The earth was choked with blood, spitting out its gluttonous feast in little crimson rivulets skating across the barren land. The coppery scent hung heavy in the air, a nearly tangible red haze tainting the atmosphere. Smoke rose still from the tiny shriveled patches of yellowed grass stubbornly clinging to the earth, wisps of flames quietly consuming the withered vegetation to ash. Even the insects had long since fled, dry husks of the slower ones littering the few places where the fight had not strayed.

The taste of blood and smoldering death drifted across the putrid land, filling the mouth and lungs of the battle's survivor. Its demonic body was blackened, pouring fluid and entrails from gaping wounds, missing several clawed limbs. Yet it sat calmly on the beaten ground, utterly absorbed in the sky. Every few seconds the sickly green atmosphere exploded brilliantly in a thousand colors, and the creature could almost hear the powerful voice of the one that commanded the task. Its torn lips quirked, but its deep gray eyes were filled with a strange mixture of wisdom and despair. It knew exactly what it was witnessing— the rebirth of the worlds— and it mourned and celebrated in one breath.

The body of its opponent did not remain; the black flesh had disintegrated in the last attack, and all traces of his mangled soul had vanished. The great threat to the universe— the destroyer, slanderer, and deceiver, who had gone by thousands of names in his eons of existence, had been obliterated at its hands. The creature stared briefly at the ebony mark tracing the ground where he had fallen. A small part of it felt relief, but it by nature did not linger on the past, and it turned once more towards the miracle reflecting in the sky.

The illusion of Time had not yet been reborn; when its wounds were gently closing and the blood drying, a being wearing the guise of a human male appeared. The creature glanced away from the embers of the latest world, orange and gold still showering sparks above. In an instant, it took the form of a battered gray wolf and thumped its tail twice against the ground. The man smiled and rested a hand on its broad head in greeting.

"I see your battle fared well," he said in a voice of smooth soft thunder.

It glanced up at him not with the eyes of a wolf, but a cat's slitted pupil and bright purple irises. It communicated without the bother of words; what it conveyed was the essence of everything it felt and wished the other to know. "And you?" it inquired.

"I survived." The man shrugged. "Did you really expect him to win?"

The wolf gave him the mental equivalent of a smirk. "I do not lose fights." It stared again at the sky, lost in thought. "And yet," it mused quietly, "I never manage to win this one."

"He is dead," the man pointed out, though he knew that was not the answer the other sought.

"And already life is reborn, already the seeds of corruption are planted," it said, resolute. "All beings hold within themselves the fuel he needs; it is in their nature. There will always be another who manipulates, one who seeks your power." Abruptly amused, it lolled its tongue out in a wolf grin. "Or perhaps mine."

"I would kick you for the suggestion that you are capable of usurping me," the man said serenely, "but it appears that you took quite a beating already."

A shrug. "He looks worse."

The man laughed. "So he does." He sobered as the two turned their gazes upward. Behind them, a forest was already regrowing rapidly, streams breaking out of thick trunks and spraying tender buds with water. The yellowed sky had darkened into a velvet blue, and an explosion in the distance flared burgundy. Both beings felt the beginnings of life stir in all corners of existence.

The wolf shook itself experimentally after a time. "The beginning of another battle," it said softly, stretching. "Will it never end?"

The man sat down beside the wolf. "Perhaps," he answered evasively.

Sneezing, the wolf switched its tail. "I feel honored be the subject of such a direct answer," it said grumpily.

"Could you not tell for yourself the directions the universe takes?" the man asked quietly.

His companion looked towards the sky, breathing in the deep pine scent of the forest behind them. Something flared in its eyes, which had changed from purple to not quite any color at all, or, if one looked closely, all the colors blended and swirled around each other.

"Perhaps," the wolf answered, and smiled.

A/N: Constructive criticism is much appreciated. I've had this story for awhile, and I'm pondering what kind of revisions need to be made. This encounter is between God/the Creator/Great Spirit, and the warrior He chooses to overcome Satan/Evil/Apollyon, just for clarification.