to get
somewhere. “I have already spoken at length about this matter,
did you not confer with my lieutenants?”

The
man stuttered and looked helplessly at his companions who followed
close behind. The offered shrugs and confused expressions did not
help him. “My lord, we have heard nothing. Perhaps the
lieutenant is available to ask, I apologize for the intrusion. . . my
lord.”

Azazyel
slowly stopped walking and turned to face the man. She placed her
hand on his face and spoke gently, in almost a whisper. “I must
remember that you cannot interact in any meaningful way with them.
You are fortunate indeed that you can do so with me. For on the hour
we are embarking on whatever galactic vessels we can find to return
to your home. We must see what has occured upon the sphere called
Tiamat, and perhaps establish our new order of freedom upon it, and
within it, and without…” she paused for a giggle, “and
whatever else we can influence too!”

The
man bowed to the ground as she walked away, but only for a moment. He
quickly leaped to his feet and began a hasty call to embarkage with
his companions. It would prove extremely difficult for the Terra Sons
to acquire and prepare a galactic vessel for such a long journey.
With any luck they might have enough time to get the necessary food
loaded in order to avoid starvation.

*

“The
man chosen to drive the scapegoat into the wilderness of Azazel must
wash his clothes and bathe himself in water. Then he may return to
the camp.” Lev 16:26

1Genesis
1:1,26,27

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