++]D S S Atkinson
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Text copyright © 2016 D S S Atkinson
This is a work of fiction
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I have watched over the Garden to the east of Hermon for as long as I can, but it is no longer safe to stay here. The nephilim encroach ever closer upon the boundaries raised to enclose the humanoid subjects. I know not how they found this paradise, lost in a tranquil environment free from the polluted minds of the other humanoids. This bastion was once so safe from these dreadful abominations my own hand has brought forth.
The last of the watchers stationed here are all long dead, the ghastly giants rage unchecked across Eden’s eastern landmass in an unending lust to destroy the humanoids who long ago subjected them to a slavery and cruelty I did not know animals were capable of.
These monsters, at a time so alike to the first humanoids our experiments brought life to, have regressed beyond any sense of conscience – The seraphim breathed heavily, his pale skin perspiring within a pod laying beneath Eden’s sea. He shook his head, holding his flat facial features in webbed hands. Azazel looked out through the translucent interior of his craft, through glowing silver eyes, beyond the clear waters up at the endless sky of Eden, and wept.
Heaven, it is clear to me now you might never return to Eden. Such thoughts have troubled me for many hundreds of this world’s years. Under these most recent circumstances I have resolved to lead the Children of Eve, the humanoids I still harbour in the Garden, to Mount Hermon, to hide, and wait there for as long as they can for your return. If we survive the journey I hope they might make an attempt at life upon this world we have ravaged, if not, I will make effort to warn you.
Flashes of shimmering light glanced from the soft ocean gulf’s surface. The earliest protrusion of sunlight sundered the horizon separating the water’s endless expanse and the black night sky. Meters off shore a dim bronze dome broke the sea’s calm, causing the faintest circle of ripples to expand away from the source.
Slowly a figure rose up from the deep, silently wading its way in the darkness towards land. The ocean did little to deter the being’s speed as it strode rapidly into the shallows, growing with each step.
Its slender figure stood over nine feet, moving with haste towards shore. Highlighted only by a silhouette of light, the bronze covered bipedal began its ascent towards the tree line beyond an empty golden beach.
An eerie paranoia gripped the towering entity as he stepped through the forest’s undergrowth, though his stern facial features remained hidden beneath the reflective visor of a suit that granted life support in an atmosphere alien to his own. There were things in this land now, gruesome beasts his actions alone were responsible for, causing an ever deepening regret to sink his brilliant mind into doubts and fears that he knew not until walking upon these lands.
From the spine of his suit a mass of delicate looking tentacles sprawled out about him, spreading like the winged species’ bones of this world did in flight. From a number of stillot tips faint lights exposed the forest floor enabling Azazel vision in the darkness, yet he did not wish to highlight himself also to anything that might be watching.
He trod lightly across the foliage and dirt tracks, unconsciously tracing a route he had taken for hundreds of years. The thriving trees and undergrowth had once flourished with an abundance of wildlife, but all that changed when the humanoids began to spread across Eden’s untouched habitats, harvesting all that was living in a selfish frenzy of greed and dominance.
Through an endless maze of ever thickening flora and inclining pathways the seraphim stealthily meandered. In these most recent times it had become not so much an urge to study the bipedal species his kind had produced, as much to know they were still safe.
Gracefully bounding up a final verge an explosion of crackling flora forced the seraphim upon his knees, erratically glancing in random directions he fell silent attempting to gauge from which direction the disturbance travelled. All about him thickets began to crunch and rustle, heavy grunts and horrific moans filled the air. He felt his heart rate begin to escalate and a feeling of uncontrollable shaking consume his body. Unaccustomed to the overwhelming grip of panic nor adrenaline pulsating through his system, the slender being shuddered hysterically. He cowered in silence beneath his reflective visor.
Slowly, as quietly as he could, he slid back down the verge reaching behind his back, and with a quivering hand plucked a stillot from his right shoulder blade. The rod, forged from a metal foreign to Eden, immediately stiffened becoming straight, its tip shifting to form a deadly point. The shaft of the device began to sear a deepening red appearing ready to burst to flames at any moment.
Azazel crouched, listening to the stampede as it crashed through the woodlands. It quickly became obvious there was no aim to their pursuit yet still his heart thundered. He remained hunched upon his knees until he could hear the troop moving off into the still dark morning. Their presence reignited his concerns of what may already be lurking in the garden. You must hurry, Azazel.
His thoughts raced between the fear of coming face to face with one of those foul monsters and the stranded humanoids, what if they are already there? The dreadful idea pushed him onwards, lifting himself up he continued his trek towards the haven, still clutching his stillot tightly. Over hundreds more meters of forest ground he gaited, forcing his way through dense thickets and crawling under sprawling brambles which created an almost impenetrable wall. The watcher made barrier was all that separated Azazel’s subjects and the outside world. Lines upon lines of plant life which had grown into a near impervious fortress, accessible, yet not without knowledge, or unimaginable brute force. The idea continued to trouble him as Azazel skilfully weaved through the maze until the trees cleared and a steep decline in terrain spread out before him.
Laying on his front, the bronze entity crawled silently to look down at the last hope for his kind. He made no sound, gazing across a fertile oasis, The Garden, where the first experiments were spawned, the first bipedal beasts of this world mixed with the DNA of Azazel’s species and so a new cycle of life had begun, a breed that could carry the knowledge of the seraphim and preserve and progress all that his race had come to know.
As incredible as it was to watch these beings flourish in the garden, the seraphim knew deep down what they were, and what they were capable of. For the same reasons the rest of the humanoids had been wiped from the face of Eden, forced to flee into underground dwellings and cower for their lives from the nephilim, so too he believed that if this community was released they would make the same mistakes as those who came before them. It was in their nature, yet now here he rest, about to do just that. There is no other choice, Azazel.
He replaced the stillot tip upon his back, standing up. Slowly he began a descent down to the garden where the humanoids interacted innocently, completely oblivious to the world around them, flourishing in a secret community, unaware of what they were, nor their own history. The seraphim sought to explain some things to the humanoids before they began their trek across Eden.
It had been so long since he last interacted with the subjects, he wondered if they would recognise the bronze suits of his people at all. When the first beings were produced here he walked with them, as did the watchers, though upon realising the nature of the humanoids Azazel’s kind stepped back, documenting their progress from afar.
The subjects of the garden remained protected, only the most promising genetics from each batch were kept in its safe confides, all others were released, forced out to fend for themselves, some, Azazel shuddered, escaped.
The slender being shook his head at the thought of all the terrible things he had seen upon this world, making his way through the beautiful garden to find the humanoids. The secluded environment was a haven, abundant in wildlife, rich with colours spanning from the array of trees and flowers. Serene green fields merged seamlessly into outcrops of crimson vegetation and pluming plant life generating a striking image beneath the expanses of bright clear sky above, all brought to life by a river which flowed through the western stretch of the paradise, pulsating the constant sound of running water through the quiet air. How the rest of Eden now paled to this perfect sanctuary.
There were no constructions here, the humanoids knew no danger, they did not understand the natural order of nature, why should they? Azazel thought, they are not natural themselves. His destination, a pod disguised as a tree, placed at the heart of the garden when the watchers first set up the experiments upon Eden. Its artificial flora appeared to flourish all year round, and had since become a place of great curiosity to the humanoids. Azazel had observed their obsession with the tree and knew their community thrived beneath its branches.
Now far beyond the articulated boundaries of the garden, its pastures spread out before Azazel, herds of wild deer stood feeding upon the grasslands while birds of different species perched upon their backs pecking harmlessly to cleanse the mammalian skin of insects. All about him wildlife flourished, both small and large, a hugely different ecosystem to what he had once known upon his home planet. Such beauty, he thought to himself as he strode across the countryside towards a thick woodland.
He knew there was not a great humanoid population within the garden yet he was beginning to grow alarmed for failing to yet see a single subject. With an ever growing anxiety he paced between the quiet flora. Scattered amidst the forest’s trees he at last laid eyes upon his creations dissolving the troubled feelings consuming his innards. At sight of the towering bronze entity the beings immediately fell upon their knees, lowering their heads before the seraphim.
“They have returned!” He heard one of them exclaim, through study of the beings the watchers’ bodysuits deciphered and stored their language, readily translating Azazel’s words to their tongue, and their own to his. “The Adams said you would.”
“Adams?” Azazel stood before the humanoids, intrigued at just how different they looked compared to his own kind, their interbreeding must have brought their DNA back towards the first bipedal species his people modified.
“We can take you to the Adams, they have spoken for generations of beings who once watched over us. Do more come?” A large male kneeled before Azazel, though he would not look upon the seraphim, he continued glaring at the ground. His long black hair fell upon his dark face and shoulders.
“It is just me, please, take me to them.” Although he knew the way, he wished to gather the subjects together as quickly as he could. With a nod, yet still without gazing upon Azazel’s bronze suit, the humanoid turned. His company stood with him and together they began through the garden’s lush undergrowth. They marched for much distance before encroaching upon an open expanse. In the centre of the clearing stood the tree, its undying leaves flooding a spectrum of colours across its artificial branches.
Beneath the structure’s overhanging leaves masses of individuals stood and sat, communing together, yet at sight of Azazel each fell to their knees bowing before the bronze entity.
“Rise, children of Eve” The seraphim spoke immediately, his voice booming from the suit’s headset. “There is little time.”
“Our forefathers told us of beings, all powerful, that came from the sky to teach us the ways of life, have you returned?”
“We are far from all powerful, which of you claims charge over the others here?”
“It is I who is responsible.” An incredibly frail humanoid raised a hand, his white hair extended beyond his waistline. He kneeled again before Azazel who grew impatient.
“Gather your people, Adam, this place is no longer safe.” The frail humanoid nodded, turning to his kin.
“Go to the fields, gather your brothers and sisters, all of them. Go.” The crowd dispersed, heading into the trees towards the pastures of the garden.
“What do you Adams know of your people’s history?”
“Our ancestors have always lived on these lands, I was told stories by the elders, so long ago, of beings that were not of our people, who once stood with us, capable of things our people could not understand. We have lived in these lands since the dawns of time, we are a dynasty.” Azazel shook his head at the male’s words.
“These lands are not what you believe them to be, Adam,” the seraphim gazed upon all present, some appeared fearful, others captivated. You must, Azazel. “Your people must know these things before you leave this place. Listen to me, Adam. Long ago, before the first Adam walked beneath these branches, my own people’s world was upon the verges of death. We searched across great expanses of open space looking for worlds that might sustain life and harbour us. Eventually we stumbled upon a star system that appeared not so dissimilar to our own, and so our vessel, Heaven, was sent upon its way.” Azazel stopped, he looked across the humanoids, it was clear they could not comprehend his words.
“When we first saw this world, it appeared blue and fertile, but it was barren. Frozen. A desolate unforgiving habitat for life, the inhabitants of its lands dwindled. Wherever I looked there was death, some strange things I’ve seen on this world, but never so much death. It appeared the bipedal beasts would survive the last of the icy grip, though before it thawed completely some great shift about its crust flung it back into the death grip. Warm climates were plunged on a whim into the deepest freezes, the gigantic animals of this world flung with the chill into the frost, as though the planet had become displaced. The most logical and intelligent of the beings here failed to overcome rapid change, only the most instinctive survived.
The beings we one day hoped to make communication with fell to the rim of extinction, it was only then we chose to intervene. The most promising of the bipedal species had already fallen to the freezing grip, only the most primitive survived. I would not intervene when there was hope they might support themselves, survive and reproduce. But they perished, and with it almost all hope for my people. It was then the intervention began.”
“Intervention?” The aging male looked up at Azazel for the first time, staring at his reflection in the seraphim’s visor.
“Our genes were used to fertilise a number of bipedal subjects, the resulting offspring were your ancestors.” The ancient male slowly shook his head, he looked lost. “Your kind was born from the modification of other species upon this world, Adam.”
“Genes? I don’t understand.”
“What makes you who you are, and what makes me who I am, and all my people who they are, is the same, Adam. Our blood shares something very important, all that differs is the host species we were born from. We were created, Adam, both you and I. Your people did not exist until mine arrived here, but now you do, and you are more important than you will ever know. It is for this reason we must leave this place.” The old male stood in silence for some moments. He stared into Azazel’s visor, stricken in confusion.
“So there truly was a first Adam,” he mumbled to himself before raising his voice. “Who was Eve?” The seraphim was impressed at how well the subject’s lineage had been passed down through the generations.
“We implanted the first born male’s seed, Adam, into the first born female. Eve was the primary host in this garden, from her your bloodline stemmed. Her first born lived for hundreds of Eden’s years, prolonged by the DNA of my own kind, yet, since then, something has occurred that I cannot explain. Your species is no longer born from a host, each multiplication has regressed you from your purest form. Your people now age as the host species of bipedals we first formed you from does.” The seraphim could see his words were lost upon the humanoids, why should they understand your words, Azazel? You come from the stars, they exist in a garden.
“Then why must we run?” The question immediately enveloped Azazel in guilt and regret.
“When we first began to alter the genetics of species upon this planet, I intertwined my own tissues with those of the first female subject, I know not what I thought I would accomplish through these actions, her name was Lilith, she was intended to spawn the first host, the original modification, so bright and strong minded she became, yet she fled from the garden. Her primal instincts were still strong, and so she began to interbreed with the bipedal species we produced her from, the resulting offspring became what we watchers now know as the nephilim.”
“And these, nephilim, wish harm upon my children?”
“They seek to be rid of all humanoids, Adam. I have observed a giant out there, somewhere, enclosing upon the garden with its kind, a behemoth older than any who stand upon this world. The first seed of Lilith,” the seraphim paused for a moment, gripped by dark memories, “a horrendous thing,” he whispered. Carried upon the wind a wild scream burst the quiet atmosphere. An alarming chorus of moans and cries followed but were quickly dulled by a bloodthirsty bellow.
“Help us!” Azazel shuddered as his body repulsed with dread once more. He immediately grasped a stillot tip from his back gazing manically through his visor towards the sounds of panic. The screams immediately caused a wave of terror to spread through the humanoids around him, many of them ran to Azazel, others dispersed to the trees.
“Stay together!” The seraphim yelled at Adam’s kin, desperate to flee himself, yet he could not for the sake of his kind’s future. “Gather! We must follow the river that flows through this land north, out of the garden.” It was not enough to stop some disappearing, though the majority gathered to Azazel as the screams grew louder, some of them being drowned out, by what the seraphim shuddered to imagine. “Go, travel west, and follow the river north, it will lead us out of the garden. I will shepherd the others as they come.”
“There is no time to explain! Follow the water! I will meet you.” Adam nodded at the towering bronze entity, as did his people, together they hurried into the forest surrounding the pod. The seraphim did not watch them go, his focus remained upon the trees from which the screams and cries continued to drown the air around him. He heard the footsteps, the vegetation beneath the tree bark coming alive, and amongst the light pads of humanoid steps the almighty thuds and grunts of what he had dreaded coming into contact with for so long.
Bursting from the entangling tree line an enormous gangly entity slobbered from its slack jaw. Its bulging muscles throbbed beneath pale skin, hurtling towards Azazel the deformed monstrosity grunted wildly. Behind the being masses of humanoids began to appear, fleeing from further hollers and calls from the woods.
Before Azazel could react the bloodthirsty giant rushed at him causing the seraphim to instinctively raise his arms to protect himself. Immediately the stillots of his bodysuit came alive, enclosing about him in the same motion his arms attempted to, his suit detected his stress and came alive. The slavering beast coursed into the slender bronze being throwing him meters backwards through the air, with a whimper Azazel crashed violently into the ground, as he fell his head struck the artificial tree amidst the woodland. The seraphim attempted to level himself, moaning in pain he grasped daintily at the stillot in his hand.
The brilliant being watched in horror as the abomination switched course, it grabbed a fleeing humanoid lifting it cleanly from the ground and without hesitance shook violently at its neck silencing the screaming prey. Another was bounded upon as they scattered without hope in any direction.
“Stay together!” Azazel called to his subjects without success, he felt flustered beneath his suit, struggling to breathe for the pain that wracked him. With an explosion of branches another huge beast burst from the foliage. It roared, glancing all about at the fleeing humanoids though the giant’s attention was suddenly caught upon Azazel.
It charged the seraphim who now rest slouched against the disguised pod. He breathed awkwardly, holding his ribs in pain with his spare hand. Noticing the nephilim that rushed towards him the seraphim gripped his stillot firmly, the rod became rigid, burning alight with a furious flare. All there was time for was to stand up straight before the monster was upon him, it lunged with a feral grunt colliding into both the bronze entity and the tree. With an agonizing squeal the monstrosity recoiled bounding about the open space with flailing arms, Azazel huffed, glaring at the searing rod which had become embedded deep in the nephilim’s abdomen. The beast grasped at the stillot scorching its enormous hands as the rod burned it from the inside out.
He watched the nephilim fall limply to the floor, the flaming stillot still embedded deep in the being’s body. There was no time to retrieve the weapon, for a brief moment Azazel attempted to stabilize himself. The first of the beasts had been lured by humanoid screams back away into the forest ignoring the majority which now returned to Azazel’s side.
“More come.” A humanoid whimpered, Azazel nodded, breathing awkwardly, his ribs throbbed in agony, “come,” the humanoid male helped the seraphim to his feet yet struggled to support him for the entity’s sheer size. The rest of his suit’s stillots fell limply from his back, the seraphim could feel the last of his suit’s life support failing as his intense breathing drained its resources.
“We must travel west, to the river flowing through this land, there we will meet the Adams, we will leave the garden.” The humanoid nodded without question. He and many others helped carry Azazel through the undergrowth. The seraphim glanced back, the blazing rod which remained embedded inside the nephilim’s corpse had set the vegetation around it alight, the land surrounding the artificial tree began to burn spilling flames wildly up and outwards. Azazel could not contain his sadness, he blubbered beneath his life suit at the sight of all he had built coming to such a horrific end. It will soon be dead. Struggling to breathe the seraphim and his humanoid followers began their trek west, ushered on by the sound of rampant cries and crunching flora far in the distance.
Together they dragged the seraphim with haste far into the woodland and beyond towards a small open pasture, here the waterway cut through the garden, formed from four conjoining rivers which flowed from Eden’s mainland down to the ocean’s gulf. “We must cross the river,” the seraphim panted, “it will deter our scent.” Without hesitance the subjects coursed forth down the river bank, still dragging Azazel between them. They heaved him through the waterway and began to follow the river bank to the outskirts of the garden.
The seraphim felt numb, he felt his conscience fading with each limp step. Azazel recalled his first sights of Eden from so high above its beautiful landscapes, before his kind had landed and ravaged its organic life forms. “We should never have intervened.” He whispered to himself beneath his protective suit. For much time the brilliant entity felt his conscience fade in and out, scarcely being able to stabilise himself whilst his humanoid creations dragged him north towards the garden’s boundaries.
“I see the Adams!” At last a subject yelled out with excitement. The words immediately dissolved some deep regrets consuming Azazel despite his delirious state, perhaps there is still hope. The groups conjoined at the fringes of the sanctuary where a colossal wall of intertwining thickets and towering tree bark blockaded the humanoids in, keeping them safe from the dangers of the outside world.
“Where do we go from here?” Adam spoke to Azazel, looking into his reflective visor, still appearing captivated by the slender bronze entity. Leaning against his humanoid companions the seraphim pointed down at the river, where it flowed beneath the garden’s entwining barricades.
“We must follow the water beneath the brambles,” as Azazel spoke a chorus of terrifying groans and wails filled the air, scarcely visible, though growing with each moment a number of beings advanced upon the horizon. Past them a tower of black smoke consumed the sky, doubtlessly from the fire that spread around the pod at the garden’s heart.
“They’re coming!” Azazel had little time to ponder on what could have been avoided if he had acted sooner.
“Do not fear,” the seraphim spoke to all present. “Listen to me, the river water is not deep, travel beneath the foliage, there are air gaps along the way. Adam, remember these things I tell you. Follow this river until it separates into four. Do not wait for me. One will flow east, another west, two will flow north. Follow the north west river, do not stop until you have reached its most western stretch. You will know you have for it will take another sharp turn north. From there travel south west until you reach a mountain range, and when you arrive, ascend the mountain until you find a cavern, inside is a seal to enclose yourselves from within. Be sure you find this cavern, humanoids, for the nephilim will be relentless in their pursuit. Remain there until my people return. They will return, Adam, they will know where you reside.” Another chorus of grunts thundered into the air, the ghastly beasts were now clearly visible. “Go, be safe, I will be behind you. I will be watching over you, Adam.” The bipedal subjects fled with haste, delving into the water they each disappeared beneath the garden’s walls.
The seraphim retrieved a second stillot from his back, he clutched at the device again causing it to come alive with an enveloping inferno. The towering bronze entity thrust the blade down into the vegetation at the base of the watcher made enclosure, it’s aged wood caught alight with ease spreading across the garden’s interior barricades at tremendous speeds. It was all he could think of that might deter the monster’s endless pursuit. Without hesitance he limped down the steep bank and delved beneath the river water.
Absent of coherent thought he swam, barely concentrating for the lightness that consumed his mind. The water relieved his aches as he became weightless, bringing a moment of serenity to his troubles. He coursed through the river, feeling his suit drain with each weak breath he took, until the brambles above gave way to light and the stream’s banks became visible. The seraphim crawled out of the water struggling to pull himself up the muddy verge onto a desolate plateau. The planet appeared lifeless outside of the garden.
Resting upon hands and knees he glared north, Heaven, when do you return? He mumbled, watching his subjects disappear beyond the horizon, urgently he spoke into his headset, transmitting his words to a communication satellite orbiting Eden. The nephilim rebel against us, they are too strong.
An abrupt splash and enraged roar drew Azazel’s attention back to the garden’s walls. He released a deep sigh as one of the abominations burst from the river water beneath the enclosing vegetation. It screamed wildly for the fire within the garden had clearly singed much of its skin, though it did not stop the beast scrambling up the river bank towards Azazel with bloodlust in its eyes. Before Azazel could react the monster careered into him, hurling him across the floor. The seraphim collapsed into the dirt with a cloud of debris, his fears no longer prominent in his mind, a haze began to swamp his vision as he felt the last of his suit’s support give out. The nephilim are free, I could not stop them. He sent his final signal to the ark with light breaths, bracing himself for the gargantuan monster that charged him down once more.
1256 Eden years later
Amidst the vacuum of space a titanic vessel rest suspended. Beyond its obsidian textured hull two figures enclosed upon an artefact, their bodies each enveloped in metallic suits. A deep static hum distorted the entities’ senses. Silently they drifted into the ark’s open chamber, its dim bronze interior fully illuminated by the burning star at the heart of the solar system.
I could not stop them. The scarcely distinguishable signal funnelled through Samyaza’s headset. Some desperate words echoed before falling to silence. “Be careful, commander.” Tamiel whispered in her tongue, drifting wearily into the satellite’s heart. Samyaza looked back, briefly, though her face was hidden by a reflective visor.
A quill of independent tendrils pluming from the spines of their suits explored the furthest corners of the cavernous structure’s interior. Again the static reverberated. Heaven, when do you return? The nephilim rebel against us, they are too strong. The resonance of the voice faded for some moments before returning. The nephilim are free, I could not stop them.
“Azazel?” Samyaza nodded slowly at her friend, remaining silent. The calm ambience of space returned before the message crackled again. Together the females drifted deeper into the ark’s bowels, coursing towards its midst and the source of the relaying message. At the satellite’s heart a spherical chamber opened out. The darkness within gave way to light as sensors registered the commander’s presence.
“Heaven, this is Samyaza, we are in the communication chamber.”
“Have you made contact?” A clear voice immediately sounded into her eardrums, Tamiel joined her commander in the sphere and together they looked over the small communication device. Upon it a blank panel lay dormant, at Samyaza’s touch some symbols lit up. “Yaza? Is there contact?” The females stared at the digits, frozen in confusion.
“How can this be?” Tamiel whispered.
“This is Heaven, Samyaza? Tamiel?” With a press upon the panel the message was relayed to her people. From the static, in the background, an erratic voice yelled out.
“We must hurry! He may still live!”
“No,” Samyaza said, “he died long ago.”
“His distress signal faded over a thousand years ago, Zebub. The ark has been transmitting his final message.” Tamiel answered Heaven, for her commander was stricken.
Heaven was quiet.
“What will you have us do, Zebub?” Samyaza said, drearily.
“The ark is dangerously close to falling into Eden’s atmosphere, if we lose it, we might never understand what has happened here. Seraphim Yahweh orders the ark be taken down to Eden’s surface to extract the data and search for possible survivors. You may return to Heaven, commander.” What she had come to know as home fell dead on her ears, yet Azazel’s haunting voice continued to trouble her mind. The nephilim are free. I could not stop them. It sounded as though his words were uttered with his last breath.
Samyaza shivered and signalled Tamiel to leave the ark. They would return in probes to guide the structure down through Eden’s ozone. The satellite’s severe negative orbit had puzzled the commander of the watchers upon first sight, but the data within was unexplainable.
“What do you make of this, Yaza?” Tamiel said, mimicking the commander’s movements. Together they floated effortlessly back into deep space. Samyaza shook her head, she looked back once more at Tamiel, reflecting the great blue globe upon the panel of her visor.
“I couldn’t predict, Tam. Someone knows something, the seraphim will find out.”
“I hope so,” her friend replied. Samyaza’s attention was elsewhere. She stared at Eden’s beauty, the first planet her people had come across that harboured genetically similar life forms to her own. A glimpse into the ancient past, and perhaps, a new hope for the future. The prospect of touching down upon its fertile planes stirred her anxieties for Azazel’s message, what’s happened down there?
“Preparing entry.” A voice from Heaven buzzed through her headset, she turned back to face Heaven. The antennae on her back were programmed to guide her into the ship’s boarding depot, a small room protruding from the vessel’s gargantuan hull. With precision, minute combustions of fuel spouted from the modified stillot tips, delicately forcing Samyaza and Tamiel into the open bay. The outer doors sealed once the two were within, and with a potent hiss the room’s atmosphere was stabilised to that of Heaven’s.
“Decompression complete. Opening interior doors.”
“Open.” Silently they slid apart, leading to an empty corridor. Despite the black metals within, lining the floors, walls and ceilings, the ship’s warmth and gravity brought with it a pleasant relief from the barrens of space. Samyaza reached down pressing a release valve upon her thigh, with a light scraping sound her visor shifted apart and fell away from her skull, joining the rest of her suit’s elastic like material. As her helmet shrank away so too did the pluming stillots recoil and rest dormant upon her back.
The watcher’s long hair and bright eyes were a striking silver, a trait constant throughout the entirety of her dwindling species. Her pale skin lay softly about her oval face, her features scarcely protruded from its surface. She smiled at Tamiel whose space suit had also retreated, a warming, reassuring look that her friend knew meant she was hiding some deep troubles within.
Samyaza, report to observatory four. The message came thundering through the ship’s interior. She briefly raised her eyebrows at Tamiel who smiled back.
“I’ll get some rest before we take down the ark.” With those words they went their separate ways, the dense sound of stricken metal clanging away beneath their feet.
The ship’s fourth deck was dedicated to the watchers, Heaven’s researchers. Observatory four was the largest of the rooms, within an enormous lens protruded from above the ship’s bridge, a second lens too extended from the rear of Heaven, from the seraphim’s quarters. For the watchers’ their purpose was to gaze deep into the voids of space, in search of anything that might help them in the preservation of their species. There was a much darker function of the devices too however, when necessary they were weapons of great destruction, capable of things Samyaza cared not to dwell upon.
“Focus on the mainland, starting at the garden.” Entering, she heard Zebub yelling out commands to his assistant.
“Ze -” he raised a stocky arm, interrupting her.
“Look.” All about the dark room transparent screens projected imagery of Eden’s surface. “No signs of life… nothing. But here, upon the mainland, to the south of Hermon.” Samyaza stood in silence, staring at the view.
“Amazing.” She said under her breath. The scope panned to numerous areas across the landscape of Eden, each new co-ordinate revealing evidence of an incredible development of culture and society. Crumbling walls outlined and enclosed the street ways and structures of abandoned dwellings.
“We’ve found two others like this spread far apart, all appear dead. We won’t know if anything remains until we get down there. The humanoids obviously flourished in their own ways before they disappeared. If, they’ve disappeared.”
“And what of these nephilim?” He shrugged without care.
“Probably some beasts kept in captivity.”
“Beasts don’t rebel.” Her peer’s silver eyes shifted to meet hers.
“There’s no signs of life, Yaza. We’ll find out what happened when we land the ark. Heylel asked for you after I’d shown you this, he’s… you know where. By the time you’re back we’ll be ready to launch.” At mention of the seraphim Samyaza’s face flourished with excitement.
“He did? How long did he speak?” Zebub shook his head, looking down at the observatory’s dull interior.
“He was not with us for long.” A crimped smile struggled to spread across her oval face. The room fell quiet for some moments.
“What do you think has happened, Zebub?”
He shook his head resting chubby hands on a bulging gut, “I think something’s gone wrong, commander. Go, see our kin. Return as quick as you can.” She nodded at Zebub, turning to leave the enclosed chamber.
It was a disturbing feeling to know that over a thousand of Eden’s years had passed since she had last seen the planet, yet to her it had been but a few deep sleeps. Her confusion continued to develop as she made her way towards Heaven’s sick bay beneath the seraphim’s command centre. On route she passed through the upper living quarters of Heaven.
An enormous open space covered by a thick dome, transparent from within, its exterior was a highly polished metallic which reflected the undeterred rays of light and radiation travelling at a whim through open space, catching much of the solar radiation distributed across its surface as the ionospheres of planetary bodies did throughout the universe.
The energy caught by its protection was distributed throughout Heaven via a vast generator which stood high above the quarter’s grounds. The throne spread a constantly recycling power source for the means of its population. At the dome’s pinnacle a cylindrical pressure chamber rest from which funeral vessels were launched, high ranking members of Heaven’s crew were placed within death probes upon passing and projected out into the closest star as an honour to their work and dedication to their kind.
The zone was supposed to remind its inhabitants of home, and probably did for some. The green waters and deep red landscapes seen as Heaven roared away from its atmosphere paled in splendour compared to Eden’s bright surface. Samyaza had no interest in remembering what her world had become, nor what she had lost upon it.
Hundreds rest amidst the artificial foliage and flowing liquids, gazing out at the mesmerising view of Eden. The malakhim outnumbered the other sets of her race a hundred fold, making up the vast majority of Heaven’s masses. She pitied the mere sight of these beings, a strand of her species that was oblivious to its own purpose, but more because she knew, that in the darkest circumstances of events upon her home world, they were nothing more than slaves. To the seraphim of her planet, an insignificant means to an end, billions of them were left to perish as Heaven roared away into the cosmos. It was obvious none of them knew of the troubles now facing the watchers, even Samyaza was clueless.
Their set was ruled over by Yahweh, one of Heaven’s three seraphim, a military mind, placed upon the ship for reasons Samyaza was never told. His word was carried by the high-malakhim Michael, who too was a leader in times of war upon Samyaza’s home world. Often did the commander wonder why a space bound vessel launched in the name of research might require an army, it frustrated her that these two individuals, in the absence of Azazel and Heylel, now controlled the actions of the watchers too.
She believed Heylel to be different to the others of his set, in times past he had always been a voice of justice, he brought order from chaos and understood the importance of her species’ objectives upon Eden. It gave some ease to her constant anxieties, despite Azazel being gone, and he, Heylel, her only remaining hope for the success of the watchers’ intervention upon Eden, laying at rest fighting for his life. Since departing from Eden’s orbit the seraphim had fallen into a vicious cycle of unconscious fevers. The watchers feared dearly for the seraphim’s health for he took a personal interest in their affairs, without his backing their set was powerless.
On approach to the sick bay’s door a powerful hum began to echo throughout Heaven’s walkways, a harmonic melody, which came from no particular source, but simply filled the causeway through which Samyaza paced. She greeted passersby frequently, both watchers and malakhim whether she knew them by face or not, for she felt it her duty to acknowledge all, no matter their standing in the eyes of the seraphim.
Heylel’s chamber identified her before she reached it and slid open revealing a pitch black room, its interior identically barren to the rest of the ship. At the midst of the space an enormous platform supported a basin which was itself illuminated by some dim light from above.
“Heylel?” She whispered, approaching the seraphim’s resting place with gentle steps. He lay dormant. His eyes open, yet lifeless. They had once been brighter than all of his kinds, lit with a burning strength and passion to discover a new strand of life for his people, yet with his failing health, so they had faded to near darkness.
“The sound of this place,” a frail exhalation flared his flat nostrils, “it’s alive.” Samyaza released a quiet stutter of laughter. She moved towards Heylel and rest a hand upon his forehead. Heat surged from the enormous entity’s skin raising her concerns for the seraphim ever greater.
“Eden.” He repeated causing her to smile.
“I hope you stay well, Heylel. Has seraphim Yahweh visited?”
“I have heard his voice, but have not seen his face.” For some moments the huge entity fell quiet. “Perhaps he has lost hope for this set back-” the seraphim winced, his breathing became heavy causing his face to quiver in desperation. The sight plunged Samyaza into despair, she grasped her leader’s arm squeezing it tight.
“You must hold on, Heylel.”
“I am weak, Yaza, I know not why Yahweh does not act, but instead sits silently in his chamber.”
“Have you been informed of our dilemma?”
“I have,” he mumbled, staring upwards.
“Zebub said you wished to see me before we take down the ark.” Heylel’s pale eyes began to fall shut, “stay with me, Heylel. I beg you. Speak to me.”
The slender watcher pressed her small webbed hand against the seraphim’s chest causing the colossal being to shudder. With a struggle he moved his hand beneath hers, and clutching it, pulled her close.
“I fear Someone is watching me, Yaza.” His voice was light for his decrepit state.
“We are all watching you, Heylel.” At her words his breathing deepened, he shook his head slowly.
“No… Something, something is not right.” The giant entity shivered uncontrollably, trying in vain to lift his body.
“Don’t, Heylel. Rest.” The being whimpered as he lay back in his holding bay, still he held Samyaza close.
“Whatever you learn upon Eden, whatever you find in the ark… Keep it amongst the watchers. If I have passed by your return, speak only to those you trust.”
“Heylel?” Tsss, with a pearly substance welling in her tear ducts the commander jumped at the abrupt racket of the sick bay’s door releasing.
Samyaza, report to docking bay, gate four. The message reverberated throughout the room yet her focus remained upon the chamber’s door. For much time she watched yet no one came to the open way.
“They’re watching, Yaza.” Again Heylel wheezed his words to the commander. “Be careful.”
Samyaza, report to docking bay, gate four.
“Go.” The seraphim said, squeezing her hand softly for lack of strength. The commander wiped her eyes and left the room with pace, feeling a sudden grip of confusion, and presence press upon her, as though her every step was known, her every word and action being documented and examined by those who now controlled Heaven.
High above Heaven’s hull and quarters a single being sat gazing out across its home. The seraphim’s command centre rest at the pinnacle of the ship’s halls granting an undeterred view of the magnificent structure which coursed silently through space’s expanse.
Four stout limbs protruded from Heaven’s obsidian hull, the gates allowed leave and access to smaller crafts from docking bays. The vast majority of its malakhim inhabitants dwelt within the ship’s bowels, at its rear was an array of depots and facilities in which its population could live some sort of existence which might have resembled something they once knew. The protective dome which rest at the midst, covering Heaven’s living quarters, gave it the appearance of a gigantic shelled beast, floating gracefully through an infinite ocean without aim.
Extending higher than any other station, at the rear of the ship was the seraphim’s chamber, from within a constant surveillance could be made of every space throughout Heaven. The entity observed its people living their oblivious lives, it looked over them as they rejoiced within the vessel’s upper quarters, as the watchers worked away endlessly to find a place in which their kind could produce themselves a future. However this world is not it. Their experiments are detrimental to our own survival. They will have this crude and unintelligible species replace us by integrating our sets’ genes into their own, and see their own kind die to give rise to another. It is sacrilege. This motion combusted in his mind at all moments.
His thoughts were sprawled across holographic screens all about him, contemplating the things he had seen upon his home world, the same mistakes cannot be made. The enormous entity had witnessed the entirety of a depleted world grown and break as Heaven fled its imminent death. This world will fall as our own did, it will be wasted, and perhaps another chance never discovered. The malakhim will not be what they were, they are my responsibility, my kin. I will see them suffer no more. The masses will not kneel to the few.
The figure’s lone glare became fixed upon the great blue sphere beyond Heaven’s protective dome. Such potential cannot be thrown away, such crude creations cannot be left to run rampant across this pristine haven. The abolition of these experiments will be the first stepping stone to allowing my own species a fertile ecosystem to develop as they were intended to, without the corruption and wickedness forced upon all without choice by those who came before us.
I have sought those of influence over their peers who I am certain cannot be swayed to my cause, they will be discarded, for the greater good, not just for my kind, but for this world upon which we are about to inhabit. Heaven, forgive me, though know that these actions are committed so that all of us may live, not merely those few who believe themselves just, and worthy of such a gift.
It was not until he witnessed Samyaza leave the sick bay that the room was emptied of words and imagery. He stood, stepping through a small doorway into an open space, it carried him rapidly down, far into the ship’s bowels, keeping him from the crowds of his vessel, away from the unrest which was stirring Heaven’s watchers.
Coming to a halt it opened out into a black room. From here the entity walked on through another sliding doorway and along a brief corridor. Down a flight of steps the being turned to press at some digits at the end of the way. A final concealed chamber was revealed at his touch, in which a minute pale figure sat slouched. Its tiny glowing eyes lifted from its trance, falling upon the giant who entered with a look of relief strewn across his face.
The little body raced across the room to embrace its father who held onto the young one with a loving squeeze. Carrying the child, he paced through another doorway in which a seat rest. There he sat down. Once more, all about him holographic screens appeared, this time however it was not his words which were projected, but images of Mount Hermon upon the surface of Eden.
“Rafaela? Have you received my transmission?” An obsessive fervour gripped his voice. “A sign. An utterance. Anything.” He monitored the screens as he spoke. “Rafaela?” The child he held too turned its head to look at Hermon, though it was too young to understand its father’s desperation. “We will be waiting for you,” he whispered, “both of us.” With those words the room fell dark. The entity slouched back in his seat, clutching his son, embracing the moment of calm for he knew what great upheaval was upon the fast approaching horizon.
A relentless beat of alarms bellowed through Heaven’s hull, guiding those watchers and malakhim who Zebub had organised towards the probe depots at the very base of the ship.
Zebub stood before three formations of individuals, each destined for different coordinates about Eden’s surface. When Samyaza’s people had first touched down the planet looked very different, caught in a deep frost, they sought the lands most likely to support life yet they were far spread about the world’s surface. Each destination was to be searched, only her team was destined for the garden, where the first modifications to the bipedal life forms of Eden had taken place.
“The probes will form a cradle to stabilise the ark upon entry, once we’re through the stratosphere probe two will release to allow for a lighter landing. Probe zero and one will bring the structure down to rest. We need to get it down in one piece, we must know what has become of Azazel and the missing watchers. After release descend to your coordinates and await contact.”
Tamiel and Amazarak both nodded at Samyaza. Each had been chosen to lead crews down to the planet’s surface. Without words said between them the visors of their suits crawled up about their necks enveloping their heads. Their teams followed. Together they made their way towards the probes.
These vessels, ophanim, resting within Heaven’s launch depot were minute compared to the mother ship, but each in their own rights were incredible pieces of technology. Cramped within, they could harbour but seven of the tall individuals.
After the first two hundred watchers had been stationed upon Eden’s surface all those years ago, nearly all the ophanim returned to Heaven so the watchers could begin their surveillance of the planet’s solar system, intended to return in just one hundred of its years to rotate watchers, but now over two thousand had passed.
The reflective tone of each craft shone bronze against the light, in the darkness of the launch depot however they were scarcely distinguishable. Each rest upon four enormous extending legs from which fuel was ejected, a number of other metallic limbs too hung from the crafts’ bellies, designed to perform actions outside from the safety of each vessels’ interior.
The foot of each standing leg was made up of an intricate system of magnets. At each shafts’ base a large magnetised ring was connected via four stout attachments. Each fuel ejector was capped by a magnet of its own, and between them a magnetic disc hovered. The ring pushed the free body towards the leg at unfathomable pressures, which repelled it in turn with an equally as aggressive force.
The ejected fuel from each leg pushed the ophanim away from the free disc granting the vessels accurate manoeuvrability and propulsion in an endless vacuum void of atmospheric pressures. At the bottom of each structure open circular seals gave way to the teams who clambered up into the interiors.
There was barely room to move within, masses of panels and controls, pedals and wires protruded from all about the crafts, forcing the crew members to struggle into their flight positions. Despite the awkward fit, the thought of travelling through space in the ophanim always excited Samyaza. Alike to the dome which protected Heaven’s living quarters from unprotected rays of light, so were the probes built from a similar material. The entirety of the oval shaped vessels were transparent from within, allowing their crews a view of the universe’s infinite anomalies no matter where they chose to look.
Once all were inside Zebub and his crew left the depot to the sound of a colossal shaft opening up in the chamber’s ceiling. It lead into Heaven’s hull, and joined to one of its four gates. These colossal cylinders extended out of the ship’s bowels, out into open space.
“Ready, watchers?” Zebub’s voice filtered through Samyaza’s headset.
“Ready.” Tamiel and Amazarak spoke together, awaiting their commander’s final word.
“Ready.” She said, after a moment.
“Keep contact amongst yourselves from the moment your teams touchdown, and when possible, report back to Heaven, commander.” With those last words Zebub fell silent and the three crafts lifted upwards, propelled by sharp bursts of fuel from their supporting legs. They rose sixty feet up, from there the probes shifted becoming parallel with the gate’s cylindrical opening. Softly, with scarcely visible flares of fuel burning in silence, the ophanim gracefully floated out of Heaven, hurtling towards the ark and Eden’s atmosphere.
Samyaza looked at the satellite, she knew much about space travel, and knew that its exterior, though it had been within this solar system no longer than Heaven, had aged a thousand times over since the watchers first landed upon Eden.
“Ready your positions, captains. Bring them in slow, connect together.” Those in control of navigation steadied and manoeuvred the probes with a delicate precision. Minute jets of flame burst from their appendages, which sprawled all about, stabilising the vessels until they formed a secure triangle about the ark.
In the lonely barrens of space the four solitary objects began to fuse. Masses of tentacles conjoined before slowly lodging themselves to the ark’s bowels, there, the ophanim slowly made their final adjustments.
With nothing but the feeling of metal juddering and locking into place the pilots began a dance of probing metallic rods in efforts to form a single solid construct. “Zero secure,” Samyaza spoke through her headset to those in her crew and with the lightest tremor the crafts fully enclosed upon the ark. The four structures formed a colossal tripod, with Samyaza and Amazarak at its base, holding the ark in an enormous web of limbs, and extending away from them, Tamiel’s ophanim, ready to guide and support the ancient satellite as the teams brought it down through Eden’s unpredictable exosphere.
“One secure, commander.”
“Prepare descent.” Moments after her voice sounded through the crew’s headsets a unison of ejected fuel began to spout violently from the vessel’s free legs.
As one the structure began its approach upon the radiating blue haven. The commander knew the most difficult part of their descent would begin upon entering the planet’s atmosphere. Her crew worked manically at their control panels, adjusting their projection and speeds in a hectic storm of communication between vessels to ensure they worked and moved as one.
Their entry would need to be near perfect for the fragile state of their formation. Samyaza stared in awe at the beautiful dome of aluminous light as their ships began to level with the entry route down to Eden’s surface. The glorious halo emanated with an undying resistance against the ever consuming void of outer space, preventing the relentless vacuum of darkness that had not failed to absorb the life force of every other star in the solar system from ripping the delicate ecosystems of Eden apart. Such a rare specimen this world was, Samyaza could not help but be mesmerized by its beauty.
Her thoughts were abruptly ended as the vacuum of space gave way to Eden’s bustling atmosphere. A thunderous roar engulfed the ophanim and their crews with a spectacular flaring inferno generated from massive friction.
“Brace yourselves.” The commander spoke in her tongue in efforts to calm those inexperienced in orbital entry. As one the structure tore through the planet’s thermosphere to the sight of Eden’s protective halo slowly residing, giving way to the spectrum of light, pouring its deep blue into the skies all about the planet.
Shuddering violently the entangled vessels hurtled deeper into the world’s upper atmosphere. As quickly as the blinding halo resided an endless white landscape revealed itself to the crews, spread out before them, tens of kilometres above Eden’s surface. “What is this, Commander?”
“The weather patterns of this world are carried by condensed vapour, it’s quite harmless.” With those words said the endless white spread was penetrated by the probes, still hurtling at great speeds towards Eden’s surface, their entry route had been stuck to with unparalleled precision. In another quiet moment Samyaza braced her excitement for what she knew was coming, though an unquenchable anxiety too throbbed her insides for the last words Heylel had uttered to her, and what she would discover once the ark was set down. Azazel’s words still haunted her. Before they consumed her mind completely Eden’s clouds cleared, bursting forth the unique spectacle of its landscapes. The sight immediately froze her trail of thought, from so high above its surface the view captivated her.
“It looks like one endless plane.”
“It’s beautiful.” Tamiel whispered, Samyaza herself made no comment, she simply stared down at the green plateaus, injected with flowing blue deltas and immeasurable stretches of vegetation, deserts and icy tundra. Such an incredible diversity of life and environments, brought about and held together by the faintest of chances. So different to her own dying world.
“Begin stabilizing procedure, slow us up, captains.” Together the pods’ free legs began to sprawl all about the ark, throwing colossal spouts of fire into the atmosphere in efforts to gain control of the structure’s descent. “Over Hermon , Tamiel, prepare to disengage.”
“Prepare team!” Samyaza heard her friend command her crew as their destination grew ever closer, surging an excitement and apprehension through Samyaza that she had not felt since first laying eyes upon Eden.
“Coordinates approach, commander.” High above the valleys and mountains of Eden the bronze shuttles roared with a controlled acceleration towards their destination, Mount Hermon, a tactical location rich in natural resources, and concealed enough to prevent the inhabitants of this world discovering that they were merely a project.
Tamiel commanded her crew to ready their craft, the ship’s limbs hastily surrounded the ark, ready to thunder away leaving the remaining ophanim to cradle the satellite down to Eden. In the final moments of slowing the ark’s pace down Tamiel’s probe’s legs burst with a bellow of firepower, ready to catapult her team across the globe. Just before the combined structures came to a complete halt above Hermon, Samyaza gave her final order to Tamiel.
“Release crafts, captain, report when you have touched down at your destination.”
“Fully engage.” A moment of silence passed before Tamiel spoke up once more. “Release contact.” A colossal judder abruptly wracked the vessel’s interior coursing an eruption through the ark and into Samyaza’s ophanim, the sound of cringing metal was heard even through the probe’s fortified exterior. Everything shuddered wildly. Samyaza’s crew ploughed violently into their consoles and against one another screaming in pain and confusion.
“Tam?” Without control the enormous tripod began spinning, plunging down towards Hermon’s rocky outcrops. “Tamiel!”
“Release failed -” A scrambled whimper entered Samyaza’s ears. She hectically tried to stabilise herself yet the trembling crafts span with such force she could not move. Gazing through her probe’s clear interior she could see Tamiel’s ophanim lodged to the ark’s bowels like some enormous gangly dying insect.
“Amazarak!” She could not hide the desperation in her voice for she knew they were careering towards Eden’s surface at a deathly rate. The captain did not reply.
“Prepare evac -” Her crew was thrust upwards crashing in a bundle into the ophanim’s small domed ceiling. With a thunderous screech of straining metal and quaking debris they were thrown back into the craft’s controls. Power hubs flickered briefly before the looming darkness of Eden consumed the vessel’s interior.
Hulking black eyes surveyed the din lighting up Eden’s darkening sky, from amidst towering tree branches a deformed entity stared, drooling, its heavy breathing joined by a crowd of its kin. Masses of huge nostrils flared, sniffing wildly at the air, desperately curious to understand what the anomaly was which now lay scattered, burning upon the mountainside.
Behemoth quivered at a sudden realisation. Another scent was in the air, the ghastly beast thrust branches aside, he roared, charging through the lush thickets tracing the foul stench of his prey. His troop followed, pushing through the flora clumsily causing wildlife to scatter in all directions until a deafening scream broke the night time calm. Each giant paused.
A scuffling in the nearby foliage and the sound of rapid footsteps confirmed the suspicions of Behemoth’s primitive mind. “Masters!” A slobbering mouth blurted out, only to be savagely stricken by the dominant male amongst them. The beast snarled and grunted, unable to prevent its kin rushing from their cover to chase the small bipedal beings fleeing from the tree line.
“Back!” The goliath barked, being forced into the chase, though not for the prey the others pursued, but for the one that had ignored the chain of command. Some of them were shorter and stockier than the others, some gangly and tall, all however towered over the other bipedal species of Eden. The earth trembled beneath their stampeding limbs.
Behemoth watched his target collide with the fleeing prey, their dread ridden screams pulsating an unfamiliar gush of emotions and reactions through his mind and body. The sounds of distress confused him. His primitive instincts overrode the sensation of guilt that he simply could not comprehend. The smallest of the masters was hit and thrown up into the air, another amongst the crowd made an effort to stop the slobbering giant but she was stricken aside.
The largest of them, though puny compared to Behemoth’s brethren, did not turn their back to watch, he fled towards the darkening horizon, running towards the light far away upon the mountain. The thunderous commotion made by the anomaly had since reduced to silence, yet a blazing inferno marked its place on the silent hills of Eden.
The beast that had broken the chain of command lunged upon the child, she screamed before being silenced by a violent shake. Excited the wild mass began to holler, he turned to face his kind, holding the body up to show Behemoth. Its face was a distorted construction of misplaced facial features, gruesome in appearance to those the giants chased. Slaver oozed from its slack jaw as bulging eyes shifted excitedly in efforts to focus upon its company, in a moment of realisation the being’s irises shifted from wild excitement to a suppressed fear.
Before the rest of their prey could be captured Behemoth violently intervened with the pursuit. He ploughed head long into the male which held the young master. In the collision his target was thrown meters away crashing upon its back into the dusty ground causing the land to shake. His prey remained tightly gripped.
Behemoth leapt upon his rival without hesitance, a barrage of gargantuan fists sprayed back and forth between the beasts yet the dominant male was too strong. In a brief moment the struggle was over.
With a wail of dominance Behemoth slammed his victim’s skull into the ground. Despite his target’s sudden lack of life he continued pummelling away at the giant body, relentlessly rendering it unconscious. The horrific being slouched back, breathing heavily. After a number of deep huffs the nephilim pushed himself from the floor with his hands causing the sound of creaking joints to fill the air. With a final act the colossus stomped its foot down upon its competitor’s temple, demonstrating to all in his company the consequences that awaited them should they fail to abide by the dominant male’s rule.
The other enormous forms stood in silence, glaring at the corpse of their kin. Behemoth pulled the small body away from a still clenched fist by its long dark hair. The rest watched him, silently, curiously. He cradled the body, sniffing at the deceased being’s hair. He looked over her face but did not understand why she did not struggle.
“Master,” one of the enormous entities said under its breath. Behemoth looked up slowly, his giant black eyes then shifting to glare out into the darkness. Something was not right, but his primitive brain could not grasp what. He looked back at the girl and grunted quietly before beginning to huff, in a bizarre outburst he lifted the girl high by her ankle before slamming her into the floor. Repeatedly the giant hammered the tiny body into the dirt, all the while his troop grunted and hollered wildly around him.
Once their leader’s display was finished they ripped into the child’s flesh, tearing her apart to remove her limbs and innards. The bloodthirsty animals tussled amongst themselves in a frenzy to get at the body, yet they did not consume the flesh. With desperation the beings fought for possession of stripped bones which were wrenched away from the corpse and held close by those who had won them.
Amidst the turmoil Behemoth stepped back, he eyed a female as she hunched over competing and thrust himself upon her, pinning her face to the ground. She struggled, exciting the dominant male, as she flailed her spindly arms and screamed out at his abrupt movements he thrust away with his endowed genitalia in an excited frenzy immediately capturing the attention of other males in the group. In a sudden twist a furious uproar burst amongst the lesser males. Heavy grunts filled the air as they began to test each other’s strength, pushing and lunging for one another in the excitement of the moment, in efforts to solidify their rank below Behemoth and possibly gain access to mating rights.
The female Behemoth mounted huffed furiously before bucking her hind legs in efforts to deter his actions yet with her violence so he returned the challenge. With a bellow he struck at her neck and head, driving her face into the dust. He began to grunt heavily before a pair of males in the midst of brawling fell into the beast. He immediately released the female and turned to strike out at the others before he flinched. From the mountainside a luminous light burst forth breaking the cover of night. Behemoth squatted, grunting to his companions causing the battling monstrosities to fall quiet and cower. Many of them struggled to deter the brightness from obscuring their vision as they held up deformed hands to cover their eyes.
Behemoth glanced awkwardly at the pulsating glow before it vanished leaving a dark spot in his vision where the light had been. Confused, the giant stood, he pushed through the other nephilim and grasped what remained of the humanoid girl. Her fleshless skull still had strands of hair hanging from the head, it had been left for Behemoth by his kin, by far the most superior part of the trophy. Without looking at the others he trod back towards the tree line, grunting. All of them immediately turned and scattered following their leader towards the flora.
Once amongst the vegetation they calmed. It was quiet here, tranquil, the smell of damp moss hung thick in the air, carried by the faintest breeze which rustled the tree canopies high above. They trekked without formation, following Behemoth through the wilderness. Despite the night’s blackness, broken only by the potent light which had caused an eerie feeling to creep up Behemoth’s spine, the nephilims’ senses and sight were impeccable. They trod fearlessly in their own habitat for they were atop of the food chain here, their greatest danger was themselves.
Deep into the thickets Behemoth continued towards a single destination, where he knew the others of his kind rest. Where they hid in the daylight for an ancient instinct driven into their subconscious, secluded from the masters who they now hunted out of a hatred which too flowed deep in their psyche.
Far below the towering treetops a bustling clamour became apparent. Some way to the south trees shook and a chorus of grunts protruded through a barely distinguishable language, primitive yet quite obvious. Behemoth strode amidst the company of resting nephilim, joining his family in the safety of the dark.
He carried the humanoid skull still, proof to his family and foes he had been successful in his pursuit of the masters. It drew much attention from the band, many of them sniffing at the skinless head causing them to react with excitement. He did not stop his march until he reached an enormous clearing in the woodland’s heart.
There, piled high across meters of grassland lay a mound of skulls and bones. Thousands of scattered skeletons rest about the site, tossed there and left, yet looked over by the animals constantly. Each new bone that was laid upon the pile brought great stimulation to the troop, a justly recognised revenge over the oppression the masters had brought their kind for so long.
The aging giant did not lay his trophy down as he strode past the display, instead he kept on, back into the thickets towards another clearing in which a vast waterhole sunk deep into the forest floor. Surrounding the lake an abundance of wildlife drank. A female deer dipped her head low seemingly unaware of Behemoth’s approach.
The huge monstrosity made no sound as he trod towards her. All about him his kin interacted with one another in almost perfect serenity. Some caressed one another, others lay about in complete relaxation. As Behemoth made his way through them some reached out and touched him reassuringly whilst other large males slunk away into the dark surroundings.
The goliath stepped down by the bank squatting next to the fragile animal, his black spheres fixated upon her with a deep curiosity. He slowly extended an arm, resting a deformed hand upon her head with the lightest touch. The animal’s head abruptly retracted before gazing upon that which touched it, then without hesitance she reached forward sniffing him. She licked the giant’s hand causing a deep huff to exhale from Behemoth’s nose. He kneeled and leant towards the deer, sniffing at her fur, causing the animal to shift with an instinctive paranoia.
In a moment of silence, in the black of the night the two animals inspected each other with a calming knowledge of one another’s intentions. Behemoth looked away from the fauna, down at the water. What little moonlight reached through the canopies above danced his reflection back off the surface. He stared for some moments at his own face, aware that what he saw was no other beast but himself.
The nephilim looked into his own enormous black eyes, he breathed slowly, fixated upon the image. The being lacked its left ear, lost in his pursuit of dominance over the troop he sheltered, his gnarled face worn by hundreds of Eden years and body riddled with aches and pains. What little the being understood was enough to be conscious of his fading strength in an ever increasing troop of rampant males.
Behemoth let the master’s skull down to rest. Without looking away from his reflection he lifted a hand, slowly tracing a scar which encircled the top of his head. His focus upon it raced flashbacks through his mind. Brief images and memories of pain lashed him each time he dwelt upon the ancient wound.
Through the sound of thudding feet and disorder not uncommon amongst his kind a colossal young nephilim burst from the thickets, bounding around the waterhole splashing at the lake surface furiously, the disturbance caused the deer to scamper away into the vegetation along with all other wildlife surrounding the once calm lake.
Behemoth did not acknowledge the display, he appeared mesmerised by his reflection still, kneeling, uninterested in another physical confrontation. He traced his finger along the healed wound. His heart rate throbbed at the recollection of the master’s brutality and torture he and his kind had once been victim to.
The towering young male leapt up the ridge away from the water before bouncing back towards Behemoth, he raced across the river bank edging closer to his aging leader, as he passed by the upstart snatched at the dead humanoid’s skull, ripping it away from the dominant male. He leapt back up the lake’s bank and roared out to those around him.
Behemoth immediately stood erect turning to face the young challenger, yet upon realising the sheer size of the giant withheld his outburst. In these most recent years his dominance had began to weaken for the endless struggle against diminishing time was defeating him, and those waiting in line were beginning to sense it.
The young beast strutted around with confidence as others peered from the trees. A chorus of wails bellowed out from between the towering trunks before other males began to confront one another in excitement. Behemoth watched in frustration, containing his unquenchable lust to charge the offender and kill him for his disrespectful display, yet something in him resisted the urge.
He watched the male, fighting his most instinctive desires, his mind burning with a deep confusion. He could see clearly the scenario that stood before him, he was aware that his strength was not what it once was, yet that was all. Behemoth huffed again with frustration, unable to understand why these uncontrollable feelings overrode his thoughts.
The young competitor strode past a female and mounted her, holding the skull high in the air, he glared at his leader, a direct challenge that could not go unpunished. Behemoth’s chain of primitive thought vanished as an unbridled feeling raged through his body bursting him to life. The aged horror released a ferocious roar, carried far through the dense thickets, causing all those about him to quiver and hide amidst the branches of their surroundings. Even the inexperienced usurper recoiled, releasing the female he held and dropping the humanoid skull. His confidence shattered he made for a tree as Behemoth charged wildly without confidence, a mere display, bluffing in hopes it would be enough.
The giant’s heavy limbs stomped across the forest floor, the only recognisable sound now pounding away in the silent wilderness. He snarled furiously spraying phlegm from his mouth and nostrils, punching the dirt with his colossal limbs as he ran. His competitor squealed with a foul pitch in a sudden realisation that its life was no longer safe.
The usurper reached up effortlessly snapping a thick branch from a tree before turning to face Behemoth yet as quickly as the beast turned so he slumped to his knees in a submissive posture. Behemoth watched the young male huddle into a ball, covering his head with enveloping hands before another dazzling light burst from the black night. Its potency pierced through the forest with ease capturing Behemoth’s attention once more.
Before he reached the young competitor the giant stumbled to a pause, along with all of his kind. He peered out curiously through the tree branches still infuriated inside. The dominant male this time stepped forward towards the light, driven by the adrenaline and anger within. His troop followed. “Masters.” Behemoth snarled.
Masters. They each echoed his words. Together they began through the woods, gazing with an uneasy curiosity at the light, yet they walked with confidence behind their aging leader in pursuit of an unending objective, to rid Eden of those who had savagely forced upon the nephilim a history of torture and death, to see these lands free of the masters.
Whatever you learn upon Eden, keep it amongst the watchers.
Something pulled tight upon her arm causing the ground beneath to feel as though it was being dragged away, commander! An erratic voice thundered through her headset and a pulse of light shed through her closed eyelids. They sprang open dispersing the darkness causing Samyaza to whimper at what she saw. Spread out across the rocky icy landscape of Hermon, imprisoned under the looming mountain’s shadow rest the burning wreck of her fleet.
Below the darkening sky she gazed out daintily, her head still resting upon the ground for a concussion constricted her body. Three mounds of obsidian metal lay sprawling in and out of walls of consuming flame. She flinched at a sudden realisation of the inferno just meters from her feet.
“Commander?” With confusion Samyaza attempted to lift her body from the dirt yet immediately stopped as a splintering pain seized her right arm and leg, she released another muffled moan collapsing back upon the mountainside. “Aid the commander! Help me lift her!” As a partial darkness returned Samyaza felt a number of arms and hands lift her body, carrying it away from the searing heat that had woke her.
They lay her back against a great boulder, yet in her confusion she could not focus upon them until that radiance burst the night sky alight once more. She mumbled into her speaker without coherence.
“Did you speak, commander?”
“What is that light?” She slurred barely distinguishable words.
“A signal, commander, for Tamiel, her ophanim is missing.” A crewmate spoke up hastily.
“Turn it off.”
“Yes, commander.” She knew not where the voices came from, how far apart her crew was nor who was alive.
“Excluding Tamiel’s crew, are there any not accounted for?” The question was met by silence. “Speak.”
“Amazarak’s vessel is pinned between the ark and Hermon, commander. His ophanim cushioned our impact.” The data. Samyaza sat slouched, thinking. “We’ve had no communication from Amazarak.”
“Have you searched his wreck?”
“No, commander, there was no communication.” She looked up at her malakhim and watcher kin, with a struggle she pushed herself up from the ground, standing uneasily before her crew. Once more she looked across the wreckage. Vast streaks of burning fuel lit up the ruined ophanim and ark under Eden’s starlit sky, waves of flame tore across the windy terrain billowing fluctuations of unbearable heat and chills even through her metallic bodysuit. As she stood dazed, gripped in a confusion her eyes wondered up, past the peak of the ark, beyond into the black. It sparkled with a unique beauty that drew her mind away from the present troubles surrounding her.
“I wonder when he last looked up at this view.” Without needing to explain her thoughts the entities joined her gazing upwards, they knew who she spoke of.
“Perhaps he still is, commander.”
“Perhaps.” She whispered under her breath, gazing back down from the sky towards Amazarak’s ophanim. It lay half exposed, crushed under the ark which itself appeared a mere battered heap of metal. “Come, we will search Amazarak’s vessel. There has been no communication from Tamiel?” She sought dearly to know of her friend’s condition.
“No, commander, may I ask why you turned off the signal? It may be her only way of finding us.” The nephilim are free, I could not stop them. Azazel’s words still haunted her thoughts.
“I do not wish to draw unwanted attention, we do not know what conditions the humanoids live in, I do not wish to startle them before we have some understanding of their nature.” Her crew nodded at her words as they traced the burning wreckage, encroaching upon Amazarak’s ophanim with weary steps.
Pinned between the craft’s stillots and the ark, the ophanim’s body was lodged meters above the ground, the entry seal at the vessel’s base remained intact surging an immediate burst of hope into the commander. “Hurry! They may be suffocating inside!” She plucked a stillot from her back, and with her crew following suit the seven of them rushed to the seal, prying at it the team levered and thrust causing the sound of cringing metal to strain in the air. The commander suddenly ceased her actions. “Wait,” she held up a hand to her team who each froze. “Listen.” A barely distinguishable thudding sound repeated from within the ophanim, joined by a chorus of distressed muffled whelps, barely detectable to the watcher’s ears within her bronze suit.
“They are suffocating, commander!” The team frantically pried at the reflective seal attempting to force open the craft, Samyaza began to breathe heavily, feeling the strain her actions were taking upon the life support system of her bodysuit.
“Together!” As she yelled the seal burst away from the ophanim plummeting into Hermon’s rocky facing, Samyaza leapt backward in shock as a number of Amazarak’s crew fell limply through the circular gap crashing to the ground. To Samyaza’s horror the crew’s suits had been shred open by the impact, one of them writhed upon the floor as screams from above filled the air.
“Return the seal!” Another body fell from the craft joining the watchers beneath. A malakhim scrambled to grasp the seal, heaving it up into his arms, with trouble the being strode to the ophanim yet quickly realised the vessel was suspended out of reach, even if the crew could have mustered the strength to replace the seal by hand. “Life support down.” Another whimpering cry called from the open ophanim. Samyaza watched, frozen. Slowly the calls fell quiet. In silence her team stood and stared at the dead bodies.
All about them the fires of their debris continued to burn alight, the bitter winds and searing licks of flame swirled in the air around them and still Samyaza stood, her mind was blank for shock and confusion. I have murdered my own kind. Falling to her knees she extended an arm, lightly resting it upon the leg of one of her deceased crew. For some moments she remained in silence, gripped by guilt, she had dedicated her entire existence to saving her species, now, knowing she had actively destroyed it tore her apart within.
“They knew the dangers of this expedition, commander.” The malakhim who still held the ophanim’s seal spoke through his headset yet Samyaza did not reply. She gazed at the inert features of her deceased kin, staring without control at their faded grey eyes. Each of her crew stood in a circle about the bodies, they knew not how to react. For many moments Samyaza remained slouched, silently glaring.
“We need to search the ark,” at last she spoke up, faintly, “I do not wish their deaths to be for nothing, the communication device may still be intact. Bring me the data cube from my ophanim, Ertael, check the interior of Amazarak’s craft, see what is still functioning.” Her crew immediately dispersed, carefully stepping around the bellowing flames towards their ruined vehicles. As they made way Samyaza herself approached the ark. Her stillots spread apart upon her back, stimulated by her nervous system. The satellite was vastly different in appearance upon Eden, the planet’s gravity forced her to step up uneasily into the vessel’s bowel walls for the entire structure lay upon its side.
“The cube, commander.” She turned, taking the device from her peer. “Do you need assistance?” The watcher shook her head without looking back, aided by her stillots she forced her way into the bronze tinted shell. Her stillots lit up the vast chamber’s interior, it was barely recognisable, Eden’s atmosphere had torn up metals which held it together from within, and as her stillots carried her to the deepest part of the wreck, lighting up the darkness, she noticed the communication chamber’s inner seal had been broken, a small slit parted the doorway.
No. With a struggle she lined the concave bowel’s interior until she stood close enough for her stillots to reach out at the door. The tips pried the seal open with little effort, lifting Samyaza off the ground and placing her in the heart of the small spherical space. To her relief, as her body moved inside the device lit up. She inserted her cube into a small port within the ark, configuring the satellite’s data to transfer into it. “Commander! Come quickly!” Samyaza span about to the sound of a distressed crewmate, extracting Azazel’s data would take some time to complete, she left the cube, returning to Hermon to a hysterical cry coming from the darkness.
The commander clutched her stillot tightly, with her tension the shaft immediately began flowing with a roaring heat. Again the whimpering sound echoed through the air. “Should we turn the signal light back on, commander?”
“Shh.” She raised a hand as a screaming figure burst into the firelight, a humanoid, before she had a moment to react a malakhim leapt forward violently grasping the scrawny being by its throat, at contact three stillots too burst to life from the enormous malakhim’s back gripping the Eden form by its limbs, the devices effortlessly lifted the humanoid up, dangling it upside down causing a thriving look of distress to pulse through its face. “Do not harm it, Zavebe!”
“Commander?” As the humanoid writhed around, held tightly by the stillot tips it continued to yell and cry out.
“Let the language decipher.”
“You believe it speaks a language, commander?” The malakhim who clutched the being did not release his grasp from around its neck.
“Of course, be patient. This is proof the experiments were not a failure. These humanoids may be the last hope for the future of our people. Treat it with care.” At her words the malakhim released his grip from the Eden dweller, his stillots slowly lowered the being back to the ground yet upon its feet touching the floor the humanoid fell to its knees moaning and whispering in anguish. Samyaza stared curiously, its features scarcely resembled her kind at all.
“I thought signs of our DNA would be more prominent.” Together her crew stood looking at the dark skinned humanoid.
“We cannot be certain this was one of the subjects, commander.” Another watcher amongst them spoke to their leader.
“It must be, the primitive bipedals that survived the ice were without language, they were timid, wild.”
“They come… kill.. all…” A light, shaken voice suddenly filled the crew’s visors. Tears streamed down the stranger’s cheeks, his prominent facial features fell lifeless. “They come… they will kill us all… they will kill us all.” Samyaza knelt by the male, placing her slender hand upon his bony shoulder. She looked beyond the humanoid, out into the darkness as he fell quiet, sniffing phlegm through his nose, he looked at the watcher, into the reflective visor that covered her face.
“What comes?” She said softly.
Wiping his nose the startled being looked up at the others of her crew, “the giants.” Azazel’s words immediately poured through Samyaza’s thoughts, she shuddered feeling a searing lick of heat engulfed her bodysuit.
“What are these giants, commander?”
“I don’t know, but I believe Azazel did. What state are the ophanim in?”
“There are fuel reserves in zero, possibly enough to exit Eden’s orbit, but it is severely damaged.”
“Two’s legs are shattered, it is not capable of flight. Its fuel lay all about us. Perhaps, if we can locate Tamiel’s craft, commander…” Her peer trailed off as he relayed the news to his leader. She only nodded, making no sound to give away her growing concerns.
“Somebody keep check on the ark, the sooner we know more about Azazel’s fate the sooner we can understand our situation.”
“Why couldn’t the data be extracted above Eden, commander?”
“The ark was in severe negative orbit when we returned,” she replied, “Yahweh ordered we lower it in case it burned up in the atmosphere before we could gather all of Azazel’s data.” Some of her crew nodded. In silence they each stood, even the humanoid had stopped whimpering, he had merely began to watch the towering bronze entities move about in silence with an ever growing curiosity. Samyaza touched the humanoid’s shoulder once more causing his frail body to jump turning stiff. He looked at her in stricken fear. “Do you have a name?”
“A name?” He murmured.
“What do your people call you?” He shook his head causing her to sigh in frustration. “Then tell me, what do you know of these giants?”
“They hunt us at night,” a sudden gush of water began down the being’s thin face, “they chased me here, they killed my family.” Again he turned, looking out towards the black wilderness. The commander too glanced out at the darkness, she felt her heart rate increasing and a sudden fear grip her. “They will come, they will come.” Hunching hands to knees the being curled up, whimpering quietly.
“Commander,” Ertael’s voice filtered through her headset. “I think Azazel’s data has been stored.”
“Bring it to us, malakhim.” After some moments the bipedal emerged with the cube in his hands. He rest it down upon Hermon in front of Samyaza. She frantically configured the device until pausing for a brief moment. She breathed steadily inside her bronze body suit, anticipating the sound of her leader’s calming voice. “These events took place upon Azazel’s final day here, they are his final messages to the ark.” She pressed a last digit upon the cube, surging the seraphim’s message from so long ago through their headsets.
I have watched over the Garden to the east of Hermon for as long as I can, but it is no longer safe to stay here. As the seraphim’s words filtered into the crew’s ears they each stood motionless. Samyaza struggled to listen to Azazel’s words without feeling hopeless, he sounded so desperate, so dearly in need of his kind, yet there was nothing he could do so long ago, nor she in this moment. Her mind grew more anxious with each new detail he revealed.
He died here alone, but why? Samyaza looked down at the humanoid, he gazed nervously beyond the burning streaks of fuel, away from Mount Hermon’s base into the darkness. Her crew listened carefully as Azazel’s messages came to a close.
Heaven when do you return?.. The nephilim are free, I could not stop them. The message faded, once more his final words began repeating through the watcher’s headsets.
“Turn it off.” A large malakhim nodded, immediately kneeling and terminating the device’s activity. “We will travel to his last spoken coordinates, it is not far from here. Bring the device, we will need to learn everything we can from his logs, and bring the subject with us.” The crew reacted immediately to her orders yet all froze in their tracks as a haunting call bellowed out far away in the darkness.
“It’s them.” The frail humanoid whimpered, falling back upon his knees he began to weep aloud. Samyaza shivered, she glanced briefly about at her crew, relieved her face was hidden by a visor for she knew not if the terror she felt would have been visible.
“Let’s go, the co-ordinates lay a short distance west of here, I will calculate them as we walk, carry the subject if necessary , keep him quiet.” They nodded to her and hastily followed their commander. Samyaza paced quickly across the dark rocky ground, careful to avoid the burning streaks of fuel still raging. Her gaze briefly fell upon her deceased kin laying beneath Amazarak’s ophanim causing another delving feeling of guilt to flood her, joining the building tension that gripped her for dread of what lurked in the wilderness. “Stay close,” she spoke again to her team, inside her visor information lay upon the transparent screen. It kept her route true to the destination she sought. “We are not far.” All about them the mountain’s ever looming presence caused a feeling of imprisonment to trouble the commander. They were exposed with no direction to flee, how she dearly sought to be back in the safety of Heaven.
Away from the heat of her ophanim’s blazing fuel the chilly grip of Eden’s nights could truly be felt, yet the physical strain of traversing the mountainous region kept her pulse strong and her body warm. For several hundred more feet the crew traced entwining walkways and ridges, climbing higher and higher up Hermon’s unforgiving slopes until at last, in a secluded rocky causeway the commander laid eyes upon a natural looking entry into the mountainside.
“Here,” she spoke with excitement, it had been some time since the wail from the darkness had startled her, the sight of the coordinates calmed her, bringing some promise into a situation she could not help but believe to be hopeless.
The moonlight’s chilling grip resided as Samyaza’s crew stepped into the cave entrance. A narrow corridor was immediately illuminated by her crew’s stillots, thrusting light through the passage deep down a gently declining shaft way. “Zavebe, Ertael, remain inside the cave’s entrance, keep your stillot’s extinguished, and contact me if there is any signs of life outside.” They nodded to their leader, she returned the gesture before leading the remains of her team deeper into the cavern. As its walls grew narrower a rising paranoia enveloped her. What if it’s a trap, Samyaza? She peered back towards the cave’s entrance though she could scarcely see anything for the glare each stillot tip produced.
“Is there anything ahead, commander?” She did not reply, moving onwards through the black corridor with cautious steps until abruptly halting her tracks. Her crew came to a clumsy pause behind her stumbling for her sudden stop. Far down the narrow walkway Samyaza focused intently upon a disturbing sight.
“There are bones,” she whispered into her headset. “I think it’s a doorway.” She knelt, attempting to gain a better view of the skeletal remains. Each entity behind imitated her actions, glimpsing themselves at what the commander saw.
“It is void of organic material, commander, it must be old.” She nodded. You must go on, Samyaza. With hesitance the watcher began to hobble forward, remaining low to the ground the crew made its way towards an apparent entry into the cave’s interior. Something upon the stone seal’s surface caught Samyaza’s attention as the watchers approached, she paused once more before the skeleton, its outstretched arm appeared as though it was attempting to crawl away from something, yet had failed to escape its fate.
“Look,” their commander rose to her feet, staring curiously at the stone doorway. Engraved at its centre was depicted a being, stood upholding a shaft, from its back sprawled a number of limbs. It looked to Samyaza as though the figure was being consumed by flame. “Such crude imagery, it appears to be… us, it may be the work of the subjects.”
“Then perhaps this is the remains of one, commander.” After a brief moment she nodded before each of them who stood in the cave’s tunnel hastily crouched back down upon the floor. From within the enclosed way a faint light lit up the blackness.
“Shhh.” She whispered into her headset.
“I can hear you.” Something spoke to the commander, a voice she knew was not one of her company. It sounded lifeless. Turning to her crew she raised a hand, signalling them to hold their actions. “Enter, watchers, it is safe.”
“I believed you would never return, I thought Heaven had deserted us.” Samyaza rose hastily, she squeezed herself between the stone doorway and the cave wall, stepping over the humanoid skeleton into the lit chamber.
It cannot be, “Azazel?” The commander stood before a bronze being, it was one of her kind, inside her suit she welled with a great excitement as the entity before her kneeled holding its frail arms high in the air.
“No, no, commander.” The being’s arms fell to the floor, it began to moan through its headset, “I am Rafaela,” in her excitement she had not recognised the being’s feminine voice or small frame. “A malakhim under the command of Yahweh.” Samyaza rushed to the female and knelt with her, she held her up as a new hope grew inside. Her crew followed their leader into the open space, their stillots lighting up the vast stone hall, the walls were barren. All about them masses of bones lined the floor disturbing the commander. “I believed Yahweh would never come back here.”
“Why, Rafaela? Why are there so many bones in here?” The stranger’s quiet whimpers suddenly resided, she hung her head staring down at the floor.
“This is where the humanoids of the garden came to shelter and wait for Heaven’s return, but –” she fell quiet.
“Did the nephilim find them?” The malakhim shook her head.
“I killed them… I destroyed all that Azazel built, what he gave his life attempting to preserve.” Those words all but confirmed Samyaza’s fears, her leader was dead.
“I was ordered, for the subjects nature was sinful, nothing but cruelty and war, they had regressed far beyond anything our species might one day wish to become. I lured the nephilim to the garden, day by day enticing them ever further into the haven’s confides until their primitive minds could remember an entry route,” she began to blubber, “I had wished only for them to destroy the subjects, I did not wish for Azazel to get hurt, he gave his life for these things.” The malakhim looked up, her stillot’s glare focusing upon the humanoid with Samyaza’s team. “Azazel never knew he was being deceived. But we have all been deceived.” Rafaela sighed, pressing at her thigh, with a light scrape her visor fell apart from around her skull. Samyaza gasped at the sight of her peer’s skin. Her flat facial features were horrendously shrivelled and gaunt, her irises as grey as the deceased watchers of Amazarak’s ophanim. “Tell me,” she winced, “how does the malakhim Michael fair?”
“He is well.” Rafaela laughed lightly yet stopped before smiling at Samyaza’s response. Her dead eyes welled with liquid which coursed down her flat face.
“The vessel is in working order though its fuel is depleted, I entered through an open way towards the rear of the cavern.” The malakhim leered up at Samyaza, struggling to hold her posture, she made little effort to resist Eden’s atmosphere poisoning her lungs. “I am sorry, commander.”
“Who has deceived us, Rafaela?” She collapsed upon her hands, crumbling into a ball, huffing frantically as her final breaths left her ancient body.
Samyaza stood in confusion, staring at the cave floor. “I don’t understand. Why would he destroy these humanoids? They were the subjects of the garden.” A malakhim stepped forward abruptly grasping the humanoid by its limbs.
“Did you know of these people?” Stricken in fear the being shook its head before he was dropped.
“They died over a thousand Eden years ago,” Samyaza spoke up, “he would know nothing of them.” She knelt by the quivering humanoid, looking across its dark skin and protruding facial structure curiously. “Where do your people reside now?”
“My people live beneath, hidden from the monsters, but they cast me and my family out, we were sent to our deaths to keep the giant’s blood thirst at bay.” The humanoid began to weep aloud. “They killed my family, my daughter.” Clutching hands to eyes the male blubbered uncontrollably, he sat back huddling knees to chest and began rocking back and forth. With a sigh Samyaza looked once more across the bones all about the empty cave.
“Let’s search deeper inside, if Rafaela spoke the truth we may be able to return to Heaven.”
“If she spoke the truth, commander, it may not be safe for us to return to Heaven.” The malakhim’s words caused Samyaza to halt, she turned to her crew.
“Do not speak of such things, until we know more we cannot pass judgement nor lay blame.” Her team nodded yet their words resonated to her, keep them calm, Samyaza. Together, with stillots lighting the way, the five of them stepped beyond the open chamber into a wide corridor. At intervals it broke away into smaller rooms, many of them with further skeletal remains, some laying hand in hand, others appearing to cower in corners.
“I’m surprised her life support lasted so long, commander.”
“As am I, Danel,” Samyaza stopped in an archway, she looked upon a skeletal body which had come to rest against the chamber’s back wall, above it was the image of a tree etched into the cave’s grey surface. “I wonder how many others are still alive, resting in ophanim across this world, how many have lost hope, believing we have abandoned them.”
“Commander! I see Rafaela’s vessel.” With one last glance at the primitive image Samyaza turned, rushing through the stone way until her crew reached a chamber at the deepest end of the cave. There, resting in its centre stood an ophanim, illuminated from above. The commander stepped into the room, into the light, looking up she glared at Eden’s moon, it shined with a chilling potency directly down into the humanoid’s cave through a small circular entrance, too high up for any living being to safely descend through without shattering its body upon landing.
“Even in the darkness, he gave them light to live.”
“ -mmander! Come in commander!” A trembling voice suddenly occupied her attention, she recognised the sound of her friend.
“Yes, Yaza, are you okay?” Her captain’s words caused the commander to sigh with regret.
“Those of us who survived. Where are you, captain?”
“We are scaling Hermon, commander, the fires are our wreckage?”
“Yes.” She fell quiet for some moments, staring up at the glowing body in Eden’s night sky. “We will meet you there, Tamiel, stay safe.” Without waiting for a reply the commander turned, leaving the moonlight and her only way of contacting the other survivors within the stone complex. “Let’s go,” she nodded to her team as they each strode with haste back towards the cave’s entrance. As they retraced their steps Samyaza’s thoughts fell upon Azazel’s final messages to the ark, there must be more information in the cube, Samyaza, I hope Zebub is awaiting contact.
Scarcely noticing the moments pass Samyaza’s team greeted Ertael and Zavebe, the two stood peering out at Hermon’s landscape with a steadfast loyalty to their commander’s word. “Any signs of life?” She spoke to them upon vision far up the narrow corridor.
“No, commander. It has been quiet, no sightings, nor sound.” She nodded to them stepping out into the night yet clearing the cave’s cover she immediately paused.
“Yaza?” She heard Tamiel whisper through her headset.
“We will be with you shortly, captain. Remain at the ark.”
“I think something is watching us, commander.” Samyaza’s heart began to thud.
“Hide, Tamiel.” Some bestial roar thundered in her ears joined by calls of distress. “We are coming!” Yelling, Samyaza began with her crew back along Hermon’s rocky facing, striding towards their troubled team.
“Help us, commander!” At those words a malakhim in her company burst up from the mountainside, thrown through the air by flaring stillots.
“Ertael! Do not waste your suit’s life, stay together!” As her wreck’s burning fuel returned to her vision in the darkness of the night the commander could only look on at the sight of Tamiel’s team fending themselves off from an onslaught of some gargantuan bipedal beings. Their pale skin and naked bodies crashed and stomped in and out of the lit ground surrounding Samyaza’s broken ophanim.
What remained of her crew were encircled, swiping the air frantically with burning stillots in efforts to deter the deformed beasts as they coursed without direction about the blazing mountainside. Beyond her protective life suit Samyaza could hear the bloodthirsty roars of the giants, from within her ears were struck by sounds of horror. “Aid them!” On her command her team’s suits came alive, their stillot tips exploding with flames. “Keep the cube safe!”
The commander’s thoughts evaporated as her crew charged at the towering monstrosities. She pulled a stillot from her shoulder blade, despite having never wielded the rods in combat in her lifetime. With a shriek she threw herself into the fray, amidst the wreckage and burning fuel she swung her stillot at the closest hulk she could find. The searing rod sliced deep into the being’s pale skin causing it to convulse with a scream, bolting about it swung a wild arm crashing against Samyaza’s skull.
The brutal strike sent her plummeting in a moment of darkness. Colliding with the ground a savage tension gripped her ankle. In a daze she glared down at the slathering beast’s wounded back, it dragged her through the mountain’s undergrowth with a feral gurgle. Immediately the commander bucked her feet causing the monster to turn about, she looked briefly into its enormous black eyes before it grasped her legs with a second hand, “master!” It drooled, tugging at her ankles before she bucked her feet again.
“Help!” She yelled into her headset, flailing her stillot at the beast before thrusting herself off the floor, in a violent explosion the stillots on her back erupted with flame lifting her feet into the air yet the gargantuan deformity held on tight. Again she slashed at the screeching beast. “Help -” With a wild stroke the monster slammed her back to the ground, it struck her abdomen with its fist turning once more to continue dragging her down Hermon’s slope.
Still kicking at the nephilim, she breathed heavily, desperately attempting to dislodge herself yet her efforts were worthless. As her panic climaxed and her efforts became manic a giant entity swooped down before the fleeing nephilim in a roaring inferno. A malakhim struck out at the beast with its fiery stillot at last causing its grip to release from Samyaza’s leg. She lunged to her feet whilst the two towering figures clashed, hacking at the hostile giant’s back it squealed in pain before bolting down Hermon’s slope into the darkness.
In her struggle the sounds of her crew’s pleas had become nothing more than a blur to her ears. “Are you okay, commander?” She recognised Zavebe’s voice as the malakhim came to her side to check upon her. She nodded to him in a daze before the chaos of the moment returned.
“Turn the signal light on!” Screaming into her headset she scrambled back up the mountainside with a limp, through her battling crew and burning fuel, past the stampeding nephilim.
“What do they want?” Limping across Hermon’s rocky facing voices from unknown sources filled Samyaza’s ears. The chorus of wild grunts and hollers abruptly ceased at sight of the sky around her illuminating. Their signal lit up the landscape around the wreckage with a luminous burst causing all within its boundaries to freeze.
Samyaza looked across the horde of monstrous beasts that stood in and around her crew, many of them shading their eyes from the light whilst others slunk away into the wilderness. Amongst them all one huge specimen stood out. It was less deformed than the others, its body appearing more humanoid than monster, its sheer size was startling. Before her gaze could linger upon the giant any longer the light returned to darkness and a terrible roar filled the air. Struggling to see clearly in the sudden black night Samyaza heard the ground around her thudding, screams and whimpers followed panting before the stampede trailed away into the distance, beyond Hermon’s terrain, down towards the tree line below.
“I am here,” Samyaza winced at a pain spiking through her left ankle.
“What happened on this world?”
“We happened, watcher. Turn the signal light off before it reactivates. We cannot stay here.” She turned to look at the remains of her crew, the fires surrounding the wreckage were beginning to die out, she knew they would all be soon lost in the dark. “Who has the cube?”
“I do, commander.” Ertael spoke up breathing some relief into Samyaza, but the moment did not last.
“Commander, they’ve taken the dead. All of them. The humanoid too.” The thought sent a shiver through her, Samyaza sighed deeply with frustration and confusion, hearing her crew’s whispers becoming increasingly anxious only raised her state of paranoia.
“Remain calm,” despite her words, she herself felt wildly disturbed. Master… the word occupied her mind. “We need to learn more of Azazel’s logs. Remove the fuel hub from zero, we will transfer it to Rafaela’s vessel within Hermon.”
“What of the fuel from my vessel, Samyaza?”
“We stay together for now, captain, I will not risk losing another of my crew.” Her team nodded at their commander’s words before they headed towards Samyaza’s ophanim. “I want to know more of what Azazel and the watchers did to the humanoids. There must be an answer, but first we must take cover.” With haste they encroached upon the wrecked vessel, and working together, a number of watchers and malakhim clambered into the ship, removing the craft’s fuel hub before together the crew moved on into the night, back towards the graveyard in which lay the garden’s subjects. He cannot have given his life in vain, there must be something more. The troubles of the present swamped Samyaza, the thought of what bleak events must have taken place upon this once pristine haven simply evaded her. “Keep your stillots extinguished and stay close.”
As one the crew retraced its route back towards Rafaela’s ophanim, all the while Samyaza’s thoughts continued to turn over Azazel’s last report to the ark, but stranger still the nephilim’s outburst. Still shaken from the moments struggling to free herself, she longed to know more of their creation. Do these beings speak the same language as the humanoids?
“The cave is up ahead, commander, shall I stand guard?” Zavebe spoke, leading the thirteen crew members.
“Take up a strategic position near the entrance, malakhim, I will have another stationed beneath the breach in the cave’s roof to communicate any outside disturbances. Ertael, hold on tight to the cube.” The malakhim nodded to their commander before the remaining twelve ventured back down the corridor within the mountainside. With haste Samyaza guided her crew through the etched doorway, through the bone filled hall where Rafaela’s corpse rest and down to the open space in which the functional ophanim stood. “Replace the fuel hubs, and have the cube ready for activation.”
Whatever you learn upon Eden, keep it amongst the watchers. Samyaza remembered her seraphim’s words. The malakhim were under Yahweh’s higher command. How do you know you can trust them, Samyaza?
“What will you do upon returning to Heaven, commander?”
Samyaza stood for a moment, it was something she had put no thought to amidst the crew’s present turmoil. “I will access Azazel’s logs on our return, perhaps we can learn more of what went wrong here.”
“We know what went wrong here, commander,” Ertael spoke up amongst the crew, still holding the ark’s data. “If Rafaela’s words were true…”
“Samyaza?” Tamiel looked to her friend. “Who is Rafaela?” Standing in silence and disbelief, the reality of her crew’s ill fated journey came crashing down upon her.
“The seraphim sabotaged the experiments -”
“She specified Yahweh.” Their commander interrupted the malakhim.
Someone is watching me, Yaza. She shuddered within her bronze suit. “We must return to Heaven.”
“We will be apprehended upon entry, commander. Heaven may no longer be in orbit. We’ve been abandoned.” The malakhim’s doubt only resonated Heylel’s warning.
“Ertael, forgive me, but did you have prior knowledge of these events?”
“No, commander, we were all sent to our deaths, why would any of us volunteer to die? Rafaela spoke the truth, we have been deceived.” Samyaza sighed, she felt troubled and scared.
“What’s happening, commander?” Others in her crew began to mutter amongst themselves.
“Tamiel, remain here, I will take your crew, it is complete. I will attempt to make contact with Zebub in flight, there is no time to waste. This cannot be the end for our kind.”
“You will return for us, Yaza?” She approached Tamiel and rest a hand upon her shoulder.
“The future of our species rests upon this world, Tamiel, you are a part of that future, and I breathe to see it secured.” The slender watcher nodded to her commander.
“It is too the reason I am part of this.” Returning the gesture she turned to the rest of her crew.
“You are all my kin, no matter your set, I promise you we will return with answers, and a solution to this problem.” Without further words said Samyaza clambered up into the ophanim with Tamiel’s crew, Ertael followed, handing the black box up to his commander.
“Be careful, Samyaza.” She stared at the large male for a brief moment before hauling herself up into the craft. The vessel was sealed from within and the grounds upon which it stood cleared. With a vast eruption of fuel and quaking debris the ophanim became air born, steadily passing through the hole in the cave’s ceiling before a volatile roar sent it up towards the planet’s upper atmosphere.
Once their projection through the ionosphere had been set Samyaza synced a secluded broadcast from the cube to her headset for her paranoia was growing. Though she had never understood Yahweh’s purpose upon Heaven, she simply could not believe he would be capable of sabotaging the very purpose of her people’s mission to Eden, he was a leader, born to the cast of the seraphim, to think he was attempting to destroy his own kind baffled her beyond words.
As the ophanim climbed she listened to Azazel’s logs, much of his reports covered the project’s progression, some details stood out to her vastly more than others.
The powers of my probe dwindle, I grow weak, though the humanoids we have spawned who contain the greatest dosages of our genes show no signs of aging, as though our DNA has sparked into their species an everlasting life. Those who are the weakest of bloodline have passed before my eyes in just thirty Eden years, in a lesser span than those bipedal beasts we first saved from extinction. She swept through the records with frustration, listening over brief moments with a lust to learn what had become of this world. It brought pleasure however to hear the seraphim’s voice.
I pity the nephilim, the humanoids speak as though they come from differing sources, yet all were created from the same DNA, yet I do admit, these nephilim are certainly the cruder of the forms our experiments have produced, yet it was not always so. They were born from an escaped bipedal, her genes altered by my very own cells. Lilith, so bright and strong minded she was, yet she fled from the garden and began to interbreed with her own kind, the resulting offspring became what the watchers now call the nephilim.
A rebellion at last, the nephilim were lead by a thing I call Behemoth, he is bigger than his kin, stronger, he shows signs of intelligence unlike the rest of them, so primitive they have become, yet it seems he has a conscience, a vague strand of something, something that has resuscitated his mind back to an earlier time.
The humanoids disperse, they flee their dwellings, all that they forced the nephilim to construct for them, they leave it all behind, slaughtered and skinned alive as they evacuate. I fear now not just for the imminent doom of this experiment, but for the life of all things upon Eden. The nephilim will not stop. What we have done to the future of this planet I shudder to imagine. “Could it be?” Samyaza whispered to herself, recalling the giant stood with the other scrambling monstrosities, “but it was so long ago.”
“We have cleared the ionosphere, commander.” Her crewmate’s sudden outburst interrupted Samyaza’s trail of thought.
“Have contact made with observatory four.” Within moments a static fuzz consumed the commander’s headset followed by silence, signalling to her that a stable connection had been made.
“Yaza!” The watcher sounded delighted to hear her. “How do you fair? Did Tamiel reach her coordinates to the west?”
“No, Zebub, are you alone?”
“Yes, what is it, commander?” She fell quiet, unsure how to bring the subject to Zebub.
“Something is not right. I fear… I fear someone conspires against us…”
“What? How so?”
“Tamiel’s vessel malfunctioned, we crashed, we found a malakhim from the first descent to Eden, she said we have been deceived, Zebub -”
“Wait, Yaza.” In an unusual manner Zebub whispered to the commander, the noise of parting doors and multiple footsteps clanging against Heaven’s metallic grounds echoed within the observatory. “What is this? Release me!” The sound of a struggle and Zebub’s muffled whelps filled Samyaza’s ears before calm took over. For some moments she listened for a sign of movement yet upon remembering Heylel’s words she signalled her crew to terminate contact.
“What will we do, commander?” Samyaza gazed out through her ophanim’s translucent interior towards Heaven, for much time she glared, filled with anger and confusion until glancing back at her crew.
“I have a plan.”
“Look what Azazel has done to this world, it is ravaged, look at what blood is shed by these crude humanoids, what iniquity is done before our eyes.” Three entities stood within Heaven’s command centre, together they gazed down upon Eden through the seraphim’s grand lens which projected the planet’s barren lands all around them. “I have seen what these humanoids are,” a deep quiet voice filled the room in which the kin gathered. “Heylel and the watchers will have our species become this crude life form, all that we are, all that our kind has achieved will be wasted, it will implode for these pathetic specimens know only destruction.” The largest of them spoke, his peers were silent. They nodded at Michael’s words which echoed throughout the barren chamber. The being stared transfixed upon the images through just a single silver eye, his other had been lost in the midst of conflict.
Yahweh’s high-malakhim was a senior over the rest of his set, once a respected leader upon his home world. He commanded the seraphim’s armies against the cherubim who he was so often told sought the demise of his superior kind. “We have all seen the nature of these beings, seraphim Yahweh has given order to we malakhim. We must serve him to see that our kind does not fall to this hell.” Michael turned to his peers. “Has the humanoid been brought aboard?” They nodded.
“It is secure within a container, high-malakhim, we are unsure how long it will survive within, it may be possible for us to supplement the elements which make up its atmosphere should it struggle to breathe.”
“Gabriel, have it taken to Heylel’s chamber. Administer a final dose of Eden’s atmosphere into his lungs, once we have convinced Heaven’s inhabitants of the dangers of this world we can rally support to develop it for ourselves, rather than see our set be replaced by these crude experiments.”
“Is the death of another seraphim truly necessary, Michael?” Uriel spoke up, his voice uneasy, he gazed at the floor through glowing spheres.
“The population is unaware of the events that have occurred upon Eden, we could not convince them against what they have been brainwashed into believing with mere words. It is the life of one, for the lives of many. Do this thing, malakhim, for our kind, so it may remain pure, and not fall upon this hell which the watchers have created.” Uriel nodded.
“Once this deed is done, seraphim Yahweh will be almighty. There will be no obstacle preventing our kind from attaining what we set out for.” The others nodded.
“You speak truthfully, Michael, if only all of our kin thought as we do.” Michael’s large single blazing iris returned focus to the projected imagery.
“Go now, malakhim. Gabriel, see your deed done. Uriel, gather Heaven’s entire population, bar those detained, to the living quarters. I will make way to the detainment depot and speak to this watcher who communes with Samyaza. The time has come, malakhim, let us see this to its finish.” At once the beings left the command centre.
Michael made his way to the detainment depot beneath. Before entering he pressed at his thigh causing his suit’s visor to enclose around him. Within a small room a rotund watcher sat restrained, the malakhim sought to know what secrets he had learned from his commander. Upon entry he heard the watcher speak out.
“Why have I been brought here?”
“We seek to learn what has become of Samyaza and her crew.” The large malakhim stood before Zebub with arms crossed.
“There was a crash, a malfunction, we should send back up crews immediately! Their lives are in danger.”
“Seraphim Yahweh is aware of this event, watcher, we are looking into it. Tell me, what has your commander learned upon Eden?”
“Looking into it? Why are you not acting upon it? Why am I being detained?” Zebub began to struggle becoming flustered, he looked about himself erratically, aware that his every actions was likely being monitored by Yahweh.
“What has your commander told you, watcher?”
“Yahweh?” He shouted out at the chamber’s barren walls. “Why are you holding me? There was an accident, Samyaza’s crew is in great trouble, we need to aid them.”
“You need not repeat yourself, watcher, I merely wish to know what communication your commander has made with you since returning to Eden.”
“We have had no communication, only that which was interrupted by your malakhim.”
“My malakhim?” Michael’s calm voice boomed. “We are all kin, watcher. Has she recovered the data from the ark?” Zebub fell quiet for a moment, the high-malakhim watched his every expression.
“I did not have a chance to find out. If I could return to my observatory perhaps -”
“Tell me something, watcher, why do you support the pursuit of our species becoming intertwined with these crude violent beings?” Zebub was silent as Michael’s serene voice went on. “Why do you seek so desperately for our kind to devolve into such an inferior breed?”
“Under our guidance I believe we could produce something that could equal our own progression, it would take time, but-”
“And once we are gone? What then? It is in their nature to destroy themselves. Everything we have achieved as a species, gone, for good, because of one mistake.”
“What do you speak of?” Zebub looked up.
“A humanoid was brought aboard Heaven at Heylel’s request, to see what has become of his creations. Once he has seen how we have failed as a people, and learned how violent and destructive these humanoids are, he has agreed we will go on to search for a more promising breed of intellectual existence.”
“Heylel? He spoke nothing of this to me.”
“He came to Yahweh, watcher,” the tone of his echoing voice changed, “the seraphim do not raise matters with inferior subsets.”
“This cannot be, seraphim Heylel supports us, he would never make this decision, his mind must be clouded in his sickness.”
“On the contrary, watcher, Heylel’s strength has improved greatly, enough to commune without trouble, doubtlessly he is spurred on by the thoughts of learning what your kind’s creations have produced.” Michael watched with scorn at Zebub’s face lightening to his words.
“May I see him? Samyaza will be delighted to know of this.”
“Soon all watchers will see him.” The huge malakhim stepped forward drawing a stillot from his shoulder, the shaft fused as a rampant heat rushed through it.
“Yahweh!” Michael watched Zebub grow erratic, shouting out at the walls once more, his face shifted from hope to dread. The watcher turned his neck attempting to cower yet his bindings restrained him.
“High-malakhim.” A quiet voice filled Michael’s ears. “An ophanim approaches Heaven, from Eden.”
“Watcher, I am disappointed. You did not mention Samyaza returns to Heaven, did she not inform you?” Zebub breathed heavily, his bulging frame stiff for anticipation of pain.
“She did not mention it, please, I have done nothing but support Heaven’s purpose since we departed from our home. How could I possibly deserve this? Under what authority may you take my life!”
“Your life? Be calm, watcher, hold whilst I remove your bindings, you are free to return to your quarters.” Zebub quivered as Michael’s stillot effortlessly severed the restraints. In silence the watcher upped and fled through the open way. Without further attention paid Michael’s focus shifted to the voice in his ear. “To which gate do they travel?”
“Heaven’s third gate, Michael.”
“Strange, they do not dock beneath the watchers’ quarters.”
“What will you have us do?”
“Hold them there, I will join you shortly.” Heaven’s fourth gate rest at the rear of the vessel, not far from his location. Michael hesitated for a moment, allowing some distressing ideas to trouble his pursuit.
“They have docked. We will keep them in their craft until you arrive.” The words in his ear suppressed his worries. He vacated the detainment room and began through Heaven’s barren winding corridors.
Many entities he passed by stopped to gesture a greeting or salute to the male, many out of respect for his status, others for knowledge of his honours upon their home world, some simply for seeing a revered face walking amongst them.
It did not take long to reach the depot within Heaven’s hull, in which the stray ophanim had come to rest. Michael stared at the crew as they stepped down from the craft, six individuals, each covered from head to foot in their people’s bronze suits.
His gaze remained fixed whilst the crew’s suits fell away from their oval skulls, one after the other until the final entity was revealed. Samyaza is not here. Surrounded by Heaven’s malakhim the Eden crew stood in silence, they appeared confused and disorientated.
“Where is your commander?” The high-malakhim’s calm voice filled the depot however none spoke up. “We know she lives, she has already made contact. With your help we can return to Eden to ensure any survivors are returned safely to Heaven.” The confusion strewn upon the crew’s faces changed, they looked upon each other as though to find comfort.
“Michael, the population of Heaven will soon be ready.”
“Have Samyaza’s crew escorted to the sick bay, have them looked over for signs of contamination.”
“Contamination?” At last he heard one of the crewmates speak up yet the high-malakhim’s concentration had already moved on. He now focused upon the living quarters. Its entirety was soon to be filled with malakhim and watchers so Yahweh could address the entire mother ship. Their plan was about to be executed, and perhaps, freedom for the malakhim would be achieved. The very idea was thrilling.
“Michael,” Gabriel’s voice filtered into his headset. “Heylel-” the malakhim fell quiet for a moment. “He is gone.”
“Then it is too late, go to the living quarters, malakhim, present the humanoid, have it in full view of the crowds. He will turn up, with or against him we will convince Heaven, we will soon be free from this hell.”
It was not until Samyaza gazed down upon the living quarters that she realised why Heaven had been empty, her fears of being caught whilst making way to the sick bay had been rampant in her mind and still were. She had been projected into Heaven from her ophanim, entering through the gate below the watcher’s halls, and from there traversed through its bowels to avoid being apprehended. Should these revelations unveiled upon Eden hold any truth she knew her presence would be unwanted.
With troubled efforts she dragged Heylel’s lifeless body through the mother ship’s empty gangways but abruptly paused at sight of a death probe, fixed to the outer shell of Heaven. What is happening here? Her confusion only spurred her movement. She frantically hauled the seraphim’s colossal frame along with her in efforts to return to the watcher’s halls. She sought to show him Eden from observatory four and let him hear for himself through Azazel’s logs what had been done upon it.
“Yaza?” The seraphim’s deep voice caught Samyaza’s attention, her bright eyes shifted to look upon her leader.
“Heylel?” She stopped again, laying him down against a black metallic wall, they were not far from their destination.
“Where am I?” The gigantic being rest slouched, he leered up at the commander, his irises were pale. “You have returned so soon, how was your journey? What did you learn, Yaza?”
“We crash landed, Heylel. We found a malakhim in Mount Hermon, she said…” She knelt beside the enormous seraphim leaning to his ear, with hushed tones she spoke. “She said Yahweh ordered the destruction of the garden, that he had murdered Azazel’s subjects and that Azazel had died protecting it.”
“No. He would not.” The entity’s breathing became rigid, his flat facial features scrunched with the pain of his breaths. Samyaza immediately reached out, laying a small webbed hand upon his chest.
“I struggle to believe it too,” she whispered, “but I saw with my own eyes the subjects’ remains. The ark’s data is in observatory four. You must see for yourself, and listen to Azazel’s words. Rafaela said we have all been deceived, Heylel, I fear our descent was sabotaged.” With a struggle the seraphim stretched out for Samayaza, she lifted him back to his feet and together they went on through the empty obsidian halls until observatory four was reached. Within, the commander helped Heylel to Zebub’s chair and rest him down.
At once Samyaza programmed Heaven’s grand lens to produce images of Eden, starting at the barren ground upon which the garden once flourished, she retraced the abandoned settlements Zebub had shown her before returning to Eden.
“Now listen, Heylel.” The commander relayed Azazel’s voice through the room, shuffling between the cube’s records to expose the important details she had found. How the experiments within the garden had been a success, how Azazel had produced the nephilim and how the humanoids outside the garden had abused their strengths until their kin turned upon them, driving them underground.
“Those who lived outside of the garden were no different to the cherubim of our world, Heylel, Azazel succeeded.”
“Then why,” Heylel wheezed his words, he paused for a moment to catch his breath. “Why would someone seek to destroy them?” The logs went on, detailing the rise of the children of Eve, and their ultimate fall as the nephilim encroached ever closer to the garden’s boundaries.
“The malakhim said herself she was ordered to lure the nephilim to the garden, Heylel. The experiments were destroyed. Two thousand of Eden’s years have passed, what we could have achieved in that time…” The commander sighed, looking upon her leader’s faded eyes. “Such a waste.” The seraphim was silent, he appeared hypnotised by the images around him and the sound of Azazel’s voice.
“It is good to hear him again.” Samyaza nodded though Heylel was distant.
“What will we do?” The enormous entity shook his head.
“I don’t know, Yaza, all appears lost, and this talk of conspiracy, I struggle to accept it.”
All sets of Heaven report to living quarters. The words erupted within observatory four silencing Azazel’s voice. All sets report to living quarters. Again the message thundered throughout Heaven. Heylel turned with trouble.
“Help me, Yaza, let us learn what is happening here.” The commander nodded, darting to her leader, with her best efforts she hauled the giant around her and together they exited observatory four. Outside they were met by the single burning glare of an enormous Malakhim. Michael stood alone staring at the two as Samyaza struggled to carry her leader.
“Aid us, Michael!” She stumbled to a halt feeling Heylel dip out of consciousness, he collapsed against the commander wheezing.
“I will not assist him, Samyaza, I cannot. If you knew more you would understand.” All sets of Heaven report to living quarters. Again the message blared out through the ship’s walkways.
“What’s happening, Michael?”
“Seraphim Yahweh announces our departure from Eden.” Samyaza looked bewildered.
“What? Why would he? Our future is here, our survival depends upon it. Do you know what has happened upon Eden, Michael? Azazel’s logs explain it all, the experiment can be resurrected if we remain.” The entity shook his head, his single eye shifting between the commander and Heylel.
“If you have listened to his logs you must know of the nature of these humanoids, of what will occur should we pursue this programme beneath the seraphim.”
“Azazel spoke of them, Michael, yes, but with our guidance they can learn -”
“It will not be our guidance, Samyaza, but that of the seraphim. These humanoids will be nothing but an entire species bred to be slaves, just as we malakhim were. The seraphim are all the same, their set seeks only to dominate and manipulate all other life.”
“He lies, Yaza.” Heylel whispered to the commander, holding onto her body for support.
“Heylel is different, Michael, it is Yahweh that seeks to leave Eden, who had the experiments sabotaged. We came across a surviving malakhim within Hermon who asked of you, Michael, she confirmed Azazel’s logs.” Michael’s eye stilled upon Samyaza.
“Rafaela?” Samyaza nodded. “She still lives?” The lightness of his voice was all too familiar to the commander.
“No,” she sighed, “she was of significance to you?” At her words Samyaza watched the giant shudder, he looked briefly at the floor before his burning iris returned to her, the weakness in his tone vanished.
“I once lived blindly, Samyaza, I existed only to serve. I hoped you would have understood our fate yourself by now. Without your brilliance this intervention upon Eden would never have succeeded, and without the seraphim perhaps it would have thrived. I know you hold him dearly, Samyaza, know that I am not the enemy.” The towering malakhim stepped forward reaching up and behind his shoulder but paused at a commotion filling the walkway behind the commander.
“Samyaza!” Their discourse became interrupted as Zebub clambered into the black corridor followed by a vast crowd of watchers. The bulging male panted heavily. “Yahweh gathers Heaven’s population in the living quarters, I fear he will force us from Eden. Heylel, you cannot allow this, our species’ future depends upon this world. Should we leave we may never find another like it.” Zebub hurried to his seraphim helping him back to his feet, as they stood he noticed Michael in the hallway. “Why do you support this, malakhim? Our species will die out if we do not find a place to harbour our DNA!”
“You do not know what I support, watcher. Seraphim Yahweh awaits.” Samyaza watched the male turn his back upon them, doubtlessly making his way towards the living quarters.
“Follow,” Heylel mumbled, “this cannot be.” Samyaza’s paranoia was intense, and her confusion greater still. With help from Zebub they slowly made way down from the watcher’s halls through Heaven’s endless maze of corridors until they reached the enclosed archway leading beneath their mother ship’s protective dome ceiling.
A commotion erupted as the doors parted, giving vision to a thriving crowd of malakhim and watchers, a sea of silver hair and glowing eyes atop bronze life suits struck the commander. Even in his derelict state Heylel stood grander than all those around him, the cast of seraphim was gargantuan in stature, bred to lead the lesser sets, to be prevalent in all aspects of existence. They were produced from generation after generation of ever flourishing genetics, those who were not the brightest of their host’s offspring were simply terminated.
Recognising a seraphim walked amongst them the crowds fell silent, they separated making way for their leader. Samyaza aided Heylel until an echoing call from above filled the entirety of the living quarters, she looked up to see Yahweh stood in front of Heaven’s throne. “Step back from him, commander! He has become contaminated! He will pass disease amongst us all!” The seraphim’s words spread a commotion throughout Heaven, Samyaza did not stop her march however until she had carried Heylel to the midst of the quarter’s grounds.
“Stand aside, Yaza.” The tremendous entity gestured his commander towards the masses, turning his broad face to look up at his kin. “What have you done, Yahweh?”
“What have I done?” Yahweh’s antics appeared strange to Samyaza, he did not directly address Heylel but gestured to the entirety of the crowd. “It is what your kin has done, Heylel, the ones you support, you are no different to the watchers, do you too seek to destroy our species? To see it fall upon this hell? Look at you, you are weak! With but a brief exposure to these humanoids which you so dearly seek to protect you have become but a shell of yourself! Your own creations have contaminated you.”
“I have not had contact with the humanoids-”
“Do you not recall, Heylel? You pleaded so desperately to see this magnificent thing your watchers have created, just as your condition was improving.”
“You,” amongst Heaven’s population of malakhim and watchers Heylel fell upon one knee, struggling to breathe he held a hand to his chest. “You lie, traitor. If I am contaminated then it is you who has poisoned me, your own set.”
“It is you who lies, Heylel, I would never bring pain upon my own kind. We are pure, unlike these beings, these humanoids you seek to defend. Look at this feeble entity, look!” The seraphim pointed across to the imprisoned humanoid, Samyaza watched in pain for her leader could scarcely lift himself from the ground. “Your mind is sick, you are diseased from exposure to this species, Heylel, we truly believed you had succumbed to your illness.”
“You said he was alive and well!” Samyaza glanced across at vocal watcher.
“Have this heresy caller detained!” With immediate action a number of malakhim armed with stillots grasped the slender male, dragging him through the crowds they abruptly disappeared beyond the living quarter’s doors. “For the good of our kind, I do not wish for the rest of us to join you, Heylel, we must move on, and search for better prospects, look what has already occurred upon Eden, the experiments have failed.”
“I see they have failed, Yahweh,” the towering seraphim glared up at his peer through steeled grey eyes. “By your hand.”
“My hand?” Yahweh stammered, “what proof do you have of these accusations, Heylel? I will not have our species reduced to this!” Again he signalled the crowd to look upon the humanoid. “This feeble primitive form that knows only destruction!”
“You alone will not decide the fate of our people!”
“WRONG, Heylel!” The entirety of the ship’s living quarters cowered at the seraphim’s fury. “You are in no fit state to make such decisions that will cost my kind so dearly.” The commander looked upon Heylel with desperation, his entire body trembled with his efforts to stand, as he rose he cast a glance towards Samyaza, their eyes met briefly before the colossus turned with an abrupt movement.
In a singular motion the seraphim reached down pressing at his thigh, his right hand reached over his shoulder as at once each stillot upon his back sprang erect roaring with a fiery explosion. The towering entity grasped a blazing shaft from his back, lunging forward with a muffled bellow he launched the weapon, Samyaza winced in shock watching the stillot hurtle with great velocity through the air away from her leader’s falling body.
Heylel crashed upon hands and knees. The weapon he projected spiralled with a deadly power towards its target. From the captivated crowd of Heaven’s population a lone malakhim sprang upwards, carried by burning stillots, Samyaza looked on watching Uriel fly upwards to intercept the blazing rod. He reached out, throwing himself forth to prevent the stillot striking his seraphim yet his efforts were futile. The shaft travelled at such speeds it coursed past the malakhim’s reach, true to its aim, with devastating force the weapon vanished at contact with Yahweh piercing the mother ship’s throne behind the seraphim’s image. A facade?
A horrendous din groaned throughout Heaven as cracks sprayed across the protective dome ceiling of its living quarters. Samyaza flinched in fear at sight of the damage, the crowd around her erupted in screams of dread breaking out chaos amongst them. The commander struggled to move, she anxiously pushed through fleeing bodies making effort to reach her leader for fear his reckless act had been his last.
“Sacrilege! Seize him!” Yahweh’s voice roared across the living quarters. Immediately masses of malakhim rushed through the scattering crowds yet the commander’s panic was caught upon an enormous one eyed being who coursed through his kin at greater speeds than the rest. Michael, the male carried an enormous lance blazing with fire, without hesitance he rushed into the clearing in which Heylel knelt bringing the huge weapon down upon the seraphim with a crushing blow. “The watchers will be the death of us all!” Again Yahweh’s voice blasted through the quarters.
With a wild leap Samyaza propelled herself onwards towards Heylel, her suit reacted to her sudden bodily impulses ripping her stillots ablaze, without hesitance she coursed into Michael who brought his mighty weapon high to strike again. In their collision the malakhim was knocked to the floor, his blade skidded away across Heaven’s grounds lashing out at escaping innocents as it went.
“Aid your leader, watchers!” Samyaza screamed out to her peers but could only watch in dismay as they became surrounded by the overwhelming numbers of malakhim. Heylel lay upon his side, his life suit had been shredded open exposing a deep wound which lined the right side of his torso. “Heylel!” There was no reaction from his faded grey eyes. The commander glanced about herself erratically until her sights fell upon the death probe in Heaven’s shattered ceiling.
She scrambled to her knees and with a last ditch effort hurled herself forward, carried by her stillots the commander thrust herself upon Heylel, grasping her arms around his gargantuan frame she heaved him up, and at her will roared through the air, being carried higher and higher by her flaring stillot tips.
“Have all watchers detained!” Yahweh’s voice continued to throw commands to his malakhim yet Samyaza could no longer focus upon her kin. She looked down in fear, witnessing Michael wade along the surrendering ranks of her set butchering any who tried to resist with that colossal blade of fire. “The death probe! Stop them!” Michael’s attention abruptly shifted upwards, he locked vision upon Samyaza, pulling his weapon from a watcher’s chest.
At once he burst up from the floor, signalling to other malakhim around him to join in his pursuit. The sight poured a rush of dread through Samyaza who returned her gaze upwards. With uncontrollable panic she fiddled at Heylel’s thigh to enclose his suit’s visor around his skull yet it was unresponsive.
High above the living quarter’s grounds the pair reached the pressure cylinder which lead out to the death probe. The commander glimpsed down, clumsily pressing at digits upon the cylinder’s control panel, her concentration was scattered for Michael tore through the air at rampant speeds. Please! A heavy clunk and the sound of released pressure signalled the code’s completion. She pulled a stillot from her shoulder hurling it down at the encroaching malakhim. The giant parried the shaft away as he and his kind swooped in upon her. Barely open, the commander forced Heylel into the cramped space, she cried out pushing the heavy entity into the cylinder, following him inside Samyaza pulled the seal shut.
She flinched as a number of malakhim hurtled into the minute chamber, crashing into Heaven’s already damaged dome. Michael thrust out at them clearing the way. She scarcely noticed the hissing which filled the space signalling the air pressure had stabilised to that of the death probe.
Her pursuer pressed away at the control panel in efforts to reopen the airlock. Samyaza reached out for the probe’s release valve, turning, she looked back at Yahweh’s high-malakhim. “Stop, Michael!” The commander felt dazed, glancing between the cylinder’s seal and the giant. Should she free the vessel whilst it was open the entirety of Heaven’s atmosphere would be torn away into the voids of outer space. “You will kill us all, I will release the probe whether I am inside or not. Do not do this.” Michael glared at the watcher through his single glowing iris.
Again the cylinder’s seal triggered for opening, the air inside fell thin, returning its pressure to that of Heaven. Don’t do this, Samyaza’s heart thundered in her chest, she shivered intensely. The malakhim was still, his potent stare remaining fixed upon her. Time froze for the commander, her hand rest upon the death probe’s release panel, the other around Heylel’s chest.
Slowly Michael gestured to those around him to leave, yet he remained, he continued to glare through the dome at Samyaza until the chamber’s door resealed and pressure shifted once more to match the probe.
With a struggle she pulled the craft open, assisted by her stillots she first placed Heylel within the cramped space, lifting herself in she extended an arm out to activate the probe’s release then hastily pulled its seal shut behind. She paused for a moment. Quaking in shock she leaned back against the pod’s interior. What will we do? She winced, feeling lost and hopeless. With a judder Heaven ejected the death probe. There was no time to rest. Breathing deeply Samyaza moved to the control panels, she worked at them manically.
The small vessel was not so different to an ophanim, its coordinates were often fixed yet with a deep understanding of its mechanics it was an easy task to alter its course. She looked over at Heylel’s lifeless face, his long greying hair covered much of it, his eyes were closed though he showed signs of light breathing.
After some moments she had configured the craft’s navigation to sweep into Eden’s orbit, she would have little control over their destination however, nor ability to land safely, she could only project towards Mount Hermon, the rest would be down to fate.
“Yaza?” A weak voice panted out behind her, shifting the commander’s attention away from the probe’s panels. She turned to Heylel and grasped his huge hand in hers.
“I am here, Heylel. We are set on course to Eden.” She brushed a hand through his hair clearing the seraphim’s broad face.
“My body burns.” Samyaza’s vision fell blurred as her eyes welled.
“You were stricken down, Heylel. Your suit is damaged.” Through struggled gasps the seraphim looked up, Samyaza felt the lightest squeeze upon her enclosed hand before a faint smile crept across her leader’s face. He reached up, wiping a watery stream from her cheek.
“We creations do live, after all.” Puzzled by his words Samyaza felt the seraphim’s grip slip away. His eyes closed. A violent shaking shed through the vessel. They were piercing Eden’s atmosphere and the commander knew not how her leader would survive without the support of his life suit once he was exposed to Eden’s air.
Michael sighed in frustration, he watched helplessly as his target surged away from the mother ship. There is still hope for the commander. Her stubborn wilfulness to believe all that her creators told her was such a disappointment to the high-malakhim. So much potential, crippled by blind faith. Michael looked down towards the image of Yahweh. It stood silent now, motionless. His single iris shifted once more, down upon Heaven’s living quarters. Slowly he returned to the ship’s surface. His watcher kin cowered before the malakhim.
Touching the ground Michael saw Zebub stagger out from his people, the bulging entity fell to his knees holding hands up mercifully. “Why have you done this, Michael? Why has Yahweh done this?” The malakhim did not look at the watcher, he gazed back once more towards the throne, up at his seraphim.
“Stand to your feet, Zebub, do not show weakness to your set. There is much to be discussed.” He walked towards the lines of Heaven’s inhabitants. “Gather all watchers to the detainment depot! Everyone, clear the living quarters! Do not touch the wounded or dead. Be gone from this place.”
For much time he stood, watching his prisoners go without quarrel, they appeared bewildered and fearful, a sight the malakhim regretted, a necessary evil, Michael. The huge being did not move until complete silence overtook Heaven’s living quarters. The only life that remained within was himself, and the humanoid, still imprisoned above. Looking up at the mesmerised creature Michael pressed at a series of digits upon his suit’s thigh.
At once the image of Yahweh faded, and with it the deceased watchers’ images resting about the floor. Michael looked at the humanoid, its dark eyes were fixed on him. The high-malakhim activated his stillots, they exploded carrying him up towards the humanoid’s container. He watched the creature recoil at the fire his extending tentacles produced before quickly becoming infatuated by them.
Coming level with the humanoid, Michael took some moments to simply look at it. Its dark skin, malnourished body and large skull which displayed such prominent features. How could such wondrous DNA create such a pathetic life form. The being’s amazement with Michael was interrupted by a sound from beneath. Opening doors followed footsteps and a malakhim walking into the empty living quarters.
“Michael, the watchers are secure, are there any further orders from seraphim Yahweh?” A strangely sadistic thought crossed the high-malakhim’s mind.
“Have this grotesque thing shown the magnificence of Heaven, then return him to his people upon Eden. Explain this ship to him in terms he may understand, that he many easily translate to his primitive kin, including what he saw here.”
“At once, Michael. Will I have the watchers remain detained for seraphim Yahweh?”
“Yes, Uriel, I will visit them shortly.” Michael did not look at the male he addressed, he awaited the sound of his kin’s departure, continuing to evaluate the humanoid. The scrawny entity rest a hand up against his clear container. Wretched thing. The malakhim’s hatred seethed.
Once the quarters were clear he returned to the ground before making haste towards Heaven’s detainment depot. His thoughts now rest in uncharted waters. So much can go wrong, still. The fact he had even come this far surprised the malakhim.
On route to his destination he took a detour. He viewed the empty living quarters and damaged roof above its now peacefully flowing waters. This place is a prison, but there. He gazed at Eden through the dome ceiling of his ship. A home. I’m sorry we could not share it, my love. Without another moments hesitance the huge entity turned about in pursuit of Zebub and his watcher kin. The aged malakhim was weary. Anxious at the thought of where his actions were taking his kind. Heaven forgive me, the single thought continued to turn over in his mind amidst excitement at his plan of action coming to fruition.
Deep within his territory, beneath far reaching canopies high above, Behemoth’s bulging black eyes searched over the bodies his troop had dragged away from Mount Hermon. Their gold skins fascinated him. Such entities he had not seen in his time. Masters? His primitive mind struggled to make sense of what he saw, of what he had experienced beyond the safe grounds of his home.
In the early morning light masses of naked giants corralled around Behemoth, around the pile of bronze bodies, glaring at them with an intense curiosity, yet each waited calmly for their leader’s first touch. He dipped low, sniffing before grasping a limp leg. He yanked it causing the entire troop to scatter into the forest, tricked by Behemoth’s abrupt movements he tossed the body effortlessly across the floor.
Before he could approach his prize the trees around him came alive with some rampant commotion, from all about him his kin trampled through the surrounding flora, amongst their calls a whimpering moan caught his attention. The giant turned, snarling with frustration at the interruption and sight of a live master being thrust out into the clearing in which the nephilim stood.
“Please, please ple- ” He recognised the word but did not know its meaning. Behemoth swiped out a vicious backhand into the frail master’s face immediately silencing him, the minute body collapsed to the floor in a heap. The troop stood on edge, watching their leader return his concentration upon the strange bodies that lay about his territory. They shifted amongst themselves, apparently unable to resist their urge to tear into the malnourished being, the only thing preventing their actions was an inherent fear of their leader.
Behemoth began trying to pull apart one of the slender corpse’s bronze skins yet the material would not give despite the goliath’s strength. His breathing became heavy, slamming a fist into the dirt he hauled the deceased body up and turning about threw it at a nearby tree. The corpse slunk to the ground erupting a commotion amongst his kin, nearby nephilim coursed upon it, their restraints unable to hold, a rush of hollers and grunts filled the dense forest causing great excitement to spread through them.
Together they pulled and tugged at the resilient bronze skin, biting and scratching in an unrelenting manner the beasts would not let up, they wrestled amongst themselves to get at the unusual form, screeching and snarling they ripped at the suit until at last its interior was forced open, revealing some soft pale tissue beneath.
Returning to life Behemoth thrust aside his kin, pushing them away to inspect the pale body himself. Its wounds leaked red blood no different to the masters, yet it was vastly different from anything he could recall. Its limbs so slender, yet muscular, the entity’s body weight was so light despite its size. The dominant male examined the pale skinned corpse, from its scarcely protruding genitalia to its minute webbed hands.
Standing over the form Behemoth stared curiously at its facial features. “No master.” He huffed under his breath. The giant reached down grasping the oval head in his gargantuan hands, he wrenched the body up high, shaking it violently he swung the deceased being back to the floor and stood upon its chest. He yanked up once more causing a hollow snap to echo out joined by a slurring strain of ripping sinew and flesh.
The nephilim sharply tugged at the skull with a grunt stumbling back as it came free from its body. At once the troop coursed upon the remains, disembowelling it to get at its bones. Once more Behemoth stared at the head in confusion, holding it tightly in his hands. Its structure bared no resemblance to the masters at all, its features did not protrude, its eyes were grey without a circle of colour within. No master. The idea continued to circle inside yet he could make no cognitive sense of the situation, his mind whirred at the sensation frustrating him further.
“Please.” Again the word mumbled from across the forest floor catching Behemoth’s attention. He turned to look upon the master whose now blooded face lay resting upon a blanket of foliage. Rushing towards his target Behemoth grasped the entity by its own head, lifting it from the floor the being began to whimper catching the attention of those around him.
Behemoth pinned the master to the ground before grasping its face, he held the pale skinned skull to the darkness of the master’s. Tears flowed down its cowering skin catching Behemoth’s attention. With a deformed thumb he lifted the eyelids of both faces, live and dead, then immediately pried their mouths open, inspecting them for similarities.
As his troop corralled around, Behemoth lifted the master up high by its loincloth, he too held the pale skull up. “No master.” He said, gesturing the severed head to his kin. “No Master -”
“Please.” Behemoth’s focus swiftly changed, he looked upon the being with disdain, the word it incessantly uttered was enraging.
“Please!” Behemoth barked, slamming the frail body into the dirt, at once his kin rushed forward to pounce yet their leader lashed out, “back!” The order was not enough to deter the primitive instincts of some, an enormous male lunged forward to grasp the master only to be violently stricken across the face by his leader.
The giant erupted in anger, snarling and spitting, he charged through some nearby foliage in a rampant display, crashing through the undergrowth he hollered and roared yet upon realising his efforts went unnoticed by his kin the beast clambered away into the night.
Behemoth’s heart raced, he breathed heavily in anticipation of a necessary physical confrontation and felt relief to see the potential rival back down. “Back,” he repeated again, gesturing his kind to leave the master, their deformed faces throbbed in confusion, their colossal black eyes shifting between their leader’s overbearing authority and the lust to pull apart the bipedal.
Realising his words would not be enough to deter their desires for long Behemoth grabbed the unconscious body by its loincloth, dragging it through the forest with him whilst his kin looked on. He marched beneath the enclosing treetops into the clearing filled with master bones.
Looking over them he took a moment to rest. A bizarre feeling of unease overwhelmed the giant. Lost in incoherent thought a rustle from some nearby shrubbery startled him. He turned his torso to look upon an approaching female. She walked in a submissive stance, her head and arms lowered until she reached her leader’s side.
With a light moan the female slowly caressed Behemoth’s arm which held onto the master, before lining his broad shoulders and resting a hand upon his crooked neck. She groaned again lightly, massaging him, the flirtatious nephilim pulled herself close to her leader.
Behemoth accepted his company’s advances, enjoying the feeling of her warmth against his skin. In the early morning hours the two monstrous deformities became entangled. Behemoth lay an arm upon the female’s back. She fell forward in offer. The giant did not hesitate to reciprocate. In a crazed burst he mounted her snarling, thrusting wildly the drooling giant huddled over the female in a manic lust.
He pinned her, growling with ferocity as his excitement grew, yet the prize he clutched onto prevented any sense of pleasure flooding him. A commotion of muffled whimpers and grunts were shared before frustration caused the giant to shove his partner away. His primal desires immediately fell from his mind which became instilled with a new idea. Behemoth advanced towards the lake at the heart of his territory.
Wildlife surrounding the waterbed scattered in the giant’s stomping wake, sensing the frustration in his movement. He threw the master and pale skull down near the bank’s edge before stepping out into the chilly depths. Once he cleared the shallows Behemoth eased himself back, resting at the water surface enjoying the feeling of being consumed by a cool temperature.
For much time the giant relaxed in the early hours of the morning, staring beyond the enshrouding canopies above, amidst the tranquillity of his home.
He focused upon the last fading lights in the dark sky unfathomable distances above. Keeping his ears beneath the surface he listened to his heart rate falling, he felt his breathing drop with his calming mood allowing his mind to shift away from the rampant instinctive behaviour which controlled him. His colossal black spheres fell into a void as he attempted to consider what this pale skinned entity might be. Strands of ideas and words pulsed through his mind yet he simply could not bring them together. With immense frustration at his inabilities the deformed giant’s face scrunched up, huffing, his heart rate paced once more yet all at once his personal turmoil ceased.
Behemoth watched one of the bright lights appear to fall from above, a morning star coursed down from the sky to the south. It fell slowly at first, though with its brightness so its speed increased, a vision unlike any he had seen in all his long years. The giant’s body convulsed in the water as the light fell beyond his vision past the treetops, he propelled himself back towards the shoreline grasping his prized pale skull and humanoid captive.
Lurching up the lake’s bank he rushed forward to bellow out but froze. He glanced around his territory, he watched his family grooming, his rivals sleeping. He glared south again, up through the canopies, then north, from where he had found these bronze entities.
For a fleeting moment some coherence filled Behemoth. He trod onwards, quietly, towards the looming mountain. No masters. The words repeated over and over in his head. Flashbacks of some ancient memories ripped though his thoughts. He craved wildly to know what caused such familiar imagery. No masters.
Unknown to Behemoth, amongst the trees his troop corralled together, following from afar, confused and fearful at the unfamiliar sight of their leader, who had lead their pursuit of the masters for so many generations, simply abandoning them.
Is it truly the gods?
The adams said it was so.
Stay back! We should not approach!
Muffled speech echoed in Samyaza’s mind. She burst up to her feet in panic upon realising the death probe’s cylinder was not intact. It had come to rest on its side upon a desolate yellow plateau. She had not imagined the voices, glancing through her vessel’s translucent interior it became clear a mass of humanoid figures stood surrounding the damaged craft. She span about to look for her leader, to her amazement he still breathed.
“Heylel?” She knelt by him, lightly shaking the seraphim’s huge body yet there was no reaction. “Wake up, Heylel!” Still he remained motionless, the commander’s thoughts became lost between his faint breaths and the chorus of speech funnelling in from outside. Despite her grief there was little she could do for him, the probe’s breach could not be sealed, nor did she have the means to repair her seraphim’s life suit. For much time she rest with the colossus, holding his hand in hers, monitoring his chest as it rose and fell.
“Yaza?” A weak voice filled the wreckage, failing to catch Samyaza’s attention, her thoughts were far and away from her present dilemma. It was not until the seraphim’s eye lids flickered open that reality caught up with her. “How long until the life support dies, Yaza?” The commander drearily shook her head. A deep confusion consumed her.
“The probe’s seal was removed upon landing, Heylel. These pods… they have no life support.” She looked at her leader, his eyes were no longer a lifeless grey, but sparkled with a faint tint, as though his body had been invigorated, but how it could be evaded her. “How do you feel, Heylel?”
“I feel,” he paused, inhaling deeply before exhaling a long, powerful breath, “as though a vice has been removed from my throat. We are upon Eden?” Samyaza nodded with excitement.
“Yes.” The giant she held attempted to lift his body but suddenly recoiled moaning in pain. The pair looked down at the wound Michael had inflicted upon the seraphim’s torso, the gigantic blade which had caused the blow had also cauterized his skin preventing further damage. Heylel sighed with frustration looking at the death probe’s open hatch.
“I don’t understand.”
“Nor I, Heylel… you should be dead.” Once more an outburst of speech flooded into the craft from Eden catching Heylel’s attention. Samyaza quickly realised he could not understand their words for his headset was broken.
“There are humanoids outside, they speak of gods coming down from the mountain.”
“Their deities?” Samyaza shook her head.
“I fear they speak of us, Heylel.” The seraphim’s breathing suddenly became unstable. His face creased in pain, he shifted his body backwards, up against the death probe’s interior walls. Samyaza extended an arm, resting it upon Heylel. “Stay calm, you should reserve your energy.” He nodded. “I will greet the humanoids, perhaps they can be of some assistance.” She lightly squeezed her seraphim’s hand before turning about to exit the pod.
Sliding gracefully out of the craft’s narrow exit the commander stood to look at a crowd of humanoids, they appeared bewildered, their bodies were scarcely covered by some ragged material. None spoke nor moved.
“I understand you.” Samyaza said, her voice boomed from her headset in the humanoids’ tongue causing many to flinch, “from where do you venture?” They each looked amongst each other, still stunned in amazement. “Is there one here who speaks for the rest?”
“We live beneath now,” at last a white haired female spoke up. “The giants kill us all.”
“Beneath? Underground? How long have your people lived there?”
“I have lived always beneath.” An aging male this time spoke, glancing between the other humanoids, “but the Adams say it was not always so. It is why they sent us above, we saw the light fall to us. They said you would come from the sky.”
Impossible. The commander stood shocked at the humanoid’s words. “The Adams…” Samyaza trailed to silence. Azazel’s logs filled her mind, could they be direct descendents of the experiments?
“There was a time when the Adams were not killed by the giants, when they lived in the mountain, but then the gods punished them. They were sent down to live with the sinners, to be killed by the giants, so now we live as they do, beneath, and hide.”
“Your people are the children of Eve?” The humanoid shook his head.
“Not all of us, it is what the Adams call themselves.”
“Can you take me to them?” Again the male shook his head. “Why?” Samyaza asked becoming sceptical of the being’s words.
“I do not know the Adams by face, but I can take you to where we dwell. They promised us when the gods return we will be saved, in return for our loyalty. They say the gods are all powerful, that they are not from our lands, that they will free us from the giants.”
“The Adams do not live with others of your kind?”
“Yes, it is vast beneath, the Adams dwell apart from the rest of us, for their guidance and promise we supply their needs, but sometimes they are cruel. They send some who have done wrong out from beneath, to keep the giants away.” A feeling of pity for these entities not dissimilar to that which she felt towards the malakhim and cherubim of her home world began to ensnare the commander. After a moment’s thought a sudden realisation dawned upon her, perhaps all is not lost.
“Remain here.” She turned about hurrying back to the death probe, delving inside she checked upon Heylel who remained slouched against the craft’s interior, a sudden bleak idea filled her mind. “How do you fair, Heylel?” The enormous entity breathed steadily but there was little reaction from his face.
“I am fine, Yaza, though I fear, without support from a suit, I will not last long upon this world.” Samyaza feared the same.
“The pure liquids running across Eden support all life here, Heylel, perhaps if the air does not poison you, nor will it.”
“Perhaps, Yaza,” the seraphim coughed causing him to wince at the wound upon his side.
“I intend to venture to these humanoids’ dwellings, Heylel. I will return with this liquid.” The huge being continued to stare at the probe’s interior.
“Be careful.” For a moment she looked across Heylel’s broad face, anxious as to what she could do to help him, but more so relieved to see the light in his eyes had been reignited, something she feared she might never have seen again. With a forced smile unseen by her leader she left the pod returning to the humanoids.
“Lead the way to your dwellings.” The bunched creatures turned about obediently and together, beneath the early morning sky, began across Eden’s untamed wilds.
“Do you truly come to free us from the giants?” A young female stood closest to Samyaza spoke without looking upon the watcher.
“First I wish to understand what has happened here, to your people, in as much detail as I can, but do not fear. We are here to help. What do your people call you?” The commander looked at the dark skinned being who for the first time glanced at Samyaza’s reflective dome visor, her dark eyes were captivating. Such a vast contrast to those of Samyaza’s kind.
“I am Aetha.” The humanoid whispered, smiling, before an aged female grasped the young one pulling her away from Samyaza.
“Do not speak such things, my dear.” The humanoid was joined by a grey haired male, he too held the young entity close before glancing in Samyaza’s direction.
“The Adams prefer us to be without name, should they know we have granted such a thing, we would be sent out to the giants. I truly hope you are the gods they speak of.” With those words he ushered his kin away from Samyaza, the idea was most bizarre causing a disturbing feeling to creep into Samyaza’s psyche.
The more she learned of her people’s subjects the more it became evident their most primal instincts had long overridden the brilliance instilled in them by Azazel. Or has it? Samyaza could not help but see parallels between these humanoids and her own kind, Rafaela’s words resonated louder than ever. These beings know only destruction. Azazel’s logs had concluded these fears, and Michael’s furious accusations were beginning to fill her with doubts. But to destroy them? The dilemma consumed Samyaza. The actions of a few should not speak for all. There must still be hope.
Over vast distances the watcher followed her new companions. She could see these creatures were prey, their mannerisms and erratic movements gave away their paranoia. She could see they were weak. Helpless. Perhaps Michael had not been far from the truth, these beings are already slaves.
At once the group stopped, stooping low beneath an elevation of grassy terrain, beyond it a vast outcrop of trees extended from the forest which itself sat hundreds of meters back. “What is it?” Samyaza whispered, feeling an immediate pang of dread fill her innards.
“Nothing,” A male ahead of her spoke to the commander without turning. “In the darkness, this is from where they spring. From where they watch us, and wait. The giants will eat anything, our children and elderly, tear their flesh from their skin before our very eyes, I believe they devour them. They are monsters.”
“We must pass through to get to the waters beyond, and our home.” The trees appeared calm, their fertile branches swayed innocently in the breeze, the shrubbery beneath stood motionless, undisturbed by life, the wilds were silent.
“I will lead.” The eldest of the humanoids stood, “remain close, we will circle the outcrops until we can make for the waterway. I pray they are not drawn in the light.” For a moment the male stared up at the sky, his kin looked at him, they each breathed irregularly, though so too did the commander. After a moment he began to scamper towards the trees, crouched low the rest followed. Samyaza tracked them closely staying towards the back of the pack, she plucked a stillot from her shoulder blade in case she would need to defend these beings.
Together they followed the undergrowth across many hundreds of meters, all the while Samyaza glanced into the forest, fearing a wild roar or eruption of ghastly deformities yet their hasty venture remained uninterrupted. Before her the tree line gave way to open water, yet more startlingly, far up the waterway’s banks, gargantuan structures stood.
Enormous walls erected from the rocks of the land, she had seen them from above. The settlements. Samyaza had a sudden idea of her whereabouts, south west of Mount Hermon. Incredible. “What do you know of these structures?” She asked to no particular humanoid.
“The Adams say the giants inhabited these walls, until the gods came and drove them into the forest so our people could live in peace, but the people were greedy, so the giants were set upon them by the gods, they say when the gods return they will drive the giants away for good.”
Manipulation. The commander fell quiet, thinking about the nature of these Adams. The humanoids led her between the colossal stone walkways of the settlement. The sun was now high in the sky, the creatures Samyaza followed appeared far less paranoid in the light. The calming sound of flowing water coursed through the air as they weaved through walkway after walkway of pale stone walls.
Gargantuan structures and abandoned slabs laid all about the site. Towards the compound’s far reaches high extending hillsides had been carved out for what the commander could only assume to be dwellings. Much of what she observed was evidently unfinished.
The humanoids disperse, they flee their dwellings, all that they forced the nephilim to construct for them, they leave it all behind, slaughtered and skinned alive as they evacuate. Samyaza shuddered at the thought of these sites being filled with enslaved nephilim. It is no wonder they hunt the humanoids. Azazel’s logs likely held the answer to every problem she stumbled across upon this world. Up a final verge and down a brief causeway Samyaza followed her company until each halted at a sealed entry leading into the rock face.
“The gods walk with us, they request an audience with the Adams.”
“They have truly come?” A muffled voice yelled from inside. With a scrape an enormous circular stone was drawn to one side revealing a long passageway, the hollowed out structure was fire lit at regular intervals for as far as Samyaza could see. To the commander’s surprise just one small humanoid stood in the now open way, despite the door’s sheer size.
“Follow us, we will take you as far as we can to see the Adams.” Within, Samyaza watched the same humanoid effortlessly reseal the hidden mouth before turning to follow the group into the depths beneath.
The air was light within, not stuffy as she had expected. Once the boulder concealing the walkway’s entry had been returned an immense hum filled the surroundings. “This way.” An aged female enticed her ever deeper into the humanoid settlement. For much distance Samyaza trekked down a single walkway until the route opened up, revealing a spectacular view.
The commander quickly realised the atmospheric hum had been caused by a pulsating society of humanoids. Many rushed forth to look at the watcher, though the grown ones amongst them trod with caution. From the forming crowd a single young female crawled from the arms of her stricken mother. Samyaza crouched down, snorting in delight at the tiny juvenile that reached out with curiosity.
“Hello there.” The commander smiled beneath her reflective visor, returning the baby’s actions. She grasped onto her minute fingers with the lightest touch causing the humanoid to giggle. “Aren’t you a beauty?” A protective maternal instinct flooded the watcher whilst they interacted, something she had not felt since departing her home world. As much joy as this moment brought her, so too did it cause an overbearing sense of loss.
“We have some distance to travel before we reach the Adams.” A weary humanoid spoke, interrupting Samyaza’s entranced state.
“Of course,” she looked up, “lead the way.” The growing crowd did not disperse as they travelled deeper beneath. Masses of tunnels sprawled out at intervals, conjoined by enormous open spaces, each filled with throngs of crudely dressed dark skinned individuals. There were groups at rest, discussing seemingly irrelevant affairs, whilst others worked away, carrying various sized containers and pails of liquid, or hauling sleds of rubble from the cave system’s depths.
The walls were lit at constant stops with fire, above each light source a portal extended right up to Eden’s surface allowing the smoke out and the planet’s atmosphere in. Despite how primitive these people appeared to Samyaza at first sight, she was truly impressed by their ingenuity.
“This place has kept you safe from the giants?” Many around her nodded.
“There has never been talk of a giant beneath. We are always safe here. Only when the Adams send us above we are no longer safe.” A mumble scattered throughout the crowd following the words.
“If we do not please them, if we do not work or gather -”
“Quiet!” Another unknown face blurted. “Soon we are there.” At the end of another corridor a vast space opened out. Its roof had been hollowed higher than any other. Small fires shed light upon a moat, the midst of which gave way to a land bridge. At both ends of the way two individuals stood motionless.
They were taller than the other humanoids, they dressed in long white robes, and upon their backs, strapped via some attachments rest a display of feathered wings. Their faces were hidden by some dazzling visors and from their heads fell white hair which the commander could see was artificial.
“The gods have come!” A humanoid from her company yelled. For much time there was silence, nor any reaction from those guarding the bridge, until beyond it a vast fire was lit up. Its glare revealed the chamber’s back wall had countless spaces hollowed into it similar to those above, doubtlessly for habitation.
From a carved out archway a single being appeared. It was tall, slender, dressed similarly to those who stood at the bridge. Slowly it stepped around the fire, approaching the crossing. Any the entity passed by bowed down. Once clear of the moat the figure approached Samyaza. In the silent depths he fell upon his knees, lowering his hands and face to the ground.
At sight of these actions every humanoid present joined the Adam. “Do you come to punish us once more?” The white robed male spoke out, still facing the floor.
“No, my people have returned to learn what has happened to this world. Your kin said you saw us come down from above, they lead me here. Please stand, all of you.” The crowd rose immediately.
“We saw you fall upon the mountain, my ancestors speak of a time when the gods will come down from above to drive the giants away.”
“It was your kin who approached us at the mountain?” For some moments the male was quiet.
“My kin? No. We do not go to the mountain, for fear of death.” Rafaela, they must truly be descendents.
“What do you know of your people’s past?”
“Our dynasty goes back to Adam, we were created in the likeness of the gods. In those days our people walked in peace with another who came from the stars. One that protected our lot with a weapon of flame. Our ancestors tell of the perilous journey to the mountain where our guardian advised us to, where we intended to live in peace for long years, but length of days would not be ours.
We angered the gods, and when they came to the mountain, any who looked upon them were stricken down with fire. The few who managed to flee were cast from safety, to where the giants dwell. In those days my kin sought refuge with the wildlings we now harbour. We learned quickly of their crudeness, of their violence. My kin learned quickly too of their techniques in construction and all things their knowledge held abound, and with it we built the confides you stand within.” The slender humanoid raised his arms, prompting Samyaza to join him in observing their surroundings.
“Our understanding of these matters far exceeded their own, yet with our guidance and their numbers we created this haven to keep us from the giants. Still, we have always been waiting for your kind to return, as our ancestors’ protector said you would. We have observed the Heavenly bodies since those days and until now. To see the morning star fall to us fills me with a new hope that all things may return to as they once were.” The commander looked at the corralled crowd, she was impressed at the history which had been passed down.
“Much has changed since the time you speak of,” the vast majority of the humanoids would not look into Samyaza’s reflective visor, “in my own people as well as yours. We are here to help. To know you are safe brings great relief to my heart.”
“You will kill the monsters?” A voice mumbled out from amongst them.
“We hope to understand all things that have happened here, but know you need no longer fear for your lives, you will be safe to live above once more. With our help you may discover your true past, and your true purpose. Your bloodline,” she looked away from the Adam, at the rest of her company, “all of your bloodlines hold a grand importance to us.”
“Then why must we wait? The Adams say you are all powerful.” Another voice muttered from the whispering group. She could see their faces growing in excitement.
“There is more to power than destruction.” Samyaza spoke with scorn. “My kind is troubled, a problem I am working to resolve. For the moment your people are safest to remain beneath, but I assure you, I will return for you. All of you.” The very words she uttered reminded her of Tamiel and her abandoned crew, a pang of guilt surged through her. I must return to them.
“Very well,” the slender Adam bowed before Samyaza, his winged attachments and flowing robes slunk with his lanky body. “May we be of any assistance, we will await your word.”
“Do you have access to the clear liquids of this world which the organisms here consume?” After a moment of apparent confusion the adam spoke up.
“Bring some pouches of water, then escort our guest above.” The crowd dispersed.
“This way,” a slouching female motioned Samyaza to follow. An expanding group encompassed her as they returned to the enormous underground dwelling’s exit. On their way she was given some heavy fur lined skins which she quickly learned were full of water and with some further gestures the commander returned to Eden’s surface.
Time had ran away from the commander, the planet’s sky was darkening already. It brought a sudden feeling of paranoia to her now that she was all alone. Within her visor she retraced the route the group had taken from the death probe.
Walking, Samyaza’s mind became filled with questions and confusion. Why are we here? The strangest motion pulsed within her. All that she knew and had accomplished, the secrets she held, the troubles that enveloped her. She had never truly stopped to ponder upon their purpose, nor her own.
Despite her fears for the consuming darkness the commander’s trek back across Eden’s landscapes was untroubled, not a sight nor sound of any life form caught her attention. At vision of the probe her tensions lightened greatly. Thoughts of her seraphim’s health now bared strongest in her mind. With relief she clambered into the small craft to find Heylel awake and breathing.
“Yaza,” his silver spheres fixed on hers. “It is good to see you are well.”
“You too, Heylel.” She knelt by his side and removed a bung from one of the skins. “This is water, try it, but not too much. I’m not sure whether it will be of benefit or not.” She helped him hold its open top to his mouth and gently let some of the liquid out, much to Heylel’s apparent pleasure. “How is it?”
“Refreshing.” He looked at her smiling.
“Good,” she smiled in her suit, looking back through the vessel’s open seal, the now black sky sparkled brightly. “Such beauty, from above and below.”
“What did you see whilst accompanying the humanoids?” The seraphim asked, continuing to sip at the water.
“A society living. Surviving, constrained by made up laws. Some suffering, others thriving.” The commander released the skin pouch and laid in the vehicle’s interior, she relaxed her head on her arm in anticipation of rest. “Why is our kind prevented from breeding as all other creatures do, Heylel?” He sighed at her question, remaining quiet for some moments, as though gathering his thoughts.
“All species have the impulse to recreate, Samyaza, it is a most basic instinct for survival. To create and to dominate, no matter what star you look upon, no matter the entity, these two things are constant throughout the universe, but as much as an animal can progress through the constant creation of more, they inevitably regress into extinction.” The seraphim sat slouched within the death probe, he looked out through its exit staring up at the star lit sky. “Had our people not began to recreate as we did, without the regressive nature of natural production, our species may have died out long ago.”
“These humanoids appear to the Adams as the malakhim and cherubim did upon our home world to the seraphim, Heylel. Was Michael truly lying when he spoke of your intentions upon Eden?” The seraphim shook his head.
“Our intentions are the same, Yaza, to ensure the survival of our species, and see all that our kind has achieved continue to develop. What has happened here however, it has been a disaster. Such intermixing of these genetic mutations has caused… A scenario which could have been avoided.”
“I fear such a scenario has become inevitable for our species, Heylel. What I see here is no different to our home. Master and slave.”
“A set to build, a set to protect, a set to learn, and a set to lead. Our existence is predetermined, Samyaza, what we are created as cannot be altered. The removal of the necessity to naturally reproduce allowed our kind’s progression to become greatly accelerated, without the need to worry for a genetic set back or upstart that others could not comprehend. A linear progression that generated the greatest results, that did not see the creation of such things as these nephilim.”
“And yet we still destroyed our home, Heylel, perhaps extinction is inevitable no matter the effort to avoid it.”
“A star is merely a host, so long as we were able to discover a new one, and we have, nothing was truly lost.” Samyaza fell quiet at her leader’s words, still laying upon her side. Beneath her visor she closed her eyes blocking thoughts of her planet from her mind, the reasons to keep them hidden had held her to silence since her species departed their home, in the face of impending doom however, the lingering thought of execution seemed irrelevant.
“I lost a child upon our home world, Heylel, born from natural reproduction, a female, fathered by a cherubim. Two deeds both which earn the penalty of death, yet which themselves create life. I hope you do not see it necessary to punish me, but I have longed to discuss these things for an eternity.”
“We are under no regulation of our homeland’s laws upon this world, Samyaza.”
“But you are still a seraphim,” she twisted her body to look back at her leader, “you still hold authority over me.” Heylel turned to look at Samyaza. His eyes were still dim though he breathed well. “I have always been close to you, Heylel, have you never felt the desire to embrace me for your own passions?” The huge entity’s gaze returned to the stars.
“We tried our best to breed out the brain’s ability to release such chemicals, there were some successes in the set of the seraphim. I am sorry, commander, I am incapable of such lusts, though I must confess I have often pondered over what effects such feelings might have over the mind and body.”
“There is no more gratifying a feeling than to hold in your arms new life, Heylel, a life born from passion, not created in the coldness of a society bred to sets, merely to perform their required tasks until their body is no longer of use and to be discarded, only to be replaced by another.” A lasting silence took hold of the probe, once more Samyaza rest her head, feeling a sense of grand relief to have been able to share her deepest secrets.
“Perhaps you are correct, Yaza, perhaps it is a shame that those things were considered impurities by those that came before me. It is a thing I could never understand. Eden is an opportunity to succeed where we failed before, though I know not of Yahweh’s motives, if he has truly left, then perhaps you are right. I do not frown upon your actions. Michael was correct about one thing, you do have a brilliant mind, that you succumb to natural instincts is a flaw of the seraphim, no others.” The huge entity stood up, he reached out of the probe and pulled its seal shut. Turning back, he stepped across the craft and rest down against its interior beside Samyaza. As she lay the seraphim looked over the bronze suit covering her slender figure, it brought comfort to the commander to feel his presence beside her as her conscience slowly dozed off into darkness.
An enormous crowd had been corralled into the detainment depot, by the delicacy of their frames alone Michael could determine whether the entities were watchers or one of his malakhim set. Stood at their head was Zebub. Michael held regret over his previous interactions with the male for fear now it may sway the paunchy being’s mind ill towards his cause.
“Michael? What tyranny is this?”
“Tyranny? Do you recall, Zebub, your final moments upon our home world? Not those before you stepped upon Heaven, but all that lead up to our kind’s demise?”
“Of course, is it not the very reason we are here? It was the seraphim themselves who sought new stars so that our kind may continue, in whatever form that may be. Why, on the verges of success would one seek to destroy this unique opportunity?”
“The very moment we entered Eden’s orbit this place was destroyed. Do none of you question why a seraphim responsible for war upon our home world would be placed upon a vessel destined to infiltrate the organic matter of another star and plant our people’s seed within it? A military mind, placed at the head of a vessel destined to create life.”
“To protect us, Michael. Or so I had believed. The purpose of the seraphim is to hold council over decisions, to protect this vessel’s heart, the throne. Life aboard this ship, all life, Michael.”
“For many years I stood to quell the ‘cherubim uprisings’ upon our home world, watcher, believing my actions were keeping our sets safe, but do you wish to know the truth? The more I reflect upon those times the more I realise. There were none. There was only fear, lies from the seraphim which fuelled our actions, but we were the terrors in the dark, Zebub. It was my set and yours who were manipulated into creating everything which the seraphim hold their claims to, upon this star and our last. Their leadership has already lead to the death of two of their own set.” Zebub shook his head as he spoke frustrating Michael.
“What point are you are attempting to make, malakhim?”
“That the seraphim seek only control, Zebub. Control over all things, our sets and your watchers’ experiments, it is you who can produce our kind a future, it is merely your genetic design which causes you to kneel before the seraphim’s authority. Why can’t you see, Zebub? You speak of tyranny as though you are not already crushed beneath it.”
“Your words are treason! You are merely a-” The watcher looked up at Michael. “Servant.”
“A slave, to the seraphim, yes. But a servant to my kind, to my set, to all who serve beneath our self proclaimed leaders.”
“They are not self proclaimed, Michael, the set of the seraphim is bred to lead.”
“But what has their set achieved that we malakhim and watchers cannot?”
“They hold us together, Michael, their set is the pinnacle of our species existence, they understand all sets, and they excel in all things, they are the driving force in our species research and successes. They are specimens of creation that may never be achieved again.”
“And yet they enslave and manipulate all who they feel are beneath them. Do you not believe the watchers could have been successful with the experiments upon Eden, without the seraphim?”
“Doubtlessly, we are here to survive, but with them we are a society, our sets can be reproduced and our legacy pushed on into eternity.” Michael’s single iris suddenly fixated upon Zebub, he blinked, staring at the male in a moment of silence.
“You would see your species held beneath slavery and tyranny for all of time, so long as it merely survives?”
“We watchers are not bound by such things, Mi-”
“Listen to me, watcher!” Zebub cowered at Michael’s sudden outburst, retreating slightly towards the lines of his kin. “I have listened to Azazel’s logs. We malakhim were slaves on our home world and so too would we have been upon this one, until our lifespan expired, our duty finished, and we were replaced by some other genetic monstrosity. How I have been so blind for so long, truly believing myself to be a righteous entity, yet we are treated no different to the nephilim and these humanoid creations your kin has plagued this unique star with. They are a disease, they will destroy this world.”
“What are you saying, Michael?” The high-malakhim sighed heavily.
“Have the watchers released. Everyone, you are dismissed, but you, Zebub. You will remain.” Zebub backed away from Michael as his set was escorted from the enormous chamber, once they were sealed within Michael began to pace about the room. “Without your set, Zebub, the seraphim has nothing. Their intentions to dominate this world and all which we create on it are void, and yet, you too would be slaves should you stand up against them. You would be forced.”
“If this is such a grave concern of yours, Michael,” the watcher spoke in hushed tones. “Why do you stand with a seraphim who seeks to terminate this creation, to leave Eden, our only chance at life?”
“I do not stand with any seraphim, Zebub.” Michael spoke freely yet the watcher continued to whisper.
“If you were to stand against them you would be dead!”
“And what, Zebub,” the malakhim stopped his pacing, he turned to look at the watcher, “what if they were already dead?” Zebub looked about the room with panic strewn across his face.
“Do not speak of such things, Michael. I shudder to imagine, there would be wide spread panic amongst Heaven, there would be no order!”
“I saw what life truly was upon our home world, watcher, what it was to produce it, to protect it… To destroy it. Yet I saw that it flourished, despite the seraphim’s greatest efforts to suppress it, to dominate and control it.”
“Why should I trust you, Michael? You killed my set before my eyes!” The plump male became flustered. Michael sensed the being’s helplessness.
“They were facades, Zebub. Just as Yahweh is, to create fear amongst your kind.” The watcher shook his head, he looked lost.
“You… you lie.”
“On our home world, watcher, when a tyrannical leader sought the destruction of an innocent enemy, and that innocent enemy believed their own kin were being slaughtered, two problems were resolved at once. The enemy fled and the tyrant believed they were victor. I myself could sleep with a clear conscience. You were that innocent enemy, Zebub, though you cannot see it. Stand with me, watcher, stand against Heylel. Stand against a tyranny that will not end, upon this world nor any other until we are free of the seraphim.”
“I cannot.” The watcher whimpered. Michael turned away, a feeling of emptiness gripped his will, he felt the fuel driving his pursuit draining with each passing moment.
“Such a disappointment you are, Zebub. You watchers are the stars in the night sky, a vision of never diminishing excellence, yet still you cannot see you are merely imprisoned there.”
“Please, Michael, there is still hope. The seraphim will see our species develop through these humanoids, Heylel is not as you speak him to be, he will see our kind’s future secured if only you will grant him a chance,” still Michael did not look at the watcher. “If, if he still lives.”
“If he is not already deceased from the wound I gave him, the destination of the death probe, or what thrives in his lungs, then my malakhim will most certainly finish my work. His fate is sealed.”
“His lungs? What do you speak of, Michael?”
“Since our departure from Eden, when the first watchers returned and the experiments started, I began poisoning Heylel with Eden’s air, for a final moment. Our return to the planet. It was necessary to justify the destruction of the experiments, if they believed contact with a humanoid had caused his death Heaven’s entire population would have supported the idea, but, he was stronger than we ever could have imagined. His set is a marvel. However, his actions at least were enough to earn himself the death penalty, with our ship’s entirety still believing seraphim Yahweh lives, our kind’s future is secure. We will be that future. Our sets living free from the seraphim’s grip without being used whilst alive and discarded once dead, merely for the seraphim’s own gain. How can you not see?” Zebub sighed.
“I fear I do see, Michael. I see that you live for this very moment in time, but I, I live for the future, for the prospect of creation, the advancement of our species but I do see. I see that my life is indeed… nothing.”
“No, watcher, life is all we have. Walk with me, I wish to show you something.” Michael raised an arm to usher Zebub towards a walkway outside the detainment depot. On approach the black doors slid silently apart and they made way into Heaven’s barren gangways. The corridors were empty as Michael lead his kin towards the seraphim’s chamber. “I hope together our sets may colonise this world, and perhaps someday find a way for our species to live freely upon its soils and breath its air as our own. Have you listened to Azazel’s logs, watcher?”
“I have not had a chance,” Zebub replied, his eyes darted nervously between his company and Heaven’s black walls.
“The seraphim’s nature is riddled into the DNA of these experiments. They are already doomed.”
“Doomed or not, Michael, do they not deserve a chance?” Reaching the pinnacle of Heaven the beings stepped into their destination.
“No, Zebub. There is no life in their existence. They seek only to dominate, to destroy, their kind will know only war and barbarity for as long as it lives. They will become a virus to this world, and destroy it as we did our own. I will free them from their pain, as I free our sets, watcher.” The huge entity gestured about the room watching different images of coordinates become enhanced, exposing the sites of enormous structures and dwellings.
“Witness the end of this pestilence, Zebub, and a new beginning for our own kind.” The images of the abandoned humanoid settlements became engulfed. Eden quaked beneath tremendous clouds of fire spouting high into the sky. Violent tremors shook through the terrain below pulsating wild winds across Eden’s landscapes. Structures were immediately levelled as brimstone fell back to the earth.
“What have you done, Michael?” Zebub stood stricken, staring at the malakhim whose gaze rest firmly upon the destruction all about them.
“I have granted life to us all, watcher, not just those who think themselves worthy of such a gift.”
Heavy vibrations pulsed through Samyaza, bright burning lights confused her slumber until she reared backwards, whimpering in fear for belief she was back upon the surface of Mount Hermon amidst a burning wreckage. The commander flinched as she collided with Heylel. The seraphim stood staring through the death probe’s translucent interior. “What is it, Heylel?” The small craft began to judder again. Far upon the horizon more luminous lights caused Eden to tremble.
“They appear to be detonations of some sort, Yaza.” With his words the death probe’s interior lit up. Power surged through its systems, captured by the vessel’s shell.
“It is radiation. What is Yahweh doing? It is deadly to all life.” A vast wall of dust rumbled out of the ground blowing past the death probe, it rocked the small ship troubling Samyaza’s footing. “Help me, Heylel, if we absorb enough perhaps we can get air born.” Faint eruptions continued to hum in Samyaza’s ears whilst she worked away at the control panels, a few times she glanced at her seraphim but the towering being seemed entranced. She pondered as she worked, what hope is there now? Scarcely an Eden day had passed since she had entered the Ark, how high her hopes had been in that moment, and how lost they were now.
“Something comes, commander.” Commander, she could not recall a time when he had not addressed her by name.
“Secure yourself, Heylel, I will attempt to stabilise the craft, if its legs are unbroken.” The entity did as she requested without comment. He rest slumped, bound to a control panel. “From which direction do you see-” Turning her head Samyaza stopped, through the thick smog basking Eden’s countryside masses of dim lights were visible in the sky. Samyaza watched them for much time until it became obvious from their distinct flair patterns and silhouettes that the crafts were ophanim. Samyaza worked away at the death probes limited control panel in efforts to turn on any possible communication devices.
“What if they seek to be rid of us, Samyaza?”
“You are a seraphim, they would not disobey you.”
“They obey Yahweh, they are not afraid to inflict wounds.” The enormous seraphim ran a webbed hand up the cauterized scar upon his abdomen before their gazes met, Samyaza slowly shook her head, her desperation hidden beneath her bronze visor. At once she worked at the panels in efforts to gain control over the probe’s movements. She fiddled tirelessly with the intricate system, pressing at symbols and levers until a judder wracked the small ship.
Samyaza gazed down below the probe’s seal, watching the craft’s legs move awkwardly, mechanically, cringing and straining to grasp a footing upon Eden’s surface. To her grand relief the vessel balanced itself, finding an even footing on its limbs.“Perhaps we can make it to Mount Hermon, Tamiel and her crew await my return.” She pushed forward upon a lever, holding onto it as the probe’s legs began to vibrate with a wild intensity.
Before the encroaching ophanims’ lights blocked out the final stars in the early morning hours Samyaza grimaced, feeling perhaps the last hope for her kind combust. The death probe shook at an inferno bursting from its legs beneath, the craft strained, blowing a shockwave of debris outwards beneath it before juddering to a stall. Her heart sank. The probe’s engines fell dead. “It is depleted.” She whispered, “we must go by foot.” There was no reaction from her leader. “Get up, Heylel!” She blubbered her words in fear, pushing at the seraphim’s lifeless body. His eyes opened yet they had faded once more.
Outside the probe Samyaza heard the encroaching vessels touchdown causing yet more debris to join the already dusty air all about them. Each ophanim’s seal hatch opened up releasing a crowd of bronze entities down to Eden’s surface. The commander knew it was hopeless to remain within her craft, it was no different to waiting for death. Without hesitance she withdrew a stillot from her back, and opening the probe’s seal let herself down between its stout legs.
Those who had touched down froze before Samyaza. “We do not wish to hurt you, commander, we seek only the seraphim.” She recognised the voice of Gabriel, one of Yahweh’s hands.
“For what reason, malakhim? Yahweh has cast us out of Heaven, what possible threat could we be to him?” Samyaza stepped towards Gabriel and his crew, through the smog left by whatever had shaken Eden’s landscapes. She gripped the metallic shaft she wielded causing it sear violently.
“Stop, commander. You are pardoned, do not change that. We come only for seraphim Heylel, please, where is he?”
“I am here, malakhim.” A great voice boomed from behind causing Samyaza to turn about. A giant entity loomed beneath the death probe, scarcely visible for the thick dusty winds still billowing across Eden’s wilds, yet two spheres glared onwards, clearly, appearing brighter than the stars in Eden’s night sky.
“A seraphim breathes upon Eden -” Samyaza heard the confusion of unknown voices fill her headset yet all was discarded by the voice of Gabriel which retook took command.
“Come forth, Heylel. You will be brought to justice for your crime.” The malakhim sounded uneasy.
“What crime might that be, malakhim?” Heylel paced forth from beneath the death probe, his size appearing to grow tremendously with each step. Samyaza stared at his torn bronze life suit and the enormous scar which marked the entirety of his abdomen, she traced the wound up to his thick neck and broad jaw, up past his flat nose, to his long flowing silver hair, and amidst it all his glowing eyes which burned brighter than she had ever known. His set was truly glorious to look upon.
“You made an attempt on the life of a seraphim, Heylel.” The seraphim looked all about the crowd which stood before him.
“And you do not see the flaw in your pursuit for justice?”
“I am merely acting upon the word of seraphim Yahweh, Heylel. It would be unfair to leave to you to perish upon this hell.”
“Look at me, Gabriel,” Heylel’s burning sphere’s shifted, he glared down at the bronze encased entity, “I breathe Eden’s air. We all can breathe this air. You must persuade Yahweh, Gabriel, our kind can live on this world that we once thought to be a hell to us. Our sets can survive in harmony, if it is the experiments Yahweh finds so disappointing, he may now know, that such things are not necessary, that we can take this world as our own.”
“It is not my place to decide, Heylel. Yahweh has given his orders.”
“You need not decide a thing, malakhim. Merely return us to Heaven, and we can show Yahweh, together, that our species may have a home upon this world. I give my word to you, your life is at no risk, but the stake of our kind’s future is. Do what is right, malakhim.” Gabriel began to nod. Samyaza breathed uneasily, she felt a sudden patter begin striking her bronze suit and noticed that Eden’s sky had closed, giving way to thick black clouds that recycled the world’s waters. “What will it be?” For some moments all present stood silent.
“Kneel,” Samyaza heard Gabriel utter causing her to turn back about, stillot still searing with heat, each droplet from above which touched the rod simmered with a hiss at contact.
“Don’t do this, Gabriel,” she pleaded with the malakhim.
“Do not resist, Samyaza.” Heylel’s calming voice troubled her more than it soothed as she watched the enormous being lower himself.
“You are a seraphim!” She staggered to him and fell by his side.
“Be calm, watcher.” Heylel’s voice was hushed, he looked to the floor listening to Gabriel and his men approach.
“His words are true.” Samyaza’s headset picked up an unknown voice amongst Gabriel’s crew. “If we kill him now, Gabriel, then all hope for our kind is lost.”
“Listen to him,” Samyaza pleaded. Gabriel paused throughout another silence. The rain continued to thud away upon Eden’s barren grounds becoming thicker and thicker. Samyaza’s stillot no longer glowed, the materiel had fallen cold beneath the drenching waters. She felt a sudden shiver cut through her skin beneath her life suit.
“A new home, Gabriel.” Heylel looked up at the crew, his eyes still burning bright. “This is what we set out for in the beginning, what Heaven was destined for. We have found it. Whatever has happened to me upon Heaven, we can duplicate it.”
“The poison.” Again the voice sounded into Samyaza’s ears.
“Silence, Uriel!” The commander stood, her grip tightened reigniting her stillot.
“Poison? What poison?” Gabriel’s crew was quiet. “Speak!”
“Upon Yahweh’s order, and under Michael’s supervision, we poisoned the seraphim’s respiratory system with Eden’s atmosphere, to make it appear as though the visiting humanoid had been his cause of death, and that we could eradicate the humanoids.”
“And then simply leave? It does not make sense.” Samyaza’s mind whirred with confusion. “What could he possibly achieve?”
“It no longer matters, commander.” The seraphim interrupted her, “it is true, the subjects are violent, and they are no longer needed. Return me to Heaven, malakhim, we will be rid of these experiments, our own species can inherit this world.”
“Look around you, seraphim Yahweh takes care of the matter as we speak.”
“No, they live underground. These lands must be flooded if it is to be completely purged, using the grand lenses we will melt the caps of this world.”
“Heylel? You would destroy all that Azazel gave his life for? The humanoids are a living species, no matter their origins, they should not suffer because you… You see yourself more important than them. Still we can learn from them, teach them, our species can grow together.”
“No, commander. We seraphim will herald a new age of existence on this world. Our destination, our purpose. We have found it! Take me, Gabriel, let us show Heaven what our sets, united, can come to be upon this star.” Samyaza stood lost, staring into the unending smog, they seek only dominance over all things. Michael’s words echoed in her mind. She trembled at the realisation before making a wild lunge to move behind Heylel. The commander grasped an arm around his chest holding her stillot across his neck.
“Commander! If you kill him we will never convince Yahweh to stay,” Gabriel pleaded his words, only causing her frustrations to grow.
“Be still, all of you. How many remain within the ophanim?”
“Just the pilots, Samyaza.”
“Then hear me, I will board with the seraphim. Take us to Hermon.” The crowd stood on edge.
“We will escort you, commander.” A desperation clinched Gabriel’s voice.
“Do what you please, Malakhim. I will be reunited with my crew.” She rose with Heylel held securely in her clinch. “Do not try to stop me!”
“Let her through.” The bronze entities parted. Samyaza dragged the seraphim with her, beneath the closest vessel, and with trouble dragged herself up into its interior, Heylel still pinned in her grip.
“Go.” Within she gave her order. It was obeyed without question. The ophanim burst to life, its legs exploding to give thrust to the stationary craft. A cloud of debris swirled in the ophanim’s wake as it burst into Eden’s sky.
“I would never hurt you, Yaza.” The seraphim struggled to talk for the force Samyaza held her stillot to his gullet inside the small vessel.
“I fear you would, Heylel, that you would do anything to dominate our sets, to keep us slaves beneath your authority.” She pressed at her thigh releasing her protective visor. Pearly streams fell from her glowing irises. She looked upon Heylel with disdain. “It was all a lie, you… you used us all.”
“I could never have known that these things would occur, Yaza, I believed the experiments were our only hope, but now I know different.”
“Then why must you destroy the humanoids? They still harbour our DNA, the experiments were a success, to destroy them is to destroy the work and memory of all who gave their lives to see our kind’s future secured.”
“They are intelligent, Yaza, and destructive, they will be pests to our existence no different to the cherubim of our world -” At his words the commander released him falling slack within the ophanim. The seraphim released a sigh of realisation turning to look at Samyaza. “Apathy is instilled in my set, Yaza, I am incapable of feeling your pain.”
“No,” she whispered, feeling the vessel take a tremendous burst upwards towards the planet’s upper atmosphere. Realising the pilot’s intents Samyaza lashed out with her stillot, the weapon burst to flame crashing into the craft’s navigations. “Land upon Hermon! Return us to the ark’s coordinates.” The entity breathed uneasily nodding at her orders. At once the force pinning them all to the ophanim’s interior gave way as its momentum changed, extending out across Eden’s sky towards the mountain. Samyaza looked out through the clear interior noticing three other craft alter their course to match her own, a final craft however held true to its aim, hastily vanishing beyond her vision, doubtlessly travelling to board Heaven in efforts to alert Yahweh of all that had been discovered this day.
Samyaza rest back to secure herself for landing, her thoughts raced between Tamiel and anger at herself and her seraphim. All is lost.
“What are your intentions, Samyaza?”
“If your intentions are to destroy this world, then I will see it done in the company of those who still live to see our kind’s future secured. Your actions will destroy all life, not just the experiments. This world will be dead, just as your set destroyed the last.”
“Nature will find a way to survive, Yaza.”
“I saw with my own eyes nature perish, Heylel, our star crumbled in your set’s pursuit of advancements! Since our departure I had feared that Yahweh may herald the same fate upon any world we settled upon, but never you, Heylel.” She watched the seraphim’s face scrunch, raising his arms up an abrupt judder thrust Samyaza violently against the craft’s interior.
The navigator rest slumped unconscious against their panels erupting an instinctive reaction within the commander. She pushed the body aside taking up the levers and controls. “They approach once more, Yaza!” Heylel yelled before another crash resonated a crunching sound all about the ship thrusting the vessel awkwardly out of sync with their destination. A web of fine cracks began to spread across the craft’s exterior. Samyaza glanced back to see their pursuing ophanims’ limbs aimed forward in efforts to penetrate her craft’s shell.
“Secure yourself!” She screamed before jarring the craft’s acceleration. Their altitude suddenly sank forcing the ship roaring down at Eden’s surface towards a vast forest beneath. Beyond it rest the slopes and pinnacle of Mount Hermon, Samyaza breathed fiercely, constantly she glanced up and behind her, keeping tabs on her pursuers as she manoeuvred her vessel in erratic motions in efforts to deter their danger. Again a painful shudder wracked through the ophanim’s interior shocking Samyaza. Pain coursed through her where the vessel’s restraints held her to the navigation panel.
“We cannot land upon Hermon, Yaza, we will be easy targets.”
“Upon Hermon is not my destination, seraphim.” Samyaza quickly recognised the ark’s wreckage and the path which her crew took. Her ophanim roared over the jagged terrain until she located the small entry within the mountain’s roof through which her crew had initially left. “There.” She whispered, swiftly shifting the craft’s legs in efforts to slow it and alter its course. The ophanim juddered wildly as its speed diminished dragging Samyaza around inside. In the dark it became a struggle to pinpoint the small passageway in the cave ceiling.
Steadying the ship for entry another collision struck her from above and momentarily after from underneath throwing her vessel into the rocky surfaces below. They tumbled without control into the ceiling mouth. Samyaza thrust at the control panels around her. The ophanim’s legs sprouted outwards becoming rigid as they fell into the consuming hole beneath.
The solid shafts struck out at the cave’s walls high above its floor causing sparks to fly but they could find no holding. The ophanim scraped down the inside of the vertical tunnel. “Brace yourself!” Samyaza screamed. The vessel became unstuck falling a final great distance down into the granite floor. She whimpered as they crashed. Something trickled past her brow, withdrawing a hand she noticed blood and a sharp pain splinting the side of her head yet there was no time to rest.
Samyaza pressed at her thigh causing her visor to surround her skull before fiddling about the vessel in efforts to release its seal. With a hiss the hatch opened. She moaned, falling from the craft into the black cave. She struggled to breath, pain throbbed inside her and a feeling of utter loss consumed her. “Tamiel?” She mumbled into her headset withdrawing a stillot from her shoulder. Looking up towards the hole in the cave’s ceiling she noticed her pursuing craft perching upon the rim of the ceiling breach. Without waiting Samyaza hobbled through the cave, clutching her stillot the shaft burst ablaze enabling her vision in the causeway. “Tamiel, it’s Samyaza.” She blurted her words hoping desperately for a reply.
Her worries were met only by silence. “Samyaza!” Heylel’s voice echoed through the cave behind her yet she could not risk stopping, her trust in the seraphim had been shattered, he will destroy all things upon this world. Past the skeleton filled rooms, beyond the open hall in which Rafaela’s body still lay and through the scarcely open door Samyaza stumbled at speed. Once clear of the ancient way she pushed the experiment remains back into the hall from which it was attempting to escape and with a gurgled scream tried manically with each of her limbs and stillots to force the stone blockade shut.
She gasped awkwardly, unable to catch her breath in the panic of the moment yet with a blunt scraping sound the granite door slowly shifted across the walkway until the open end allowed but a slither of air between the door and its surroundings. She stumbled backwards, and turning with pace staggered up the cave’s long single entry corridor. The exit. With a rush of emotion she dashed for the open way, and bursting into Eden’s night fell upon her knees. The commander wept hysterically, resting against the mountainside. She extinguished her stillot returning it to her shoulder. You must keep moving, Yaza. She took some deep breaths before attempting to continue but could not find the strength to stand.
Within Heaven’s bowels, hidden away in his personal quarters, Michael sat slouched, staring obsessively over some projected imagery of Mount Hermon. In his arms he clutched a child. His son. Born in the secrecy of a society built upon creation. “Your mother is in there somewhere, my boy.” He whispered softly, though the child did not react for he slept soundly in the safety of his father’s grasp.
Despite knowing the whereabouts of Samyaza’s crash site the grand lenses were incapable of displaying clear imagery of such minute objects, instead he sat, resting, waiting for some news upon the fate of Heylel. We must be free of the seraphim. The subject consumed him.
“High-malakhim, a lone ophanim returns to Heaven, docking in the third gate. You may wish to be present.”
“Very well, I am on my way.” Michael stood, carrying his child across the room to lay him down in a padded basin. The boy rest silently whilst his father watched over him for some time rejoicing in the moment of calm. “So alike you both look.” Each minor details upon his son’s face reminded him of his lost companion. “Rest, my boy.” He leant down and kissed his child’s forehead before turning to make a hasty leave.
Anxiety overtook the malakhim on his route, could he truly be dead? Despite all his efforts a small streak within him simply could not imagine or believe his set might be free of the seraphim. He took a deep breath before stepping into the launch depot in which the stray ophanim stood. Uriel stepped out from the vessel as Michael approached.
“What news do you have for me, malakhim?”
“My last report from Gabriel indicated Heylel had been brought down, Michael,” he pressed at his thigh to reveal his face. “Yet Samyaza guided their ophanim into an entry within Mount Hermon. Gabriel is making an effort to track any routes that exit the tunnel. Heylel is within.”
“Have Gabriel use firepower to damage the ophanim, his life suit was ruined when they left Heaven, he will suffocate.”
“There is something you should know, Michael… The seraphim can breathe Eden’s air.” The huge malakhim’s single iris locked onto Uriel.
“You are certain of this?” His kin nodded.
“Certain, Michael. He was completely exposed to the planet’s elements, I have never seen a seraphim look so powerful. His eyes shone as brightly as Eden’s sun.” Michael began to nod.
“The atmosphere we poisoned him with. His immune system must have altered him. Incredible. If similar experiments can be successful on the lesser sets we truly can inherit this world as our own. A fresh start, without the tyranny of the seraphim.”
“Michael?” The high-malakhim sighed.
“I will explain in good time, Uriel. Order all malakhim crews to assemble to their gates immediately. The ophanim will descend upon Hermon. Go, with haste!” Uriel nodded repeatedly rushing from the depot. Michael could scarcely contain his excitement. Mere hope, mere dreams. They become reality.
“Samyaza?” The commander shuddered with relief at the familiar voice despite knowing her troubles were far from over, though the sound of her friend instilled in her a renewed drive. She stood with trouble, setting off towards her fleet’s wreckage in hopes of reuniting with her crew.
“Tamiel, where are you?” Samyaza whispered, surveying Hermon’s confined terrain. In her weakened state its rigid surfaces gave her trouble with each step.
“We have returned to my vessel, Yaza, are you okay?”
“How does your ophanim fair?”
“It has fuel but the legs are shattered, flight is not possible, Yaza? What’s happened?”
“There is no time to explain, captain, gather the fuel and meet me at the ark, please, hurry.” Coursing through a number of causeways and down an array of slopes Samyaza finally recognised the metallic remains of her wreck. Her vision was low and their structures blocked her view of the surroundings, still she felt a sudden sense of reassurance in the utter bleak reality of her situation.
Passing along the icy floor around the ark, Samyaza froze in morbid terror. Just feet away she stared into the colossal black irises of a monstrous deformity. Her heart rate began to pulse, her legs felt limp yet had become stiff, her body was unable to react for the feeling of utter hysteria that flooded her.
The giant beast she stared upon glared back at her. It was calm, inhaling deeply through an oddly shaped nose and open hanging mouth. It looked down at something in its enormous hand causing Samyaza to pulse with dread. The ghastly entity looked back, lifting the severed head of Amazarak up. Consumed by some deep confusion it seemed to compare the two. “No, Master?” The words were humanoid, so clear and easily understood.
“No,” Samyaza shook her head slowly before the great being turned its awkward body pointing back across Hermon at a small figure which lay face down on the ground.
“Master.” He pointed again at Samyaza. “No Master.”
“Commander!” Tamiel’s screeching call sounded into Samyaza’s head set. With it a large malakhim charged through the crash site with stillot ablaze.
“Back!” He yelled, stumbling between his commander and the towering nephilim.
“Master!” The giant huffed, staggering backwards at sight of Tamiel and her crew charging from the darkness armed with unlit shafts. In the commotion the hulking giant abruptly lashed out at the moving bronze bipedals.
“Samyaza!” Tamiel’s serrated voice was quickly subdued by the beast who dropped Amazarak’s skull and grasped her around her throat and body.
“Back!” The giant yelled himself as each watcher and malakhim present burst their stillots to flame.
“Stop!” Samyaza screamed in panic causing the confused being’s eyes to return to her. “Stop.” She repeated the word, making effort to sound as calm as she could. Inside her heart drummed away. “No master.” Slowly she trod, carefully, Tamiel winced in pain at the nephilim’s grip. Its eyes darted unpredictably between Samyaza’s crew.
“Yaza…” Tamiel whimpered to her commander.
“No master.” Again Samyaza repeated the words, hoping to keep the giant calm. She shuffled lightly towards the entangled pair. “It’s okay, Tamiel,” she whispered, “if we do not act with hostility I believe he intends no harm.” In the light Samyaza stood before the giant nephilim. She reached up causing the entity to shift. Its breathing remained calm. she extended a hand, and with the lightest touch traced the scar upon its forehead. “Behemoth.” At this word the colossal entity released a low moan followed by a deep sigh. “He is a leader, marked by the humanoids to be made an example of.” The giant’s eyes fixated upon her intensely. “Do you understand me?” For a moment she thought the entity may speak, before her hopes could be answered a disturbance amidst the crash site stole Behemoth’s attention.
“Commander!” Two glowing spheres bounded from the darkness startling the deformed giant. The being turned sharply about, Tamiel still clutched in his grip.
“Back!” The nephilim snarled, its eyes suddenly widening upon seeing Heylel stagger towards the light. The colossal seraphim breathed heavily, he appeared bewildered, so too did Behemoth
“Yaza,” Behemoth shifted once more as the seraphim stepped onwards.
“Back!” The monstrosity yelled out thrusting a humongous deformed hand into Samyaza’s chest. She plummeted backwards landing upon her side with yelp of pain. The nephilim released a ghastly roar into the night inciting Heylel’s advancement. Tamiel flailed her arms and legs in desperation provoking another bellow from Behemoth’s slobbering jaw. Samyaza watched helplessly as the beast made an erratic movement in preparation of Heylel’s approach. In the moment a gruesome snap resonated in the air. Tamiel’s writhing body fell limp.
“No!” Samyaza yelled out to her friend. Her crew surrounded the deformed creature with stillots in flames. “Wait.” The giant fell still, dropping Tamiel.
“Commander?” Aided by Heylel Samyaza stood. She held her chest where the nephilim had struck her wheezing inside her life suit. Stepping forward she dropped to her knees at the feet of the giant.
“Tamiel?” The commander reached out a hand. Laying it upon Tamiel’s shoulder she shook the watcher lightly. “Tamiel?” Samyaza pressed at the captain’s thigh releasing her visor. Again she shook her, yet her eyes had already fallen dim. The entire mountainside was still but for the flickering embers engulfing her kin’s stillots. Samyaza pressed at her own thigh allowing her visor to fall away.
She looked up at the giant, blinking away pearly streams falling from her eyes to no avail. “Why?” She whispered. The entity stared at her through enormous unblinking spheres. It breathed heavily through its nose, still its jaw hung open. Slowly the monster leaned towards Samyaza appearing entranced by the substance cascading from her eyes.
He inhaled rigidly, appearing to shiver, his eyelids flickered before the giant released a bizarre whimper. From his eyes a small trickle of tears fell down the nephilim’s deformed face. “Please.” He murmured. She stared at the beast. The word cut a shiver through her. Its eyes were darker than the voids of outer space.
“Commander,” Ertael whispered to his leader. “Return your visor. You will suffocate.” From the quiet night an almighty howl broke the morbid calm. Some of the crew flinched whilst all glanced about into the darkness. Behemoth’s attention became stuck on the disturbed crew and their burning weapons. He roared, suddenly advancing upon them. Samyaza lunged backwards returning her visor and withdrew a stillot. Her breathing became irregular, anticipating what horrors were about to course from the wilderness.
She watched Heylel charge forward in anticipation of the nephilim’s movement. “Be wary!” Samyaza yelled to her kin, watching the seraphim collide with Behemoth amidst the ark’s wreckage in a desperate grapple. Samyaza had scarcely gathered her wits before a stream of gangly bodies began bounding out of the darkness.
“Defend yourselves!” She screamed to her crew watching Heylel succumb to an overpowering strike at the hands of Behemoth. The enormous seraphim crumbled in a heap upon Hermon’s rocky surface. Samyaza lashed out with her blazing stillot at a drooling monstrosity which coursed through her crew screaming aloud with a horrific pitch.
Masses of great bulging pale entities charged into the light crashing through Samyaza’s company and their own kind alike. “Protect each other!” She yelled whatever words came to her mind in hopes of inspiring a reaction from her crewmates. The commander huffed, slicing her blazing stillot through a beast’s abdomen as it collided with her striking her skull. A sharp pain jarred through her visor felling her.
Just beyond the stillot light Samyaza watched Heylel rise to his knees before a crushing blow struck her ribs knocking her stillot from her grip. Another bloodthirsty scream joined the chorus of hollering monsters who churned through the endless night. Two ghastly forms began raking at her bronze suit, their powerful limbs constricted her abdomen convulsing gasps of terror ridden breaths from the commander.
From her headset a commotion of horrific hollers and the fraught cries of her kin filled her head. “Heylel!” She screamed. In the same instance the entities which mauled her were stricken away. Samyaza crawled to her stillot. She leered back to see her leader pulling tight upon a nephilim’s neck. With a savage twist of the ghastly being’s skull a potent crunch echoed across Hermon and the hulking giant fell limp. Immediately Heylel turned about to aid Samyaza’s crew. Those who still stood fought with stillots ablaze, flailing and whipping their fiery weaponry at any charging beast which encroached.
Corralling together the bronze encased bipedals formed a circle, through a commotion of violent swings and gargantuan falling fists, gurgling screams and enormous charging nephilim the crew gathered to Samyaza aiding her to her feet. Before her eyes malakhim and watchers were snatched away into the darkness or mounded upon by the endless stream of monstrous brutes.
Their towering seraphim struck the hostiles away with as vicious strikes as he received, yet for the smaller watchers their set could not resist. Encircled, her crew could only huddle and watch the wild beasts charge about without apparent aim, taking wild strikes and lunges, attempting to separate what was left of her dwindling kind.
Samyaza breathed feverishly beneath her visor, all about her the whirlwind of stampeding limbs and curdling shrieks mixed amongst her own crew’s manic calls. “Stay together!” She screamed as loud as her lungs would allow. With her words she felt a juddering impact from behind. Behemoth ploughed through the small group knocking Heylel across Hermon’s surface. Out of desperation Samyaza charged after the nephilim leader bringing her stillot tip first down into the throbbing muscle upon the giant’s back.
He jumped, turning, and struck her with a savage swing knocking Samyaza from her feet. In the moment a mass of nephilim bounded upon Heylel’s shaken body. Samyaza collapsed between the ark and Amazarak’s broken ophanim. Behemoth turned his gaze upon her. “Master!” He bellowed, slobbering from his slack jaw.
“Commander!” She heard one of her crew cry out yet could barely focus. The enormous nephilim lurched at her grasping her throat in his enormous fists. She strained, tensing her neck for the monster lifted her from the ground, its ghastly face straining with the force it put into its hold. Feeling her conscience flee the commander looked up, noticing an array of potent lights fill the sky above Hermon. Behemoth’s black spheres moved from her to look up at the distraction, the lights above reflected off of his pitch black eyes. They swirled in confusion at the sight.
“Look… above…” Samyaza wheezed her words, feeling the giant’s grip slacken from around her throat. There was no reply. Sliding between Behemoth’s fists Samyaza fell to her knees. An endless crowd of naked huddling oddities stood staring upwards, watching with a dumbfounded confusion as the lights grew brighter and the sound of numerous roaring infernos blasted through Hermon’s chilly air.
Behemoth stepped back from Samyaza, mesmerised, he turned to face the fleet of ophanim which set down upon the mountain. The giant roared out breaking the nephilim crowd’s trance, they burst to life, screeching and hollering, beginning towards the enormous crafts with a feral commotion. Upon her knees the commander felt too weak to react, even as the lumbering nephilim began to storm past her, charging towards their leader’s fixation.
All at once the ophanims’ seals burst open and from within a stream of bronze suited entities poured out onto the grounds below. “Come together! To me, my kin!” Samyaza recognised the authoritative voice of Michael bellow through her headset. “Spray the surroundings with fuel! Stay within, malakhim. Let them burn to death or die at our stillots.”
“Michael!” Her scream caught the attention of Behemoth. He abruptly turned his head to look at her before striking her across her visor. She moaned in subdued agony collapsing. On the ground Samyaza watched the high-malakhim form his crew into ranks and at once the gangly deformed giants collided with a wall of blazing stillots and towering bronze bodies.
The standing ophanim sprayed blazing fuel from enormous limbs consecrating the ground all about the craft. The fluctuation of heat was enough to force Samyaza to crawl for cover. Behemoth and all those stampeding nephilim recoiled at the inferno which swept across Hermon, the ground became drenched in streaks of blazing fuel separating the throng which now pulsed awkwardly in between enveloping flames.
Michael braced himself for the onslaught of demonic giants marauding his way. What in the name of creation are these abominations? “Hold amongst the ophanim! Pilots, prepare your vessels’ limbs, when they are close enough, pull them apart!” The blustering heat waves whipping across Hermon from the streaks of fuel did not faze the high-malakhim, he had known far worse conditions upon his home world, but these nephilim, such beasts he had not seen.
Their monstrous deformed bodies and bulging black eyes multiplied tremendously with each passing moment. Michael breathed regularly. His focus fell away from the stampeding view as the first of his enemy collided with his lines of malakhim.
“Strike together!” Five stillots stabbed into a slobbering nephilim’s chest at once before they each combusted into flame detonating the monster’s chest cavity. Bones and innards sprayed into the air. The deceased being’s remnants slunk to the floor. “Do not falter! Keep calm, my kin!” Michael’s booming voice rallied the malakhim, instilling in them a confidence in the face of their hellish enemy.
The endless mass of hulking pale skinned giants took little time in filling the space enclosed by roaring ophanim fuel. “Give way to our craft!” The high-malakhim ducked a wild swing, silencing him amidst his kin becoming entangled with the nephilim. He swung back at his towering opponent’s knee joint with his emblazoned stillot slicing cleanly through its soft skin.
With a wretched screech the deformity collapsed to one knee only to have Michael’s blade thrust through its gullet. “Stand strong, my malakhim!” He kicked the giant’s body away into the surrounding flames releasing his weapon. The leader could hear a growing panic spreading throughout his troops, the pains and fears of his kin bogged his headset. “Give way to the ophanim! Pilots, assist us!”
Together the bronze skinned entities back away beneath their towering vessels. To Michael’s pleasure his tactical manoeuvre did nothing to deter the nephilim’s charge. To his dismay however many of his crew were succumbing to these rampant fiends. Their bodies disappeared beneath the unending wave of his enemy. “Now!”
On his word the ophanims’ free limbs came to life to join his malakhim who fought off their unrelenting foes with a stoic determination. The colossal vehicle arms struck the giants out of the sky from where they leapt. Some grasped at flailing limbs, pinning their wild outbursts to make for easy targets.
“Give them no chance to recover! Do not let them flee! Bring them down, malakhim!” A cheer thundered through Michael’s headset. Those who could hold together worked fluidly as teams, out moving and cutting down their gigantic foes. For many however the nephilim’s sheer strength and numbers was overwhelming.
Michael watched in frustration as the wild beasts turned focus upon the ophanim. They coursed their naked bodies straight into the crafts’ legs and exteriors, some of the larger giants causing the vessels to rock and limbs to shift uneasily. “Michael!” A female cried out to her leader. “They’re inside!” He glanced around hectically to see some enormous legs flailing about beneath an open ophanim seal.
Without hesitance he sprinted through his combating crew, rushing to aid his stranded pilot. He lunged up beneath the craft grabbing the writhing monstrosity by its ankle yet with a powerful buck Michael was thrown to the ground. His failed action enraged him. He leapt up taking a hefty swipe with his stillot, cutting a deep burning wound into the nephilim’s thigh. It squealed glancing below as Michael grasped at its wounded leg. He yanked the entity down thrusting his stillot up into its jaw with the beast’s descent.
Its grunt of death was joined by yelled out warnings from his crew. Across the fuel enclosed grounds a sound of cringing metal filled the air followed by an almighty crash. Amidst troubled breaths Michael sighed at the sight of one of his crafts being levelled. “Come together, my kin! Rebuild your formations!” The endless sea of pale bodies was diminishing, but so was his crew.
Michael’s frustrations climaxed at sight of another nephilim charging him beneath his ophanim. At his will, despite knowing his actions might cost him his suit’s life support, every remaining stillot on his back came alive with a spectacular fiery explosion. The encroaching monster flinched at the sight before being torn apart by Michael’s flailing and striking tentacles.
He roared with fury, being overtaken by the sensation of his power. “Push them back!” He bellowed through his headset, taking lift from the ground he swooped into the nephilim ranks lashing out precise strikes at his prey. Their sliced necks and joints sprayed blood upon Hermon’s surface in the high-malakhim’s wake. They are merely animals.
The crazed fiends snatched at him from below, screeching and snarling as Michael plunged in and out of them. To the malakhim’s alarm another sound of straining metal and heavy collision ricocheted in the air. He leered back to see one ophanim being toppled into another. The towering crafts tumbled to a chorus of dire screams and agonizing pleas of help. Together the ophanim smashed into Hermon crushing many beneath their reflective shells.
In his distraction Michael felt a heavy thud and great pain shake through his body. A nephilim leapt through the air colliding again with the high-malakhim. The strike stunted his aerial movement. The burning stillots on his back flickered with his suit’s fading power. He could feel his breathing becoming troubled, watching another monster bound upwards towards him.
The impact caused his stillots to fall dead. The snarling beast held on dragging him down a short way to the ground. He stabbed at the creature with the stillot he held in their fall. It still seared with an intense heat despite his suit’s weakened state. “Die!” He shouted, crashing into the dirt with the writhing giant. The experienced leader immediately stood driving his weapon down into his foe’s heart. The monster fell limp. Michael turned, feeling a heavy blow strike his skull. Three slobbering deformities hurtled at the malakhim raining gargantuan fists, feet and gnashing teeth upon him.
In desperation Michael clutched his closest target tightly. The stillots on his back enclosed around the beast pinning it to him, despite its bloodcurdling screams and frenzied efforts the malakhim held it close using the pale skin as a shield. He thrust out precise strikes at his other opponents, penetrating one’s neck and disabling another at its joints before releasing the one he clutched.
He stabbed the nephilim’s stomach roaring with a pulsing adrenaline. The malakhim violently brought his blazing stillot up through the beast’s sternum, through its chest and neck, and with a final grunt lifted the weapon through the deformed entity’s face, severing the beast in half from the torso up.
Michael wheezed, staggering backwards. He looked at the death all about his feet. Both his and his enemy’s numbers were low. He saw many giants trying to flee through the dying walls of flame, much to his disgust but also relief. “Chase these monsters down! Let none escape! Track them to the ends of this world and see them thrown from its edges!” Masses of bronze suits and pale grey corpses lay scattered across Hermon’s surface. The seraphim did this. All of it.
The thought urged him to walk beyond the enclosed ground, in search of the reason for his landing. Though he knew not how many of these giants remained, they will be dealt with later. “Gabriel?” He spoke through his headset but there was only silence in return. The malakhim prompted his recovering suit to change frequency in hopes of contacting his kin. The reign of the seraphim ends now. “Gabriel?” Again he called his peer, wearily stepping onwards up the mountain, in pursuit of a cause he knew to be just.
Scrambling beneath the ark Samyaza felt a sudden vice crunch around her thigh followed by a slobbering snarl, looking back she kicked wildly screaming at the sight of Behemoth grasping at her bronze suit. The beast hollered, fighting through her limbs as she tried frantically to crawl away. The monster trailed her swiping and bashing against the structure causing it to rock unstably.
Lashing her legs without focus she scrambled upon her stomach, pulling herself along, she wailed with dread beneath her visor for the terror which pursued her. The commander could hear the slathering beast rattling against the ark’s underbelly and feel its deformed hands groping at her feet in efforts to drag her to him. With struggled breaths she heaved herself towards an exit at the far end of the satellite. Pain and fatigue constricted her. With failing efforts she pulled herself free of the metallic wreck, rolling away from its imprisoning confides.
She could sense her suit’s life fading and the difficulty to breathe grow. With what willpower Samyaza had left she took a stillot from her shoulder, glancing back at the abomination. It smashed and scuffled beneath the ark in a frenzied fight to drag itself clear to his target.
The commander crawled on hands and knees, whimpering without control. Unable to focus in the commotion all about her and the impending monster whose presence she could not escape, she flinched and wheezed at the sound and sight of Behemoth thrusting the ark’s entirety up in a rampant display of power. The beast dragged himself ever closer to freedom with blood thirst in his bulging eyes.
Samyaza watched in horror as the giant pulled his torso out from the wreck. Behemoth tried frantically to drag his legs free but suddenly hesitated. Another figure burst from the night. Heylel bounded about the ark’s wreckage, carried awkwardly in his hands by unimaginable strength was a splintered leg used to lift and uphold the ophanim.
The seraphim coursed upon Behemoth, with a deep huff he brought the weapon down on the beast. It squealed at contact with the colossal shaft’s serrated tip which sliced through the monster’s skin.
Heylel staggered backwards attempting to lift the gigantic spear once more. The wound sent his target ballistic, Samyaza watched Behemoth thrust his entire body up into the ark’s bowels lifting the gargantuan structure clean from the ground, the beast broke free as the metal mass crashed back into Hermon. He charged into Heylel striking him with a brutal blow that sent the seraphim skidding across the floor.
A dull hum vibrated in Samyaza’s ear. She felt weak and dizzy. Some deep muffled grunts sounded out yet she could not make sense of them. Her distanced state ceased upon seeing the bloodied creature advanced towards her. “Master!” It bellowed spraying phlegm into the air. She raised her stillot limply yet it did not deter her pursuer. It gripped her, raising her high before plummeting her hard into the floor.
Again the monster lifted her limp body and smashed it back into the ground. Pain writhed all about her. Her suit felt depleted. Another colossal lash from the giant stunted Samyaza’s focus. She lay broken upon Hermon unable to react. With hazed vision she watched the monster retract, it rose its arms up shrieking before the broken ophanim leg drove past her.
It penetrated the monster’s chest and with some violent force lanced the beast straight back into the ark’s bowels. Behemoth released a piercing howl of agony. The weapon thrust cleanly through his body, bursting through the satellite’s metalwork and pinning the thrashing nephilim to it.
Behemoth screamed and roared, hammering his fists against the satellite and swinging for Heylel, the berserk giant lashed wildly, spitting blood and grasping in a horrific display at the shaft, trying in vain to pull it out. Such fury surged through the monster’s face. It stared at Heylel, a red fountain began to pour from its mouth. The hulking entity’s breathing became rampant, it clutched upon Heylel’s weapon, in the moment the nephilim’s arms showed great tension before its limbs slowly became limp.
Samyaza could scarcely make out Heylel hobbling towards her as Behemoth fell quiet. Before he reached her a group of nephilim flocked around the ark, to which the seraphim turned and charged to intercept them.
“Samyaza?” The commander heard another muffled voice though she did not immediately recognise it. “Commander? Are you hurt?” She felt a hand encase her arm, lifting her from her slouched position. “Samyaza?” The commander looked up at the bronze encased entity.
“Gabriel?” She mumbled.
“Seraphim Yahweh has put much thought on our kinds’ dilemma, commander, he has a message for the watchers,” Gabriel extended a hand to Samyaza, in her pain and disorientation she accepted the act of hospitality. Beyond the malakhim she noticed a towering figure approaching lit up by the glare of a burning stillot.
“What is it, Gabri -” A sharp splinting pain rushed through her lower back.
“Malakhim!” Michael’s roar consumed her hearing within her bronze bodysuit. She flinched as a blazing stillot tip burst out of Gabriel’s face causing his body to immediately collapse and begin convulsing. “What have you done!” Michael bellowed again. Samyaza’s eye sight blurred, her vision fell dark. She slumped softly to the floor feeling lighter with each passing moment. Darkness briefly took over before the commander was brought back about by a powerful grasp shaking her body.
“Samyaza!” She knew the voice and single light which was vaguely visible through the high-malakhim’s visor.
“Michael, you were right.” The commander began to blubber aloud into her headset, overcome by the crushing realisation of her species’ impending fate. “The seraphim seek only to dominate.”
“Commander?” There was disbelief in his voice. Before she could speak further the malakhim was stricken from behind, his body thrown across Hermon by some savage force, yet the commander could not focus. She panted lightly laying back, and stared up at the blue tinted sky. The glare of the sun erased the starlight, and with it her hopes and dreams vanished, all that she had envisioned and pursued since departing from her home world, in search of new life and a future for her species, had slipped through her grasp in the briefest of moments.
Pain sundered Michael. He grunted, landing on his back next to the ark’s debris. Before he could gain some footing he felt a crushing weight fall upon him. Heylel collided with the malakhim holding him down with a grip mightier than any of the giants of this land. The seraphim grasped at his visor pulling at the material’s weak points in a violent fervour until he ripped the suit’s mask down from Michael’s face.
“You.” Heylel’s blazing spheres emitted a flow of radiating light such was their intensity. “Where is your seraphim now, malakhim?” The towering entity pinned his target, compressing his neck with both hands. Michael strained with all his strength yet his set paled in comparison to that of his superiors. He gurgled a moan of stinted laughter. “Something amuses you?” The seraphim’s glowing irises remained fixated upon Michael. A foul grinding wheeze was all the malakhim could produce for the pressure which crushed his larynx. “You will die upon this hell, traitor.”
Michael felt the colossal seraphim scrunch his webbed fists tighter and tighter, he felt his wind pipe collapsing and Eden’s deadly air suffocating him until he could no longer uphold his head. His vision fell blank. The high-malakhim fell, what was but a brief drop felt like an eternity. Eden’s atmosphere constricted his lungs. Each breath poisoned his body.
In the darkness Michael watched helplessly as Heaven’s grand lenses became aligned with Eden’s frozen poles. Harnessing the solar system’s star, the weapons magnified its light, generating gargantuan beams of radiating energy which tore down through the planet’s ozone ripping away its protective dome.
The waters of the world rose rapidly, consuming the land and all which thrived upon it. As the planet’s damaged atmosphere began to escape into the vacuum of space, Eden’s temperature plummeted. The ball of flooded water froze solid whilst the remnants of its atmosphere was sucked away.
Once fully exposed the rays of undeterred sunlight began to melt and evaporate the frozen planet, cascading great plumes of gas into the infinite void in a magnificent volatile display, until there was nothing left but a dead, barren crust, replacing what beauty Eden had once possessed.
Michael. He could scarcely make out the muffled voice that disturbed his hallucinations. Paralysis gripped him. It consumed his conscience as he struggled to inhale his final breaths. Before the malakhim lost all sense of awareness some light touch pressed against his thigh, with it his visor crawled back around his skull and the malakhim began gasping within his suit in efforts to refill his blood with familiar air. “Michael?” Again the voice sounded out. With his returning focus he looked up to see Samyaza laying by his side. Her wound wept dark blood, coursing from her bronze suit down upon the granite of Hermon.
“Why do you help me, commander?” He still felt horrendously weak despite his suit rapidly returning his body’s composition to normality.
“I understand now,” the commander wheezed. “The seraphim seek only dominance.” The high-malakhim breathed awkwardly, his throat pulsed in agony.
“How long have I been unconscious?”
“Too long, Michael. Heylel left Eden in an ophanim. He will drown this world. He will kill it. He will destroy all our species has left.” Michael paused for a brief moment at the thought.
“We must return to Heaven, Heylel must die. Our sets will only know existence once we are free of the seraphim.”
“What of Yahweh, he seeks to be gone from Eden.” Michael sighed.
“I have taken care of that matter, commander.” She strained to look up at her company.
“What do you mean?”
“We have no time to discuss the past, this world must be free of the seraphim’s destructive grip or it will join the fate of our last.”
“Then go, Michael, but please, give warning to these humanoids, should you fail, they will be all that is left of us.”
“The experiments are corrupt, they are riddled with the seraphim’s DNA. They are themselves tyrants. They enslaved the nephilim, these nephilim kill all that lives. This planet is already troubled because of the seraphim’s actions, and we have been upon its surface for but a minute fraction of its lifespan.”
“Perhaps their ancestors committed these sins, Michael, but these humanoids who live now cannot be judged on the actions of those who came before them. They know only what it is to be slaves, they will know better. Are you not so different, Michael? Please, do not throw away everything that Azazel gave his life for. Do not throw away what might be the only future our kind has left.” He stared at the watcher with hesitance. The very idea of these entities being held in higher regard than his own set was what drove his hatred of them. With a struggle the malakhim moaned, lifting himself up to his feet.
He limped past the ark’s remains feeling the heat of his craft’s still burning fuel billowing across Hermon’s desolate scenery. A lone humanoid cowered beneath the legs of Amazarak’s ophanim. He stared at the towering malakhim with dread in his eyes.
Approaching the aged male, Michael spoke out. “This world will be immerged, drowned, and all things which are evil and corrupt within it will perish. Go to your people, find them, take them to high ground, and prepare yourselves for a deluge, humanoid.” He abruptly grasped the being with force. “Not because I seek to see you live, but because of what I know to be my own existence sees it just. Go, be free of those who oppress you.”
“But what of the monsters in the dark?”
“My set hunts the last of them as we speak, these lands are safe now.” Whether those words were true, Michael cared not, these lowly things were not his concern. The petrified being nodded its head stiffly. Michael released him.
The malakhim turned without looking back, trekking his way towards Samyaza. He knelt, and with trouble scooped the slender watcher up into his arms. She whimpered as her body was disturbed. Once he held her securely Michael paused. He turned about, gazing up towards the peak of Mount Hermon. “Is she in there, Samyaza?”
“Yes, but we have no time.” For a period he stared in silence.
“But, you could take me to her?”
“Michael… better that you remember her face as your saw her last. That is the malakhim you knew, not who rests in the mountain. To see her now would not relieve you, it would break you. Please we must hurry.” After a moment of contemplation the enormous bronze entity began to nod. Inside however his heart sank.
“The deeds I have committed, Samyaza…” An unshakable weight of guilt engulfed him for knowledge Rafaela’s fate had been a result of his own objectives. A burden he would have to carry to the grave. With Samyaza in his arms he walked on to the closest ophanim he could see. He helped the commander up into its interior then dragged himself inside. It was empty. He closed the craft’s seal and began working away at its panels and controls.
“Rest, commander. Here.” He helped Samyaza into a secure position within the ophanim before igniting the vessel’s fuel. The legs burst to life with a ferocious roar of fire sprouting out beneath the craft and across Hermon’s rocky ground. Michael looked through the commander’s wreckage, feeling a sudden pang of guilt at the fact he had caused all the troubles she now knew, all in a blind pursuit of jealousy. The high-malakhim watched the cowering humanoid for a brief moment before his focus returned to the ophanim’s control panels.
Feeling the vessel’s velocity forcing him down against its floor he secured himself to the navigations. “If we cannot stop him, we have failed our species. Should these crude humanoids survive the flood they will inherit nothing but the corruption of the seraphim within them.”
“Should we fail or succeed, they will too inherit our sets’ likeness, Michael. They will not all be bad.”
“Some may be like us, Samyaza, but they will never be as we are.”
“Is that such a terrible thing?” The malakhim watched the commander sway without focus.
“The overwhelming destructive nature of the seraphim will always be strongest amongst them, commander. When we are gone, when their ancestors are trying to make sense of their past… they will know nothing. Drowned or not, we have doomed this world.”
“Whatever they turn out to be, Michael, they have life, at least.” The malakhim exhaled through his nose viewing Eden’s rapidly shrinking terrain become nothing more than a blur of colours. The malakhim’s son rest on his mind. An enormous shroud of dread consumed him at thought of not making it back to the mother ship to see him safe. I am coming, my boy.
His attention shifted to the encroaching darkness of space, beyond Eden’s atmosphere and its ever protective ionosphere, up towards the gates of Heaven, to secure a future for his own species upon this most precious haven he hoped to one day call home.
1256 years after seraphim Azazel attempts to contain the nephilim and save his humanoid experiments on Eden, commander Samyaza returns to discover Heaven has been away from the planet for over two thousand years. Her team descends to the planet's surface to discover what horrors have occurred since leaving so long ago.