Death arrived early and alone.
Her eyes warily scanned her surroundings, but there was only one other creature in existence, and it posed no threat. After she felt secure, she studied the aesthetics of the meeting place.
<I’ll give him points for attention to detail,> she mused as she sauntered in.
As the architect of this parley, God had chosen the decor. He’d opted for a traditional English pub. Dark, pinewood paneling covered the walls. The single, round table was oak. The five throne-like chairs sitting around the table were beautifully carved, cherry wood masterpieces, and the bar itself was sturdy timber. The only things not made of wood were the creature behind the bar whose sole purpose for existence was to serve drinks to the most powerful beings in the universe before being snuffed out like a scented candle. Him, and the electric, neon signs behind the bar representing the various breweries. Ironically, there was only one tap for whatever Divine brew her brother planned to serve.
Behind her was the door. The only way in and out of the space, which was much more than a room. The little primordial clubhouse was a pocket universe specifically created when the remaining primordials left their creational womb to build their own realms. The æther in the space was neutral, which made the practically invincible beings vulnerable.
She had thought about ignoring the summons sent to her by her brother. It was the first summons since the Earth took shape in the cosmos, and it was a test. Could the rulers of creation come together to talk things out?
<At least it’s something new.> She’d ultimately decided. For something as old as she was, new experiences were in short supply.
The bartender didn’t say anything, but his eyes tracked her as she tossed her jacket and purse on one of the thrones. She picked the one facing the door. She was wearing a strapless dress made of diamonds, or at least that was what it appeared to mortal eyes. In fact, the light-catching, scale-like ensemble was made up of souls. They flashed with their own internal energy as much as they reflected the room’s dim lighting. The æther in the room was neutral, but she knew better than to show up to a potential knife fight without packing some artillery.
The dress was slit up both legs all the way to the hip, so two floor-length flaps covered her modesty. If not for the power the dress represented, she would have come in ass-less chaps to see how her brother reacted. The thought made her smile, but the bartender didn’t react.
“Give me whatever’s on tap, Jeeves,” she snapped her fingers and pointed to the table. With the creature busy behind her, she focused on the opposite side of the pub.
That side was covered by mist, or more specifically, the physical representation of æther. It was their conduit to the outside realms while holed up in this place. She went over to it and dragged her finger through it. It responded to her thoughts and formed into an image occurring far far away.
Hippolyta rode Gerry like a bucking bronco. Her hair was slick with sweat, her eyes were rolled into the back of her head, and her head was thrown back and looking at the ceiling. Since Death had an aerial view, she saw all the goods.
<Mmmm,> she purred and her hand caressed her neck. Her fingers traced across her collarbone andsent a thrill through her. Her opposite hand grazed inner thigh and…
“Please maintain some common decency,” a harsh voice chided from the door.
Death smirked and spun around to face God. Only he looked completely different. Gone was the fat, Santa-like man in a plain brown robe. Now, God was tall and muscularly thin. He was wearing a navy-blue suit with a red power tie. His hair was close-cropped white with flecks of silver, and his beard was neatly trimmed. He looked like a Wall Street power broker at the height of his game.
“You look hot,” Death saw if she could push his buttons early and throw him off balance.
God scoffed, but his face grew red as he saw what was on the æther in front of the table. “Come on…” he averted his gaze.
Death looked back to see Gerry and Hippolyta had switched positions. He was behind her now and seemed determined to drive her straight through the bed.
“It’s just sex,” Death shrugged. “You do indulge yourself at some point, Brother?” Death watched as Gerry reached under the amazon queen to grab handfuls of her full breasts. When she looked back at God she could stop her jaw from dropping. “Seriously?”
“It is beneath me,” he scowled and threw his briefcase on the chair farthest from her. “I have no time or need for sins of the flesh.”
“No wonder you’re so pent up,” she waved dismissively. “You haven’t gotten off in…ever.”
“Enough!” He spat and his fist hit the table. Instead of shaking the cosmos, it simply rumbled the drink the bartender had placed in front of her.
“I’m telling you,” she picked up the drink and gave it an experimental sniff, “Just let yourself go to town on one of your little angelic minions once and you’ll feel a lot better. I’ve seen some of them flying around with those short skirts acting so righteous and proper, but any Catholic schoolgirl could tell you that underneath that they want it bad.”
“Those are my children,” God looked horrified.
“Well…technically, but where is the fun if you didn’t create them the old-fashioned way.”
“Enough of this,” God repeated. “This is not why we’re here.” He opened his briefcase and tossed a thick stack of bound papers at her.
They thumped on the table in front of her, and the cover page was pretty clear what it was about.
“Oh,” she gave God a sad look. “Don’t be jealous of your nephew.” She motioned with her thumb over her shoulder. Gerry and Hippolyta’s coupling was growing faster and more frenzied.
“I’m not jealous of that abomination,” God sneered. “And he is not my nephew.”
“If your angels are you children created by whatever asexual osmosis you call birth, then Gerry is just as much my son as they’re yours,” she replied calmly as she opened the papers and started to peruse them.
“And you clearly want to lay with your son, Sister, so what does that make you?” he looked down at her victoriously, as if he’d finally backed her reasoning into a corner.
“By your logic he’s not my son, so what should I care,” she shrugged uninterestedly, which got a roar of frustration from him.
“You’re impossible!” he shot back.
“Thank you,” she smiled over the pages of legal nonsense he’d thrown at her.
Sensing the end was near, she turned her eyes from God to the æther. With one final thrust, a look of complete ecstasy shone from Gerry’s face as he let loose inside the Amazon Queen. Conversely, Hippolyta had a look of sinister triumph shining from ear to ear.
“Your newest son clearly has no knowledge of the Amazon’s foulness,” God scoffed.
Death just shrugged, but savored the look of complete satisfaction on Gerry’s face. “We’ll see.”
“I can already feel it taking root in her,” God’s scoff became a sneer. “That is yet another transgression against you, Sister. More blasphemy and abomination.” More pages appeared in the legal documentation in front of her, so she ignored it by tossing it aside.
“This isn’t something you can ignore.” God reprimanded as the papers reappeared at the center of the table. “Just like that thing is something Gerald will not be able to ignore.”
Hippolyta and Gerry had disengaged and she was shoeing him out of the room now. His job was done.
“Maybe so,” Death really wasn’t that concerned. “Killing family members is kind of our thing, right little brother. It builds character.”
Fury burned on God’s face, but it was interrupted by the door opening. Death was more than a little surprised at the new entrant.
“Baby sister,” she recovered quickly enough, and stood as the third primordial entered the room.
It was customary for a primordial to take the shape of the creatures in the realm they were visiting. If God or Death were in Mab’s realm, or she’d sent the summons, they would take on the shape of one of the many Fey she had created. Unfortunately, Mab’s take on reality was much skewed from her siblings. Heaven, Earth, and Hell were all relatively similar in their base creation. Mab’s realm was not. As such, the youngest primordial looked like a collection of geometric shapes piled on top of one another to somewhat resemble a human being.
Her head was a dodecahedron with diamond shape eyes, ears, and nose. Her neck was three stacked tori connected to a hexaconal prism torso. Her arms and legs were two cones with the tiny ends meeting at an octahedron that was supposed to be a knee or elbow. Her feet were the simplest things about her. They were basic spheres that she rolled on, while her hands were two pentagrammic prisms.
<Siblings.> Her neutral voice spoke in their minds. She had no mouth.
“Thank you for coming, Mab.” God gave her a bow and gestured to a chair.
<No one else will be joining us. I am the representative of the outer realms and have the confidence of our other siblings.> Mab announced before rolling to sit on her throne.
Death thought it would be difficult due to her unique construction, but her body sprouted more shapes to accommodate the action.
“Very well,” God took the announcement in stride. “I have called the parley because our sister has committed a heinous act. Knowingly and willfully, she created an ætherial hybrid. She ripped out the core of one of my most beloved children, molded it with some of her own essence, while keeping the spark of Cronus’ creation alive. The result is an abomination that must be exterminated from the universe.”
<Is this true?> Mab asked, her diamond eyes peaking.
“I wouldn’t say knowingly and willfully,” Death couldn’t fully hide her grin. “Gerald Fuller’s Infernal and mortal essence was already infused when I met him. He even had a touch of the Divine in him through no work of my own. I simply enhanced it…for fun.”
“She admits it!” God focused on the second half. “You’ve always wanted to create chaos. You children are monsters who’ve ravaged the realms for eons.” He pointed an accusatory finger at her.
“I like to think of it as expressing their individual identity,” Death replied calmly with a smile at Mab. “But what does this have to do with you?” she addressed the youngest of her kind. “I have no ambition for the outer realms, and I know you can hear the truth in my words. I simply want anyone and everyone to live the life they wish to live. He seeks to control them and establish order through fear and judgement.”
God sputtered like a stalled engine. “This has everything to do with all of us. We all agreed to keep our ætherial works separate for good reason. They feed off our essences. If everyone starts feeding off everyone else’s essences then it will be…”
“We know,” Death waved her hand dismissively, “you think everything will be chaos if it doesn’t go according to your plan. But as I said, Mab, I didn’t do this. He was already like this. Forces combined by no primordial hand to create this unique creature. I simply gave him a bigger battery.” She let her carefree nature fall away for a moment as she stared resolutely at her youngest sister. “Who are we to influence the natural order?”
The three beings in the room might all be primordials by creation, but over time, a hierarchy had evolved. Death was at the top. She defeated and consumed another primordial before leaving their cosmic womb. God was next. He’d beaten Cronus, conquered Eden, and consumed what was left of their brother. However, there was a big different between a primordial post realm-creation and one who hadn’t used their power yet. It took a lot of juice to create unique realities, so God had power, but not Death’s type of power.
After God were the three remaining primordials ruling what Mab described as the outer realms. They’d deliberately put space between themselves and their more ruthless siblings. Two didn’t even want to show up to this parley. Mab must have drawn the short straw. That was why, when Death turned her full gaze on Mab, the younger primordial was afraid.
Of course, no one knew what the other primordials’ true level of power was, but in that moment, Mab knew she was outclassed, and she didn’t have her other two siblings to back her up.
<This…this doesn’t concern us,> she stuttered out a reply and got a smile from Death. <As long as you do not bring this violence to the outer realms, your business is your own.> Mab stood abruptly and started rolling toward the door. <I have fulfilled my duty to the summons.> She exited and fled back to where she came from as fast as possible.
God seethed at the retreating back of his sibling, and he turned his glare on Death. He knew his only chance at actually punishing is older sister was to get the other primordials onboard. Together with Mab he thought he could get Death to back down, with one more of his siblings he was one hundred percent confident he could defeat her.
Death looked back at him with unabashed triumph. “Are we done here?” She kicked her feet up onto the table showing off all of her legs. “Don’t feel bad, Brother. At least have a pint before you go.”
God snatched her glass from the table and threw it into the æther. It cut through the misty split-image of Hippolyta cradling her stomach while Gerry walked the streets of Manhattan looking like a million bucks.
“One of these days something is going to backfire on you, Sister,” he replied through gritted teeth. “When it does, I’ll be there to revel in it.”
“I’ll look forward to that day, but until then,” she accepted the new pint the bartender produced for her, “stop sacrificing pawns to save your own ass. It’s unbecoming and your underlings are starting to see it.”
Instead of cowering, or looking pissed, God smiled savagely. “Count on it.”
“Ohhh,” Death smiled at the challenge. “I think you just gave me a hard on. Wanna wrestle?” her tone shifted to a backwoods drawl, and succeeded in sending God off in a huff.
She laughed as the door slammed closed behind him. She took the brew and chugged it down in a single gulp. <Damn that’s good,> she sighed as she focused her attention on Gerry.
<I’ve got plans for you.> She licked her lips.
A snap of her fingers and the bartender disintegrated into ash. She left the primordial clubhouse and it too was reduced to a ball of independent æther floating in the nothingness of this pocket universe. She thought about going straight to him, but decided against it. She had a few errands she needed to run first.
<Hell it is.> In a rush of æther she returned to her creation.
God was still fuming as he walked through the Pearly Gates. For the first time since the Rebellion, a full legion stood at the ready to repel invaders. His children bowed and scraped as he passed, but they kept a wide berth. They hadn’t seen the Old Testament look on their father’s face in a long time, but many of them knew the expression well. He’d worn the last one before starting a war.
He returned to his throne where the Seraphim Guard waited restlessly. They couldn’t go where he had gone, and couldn’t protect him even if they could. He furthered their unease by banishing them from his presence. He stood alone in the Divine Hall and roared his displeasure. Unlike in the clubhouse, all of Heaven shook with his rage.
But all was not lost. He thought he’d been able to convince Mab to support him, but he underestimated his sibling’s weakness and complacency. They had lived fat, happy, and peaceful for eons. They weren’t going to risk that by getting on Death’s bad side.
<It’s up to me to end the madness once again.>
That was the reason he’d fought Cronus in the first place. His brother never knew when to quit. He kept creating and experimenting. His creations grew more dangerous by the breed until it threatened Heaven and Hell. Naturally, Death didn’t care and she was nowhere to be found. It had been up to him.
It was always up to him.
He crossed the expanse of the hall in single step. He was at his most powerful here on his throne, and he would need that power for what came next. A battle map of Eden shimmered at the foot on the dais leading to his powerful conduit. Red showed where the Infernals had started gaining ground. Gold showed his own limited forces on the field of battle. He was yet to fully commit because he wanted Satan to overcommit, and his former-favorite was not disappointing. God would strike back hard when the time was right, but he also needed to play another card. He had billions of holy warriors just waiting for his call. The Infernals always underestimated the ingenuity and subtle brilliance of humanity. God would use that against them. With a thought, a big red switch appeared in the air in front of him. He’d never shown anyone else his Armageddon switch, but with a flick of his finger, he set in motion pre-arranged subroutines that had been in place for two thousand years. Over the next few weeks the more reasonable portions of the Book of Revelations would come to pass. Humanity would unite against the Infernals and help the Divine host push them back to Hell.
But that was only the first step of what he needed to do today. The second sat idly on his throne. His rage was tempered as he looked at the golden Hand of God. Its presence brought home the fact that he would have many hard decisions to make in the coming months and years. War was hell, he knew it better than anyone else, and he hated that he had to debase himself and his ideals in order to win.
With a deep breath he picked up the Hand of God and sat on his throne. Aether filled him as every aspect of Heaven and Eden – that was still under his control – filled his mind. The power was unimaginable for a human. Their brain would burn to a cinder trying to comprehend it, but to him, it was business as usual.
<It’s been a long time.> He pulled a mold from his deepest memories and set to work crafting and shaping it.
God did not create beings of immense power often. In eternity, he’d only created a handful, and today another would join their ranks. He grasped the Hand of God and dove in looking for something…anything…<Yes.> It was almost undetectable, but it was there. <She’s there.> He sighed in relief as he pulled out the last vestige of Ava.
If not for the Hand she would be dead and gone, but now he could make her better. <She needs to be more than better.> He paused the process and contemplated.
<Yes,> his greatest general replied.
<I need an infernal prisoner brought to me immediately.>
If the archangel thought the request weird, he didn’t express it. <Yes, sir.>
<Castor,> He called the Cherubim Guard captain next. <I need a heroic human willing to sacrifice paradise for the greater good of all souls.>
<Yes, sir.> The other angel was equally as willing.
God hated what he was about to do, but his hand was forced. He couldn’t just make someone to replace Gabriel. He needed someone to take on Gerald Fuller. The abomination would continue to grow more devious and powerful the longer he was in Death’s thrall.
He needed his own abomination.
<I’m sorry, Ava, but I require your services once again.> God went to work as Death schemed and Armageddon kicked off with its foretold bang.
Time became an abstract concept as he sculpted his newest warrior. The coming battle would be the most trying yet, and not even he knew how it would end. He disliked that he couldn’t influence the outcome of events, so he set about stacking the deck in his favor however he could.
<I just hope it is enough.>