Lucifer had been the First Balseraph. It wasn't entirely certain what his Word was when he Fell, though. Pride, perhaps. He had Pride in droves. And perhaps the very essence of the Balseraph's self-deception is Pride. The sheer hubris to believe you are right and all others are wrong, and the gall to force the Symphony to believe it.
Or perhaps "Lies" was his Word. Many believed that of old Scratch, after all.
In the end, it didn't matter. He had lies, and he had pride, and eventually they combined into fatal Hubris. He was caught in his House of the Morning Star by Michael, and Michael finished what he started in Heaven.
Every Demon felt Lucifer's death scream. They felt it in their dark, beautiful Hearts, rippling and thrumming and crying out with the pain of the First Balseraph's Soul Death. They felt it in their Celestial Forces -- almost dissonantly they felt the outside Symphony complain with their utter, painful loss.
Every Angel felt Lucifer's death scream. Felt the pain as the First of the Fallen died true death, the bright Archangel of Light forever stepped beyond redemption, beyond pride, beyond hubris, beyond lies. In the end, Lucifer was wrong and Michael forced it on him. And while some cold Angels of Stone smiled cold smiles with the horror, most Angels -- especially the ancient ones -- knelt and cried for who Lucifer had been, and would never be again.
Every human felt Lucifer's death scream. Scientists would later talk about sunspots, or the odd Earthquake that did so much damage in Louisiana, or who knows what -- but every human felt that sudden twisting feeling. A liberation? Maybe. Or maybe the certain knowledge that the Universe was not what it was, and who can say if it were better or worse.
In the end, it didn't matter. Lucifer was dead. Dead as a doornail. Rumors of his Remnant walking the streets with a beautiful -- yet anachronisticly dressed and acting -- woman as his guide are dismissed by Host and Hoarde alike.
There was little time to mourn. Lucifer was dead. And with him Hell itself was dying.
The first days were confused. The Princes were silent on issues -- all below them were assuming power struggles were taking place between the different factions, as the Princes each made a bid for Lord of Hell. All but two. Kronos, sitting in his Archives with a malevolent glower, made no attempt to rise to the Granite Throne. And Lilith, the beautiful Human Princess, stayed not in Hell but on Earth, waiting it out and keeping under wraps.
The Demon of Stale Bong Water was the first. Imbap's painful, pathetic death took just ten days after the Death of Lucifer, his last Celestial Force winking out into the night publically, the fragment demonling who remained sobbing loudly enough for Heaven and Hell alike to hear before its tongue was silenced forever. And many weren't surprised. How long could such a pathetic Word last? What good was it, beyond the example it set forth?
But the question was why did he die?
And over the next few days, more and more of Hell's Word Bound died, their Words dying in them. Even the Seneschals weakened and died, even though their Tethers were potent still. The Words were failing in them. The Servitors of Lightning trapped the powerful Demon of Hubris himself, a Duke of Hell, and one of Baal's Servitors. Holding him locked down in the basement of the M.I.T. Media Lab, the Jeanites dispassionately measured and watched as the Duke's Word fell. Each day, another Word Force. The Demon begged and pleaded, twisting in his bonds as his very Word degraded.
And yet, hubris was alive and well in the world.
The Infernal Words were dying.
Heaven launched assaults on all fronts -- military, conceptual and spiritual -- as Hell foundered. The Princes desperately began campaigns to bolster their failing Words before they lost their power and position. Vapula desperately began research to tame the Power of the Word itself....
But Kronos did little, and the Demons of Fate continued to ply their trade among humanity. Kronos didn't even seem to mind his Word-bound falling like flies. And Kronos himself seemed unaffected by the carnage.
And no one knew where Lilith was. No one, that is, but Kronos himself... and Yves.
It is said that both Yves and Kronos visited Lilith at the site of her Boston Harbor tether -- minor, compared to her nearby Lexington Green tether, but of special significance to Lilith herself. The three sat and drank tea in a shop by the docks, and spoke of many things, late into the night. At the end of the evening, Yves tied his coat tight against the evening mist and walked away. And Lilith and Kronos stayed, and Kronos whispered in Lilith's ear, and she agreed.
The next morning, as yet another Word Force failed among Hell's dying Word-bound, Lilith and Kronos returned to Hell. They walked through the gates, without looking to the Angels of Final Judgement. They made their way through the streets and stenches. And they entered each of Hell's domains, one at a time, and Lilith stood upon a pedestal in each, Kronos standing below her, to her left side, slightly behind. In each domain, Lilith gave the same speech.
"I am Lilith, the Daughter of Man," she said. "I was once Princess of Freedom. Where others obeyed, I chose. And I have been given the final choice. I am Queen of Hell now. All who would survive will serve me. Any who deny me will regret it." And so Lilith, who walked away from Eden and chose the path of self-governance, made her last choice -- and chose Selfish Power, without compassion for others.
And then Kronos, the Prince of Fate, spoke, always the same way. "I am Fate," he said. "Fate is not denied. It is embraced. Lucifer has met His Fate. He is dead, his campaign dead with him. Fate serves the Queen of Hell. And Fate recognizes the Queen's Infernal Right to Rule, to assign territory, to promote the cause of the Revolution, and to cede Words and Principalities as She sees fit, and no other."
And then they left, but at each stop -- in Perdition, in Hades, in Shal Mari, in Stygia and all the rest, more and more demons followed the pair, until finally they reached Lucifer's Granite Throne, which rejected all Princes and fools who attempted to sit upon it.
And Lilith sat upon that cold throne, and the fires of Hell flared. And in that moment, all knew that Lilith truly was the Queen of Hell, now and through eternity, her Fate secure.
Every Demon felt Lilith's Ascension. They felt it in their dark, beautiful Hearts, rippling and thrumming and crying out with the selfish hope of the First Woman's iron fist. They felt it in their Celestial Forces -- almost dissonantly they felt the outside Symphony shudder with their new leader's terrible vision.
Every Angel felt Lilith's Ascension. Felt the pain as the Mother of Lilim accepted selfish Fate completely and utterly, of her own Free Will. And while some mournful Angels of Flowers wept hot tears with the horror, most Angels -- especially the ancient ones -- steeled themselves for the battle yet to come, and hardened their shining Hearts against her.
Every human felt Lilith's Ascension. Scientists would later talk about plagues, or the odd volcanos that erupted worldwide, or who knows what -- but every human felt that sudden twisting feeling. A liberation? Maybe. Or maybe the certain knowledge that the Universe was not what it was, and who can say if it were better or worse.
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