Act V – A History of Conspiracy
Although the influence of Sammael's teachings came into affect nearly immediately after her death, it did not impact Heaven in any substantial way till the conspiracies began to surface. It was subtle at first, of course, for conspiracies are always subtle, in the semblance of opaque, alabaster colours. But, like the feverish carnage of a newborn storm, the image soon came into view—of white fire and the call of a million voices. It first began with Astaroth.
Even if his temper has never been good, the incident that particular day was absolutely not normal. Astaroth had picked a particularly bad fight with a fellow Angel, and that resulted in the Hall of Synopsis being nearly completely destroyed. Mountains of scrolls and books and anthologies were ruined, brunt to ashen sand. Astaroth was thus sent down to Tartarus for a good few days to cool down; it was the only thing any of us could really expect of him. The Throne had never been one who held a reputation of composure, but it was still odd to see him so upset over such a trivial fight with another Angel. Astaroth was always quite sketchy about Astarte, but he has never exploded into such anger.
Then, when all the history of the Hall of Synopsis was being catalogued to see what was destroyed and what was safe, the Archangels responsible for the task found that many books and scrolls were missing from the Hall. Most of them were books and incantations and scrolls written by none other than our beloved, satirical and idiosyncratic Teacher, with a few even by Anael and even the ancient Adam Kadamon, as well. It was odd that such writings would vanish out of thin air, but the Council took no notice, despite much suggestion from Zaphikiel and Gabriel.
It wasn't long after that the citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom began to notice the uprising and growth of Lucifiel's followers. The most beloved Son of God had always been popular with the masses, but never so intently with so many specific individuals. One particularly odd thing was how Belial seemed to be around him so often. Constantly following him; Lucifiel's most ardent shadow. Her dressings had begun to change, and there was a lightness and elevation in her impiety. There was a constant look of adoration in her eyes for the Prince; Asmodeus was not exactly happy with this, despite seeming to have a close relationship with Lucifiel as well.
There was one incident I remember with Belial quite vividly. She had come to Hades to visit me in my manor, in one of the occasions that I stayed in the Underworld. She had come to request from me the words of the girl child, Adlai, who committed the crime of suicide, and thus was sentence to Eternal Damnation in Tartarus.
"Why would you, of all people, Belial, want that child's writings?" I inquire curiously, from within my study.
She smiles sardonically, almost secretive in essence. "I've heard much of her from Asmodeus; she interests me, she does, Uriel. Despite the fact I would never have the opportunity to meet her, I would, at least, enjoy the pleasure of enticing her thoughts and philosophies. Her intellect intrigues me, and her thinking fascinates me." She giggles, almost. "I know you still have all those anthologies and books she wrote, Uriel; please, may you lend them to me, if only for a little while?"
I looked at her genuinely. There was something devious and troubling in her eyes, but not necessarily harmful and distasteful. Belial was always the cleverest nymph; she was hard to say no to.
"All right; you may have her writings, but only for a little while," I spoke as I gestured the section of my library where I had kept Adlai's lexis of philosophy. "But why do you want it for, Belial?"
She pauses for a moment as she collects the layers of white paper. "I have much to learn, Uriel. Teacher did leave us in Man the greatest educationalist. And I think, perhaps from this girl child, I could learn something…" She turns to me suddenly, her eyes unexpectedly cold and unfeeling. "There is much fault of our race that needs to be amended. You and I both know that. She saw something we did not, this girl. I want to know what she saw."
Perhaps I should have considered the meaning behind those words, but on that day, I was careless—I did not care for any of Heaven's obscured politics. Alexiel was released from Eden, that day. Curious, isn't it, that she should be freed from paradise, when Humanity has always sought paradise through Eden. But she was left the high castle of Atziluth, and I did not care about anything else besides that—Belial's words, the conspiracies of Heaven, Teacher's lessons—none of it meant anything to me that moment. I loved her dearly, my darling, different from how I love you; I loved her whole-heartedly, passionately, painfully. I loved her for her beauty, her grace, her strength, and her absolute divinity. Do not look at me as so, my sweet; I cannot even define the magnitude of how I love you.
I knew Alexiel from childhood—when we were both young; all of us Angels had just been born from within the same impregnable womb. I marveled at Alexiel from a young age—she was Teacher's dearest student; but we saw rarely of her. She was locked within Heaven; she was kept away from Rosiel, her own twin. It was cruel, perhaps the cruelest of all Father's acts. If it were not for their separation, Rosiel probably would not have turned mad and delusional. He loved her much more than any of us can define—I'm not quite sure he ever realized how much. It was a twisted, yet innocently pure sort of love.
Alexiel had come down under the orders of the Irin to visit the lower levels of Heaven—I should have been tending to Hades, but I left for the Kingdom to simply see her, after such a long occasion. She would, of course, not stay within the other levels. She would only visit, see Gabriel from what I was told, and that she would return to Atziluth afterwards. I spoke with her in the Hall of Synopsis—it was good to hear her voice, so sweet and melodic, yet strong and bold—she asked of Teacher's demise, and I spoke of it honestly. She held such a forlorn look upon her face when I spoke of Teacher's words.
I was with her when Rosiel tried to approach her—he was fervent, passionate, desperate, and almost childlike in essence. But she passed him, speaking only to other Angels and myself, disregarding him completely. Was Alexiel callous to do such a thing? Considering the option she received from the Father, I should believed not. Alexiel loved Rosiel, much more than she loved anyone else, which was probably why she did what she did. But we are not there just yet.
"I am not here on leisure, Uriel; God would never let me," she spoke as we walked in the Gardens of Babylon. "I would never be able to leave Atziluth…if not for the circumstances."
I peered at her curiously. "Which is?"
She smiles curiously, and turns to me with those magnificently blue eyes. "You must know of God's project, which Gabriel is heading, do you not?"
She nods. "There is much the Father is building—and the results of that experiment is what He is building to." She sighs deeply, picking a carnation from the ground, gingerly plucking the petals from the flower. "I am here to help with that project. That is my key purpose."
"But the Annunciation is not complete yet…there is still much to do, from what Gabriel tells me."
She laughs, throwing the petals onto the green earth. "Ah, my old friend, it's true. There is still much to do of the project, but the next phase is what I am here for." She marches through the flower fields, gently dropping the yellow petals of the carnation onto the ground. "Father's going to send me to Earth; sweet Gabriel shall be a Messenger, and deliver a message to a mortal man named Noah, a builder. He'll build a ship, and have all the things of the World on it, and then a Flood will come, and wreck all that Man has been, and Father will see if whether Man shall rebuild itself." She turns to me, letting the torn flower fall. "And your little Alexiel shall be the Harbinger."
I narrow my eyes in realization. "Father's planning to destroy Man?"
Alexiel shakes her head formidably. "No, no, Uriel, not destroy, never destroy. He's going to ruin. He's going to tear up an entire civilization, just to see whether or not it can still stand to survive and breath." Her laughter is haunting. "He wants to see, just wants to see, and I am supposed to be a Harbinger of Death. Appropriate, is it not, to speak with the Angel of Death before such an act."
"With all due respect, dear Alexiel, I am no Angel of Death. That title belongs to Sammael—her and only her, and still and forever her. They never allotted me that position, and neither did I want it. The claim of Angel of Death was never taken by any other. I am the Guardian of Hades, that is all, a simple Judge…a horrible Punisher…" I drown into silence. My face suddenly becomes placid as I remembered that sweet human girl, who died too young, too bright, too tormented.
Unexpectedly, Alexiel gazes at me with an expression of pity and sympathy. She reaches up, and touches my cheek tentatively, her eyes full of worry and concern. Her hand is soft, and small, smelling of lavender and jasmine perfumes, tender and supple like silk. "I heard about that human girl who was sentenced to Damnation. Asmodeus told me of her and her intelligence. She reminded you of Sammael, didn't she?"
I hesitated. I nodded.
"But she's not Sammael, and no one could ever be Sammael again. Teacher was one of a kind, absolute—a puzzle, a riddle, an enigma, a paradox. She was everything and anything, and she was incredibly vague about all she taught." I pause, carefully, slowly, thinking. "She still troubles me." I gaze at Alexiel painfully. "I loved her like a mother, and I was the one who took her life. I was her Arbitrator, her Judge, her murderer."
"She left you a heavy burden, Uriel, to carry on her tasks. Hades does not suit you; you are not a Judge, and you certainly are no murderer," she speaks. "Fate is cruel, as is Father." She tears away from me, wandering aimlessly amongst the flowers. "I never got to say good-bye, and she was always so kind to me. There is no grave for her; I wish I had seen her before her death." She breaks into silence for a moment. "What became of her?"
I dare not answer, but it is useless to hide the truth from Alexiel. "Her head was…severed from her body, and her flesh was used by the Laboratory—though I do not know exactly what they did with it. Her soul fled from her remains, and I do not know what became of her Existence. Did she die? I do not know. Did she live? I do not know." I smirk a little. "Even in her absence, she is still obscure."
Alexiel laughs at this, and a great love swells within me for her. It was a simple jest, but only she understood its implications.
"Will you return to Atziluth soon?"
Her smile dampens. "Yes."
"What about Rosiel?"
She smiles, but says nothing.
"I have to see Gabriel before I leave, and perhaps Zaphikiel as well."
Abruptly, she turns to me with a startling gaze, her eye fervent and bright. "Like the Flood unto Assiah, Heaven shall fall under its own watery spells soon enough. There is something within the air, I can feel it, things the High Council does not want us to know, things Father is keeping from us, things our fellow Angels do not want us to know, things, Uriel, the things that Sammael spoke of, I see it coming alive and coming true. Something began to manifest itself when she died, and now its being born into this Space. I do not know what any of this means, the missing books of the Hall of Synopsis, the existence and death of that girl child, the passing of Anael and the Sandalphon Project, Zaphikiel's blindness, Gabriel's Annunciation…and that oh so terrible Flood that will engulf Assiah soon."
She smiles absurdly. "Something is starting, just starting, Uriel, like the early drums of war, beating feverishly."
She was absolutely right, of course, as always. Speculations become predictions and these predictions thus become reality. In the Hall of Synopsis today, there is a book that documents the Fall of Lucifer, and his descend from a beloved Angel to the Prince of Lies. But, to be honest, the War that Lucifer waged started much long ago. He was not the mastermind behind it—there were others influencing within the background. It was a massive history of conspiracy, with many puzzlements and conjectures—the relationship between Sammael and Lucifer and what became of her, the Twins, Adam Kadamon's appearance to Zaphikiel, Gabriel's rise and fall, Raziel's entire existence, and most certainly, the fate of the Organic and Inorganic Angels. It is only now, with these new eyes, that I begin to see the troubling machinate behind it all.
Was it all Father's plan?
If it was so, then my, how many miscalculations He made.
1) The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (also known as the Hanging Gardens of Semiramis) is one of the original Seven Wonders of the World, built by Nebuchadnezzar II in around 600 B.C. The gardens have been well-documented in the writings of Greek historians and poets, and is often imagined as the most beautiful and spectacular lush paradise (a humanized Eden, so to speak). Although there is debate as to the existence of the Hanging Gardens, Greek historians report that the location was destroyed in the 1st Century B.C.
2) The Annunciation is the revelation to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel that she was immaculately pregnant with Christ. However, in this story, the term is used to mean an experiment conducted by God. This will be explained in later chapters.
3) A harbinger is a sign of things to come, and harbingers figure prominently throughout Christian dogma as forces that propel major decisions. However, the actual mechanics of harbingers may be simply be an aspect of human psychology and is dependent on a person's subconscious cognizant of major events in his or her life based on laws of probability. When one is able to aware of their subconscious cognizant, they are able to recognize the factors of probability, they are able to recognize the signs, allowing them to respond accordingly.
4) In Judaism, Samael (Sammael) is the Angel of Death, whose name means "poison of God". Thus, death is given the connotation as the poison God delivers onto Mankind. In this story, because Sammael was killed, there is no longer a personified Death, and thus Death roams the world free with its own will, and no one else can take its office. Furthermore, in tarot, Death is the XIII card, and is used to represent great transformation or deep change. The Death card is often seen as not speaking of physical death, but the end of one cycle and the beginning of another; and death in tarot is always viewed as a "gardener of life", getting rid of the old and bringing in the new. In this way, Sammael and her death can be seen as ending one era in Heaven, and giving life to a great change.