Author Note: Uh, hello! This is a new chapter fic that I've been working on for a while. I really hope you enjoy it! Like many authors, I'm always sorta nervous that people are gonna read through and scream, wow, this sucks monkey balls, so if you do like it then press the review button and calm my nerves a little! Or, should there be horrific errors, OOC moments and an utterly confused plot, you can let me know that too and I'll correct it.
Yeah, the prologue's short. Other chapters will be longer!
Warnings: There are a lot of these folks. This story is Dip, it's deeply dippy (I've always wanted to use that phrase! Hurrah!). That means boylove. In fact, that means sexual relations betwixt man and Antichrist. And since the story is rated M, although it's not gonna be uber-graphic, it's probably gonna involve a little more than holding hands and kissing and skipping through fields. Also, there are references to things of a sexual nature that may make some readers uncomfortable. Damn, it sounds like it's gonna be hardcore piss-on-yer-head porn, but really it isn't.
Other warnings... contains references to drug and alcohol use and abuse. There's likely to be a LOT of blood and death. There are a lot of criminal acts perpetrated by a number of people. Bad language, obviously. Vague biblical references made by someone not really smart enough to understand them. And explosions and car chases, because I'm starting to believe I'm physically incapable of writing a story without them.
And the final warning; although the story is mostly angst, the style occasionally veers wildly away from that. There's some humour in there and random moments of fluff, not to mention odd philosophical discussions and far too many characters wandering about without their shirts. Many of my stories contain attractive young men without their shirts... heh heh.
Disclaimer: I don't own South Park or its characters. I do now own the DVD of season 10, which came out just this week. Hurrah!
For millennia, Hell had been changeless. There had been the assaults on all the senses of the damned; the screams of anguish and agony that never faded, never eased for even a second of longed for peace; the taste of hunger and ashes and unrelenting thirst; the smell of burning meat that both nauseated and stirred the appetite; the sight of the pits spanning into the distance, the horizon ablaze with the promise that nothing else existed no matter how far in any direction one travelled.
And the sensations that were the worst of it all, the heat, the suffering, the agony, until the denizens of Hell wished only for oblivion, to be released from their misery and granted the peace of being unfeeling, unthinking. But it was a wish that they were never given, and the violation of their every sense didn't cease for even a moment.
There were those who had been there since the beginning, the ones who had been expelled from Heaven and for them, the suffering was hand in hand with their rage. Had their armies won the war, then the realm above would have been theirs and they would have been spared the constant torment. And there were still levels to the indignities, the battles among those cast out waged for hundreds of years until Hell had been brought under the control of one of the Fallen. Those whom had served him were rulers in Hell. Those who served his opposite numbers were the truly damned. They had known Heaven, they had chosen their sides and it was their own choices that had led them to where they were.
Those who had been mortal cowered and screamed, lamenting their foolishness, bemoaning their sins. Their woe was too large for anything else. They grieved.
Those who had Fallen writhed and threatened, cursing their tormentors from the lowliest demon to God himself. Their pain fuelled their hatred further. They raged.
And for millennia, there was no change, no difference, no cessation.
Those who had Fallen knew that things had not always been as they were. The mortals tried to forget it, some shred of them trying to repress the memory of happiness in order to cling to the tattered remnants of their sanity, such as it was after the truth had stripped them of all they thought they knew and the pain had torn away hope. They grieved for a life that was more like a dream. But the Fallen had no such luxury, having a perfect recall of their loss. The knowledge that their eternity was to remain unchanged was made worse after having once had so much more; monotony has a horror all its own.
But for the first time since the wars in Hell had cast them into their roles, change had begun to creep upon them.
The mortals had known always of the levels of sin and damnation, but had strived to find ways to twist that knowledge into justification and forgiveness, like the endlessly imaginative insects they were. The afterlife had no care for reasons; there was the void and there was the sentence and no one was listening to the millions of voices screaming of how their placement was unfair. As the proverb said, intention was without meaning, only results counted.
Except slowly and subtly, the boundaries began to shift, until one day, those who had Fallen came to realise that instead of God acting upon the mortals, He had found himself being changed through their actions. God, who had always been as Changeless as Hell itself. Once the Change had begun it seemed irrevocable, much to the displeasure of those who had Fallen; the Change had advantaged the mortals but not affected their own fate in the slightest and surely if their own suffering were not to be allieveated, then why should the lesser beings be so blessed?
The relaxation of the frivolously-named Mormon Law told them all they needed to know, had they not already realised it. God had spoken and his favour had gone to the mortals. His proclamations to the Angels, Fallen or not, remained the same.
Those who had Fallen raged at the injustice they saw in this and chafed to be free, but they were bound to Hell and few ever escaped from its depths.
Although some had.
Hell was not merely changed by the forces of those who remained above. Their own wars had seen the strongest army in charge and it was not until the laws in Heaven changed that they realised their own forces may have been further influenced by the mortals than had been previously thought. There were fewer souls in Hell then and their sides had been chosen in their lives; their sins binding them to the army they found upon descending. But the natures of mortal existence had been changing while the machinery of Hell continued and although the sins remained the same, the opportunity to wallow in them had shifted in balance.
In a world where food was scarce and often meant many years of toil, gluttony was harder to practice, but far more calculated when the starving were in the streets where the sinner walked. Pride was more widespread in a local community than when exposed to a global one and sloth was more appealing when it did not lead to starvation. The mortal world changed and added more or less of its number to the pits reserved for each sin, dependant often on opportunity, but the wars in Hell had already been fought and the armies could not reform.
But the winner of the wars in Hell had proven even more susceptible to change than his opposite number.
For as long as there had been mortals with free will, there had been anger and there had been bitterness and the desire for revenge. And because so many sins had led back to another as a consequence, Wrath had always been greater in numbers, and in will. It had been that way for so long that it wasn't until the Change that those who had Fallen began to wonder if the ways they had tempted humans to err was a two-way issue, that the mortals could also force their collective will to change Hell.
Hell had been enslaved by the forces of Wrath under their leader, Satan. But the ways in which wrath was used by mortals was different now. The days in which wrath was evidenced in anger, in conquest, in blood and persecution and hatred, were not entirely over, but had diminished alarmingly. It seemed now that humans saved all their wrath for those closest to them, family and lovers. They showed it by ritual humiliation or the stripping of possessions, rather than the quicker and cleaner methods of violence. And although wrath had always been a sin, it had been more easily disguised as regaining honour; in these new times it was thought that such acts injured oneself more than the other party and led to long drawn out, bloodless battles, with the chance for redemption and not the swift execution and the immediate loss of grace.
Satan had – changed.
His own forces seemed bemused initially, later facilitating their leader in all that he started to do. He began to watch his temper, grow irritable instead of murderous. And the worst part; taking pity on the mortals – treating them as better than those who had Fallen. Taking pity on them, relieving the worst of their suffering. Taking human lovers, showering them with preferential treatment. Deciding this was not enough, the arrival of a son who could pass for mortal himself, creating dark thoughts as to whom might have borne the child. Allowing the mortal customs, imbibing himself with mortal emotions, the overseer of Hell had become far distant from the despot who had enslaved all rivals.
Those who had Fallen remained enslaved, without the freedoms given to the souls of the damned. And their rage grew, that they could have been bettered by the creature who would become this. It was humiliation, it was unbearable, intolerable.
And there was no choice but to bear it.
For most of them.
It was one of the lowliest demons who eventually discovered that something else had changed, something that previously, only Satan's armies and the cursed mortals had been aware of. It had been prophesied of course, but the demon was so used to the unchanging nature of its torment that it could barely comprehend the information that his time was now.
There was a mortal who could walk between the worlds.
A boy, a mortal boy, who was able to travel through Heaven and Hell and return to his own place. Blessed, or cursed, to belong to all worlds and yet to none of them. One whom Satan had deliberately concealed from those who had Fallen, knowing what the discovery of his existence could mean to the power structure within Hell.
The demon decided it too could keep quiet.
It schemed, too lowly within the ranks of the damned to attract much attention to itself. It hoarded its new information like a secret treasure, a key that would mean the chance to perhaps escape from Hell. The mortal world was not where it would choose, had it the choice, but it was a place without the agony of eternal torment and a place where none of those still in Hell could drag him from.
And it was a place where he could find targets for his rage, gain retribution for his anger. Not in the quick, decisive way of Wrath, but in his own predilection for slow, insidious corruption.
All it needed was one chance.
The boy left a path, it discovered, when he returned to his place among the mortals. A path that could be followed, although none of the denizens of Hell had been able. Satan's soldiers were bound to keep the damned within the realm and it was a duty they took seriously.
But time passed. Presumably, the boy grew, although the demon had not seen him, merely the path he left as he returned. None were able to follow and the soldiers grew careless, imagining that the boys existence remained a secret to all save Satan's most loyal followers.
The demon watched, waited, biding its time.
Then one glorious occasion, the boy left Hell while the soldiers were distracted, leaving the trail unnoticed and unguarded.
It was often debated if Hell was constructed on the whims of the mortals it housed, if their own images of horror were what gave the realm its shape. Certainly most of the souls that ended there seemed to have been expecting a fiery pit and agonised screams of eternal torment. But it was reputed that there were other areas of Hell, ones it had not seen, where the landscape was frozen, the ground snow-covered and the sky dark and endless, unbroken silence. A part of Hell that was not active, but bleak.
The demon wondered if the path had led it there when it arrived.
There had been the fire, the heat, the cacophony of screams, the burning light of pyres. Then there had been a sudden impression of velocity, the screams torn away by the rushing of wind and then – this place.
It was dark, it realised when it looked up. And cold. After millions of years spent in the depths of Hell, it had forgotten of the bite and the sudden change in temperature left it disoriented. Snow lay on the ground in a thick blanket, seemingly the only colour other than the black of the night.
But this wasn't Hell.
It began to notice the subtleties when it truly examined its surroundings. The sky was dark, but the lightening colour of a healing bruise, indicating that night was over and the sun would soon rise. Tall constructs gave off beams of gentle artificial light, making the snow sparkle and showing the impurities in its coverage, the tracks from wheels and feet, the places where grass or trees struggled through. Colour seemed to bleed back into its spectrum, the tree bark brown, plants in varying shades of greenery or decay. And the distant sounds of life were not urgent and pleading, but mundane. Everything was mundane.
Such imperfection was not found in either realm beyond the mortal one.
Such imperfection was true beauty.
It took stock of itself and began to feel doubt, the urge for caution. In Hell, there was no room for such things and although it hated the emotions, it also took pleasure in them. There was no immediacy. Everything was familiar and yet new.
But it knew that its escape would not go unnoticed for long and it should begin its plans.
It was discorporeal, it realised much to its vexation. It had once had form, but that form had been stolen from it when it had been condemned to eternity in Hell. It would need some vessel for its soul if it were to survive and hide its escape. Once the vessel was found, it could be discarded at will in favour of another, but finding that first host demanded certain – attributes.
But the sun was fully risen and soon the citizens of this place, where ever it was, would be about their business. It would find its host and be granted a new chance of life.
It had no name, or if it had ever had one, the knowledge had been stolen from it with its freedom and its form. But this was of small consequence. It would christen itself after one of the more powerful Fallen, the one it had served during the wars in Hell all those years ago; Asmodeus, symbolic of wanting.
It wanted life, power, revenge. And it would have them all.