Chapter 3

Gabriel walked through a lengthy corridor with Cassiel. They were headed to the well of divinity; the origin of every God's power.

The first True God had ruled only Heaven at the time, but as he wanted to expand, he separated half his power into seven beads. He then placed all seven beads into the well and called upon his seven most trusted Angels. These Angels became the first Gods when they each consumed a bead.

Whenever a God is killed (time has no effect on them, but a large unhealthy dose of blade or poison can do the job if it reaches or penetrates the heart) his or her power is passed to the True God. He then decides who replaces them.

In this extra special case, with the seventh bead still occupied by Lucifer, the True God had to give another part of his own power; effectively making all seven Gods (plus Lucifer) more powerful than him if they worked together. It was an astronomical risk on his part. If one of the Gods united the rest, and teamed up with Lucifer, it could mean unquestioned rule. No opposition, no revolts.

However, that would require Gabriel's cooperation. And unless Cassiel proved an incompetent leader there was no chance that was happening.

When the two of them reached the well, it wasn't quite what Gabriel had anticipated. He had imagined it as a massive orb, swirling with the power of the True God. Instead, it was merely a pool. A pool of shimmering white liquid.

"Dip your hand inside the pool, and form a fist," Cassiel commanded in a harsh voice. He obviously was not in a good mood. Damara's outburst had shocked them all. Never in all of history have any such things been said. Maybe she was just a tradition freak…But…Then where did that leave those comments about Lucifer?

"Gabriel!" He jumped out of his reverie and flinched away from the voice. "We don't have all day here son. We need to finish here; The Gods also have work to attend to back in their domains. Who knows how many excuses they'll invent to postpone this!

Gabriel nodded in apology. "I'm sorry father; I was merely thinking."

Cassiel offered him no further notice as he turned to the shadows.

"By my command I have made you transform this Angel into a God. This will require a balance of power. You will each sacrifice a portion of your power to fuel the creation of his domain and population; including the Lesser Gods and demigods. I myself will provide the powers of a God."

None of the Gods were happy about this, but only Damara had been so hostile about it. They were prepared to do as commanded, and ready to force Damara to as well should she try to fight again like in the divine hall. She was calm so far, but everyone would be on their guard until the ritual was done.

And just like that, the Gods were there. Standing in the shadows at the very edge of the room.

"We have all agreed to obey my Lord," Sariel, the speaker stepped forward.

Gabriel swore he heard someone murmur "Some easier than others". Cassiel seemed to ignore it and carry on.

"Then one at a time, let each of you infuse some of your power within Gabriel; firstly, Sariel."

Sariel seemed to appear in front of Gabriel and placed his hand on his brow.

"Let my power flow to this boy," he murmured.

Gabriel felt nothing for a few moments, and then an explosion sounded inside his body. He felt like he was going to be ripped apart by the sheer power that coursed through his soul. It was like lead was in his bones. It was like the demon war was being waged tenfold inside him!

Gabriel cried out and fell to his knees as Sariel took his hand away. He was sweating, and tremors were racking his body. In a few seconds, he was sure he would collapse. He was gasping for air.

He dropped. And everything went black a few seconds after.

"Son. Wake up."

Where am I...?

"Gabriel, we must continue the procedure before the power leaks out of your body." That must have been Cassiel.

Gabriel groaned and sat up slowly. "How long was I out for?"

Cassiel hauled him to his feet and placed him where he had been standing before. "Only a few seconds. Now stand up. Now that you posses a drop of power, I can be the focal point for the rest."

Cassiel placed his hand where Sariel's had been, and joined his free hand with the rest of the Gods. He looked at the circle of Gods, then to Gabriel.

"Son, you cannot break contact with my hand. This has never been tried before, and it cannot fail! No matter what you do, do not move."

Without another word, or even a warning, the flow started again. The agony tearing up his insides. He felt like he was going to explode.

But he held on. Somehow he didn't budge.

Gabriel woke up in a dream world. He saw massive building being erected on the horizon, tall and gorgeous looking. Then it was followed by others, smaller buildings in a village style. The small village expanded to a small hamlet, and as more and more were raised they spread out into a small city. More and more grew out of the ground, stretching out along the horizon and back toward Gabriel! After only a few seconds, but what must have taken decades, he was standing before a massive metropolis! Buildings and massive monuments were spread out as far as the eye could see. And it was all surrounded by a gigantic wall.

What is going on… he thought. Where am I? And who are they? Now much closer than the horizon, were people. They looked like Angels; standing on the wall.

Wait…did that wall look exactly like the gates of Heaven? And was that…no. There was a swarm of Angels charging the wall!

Then it all clicked into place. The wall, the gates of Heaven, and the attacking Angels. Somehow, Gabriel was seeing himself during the battle for Heaven! His friends were there as well, standing beside him. But how is this possible? Wasn't I just in the well of divinity?

The memory shifted suddenly, and he was standing on a different wall, with miles of demons swarming toward it. He was dressed in something more regal than his normal armor, and the Angels looked to him, as if waiting for something.

Gabriel had no idea what was going on! Why was he here? What was the meaning of this!

Letting thought be blown away, he realised the demons where almost at the wall. I don't care what this is; I can't let the demons win!

"Fire!" He cried to the archers. Why the commanding demi or Lesser God hadn't already told them to, was beyond him. Within half a second, there were shafts flying through the enemy ranks, thinning them immensely.

He looked left and right, searching for what must be the commander in charge. There, to his left was a man with the stripes of a demigod! He must be in charge. Gabriel ran to him and held up the three middle fingers of his left hand across to his right shoulder in the proper salute before speaking.

"I wish to join the battle. I don't know where I am, or how I got here, but I want to help." The demigod looked at his with utter confusion and bowed to one knee.

"My lord, as you are the last remaining God, I highly suggest you refrain from charging in yourself."

"What!?" Gabriel looked around and finally took in his surroundings. He was atop the gates to an unfamiliar world, but beyond the gates was fire; fire and demons.

"They've reached the wall!" came a cry from their far right.

Gabriel had no idea what was going on, but he was going to make the best of it. He stood up taller; not knowing what the heck was going on, but deciding to go with it anyway. He couldn't help but wonder if this was a vision of the future, or even of the past. Could the world have been razed by demons, only to be wiped clean again? But what would it have been wiped clean by? And why demons from the past if they were only created as punishment for Lucifer's Angels?

No more time for thought. Time for action.

"I want a list of our available resources, now! Send our fliers to strafe and harass them. They are not mounting these walls!" His assistants scrambled off to take his orders to his soldiers. Thirty seconds later he saw Angels flying over the walls to reinforce and chase the demons off the walls.

"Don't worry!" He cried out. "This battle is ours!" Gabriel had no idea what he was doing! He could see the miles of demons. How could anyone even think that they could win this battle? So why was he lying to the soldiers?

"Sir, the left wall has fallen! They have a secure hold on the wall and are bringing up more soldiers!"

"Direct our fliers behind them. Then take the centre garrison and chase them off while they are shot from all sides! Now!" His orders were once again taken off.

An Angel set a sheet in front of him that listed all his available soldiers, and resources.

It was a very short list.

In total he had three thousand Angels at his direct command. Of those three thousand, two hundred and fifty were already reported dead, and another five hundred were injured. His flying units were already down to fifty percent effectiveness, and he had no one to replace them while they were treated for injuries. Any Angel could fly, but only those who were trained could fly in a cohesive military unit.

"Sir! We can't drive them back! They have the wall for good." Gabriel cursed. This couldn't end like this. What had lead to this situation!

"You and the other officers with me. We will hold them off while the rest of the Angels deal with the demons on the ground. They will keep our back safe. I will lead the charge."

The officers looked at him and nodded. They didn't know it was over. They thought he could save them! Not even the power of a God could overwhelm these demons. Not when they had such numbers. Gabriel hesitated for a moment. Was this real life? If he died here, would he never wake up?
"Fall back! Fall back! We can't stop them." Gabriel turned his head to the left as he saw wounded Angels fleeing from the demons on the wall. With that Gabriel knew he couldn't stay out of this fight. He couldn't risk this being the real world.

Gabriel turned toward the demon horde that had gained the wall on the left flank. He drew his same blade and felt the hiss as it thirsted for demon blood.

Raising it high above his head, he let out a cry of defiance and charged the horde, still filled with the terror of death he had known in the battle for Heaven. The others followed right behind him.

Gabriel had never seen these types of demons. Lucifer's Angels were only transformed after they were banished.

They were fully cloaked, but carried a broadsword in a sheath. Their eyes burned like an eternal bonfire. Their mouths were gapping maws of flame. What little skin he could see was constantly flaking off, like ash. Their hands seeming aglow with a smouldering heat right below their skin. They were terrifying creatures.

Gabriel yelled another defiant cry as he swung his blade in a two handed downward arc. He buried his blade in the skull of the first demon and flinched as acid like blood spurted onto his exposed skin. He had been taught about fighting demons, but it was a far cry from fighting them in a semi imaginary world with no knowledge of how you got there. No matter.

The demon collapsed in front of him and its hood drifted off its head. The black ash of its skin looked like it had just been on fire a moment ago, but the inferno in what was left of its eyes slowly died out as its blood covered his sword and seeped onto the ground.

Ripping his blade out, he saw a demons sword fly for his neck, but got parried by a demigod to his right; the first demigod he met. In return, he ducked under their clashing blades to stab the demon that was rearing back to behead him, then ripped his weapon back around into the guts of the first demon, their blood making the ground slippery. No time to breath.

He ducked under a swing, and gutted yet another demon. His officers were all proficient fighters, but they were far outnumbered, and outmaneuvered. Gabriel watched helplessly as one after another fell to the blades of his enemies.

"We cannot stay here!" He called. If they stayed so far from help, they would all die. "Fall back to the main body! We'll make another stand there."

Gabriel started backpedaling furiously, trying to put enough space between him and the demons so he could turn and run. Eventually he broke free and bolted as fast as he could. Looking back, he saw officers who died so he could get the break he did.

When they regrouped down the wall, Gabriel counted and was dismayed to see they had lost over seventy percent of their commanding staff. That would leave the army in disarray, without a command structure.

I just destroyed any chance we had. He thought. At least before we could have put up a cohesive and organized fight. Maybe taken a lot of them with us. But now? Nevernot without a commanding staff. Damn! Why did I do that?

He turned back to face the slowly advancing demons. They were taking their time, letting their comrades on the other side have enough time to make a breakthrough.

And Gabriel could do nothing about it.

If he attacked, he would be sending every man to his death. If he waited, then eventually somewhere would break and they would swarm through. If he moved this unit to go defend the other spots on the wall, they the demons in front of him would stomp over anything left.

He cursed, and yelled taunts at the demons, venting his rage. Again the question sprang in his mind. What does this mean! What is this place and why am I here! He couldn't make sense of it.

He looked back at his blood covered command staff. He looked out over the field of demons. They still stretched past the horizon.

He gave a glance to the rest of the wall and saw that the demons had broken though along two other separate sections. His army was split into three groups.

Gabriel took a deep breath and took one final fleeting look at the sky. He exhaled and turned to his soldiers. "I will not lie down and die!" He yelled at the top of his lungs, positive it could he heard across the entire wall. "I will not surrender my life! I will not surrender my freedom! I will fight! And die if I must!"

Gabriel could not imagine where he got such emotion from! He had only been here a few scant minutes, and yet he yelled at the world he just met. He was confused. It was as if he was living in someone else's body, with their courage and their experience. He had never commanded a group of soldiers before, so why was he here! It all came back to that one question.

Then he hefted his sword, and took a step forward into the path of the fiery demons, feeling this other persona of confidence take over again. He lifted and pointed his blade at them and yelled. "I will not submit!" He lifted his free arm high above his head, and in an unspoken command, he lowered it at the enemy.

Those standing around him raised their weapons and charged with a cry. They surged past Gabriel and crashed into the enemy.

Gabriel let them hit the enemy, then started flowing with them. He shouted commands and encouragements. Yelled his defiance and shook in terror. But no one was supposed to see the terror.

They pushed the demons far, almost back to where they first mounted the wall. But that was it. They dug in their heels, and would move no further. That was when the Angels started being cut down. They didn't have enough room, and were being hit by their own. Soon, Gabriel was on the front line. He swung and cut and hacked and slashed, but to no avail. There was too many of them and too few of his own.

He felt a blade slice across his right thigh and stumbled. Only for a second, but it was enough for another blade to cut open his left forearm. The pain lanced through him and he fell as a sword pommel smashed into his temple. He just collapsed.

Then it was a full on rout. His soldiers couldn't hold against the demons. They ran. They flew away. They scattered.

Gabriel was trampled as they surged over him, not even bothering to kill him. He looked back as his soldiers fled. But they were cut down. Every single one of them. The fliers were shot down by archers, the runners were chased down. There was nowhere to hide. They all perished.

Slowly, Gabriel felt himself slip out of this world – wherever it was – and whether into unconsciousness or death, he didn't know.

But it was very peaceful.

© 2013 Nightwisher1