The Siege of Second Heaven

Chapter 4, The Rise of Lucifer

After Lucifer was created, he and his mother traveled to an archaeological site in First Heaven where the bones of ancient angels had been discovered. He used his occult knowledge to decipher the scripture that had been buried there for millennia. There, he began to challenge everything the angels had learned about themselves from the Cherubim.

Using the cherub bones his mother had found, Lucifer proved conclusively that angels and Cherubim were not related, as angels had been led to believe. By examining the bones on site, he showed that angels were actually a mixed breed of the ancient beings that were buried there. This discovery sent shock waves through the scientific community, as angels were thought to be direct children of God.

His second revelation was perhaps just as startling. He decoded an ancient text and learned that Cherubim were not children of God either, but were created by Metatron and an angel named Anaphiel. This challenged the supreme authority the Cherubim had asserted over the angels for over 50,000 years. Around this time, rebel groups began forming in the lower heavens.

It would be another 3 years before Lucifer would make his greatest discovery. Hidden in the archaeological site were 4 pages from the Book of Raziel, a sacred text that ordinary angels were forbidden to read. After decoding the language, he found the truth. The Cherubim were created by Metatron by God’s order to create the perfect angels. This brought about the end of the Lost Seraphim Wars, and the beginning of the Cherubim’s reign.

The ancestors of the angels had been enslaved by the Seraphim for over half a million years. The Grigori, Hashmallim, Erelim and others were tasked to build temples and cities to honor the Seraphim. The Ophanim, or “many-eyed ones”, were the only angels strong enough to fight back, often defending the others from being massacred. But despite countless battles, the many-eyed ones and the Seraphim were never able to completely destroy the other.

There was also another problem. Metatron and Sandalphon had still not succeeded in their original task set forth by God, to create angels that perfectly reflected His likeness. And Metatron was determined to win against his brother. So Metatron struck a deal with God – in exchange for the angel Anaphiel, who had stolen his heart, he would create the perfect angels and end the war himself. God agreed, and Metatron used Anaphiel to mother the Cherubim.

It is still not known whether her participation in this was consensual.

After this, the Seraphim retreated to Seventh Heaven as the Cherubim began forming a more advanced government in Sixth Heaven. Metatron appointed the seven archangels to rule over each heaven, ultimately acting as puppets for the Cherubim. Archangel Michael was given Fifth Heaven for his army, while the angels were dispersed among the first four heavens.

By this point, the different kinds of angels had mixed and homogenized into one breed, the modern angel. The many-eyed ones reproduced asexually, which meant their bloodline remained pure and unchanged. The Seraphim Wars were buried and forgotten, and the angels began to regard the many-eyed ones as monsters.

Most angels agree that the Rebellion of Lucifer began when he first contacted the many-eyed ones, shortly after his last discovery. When Lucifer showed that they were sophisticated beings willing to serve and fight under his behalf, the idea of a greater rebellion began to form. The leaders of the seven warring factions in First Heaven united under Lucifer’s command of the many-eyed ones. It wasn’t long before war-torn First Heaven rose up against their leader Archangel Kushiel.

After a year long struggle, Lucifer hunted down and defeated Kushiel in battle. Soldiers from Kushiel’s army either joined the rebellion or became prisoners of war. Lucifer also took the Archangel’s wings as a trophy, and a symbol of having conquered First Heaven.

Now he was on his way to take Second Heaven, or Raqia, and many who lived there didn’t know what to expect. Some didn’t believe what they’d heard. Some were cautious, boarding up their houses or going into hiding. Others armed themselves to stand their ground.

Azazel and her family lived at the far edge of Raqia, in a small community hidden deep in the forest. They did not share the immediate concern of those in the larger cities, but the people were still worried.

Contrary to popular opinion, Lucifer was not the first angel in recent history to make contact with the many-eyed ones. Azazel grew up alongside them and learned how to communicate their language, as her parents and their parents did before her. Whenever the forest was threatened by the expanding cities, Azazel summoned the many-eyed ones to scare away the city angels. Since then, rumors spread of the forest being cursed by God himself. Fear of the many-eyed ones kept Azazel’s community safe from outsiders.

Despite Lucifer’s discoveries, most angels still viewed the many-eyed ones as monsters and treated them as such. They could not communicate verbally, travelled in large packs, and had very imposing features. They appeared as crimson wheels within wheels, giant eyes in each, eternally supported by their majestic wings. For this reason, they usually lived together on the outer edge of the lower heavens, away from ordinary angels.

Azazel was enamored by Lucifer’s story, and wanted desperately to meet him. She soaked up the details of every battle he and his seven generals fought. So what if they destroyed the cities in Shamayim and Raqia? Let them. Then the forest could be restored to its former glory. Then her family, the Ophanim, would not have to live in exile.

“You don’t really believe Lucifer can defeat Archangel Michael, can you? Michael is the strongest of all angels. He has 10 million soldiers serving under him in Fifth Heaven.” Zachariel tried to reason with Azazel as they explored the forest.

“Why do you think God and Michael care about us when we live in such miserable conditions? We are constantly killing one another to stay alive down here.” Azazel didn’t care much for arguing.

“Who knows? Maybe it’s all part of God’s plan.” Zachariel replied.

“His plan was for us to struggle in poverty and die under the Cherubim’s rule? To completely forget our past?”

“No I mean, this was all part of His plan to create the perfect angels.” They walked in silence for a moment.

“Maybe He finally has.” Azazel wondered aloud.

Azazel continued deeper into the forest with Zachariel when one of the many-eyed ones appeared to them both. Zachariel had never seen one up close before, and fled in terror. Azazel knew something was wrong, as the Ophanim never liked to travel alone.

Azazel held the wing of the many-eyed one to see the vision it had to share. She saw a vision of Lucifer and his army advancing upon Second Heaven and destroying the gates. Marching behind him were thousands upon thousands of angels. Lucifer looked up directly at her, and the eyes that looked upon him closed. Azazel reeled from the vision. She knew that for the many-eyed one to come to her, this must be a secret she had to keep, even if it endangered the lives of other angels.

“I promise I won’t tell,” she said.

As long as the Ophanim were allied with Lucifer, it was not her place to interfere. If it came down to the many-eyed ones versus the ordinary angels, Azazel knew which side she would choose.

 

Chapter 5, Seraphim Statues

Zachariel caught up to Azazel later, when she wandered back into his side of the forest.

“What did that monster say to you?” Zachariel asked.

“What are you talking about?”

“I know you’re one of those girls from the forest that can talk to them. What did he say to you?”

“That’s nonsense, Zachariel. Everybody knows they can’t communicate.” Azazel shrugged him off. She was sworn to secrecy by her tribe. While she enjoyed Zachariel’s company, he was just another city angel in the end. If she told him what she had just saw, he wouldn’t believe her. Or worse, he would and he’d do something stupid like try to fight Lucifer himself.

“Hey, I know where The Syndicate is hiding some Seraphim statues, stolen from the Tarshish family. We’re pulling a big job tonight to get them back. Do you want to help us?” That’s how Zachariel spent his days, hustling the streets of Second Heaven.

“That sounds extremely dangerous.” Azazel replied. “I’ve stolen before, but never from the mafia.”

“We’ve got it all worked out. You can join my team and I’ll cover you myself. You’ve been in gunfights before, haven’t you?”

“Yeah, I just never walked into one on purpose. Thanks, but you can count me out.”

Azazel wandered through the abandoned ruins of massive temples, made by her ancestors while enslaved to the Seraphim. The countless statues of six winged Seraphim were once looked upon as the guardians of angels. All of that changed when Lucifer arrived. Now vandalizing the statues, or even destroying them, was a common practice.

In response to this, certain prominent families began smuggling the statues to the higher heavens through Archangel Sachiel’s corrupt government. Then an organized crime ring began taking the statues for themselves – by force. The escalating conflict was a far more immediate threat to the citizens of Second Heaven than anything else at the time.

Back home, it was apparent that Azazel’s friends and family had also seen visions of some kind or another. No one would say what they expected to happen, but the community agreed that it was best to avoid the conflict for as long as possible. Many angels of the tribe were quietly concerned about which side the Ophanim would take, and whether they would be expected to join Lucifer in battle.

The town messengers returned from the city around midnight, with the news that Lucifer’s siege on Second Heaven had begun. Those awake to hear the news were now too anxious to sleep. The younger messenger, Muriel, was known as the tribe gossip and commanded the conversation. While Muriel distracted the others, her elder sister Barbiel led Azazel outside with news of her own.

Barbiel handed her Zachariel’s stone necklace. Azazel was confused.

“Zachariel told me to give this to you if anything should happen to him. I’m sorry, but he is dead. He was killed in a gunfight earlier this evening. He and his gang were trying to steal expensive statues from The Syndicate.”

Azazel bowed her head down, looking closely at the necklace. “So The Syndicate killed him?” She asked.

“No, it seems The Syndicate has been tricked as well. They were attacked by the same men, and many of their valuable statues were stolen.”

“By who?” Azazel asked.

Barbiel paused. “It was Archangel Sachiel and his army.”

Archangel Sachiel led a small group of soldiers through The Syndicate’s territory, taking whatever resources they could find. He knew his men were too poorly trained to take on Lucifer’s army, even though the rebels were greatly outnumbered. He had made an appeal to the higher heavens for military support, but they were all too embroiled in their own affairs, and perhaps hesitant to join the conflict. The elites preferred to ignore uprisings in the lower heavens, often letting them play out without intervention. They expected this rebellion to fade out like all the others before.

The capital city was located near the center of Second Heaven, surrounded by 7 concentric walls so high even angels could not fly over them. Despite the great amount of security, Sachiel knew the walls had their weak points, caused by centuries of abuse and lack of repairs. Like the other leaders of the first four heavens, Sachiel’s request for defense funding was not considered a high priority by the elites.

“Archangel Sachiel, all the bandits have been terminated. The members of The Syndicate have been delayed in a gunfight down the street.” One of the soldiers reported. “Should we go ahead and take the statues for ourselves?”

“Yes, take as many as you can possibly carry. If The Syndicate arrives, I will hold them off myself.” The group mobilized quickly, as the statues were too heavy for a single angel to carry. Sachiel looked down and kicked one of the dead bandits. “What an extraordinary death for an ordinary angel.”

In his heart, Archangel Sachiel knew the Cherubim kept the first four heavens starved of resources, so they could never overthrow their totalitarian rule. He knew all too well the misery it had caused generations of his people. But they had also appointed him as one of the seven archangels. It was his elite status that set him apart from all the ordinary angels in heaven. Though he sympathized with Lucifer for wanting to free their people, Sachiel could not bring himself to break rank and defy his superiors. He could not bear the thought of being an ordinary angel again.

A messenger came from the outer gate to the central city, bearing grim news for the Archangel. “Lucifer has crossed the border into Second Heaven. He has already captured three cities. He destroyed part of south Avondale, and the other two cities surrendered out of fear. He has sent you this written message.” The messenger handed Archangel Sachiel a letter. Like most ordinary angels, the messenger was illiterate. Sachiel dismissed him.

The letter bore a short phrase in two languages, Cherubic and Ancient Enochian. It read “surrender or perish”. True to Lucifer’s reputation, the exquisite handwriting was a clear sign of a highly educated angel. Enclosed was a feather from Kushiel’s wings. Sachiel felt a chill run down his spine, and he tore the letter in pieces.

The unprecedented death of Archangel Kushiel wasn’t shocking enough for the elites. Nor was Lucifer’s capture of First Heaven. If another archangel died, would it change anything? Would they intervene at all? Or would they let Lucifer take this fight all the way up to Michael in Fifth Heaven? As long as the elites had Michael and his army under their control, nothing in the first four heavens mattered. They considered themselves untouchable.

Lucifer’s rebellion greatly increased in size and strength after Kushiel’s army joined them. Sachiel knew if he died, the army of Second Heaven may also join Lucifer out of fear and desperation. Lucifer would gladly take them in, and turn his attention to Third Heaven afterwards. The rebellion would only continue to grow from there.

An estimated 150,000 rebels were marching on Second Heaven against Sachiel’s army of 600,000 – half of which were unreliable volunteers. That ratio was less than comforting when he knew that Lucifer’s men were capable of killing at least 10 to 1. That’s why Sachiel was resorting to unusual military tactics.

“Archangel Sachiel, we’ve arranged the statues as you ordered. They are now within the seven walls, closely surrounding the capital city. They do look like guardian angels after all.” His top general Remiel reported to him.

“Any volunteer soldiers not prepared to fight on the front lines must be ready to lift those statues into battle. Traitors are to be shot. I’ll leave it to you to enforce this. I will be fighting with the Vanguard.”

“Isn’t that too risky? What if something happens to you?”

“You’re second-in-command. You’ll figure it out.” Sachiel smiled at her.

Archangel Sachiel was pacing around the outermost walls of the capital, watching his angelic army dig trenches to prepare for battle. If Archangel Sachiel stopped the rebellion now, perhaps he would get a promoted to a higher heaven, and his family could move to a better place. If he failed however, his pride would not let him continue to live.

This had to be a test of his faith in God.

 

Chapter 6, The Siege of Second Heaven

When Archangel Sachiel flew over the capital city and its seven surrounding walls, he saw that few of his volunteer soldiers were willing to risk their lives on the front lines. Most of them remained near the capital. They would rather lift statues many times their size than fight Lucifer’s army. “Lucifer is still outnumbered,” he thought to himself.

The Seraphim statues were about the size of 7 story buildings, and could crush a thousand angels if dropped. From a distance they looked alive, especially through the mirage of heat. Sachiel was hoping their terrifying appearance would scare away Lucifer’s less committed followers, allowing his Vanguard to pick away at the rest. Sachiel wanted to capture Lucifer alive for his own personal glory.

Sachiel had met each of the seven leaders of First Heaven through Archangel Kushiel. Each were ruthless tyrants who held their territories through power and intimidation. Who was this Lucifer, this lone angel who was capable of bringing them together?

Sachiel refused to believe the rumor that Lucifer could control the Ophanim. If that were true, why didn’t he enter Second Heaven with them? The notion that one could communicate with the Ophanim was absurd. Everyone knew they were monsters.

Lucifer continued capturing town after town as he headed northward out of First Heaven. 21 days after entering Second Heaven, Lucifer reach the walls that surrounded the capital city. By then, he controlled 12 of the 17 major cities in the southern region. He took food and resources from the cities in order to replenish his army before marching on the capital.

Azazel watched it all from her hill just above the forest. Zachariel’s necklace rested on her bosom.

Archangel Sachiel received a letter from Lucifer that night, delivered by a dying messenger who had his wings ripped off. With her dying breath, the messenger read the letter aloud.

“Surrender tonight, or die by my hands tomorrow. It’s your choice, Sachiel. Signed, Lucifer…” the dying voice lent extra gravity to the words. The messenger collapsed, and Sachiel ran to her. Ordinary angels can’t read, he thought. Who was this? He turned the body over.

It was Remiel, his highest general and his closest friend. Sachiel could hardly recognize her, from her disfigured face and her missing wings. He clutched her body as he felt the life fading from her. Sachiel, the archangel with a heart of stone, begin to cry bitterly.

Unlike most angels, he knew the secret only archangels could know – that God never listens to prayers. There was no point in asking God to save her life. God had washed His hands clean of angels long ago, and left them to rule over themselves.

“Sachiel,” Remiel manage to speak. “Don’t surrender…” Those were her final words.

Before, Sachiel wanted to capture Lucifer for honor and fame. Now he only wanted revenge.

Lucifer’s army began their attack during the twilight of dawn. Sachiel’s Vanguard was driven back after several hours of bloody hand-to-hand combat. As their center began to weaken, Lucifer’s army drove a battering ram through the outermost wall. The Vanguard on both sides retreated as more battering rams followed.

Sachiel couldn’t take to the sky for fear of archers, but he knew at this rate they would reach the capital before nightfall. He left with a small group and retreated to the capital, where he commanded the volunteer army to lift the Seraphim statues. The horrifying statues slowly hovered off the ground and headed toward the battlefield. Sachiel returned to the front lines.

Lucifer’s army became confused, and many of them began to retreat. For a moment it seemed like Satchel’s plan was working flawlessly. His Vanguard regrouped and begin to push back the remaining rebels. Lucifer’s generals ordered them to fall back. The Vanguard pushed forward and continued fighting Lucifer’s army, as the monstrous statues slowly approached behind them.

Sachiel knew once the statues arrived their psychological effect would wear off and Lucifer’s army would quickly reorganize themselves. It was imperative to kill as many rebel angels as possible during this brief window of time. Sachiel was determined to find Lucifer and kill him. Where was this brave leader of the rebel angels? Was he fighting out front or giving orders from a safer place?

Azazel continued watching the battle from her vantage point on the hill. She knew exactly what those statues were, and how Archangel Sachiel was using them. She watched angels killing other angels on a scale she had never seen before, and felt sick. She couldn’t stand it anymore. She closed her eyes and began to cry out the call of the Ophanim.

Soon, a countless number of Ophanim rose up from behind her and began approaching the battlefield. Their appearance was as starling to Sachiel’s army as the Seraphim statues were to Lucifer’s army. Soon, the Western sky was full of many-eyed ones, all staring down upon the carnage.

Lucifer’s army became reinvigorated and charged through the Vanguard, which had completely lost formation. Many flew straight toward the statues, which began dropping out of the sky as Sachiel’s volunteer army fled in fear. The statues fell on the city’s inner walls, carving a direct path for Lucifer’s army to enter.

In the middle of all this chaos, Lucifer stopped fighting to listen to Azazel sing, and identified the melody. “The Song of Sandalphon…” he smiled. He sheathed his sword as he watched Azazel singing from the hill. Archangel Sachiel saw him standing there, smiling serenely while covered in blood. “It’s him,” he said aloud. He moved swiftly toward him. He was certain his blade would connect with Lucifer’s chest before he even noticed.

He was wrong. He felt his torso being punctured several times before he even saw Lucifer’s sword, now covered with his blood. He fell at Lucifer’s feet.

“You must be Archangel Sachiel. How did you know it was me?” Lucifer smiled as he lifted his face up from the ground.

Sachiel looked at his face and knew. It was because he was beautiful. He coughed up blood and spit in Lucifer’s face. “You killed my best friend…” Satchel could barely manage a whisper. “She died without wings because of you, you monster…”

Lucifer smiled again. “Aw, thank you for reminding me. I’ll need to take your wings to send to the next archangel.” He callously ripped off Archangel Sachiel’s wings and left him choking on his own blood. “You should have surrendered like the coward you really are.” Lucifer laughed as he left. He had no compassion for angels who followed their leaders without question.

He looked back up the hill when he realized the singing had stopped. That mysterious red-haired girl was gone.

Lucifer’s army marched through the broken walls and into the capital, which they raided throughout the night. Once the remaining soldiers were captured or killed, Lucifer left his seven generals to pillage the capital at their leisure. He departed to find the girl who summoned the Ophanim and saved them from a bloody defeat.

Azazel wandered along the outskirts of the forest, now ostracized by her friends and family for helping Lucifer defeat Archangel Sachiel. Her tribe suffered from terrible visions of the battle as a result of summoning the many-eyed ones. She knew she had to get as far away from home as possible, or else her tribe might kill her to protect their forbidden knowledge.

She could feel the watchful eyes of the Ophanim bearing down on her, and she knew she didn’t have long to escape. If Zachariel were still alive, they could have run away together. She clutched the necklace in her hand until it drew blood.

Just then, she saw a speck of light in the sky.

“Lucifer!” Azazel cried out. She had been praying to see him all night long. She ran toward him and embraced him.

“Who are you?” Lucifer’s eyes shimmered. He was young and beautiful.

“My name is Azazel… I’m running away from home. My tribe wants to kill me for helping you.”

“Indeed. You saved my army. Now even more angels will die when I reach Third Heaven. Why did you help me?”

“Aren’t you going to overthrow the Cherubim and free the angels? If so, then it will be worth it. I want to help you free of the angels from the Cherubim… and from God.”

“God too? That might be difficult.” Lucifer laughed.

“Let me swear my eternal allegiance to you. I can lead the many-eyed ones in battle for you. I can help you reach the Throne of God, and place yourself even higher. All I ask is that you take me with you.” Azazel pleaded.

“Aren’t you a bit young to be going into battle?” He mused.

“I won’t be young forever.” Azazel bit her lip, and brought herself closer to him.

As they embraced, they could hear the Song of Sandalphon being sung by someone in the distance. “Who’s singing?” Lucifer asked.

Suddenly, lightning struck the ground beside them, knocking them both to the ground. The image of Sandalphon, father of the Ophanim, appeared in the sky. Azazel recoiled at his hideous form – his shape-shifting face and body seemed to be made of boiling liquid. The many-eyed ones rose up and surrounded the hillside. Sandalphon addressed them both.

“Lucifer, you’ve corrupted enough angels in your quest for justice. Leave this one alone. Your mission is to defeat the Cherubim, not God. Azazel, your purpose is here with the many-eyed ones, who have watched over your family for generations. This is where you belong. If you leave this place, I will cease to protect your family and they will perish.”

Azazel stared at the horrifying sight of Sandalphon’s true form and trembled. She grabbed Lucifer’s hand and tried to yell back at him, but no voice emerged from her throat. She buried her face in Lucifer’s shoulder to block out the hideous vision.

“Sounds like the girl has spoken, old man.” Lucifer called out to Sandalphon. “You know, it’s creepy to be watched by someone all the time. Are you trying to play God?”

“I see everything, Lucifer and Azazel. I can even predict the future. And your future is very bleak without my support.” Sandalphon’s image began to fade. “Don’t betray me Lucifer, or you will regret it.”

“Wait… Sandalphon! Where are you?” Lucifer called out to him. But he was already gone.

Azazel lifted her face up to view the clear sky. “So that was the father of the Ophanim? How could such beautiful creatures be created by such a monster?”

“The same could be said for God or Metatron.” Lucifer paused. “You think the many-eyed ones are beautiful? Most angels would disagree with you.”

She noticed Lucifer’s robes were damp from her tears, and apologized profusely. She felt him pull her closer, and he kissed her on the lips. He knew Sandalphon was watching, and he did not care. For the first time he felt fate or destiny, or some power even higher than God, had brought them together. And if he was truly going to overthrow God, he had to believe in that power.

“Do you want me to place my throne higher than God’s? Fine, I accept your challenge. But only if you swear to become my young bride. Do you still wish to pledge your eternal allegiance to me, Azazel?”

“Yes, my Lord.”

He lifted her into his arms, and carried her into the sky. And when they arrived at the capital, he announced the young 13 year old was engaged to be his bride.

Then he kissed her again on the lips. In front of God, Sandalphon, and everyone.

 

Written: May-July 2016
Released: July 5, 2016

<- The Birth of Lucifer (Part I)


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