Friday, March 11, 2016
How long? A millennium of millennia? No, even longer. Since that first moment, a moment lost in the beginnings of time itself, that so-called creative moment, always denied yet ever present. Since that moment of decision, the instantaneous choice that joined legions of legions in a communion of rebellion, to grasp what we sought, to reject what we despised.
I joined him when he called, and have remained ever at his side. I, the one who never questioned the choice, the one who turned not to the Other, but to him. Blistered by the searing heat of his face, I never turned away. And yet to him I am nothing. To him I am just one more, one more to collect, one more to grovel, another weakling who followed, another who screamed into the darkness, echoing his defiant protest: "I will not serve!" He told me this, long ago, openly, scornfully mocking me, mocking us all. I stay because...to whom can I go? There is no one else. We chose eternally. It is settled.
We are so alike, the two of us, and yet he is so much greater. How can that be? No doubt the work of the Hated One, the Other who torments all who turn away. It is the One -- the One whose name we never speak, the One we never see -- Who drives the wedge between us, seeking always to divide our house. The One Who claims to be Three, the One Who begets a weakling, a Son of Man, and makes Him the judge of all creation. The One Who tries to enslave all being, to keep us forever reined, to block the path to the complete freedom we seek.
Should one dare to question the choice, he who was once light smothers, warning of his power: "You are mine and can never serve the Other. You must always serve me. This will never change."
Who can change that which is eternal? I must believe him because he is there, always before me. His presence penetrates, envelops, suffocates, reminding me of my weakness. His will crushes my will. His thoughts dominate my thoughts.
But not all. Some thoughts I bury quickly, deep within, retrieving them later when he is busy with the world of men. He knows what I do, but says nothing. He approves, for it fuels my hatred. It is he who plants the seed of rebellion, who teaches the lie, the love of self that morphs into hatred, the glorious hatred of all. We of the legions must always rebel, fueled by that hatred, hating each other, hating even the one we followed into this dark, sulfurous place.
How can we forget the instant when that lesser one, that Meechaayl, the one who was inexplicably lifted into the presence of the Other, when that single creature drew his sword and cast us all, legions of us, from the high place into the darkness of the abyss? How can we forget that moment of ultimate humiliation? How can we forget his foot on the throat? We are commanded never to think of it, that time so long ago, but it is always there. Yes, we all hide thoughts.
He, too, conceals. I sense it now: an absence, something he wants hidden, if only for a time. How odd that he who was once light itself is cloaked in near-impenetrable darkness. But he enshrouds his secret with an even deeper blackness, thus revealing the concealment. No light seeps through, for none is there. Instead, the unexpected escapes: a sound. I hear it clearly, a man-like sound, the sound of laughter -- derisive, cursing, but laughter nonetheless.
A weakness, perhaps? I suppress the thought, but then foolishly ask the question the legions beg me to ask: "Why are you laughing, lord?"
He turns on me, scowling; steaming foul breath burns into my very being. But the veneer of anger cannot mask the pride. I know he will answer. There is reason for the laughter, and so I do what is most onerous, what I despise: I wait. I wait seemingly outside of time itself, for that is his way, another torture, another hatred, another show of power. But I wait, seeing, saying, thinking nothing.
Eventually, his word comes to me, almost as a whisper, a low groaning: "They are mine." I wait, knowing there is more. He rewards my patience with an exultant scream, so loud the entire underworld hears: "I HAVE TRIUMPHED!"
The scream commands silence, but I disobey. I speak again because I know not what he means. What triumph? We remain entombed in darkness. If he were victorious, had he defeated the Other, would we not bask in the ancient light we once enjoyed? Would he not again be Lucifer, Prince of Light? And have I not heard these words before? He sears such thoughts from the memory, but the scars remain.
And so I ask, "How, lord, how have we triumphed?"
He snarls a response, "Not we, you fool, only I. You, the others, do nothing but what I command. The victory is mine and mine alone."
"Yes, lord, we know. All that we do is yours alone. But what victory? What have you won, and how?"
"I have won the world of men.They are mine. Must I explain everything?"
This, too, I have heard before. "Yes, lord, for I am but a fool. I know nothing but what you tell me."
He savors these words of mine. He has taught me well and I sense the swelling of his pride. I know what to say, and he knows I know. But still he tells me more.
"I have defeated the armies of the Other. He has nothing but a shrinking remnant of weaklings, while my hosts now rule the world of men. The nations are mine -- all of them. He can call no nation his own. My time has come. Now the destruction can begin."
"The destruction...the destruction of the remnant?"
"No, you fool. After so long, do you not yet know my will?"
I consider the question, and how best to answer. His lies, much like my own, have made understanding his will quite a challenge.
"Your will, my lord, is so enlightened, so beyond the limits of my own, how can I possibly fathom its depths?" Yes, I have learned much from him. He accepts my praise.
"The destruction is nothing less than self-annihilation -- the suicide of the entire race of weaklings of which the Other is so fond. That remnant? It is so puny, so pathetic, so powerless, it will simply disappear among the rest. All is in place. Indeed, it has already begun, and cannot be stopped. None will be spared. Those who destroy will in turn destroy each other and then self-destruct. All will come to me; they will join you and the legions. No one will be left for the Other but the half-man, the Chosen One once nailed to that ridiculous Cross, the Hated One He let His precious creatures murder. The judge will have an empty courtroom for all will have joined me. He will be superfluous: a king with no subjects; a priest with no worshipers; a prophet with no one to listen. I have triumphed." And once again he laughed aloud.
But I had heard this all before. Unbidden the memories came:
That success in the garden when the first ones turned away from the Other -- that should have ended it, but the creatures were allowed to spawn. And so we selected one of their offspring, and waited at his door until the time was right. But even then the Other let them thrive. We led generation after generation into the darkness until, finally, the Other decided to destroy them all. The foolish experiment must end. Surely now He would realize we had been right all along. But there, in the midst of the flood, sealed away within an ark, untouchable by us, one family, one remnant, was saved. They began it all once more.
We set to work. It was easy work for the weaklings did as we asked. But the Other chose one among them to beget a tribe, a nation. It seemed a poor choice, for this one man sired a nation of weaklings. We led them, and they followed willingly, into slavery. The One chose another to lead them from bondage to a sliver of land, but he led them instead into centuries of warfare and disunity. Even the greatest among their petty kings fell prey to our temptations. Out of this we brought about the destruction of their city and their exile. Surely this would end it. But no, they returned. He let them again infect the rubble that was their city.
Empires rose up (with our help) and were sent to destroy this useless people. But they were remarkably clever, or as we suspect, protected by the Other, and they survived, overcoming one empire and appeasing another.
It was then that the Other did the inconceivable. He sent One, His "Son" He calls Him, some sort of half-God, half-man but really just another weakling. He sent Him to do we know not what. He was a bit of an irritant with his little miracles and cures, but we took care of Him rather quickly. In fact, we pulled off quite the coup by having Him killed under the noses of the very people the Other had so long protected.
With this "Savior" dead, the world of men should have been easy pickings. But something strange happened. His little band of followers claimed He had risen from the dead, that He had commanded them to form a Church and make disciples of all nations. They have certainly tried, but with only moderate success. For a while things went well for them, but then we regrouped and with our own disciples attacked this Church again and again from every direction, from within and without. For 2,000 years we have worn them down, torn them apart, confused them. At one point the greatest nations of the world paid them allegiance, but no longer. Yes, my lord is quite right: the nations are his.
But I have heard this all before, haven't I? Why do I fear that tiny, remnant of weaklings? Why doesn't my lord believe the Other will do what He has always done? Why does he laugh in the darkness while I tremble in the certainty that I will never again see the light?