And The Stars Shined On

By Vaughn Romero


(A Variation on a Theme)

Miss part of the story? See:

1. "The Event" by Josh Moger

2. "Comes the Night, Comes the Terrible Dawn" by Whistling in the Dark a.k.a Eric A. Burns

3. "Where the Darkness Knows No Dawn" also by Eric A. Burns

4. "And the Day Grows Harsh In Light" also by Eric A. Burns

"This cannot be." The angel looked out over the desolate landscape searching for anything that might have been spared. As far as he could see, the view was the same: an expanse of cracks and fissures choked with a fine pale dust. No mark of what had been remained. The mountains leveled, the oceans drained, the air suffocated by the cold, no trace of life. The earth that he had helped create was dead. Not even the distant lights of hope remained. The darkness had devoured all in its terrible hunger.

"I shall not let this happen."

"It will happen. The instrument of its making is already in motion." The voice in his mind laughed in satisfaction. He could not see the intruder, but he did not need to. The stench of its vile soul told him it was close by, yet just out of reach.

"He will kill you. You are no longer a part of his plans." He drew closer to the presence, and was surprised it did not move.

"He will not. Not even to escape his Fate." He could see him now. The demon was looking out over the wasteland with a confident smirk on his face.

"The others will not submit. They will not forsake their kingdom." He stood beside the demon and looked out at the desolation.

"The others have no power to resist his will. They will fall to him as Michael fell."

"Michael did not Fall."

"That hardly matters now. Michael has no power to stand against his son, and is thus of no importance anymore."

"And am I of importance anymore?" He felt his power growing within him.

"You have played your part very well in this matter - although it took you much longer than I anticipated."

"I do not serve you, demon."

"You have served me more ably than all the demons in Hell. All that remains now is to see how you will accept your defeat."

"I will never surrender."

"Then you will die along with the rest. Your defeat is as inevitable now as it has always been."

"It was unwise of you to come here. I have no reason to tolerate you any longer." A bright light encompassed his hands.

The demon laughed. "My death would be worth seeing your Fate. I can almost imagine the look on your face when your beloved jester replaces me. Honestly, he was so good at the job, I do not know why you took it away from him in the first place."

The angel stayed his hand. This was an old dilemma - one for which he had never found an acceptable solution.

"Someday you will not be able to hide behind him."

"Your time is running out, coward. In fact, I estimate you have mere minutes to make your move before Gog arrives to settle some matters."

"I should have killed you when I first met you..."

"Choices, such difficult choices, whatever shall you do?" The demon turned to face him. "I expect you will do what you also do - let love weaken you. All this could have gone so much differently if you had cooperated from the beginning."

"I have cooperated more than enough as it is."

"You could have been so much more. You could have taken your rightful place as the leader of the host. You could have led the battle against the beast you knew would come."

"I could have been waiting in the darkness for my brother to destroy me..." The angel looked down in shame. The glow from his hand faded into blackness.

"Yes. That was how it should have been, but you chose to resist your Fate. You chose to coddle he who should have been God."

"No one is like God," the angel said softly.

"Not anymore." The angel could not locate the origin of the voice, but there was no mistaking its owner.

"Gog." The demon bowed to a deeper shadow among the blackness. The shadow coalesced into a tall powerful man. Not a man, a Grigori. The Grigori stepped up to the angel and smiled.

"I see the rumors are true," said the angel.

"The most holy have had their chance, now it is time for the least holy to rise and take their place." Gog's voice carried a power that the angel had heard only one other time before.

"You choose to be the vessel?" the angel looked at Gog with a great sadness in his eyes.

"I choose to be on the winning side." Gog stepped closer to loom over the angel. "I believe you have something of mine."

"This?" the angel said indicating the dead lands with a sweeping hand.

"And your soul." Gog placed one hand on the angel's shoulder and the other on the angel's wings. "Now you become one with the evil you have wrought."

Blackness enveloped the two celestials. Rising from his bow, the demon stood silently and waited for his master to finish his work. He could not pierce the shadow, but he knew what to expect. This was all going so much better than he had planned...

"I do not fear you," came the angel's voice from the impenetrable murk. "You are your mother's child as well as your father's. All of his power cannot be unleashed until her peace has been broken."

"I will destroy you all!" howled Gog, "See the future that awaits the earth before you. All that is will be united inside of me! Creation is mine for the taking. Do you think that you can oppose me?"

The silence deepened. Had there been light to see it, the demon's frown would have revealed his doubt. From the gloom came the sound of laughter.

"Who can fight God?" it was the angel's voice bright with mirth. "The old man was right. Who can fight God? No one. So do not fight him." More laughter came from the gloom. "That is why there is still stone here. You could not get him to strike the first blow. The stubborn rock refused to fight!"

"How does he know this?!" Gog's voice cut through the laughter making the demon jump. "You assured me he would suffer no evil to live!"

"My nemesis continues the battle in vain, my Lord." The demon stared back at Gog with the look of a deluded believer. "It does not matter. The host will never accept him. He has fallen too deeply into darkness. They will destroy him for us."

"I cannot take that chance. Finish him." Gog's voice boomed with such an undeniable authority that the demon was moving before he even knew what he was doing. Striking into the darkness in front of his master he found nothing but empty space.

"No!" came Gog's cry of wrath. In its wake was the undeniable sound of the Song of Motion, and one glowing black feather.


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