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All written and sound materials contained within are the intellectual property of Keith J. Bowers

Copyright 2006
All Rights Reserved

 

The Rise of the Fallen
Excerpt

 

Chapter One

The Awakening of the Elevated

 

There comes a time when things get out of control so badly that even gods are helpless to watch events unfold.  That time was now.  Only Chameol didn’t know exactly how or what the Almighty was involved in, only that the god sat on the ivory throne, his pale white and brittle hands covering his face.  Across the darkened hall came the grinding of iron on steel as the doorway opened, allowing the angel to approach.  His face was masked in black, but Chameol knew him.  Kethel the Seeker.

“It is done,” Kethel stated flatly, his voice monotone.  “He is gone.”

The Almighty sighed in resignation, pushing back into the pillows that surrounded him.  “Then we have no choice.”

“There is always a choice.”

The hairs on Chameol’s neck rose.  Arrogance emanated out from the Seeker.  The Almighty released his hands from his face and stared at his creation.  The angel returned his gaze without inflection as if he was staring at lowly Mortal.  Disgust rose in Chameol’s throat.  With each passing decade, the respect for their god was waning.  Rebellion was fostering across the board, even if the Almighty denied it to himself.  Already the forces of Satan sat at the borders of the Ecstasy.

“Not in this case.”  Turning to Chameol, the Almighty spoke the words that Chameol longed to hear.  “Retrieve your fellows.”

“Are you sure you want to go that length?” Kethel interjected.  “With them?”

Chameol had had enough.  With his hand entering his cloak, his fingers grasped the cold steel of the auto pistol.  “Don’t ever question him!” Chameol hissed. 

Kethel matched his gaze, the Seeker not flinching or showing any sign that he had even heard the Wrangler speak.  Conceited bastard.  Chameol had half a mind to cap this asshole, but doing so in the presence of the Almighty would entail consequences that Chameol did not want to endure.  This angel was the creation of the Almighty and Chameol was nothing but an elevated being. 

The Almighty himself broke the stalemate.  “Bring them.”

Chameol bowed sharply, pushing back his cloak with his free hand, showing the implied threat of the gripped auto pistol to the Seeker.  His eyes never left Kethel’s while the latter’s turned to slits in anger.  “By your command, my Lord.”

Chameol walked proudly out of the throne room, his gloved finger flipping the safety back on the autopistol.  The Seeker would not dare strike him in the presence of the Almighty. 

For far too long they slumbered.  It was time to awaken. 

 

*                                              *                                              *

 

Centuries had passed since they had been last been used.  Not since Satan had released the Plague and infested Europe had they been called upon.  During those hundred years, the Almighty had released them numerous times, giving them free reign to slaughter all that had been diseased.

They reveled in terror, in bloodshed.  They were cleaners of filth, answerable to no one but the Almighty himself.  They were exempt from the laws of sin that constrained the Mortals that they had once been.   Since that time of murderous evil, they slept.

The Almighty had been tempted to unleash them during the French Revolution when Lucifer went on his beheading rampage.  They were close to being awakened during the First Mortal World War, when Satan had given the gift of mustard gas to the Mortals. 

But it was the Holocaust and the resulting second World War that truly brought the Almighty to the brink of calling the Cleansers out from their century long slumber.  During that time, both Lucifer and Satan had joined forces, raising up to wage war upon the earth, since Ecstasy, the heavenly land of the Almighty, was still denied them. 

And still he did not call upon them, even though the skies were filled with smoke of eight million bodies of his chosen people and the entire world afire with machine guns and bombs and the screams of the dying.  The Allies had joined together, and the Mortals resolved the conflict themselves.

As Chameol thought on it, truly this must be a terrible occurrence if his people were to be awakened.

The halls were silent, the once shining metal of the floor now covered in pooling water and rust, once impossible to believe existed in Ecstasy, now enveloped everything.  The city had grown up around the crypts, the shining towers of the new heaven built atop the old.  Ecstasy was growing and the past, the knowledge and pride of the ancients were fading rapidly amid the rapid demoralization of the Mortals.  They no longer feared the Almighty and it was passed on to his creations.  It was a sickening and fearful sight.

Chameol stopped at the end of the hallway, the imposing iron and rusting door blocking further progress.  His gloved hand slid over the locks, brushing handfuls of it away.  Frowning, he turned back to his escort, the angel Gyselea.  Her blond hair floated in the stagnant air, her eyes blackened with the makeup that was so popular with the seraphs these days.  Her presence was a formality; she had been the Watcher that had opened the crypts to him at the upper level.  She didn’t need to come this far down; he guessed she did so out of curiosity.  The Cleansers tended to invoke an unabashed fascination within the angels.  They were fascinated at their ability to mass murder in the name of the Almighty. 

Angels.

What were they good for?

Absolutely nothing.  Say it again…

She opened her mouth to speak, stopped and looked away.  He thought he was going to get out of having to speak with her; she was tiresome in her protestations.  Then she spoke the inevitable protest that was on her lips.  “This is not right.  You of all people know what happened the last time these Cleansers were unleashed.”

He tried to be patient with her.  “The Almighty believes we have no other option.  He is god.  It is not our place to question.”

“There must be a better way.  Unleashing them…”

Chameol had enough, he spun on her matching her gaze with a rage that burned deep within him.  “Do you feel as though you are wiser than the Almighty?  Wiser than the one that created you?”

“No, of course not…”

“Then shut the fuck up.” 

Satisfaction suffused through him as Chameol turned away from the keeper of the crypts and gripped the key around his neck.  It had been there for seven centuries.  Too long had he born its weight.  Tugging, it snapped from its chain and he pressed the key into the rust encrusted lock.  He twisted it and felt the metal strain.  The locks began to disengage and a terrible grinding noise filled the corridor.  Plumes of rust billowed up and filled the air, sending Gyselea into a coughing fit.  Chameol just chose not to breathe.

Finally, the doors began to open and inside the crypt, the darkness was completely impenetrable.  As it should be.

He stepped forward, following the pooled water as it entered into the sealed crypt.  He clapped his hands once and light filled the room immediately. 

There they lay on slabs of stone.  Six of them in all, the worst and best of humanity.  In exchange for their service and allegiance to the Almighty, these seven murderers were spared a fate of hellish eternity.   They had not been redeemed, nor were they repentant of their sins.  They were tools of the Almighty, no more or less.

Chameol looked over them, seeing the first of them beginning to stir.  Rumiel, Artiel, Shakad, Druiel, Surie and Cervial. 

Rumiel was a thief and a gambler, having killed dozens in the shadows before being elevated.  His hair was long and black, his skin a dark brown.  The women loved him; well, at least that is what he chose to believe.

The scarred face of Artiel lay uncovered - usually it was covered.  The calmest of the six, he had been commander of a vicious band of raiders nearly six thousand years before.  His face had been destroyed by a powder blast during the last awakening.  The wound had healed, but the Almighty had left him scarred, reminding him of his sins. 

The burly strength of Shakad stirred on the slab.  A warrior without peer, he was fearless.  He was prone to bloodlust, which made the others give him a wide berth.  His eyes were the first to open.  His hand fell to his sword, verifying that it was still there.  His hair was long and blond, highlighting his tanned features.

“Chameol?” the words quietly came from Shakad’s lips.

“I am here.”

“Good to know.”  Shakad rolled over and pushed himself upright.  His eyes squinted in the light.

The mute Druiel sat up, his expressive eyes meeting Chameol.  His tongue had been cut out while a captive of the Canaanites.  His skills at stealth were extraordinary and his knives were his best friends.  

Surie was a grotesque half of a man.  He was a dwarf; his short stubby appendages were a constant source of ridicule to those that he had outlived.  Those that mocked him found themselves accepting an ax into their flesh.  Most underestimated him, much to their dismay and pain.  Surie was a surly figure; his name meant nearly that in ancient Sumerian. 

The last of the Cleansers was the beast Cervial.  He was an easy ten feet tall, weighed nearly a ton.  He was an abnormal freak, being the offspring of a fallen angel.  His father had been a demon, having raped his mortal mother.  Cervial, though, held none of his father’s inherent evil within him; he was most sane of the group.  He had the ability to move within and between shadows, hiding in them as if it was another location entirely.  It was his method of travel, being far too large to fit in most buildings. 

Rumiel still had not awakened.  The others at least had their eyes open.  Chameol backhanded his face, knocking it to the side.  The man rolled over onto his side, mumbling.

“Wake up, you bastard!”

Rumiel muttered a reply.

“Damn it, Rumiel!”

The thief rolled back over and screamed at Chameol.  “I said, five more minutes!” 

Chameol gripped him by the front of the tunic and threw him across the room.  Rumiel cried out as he slammed into the wall.

“Fuck!  Was that really necessary?” he spat out as he slumped into the pooled water.

The others simply stared at Chameol.  “Yes.  We are running out of time.  We meet the Almighty in ten minutes.”  Chameol walked towards the door.  Gyselea still stood in the doorway, in utter awe of the assembled Cleansers.  Chameol pushed passed her, locking onto her eyes and daring her to say anything.  Turning around to face them, he yelled:  “Move!”

They moved.