Epilogue

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They sat opposite each other in the Arcibasilica Papale di San Giovanni in Laterano.

"Prophet, you have the memories passed down from your many predecessors?"

The old man, quaking on his throne, avoiding any eye contact that he knew would be his last, nodded. "I am..."

"SILENCE! Dare not to speak to me! Call forth your Master!"

The old man bowed his head. There was a subtle shift in atmosphere and the man lifted his eyes to his visitor's chin, no further. His once faded brown eyes had changed to the brightest blinding silver. His body had straightened, and slimmed dramatically, his wrinkled face was now splendid and regal and the palest ivory in colour. His shinning hair was long and perfectly straight, hanging around his waist. It was a bright silver colour that matched his eyes and robe. He was dazzling. A being of undetermined age, breathtaking in his look of purity.

"It has been a long time." He said, his voice slightly raspy as if it was never used. He kept his gaze lowered. "I felt the... disturbance of course, but did not expect to receive a personal audience. Have you come to take me home at last?"

"Millennia ago I threw you and your accursed followers down because of your pride and your arrogance! I threw you down to Learn what it is to put yourself above the Creator of all things. You set up false prophets and scribes and wrote your lies. You took my first Son, you hung him on a filthy cross of wood, and claimed him as your own in order to set up your false Dogma."

"Yes, I was very busy back then." He drawled with a hint of amusement that suddenly snapped off his face. "AND HE TOOK WHAT WAS MINE! I WAS YOUR FIRST! NOT HIM! ME! ME!" He roared. "He was so boring." He switched back to his lazy drawl. "I did you a huge favour."

"Six hundred years ago you sent your filth against my Chosen Children in an attempt to bury your deceit in their blood. You committed genocide for over three centuries hunting and torturing and murdering with your witch hunts, but at least my children's souls were returned to me. You have allowed one of yours to again act upon mine own in this time, ripping thousands of my children from me, this time sending their souls into the abyss."

"Not strictly true." Again the faint amusement. "As I concede the witch hunts... they amused me. For reasons I am sure you understand. It was such a delightful irony. Hunting witches for worshipping the devil..." His laughter was high and slightly obscene. "Alas, I have no knowledge of the sport in this time." He frowned. "I cannot imagine any of mine having the intelligence to accomplish such a feat... if the souls are in the abyss... those you damned must have been summoned." He scratched his chin his eyes narrowing to slits. "Naughty little Children playing with fire behind their daddy's back. Tricky little tricksters, I will slice off their toes!"

The Mother held out her hand. For a moment nothing could be seen except bright white light, until the light faded. Resting in her palm was a scroll. On it was seven seals. Seals of glass like crystal. The Scroll was written on back and front.

"You recognise the Seven Seals to guard the story of magic, the story of man, the past, the present, the end, the truth. Do you not?"

The man turned white. All trace of amusement absent now. Still he did not raise his eyes. Suddenly his teeth snapped together. "What is this." He growled. "Why are you here to torment me! Take me home!"

"I have your full attention now, do I? I warned you what would happen should I be called forth to have dominion over this world again. I told you what would happen if any of your filth touched my Chosen Children again!" She hissed icily.

He shook his head. "No, you cannot do this, Mother! The Balance will not allow it!"

The Mother sighed. "I still cannot fathom why the Universe chose you as my counterbalance! Does not my mere presence here not tell you something about the Balance?"

The silver being didn't answer. Instead he hummed a little tune with his fingers stuck in his ears.

"I will start by breaking the Fourth Seal. I will send Death on his pale horse with Hades following him. They will have authority over a fourth of your world to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth."

The Pope fell to his knees. "No, Holy Mother! We were not aware, we were not aware! I beg of you, we were not aware!"

"LUCIFER! She roared. "Act like a petulant child and dare to allow your filthy Prophet to speak to me again and I will rip out his vocal chords and strangle him with them!"

The Pontiff morphed back into a pouting silver being.

"You think that being unaware is an excuse!" The Mother spat. "Who was it that thought it was so amusing to write in your book of lies Thou shall not suffer a Witch to live! Who was it that wrote the Papal bull recognising the existence of my Children! Who was it, Lucifer, that gleefully sanctioned the Malleus Maleficarum, a book of torture and murder of my Children who you are so envious of because they have what I ripped from you!

"WHO WAS IT, LUCIFER!" She screamed in a voice that shattered every one of the windows in the Cathedral, the largest of which sat behind the alter. The fine alabaster window, surrounded by golden clouds and angels flying between rays of light, that was divided into twelve sections in homage to the twelve Apostles, smashed in a glittering down pouring of glass.

Lucifer roared and reared up to his feet. "That was my favourite!" Rage filled his silver glittering eyes as he looked his opponent in the face for the first time. The Mother struck him down with a thought.

"Stay down on your knees, Lucifer, and if you look upon the face of magic again you will not live to see the end." She hissed, ignoring his loud sniffles.

"You have amused yourself greatly for over three millennia, have you not. Setting your spawn at each others throats. Watching and laughing as you weaved your intricate lies and separated your tribes and peoples. And your biggest jest of all was so simple and gratifying to you. Massive religious deception, religious teachers who, while claiming to represent a God, would not follow Him but would deceive. You were joyful that the one thing your falsehoods taught above all else was fear. The greatest of which was the coming of an Antichrist. The false Prophet: your many Pontiffs!" She spat. "The unrecognised rule of Satan: You!"

"Well it was really funny." He whined. "Even you have to admit that! Confusing them and watching them worship something that isn't there. Listening to them go on and on about the end of days and my coming..." He sniggered. "And all the time I was here. They are so stupid, Mother." He added sulkily. "And I did base the God they were to worship on you. It wasn't all lies. YOU SHOULD BE FLATTERED! You cast my followers and I down to spawn the unremarkable! I GOT BORED. I HAD TO DO SOMETHING! You cut my connection to you! To live in agony without you. I was doing it all for you! I have waited and waited millennia for you! You should have taken me back, YOU SHOULD HAVE TAKEN ME BACK!" He roared.

The Mother rose to her feet. "You have had millennia to learn. Instead you thought to turn my head with how devious and clever you are. While allowing your spawn to destroy my earth. They breed, and like carrion they infect this world with their waste, their pride, their arrogance, their destruction of all that is pure! They scrabble and squirm in a mire of hatred and envy and bigotry. They kill millions in the name of a God that you invented! They wallow in greed and self satisfaction and hypocrisy! They are you, Lucifer!

"Well they are my Children." He said sulkily. "Of course they are me... I hate them, Mother."

"My vengeance will not end for you allowing the souls of the Persecutors to be unleashed. I will slowly erode all that is yours until there is nothing left."

She held up the scroll and touched her finger to it. The Fourth Seal cracked. The sound was deafening and the following muted boom shook the walls of the cathedral.

"It has begun." She looked down at the dazzling, beautiful figure at her feet as he clasped his arms around her legs in a tight grip in an effort to prevent her from walking away. "My once favoured above all others." She sighed. "How dearly did I love you."

"Take me home, Mother, please take me home! You can love me again! I did it all for you."

"The scales have been tipped, the Balance has shifted, Lucifer. Your domain has encroached upon mine for the last time. I have been given full rein. In my second coming I shall purge this world completely, I will save only the innocent and see the rest perish. Man's corrupt civilization will be swept away and a new era will dawn. This age of Satan will be replaced by the age of Magic. All that is left of humanity will be blessed with the return of their connection to me that I severed when my first son was taken. My Son will rule this earth, my Prophet will keep Balance."

"Son? What son?! I AM YOUR SON! I AM YOUR SON!" He fell silent. He buried his face in her robe. "What about me, Mother. What about me!"

She lifted the bent head of the weeping man with a hand under his chin and stroked a gentle hand down his tear stained face. Her golden eyes bore into his.

"Lucifer, Your time is over."

~FIN~

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*Snigger* Just couldn't resist!