After Hell

By William J. Keith



Dew on the railing, sun on the horizon. It was dawn. A moment ago, I'd been in Notre Dame at noon, so that put me at roughly 90 to 100 degrees W longitude, in the Americas. Judging by the architectural styles of the skyscrapers around me, it was the U.S. I ran through skylines in my head and decided that I'd been set down in Houston, Texas.

All right. That would be a good place to start.

I stood in the morning sunlight and breathed deeply. The morning air smelled of the exhaust of combustion engines, mainly. It certainly wasn't the dew in the pine forest that lay just a few hours' drive, or days' walk, north of here, and people were rightly afraid of what it could portend. But then, after Tartarus, no mere oilsmoke could twist the nostrils.

I opened my eyes and looked down at the city from atop the observation deck of the high tower. The sun shone on glass and concrete and steel. Cars and people moved about below me, on their business public and private. Finally, I was one of them. I should have felt fragile. I should have felt naked and helpless.

But then, helpless had never been something I did.

A man joined me on the observation deck. He did a doubletake at my outfit, which well he might -- form-molding black leather and a rapier were hardly common attire in this city. I could have blended in, but had decided not to. That particular decision had caused a ruckus, but compared with the benefits, they were willing to accept it. Considering what I was giving up, they were willing to accept nigh on anything.

I looked him over. Not bad, but not perfect. With a shock, I realized I was sizing him up for mating purposes, and another shock came as I realized who I'd been using as a standard of comparison. Well, not a standard of comparison... but I refused to bear a child with a man who was less than my equal, and I'd only known one man who was even close.

No, I was unique. I always had been, most likely always would be. I shared humanity with the people walking below me, I shared their world, their air, with its smells of city and country. And in a few minutes, I would go down to join them. But I alone walked the earth as a part of it with twenty millenia of memories from every realm of existence.

Those memories would not lay unused. I had plans, for myself and for the entire human race, and the ability to carry them out. Khalid had argued most violently about some of them, forcing me to abandon - for the moment - some of my more forthright notions. But I had insisted on the truth, if one that was unexplained in some parts. Litheroy might not have ranked as high as Khalid, but he had helped get this agreed to; Jean had agreed to deflect some of the more difficult lines of inquiry; Zadkiel had sworn my protection from a vengeful Hell. I'd accepted, since it would have been foolish not to, but she underestimated her opponents in this matter. It wasn't by violence that Lucifer wanted to see me fail. I had been a political coup in the first place, and he meant for me to be one still.

Well, let them try. I would face up to the lot of them and emerge victorious. I could be underestimated, too. I was no more than human. I was earthbound for the remainder of my natural life. I was far less aware than I had been yesterday.

But I was Lilith.

And the world would know what that meant.

All these scenarios of Lilith Redeeming... no, no, no. She doesn't turn Angelic when she's stripped of her demonic powers, she turns into a human. And the Seraphim Council can hardly give a living human the power to enter the celestial realm, much less an Archangel-level Word. Lucifer still has a few tricks up his sleeve they can't seem to match. So they don't try. Instead, she shows up in Notre Dame, lays it out, and gets her powers stripped, leaving her "just" the baddest human (and only immortal one) currently in existence:

Human (Free of Adam's Curse)

Corporeal Forces: 5   Strength: 10   Agility: 10
Ethereal Forces: 5   Intelligence: 10   Precision: 10
Celestial Forces: 5   Will: 10   Perception: 10

Skills: (remember, as a human, Lilith can Master...) Quite a lot, even modern skills -- she'd been in contact with VapuTech, after all. In particular, anything dealing with social relationships, business, administration, or politicking is going to be at insane levels. Others are still notably high, though -- after all, few Superiors want to look less than expertly-informed about something in front of their subordinates, unless it's a particularly specific or technical field. Even fighting skills, at least the personal fighting arts -- every mental state you can practice could be useful. Probably the least-developed are going to be things like Survival, common domestic skills, use of mechanized weapons(at the Superior-combat level, it's mental state, not a tool, that wins, although Vapula might disagree). Lucid Dreaming is being rapidly developed.

Songs: Anything except those Restricted to nonhumans (actually, she knows them, but can't use them), and a number of the Secret songs of Superiors. Some of the less... appealing... Songs may actually be at less than /6.

Equipment: the secret resources of the Freedom organisation in the Corporeal realm, including funds and power objects that no other Superior knew she had.

G:IN Stats

ST 23 DX 26 IQ 23 HT 23

Advantages too numerous to list, starting with Unaging, Symphonic Awareness, Power Investiture, Multimillionaire, Zeroed, and some substantial Patrons, the organizations of Trade and Protection.

Disadvantages: Enemy Group(Daughters of Lilith), Secret(ex-servant of Hell). The corporeal organizations of Faith and Judgment, concerned with making sure that she doesn't reveal celestial secrets to humanity. (I don't even know the name you'd put to an entity that is concerned with nonviolently limiting your actions - Enemy? Of sorts?)

Skills/Equipment: See above.

So what does she plan? Well, knowing Lilith, it's not husband, kid, and house with white picket fence in suburbs.

Well... not the suburbs anyway. She's flesh and blood, you know.

But still - despite the fact that Khalid and Dominic have insisted she not reveal even a smidgeon of her nature and history, Heaven has promised not to carry out a vendetta, and furthermore Marc and Zadkiel have set up lines of protection against attacks from her furious Daughters. This leaves her, in large part, free to pursue her plans.

One can deduce something about her intentions from what she'd planned before Khalid put his foot down. She'd wanted to spread the fact of who she was, make hers a story to support the Abrahamic faiths, as well as being a living story of morality found. It would have had the side effect, of course, of making her a global celebrity, even a figure of awe. But that path's closed to her now.

There's one thing for certain - she's had a major impact on the world, in favor of Hell. Now that she has to worry about an eventual Judgment, that leaves her 20,000 years of embracing her Fate on a global scale to make up. And she seems optimistic about her chances...


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