The Elexiad vol. 4

The dry breeze of the wasteland where a thousand Angels had perished stirred through the three men, blowing their cloaks around them, but he felt nothing, savethe tears on his face, and his tight grip on the hilt of his fiery blade. This was where the Son of the Morning and his mighty host were hurled down from on high, a third of the armies of Heaven, and where they had corrupted the ways of mortal men since the beginning. He had watched them all, had tried his best to be the light in the darkness, in the taint of the demonic rule of the world of mankind.

The wind blew. Dry, and parched; he could still feel the lingering pride of the Fallen clinging to the land, and the evil that was the absence of God's Holiness. The sun was hovering just above the horizon, casting long shadows and a surreal feel to the orange-red color of the wilderness.

But he wept. It was impossible for a being such as him, but he did.

"Have your forgotten who we are?" said one of those behind him. "We were sent to purify this world of the misbegotten. Do not forget, Luzail. We have the authority to take the lives of those unfit to be called as His image and likeness."

"There is still time, Luzail," the other called. "I cannot stand by and let the Powers brand you as a Deserter." There was a note of pleading in his voice. "You should ask for forgiveness for failing to do your appointed duty. He will forgive you, I believe, for He is Mercy."

The other walked closer to him, and laid a hand on his shoulder. "We are the Elohim, Luzail; the Watchers. I must remind you that. We are His children who are to guide the civilization of man, and to prune what must be pruned, to set fire that should be set right, to destroy the evil in the hearts of men. We are hard for that is our imperative. If the Powers themselves descend here, men would be annihilated; remember our intercession for these mortals. We have placed our lives for them, our pride and our very own essence and purity to be as them, and to guide them."

Luzail shook his head and turned to face his friends. "I cannot do it, Zeniel, Thoriel," he said sadly. "I… I can't kill her…"

The second speaker, Thoriel, glanced at the others worriedly. "Luzail… how did this happen…? You were… the Sword of the Dawn back before… how…"

"Is it because of him, Luzail?" Zeniel asked him quietly. "That… that you've decided to—"

Luzail just stared into the distance, and sighed, a small smile on his face. "Perhaps. I've killed my very own comrade, Zeniel, Thoriel. You haven't done that. We were created together, and I have to kill him with my own hands. It was the greatest suffering I've ever felt… only my Faith saved me from insane grief."


"You are the most powerful of the Watchers, Luzail," Zeniel said. "We cannot afford to lose you. You are the Sword of the Dawn! If Lucifer and his damned lot decide to retake this world, we are one of the first units to be called into action. We are sentinels, Luzail, and—"

"I cannot kill her, Zeniel."

"She is the Fatedancer, Luzail. Sooner or later we should have to kill her, for the sake of the rest of humanity," Thoriel explained. "If she won't be eliminated, she will soon manipulate fate itself and the passage of time, contrary to the plan of the Almighty, and by the time she does that, we will be powerless to stop her. How much more these men…?"

"She is innocent," Luzail said. "I can't kill an innocent lady for—"

"Innocent or not, she is still the Fatedancer!" Zeniel interrupted heatedly. "She is of the blood of Cain, Luzail. No mortal could lay his hands on her, and it falls to us to destroy her and seal her power for another hundred years. We are the only ones able to stop her!"

"I can't do that, Zeniel. If you are going to kill her…" He turned to face them fully. "I'm living in mortal flesh enough. I will stop you if you even try."

The wind became gusts. Luzail's hair, so pale that it was almost white, flowed with the wind, and Zeniel and Thoriel stood, shocked and angry at the same time. They were both clenching their fists. The swollen sun finally dipped into the horizon; it was darkening rapidly, and heat was dissipating, to be replaced with cold.

"Luzail…" Thoriel slowly mouthed. "You…"

"You are going to rebel because of a daughter of man," Zeniel said through gritted teeth. "Your brains are addled because of a woman. Wake up, Luzail! The Lilim will try to use her for their advantage. We are here both to watch the descendants of Adam, and to ensure the taint of Lilith's offspring will not try to consume this world with sin. Wake up, Luzail...!"

"If this is a dream, a dream to be with her, I don't want to wake up anymore," he replied quietly. "This... is what men call love."

"I can't believe this, Luzail," said Thoriel, still wide-eyed with shock. "Disobedience is… damnation…"

"You are no better than those who have impregnated the children of Adam with the Nephilim, Luzail." Zeniel's eyes were flaring. "You are—"

"So, so, the noble Sword of the Dawn," an awe-inspiring voice, as dry as dust yet as sharp as lightning, boomed with authority and power to their right. All of them turned to the source of the voice, and their jaws dropped.

"Lord Eos!" they mouthed in surprise. Zeniel and Thoriel immediately kneeled to one knee, bowing, but Luzail stood defiantly, meeting the icy stare of the Power with his own.

"Luzail," the angel of the fourth order, the Powers, landed on the ground delicately, still shining like the sun and his four wings folding like a dove's in his back. A small bejeweled circlet wound around his forehead, and his splendor dwarfed all three in their mortal forms. His contact with ground made the earth rumble and groan under the force of his presence. "So we meet again."

"Eos," he muttered, with a hint of contempt.

"I take that there was talk of… mutiny… in these places," the Power began silkily as he walked lazily, an arm in front of his chest, as a draped curtain.

"There is no mutiny here, Eos." Luzail said, drawing to his full height.

"It seems I finally had the proof I need that you are a Deserter, Sword of the Dawn," Eos mocked him, smiling. "Do you still remember, Deserter?"

Thoriel quivered in fright and indignation at the same time. Luzail was his friend when he had saved him in the Celestial War just after Creation. Eos had no right to call Luzail a Deserter…! But… but if Luzail was contemplating disobedience…

"Oh, yes, you remember, Luzail the Deserter," Eos sneered, tilting his head. "You quailed at the sight of Samael, did you not? You could not bring yourself to kill your most beloved friend, the one that you had shared your entire essence with."

"Eos…" he hissed, his hands becoming fists beside him.

The Power glanced at his white knuckles, and chuckled. "Oh, so the Sword of the Dawn wants to hit me? Let's see… is that how these pathetic mortals fight?"

"Remember that they are His masterpiece, however frail and weak they appear to be," Luzail said, his voice unsteady with anger.

Eos laughed again. "Oh, yes. Yes, yes. Well, you Watchers have been too soft for their sake already. It is time to establish order here, and…" His eyes glinted. "And teach you proper respect."

He didn't know what happened afterwards, but all he knew that he was laying face-down on the ground, in too much pain that he couldn't even scream, or writhe, or claw at the loose reddish soil. His muscles were wracked with thousands of hot needles, and his skull seemed to explode, and his veins were trying to burst at the pain he was feeling. He was barely aware of Thoriel and Zeniel watching him, wheezing in fear, still kneeling at Eos just behind him. Waves of thick, choking energy was issuing from Luzail's prostrate form, so powerful they were like a series of mirages. A steady rumble accompanied this display.

A chortle brought the fallen Watcher back to his senses. "Stupid, pitiful Archangel. You did wipe out hundred legions at once, true, but you've run away from your duty to kill a Fallen. Personal feelings should not interfere with your holy task, Luzail. Samael had almost tried to kill you if not for my intervention, and I've covered you since for the last millennium. Now, you are going against your duty once again, but I will not make the same mistake twice. You will be made to answer for your sins, for your pride and disobedience."

"Eos…!" he managed to whisper.

"If you resist, I shall take you to your council and ask you to strip you of your power," Eos said through clenched teeth, smiling, crouching in front of him. "And perhaps cast you down to where Samael is. It would serve you better, that you would be chained with your comrade until the Great Day, would it not?"

"I… I still admire… your sense of ambition… Eos," Luzail said. "You will lead the rest… of the Watchers to… destruction…"


Pain wracked him again, and he ground his teeth.

"I… I killed Samael… because you were about to die, Eos…" he murmured through groans of pain. "I… did. I killed my own comrade. You were… too weak to face him."

"You insolent Deserter!" A wave of power erupted from the angel, flattening every rock and stone littered around for a radius of at least a hundred feet. Faultlines snaked through the ground, and the earth rumbled again. His hand reached for Luzail's neck, and grabbing it, he stood, holding at Luzail's mortal neck as if trying to strangle him. He raised him, as if appraising the Archangel in the body of a man, as Luzail made choking sounds and his weak hands fumbled at the fingers of his captor, searing his neck with fire. His feet were a good way off the ground, flailing about.

"Lord Eos…!" Thoriel began, but in an instant he was flung back, his feet digging to the ground at the force. His body was thrown to a slab of rock, cracking it, and he fell to an unconscious heap. Zeniel, shocked, backed tentatively, his mouth working but no sound coming out.

"Now, Deserter." A grin appeared on Eos' face. "Proper respect and punishment waits for you. But I cannot wait for you to face the council, Luzail. I will have justice meted out to you now."

"You… are not… an angel of justice… Eos… blasphemy…" Luzail stammered.

"And you go against the Will of the Most High?" Eos threw back his head and laughed. "Count yourself lucky I am not. For if I am, I will not hesitate to kill a Deserter. A sinner, a renegade."

"You will… pay for this… Eos…"

"Make me." A fiery sword appeared in his hands. "Make me, Archangel."

Luzail's screams echoed throughout the entire waste, a scream of the one they called the Betrayer. The sky roiled in darkness and spurted out forks of lightning at his suffering, the ground opened up in fissures, and a wind that has never been this side of the world blew as his blood was shed. And his scream resounded across the wilderness, a voice of one who had disobeyed the Divine Will, of who was cursed and punished, of the one who had faced justice, of the one who had sinned, of the one who had abandoned his duty, and the one who had betrayed the knowledge of Heaven's workings to the ignorant race of humanity.

He had become neither Angel nor Demon. He was not a mortal either; neither holy nor unholy, he was. And for all time to come, he has to atone for his sin.

For all time to come; for he was, is, and will always be the Betrayer.

Elexiad c. 2006-2009 diamond_dust08. All rights reserved.