The Beginning Of The End (Part 2)

Uchariel smiled at us from the chaise longue on which he reclined, glass in hand, crotch loosely draped with the finest chinese silk. The artist opposite him was hunched over his easel, frantically dabbing his paint brush at a half covered canvas depicting the angel’s sardonic smile. Beside him were half a dozen already finished paintings, the paint barely dry on the last one. Uchariel watched us take in the scene and shrugged, breaking his pose and eliciting a feral groan from the hunched figure with frothy red hair.
“Shut it!” Uchariel said casually and the artist’s lips disappeared. He took out his frustration on the unfinished painting, repeatedly stabbing the canvas with the blunt end of his brush, while muffled whimpers vibrated from his larynx. Uchariel barely noticed as he readjusted his toga and led us out through a side entrance into a cavernous secret lounge in The BlackHermit. Relash, Somnus, Desire and I parked ourselves on a promenade bench hoisted on the far wall while Uchariel stalked off to the throne styled high chair at the opposite end of the room and draped himself on it. He looked at Sam and cocked his head towards a wooden stool in the corner.

“I know you deserve pride of place and all that, but this is the Black Hermit and here, I’m the soon coming king.”

Sam nodded and took the seat Uchariel had suggested. I could sense the angel’s smugness even from where I sat, it rolled off him like fat yellow fumes of toxic self satisfaction. Even though I couldn’t inhale it, I held my breath as he made small talk, glorying in how he’d discovered Van Gogh.

“…I couldn’t believe my luck. Just found him, languishing in a corner of purgatory, making charcoal etchings on rocks. Apparently he had some years of missionary work that tipped the scales and closed the gates of hell to him. He’s under my employ now. A painting a day to stay on Earth. I leak them and get a centre spot in some fancy museum. Just picture it, Little old me.”

Sam rolled his eyes. I wondered if he’d really felt disgust or if the indifference I was sensing was merely his pseudo-godhood shielding his emotions from me. He spoke from his stool, addressing Uchariel.

“You know what I’m here for, and you know what I am. I would like this not to get uncomfortable for you seeing as you have been such a courteous host. Where can I find the box?”

The sliver of power that laced the question lanced at Uchariel and wrapped itself around his throat like a truth collar. The angel gagged a couple of times, his shifty eyes bulging as he fought the compulsion Sam had put on him. He closed his left palm into a fist and clenched hard, his nails digging into the skin and gouging out three crescent-shaped indentations. The nails broke skin, three drops spilling before the wound closed. We all tensed as we felt the air shift. Like a time lapse video we watched in horror as the drops of blood coalesced into three misshapen creatures, abysmal copies of the angels himself.
“Tulpas!!!” Somnus screamed. “Protect Sam!”
I sprung into action. Using the sofa as a spring board, I side flipped in front of Sam as the Tulpas separated, two flying to engage the others and one coming for the deity. At this point Uchariel was writhing on the carpeted floor.

I projected my consciousness into the Tulpa and conjured an irrational fright of Sam, forcing its deformed brain to initiate the production of a lethal amount of cortisol, which it’s adrenal glands tried to deliver with partial success. It stopped abruptly, dazed as its brain tried to transmit the signal to the rest of the body. I turned to Sam and urged him to stand by the door out of harm’s way. He was reluctant at first but he finally listened as I elicited a tiny spike in Oxytocin. Out of nowhere a bolt of pain shot through my right side and I folded over. Hands grabbed my hair and pulled up and I straightened immediately. The Tulpa was still fully functional through the front half of its skull had been bashed in. From its bloody fists, I could tell it had done the job itself to stop the paralyzing fear. I could hear Somnus’s and Relash’s rage building like crackling firewood as they took on their Tulpas. I reached out and tapped into their rage, channeling it into my sword arm. The Tulpa flapped its deformed wings and soared a few feet off the ground, lifting me off the ground by my hair. Information trickled through the access the creature had inadvertently granted me through direct contact, it planned to get me out of the way by hanging me from the chandelier. I shut off my pain receptors and strengthened the bonds between my hair and my scalp, bonding the follicles to my skull and channeled the rage I had gathered from my bandmates into a rapier of liquid fire. I dismembered the Tulpa’s arm and shored off half of a wing with a clean slice and in a fluid secondary strike, stabbed into its chest, willing the rapier into a harpoon. The barbs caught and it went down with me in a maelstrom of blood and black feathers. We crashed into the unyielding ground, it on top of me and I felt a dull ache as three of my ribs broke from the impact, I also felt my shoulder pop out of its socket. The Tulpa was still, the liquid rage had charred its inside, dried the blood that animated it.
I pushed the dead weight off me and hobbled to my feet and paused. Somnus was in his demon familiar form and he was savagely swiping at his tulpa as the creature danced around him. He almost never shifted in front of us, and every time he did the realization that he was much more than human made the disconnect between us a little wider. Relash tried to step in and Somnus roared at him, the momentary distraction offering the tulpa an opening to land a sucker punch to the gut. But Somnus’s lightning quick reflexes proved too fast for the Tulpa. He pounced and bit into it’s neck and gorged on it’s blood. He tore the dried out husk to shreds once he was done and shifted back to his human form.

“Where’s Desire?” He huffed.

“Here.”

We all turned to the throne where she was perched, sai out.

“The Tulpas were a distraction. Uchariel needed an escape. Sam’s compulsion was only able to hold him for a while. He’s gone native. All the time he’s divided between Earth and the Purgatory has turned him pseudo human and given him the guile we’re famous for.”

She pointed a sai to a little puddle of blood and the blue slab of warty flesh lying limply in the centre.
“The compulsion forced him to speak so he bit off his tongue. But not before he was forced to divulge a string of numbers.”
“Can you remember them?” Relash cut in. “If they’re co-ordinates, I can take us there right now.”
Desire closed her eyes and when she reopened them, her body had changed form ever so slightly. Her skin turned a sickly green and her eyes became saucer like and reptilian. It was a gift she rarely used, accessing her primeval lizard brain.

“N41 5.72279 E 102 33.32519”

She repeated over and over with a slight rasp. The shift in form was complete enough to give her a forked tongue.
She was only able to hold the reptilian form for a minute before her body forced a shift back to human form.
“Did you get it?”
Relash gave the thumbs up. “It’s Mongolia, the Gobi desert to be exact.”
“I’m sorry.” Sam spoke up from behind me. “I put you all at risk, I should have put the angel under a compulsion the minute we saw him. I’m still getting a hand of how the power works.”
Somnus shrugged. “It happens. We all learn on the job.”
Desire stalked to me, taking care to not step in the angel’s blood. She took my arm, unceremoniously popped it back into its socket and moved it around a bit to ensure no tendons had torn. I muttered a thank you and braced myself as I tentatively turned on my sense receptors, wincing as my entire body began to throb painfully. I had no choice, it was the only way if I was going to heal.

Relash cursed. “The Black Hermit is a dead zone, nothing can apparate in or out of here with Uchariel’s permission. We have to find our way outside.”

We groped around the far end of the room and eventually found the mechanism that slid open the false doors that led to the lobby of the Black Hermit. The chaise and easel were still there but Van Gogh was gone.

Somnus scoffed. “Typical, he still found time to spirit the painter away with him.”

Our nervous laughter filled the room. We all knew how lucky we were that Uchariel was eternally benign. Otherwise there was no other reason why we were all upright, nursing minor injuries after a confrontation with a Seraph. The other angels weren’t going to shy away from a fight or playing dirty if got the job done. We knew if we were going to get the job done we needed more information or even a little help. I tapped Somnus, and whispered into his ear.

“No friggin way!” He exclaimed.

“It’s our only hope.” I replied calmly as I could with broken ribs.

“What is?” Sam asked.

I raised my voice slightly. “We need to make a quick detour. We’re going to see Lilith.”

——————————————————

It only made sense that Lilith’s realm was in a pocket dimension, otherwise the men of the world would have formed one massive expedition and scoured every inch of the earth till they found the place. I’d had the presence of mind to shut down the lust sensors of Relash, Sam and I, otherwise we’d have been slobbering all over the gold paved side walk. The Amazonian paradise was pish-posh compared to Lilith’s realm, dotted with villas decorated in what could only be described as violent pink and garish lilac. The women here needed not defend themselves so they didn’t have the unsightly muscular physiques of the Daughters of Diana. Every woman here was either in the prime of her youth or the peak of her femininity. Blonde, brunette, ginger; every woman had a flowing mane of hair that draped around their exposed breasts and swept at the swell of their rounded buttocks. There were curves and skin so soft, it dimpled when they playfully poked each other. Even though we were immune to lust, our baser instincts couldn’t stop the constant darting from bosom to bosom in boyish admiration. Desire and Somnus led the way, both had been here many times and knew the intricacies of the first apostate’s court.

We climbed up a ridiculously long staircase to the Roman style temple above, complete with colonnades of virile giant men with turgid phallae, groaning eternally under the weight of the apostate’s temple. Lilith lay in the middle of the temple on a day bed, surrounded by a horde of men who fussed over and tended to her most flighty whim. She was painfully beautiful, the very embodiment of every woman yet alike to none.
She parted her multi-hued hair and cackled as she saw us.
“Ah, the prodigal consort returns. The earth and its whores failed to sate you?”
Somnus shrugged. “You made me swear an oath of celibacy against human folk. You know I haven’t gotten any box since I left.”
Lilith rolled her eyes. “Yet that phoenix creature, your imp girlfriend’s cries of pleasure filter to my ears every night.”
“I am celibate. Oral sex is not intercourse.”
“Potatoe, poraro. ( ‘-‘). What are you doing in my court?”
I came forward and bowed deeply. The stench of her disapproval was thick and the situation had to be salvaged before she kicked us out. Sam and the others quickly when they saw her mood shift with my action.
I addressed her. “Oh great Apostate, we come humbly. By now it must have trickled to your beautiful ears that trouble is brewing Above. We have a chance to restore order before another celestial upheaval occurs. But we are mere mortals and cannot hope to stand against the nephilim and angelus and survive. We come to ask for boons or whatever you will willingly offer.”

Lilith beamed. “Now that’s how to address a lady. Why didn’t that stupid Crow turn you instead of this bull that occasionally graces my bed?”
She turned on her belly, crossed her legs behind her and cushioned her jaw on her palms.
“See the problem is, I can’t help the ‘good’ people without tainting them. But you don’t need my help anyways. You have the messiah mould with you.”

“The messiah mould?” Somnus repeated incredulously, he’d refused to bow. Lilith hissed in mild disgust.

“Hey you, messiah. What denomination are you?”

Sam raised his head. “Christian.”

Lilith sat up and clapped her hands in delight. “Perfect! If he was buddhist, you guys would have been all sorts of screwed.”

Somnus walked to her and grabbed her by the arm. “I’ve just survived three Seraph tulpas. I don’t have time for your games. What the fuck can he do, the Christ messiah was just a glorified healer, nothing more.”

Lilith smiled and slapped Somnus’s hand away. “Save the posturing for the bedroom Somnus.”

She flitted to the day bed and sat on the edge, crossing her legs seductively. “Your mordern day bible is a most spectacular work of editing. Especially the gospels, I would know, I was there after all. The facts are all there but they’re presented in such a light that you’re completely fooled. I heard some stupid human say the other day that the Dumbledore creature from those distasteful Harry Potter books would mop the floor with the Christ. Well, let’s just say my temple has one more human colonnade.

“The Jesus of your bible has four books filled with accounts of him controlling the Legion itself with a word, mending broken bodies, raising the dead, ascending between the temporal and immaterial planes as though it were merely walking from one room to another. He even held the key to the gates of hades itself and somehow you all still think he’s a healing hippie. Hahahaha! I have one phrase for you. Demon possessed zombies. Undead so they can’t be killed again, with unblemished perfectly conditioned bodies; animated with the hordes of hell itself. I get shudders thinking what he’d have done if he’d decided to conquer the earth by force. Awaken your messiah mould into full godhood and watch the universe tremble.”

Desire started to ask how we could go about that but I shushed her just in time. Lilith had finally noticed the spike in Oxytocin levels that had made her so chatty from the tiny hot flush it gave her. She quelled it with a thought.

“My consort is withholding sex from me and you come into my realm and play with my emotions? I should order you gagged and gang raped till your skin turns to powder.”

Her features began to flicker slightly. “Somnus, take your friends from my presence before I curse them with nymphomania!”

Relash didn’t need to be told twice. The temple floor opened up and swallowed us.

Advertisements

About this entry