Chronicles of the
Children of Destiny
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
Copyright 6178 SC
Karaite Zebulunism II
Karaite Zebulunism III
Rimwalker II: The Return of Chance Kibb'Starr
4 O'Clock 16
The Olde World II
The Adventures of the 47 Squirrels in Outer Space 4
Jessica and Daniel IV
Xaddadaxx and the Chaos Crystal V
Kokabiel in the Afternoon III
Gospel Followers IV
Kokabiel in the Afternoon IV
Az's Place 2
Devuel and Lara Stone 2
Dirty Dancing in the Moonlight 2
The Tears of Amy Lee IV
Life at Golden Fries VI
Kokabiel in the Afternoon V
Daniel and Mum 2
Life at Golden Fries VII
Karaite Zebulunism IV
The Gayness of King David
The 7 Angels of Death II
The End of the Road
Lucy Potter and the Wisdom of the Torah
Daniel and Valandriel: Dare to Dream Bigger
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly and Mary Elizabeth O'Donnell
Belteshazzar and his Unholy Herd
Babylon is Fallen
Kokabiel's Kollector's Korner
Life in New Bridlington
The Adventures of Joe Hoe
Michael's Favourite Jollicle
The Offices of Shangri La Corporation
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly and Mary Elizabeth O'Donnell II
Callodyn and Cosadriel
One to Six
And Saruviel is Great
The Final Jollicle
The Chronicles of the Children of Destiny
The Wisdom of Jehovah
The Final Death of a Heretic
The Final Death of a Heretic 2
The Final Death of a Heretic 3
Callodyn and Cosadriel 2
There can be only One
Harvest of a Lifetime
Daredevil and Sqauw
Belteshazzar and Callodyn
The World of Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
God's Depression and Death
The Choice to be Good
Life Rolling on By
Samsiel the Cherubim
God is Alive
King David and St Brigid
Kardos and Belladear
Jesus Christ and Angela, Queen of Islam
Jesus the Gospel Teacher
Karaite Zebulunism II
The Rabbi, dressed in red, examined the scroll. It was written by Jonathon Naphtali. It read, 'Listen, dickhead. You think you are going to claim all the glory, huh, schmuck? You think Zebulun is the bees fucking knees of Israelite Spirituality. Any fool can copy Levi and make a rabbi, and any fool can copy Judah with your 'King Gabrias' of Karmiel. But Naphtali have greater wisdom. Behold, we shall go forth, kick your arse, and become the glory of humanity. And you can take that to the bank.'
'What's in the letter?' asked the Rabbis wife.
The Karaite Zebulunite replied 'The Naphtalians are getting their act together. Not so pathetic anymore. They are touting on about the book of Tobit I have heard, and are ready to advance their dominion.'
'Well,' she replied. 'What do you have to say about that?'
'Not much. It's harder than they think. They won't extract a blessing from Jacob for aeons. He doesn't encourage that much independence unless the heart really is committed. Zebulun went through hell establishing Karaite Zebulunism, and King Gabrias is insulted by the Kings of Judah regularly.'
'Apparently we have to earn our credibility,' said the Rabbi's wife. 'As if we haven't already.'
'No,' responded the rabbi. 'As if we haven't already.'
Later that afternoon the rabbi penned a response. 'I wish you luck, Jonathon Naphtali. May the tribe of Naphtali prosper and do amazing things. Sincerely your, Rabbi Ginsberg.'
The rabbi was satisfied with his short response, and went off to dinner.
Zebulunism had been advancing for the last number of years with the blessing from Jacob. It had the standard official conversion ceremony of circumcision, as it honoured the Torah tradition, but was somewhat reluctant to allow converts unless they showed a firm commitment to the tribe. This was not Judaism, Zebulun maintained. We do things slightly differently. Rabbi Jonathon Ginsberg appreciated that truth. His unique standing. His original character and spirituality. It would grow, in time, with commitment and prayer. And the Lord was always faithful. But if Naphtali was now following, how soon would the other tribes crave their own independence? How soon indeed, pondered the rabbi, as he turned in and sought a night's rest in slumberland.
Karaite Zebulunism III
Gemma Elena Fink was an attractive young Christian lady. Daughter of Rebecca St James, the Seraphim Angel Meludiel, and Jacob Fink the Cherubim, Gemma was wise, knowledgeable and smart. And she was attracted to Karaite Zebulunism, for she lived in Karmiel in Terraphora, and praised God with all her heart. She was the sole Christian in Karmiel's small baptist community, for the other baptists had left long ago, for they had gathered to Nazareth for the 'Communion of Faith', a citadel of Christian devotion to God for all protestant Christians. But Gemma had stayed behind, and was getting to know Rabbi Jonathon Ginsberg as her spiritual mentor. Like her mother she had a respect for Judaism, and like her father she had a deeper respect. For the Finks were, in origin, a Jewish family, and Gemma felt at home in Karmiel because of it. She followed a personal Pseudo-Christ doctrine, officially, when it came to Jesus' Messiah claims, but she loved the Gospel, and did not deny the baptism she had chosen for herself. It was her own Mikveh into the body of Jesus of Nazareth, and she would never deny that fundamental choice she had made.
'Gemma. If a dog is a dog and a cat is a cat, what is a horse and what is a rat?' asked the Rabbi.
'Animals,' replied Gemma curtly, reading through the 'Karmiel Times' newspaper.
'Wise enough,' said Jonathon, still watching the Karmiel team in the Indoor Cricket Match against Sepphoris.
'You seem to adore that indoor cricket,' said Gemma. 'I don't understand the interest.'
'Israel's favourite sport now,' said Jonathon. 'We love it. We're one of the world's best at it, you know.'
'Aussie, Aussie, Aussie,' replied Gemma.
'Very funny,' said Jonathon.
'You know, Rabbi. I am married, and while my husband and I have been separated an eternity now, I am still devoted to him.'
'Your still not interested, then,' replied the Rabbi.
'Don't you have a wife?' she asked.
'We have concluded we are not completely compatible,' said Jonathon.
'Mmm. Fascinating,' said Gemma, and returned to her newspaper.
'And that's enough, is it? Lacking compatibility?'
'Judaism teaches so, Gemma,' replied the Rabbi.
'Fascinating,' said Gemma again.
'Well, I must go, Jonathon,' she said.
'Ok,' he replied.
She stood, but paused, walked over to him, and kissed him on the head.
'I'll think it over,' she said. And she was gone.
The rabbi didn't wash his head for a few days. Hoped it would be good luck. He finally stunk a bit, and got the shampoo out. But he was careful as he washed. Very careful.
Rimwalker II: The Return of Chance Kibb'Starr
'It's me, Jan. Chance.'
Jan Kolby, the illustrious Rimwalker looked at the blonde lady. The human blonde lady. 'Humph. Very funny. Chance died a long time ago, sweetie. All the Arcturians, all non-terran life died a long time ago. They didn't have eternity in them. They never did. It was a crying shame, I tell you, for it had been a dream that we would be together forever. But some dreams fail. Sometimes love just fails.'
'So where does love go when it dies?' asked the lady.
Jan looked at her. She looked like Chance, in fact. Quite a bit. Just like Britney Spears, really, who Chance had been the spitting image of.
'I have these memories - inside me - in my heart. Deep down in my heart. I was alive - as Chance. A long time ago. But God kept me dormant, and rebirthed me. If you don't believe me ask Wolfgang.'
'What is your name then?'
'Jackie Spears,' replied the lady.
Jan laughed at that. 'Yeh, your a Spears alright. And you look a lot like Chance.'
'Remember when we made our vow. To the one. When we were slaves on the other side of the galaxy,' said Jackie.
Jan looked at her, a little shocked.
'Remember when we travelled the Wolfklaw. When you found me, and dragged me into the ship. And we visited Arcturia for the first time.'
'How the hell did you know that?' asked Jan.
'Because I'm Chance, silly. And I know Dak Bluddhook as well, and he will be seeing you soon enough. But he has a different name.'
Jan looked at her, and didn't know what to think. 'Ok, sweetie. I'll pray to God and ask for the Theophany to show up. If you really are Chance, well I've missed you heaps.'
'You do that,' said Jackie.
* * * * *
In the end, Jan found his love again. Wolfgang confirmed it, and Jan was in the arms of Jackie Spears, and life, as they say, went on.
'Jan. Do you still have the Wolfklaw?'
'Its parked in New New York spacetechport. Why?'
'Run away with me Jan,' said Jackie.
'Jackie. Can I call you Chance?'
Jackie Spears looked at her boyfriend. She made a decision then. A definite decision. Four weeks later, when the New Terra Bureau of Citizenship Records mailed to her a form confirming her legal change of name, Jackie Spears had officially changed her name to Chance Kibb'Starr.
'Jan,' she said, showing him the form. 'Will you run away with me now?'
'I'll contact the spacetechport. We'll go next week.'
'Awesome,' she replied.
For the next few days Chance was enjoying her life again with Jan Kolby, and things had been happening in her dreams. Memories. More memories, of her former life, wandering the stars with the Rimwalker, and going on adventures. And dreams of adventures she was not really sure she ever had, fighting dragons and gargoyles, and getting extremely drunk and showing her panties at times, which Jan seemed to like. And then one dream, which she couldn't recall later except the last bit, were Dak Bluddhook yelled at Jan 'I'll get you back you son of a bitch.' It was funny, because they continued to sledge each other for a while, before sitting down at a strange bar called 'Az's place' and proceeding to get drunk.
'Jan, will you ran away with me today?'
'Let's go sweetie.'
They travelled via monotube through the vast New American countryside, going on one of the slower services, because they wanted to enjoy their holiday. Jan was an antiques man these days. He had old things in his warehouse - ancient things. Proper things like furniture and pottery and glassware and so on, but trillions of coins and stamps, and an endless supply of pop culture items, especially comics. And he was very wealthy as a result of it. 'Hey, I've been around forever,' he said to her one. She knew that he had.
The trip was mostly uneventful, but they enjoyed looking out at the New America landscape on New Terra, and fields full of cows and sheep and ducks and beautiful forests and lakes all rolled by them as they travelled from New Delaware, were Jan lived, up to New New York. 'So much 'New's' said Chance once. 'What do you expect on New Terra,' had been Jan's reply.
'We're starting to get near Metropolis,' said Jan one afternoon, for the trip was about 5 days travel, with many stops and delays.
'What's Metropolis?' asked Chance.
'Where Superman lives,' chuckled Jan. 'But seriously, it is the East Coast City district. EVERYTHING is city, from New Philadelphia to New New York. One huge city zone, and the scrapers are enormous. You always liked them.'
Chance nodded. 'How long till New New York and the Spacetechport?'
'Late tomorrow evening we get into New New York Central station. Around 11 pm. I have booked a hotel room, then we go to the port in the morning.'
'Sounds wonderful,' she replied.
Metropolis was, indeed, a sprawling Metropolis. And the scrapers as Jan called them, or skyscrapers, were enormous. They literally went up forever. And people - everywhere people - trillions of them it seemed to Chance. Cafe's, bars, offices, shops, clubs - everything under the sun she watched pass by the following day, watching the active city life, Jan sitting by her doing a crossword.
'It looks amazing. So much life,' said Chance.
'You never got here?' asked Jan.
'I never really left home much,' said Chance. 'Our planet is a newish sort of colony, and I never got much travel in my youth.'
'Right,' said Jan.
The day continued to pass by, with many stops, but soon enough night rolled on, and they had their evening meal, and Chance settled down, earphones on, watching the beauty of the city lights roll by. She was in a state of bliss.
'Wake up sleepy head.' Chance woke. Jan was looking at her with intent. 'We've arrived,' he said.
'Finally,' she responded.
When they got their luggage Jan walked them into a neighbouring park. 'That is our hotel just there,' he said pointing. 'And that is McDonalds. Do you have McDonalds on your planet?'
Chance shook her head.
'Then its a Big Mac, fries, coke and sundae for you,' said Jan.
'Sounds great,' said Chance. And the food was delicious.
They came to their hotel, and the hotel had double booked their room. 'But the presidential suite is available,' said the clerk.
'Fine,' said Jan, looking at the anxious Chance. He knew he could afford it.
The exited the elevator and the busboy took them to their room. It was - indeed - presidential, and the view of the city night was incredible to Chance.
'We're here sweety?'
'Can we stay a few days? And enjoy this lovely place?' asked Chance.
'Sure,' replied Jan. 'I'm running away with you after all.'
She looked out at the city, and the activity, and she was in heaven. In heaven in the biggest city in the universe, with her beloved, and everything was right in the world. Everything.
* * * * *
'Think the chick has a chance?' asked an onlooker.
'Her name is Chance. The bloke called her that,' said the visiting Australian. 'She probably has every chance in the world then, I guess.'
The small crowd watched on as Chance considered her next move. They were in 'The Chess Pit' which was a giant chessboard in the middle of New New York, a few blocks from their hotel, with giant chess pieces. It is where people challenged each other in public view. It was officially maintained by a chess club, but games could be purchased at quite an exorbitant cost, which Jan didn't hesitate on when Chance inquired. She was studying the game and wanted to learn, so she said. Jan had been playing online forever.
'Technically, with white going first, you probably should win the game at the end of all the theorizing. It doesn't work like that in reality, but you have that advantage sweetie.'
'I already have 3 of your pawns, and you only have a bishop of mine,' said Chance.
'Yeh, don't let it go to your head,' said Jan.
20 minutes later Jan had all her pieces except her queen and king and a protecting pawn. He'd sacrificed a lot, but had a queen, king, 3 pawns and a rook.
'Ok, you're kicking my ass,' said Chance.
'Don't quit sweety. Chess is a funny old game.'
'Right,' said Chance. 'Your move.'
Jan made his next move. 'Checkmate,' he said, grinning.
Chance looked at the board. 'Don't quit, huh? You're an asshole Jan Kolby.'
'Oh sweety,' replied Jan.
They moved on for the day, wandering around the city sights, and Jan spied a cafe. 'Fancy a latte?'
'It would be wonderful,' replied Chance.
They came to the cafe, ordered lattes and sticky date pudding cake, and sat watching the city go by.
'Jan. Did you ever marry again?' asked Chance, looking at him sincerely.
'What a question,' said Jan. 'It has been forever since you were gone, you know. What do you expect?'
'So you have,' she said, looking down.
Jan reached out and lifted up her chin. 'No,' he said. 'I never married again.'
Chance's face lit up. 'Well, now you have me again,' she said.
'Now I have you,' he replied.
Chance sipped on her latte and looked at him with pretty eyes. He winked back at her a couple of times. They were flirting. They were very much enjoying each other's company.
'Well, what have you been up to forever?' asked Chance. 'What have you been doing with yourself?'
'Oh, this and that,' replied Jan.
'The world famous - no, forgive me. The universally famous Rimwalker, just doing this and that? I don't believe it,' said Chance.
'Well, if you must know, nothing much. When you were gone I went into depression for a while, and as the kids died out it got worse. And then it was just me. I saw dad for a fair bit for a while, taking comfort from his wisdom, then I went into his own business. Antiques. And that is pretty much what I have been doing ever since.'
'The taming of the Rimwalker,' said Chance, winking at him. 'I'll have to see if I can revive him.'
'Oh, you've revived me plenty,' said Jan, winking at her.
'Still gives you a hard on then, does she?'
Jan and Chance turned. A familiar looking head was standing right by.
'Dak Bluddhook?' said Jan. 'Fuck. A WHITE Dak Bluddhook. Fuck again.'
'Jack Cook, buddy. But you can call me Dak for old times sakes,' replied the born again Arcturian.
'How the hell did you find us?' asked Jan.
'Heard about it when Chance left home. Where I have been also. We know each other, and I've been following you fuckers from a distance. Was on the same monotube down the back.'
Jan looked at Chance. 'Who I meant to imply the other night,' said Chance.
'Right,' said Jan.
'Your going off on an adventure,' said Dak, in a lively tone.
'Running away with Chance. Seeing where the wild wind takes us,' replied Jan.
'Got room for a stowaway?' asked Dak. 'This is my big adventure also.'
Jan looked at Dak. He seemed - really - harmless. May as well.
'Sure. But no Arcturian harlots,' grinned Jan.
'Scout's honour,' said Dak.
Chance stood and dragged Jan and Dak between her arms. 'Just like old times,' she said.
'Wonderful,' said Jan.
'I'm all yours,' said Dak.
And they chatted, and chatted, and the afternoon passed, and soon enough they were about ready for Chance's wonderful getaway, just like old times. Just like old times.
There it was. The wolfklaw.
'She looks like shit,' said Chance.
'I haven't washed her in millennia,' replied Jan.
'She smells like shit,' said Dak.
Jan did not reply.
'As long as she doesn't fly like shit,' said Chance optimistically. Jan crossed his fingers.
Half an hour later, engineering support all over the craft, fixing up this and that, it was official. She flew completely like shit.
'It will probably be a few days before we can take off,' said Jan.
'How about chess,' said Chance.
'I think I've got a set around here somewhere,' replied Jan.
For the next few days, as the repairmen went over this and that, giving an occasional report to Jan, they kept themselves busy, playing chess, watching ancient video programs on the ships Holovision, and just generally bulshitting around. When the repairs were mostly finished cleaners went over the ship and Jan had ordered fresh supplies for their trip. A few days later and they were ready to go.
'If you will do the honour Chance Kibb'Starr!' said Jan. Chance flicked a switch, and the engine came on, running smoothly.
'New New York Spacetechport. This is the Jan Kolby on the Wolfklaw. Do we have that clearance?'
'Opening roof now, Jan Kolby. Enjoy your voyage,' came the reply momentarily.
And soon they were up, and away, in space around New Terra, headed for only Chance knew where.
* * * * *
'It's called the 'Decadent Harlot' said Chance.
'It's all the rage as a getaway,' said Dak.
'Sounds wonderful,' replied Jan.
'Don't let the name fool you, though. It's a burlesque club at best. Very little prostitution, and all that by the laws of 'Hibernia VII'.'
'And why aren't we visiting your homeworld anyway?' asked Jan about Chance and Dak's homeworld, Hibernia VII.'
'We will,' said Chance. 'But let's party first. The space station is huge, and every Hibernian loves it as a holiday getaway.'
So they landed on 'The Decadent Harlot' which Jan, after a few hours being toured around found quite sane. Mostly like New Las Vegas really. Not much different.
'You guys book in,' said Dak. 'And if you are paying the bills, Jan, I will have the best the place has to offer.'
'Sure. Whatever,' replied Jan, as Dak headed off to a gaming lounge.
'Just like old times,' said Chance, indicating Dak as he headed for the gambling quarters.
'Just like old times,' replied Jan.
They booked affordable accommodation, Jan deciding not to break the bank, and with their luggage settled in, they came downstairs to the bar.
'Try the 'Alien Invasion' said Chance. 'It's all green.'
Jan took a risk and a long cocktail glass came to him, with lime green looking liquid, and ice cubes. He sipped on it. 'Hey, it's great,' he said.
'One of my favourites,' said Chance.
'You come here often, then,' said Jan.
'Me and my girlfriends come here every few years,' said Chance.
'And - your boyfriends?' asked Jan.
'He does now,' said Chance, winking at Jan. He smiled right back.
'What the hell is that?' asked Chance, suddenly animatedly.
'It's an angel,' said Jan. 'A very BIG angel.'
Dak Bluddhook, looking quite intoxicated, was stumbing accross the room towards them, a gigantic 'Angel' in his arms.
'Hic. I, hic. Won it,' said Dak, very drunk. 'It's made of the finest, hic, fabrics. I hit big on a pokie and this came with the jackpot. Can it fit on the, hic, Wolfklaw?'
'I'm sure it can, buddy,' said Jan, as Dak sidled up next to them.
'I'll have a beer,' said Dak.
'You look sloshed,' said Jan.
'I'mmmemem noeert sloshed. I am perrrrfectly sober.' And Dak proceded to rest his eyes for a moment, before a light thud of his face hitting the table.
'Leave him alone for 2 hours and he's wasted,' said Jan.
'Just like Dak,' replied Chance.
'Come on. We better get him to his room. Oh, and don't forget his angel, sweetie.'
'Aye aye, sir,' replied Chance.
So, dragging a drunk Dak Bludhook accross the bar room, and out to the foyer and the lifts, the party retired for the night, Dak being put to bed in the room besides theirs, the adventure over for the time being.
'You have a double,' said Chance.
'You have single in the next room,' replied Jan.
'I like the looks of that double,' said Chance, winking at him.
'So did Jan, for the next 13 minutes and 35 seconds. And then he was fast asleep, a frustrated Chance Kibb'Starr sighing 'Men.'
* * * * *
'So this is Hibernia VII,' said Jan.
'The greatest planet in the known universe,' said Chance, smiling.
'The greatest planet in the known universe,' replied Jan. 'Uh, what are those?'
'Hogfarts,' said Chance.
'Hogfarts?' asked Jan.
'They look a bit like pigs, but are more like cows in reality. The first colonizers called them Hogfarts. And they fart incessantly.'
'Fascinating,' said Jan, looking at the field of Hogfarts next to where their ship was parked on a disused railway line.
'Anyway, we only have a few minutes of this touring around here,' said Jan. 'Spacetechports are notoriously fussy for ships showing up when they said they would.'
'Just wanted you to see our world so much,' said Chance.
'I think he's seen it now,' said Dak.
They found the spacetechport of 'Olivia City' of Hibernia VII and soon had hired an automobile, and were touring the countryside.
'Where to?' asked Jan.
'Well, home is south,' said Chance. 'So just vaguely south. It will take us a few days to get there, so on we go.'
And so south they headed. Once or twice they went down a no through road, and had to back up, but mostly it was a casual country road trip, through a world far from well established.
'We are young,' said Chance. 'It took the Council of Irish planets a long time before they approved of another 'Hibernia', as that name is extremely reserved usually. So we are not as old as you possibly might think. Barely 5 millennia.'
'Fascinating,' responded Jan.
'So our world is young, and not really that well established yet. Lots of country, but many referendums of late have chosen us not to expand too much more on population anyway. We want to keep ourselves rare and sacred.'
'Exactly what you are,' said Jan, and kissed her forehead.
'I have a job on the council in my town. Just part time,' said Dak. 'I take care of parks and gardens for our small community.'
'Not liquor and gambling?' asked Jan.
'They wouldn't trust me with the position,' mocked Dak.
Hibernia VII was a beautiful planet really, a lot like a mix of Australia and Ireland Jan found, with touches of America. He commented that to Chance, and she replied that 'You get what you get.' There was familiar looking wildlife, but plenty of original things as well, and Jan found himself always asking after this strange beast, or that interesting looking piece of flora. And Chance seemed to know so much, but she had not yet told him how old she had been in her human form. A still undisclosed mystery.
'They found another country tavern after a few days travel, and rented some rooms, and came down to the bar.'
'Good morning to you. I'm Livvy Maguire.'
'Good morning, Livvy,' replied Jan. 'We'll probably be staying a few days, if that is ok.'
'Nice to have paying guests,' replied Livvy. 'We are out of the way arounds here, and usually on the steady drinking crowd. I have a tenant, who never pays his bills, but Jock has always been like that. There's the no gooder. Sitting, drinking ale. Runs his tabs forever as well.'
The group turned and saw a black haired man with a big bushy grey and black beard, sitting at a table by the window, drinking. And it was only half past eleven.
'Can you bring us a round of soda pop,' said Jan. 'We'll join Jock.'
'As you wish,' replied Livvy.
Jock looked up as the small group approached, and nodded as they sat down opposite him at the table.
'I suppose you have some tales to tell, Jock. I'm Jan Kolby. Resident of New Terra.'
'Ah, the Rimwalker,' said Jock.
Jan looked shocked.
'I trade in antiques. Read about you from time to time in New Terra antiques magazines. I recognize your face also.'
'Small world,' said Jan.
'You never pay your bills?' asked Chance. 'Do you have financial difficulties.'
'Heaven's above, lassie. My old man said 'Pay for what you have to in life, but take whatever charity comes your way.'
'So you use that as an excuse to not pay your bills?' queried Dak.
Jock winked at him.
'I guess you know this area of Hibernia well?' queried Jan.'
'As the back of my hand,' replied Jock. 'Every church, every temple, every brick, every stream.'
'Anywhere we should especially see? We are here for a few days.'
'Why, St Michael's cathedral, of course. The most resplendant stained glass windows this side of Harfington shire.'
'Then that is where we will spend the day,' said Jan. 'You're free to join us?'
'Aye. But I'll be busy meself. Thanks kindly for the offer anyway.'
Their soda arrived, and they chatted on for a while, and had lunch with Jock, and got to know about Harfington shire which they were in. But soon enough they had found St Michael's and Jan, looking at the stained glass windows, who had met Michael of Eternity previously, was suddenly inspired. Time for Chance, when she had shown him her family, to runaway with him. And he had the perfect destination in mind. The absolutely perfect one.
* * * * *
'So, Jackie went out, and ran accross the yard to the barn, bare naked, and said 'The Boogolers are coming. Quick grandpa, take off all your clothes or the Boogolers will get you.'
Damien Spears grinned, telling the story, Chance's big brother, and Chance was just shaking her head.
'I did NOT run naked across the yard,' said Chance defiantly.
'Oh yes you did,' replied Damien. 'Tell her grandma.'
'It was a sight, I can tell you that. 12 year old Jackie Spears, believing her big brother's fibs, and running cross the yard. A sight to see, I can tell ye that,' said Chance's grandmother, Rose.
'It's a wonderful tale,' said Jan, looking at the embarrassed Chance. 'Quick, Chance. The boogolers are coming.'
'Shaddup,' replied Chance, and did not live the jokes down for the rest of the afternoon.
'They were at the Spears farm, which had a little bit of a mid-American feel to it, for Chance's grandfather who had established the farm had been an American. The barn was a traditional American looking barn, an odd sight for the mostly Irish surroundings.
'Just the way of Grandpa,' Chance had commented regarding the farm.
They had arrived at the Spears family homestead yesterday mid-day, and had been warmly welcomed in, and given rooms. The homestead was quite spacious, and the food that evening was delicious.
'Why don't you take Jan for a look around,' said Damien. 'Me and Dak can have that game of poker he has been asking about.'
As Chance showed Jan her home, and told old tales about life, Jan felt, in his heart, something of a resurrection of his soul. A part of it - a central part of it - coming back to life. He had been with Chance Kibb'Starr so long in his early life, that it had ended up revolving around her. When she had died, part of him had died also. But with her rebirth, that old part was coming alive again. And it felt so good.
He looked at her. 'You are running away with me, next, Jackie Spears.'
She looked at him, wide eyed. 'Where?' she asked, her mouth open.
'Just you wait and see, lassie,' he replied, and she jumped on him, kissed him, and continued on with their merry raunch around the Spears family homestead.
'In the end, Dak Bluddhook. Life just goes on.'
The former Arcturian pirate, sitting in Az's place in Zaphona City, the Disc of Zaphora, not far from Zaphon tower, in the Realm of Eternity, nodded.
'So drink up, let your worries worry about their own concerns, and go with da flow,' said Jan Kolby.
Chance Kibb'Starr sipped on her Shandy, Jan Kolby sipped on his beer, Dak Bluddhook sipped on his whiskey, and as Azrael began yet another argument with Cosadriel Jan Kolby Sighed. 'Such was life'.
* * * * *
'Let me tell you about King Arthur from some of my ancient records,' Jan said to Chance.
'I'm all ears,' replied Chance.
'King Arthur was a legendary British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th centuries AD. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and his historical existence is debated and disputed by modern historians. The sparse historical background of Arthur is gleaned from various sources, including the Annales Cambriae, the Historia Brittonum, and the writings of Gildas. Arthur's name also occurs in early poetic sources such as Y Gododdin.
Arthur is a central figure in the legends making up the so-called Matter of Britain. The legendary Arthur developed as a figure of international interest largely through the popularity of Geoffrey of Monmouth's fanciful and imaginative 12th-century Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain). In some Welsh and Breton tales and poems that date from before this work, Arthur appears either as a great warrior defending Britain from human and supernatural enemies or as a magical figure of folklore, sometimes associated with the Welsh Otherworld, Annwn. How much of Geoffrey's Historia (completed in 1138) was adapted from such earlier sources, rather than invented by Geoffrey himself, is unknown.
Although the themes, events and characters of the Arthurian legend varied widely from text to text, and there is no one canonical version, Geoffrey's version of events often served as the starting point for later stories. Geoffrey depicted Arthur as a king of Britain who defeated the Saxons and established an empire over Britain, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Gaul. Many elements and incidents that are now an integral part of the Arthurian story appear in Geoffrey's Historia, including Arthur's father Uther Pendragon, the wizard Merlin, Arthur's wife Guinevere, the sword Excalibur, Arthur's conception at Tintagel, his final battle against Mordred at Camlann, and final rest in Avalon. The 12th-century French writer Chrétien de Troyes, who added Lancelot and the Holy Grail to the story, began the genre of Arthurian romance that became a significant strand of medieval literature. In these French stories, the narrative focus often shifts from King Arthur himself to other characters, such as various Knights of the Round Table. Arthurian literature thrived during the Middle Ages but waned in the centuries that followed until it experienced a major resurgence in the 19th century. In the 21st century, the legend lives on, not only in literature but also in adaptations for theatre, film, television, comics and other media.scher the Elder (1520s)
The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated by scholars. One school of thought, citing entries in the Historia Brittonum (History of the Britons) and Annales Cambriae (Welsh Annals), sees Arthur as a genuine historical figure, a Romano-British leader who fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons some time in the late 5th to early 6th century. The Historia Brittonum, a 9th-century Latin historical compilation attributed in some late manuscripts to a Welsh cleric called Nennius, contains the first datable mention of King Arthur, listing twelve battles that Arthur fought. These culminate in the Battle of Badon, where he is said to have single-handedly killed 960 men. Recent studies, however, question the reliability of the Historia Brittonum.
The other text that seems to support the case for Arthur's historical existence is the 10th-century Annales Cambriae, which also link Arthur with the Battle of Badon. The Annales date this battle to 516–518, and also mention the Battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut (Mordred) were both killed, dated to 537–539. These details have often been used to bolster confidence in the Historia's account and to confirm that Arthur really did fight at Badon. Problems have been identified, however, with using this source to support the Historia Brittonum's account. The latest research shows that the Annales Cambriae was based on a chronicle begun in the late 8th century in Wales. Additionally, the complex textual history of the Annales Cambriae precludes any certainty that the Arthurian annals were added to it even that early. They were more likely added at some point in the 10th century and may never have existed in any earlier set of annals. The Badon entry probably derived from the Historia Brittonum.
This lack of convincing early evidence is the reason many recent historians exclude Arthur from their accounts of sub-Roman Britain. In the view of historian Thomas Charles-Edwards, "at this stage of the enquiry, one can only say that there may well have been an historical Arthur [but ...] the historian can as yet say nothing of value about him". These modern admissions of ignorance are a relatively recent trend; earlier generations of historians were less sceptical. The historian John Morris made the putative reign of Arthur the organising principle of his history of sub-Roman Britain and Ireland, The Age of Arthur (1973). Even so, he found little to say about a historical Arthur.
Partly in reaction to such theories, another school of thought emerged which argued that Arthur had no historical existence at all. Morris's Age of Arthur prompted the archaeologist Nowell Myres to observe that "no figure on the borderline of history and mythology has wasted more of the historian's time". Gildas' 6th-century polemic De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae (On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain), written within living memory of Badon, mentions the battle but does not mention Arthur. Arthur is not mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle or named in any surviving manuscript written between 400 and 820. He is absent from Bede's early-8th-century Ecclesiastical History of the English People, another major early source for post-Roman history that mentions Badon. The historian David Dumville has written: "I think we can dispose of him [Arthur] quite briefly. He owes his place in our history books to a 'no smoke without fire' school of thought ... The fact of the matter is that there is no historical evidence about Arthur; we must reject him from our histories and, above all, from the titles of our books."
Some scholars argue that Arthur was originally a fictional hero of folklore—or even a half-forgotten Celtic deity—who became credited with real deeds in the distant past. They cite parallels with figures such as the Kentish Hengist and Horsa, who may be totemic horse-gods that later became historicised. Bede ascribed to these legendary figures a historical role in the 5th-century Anglo-Saxon conquest of eastern Britain. It is not even certain that Arthur was considered a king in the early texts. Neither the Historia nor the Annales calls him "rex": the former calls him instead "dux bellorum" (leader of battles) and "miles" (soldier).
Historical documents for the post-Roman period are scarce, so a definitive answer to the question of Arthur's historical existence is unlikely. Sites and places have been identified as "Arthurian" since the 12th century, but archaeology can confidently reveal names only through inscriptions found in secure contexts. The so-called "Arthur stone", discovered in 1998 among the ruins at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall in securely dated 6th-century contexts, created a brief stir but proved irrelevant. Other inscriptional evidence for Arthur, including the Glastonbury cross, is tainted with the suggestion of forgery. Although several historical figures have been proposed as the basis for Arthur, no convincing evidence for these identifications has emerged.
The origin of the Welsh name "Arthur" remains a matter of debate. Some suggest it is derived from the Roman nomen gentile (family name) Artorius, of obscure and contested etymology (but possibly of Messapic or Etruscan origin). Some scholars have suggested it is relevant to this debate that the legendary King Arthur's name only appears as Arthur, or Arturus, in early Latin Arthurian texts, never as Artōrius (though it should be noted that Classical Latin Artōrius became Arturius in some Vulgar Latin dialects). However, this may not say anything about the origin of the name Arthur, as Artōrius would regularly become Art(h)ur when borrowed into Welsh.
Another possibility is that it is derived from a Brittonic patronym *Arto-rīg-ios (the root of which, *arto-rīg- "bear-king" is to be found in the Old Irish personal name Art-ri) via a Latinized form Artōrius. Less likely is the commonly proposed derivation from Welsh arth "bear" + (g)wr "man" (earlier *Arto-uiros in Brittonic); there are phonological difficulties with this theory—notably that a Brittonic compound name *Arto-uiros should produce Old Welsh *Artgur and Middle/Modern Welsh *Arthwr and not Arthur (in Welsh poetry the name is always spelled Arthur and is exclusively rhymed with words ending in -ur – never words ending in -wr – which confirms that the second element cannot be [g]wr "man").
An alternative theory, which has gained only limited acceptance among professional scholars, derives the name Arthur from Arcturus, the brightest star in the constellation Boötes, near Ursa Major or the Great Bear. Classical Latin Arcturus would also have become Art(h)ur when borrowed into Welsh, and its brightness and position in the sky led people to regard it as the "guardian of the bear" (which is the meaning of the name in Ancient Greek) and the "leader" of the other stars in Boötes.
A similar first name is Old Irish Artúr, which is believed to be derived directly from an early Old Welsh or Cumbric Artur. The earliest historically attested bearer of the name is a son or grandson of Áedán mac Gabráin (d. AD 609).
The creator of the familiar literary persona of Arthur was Geoffrey of Monmouth, with his pseudo-historical Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), written in the 1130s. The textual sources for Arthur are usually divided into those written before Geoffrey's Historia (known as pre-Galfridian texts, from the Latin form of Geoffrey, Galfridus) and those written afterwards, which could not avoid his influence (Galfridian, or post-Galfridian, texts).
The earliest literary references to Arthur come from Welsh and Breton sources. There have been few attempts to define the nature and character of Arthur in the pre-Galfridian tradition as a whole, rather than in a single text or text/story-type. A 2007 academic survey that does attempt this by Thomas Green identifies three key strands to the portrayal of Arthur in this earliest material. The first is that he was a peerless warrior who functioned as the monster-hunting protector of Britain from all internal and external threats. Some of these are human threats, such as the Saxons he fights in the Historia Brittonum, but the majority are supernatural, including giant cat-monsters, destructive divine boars, dragons, dogheads, giants, and witches. The second is that the pre-Galfridian Arthur was a figure of folklore (particularly topographic or onomastic folklore) and localised magical wonder-tales, the leader of a band of superhuman heroes who live in the wilds of the landscape. The third and final strand is that the early Welsh Arthur had a close connection with the Welsh Otherworld Annwn. On the one hand, he launches assaults on Otherworldly fortresses in search of treasure and frees their prisoners. On the other, his warband in the earliest sources includes former pagan gods, and his wife and his possessions are clearly Otherworldly in origin.
One of the most famous Welsh poetic references to Arthur comes in the collection of heroic death-songs known as Y Gododdin (The Gododdin), attributed to 6th-century poet Aneirin. One stanza praises the bravery of a warrior who slew 300 enemies, but says that despite this, "he was no Arthur" – that is, his feats cannot compare to the valour of Arthur. Y Gododdin is known only from a 13th-century manuscript, so it is impossible to determine whether this passage is original or a later interpolation, but John Koch's view that the passage dates from a 7th-century or earlier version is regarded as unproven; 9th- or 10th-century dates are often proposed for it. Several poems attributed to Taliesin, a poet said to have lived in the 6th century, also refer to Arthur, although these all probably date from between the 8th and 12th centuries. They include "Kadeir Teyrnon" ("The Chair of the Prince"), which refers to "Arthur the Blessed"; "Preiddeu Annwn" ("The Spoils of Annwn"), which recounts an expedition of Arthur to the Otherworld; and "Marwnat vthyr pen[dragon]" ("The Elegy of Uther Pen[dragon]"), which refers to Arthur's valour and is suggestive of a father-son relationship for Arthur and Uther that pre-dates Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Other early Welsh Arthurian texts include a poem found in the Black Book of Carmarthen, "Pa gur yv y porthaur?" ("What man is the gatekeeper?"). This takes the form of a dialogue between Arthur and the gatekeeper of a fortress he wishes to enter, in which Arthur recounts the names and deeds of himself and his men, notably Cei (Kay) and Bedwyr (Bedivere). The Welsh prose tale Culhwch and Olwen (c. 1100), included in the modern Mabinogion collection, has a much longer list of more than 200 of Arthur's men, though Cei and Bedwyr again take a central place. The story as a whole tells of Arthur helping his kinsman Culhwch win the hand of Olwen, daughter of Ysbaddaden Chief-Giant, by completing a series of apparently impossible tasks, including the hunt for the great semi-divine boar Twrch Trwyth. The 9th-century Historia Brittonum also refers to this tale, with the boar there named Troy(n)t. Finally, Arthur is mentioned numerous times in the Welsh Triads, a collection of short summaries of Welsh tradition and legend which are classified into groups of three linked characters or episodes to assist recall. The later manuscripts of the Triads are partly derivative from Geoffrey of Monmouth and later continental traditions, but the earliest ones show no such influence and are usually agreed to refer to pre-existing Welsh traditions. Even in these, however, Arthur's court has started to embody legendary Britain as a whole, with "Arthur's Court" sometimes substituted for "The Island of Britain" in the formula "Three XXX of the Island of Britain". While it is not clear from the Historia Brittonum and the Annales Cambriae that Arthur was even considered a king, by the time Culhwch and Olwen and the Triads were written he had become Penteyrnedd yr Ynys hon, "Chief of the Lords of this Island", the overlord of Wales, Cornwall and the North.
In addition to these pre-Galfridian Welsh poems and tales, Arthur appears in some other early Latin texts besides the Historia Brittonum and the Annales Cambriae. In particular, Arthur features in a number of well-known vitae ("Lives") of post-Roman saints, none of which are now generally considered to be reliable historical sources (the earliest probably dates from the 11th century). According to the Life of Saint Gildas, written in the early 12th century by Caradoc of Llancarfan, Arthur is said to have killed Gildas' brother Hueil and to have rescued his wife Gwenhwyfar from Glastonbury. In the Life of Saint Cadoc, written around 1100 or a little before by Lifris of Llancarfan, the saint gives protection to a man who killed three of Arthur's soldiers, and Arthur demands a herd of cattle as wergeld for his men. Cadoc delivers them as demanded, but when Arthur takes possession of the animals, they turn into bundles of ferns. Similar incidents are described in the medieval biographies of Carannog, Padarn, and Eufflam, probably written around the 12th century. A less obviously legendary account of Arthur appears in the Legenda Sancti Goeznovii, which is often claimed to date from the early 11th century (although the earliest manuscript of this text dates from the 15th century). Also important are the references to Arthur in William of Malmesbury's De Gestis Regum Anglorum and Herman's De Miraculis Sanctae Mariae Laudensis, which together provide the first certain evidence for a belief that Arthur was not actually dead and would at some point return, a theme that is often revisited in post-Galfridian folklore.
The first narrative account of Arthur's life is found in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Latin work Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), completed c. 1138. This work is an imaginative and fanciful account of British kings from the legendary Trojan exile Brutus to the 7th-century Welsh king Cadwallader. Geoffrey places Arthur in the same post-Roman period as do Historia Brittonum and Annales Cambriae. He incorporates Arthur's father, Uther Pendragon, his magician advisor Merlin, and the story of Arthur's conception, in which Uther, disguised as his enemy Gorlois by Merlin's magic, sleeps with Gorlois's wife Igerna at Tintagel, and she conceives Arthur. On Uther's death, the fifteen-year-old Arthur succeeds him as King of Britain and fights a series of battles, similar to those in the Historia Brittonum, culminating in the Battle of Bath. He then defeats the Picts and Scots before creating an Arthurian empire through his conquests of Ireland, Iceland and the Orkney Islands. After twelve years of peace, Arthur sets out to expand his empire once more, taking control of Norway, Denmark and Gaul. Gaul is still held by the Roman Empire when it is conquered, and Arthur's victory naturally leads to a further confrontation between his empire and Rome's. Arthur and his warriors, including Kaius (Kay), Beduerus (Bedivere) and Gualguanus (Gawain), defeat the Roman emperor Lucius Tiberius in Gaul but, as he prepares to march on Rome, Arthur hears that his nephew Modredus (Mordred)—whom he had left in charge of Britain—has married his wife Guenhuuara (Guinevere) and seized the throne. Arthur returns to Britain and defeats and kills Modredus on the river Camblam in Cornwall, but he is mortally wounded. He hands the crown to his kinsman Constantine and is taken to the isle of Avalon to be healed of his wounds, never to be seen again.
How much of this narrative was Geoffrey's own invention is open to debate. Certainly, Geoffrey seems to have made use of the list of Arthur's twelve battles against the Saxons found in the 9th-century Historia Brittonum, along with the battle of Camlann from the Annales Cambriae and the idea that Arthur was still alive. Arthur's personal status as the king of all Britain would also seem to be borrowed from pre-Galfridian tradition, being found in Culhwch and Olwen, the Triads, and the saints' lives. Finally, Geoffrey borrowed many of the names for Arthur's possessions, close family, and companions from the pre-Galfridian Welsh tradition, including Kaius (Cei), Beduerus (Bedwyr), Guenhuuara (Gwenhwyfar), Uther (Uthyr) and perhaps also Caliburnus (Caledfwlch), the latter becoming Excalibur in subsequent Arthurian tales. However, while names, key events, and titles may have been borrowed, Brynley Roberts has argued that "the Arthurian section is Geoffrey's literary creation and it owes nothing to prior narrative." So, for instance, the Welsh Medraut is made the villainous Modredus by Geoffrey, but there is no trace of such a negative character for this figure in Welsh sources until the 16th century. There have been relatively few modern attempts to challenge this notion that the Historia Regum Britanniae is primarily Geoffrey's own work, with scholarly opinion often echoing William of Newburgh's late-12th-century comment that Geoffrey "made up" his narrative, perhaps through an "inordinate love of lying". Geoffrey Ashe is one dissenter from this view, believing that Geoffrey's narrative is partially derived from a lost source telling of the deeds of a 5th-century British king named Riotamus, this figure being the original Arthur, although historians and Celticists have been reluctant to follow Ashe in his conclusions.
Whatever his sources may have been, the immense popularity of Geoffrey's Historia Regum Britanniae cannot be denied. Well over 200 manuscript copies of Geoffrey's Latin work are known to have survived, and this does not include translations into other languages. Thus, for example, around 60 manuscripts are extant containing Welsh-language versions of the Historia, the earliest of which were created in the 13th century; the old notion that some of these Welsh versions actually underlie Geoffrey's Historia, advanced by antiquarians such as the 18th-century Lewis Morris, has long since been discounted in academic circles. As a result of this popularity, Geoffrey's Historia Regum Britanniae was enormously influential on the later medieval development of the Arthurian legend. While it was by no means the only creative force behind Arthurian romance, many of its elements were borrowed and developed (e.g., Merlin and the final fate of Arthur), and it provided the historical framework into which the romancers' tales of magical and wonderful adventures were inserted.
During the 12th century, Arthur's character began to be marginalised by the accretion of "Arthurian" side-stories such as that of Tristan and Iseult. By John William Waterhouse (1916). The popularity of Geoffrey's Historia and its other derivative works (such as Wace's Roman de Brut) is generally agreed to be an important factor in explaining the appearance of significant numbers of new Arthurian works in continental Europe during the 12th and 13th centuries, particularly in France. It was not, however, the only Arthurian influence on the developing "Matter of Britain". There is clear evidence that Arthur and Arthurian tales were familiar on the Continent before Geoffrey's work became widely known (see for example, the Modena Archivolt), and "Celtic" names and stories not found in Geoffrey's Historia appear in the Arthurian romances. From the perspective of Arthur, perhaps the most significant effect of this great outpouring of new Arthurian story was on the role of the king himself: much of this 12th-century and later Arthurian literature centres less on Arthur himself than on characters such as Lancelot and Guinevere, Percival, Galahad, Gawain, and Tristan and Iseult. Whereas Arthur is very much at the centre of the pre-Galfridian material and Geoffrey's Historia itself, in the romances he is rapidly sidelined. His character also alters significantly. In both the earliest materials and Geoffrey he is a great and ferocious warrior, who laughs as he personally slaughters witches and giants and takes a leading role in all military campaigns, whereas in the continental romances he becomes the roi fainéant, the "do-nothing king", whose "inactivity and acquiescence constituted a central flaw in his otherwise ideal society". Arthur's role in these works is frequently that of a wise, dignified, even-tempered, somewhat bland, and occasionally feeble monarch. So, he simply turns pale and silent when he learns of Lancelot's affair with Guinevere in the Mort Artu, whilst in Chrétien de Troyes's Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, he is unable to stay awake after a feast and has to retire for a nap. Nonetheless, as Norris J. Lacy has observed, whatever his faults and frailties may be in these Arthurian romances, "his prestige is never—or almost never—compromised by his personal weaknesses ... his authority and glory remain intact."
Arthur and his retinue appear in some of the Lais of Marie de France, but it was the work of another French poet, Chrétien de Troyes, that had the greatest influence with regard to the development of Arthur's character and legend. Chrétien wrote five Arthurian romances between c. 1170 and 1190. Erec and Enide and Cligès are tales of courtly love with Arthur's court as their backdrop, demonstrating the shift away from the heroic world of the Welsh and Galfridian Arthur, while Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, features Yvain and Gawain in a supernatural adventure, with Arthur very much on the sidelines and weakened. However, the most significant for the development of the Arthurian legend are Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart, which introduces Lancelot and his adulterous relationship with Arthur's queen (Guinevere), extending and popularising the recurring theme of Arthur as a cuckold, and Perceval, the Story of the Grail, which introduces the Holy Grail and the Fisher King and which again sees Arthur having a much reduced role. Chrétien was thus "instrumental both in the elaboration of the Arthurian legend and in the establishment of the ideal form for the diffusion of that legend", and much of what came after him in terms of the portrayal of Arthur and his world built upon the foundations he had laid. Perceval, although unfinished, was particularly popular: four separate continuations of the poem appeared over the next half century, with the notion of the Grail and its quest being developed by other writers such as Robert de Boron, a fact that helped accelerate the decline of Arthur in continental romance. Similarly, Lancelot and his cuckolding of Arthur with Guinevere became one of the classic motifs of the Arthurian legend, although the Lancelot of the prose Lancelot (c. 1225) and later texts was a combination of Chrétien's character and that of Ulrich von Zatzikhoven's Lanzelet. Chrétien's work even appears to feed back into Welsh Arthurian literature, with the result that the romance Arthur began to replace the heroic, active Arthur in Welsh literary tradition. Particularly significant in this development were the three Welsh Arthurian romances, which are closely similar to those of Chrétien, albeit with some significant differences: Owain, or the Lady of the Fountain is related to Chrétien's Yvain; Geraint and Enid, to Erec and Enide; and Peredur son of Efrawg, to Perceval.
Up to c. 1210, continental Arthurian romance was expressed primarily through poetry; after this date the tales began to be told in prose. The most significant of these 13th-century prose romances was the Vulgate Cycle (also known as the Lancelot-Grail Cycle), a series of five Middle French prose works written in the first half of that century. These works were the Estoire del Saint Grail, the Estoire de Merlin, the Lancelot propre (or Prose Lancelot, which made up half the entire Vulgate Cycle on its own), the Queste del Saint Graal and the Mort Artu, which combine to form the first coherent version of the entire Arthurian legend. The cycle continued the trend towards reducing the role played by Arthur in his own legend, partly through the introduction of the character of Galahad and an expansion of the role of Merlin. It also made Mordred the result of an incestuous relationship between Arthur and his sister and established the role of Camelot, first mentioned in passing in Chrétien's Lancelot, as Arthur's primary court. This series of texts was quickly followed by the Post-Vulgate Cycle (c. 1230–40), of which the Suite du Merlin is a part, which greatly reduced the importance of Lancelot's affair with Guinevere but continued to sideline Arthur, and to focus more on the Grail quest. As such, Arthur became even more of a relatively minor character in these French prose romances; in the Vulgate itself he only figures significantly in the Estoire de Merlin and the Mort Artu. During this period, Arthur was made one of the Nine Worthies, a group of three pagan, three Jewish and three Christian exemplars of chivalry. The Worthies were first listed in Jacques de Longuyon's Voeux du Paon in 1312, and subsequently became a common subject in literature and art.
The development of the medieval Arthurian cycle and the character of the "Arthur of romance" culminated in Le Morte d'Arthur, Thomas Malory's retelling of the entire legend in a single work in English in the late 15th century. Malory based his book—originally titled The Whole Book of King Arthur and of His Noble Knights of the Round Table—on the various previous romance versions, in particular the Vulgate Cycle, and appears to have aimed at creating a comprehensive and authoritative collection of Arthurian stories. Perhaps as a result of this, and the fact that Le Morte D'Arthur was one of the earliest printed books in England, published by William Caxton in 1485, most later Arthurian works are derivative of Malory's.
The end of the Middle Ages brought with it a waning of interest in King Arthur. Although Malory's English version of the great French romances was popular, there were increasing attacks upon the truthfulness of the historical framework of the Arthurian romances – established since Geoffrey of Monmouth's time – and thus the legitimacy of the whole Matter of Britain. So, for example, the 16th-century humanist scholar Polydore Vergil famously rejected the claim that Arthur was the ruler of a post-Roman empire, found throughout the post-Galfridian medieval 'chronicle tradition', to the horror of Welsh and English antiquarians. Social changes associated with the end of the medieval period and the Renaissance also conspired to rob the character of Arthur and his associated legend of some of their power to enthrall audiences, with the result that 1634 saw the last printing of Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur for nearly 200 years. King Arthur and the Arthurian legend were not entirely abandoned, but until the early 19th century the material was taken less seriously and was often used simply as a vehicle for allegories of 17th- and 18th-century politics. Thus Richard Blackmore's epics Prince Arthur (1695) and King Arthur (1697) feature Arthur as an allegory for the struggles of William III against James II. Similarly, the most popular Arthurian tale throughout this period seems to have been that of Tom Thumb, which was told first through chapbooks and later through the political plays of Henry Fielding; although the action is clearly set in Arthurian Britain, the treatment is humorous and Arthur appears as a primarily comedic version of his romance character.
In the early 19th century, medievalism, Romanticism, and the Gothic Revival reawakened interest in Arthur and the medieval romances. A new code of ethics for 19th-century gentlemen was shaped around the chivalric ideals embodied in the "Arthur of romance". This renewed interest first made itself felt in 1816, when Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur was reprinted for the first time since 1634. Initially, the medieval Arthurian legends were of particular interest to poets, inspiring, for example, William Wordsworth to write "The Egyptian Maid" (1835), an allegory of the Holy Grail. Pre-eminent among these was Alfred Lord Tennyson, whose first Arthurian poem "The Lady of Shalott" was published in 1832. Arthur himself played a minor role in some of these works, following in the medieval romance tradition. Tennyson's Arthurian work reached its peak of popularity with Idylls of the King, however, which reworked the entire narrative of Arthur's life for the Victorian era. It was first published in 1859 and sold 10,000 copies within the first week. In the Idylls, Arthur became a symbol of ideal manhood who ultimately failed, through human weakness, to establish a perfect kingdom on earth. Tennyson's works prompted a large number of imitators, generated considerable public interest in the legends of Arthur and the character himself, and brought Malory's tales to a wider audience. Indeed, the first modernisation of Malory's great compilation of Arthur's tales was published in 1862, shortly after Idylls appeared, and there were six further editions and five competitors before the century ended.
This interest in the 'Arthur of romance' and his associated stories continued through the 19th century and into the 20th, and influenced poets such as William Morris and Pre-Raphaelite artists including Edward Burne-Jones. Even the humorous tale of Tom Thumb, which had been the primary manifestation of Arthur's legend in the 18th century, was rewritten after the publication of Idylls. While Tom maintained his small stature and remained a figure of comic relief, his story now included more elements from the medieval Arthurian romances and Arthur is treated more seriously and historically in these new versions. The revived Arthurian romance also proved influential in the United States, with such books as Sidney Lanier's The Boy's King Arthur (1880) reaching wide audiences and providing inspiration for Mark Twain's satiric A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889). Although the 'Arthur of romance' was sometimes central to these new Arthurian works (as he was in Burne-Jones's "The Sleep of Arthur in Avalon", 1881-1898), on other occasions he reverted to his medieval status and is either marginalized or even missing entirely, with Wagner's Arthurian operas providing a notable instance of the latter. Furthermore, the revival of interest in Arthur and the Arthurian tales did not continue unabated. By the end of the 19th century, it was confined mainly to Pre-Raphaelite imitators, and it could not avoid being affected by the First World War, which damaged the reputation of chivalry and thus interest in its medieval manifestations and Arthur as chivalric role model. The romance tradition did, however, remain sufficiently powerful to persuade Thomas Hardy, Laurence Binyon and John Masefield to compose Arthurian plays, and T. S. Eliot alludes to the Arthur myth (but not Arthur) in his poem The Waste Land, which mentions the Fisher King.
In the latter half of the 20th century, the influence of the romance tradition of Arthur continued, through novels such as T. H. White's The Once and Future King (1958) and Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon (1982) in addition to comic strips such as Prince Valiant (from 1937 onward). Tennyson had reworked the romance tales of Arthur to suit and comment upon the issues of his day, and the same is often the case with modern treatments too. Bradley's tale, for example, takes a feminist approach to Arthur and his legend, in contrast to the narratives of Arthur found in medieval materials, and American authors often rework the story of Arthur to be more consistent with values such as equality and democracy. The romance Arthur has become popular in film and theatre as well. T. H. White's novel was adapted into the Lerner and Loewe stage musical Camelot (1960) and the Disney animated film The Sword in the Stone (1963); Camelot, with its focus on the love of Lancelot and Guinevere and the cuckolding of Arthur, was itself made into a film of the same name in 1967. The romance tradition of Arthur is particularly evident and, according to critics, successfully handled in Robert Bresson's Lancelot du Lac (1974), Eric Rohmer's Perceval le Gallois (1978) and perhaps John Boorman's fantasy film Excalibur (1981); it is also the main source of the material utilised in the Arthurian spoof Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).
Re-tellings and re-imaginings of the romance tradition are not the only important aspect of the modern legend of King Arthur. Attempts to portray Arthur as a genuine historical figure of c. 500, stripping away the "romance", have also emerged. As Taylor and Brewer have noted, this return to the medieval "chronicle tradition"' of Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Historia Brittonum is a recent trend which became dominant in Arthurian literature in the years following the outbreak of the Second World War, when Arthur's legendary resistance to Germanic invaders struck a chord in Britain. Clemence Dane's series of radio plays, The Saviours (1942), used a historical Arthur to embody the spirit of heroic resistance against desperate odds, and Robert Sherriff's play The Long Sunset (1955) saw Arthur rallying Romano-British resistance against the Germanic invaders. This trend towards placing Arthur in a historical setting is also apparent in historical and fantasy novels published during this period. In recent years the portrayal of Arthur as a real hero of the 5th century has also made its way into film versions of the Arthurian legend, most notably the TV series Arthur of the Britons (1972–73), The Legend of King Arthur (1979), and Camelot (2011) and the feature films King Arthur (2004) and The Last Legion (2007).
Arthur has also been used as a model for modern-day behaviour. In the 1930s, the Order of the Fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table was formed in Britain to promote Christian ideals and Arthurian notions of medieval chivalry. In the United States, hundreds of thousands of boys and girls joined Arthurian youth groups, such as the Knights of King Arthur, in which Arthur and his legends were promoted as wholesome exemplars. However, Arthur's diffusion within contemporary culture goes beyond such obviously Arthurian endeavours, with Arthurian names being regularly attached to objects, buildings, and places. As Norris J. Lacy has observed, "The popular notion of Arthur appears to be limited, not surprisingly, to a few motifs and names, but there can be no doubt of the extent to which a legend born many centuries ago is profoundly embedded in modern culture at every level."' And Jan finished speaking.
'Where do you know all that from?' asked Chance.
'The Archives of the Advancing Noah Movement. Those are ancient records kept by the movement, from its foundation period,' replied Jan.
'So you are a Noahide now are you?' asked Chance.
'Something like that,' replied Jan.
'Lucy Smith claims she knows Merlin,' said Chance.
'I've heard her mention that. Would be fascinating if she did. King Arthur actually historical. An amazing concept.'
'I agree,' replied the blue-skinned Chance Kibb'Starr
Life. It came, it went. And steady Boaz, by her side, living in Paradision on Televere, life unchanging for the most part, life - going on.
'It's the British Guyana 1,000,000 AD Special. Of course I bloody want it,' said Boaz. 'There were only a million of them made, and it's as rare as hen's teeth.'
'It will cost you,' said Callodyn the angel, Daniel Daly, next door neighbour of Ruth and Boaz of Paradision.
'How much?' asked Boaz, who had put on his spectacles, not that he needed them, but they made him look serious.
'Cal doesn't go much for cash these days,' said Kayella. 'He has oodles of that. Old fashioned barter. Swap shop. It's all he trades in these days.'
'So you want some goodies, then,' said Boaz.
'Whatcha got?' asked Callodyn.
'We have sub-basements. Many levels now,' said Boaz. 'Right underneath us. It is where I store my stuff.'
'Hoard your stuff,' said Ruth. 'Boaz the hoarder. The new name of this child of heaven, I tell you.'
'Shaddup,' said Boaz. 'You never know when an item might come in handy.'
'Do you have a spare copy of 'The Pardision Eagle' number 47. The last issue. I need it to complete my collection,' said Callodyn.
'I have two complete sets. But I have about 12 of number 1, and you are lucky. About half a dozen of the last issue.'
'Then we have a deal?' queried Callodyn.
'You're robbing me blind. Barely 15,000 of the final issue were printed. It's scarcer than hen's teeth.'
Callodyn opened his cloak and pulled out the stamp. It was in a clear plastic stamp box.
'It's a beauty,' said Callodyn. 'Lovely magenta colour. Just like the original. Very hard to get. New Terra's finest stamp, some people say.'
Boaz glared at Callodyn. 'Wait here.'
Half an hour later Boaz returned. 'Well, here it is. I will charge you the cost of the Eternya prayer, but what is cash to you, huh?'
'Fine,' said Callodyn, and put the stamp down on the table. Boaz put the comic beside it. He picked up the stamp, and looked at Callodyn. Slowly Callodyn picked up the comic.
'You guys happy with the trade?' asked Callodyn.
'It's a decent stamp,' said Ruth. 'And we have that comic spare.'
'It's a good deal for us,' said Kayella. 'There is some decent original copyright in that comic from what I've read.'
'Then we have a deal,' said Callodyn.
'We have a deal,' said Boaz.
Later that day Boaz had taken the stamp carefully out of the plastic box and put it in one of his 'Prestige' stamp albums.
'Your a schmuck,' said Ruth, looking at the boy with his toy.
'A wealthy schmuck,' said Boaz, humming to himself.
'Good grief,' said Ruth. But she was pleased for her husband.
'So, life just goes on, doesn't it child of heaven?'
Boaz looked towards Ruth from his desk. 'Yes. What it does. The basic philosophy of it all.'
'So what are we doing with it all? What glory are we seeking?'
'Glory is for the likes of Daniel next door and all his Noahide assemblies. We are Jewish. We are not caught up with all those shenanigans.'
'Well I'm Noahide. So I guess I want the glory as well,' replied Ruth.
'You converted to Judaism long ago,' replied Boaz. 'Not this Moabite thing again.'
'Conversions for women are not official Torah. They are recognized as becoming one with the people, but there is no Torah ordained conversion ceremony. A Bat Mitzvah is not in the Tanakh.'
'It doesn't need to be. You are married to a Jewish man - that is sufficient.'
'Not for me,' said Ruth stubbornly, and went to the other room.
She picked up the Rainbow Bible of Assembly of the Divine Creator, the second rainbow bible, and started reading. After a while she had reached her conclusion.
'I have several pages of song lyrics,' said Ruth to Boaz, coming back into the other room.
Boaz looked at her. 'Oh, you wrote them when we first came to Televere. A long time ago Ruthie.'
'They were registered and passed copyright. And I have been humming tunes to them forever.'
'I noticed,' said Boaz, still looking at his stamp catalogue.
'Well, now is the time,' said Ruth.
Boaz turned to her. 'Now is the time for what, exactly?'
'Glory,' she replied.
He looked at her, but did not speak. Then he returned to his stamp catalogue.
'Good luck,' he said softly. 'You'll need it.'
She looked at him, said 'humph' equally as softly, and went and picked up the car keys.
'Where are you going?' asked Boaz.
'Out,' she said. 'I don't know when I'll be back.' And she left in a huff, leaving a perplexed Boaz wondering what had gotten into his wife.
Half an hour later she was at Paradision Book and Music supplies.
'That one,' she said, pointing to a rather expensive looking guitar.
'Are you new to the guitar, Ruth,' said the Store owner.
'I've played it a little in former years, but never anything serious.
'Do you need lessons? I teach music.'
Ruth looked at the store owner. 'Mark, isn't it?'
'Mark Devonport. We've met occasionally here and there abouts Paradision. I'm good. Award winning.'
'I'll think it over,' she replied. But as she paid for her guitar, she looked at him. 'Ok. I'm interested. When can we start?'
'Why don't you come over some time on Sunday. I'm aware you observe the Sabbath so I'm free for you on Sunday.'
Ruth thought about it. 'No. Make it bloody Saturday.'
'As you wish,' responded a puzzled Mr Davenport.
'And I'll need lots of lessons. Because I want to be excellent.'
'Then excellent you will be,' smiled Mark.
Ruth was in a good mood all the way home. Boaz looked at the guitar. Smiled in that mocking superiority of his. Ruth said Humph again, and went to the other room. She didn't bother cooking dinner that night. Boaz ordered pizza. Then spent the evening trying to watch TV with very bad guitar strumming coming from the other room. He didn't sleep well that night. Ruth didn't mind.
'Sure, Ruthie. Your first concert, well, well, you know I'm lost for words really,' replied Boaz.
'It was that good?' asked Ruth, eyes wide open.
'He's flabbergasted,' said Callodyn.
'You were hot stuff,' said Kayella, the slightest, just the slightest, hint of sarcasm in her voice.
'Oh, good,' said Ruth. 'I'll get you a lovely cold beer,' and went off to the kitchen.
'How was she, then?' asked Callodyn to Boaz.
'Like a mountain goat on heat. She was God-Awful,' replied Boaz.
'She can't sing?' asked Kayella.
'She can't sing. She definitely can't dance. And her playing made Slayer sound like a Gospel Choir. She was atrocious.'
Ruth walked back in. 'He loved me,' she said to Callodyn and Kayella.'
'He's just been telling us,' smiled Callodyn. 'Nobody quite like you. His own words - really.'
'We'll have some extra special fun tonight,' said Ruth, cradling Boaz.
'That's good,' said Boaz, now suddenly feeling quite guilty.
'I'm performing again next week. Same venue. Hopefully they will clap this time. It puzzled me that I didn't get much of a reaction.'
'I think they were lost for words,' said Boaz.
'Totally thunderstruck,' said Callodyn.
'They were blown away - stunned,' said Kayella.
'Then I'll practice all week,' said Ruth.
'You do that,' said Boaz. 'I'm sure your performance will be - uh, memorable.'
'Your so sweet,' said Ruth.
Later that day Boaz was sitting in the kitchen of Daniel and Kelly's, chatting.
'I have to tell her,' he said. 'She's just embarrassing herself and not even knowing it. People are just too polite to comment negatively.'
'Subtlety might help,' Said Callodyn.
'Encourage her that she really should be a master of her instrument before going on a world tour,' said Kayella.
Boaz suddenly had nightmares of visions of screaming fans all over Televere. SCREAMING fans.
'I'll let her know she needs work,' said Boaz. 'I'll be careful, though.'
'Hopefully she'll take it - Like a MAN,' said Callodyn.
'Indeed,' replied Boaz, but his face was a picture of worry.
'Life. It comes and it goes, Ruthie. It comes and it goes. Some of us collect British Guyana 1,000,000,000 AD stamps, at an exorbitant cost mind you. But that's life. Isn't it. Whatever gets you through the night. So, instead of bothering with a glory acting career, or show business, or trying to work at being a musician when it just isn't in me, I settle back with my steady investments and shares, and live a simple and quiet life with Ruth the Moabite, in Paradision, in a quiet corner of the universe, where nobody really bothers us that much at all. And you know what, I'm happy. Really, really quite happy. No great stresses, no great worries, life is great.'
He looked down at the sobbing Ruth, who finally looked up at him, into his eyes, and said 'Go fuck yourself asshole,' tears streaming from her eyes.
Ruth had taken a knock. This time, the crowd had decided to be just that bit more honest in their opinion. Colourful expletives of all sort had welcomed her after the first song, and it just got worse after that. She finally fled the stage after three songs, with cries of 'Thank God she's finished,' out to the dressing room, soon joined by a very cautious looking Boaz.
'You should have told me,' said Ruth. 'I'm horrible.'
'Your not horrible. You just lack talent of every kind.'
Ruth burst out in tears again.
'Don't let it get to you. It's an opportunity for retirement from the music scene.'
'After two shows?' she queried incredulously, tears still streaming down her face.
Boaz looked at her with those tender eyes of his. 'I still love you sweetie. Everything will be fine.'
And so Ruth, walking past her music teacher on the way out of the club, who just shook his head with sorrow, retired from the music scene, two shows accomplished, not to be seen on the stage of the Paradision 'Blue Pelican Comedy and Music Club' again for quite some time. Quite some time indeed.
4 O'Clock 16
'What is the Key of Destiny?' asked Meludiel.
Daniel the Seraphim and Callodyn the Cherubim sat, unanswering, in Callodyn's kitchen in Paradision, next door to Ruth and Boaz' home, who were also in the kitchen, by the doorway, looking at the two Daly boys.
'The Key of Destiny is Daniel' ego trip,' said Kayella, sitting on the back door steps, as the back door was open, enjoying the sunshine.
'The Key of Destiny - is a FORTUNE!' said Callodyn, and continued ignoring the group.
'What kind of fortune?' asked Doug Pinnick of King's X fame.
'Are there stamps?' asked Boaz.
Wolfgang, the theophany of God, looked at Callodyn. 'Are there any rare DC comics in this fortune?'
Callodyn looked up, then looked at Daniel. Daniel grinned back and said 'You may as well tell them.'
Callodyn spoke. 'We have been taking offerings for the Seven Divine Fellowships for countless aeons, and sometimes people offer not just cash, but rarities. Once in a while we take a rarity which is forwarded to the head Canberra fellowship on New Terra, and we put it in the 'Chamber of Secret Glory'.'
'And where is the Chamber of Secret Glory?' asked Ruth.
'It wouldn't do you any good without having the Key of Destiny,' replied Daniel.
'And does the owner of the Key of Destiny have the right to claim the treasures in the Chamber of Secret Glory?' asked the theophany. Everybody looked at Callodyn.
Daniel the Seraphim spoke. 'In the attic, here in Callodyn's abode, there is an old picture, which looks like a map of Kingston Upon Hull, which is the way it is presented. But it's not actually.'
Kayella looked at Callodyn. She knew the picture well, but had never really looked it over. 'What is it of then?'
'It's a code. A map code. You'll need to research a trillion cultures, and when you find what the map is of, you will work out where the key of Destiny is. And if you can find the key of Destiny, we will tell you where the Chamber of Secret Glory is.'
'It's a challenge then?' asked Meludiel.
'You guys are thick,' said Callodyn. 'And no cheating old man. We know your spirit knows everything, so you better play by the rules.'
'I wouldn't dream of it,' replied Wolfgang, who whistled a tune, and slowly retreated, slipping up the stairs. He was followed by the others very quickly.
Daniel looked at Callodyn. 'Your nasty, you know. This scheme.'
'Not as nasty as you,' replied Callodyn the Cherubim, and they chuckled well into the afternoon.
* * * * *
It was 4 in the morning. And then 4:30. And then 5. And then 5:30. And God still couldn't sleep.
He stole away from his room in Ruth and Boaz's place, and slipped in next door, going through the back door, climbed the stair, pulled down the rung, and climbed up into the attic, switching on the light.
He looked at the map.
'YOU'LL BE FOREVER AT IT,' said his Spirit.
'Worth the effort,' responded Wolfgang.
'I DIDN'T TAKE YOU FOR STUPID, THOUGH. THINK LATERALLY.'
Wolfgang looked at the picture, and sat down on the chair facing the lattice looking out to the street. The street light was burning bright orange, and he was thinking.
'THEY ARE CUNNING. TRICKSTERS. WORSE THAN JACOB.'
'LIVE BY THE CODE THEY EXPECT. I SHAN'T CHEAT.'
'Mmmm.' He sat there, and the day dawned, and it was busy down below. Wolfgang continued staring out the street. Trying to think laterally.
Around 7 Boaz appeared, poking his head up. 'I thought you would be here.'
'Tell him he's an idiot,' said Callodyn from below. 'Not the brains to solve one side of a rubik's cube.'
Boaz grinned at God.
'LATERALLY?' Said the spirit to his mind.
God was suddenly inspired. He thought on Daniel, and their perverse sense of humours. He stood, walked over to the map, and reached out gingerly touching it.
'No breaking the rules,' said Boaz, looking at Wolfgang.
'I'm not going to copy the damn thing,' said Wolfgang, and tried pulling the picture off the wall. It was stuck on with blu tack also by the looks of it, so God gave a gentle pull, and shortly it was off. He held it in his hands.
'What's he doing?' asked Callodyn nervously from below.
'He's taken it off the wall,' said Boaz.
'He - can't do that,' said Callodyn. 'Does he have no respect.'
God turned the picture over, and looked at the back. There was a flimsly cardboard cover on the back. He decided to dare it, and tried removing it.
'What the hell is he doing?' asked Callodyn.
'Pulling the back off of it,' said Boaz.
'Bugger,' said Callodyn.
Eventually God had the back off, and there it was, stuck to the back of the picture, with label attached to it. He read the label. 'THE KEY OF DESTINY.' He pulled it off, and held it up to the light.
'A key,' said Boaz.
'Don't I know it,' replied Callodyn. 'What a schmuck. I sense fowl play for sure.'
'Lateral thinking Danny Boy,' said God.
'Lateral thinking my $£££^,' replied Callodyn, grumbling.
'Lucky bugger,' said Boaz. God was grinning madly.
* * * * *
It was a familiar place. Zaphon. Gotten two by the rim of Zaphora itself. Right down, underneath, at the bottom, and up through a network of tunnels, till he was presented with a door.
'I didn't ask permission, ok,' said Daniel. 'It was a disused corridor. I decided, what the hell.'
There was a lock. God put the key in and turned it. The door opened.
A light came on in the room and a TV screen suddenly appeared. Callodyn's face fuzzed into view. 'By right, dear pilgrim, I should have your guts for garters. But you have earned your glory.'
God walked in and Daniel and Callodyn and the rest followed. Inside - glory - About 45,000 pieces of this, that and the other - and worth a few trillion in realm credits of this, that and the other.
'Lucky buggers,' said Boaz again.
God picked up a comic on a stack of comics. 'Batman the Amazing Dark Knight of Vengeance and Warfare' Number 1 of 7. The other 6 appeared to be underneath it.
'It's quite limited,' said Callodyn. 'Worth a googol paydays at least. You probably don't even own it.'
'I don't,' said God, who had read every Batman comic in creation practically.
'Can I have the stamps,' said Boaz, eyeing a stamp album.
God only smiled. He was in a good mood all year long. Wormdog said he was almost jealous.
A good day to be the king.
The Olde World II
Gwen of Locksley. Economic Counsellor of the Guild of Merchants, in the 17th Disc of the Realm of Eternity, in the 'Olde World'. Living in fair Londinnium, a single lady, as she had been aeons, the occasional lover, yet no permanent man, for she was not taken with one. For she was content, and at peace, and meekly serving the Lord Jesus Christ, despite the odd transgression of her maidenhood. Still, no matter.
'Let us dance,' said 'Perlock'.
'Matriggles Theodore Perlock. You are incorrigible. Can you not see how busy I am?'
The dwarf, though, would not be disuaded. Dressed in his dancing Jester's uniform, for which he was paid suitably and well to entertain in the courts of Londinnium, he had fallen into fair Gwen's company as of late, and Gwen had taken special delight in the Jester's charms.
'We can dance if we want to,' said Perlock.
'Not the blasted safety dance again,' replied Gwen. 'You never stop playing that tune.'
'I have it on CD single,' said Perlock proudly.
'Should you even own a CD single? Quite inappropriate for our world's values,' replied Gwen.
'A Jester is known to break the rules. With both diplomacy and tact,' said Perlock bowing, which made Gwen giggle.
'And a Jester is known to be a fool, also, dear Dwarf Inestimable.'
'Indeed,' said the Dwarf, and bowed humbly. And then he took up his lute, and played the safety dance, and Gwen watched and giggled, then returned to her work as the Jester livened up the evening.
* * * * *
'The Crown of Life? You are an old fool, aren't you Aclyos. Service for such relics is ancient and forgotten. Life moves on, and people gravitate to what suits them, and the machinations of a dictator are always ignored, unless that dictator is of true benevolence. People will not serve your vanities, you know. They will serve your wisdom, and something of your pride. But not your vanities.'
'Bah, James. You have no sport left in you,' aid the King of Aclyos to King James.
'It is hard to believe you still serve on that ancient dream. None of the Overseers of Eternity take such visions with seriousness. Life moves on and it is just hard work in the end, and we who rule and sovereignate our authority are usually left in charge if we simply display adequate competence. The people usually only require competence, and then charm. But they have no time for fools on glory quests anymore. They like their lives simple, uncomplex, the food carts running into town on time, the ale flowing at the pub, the trade routes securely established, and the olde world to run with its eternal olde world charm, and nothing more and nothing less. The vanity of the Crown of Life is a forgotten dream, and people would not take well to being disturbed on such things regardless.'
'Aye,' said Aclyos. 'I fear you are probably speaking the truth. It has been my hearts cogitations for a long time now, despite still seeking the Glory of the Crown.'
'Let the glory boys be the glory boys, and enjoy your rulership. The people ask nothing more than that,' said Prince James.
Aclyos dismounted from his horse, and picked up the arrow. 'I would say it barely flew 300 hundred yards. Quite an average shot.'
James nodded. 'I have no desire for records this day. Just a gentle game of 'Shot'.'
The King of Aclyos looked at the small banner attached to the end of the arrow. 'This house? Locksley isn't it?'
'Oh, yes,' said King James. 'That arrow I shoot in honour of our chief economic counsellor on the guild of merchants. Gwen of Locksley.'
King Aclyos nodded. 'A fair maiden. Who is yet to marry.'
'Not given to it,' replied King James. 'Likes the solitary life, and her world of friends. A dwarf currently keeps her company, so I have been told.'
'Indeed,' replied Aclyos, looking at the arrow. 'Well, never mind. On with our game.'
So they returned to their game of 'Shot', but Aclyos gave a short thought to Gwen of Locksley, for he did remember her, and, after a moment's thought he would pay her a visit, returned to his game and his days royal entertainments.
* * * * *
King Aclyos knocked on the door. It was a gargoyle's head knocker, and as he waited several minutes he looked over the large building of the guild of merchants. He'd been inside from time to time - it was a maze of corridors and doors. And, with such a network, you waited when you knocked, sometimes quite a while.
Eventually a face appeared through a spyhole.
'King Aclyos. A quiet visit, to see maiden Locksley.'
The head disappeared, and a door was opened up. 'Yes, sire. If you will follow me.'
It was evening, and the place was full of lit torches along corridors, and when they had finally arrived at the door to Maiden Locksley's quarters, King Aclyos was quite exhausted.
The servant knocked. Shortly the door opened and a Jester greeted them.
'Who's he?' asked the Jester to the servant.
'The King of Aclyos,' replied the Servant.
Perlock gazed at the King. 'Well, what does he want then?'
'Is Maid Locksley available for intercourse?' asked the King.
'Intercourse?' shrieked a voice from within. 'What exactly is he driving at,' said the voice, soon appearing in front of the King.
'Why, the finest of dialogue and conversation,' said the King to Gwen Locksley.
'I could imagine,' said Gwen, sizing up the king. The King looked over Gwen. She was dressed in tan leather pants, with a waistcoat of similar leather, over a white shirt with a flowery collar. Boots, again of a similar fine leather, and a cross of gold hanging from her neck.
'You look - ever the lady,' said the King, gazing at the fair picture. She was in manly clothing in a way, almost ready for the hunt, but her hair was long and in a pony tail and she looked, as he remembered - handsome. Pretty, even. A very good looking lady.'
'Servant of the Lord Jesus,' said Aclyos, pushing past her into the room, indicating the cross around her neck.
'I serve El Shaddai alone,' said Gwen. 'I have no faith in Jehovah god's or Jesus Christ's, but I am loyal to the religion of my upbringing for oaths sake. Nothing more.'
'The Creator alone?' queried King Aclyos. 'Not the God of Israel?'
'He barely knew them. He made that clear to me when he talked with me once. His Godship is Universal, and it was a subordinate who worked with Israel to control things. This Hashem they worship. This Jehovah they worship.'
'I know the doctrine,' said Aclyos. 'The truth of the issue matters not to me. It affects not my life regardless. The creator gives me my space, and my reign continues regardless. It is of no consequence to me the name of God, and whether he is Hashem of Israel or Jesus of Nazareth or Allah of Mecca. Such a truth has not affected my life so far, and never will.'
'Speaks a man who knows his own heart,' said Gwen.
'Indeed,' said the King, taking a seat by Gwen's table, where the candles burned brightly.
Perlock danced over to the King. 'You have come to bed fair Gwen, teedle dee dee. To have your way wickedly teedle dee dee. To romance her for your fine lust, twiddle dee dum. To get your hands upon her bust, twiddle dee dum.'
'Perlock!' exclaimed Gwen. 'Leave the King alone. Your suggestions of his motives are quite inappropriate.'
The King glared at Perlock the Dwarf, but looked at Gwen, and winked at her.
'Aha,' said Perlock triumphantly, and picked up his lute. 'The King has come, to come indeed. To bed the maid, and sow his seed.'
'PERLOCK!' yelled Gwen.
'I shall, depart for the evening,' said Perlock. 'But my lady. Watch out for his smooth charms. You can never trust a king.'
King Aclyos gazed with superior smugness at the departing Jester, who gazed back with suspicion, but was gone, leaving Gwen alone with the King.
'I would like to take you an an adventure,' said Aclyos.
Gwen gazed at him for a moment, reached down, picked up a poker, and started poking the fireplace to get the fire going again. She tossed on a log, and as it roared away, she turned to the King.
'What sort of an adventure?'
'One to dazzle the heart and mind. And we can bring that blasted Jester if you like. And his lute. It should make a fine trill of a journey.'
'And where are we going?' asked Gwen, eyebrow raised.
'We leave in the morning. 100 Leagues northwards, to the fair of Chalmerston. I have a palace there, and we shall dance in the fair.'
'A few days journey,' said Gwen. 'I shall have to pack.'
'My dear, you are ready to go. For we shall dance the whole way there.'
Gwen eyed the King. 'Dance?'
'A merry old adventure, by foot, and with a purse of but 7 copper coins. For such is the challenge of King James to my sense of 'Vanity' as he sees it.'
Gwen looked at him. 'A purse of but 7 copper coins?'
'And one fair maiden, and a singing dwarf to busk for us. We'll have the time of our lives.'
'Indeed,' said Gwen.
'HA!' said the voice of a dwarf outside the doorway.
Gwen looked to the doorway, and to the King. 'A merry adventure indeed,' she said grinning. The king just returned her look with a gaze of stately grace.'
Morning. It was raining. Aclyos had slept on the couch in front of the fire all night, and when he awoke in the morning, and went off to find relief, he found the dwarf asleep at the doorway. A protective soul indeed.
'Can't we wait till the morrow?' whined Perlock. 'Tis a day to stay in and chase rainbow. Not farting around Londinnium and into the countryside.'
'Nonsense,' said Aclyos. 'It will toughen us up for our adventure.'
'The adventure of a fool,' said Perlock, glaring at the king.
'And a fool's company,' commented Gwen, who, dressed in the same garb from the previous evening, had put on a large raincoat, and was, albeit reluctantly, ready for their adventure.
The king looked out at the rain, and checked his purse. 7 coppers indeed.
'And if we run out of food?' asked Perlock. 'I've only so much in my sack you know?'
'Then we shall grow hungry, or the good lord shall provide. But I trust in your magnificent prowess, master dwarf. We shall not go hungry at all, but shall feast as kings,' said Aclyos confidently.
'Let us hope so,' said Gwen, as they started on their journey northwards, making their way through Londinnium city.
As the night fell, they had just managed the leaving of the city, after having spent their 7 coppers on 2 pork pies, and were now hungry. It was raining, they were wet and miserable, and King James bet looked solid gold at this stage.
'Be prepared to admit your pride,' said Perlock. 'And let this damn adventure be finished,' he said, as the rain poured down, and they sat, shivvering, underneath a bridge, north of Londinnium, dark, and miserable.
Aclyos sneezed. 'A King,' and he coughed. 'Does not.' and he wheezed. 'surrender,' and he almost coughed up his lungs.
'Wonderful!' said Perlock, but they just sat there, miserable, as the night passed, and somehow fell asleep.
Morning - again. It was no longer raining, and Aclyos awoke, noting Gwen washing her legs in the stream. He gazed at them. They were, indeed, quite lovely.
'Get your eyes out of the gutter,' said Perlock, and shoved the king, as he came awake.
'Impertinent dwarf,' said Aclyos.
Soon, they had stretched, and were up on top of the bridge, looking around. 'That way,' said Aclyos, pointing vaguely northwards.
'Lead on fool,' said Perlock. And, as Aclyos marched forth, Perlock took down his lute, which looked a little unhappy at the night's drenching, but plucked a string, and began his tune.
'Three merry fools, northwards they trek. Soon, methinks, they'll be a wreck. Lead by a King, the Prince of fools. All that they'll eat is grubs and toadstools.'
Gwen chuckled at that and, as they marched, and Perlock's fertile vocal imagination trilled away, the day didn't seem quite so bad.
* * * * *
'So thou hast no faith in Jehovah our Great Lord and Saviour? I have felt his love. It is truly magnificent,' said the King.
'And I have tasted the tears of Epona, the wrath of Thor and and the sarcasm of Shiva. Not to mention the wisdom of Ka.'
'Idols,' said Aclyos.
'Who are very real and living deities. For Jehovah rules through delusion of himself alone the grand designer, and he is not even that, but that is God alone, Elohim. Father and Creator of the gods.'
'They are one and the same,' said Aclyos, exasperated.'
'Nay. Jehovah claims to be Elohim. But he is not. Elohim is not, in the same sort of way Jehovah is, a personal sort of being. He is an essence of spirit which fills the universe. Whereas this Jehovah has a very real person and a very real identity. The two are not one. They are separate and distinct. Jehovah is but a child of Elohim. And he is not even really Elohim either, which is just a title used from Canaanite culture. He is just the Creator. God.'
'I see,' said Aclyos. 'And this El Shaddai has spoken with you?'
'He speaks to me. In my heart. In my mind. Through my lips, on occasion. He has clarified this issue for me. Did not do so for a long time, but let me belive him to be Yahweh. But he has clarified it in more recent times.'
'It is what the mad woman claims,' said Perlock, sitting under the tree and eating an apple they had picked from a wild apple tree which they found a few miles back. 'Me, I am not sure if I care. But it sounds an interesting idea, I guess.'
'Mmm,' said Aclyos. 'And who is this Wolfgang?'
'A bit of fun,' replied Gwen, and bit into her apple also.
They sat a while, and Gwen smiled at the village children who had come up to the group of travellers and were sitting watching the dwarf make funny faces.
'Life has its mysteries, I suppose,' continued Aclyos. 'I guess, if what you say is the truth, it will become apparent, if it needs to be, in the fulness of eternity.'
Gwen smiled back.
Perlock stood, and started chasing the children around, pretending to be a mad cow. And the afternoon passed on by, and they found shelter in an old and disused barn, and Gwen noticed Aclyos looking at her legs again, but spake not about it. Perlock noticed as well, but thought the better to remain a silent observer. For now.
* * * * *
'The road is narrow, the journey long, yet in my heart, there is this song, in Christ the weak, become the strong, from him I'll not depart.'
'Perlock! How religious of you,' said Gwen.
'Apparently the flavour of the moment,' said the dwarf. 'But I fear that is the end of my gospel repetoire. An old classic from my youth, and nothing more.'
'Indeed,' said Aclyos, as he marched them down the road.
'How many leagues have we done so far?' asked Perlock.
'40. 50 maybe,' said the King.
'And how many to go?' asked the dwarf.
'50, 60 maybe,' replied the King.
'Midway,' said the Jester, and reached into his knapsack and brought out another apple he had been keeping.
They found a stream around the middle of the day, and as Gwen washed her feet she noticed the King again looking at her.
'Does the king fancy the maiden?' asked Gwen with a dainty voice.
'I bet that's not all he fancies,' said Perlock, looking on suspiciously.
'Perlock!' said Gwen. 'He is a King. Show him some honour.'
Perlock did not respond, but just looked on.
'You are indeed a fine figure of a woman. I am afraid, in truth, the Jester is right. I have had my thoughts on more than just your legs,' said the King.
'Ha!' exclaimed Perlock, justified.
'That is. Ok,' said Gwen. 'You are a man. I am a woman. It is only natural, after all.'
'Tell that to his 1000 other lovers,' said Perlock.
'Perlock. Remind yourself whose company you are in,' reprimanded Gwen.
'It is true. I have known a lover or two,' said Aclyos thoughtfully. 'But I am no Valentino. I keep faith with my two wives, and it has been as such many aeons now past.'
Perlock looked at the King and softened.
'Perlock is protective,' said Gwen. 'He keeps the riff raff away.'
'I am sure he does a commendable job. Hopefully he does not consider me - riff raff.'
Perlock did not respond.
'Besides, you are indeed married,' said Gwen. 'And I am sure you keep faith with your wives,' she said, smiling at the king.
'Indeed,' replied Aclyos.
Late that evening, as they snuggled up in an orchard by the way they had found, Aclyos settled down to sleep and Gwen, looking him over, came and sat down beside him and rested against him.
And, as she breathed, and fell to slumber, the king felt her breath, her warm breath, and noticed her lips, her tender lips, and felt a stirring in his loins. But he thought on his wives, and the constant glare of the Jester, so settled down to slumber himself, and only dreamed of the fair maidens hand, nothing more.
Morning, yet again, and they were off again on another long day's march. Gwen fell into step beside the King for most of the morning, despite the gaze of Perlock, and she queried him on this and that matter of his royal duties.
'Much the same as any occupation, in a way. It may seem all finery, but it is work in the end. I get paid very well, but it is duty, and responsibility and it is not easy.'
'I could imagine,' replied Gwen.
'Aclyos has long sought to expand, but we no longer grow. There is nowhere really to grow to any more, for all land is taken as far from one end of our olde world to the other. The dominions are now settled, and this is our life.'
'Indeed,' replied Gwen, as they walked along.
Aclyos gazed upon the maiden. 'You are not given to marriage?'
'No man would dare,' she said coyly. 'I am a free spirit. Free to the ages to do as I jolly well please.'
'Indeed,' replied the King, and smiled softly. She looked at him, winked, and ran ahead to catch the Jester, who had a frown on his face.
'Oh, cheer up grumpy pants,' said Gwen, but Perlock would have none of it. He was losing his maiden friend. This he saw coming as clear as night followed day.
They found shelter again that night, a barn which they asked if they could sleep in. The jester told jokes for the barn owner that evening around the fireplace, and so they were fed a meal, and given the night in the barn. The King found a pile of hay which looked comfortable, settled in, and soon was dozing lightly. But he was disturbed. Gwen nudged his foot. 'Move over,' she said. The king made room. And she laid down next to him, and soon she had her hand over his chest, and was snoozing. Aclyos remembered he was a gentleman. He remained one all that evening.
And in the morning they were off again, and the King said they should be nearing Chalmerston late the following afternoon, and Gwen was in a joyous and happy mood, but Perlock's frown was perpetual. And his suspicions unending.
'The road is indeed long. How far have we travelled now?' asked the dwarf.
'We walk 7 leagues a day,' said the King. 'And I have kept our pace fast and swift.'
'Don't I know it,' said Perlock. 'My aching feet are testimony to that.'
'Well, today we have 7 leagues to walk also. And those huts are outskirts of Chalmerston,' said the King pointing. 'See the design. The difference to what we have seen so far? They are Aclyosian designs.'
'Fascinating,' said Perlock dryly.
'We will rest this evening at the Inn of the Forsaken Shepherd, and enter Chalmerston City tomorrow morning around mid-day.'
'Then let us be on with it,' said Gwen, and she strode ahead.
The King walked at a leisurely pace that day. He had gotten hard in his marching as of late, so much travel they had done these days past, that his current pace was leisurely, such strength he had.
'Have you been to Chalmerston?' the King asked Gwen.
'I have a picture of it,' she replied. 'But no, never. It is Aclyos, after all. I am not a citizen, as you would know.'
'We have no fixed border with Englande,' said the King. 'It sort of merges in, and around this point here some identify as citizens of England and some as Aclyosians.'
'A patriot as myself needs firmer truths,' smiled Gwen.
'A patriot?' asked the king, eyebrow raised.
'I like to think so,' said Gwen. 'Loyal to the crown. Loyal to my nation of birth. Loyal to my father. It is the nature of me, I think.'
'Nations are built on such souls,' said the King. 'They are lucky to have you.'
'Thank you. Kind sir,' she replied, and curtsied slightly.
And so they marched, and King Aclyos whistled, and the trio were in a good mood. As the afternoon passed by the houses became thicker and more closely space, and it turned from farmland, to loosely established village till, late in the day, they crested a hill and, in the distance, the city walls of Chlamerston.
'We will reach her tomorrow morning. But I am the king in these parts, as you may have noticed from the glances,' said the King.
'They have been quite noticeable,' replied Gwen.
'So I will use my Kingship, and we shall rest right there,' he said pointing down the road, to an inn on the left.
'Lead on,' smiled Gwen.
The hot broth was the most delicious thing Gwen, so she felt, she had ever eaten. It had been a lot of field carrots and wild apples along the way, with water, and the meal the night they had sung and told jokes to stay in a barn, so she'd barely a decent meal for days now. And she ate, and when she got to her room, and a bed at last, she sank down into it. A knock came to the door.
'Yes,' said Gwen.
'Uh. Do sleep well,' said the King from the hallway.
'I shall,' replied Gwen. She looked at the doorway, and sensed him standing there. But footfalls marked his walking off to his own room, and so she settled in for the evening, and dreamed pleasant dreams, and a jealous dwarf insulted her all throughout.
* * * * *
They didn't stay long at the fair of Chalmerston itself very long, and when they had climbed the steps of his Chalmerston castle, the guards at attention, Aclyos turned and surveyed his domain. He felt like a king, just then. A man of power. A man of action. He turned, and continued inwards, Perlock and Gwen marching on faithfully by his side.
'Aclyos,' said the voice, in the main hall.
'James,' said Aclyos politely to King James.
James looked at Gwen. 'Lady Locksley,' he said, bowing.
'Your majesty,' replied Gwen, and curtsied.
'I can take it you can verify his complete and faithful march all the way from Londinnium, with nothing but 7 coppers,' said James.
'Which we had spent before we even left the place,' said Perlock.
'Is that so,' said James, looking at the dwarf, and at King Aclyos.
'We walked the entire journey, your majesty,' said Gwen. 'And it was long and eventful, and I am eternally grateful it is finished.'
James eyed Gwen a moment, and the dwarf, and sensed from their condition and their weary looks they indeed spoke truly. He turned to Aclyos.
'Then you have won your wager. I did not think an old fool such as yourself the passion anymore. I see I was wrong. 100 acres, as promised, extending from southern Chalmerston into Englande. Have your mapmakers consult with ours, and the official records shall be amended accordingly.'
James looked at Gwen and Perlock. 'I shall be leaving in the morrow. Would you two like to accompany your King home?'
Gwen looked at James, and sighed. 'That would be - most gracious of your majesty.'
'But I need a sleep. And a meal,' said the Jester.
Gwen smiled at Perlock, and looked at Aclyos, who had seated himself.
'Your majesty. You made it,' she said. 'Well done.'
'I could not have done it without you,' smiled the King back.
Gwen looked at the King, into his face, and noticed that steady smile he had, and his steady gaze. And she made a small, mental note. He was not so common a man as one might think. Perhaps, perhaps, a royal upon a throne. Perhaps a royal indeed.
And so the Kingdom of Aclyos grow, and Gwen returned home with Perlock to Londinnium, and they sang and danced as before, and she resumed her duties in the guild of merchants.
But sometimes in those days afterwards, late in the evening, as she put out the candle, she would look out the window, and look northwards, and think of fair Chalmerston, and the one who ruled its throne. And she would smile quietly to herself, and touch her heart just briefly, before she would retire for the night, and dream her dreams, and sleep her slumbers.
'You know. Gabriel is Hebrew. It means Gay Angel.'
Gabriel turned and looked at Callodyn the Cherubim. He rolled his cigarette, lit it, puffed into Callodyn's face, and turned and looked at the TV screen once more.
'Michael means Pedophile angel,' said Callodyn, watching the TV.
Gabriel smiled, but did not comment.
'Satan means angel who is so far up his own arse that Sodomites look holy,' said Callodyn.
Gabriel stared at the screen.
'Raphael means angel of low intellect,' said Callodyn.
Gabriel just puffed on his ciggie.
'Callodyn means angel of irresponsible attitude,' said Wolfgang, the Theophany of God.
Gabriel and Callodyn turned to look at God.
'I was told it meant angel of grave imbecility,' said Gabriel to God.
'That too,' said the theophany.
'Hey,' said Callodyn, taken aback.
'No, I'm sure Callodyn means Angel of dimwitted offspring,' said Michael.
'Go fuck yourself,' said Callodyn to Michael.
Meludiel spoke up. 'Callodyn means Angel of low sexual prowess.'
'Ain't that the truth,' said Kayella.
Callodyn looked at them all, and decided to shut up. He was outnumbered.
The T12 Intense Cricket match between Australia and Afghanistan ended in a tie, a rare result, and Gabriel was in a good mood. His bet also covered results of a tie, and Callodyn was in debt a trillion realm credits. I mean come on, Afghanistan? But they had managed Gabriel's salvation, and Callodyn would have to pay.
'I think Gabriel really means Angel who has a hotline to Jehovah,' said Callodyn.
'Or El Shaddai,' said Michael, on the more recent views of many here and there around the realm.
'No comment,' said the theophany in response.
'Gabriel means Angel of Wise Betting Prowess,' said Gabriel proudly.
'I shall win my money back,' said Callodyn. What about Afghanistan versus Sri Lanka in the next match. I'll offer you the same bet for Sri Lanka to win.'
'You're on,' said Gabriel.
'Men and their machismo,' said Kayella.
'At least we can put our money where our mouth is,' said Callodyn. 'You girls only do that on shoes. And perfume. And other silly affectations.'
'So we can look good for men,' said Meludiel.
'They are the fairer sex,' said Gabriel. 'They have their trivial concerns.'
Eyes looked at Gabriel. It was not the most typical comment from the usually non-sexist and politically correct enough angel.
'Come on. Give me a break. It's all fuss because you like to think you are special. It's just showing off. Vanity, really,' said Gabriel.
'Humph,' responded Kayella.
'He might have a point,' said Meludiel.
'I'd tread carefully with such words around some,' said Michael. 'Certain twin's for example.'
'He's a dead man,' said Callodyn. 'Wait till Aqua finds out.'
The theophany grinned. 'What's the next match? It's a double header, right?'
'Sri Lanka versus USA,' said Callodyn.
'I think USA can win,' said Wolfgang confidently.
'You wanna bet on that asked Callodyn?'
The theophany looked interested.
And so the day passed, and Aquariel did find out, but refrained from commenting. But a woman mocked would respond, in time, and Gabriel watched his back for a while. And chose his words more carefully, for a while, indeed.
The Adventures of the 47 Squirrels in Outer Space 4
John Furlock. Captain John Furlock. He looked in the mirror. The ship was approaching planet Urethra, and he looked in the mirror. He had been having dreams. Weird and strange dreams. Dreams, apparently, of a former life. When, apparently, aliens roamed the universe. Legends, they must have been. But no - apparently - true. But you heard it, here and there, in the space ports, in the space ways. Tales. Tales of people who said they'd lived before. But not human lives. Instead, alien lives. Strange, different, alien lives. And John Furlock had dreamed that he had lived before. And been a squirrel. A 6 foot tall squirrel.
He came onto the control deck. His ship housed 46 other souls besides himself, and he knew them well. They had been together forever.
'Urethra approaching,' said his first in command.
'Hopefully our diplomatic mission will bring peace,' said Captain Furlock.
'You know these Urethrans. A pretty mundane lot. Weird Australian culture. White men who think they are aborigines. It's bro this and bro that. Very strange,' said his first in command.
'Indeed,' said John Furlock. 'Oh, is my nutella sandwich ready?' asked the Captain.
'I have it right here,' said his first in command.
'Ah, nutella. I love nutella,' said the Captain. 'Must be the delicious hazelnuts I think. Can't get enough of them.'
'Indeed,' said his first in command, looking jealously at the chocolate spread sandwich.
Jessica and Daniel IV
Jessica Daly nee Murdoch. Wife of Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly. Cherubim of Eternity. Father of Daniel the Seraphim and Callodyn the Cherubim. 347th male Cherubim of Eternity. But, while she was a faithful wife, she'd had enough.
Jessica lived in Sydney on New Terra, and her husband rarely visited. It wasn't that he didn't love her. He said that he did. But he also said he needed forever to himself, till he finally worked out where his heart was. But Jessica had had enough. If he didn't love her now, after forever her waiting, he could go fuck himself.
'Jess. It's Daniel.'
'Shit,' said Jessica. 'Wait a sec. I need to clean up.'
Daniel waited down in front of the Balmain group of flats, until the buzzer went, and he pushed open the doors and climbed to her flat. She was there waiting.
'Come in. I guess,' she said.
He came in and looked around. It was neat. Spartan, really. Very basic, but very modern. But that was how she liked her main rooms. Bedrooms were traditional, but Jessica Murdoch always came across as sharp minded, and very much a cold hearted bitch. It's what she was like. She'd never really changed. But it didn't matter. Daniel had finally gotten used to the idea.
'What do you want, then?' asked Jessica, arms folded in front of her, standing in front of him in a short skirt, and sporty looking shirt. She wasn't even looking at him.
'I guess, you know. The twin is great. And all. But we never talk. And I only like her somewhat. No eternal relationship has ever eventuated between us. Don't think it ever will, either. But I've finally gotten used to your paradigms, Jess. Finally worked you out.'
She looked at him. 'Fantastic,' she said, and sat down on a couch, picking up a copy of vogue.
'Your modern, hip and cool. You like your man to dress very well, and be seen at the best places. I'm a dork, but I can comply if I need to.'
'You don't put in enough effort,' she remarked. 'You have talent. You don't use it. You could be much more of a man.'
'I know,' he said. 'And I've made a decision. Your worth it. The effort. What you - represent. Your lifestyle. I think it will suit me well enough in the end. Your cute. Your sharp. Your fast paced. I'm very attracted. It's worth the conformity to have that in my life.'
She looked at him, and put down her issue of Vogue. 'I won't live in Canberra.'
'I'll move in here,' he replied.
She nodded to herself. 'I've waited. Forever, you know. I was going to call it quits eventually. But if you're sure, and you can commit?'
'I can commit,' he replied.
She nodded again. 'When do you want to move in?'
'Give me a year. Two at the most. So I can settle up affairs at home, and sort of get used to the idea.'
'That will be fine.'
'And your sweet,' he said. She smiled. There was that charm, again. The charm like her dad.
When he'd gone, she sighed, and put on the kettle.
And she looked out the window, down at the harbour, and prayed a quick, very rare, prayer to God of thanks. Her man had come around. Finally come around.
Maybe life worked out in the end, anyway. And then the kettle boiled, and she was back in her own world.
Xaddadaxx and the Chaos Crystal V
'Fort Vengeance. An underground network beneath it. It goes on forever, full of weird weaponry and all sorts of weird and strange devices,' said Kokabiel to Talzudiel the Seraphim.
'Not sure if you should be blathering on about our place to this mutha,' said Saruviel, smoking on a ciggie.
'Hey, Sars. I'm up for taking on the Thunderwheel. I've been following you guys exploits for years now,' said Talzudiel.
'And you bring that idiot along with you?' asked Saruviel.
Daniel the Seraphim was by an old piece of machinery. 'What the hell is it?' asked Daniel.
'Too complex for a simpleton like you,' said Saruviel.
'Bite me,' responded Daniel to Saruviel.
'We don't need new recruits,' said Xaddadaxx. 'Three is plenty. Kokabiel is cool, and has been getting along with us, but these dropkicks? I don't know. We'll lose our rep.'
'I'm thinking those thoughts exactly,' said Saruviel.
'Come on,' said Kokabiel. 'Dan and Tally are pretty cool. They are not thickheads like Mikey Boy and Gabby Wabby.'
Saruviel glared at Kokabiel. 'If you are even thinking about bringing those other two morons into our League of Extraordinary Gentleman Crucifixion will not be punishment enough.'
A car pulled up, which they had heard approaching, and Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel and Sariel got out.
Kokabiel didn't look at Saruviel. Instead he went over to a diesel can of water, pulled out the bucket, and poured it upon his head.
'Hopefully that will cool the fires of hell which are about to descend upon me,' he said, grinning at Saruviel.
Saruviel looked at Michael as he approached.
'Hey, buddy. Wassup,' said Michael.
'For fuck's sake,' said Saruviel, rolling another cigarette.
'The charter of Lord Xaddadaxx, head of the 'Chaos Brigade' clearly stipulates the maximum ultimate membership shall not exceed 12 members. So we can have a few more,' said Kokabiel.
Saruviel looked at Xaddadaxx. 'The charter of Lord Xaddadaxx?'
'You signed it when you were drunk,' responded Xaddadaxx.
'You need us,' said Sariel.
'Great,' replied Saruviel.
'We'll be all the fun,' said Raphael.
'Awesome,' said Saruviel.
'We can be the shit all over the papers,' said Uriel.
'Shit indeed,' replied Saruviel.
'Torah Brigade reborn,' said Gabriel.
'I'm shaking in my boots,' said Saruviel.
Mikey looked at Saruviel. 'Ambriel and Meludiel will be here later this afternoon.'
Saruviel looked at his pack of tobacco. 'I think there is enough for a nervous breakdown.'
Daniel patted Saruviel on the back. 'Just like old times, buddy.'
'Is Euthanasia still legal?' asked Saruviel.
And so the 'Chaos Brigade enjoyed its 7 new members, and when Ambriel and Meludiel arrived that afternoon, and they had their full roster of 12 members, Saruviel was not quite suicidal yet. Yet.
Kokabiel in the Afternoon III
'Kerana. What do you want?'
Kerana stood at the front door to Kokabiel's place. 'My husband. He has gone insane. He is suing everyone, and attempting to maintain that he has been wronged in all the law courts of Baroda. He has been losing contracts for our restaurants, food supplies, and he insists that he is being discriminated against. All because of his hiring the new workers from Delhi.'
'The low caste workers?' asked Kokabiel.
'An angel should not have such an attitude,' retorted Kerana, and walked past Kokabiel into his place. It was the afternoon, and the last thing Kokabiel expected, sitting down on a pleasant Melladon rest day after a busy week's working for Gilgadel was complaints form his twin.
'You are held in esteem in Baroda,' said Kerana. 'They will value an Indian such as yourself. You are Cherubim. Very well respected.'
'I'm not sure if I should interfere, though. Arjuna has always been funny about me showing up, you know. We have never gotten along very well.'
'He's not jealous,' said Kerana. 'Just very protective. He worries that you might eventually have eyes for me.'
Kokabiel looked at Kerana and sighed. 'They are not the paradigms of our particular twinship, dear sister. Some are. Some are not. He has nothing to worry about.'
'Try telling him that,' she replied.
'Look, I suppose I can help out. Maybe give him a written reference or something.'
'Can you come to Baroda?' she asked him. 'We can pay your travel fare.'
'Oh, don't be silly. Of course I will come. But I don't know what good I can do. You probably should just accept that Indian culture never really changes in the end, anyway. Let the workers go. There are always other, more suitable, employees.'
'You bigot,' she said, but softened. 'Yes, I understand. I think I have had such feelings, despite myself.'
'It's our way as a people. But look at the English. Despite what they might say, they have a class system somewhat. There is always that aristocracy which breeds with itself usually. We are no different.'
'You'll come then?' she asked, eyes hopeful.
'Yes, I will come. But I don't see what good I can do. I don't think people are going to be any more accepting of Arjuna's policies, no matter what I say.'
'He owed their father a debt,' said Kerana. 'He had saved his life, once. And a life debt needs to be honoured.'
'Then I'm coming to Baroda,' said Kokabiel.
'Thank you, brother,' said Kerana, and hugged her brother.
Kerana stayed a few days, and they talked over the situation, and while he was busy with work for the next few weeks, Kokabiel booked his flight to Baroda, and readied himself for what might be a very interesting foray into the world of Hindu culture. A world, despite his long standing relationship with, he was neither overly fond of or accustomed to.
Gospel Followers IV
'Jezebel. She's a Jezebel,' said Pastor Grayson.
'Aren't you the brother of that Anglican Minister?' asked Daniel the Seraphim.
Michelangelo Grayson looked at Daniel, and smiled. 'Oh, go to hell, Daniel. I'm Uniting Church,' he said with a smile. 'I wouldn't be related to an Anglican. What do you think of me?'
'They meet and play chess at the Canberra Pastor's club,' said Callodyn. 'I get there every now and again.'
Daniel smiled. 'Brother of an Anglican? I don't think Glorious Church of Hope can affiliate with the brother of an Anglican. It would be the Anglicising of us. Your majesty indeed.'
'I have been told there is no greater British Patriot than Mr Daly,' said Michelangelo. 'Rather hypocritical words I would think.'
'A Gospel follower is not a hypocrite,' replied Daniel, and grinned.
'Like miss Samantha Jones. The biggest Jezebel our congregation has ever seen,' said the half blood Italian smiling.
'Oh, he's his half brother as well,' said Callodyn. 'Italian mother.'
Daniel nodded. 'Samantha is just frisky,' said Daniel, in defence of his Glorious Church member who was meeting regularly with much of the congregation at the New Terra Erindale Uniting Church in Canberra.
'She's a prostitute,' said Michelangelo.
Daniel sipped on his orange juice. 'Sexual therapist,' he replied.
'She fuck's for a buck,' said Michelangelo.
A Uniting Church elder near by chuckled on that one.
'She has a creative financial economy,' replied Daniel.
'She sucks dick for a living,' said Michelangelo.
Daniel turned to Callodyn. 'She does practice safely, doesn't she?' Callodyn nodded.
'So what's your problem, then?' asked Daniel.
'Unbelievable,' replied Michelangelo. 'No wonder you guys need us to supervise you. Your moral standards are a wreck.'
'All for the gospel of grace,' replied Daniel. 'Love knows no law.'
'And its not interested in knowing herpes complexes either,' responded the pastor.
'Oh, foo you,' replied Daniel. 'Anyway, you're the Uniting Church. The Primacy of Christian Liberty, so I have been told.'
'Well, you have been told wrong, Guiseppi,' replied the Pastor. 'We have decent sexual ethics.'
'I'll look into it,' replied Daniel, finally acknowledging the point. 'But she's new. Barely a millennia old. Give her time.'
'Our congregation is patient. She shall be showed the love and grace of Jesus. Don't you worry about that,' said the Pastor.
'Then Amen to that,' said Daniel. 'And good sermon, by the way. I always appreciate learning about the deeper secrets of Satan.'
'And his temptations of the flesh,' smiled the pastor.
'And his temptations of the flesh,' finished Daniel.
And so they chatted, and the Gospel Followers special service with the Uniting Church of Erindale came to an end, and Daniel, despite thinking they may be a bit too strict for his liking, lightened up a little and acknowledged that it was the faith of the Glorious Church of Hope, in roundabout kind of way, so would put up with the preaching, and have word with the young alluring temptress Samantha Elizabeth Jones.
Kokabiel in the Afternoon IV
'Arjuna, Arjuna, Arjuna. Don't be stupid,' said Kerana.
'What would you understand,' responded Arjuna DeSilva, Kerana's husband. 'You are a Presbyterian holier than thou Preacher. You know nothing of our culture.'
'I have lived in your damn culture for all eternity, practically,' retorted Kerana. 'I know it just as well as you. And how silly it really is.'
'Respect, woman. Show some damn respect,' replied Arjuna angrily.
'I think,' said Kokabiel hesitantly. 'That my twin is very much a paramount figure in her heart of love being the solution to mankind's ills.'
'You mock my Christian values also?' asked Kerana, now turning on Kokabiel.
'Of course not. Don't be silly,' said Kokabiel. 'It is a clash of cultures. A clash of ideals.'
'We have gotten along with our clash of cultures a very long time now. I don't think it fair that Arjuna should bring my religion into it.'
'That Jesus brother of mine. He is an ass,' said Arjuna, about his older Cherubim brother, Jesus. Thinks he's the Messiah of the Jews. They don't even accept him. Billions and billions and billions of years maintaining this, and they couldn't care less. His great Gospel of love to save us all can dwell in the heart of Mickey Mouse for all I care. It won't resolve the issue at hand.'
Kerana looked at her husband for a moment, and then turned her face to hide her slight chuckle.
'Yes, Mickey Mouse,' said Arjuna. 'And Donald Duck can be his damn apostle.'
Kokabiel smiled at that remark himself.
'Look. Kokabiel is a hindu also. He can have words with your contractees. They will respect him I am sure. He is very high in our Cherubim community.'
'Humph,' replied Arjuna. 'I don't think they will care, anyway.'
'I'm not really a hindu anymore,' said Kokabiel. 'Oh, I guess the culture is still in my heart, but it is the Cherubim Torah I follow.'
'So what good is he,' replied Arjuna.
'It couldn't hurt,' said Kerana. 'Maybe they will listen. Some wisely chosen words of Hashem, and maybe they will accept that. And renew the contracts.'
'Mmm,' said Arjuna, but he wasn't totally dismissive of the idea.
'I have a few things in my mind. I have prepared some thoughts,' said Kokabiel. 'If you can arrange a meeting. At one of the restaurants. I will give a short speech, and maybe they will accept the lads. It couldn't hurt.'
But the look on Arjuna's face showed he had his obvious doubts.
'It is settled,' said Kerana. 'You will arrange a night of fine eating. And, yes. The boys shall work and prepare the meals. When they see how fine they cook, I am sure all will be well.'
'I'll think about it,' said Arjuna.
'Nonsense. There is nothing to think about. It is what we shall do. There, it is planned. Arrange it.'
'Fine,' replied Arjuna, and stormed off.
Kerana watched him go, and settled her nerves. She turned to Kokabiel. 'Well, this is a fine afternoon to have an argument. But he will calm down. Can I get you something?'
Kokabiel nodded, and as they sat down to eat, and Arjuna played Indian music loudly from the back room, Kokabiel hoped that the coming evening would resolve things somewhat for the troubles of his twin Cherubim sister. Or, at the least, give them a better idea of where they would go from from there.
Az's Place 2
'Vomit is not the most hygienic of stuff,' said Kwintakel.
'I'm not asking you to eat it,' replied Azrael. 'Just clean it up.'
'It's Cosadriel's vomit,' protested his twin.
'It won't bite you,' said the Scotsman.
'You're sure on that?' she queried.
Azrael looked down at the festering pile of swill, just 30 centimetres away from the head of the passed out Icelandic Seraphim.
'Ok. It might bite you. But I'm not fucking doing it.'
'The things we do for love,' said Kwintakel, gritting her teeth, and getting on with the dirty work.
It was late. It was the weekend. It was a shitty time to be employed, but Kwintakel didn't really mind in the end. Az's place had become her heart, despite the crap she dealt with with the likes of Cosadriel and Marckonyel on a regular basis. But she loved her twin, and this was the only work which gave her the kind of action in life which she really craved at all any more. Crochet groups? Boring. Book clubs? She'd read them all. Strip clubs with the power women of Zaphona city? Tempting, but she was faithful in the end. Yep, the pub life was the life for this daughter of Scotland, and, so she felt, this was the eternity before them. May as well grit the teeth and accept the gruesome chores which arose - albeit too much for her liking - but such was life.
Cosadriel came too around midnight, and looked around groggily. 'I feel like shit,' he said.
'You look like shit,' said Kwintakel.
'My head is hell,' said Cosadriel, holding his head in his hands.
'You drank a gallon of whiskey,' said Oshanel, his twin, now massaging his skull.
'An Icelander never backs down from a challenge,' said Cosadriel.
'Nobody challenged you,' said Kwintakel. 'You came in boasting you would drink a gallon of whiskey.'
'Did I?' he asked.
The two Seraphim females nodded.
'Up fucking Iceland,' said Cosadriel, pumping his fists in the air, and then put his hand back to his head, moaning.
Azrael came up to him and handed him a slip.
'What's this?' asked Cosadriel.
'Cleaning bill,' said Azrael.
'For what?' asked Cosadriel.
'12 tonnes of vomit,' said Kwintakel.
'An exaggeration, surely,' said Cosadriel.
'Maybe by a tonne,' said Kwintakel.
'You don't come cheap,' said the Seraphim, looking at the fee.
'I'm a quality worker,' replied Kwintakel.
Cosadriel nodded. 'I feel queazy,' he said, and suddenly puked up all over Kwintakel's apron.
'We'll mail you the cleaning bill for that,' said Azrael.
Cosadriel just nodded through gritted teeth.
Devuel and Lara Stone 2
'It is an interesting time in the cosmos. The stars are aligning in most unusual ways. And as we emerge into the age of Scorpio times of passion are upon us. And times of sarcastic sods like Callodyn the Cherubim. Apparently born on his father Daniel the Seraphim's birthday, and his father Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly the Cherubim's birthday, the 20th of November. Those 3 have been chosen by 'The Astral Seers and Enlightened ones of Cosmic Divine Wisdom' as our 'Men of the Age.' It is a new time, a time to prepare the heart for the Scopio's calm water spirit, but passionate ripostes to the hypocrisies of life ,and the sting in vengeance we will, once again, know all too well.' Lara turned and looked at Devuel. 'What did you think?'
'Total shit sweetie,' replied Russell, still looking at his issue of Variety.
'Oh, come on Russ. You can give me more support than that. It's part of an important speech. Our movement is growing these days, and we hope to bring in new followers to boost our numbers. Is it good?' asked Lara Stone.
'Buggered if I know,' responded Devuel. 'I don't understand half of those apparent mysteries meself.'
'Few do,' sighed Lara. 'Religious convictions, too many of them, I think.'
'Aw, they're just bullshit sensitive. People in general. You know,' replied Devuel.
She threw a domino at him, which hit him on the head, but he persisted with his magazine regardless.
'Astrology is a divine truth which underpins all of creation. Through understanding the horoscope and the patterns of life over the ages we can more properly come into tune with the functioning of the universe, and be amazed as our destiny unfolds.'
'Or the complex machinations of people who need a spiritual axe to grind, and don't get off on scripture,' replied Russell.
'Oh, go to hell,' said Lara, and looked at her speech on the PC screen, checking it over. After a while she came over and sat down next to him.
'Well,' she said, after a while.
He didn't respond immediately, but finally looked at her. 'Well what?'
'Well. What do you think?'
'About what, exactly, sweetie?'
'Well. You know. Us?'
He turned the page in the magazine, and softly said, 'I didn't know there was an us. We're mates, aren't we?'
'It's not more than that?' she asked.
He turned to her. 'What? Are you looking for something serious? I'm not the settling down kind of angel, you know. An old rebel from way back.'
'I know,' replied Lara. It's just.........' she looked at him. 'Oh, nevermind. Forget I mentioned anything.'
'Forgotten,' said Devuel, and continued on with his magazine.
She looked at him. 'Unbelievable,' she said in unbelief after a moment, and disappeared to the back room.
Devuel continued looking at his magazine, and said 'Women,' after a moment. But then, he turned, and looked towards the back room. She wanted something more. Something more now. More than just the flirtatious lover that appeared on the set of an Arthur movie together. She wanted that dread word by the looks of it. Commitment. He looked at the back room, and then said to himself, 'She'll get over it,' and returned to his magazine. But the issue was on his mind now. And he had a hunch that it wouldn't go away any time soon.
Dirty Dancing in the Moonlight 2
'I'm burning up, Dan,' said Jessica Cornish. 'I need to cool down, bro.'
Daniel got a towel, wrapped some ice inside it, and started wiping it over the naked back of Jessie J.
'That's better,' she said, as the ice cooled her down in the hot Tathra summer sun.
It proceeded like that for a while. Marcus was sitting nearby, and smiled at them, which he did oft, and Rebecca Hill sat next to Marcus, looking a little, but mostly looking out at the gang on the beach running around. It was a Haven Adamide Fellowship gathering, and the 3 Daniel Daly's were all present, as well as much of the usual gang, all on the Tathra beach on a fine Saturday afternoon, partying, drinking Fanta and Coca Cola, because they wouldn't allow beer, but Justin Angold had brought his own private supply as usual. The fellowship owned a group house up on the beach above, which had a permanent overseer live there with his family, and took guests throughout the year. It was a getaway place, a break from life, and had a large partying area at the front of the house next to the beachside, which had beams covered with vines, and multicoloured lightglobes, which flashed when turned on. The stereo system was not too loud, because they had concerns for their neighbours, but tonight it would be up a moderate volume as they partied and had a good time.
'Are you gonna dance with me tonight?' Jessica asked Daniel the Cherubim.
'In the moonlight, babe. It's a full moon tonight.'
'How does the other Jessica feel about that?' asked Marcus.
'Hey, this is a getaway. I won't be moving up to Sydney until the end of the year. And Jessica Daly nee Murdoch can just wait a while,' said Daniel defensively.
'She doesn't like me, you know,' said Jessie. 'She's always been jealous of the crush you have on me.'
'Hey, it's just a crush,' said Daniel.
Jessie rolled over, and looked at him, and touched his leg. 'Is that ALL it is?' she asked.
'Hey, we're just friends these days, right?' asked Daniel. 'You know, Sydney Jess has finally won my heart, and all. That's were my destiny is.'
Marcus looked at the way Jessie was looking at Daniel. 'I doubt it,' he said out loud.
Daniel looked at Marcus for a moment, and then looked at Jessie, into her eyes. 'What, you love me?' he asked her. She just looked at him. She didn't say anything.
They danced again, in the moonlight, that night. Slow and steady. The other's partied around them, but Marcus watched on, as Jessie J held Daniel tight. Oh, so, tight.
'Kelly. You're a complete bitch,' said Callodyn.
'Takes one to know one, buster,' said the overweight Kelly Clarkson, feasting on Ice Cream at Callodyn's Televon abode.
'Anyway, you are not Katy Perry. So why are you still hanging around,' asked Callodyn, to the girl he couldn't get rid of.
'Eternity ring, buster,' said Kayella, showing him her ring.
He looked at the ring, and softened. 'You will always have a place with me, if you need somewhere to stay. Or if you are lonely,' he said caringly. 'Is that it, or something?'
Kelly came over, and touched his arm. 'Sort of,' she said softly. Then, 'Yes. Pretty much.'
Daniel held her for a moment, tightly, and kissed her forehead. 'That will do, buster,' said Kelly, and started hooking back into the ice cream.
'Your thighs,' said Callodyn, warningly.
'Stuff my thighs. You only live once,' replied Kayella, and hooked in. Daniel just sighed.
* * * * *
Katy and Taylor were playing scrabble. The contest was looking fierce. Several 8 letter words had been used so far, and the points were quite high.
'Very competitive, those two,' said Kelly, sitting next to Daniel in the other lounge seat with the raisable legs.
'They always have been,' said Callodyn. 'You used to be as well. But you lost your zest.'
'Oh, I'm just a hopeless American idol. No real talent. Can't make it in the real world,' said Kelly, quoting Daniel from ages back.
'Yep,' said Callodyn. 'I suppose so.'
They continued watching the A Team on a Saturday night, and the doorbell suddenly rang.
'I'll get it,' said Kelly, who ran to the door. It was Ruth and Boaz from next door.
'Sabbath is over, but we have a lot of yummy leftovers,' said Ruth who, like Boaz, had their hands full of trays of things.
'Ooh, yum,' said Kelly, and led them to the kitchen were they put down the food on the table.
'You wanna watch the A Team with us?' asked Kelly. 'It's just started.'
'Sure,' said Boaz, and as Kelly filled a plate with chicken legs and potato salad, the evening was filled out with the usual company, and there was peace, and there was love.
* * * * *
Kelly looked in the garbage bin. There was a ring inside it. She reached down and picked it out. It was - beautiful.
Callodyn came in. 'For fuck's sake, Kelly. Do you have to retrieve every piece of garbage I throw out.'
'It's beautiful,' she said. 'Let's keep it.'
Callodyn took the ring off Kelly, and looked at her. 'You sure you want us to keep it?'
'Absolutely sure?' he asked.
She nodded again and said 'Definitely.'
'100% sure?' he asked.
'For fuck's sake, Daniel. Let's keep the bloody ring.'
'Ok, then. Your funeral. It's an eternity ring. I offered it to Suzi Oravec to be my forever girl. She laughed. She said with competition like Taylor, Katy and Kell, she didn't have a chance. But I'll let her know, now, you approve 100%.'
Kelly looked at the ring, and then looked at Callodyn. 'You know, Cal,' she said.
'Yes,' he replied, looking at her intensely.
'You really are an asshole.'
'She'll be here on the weekend,' he said.
'Wonderful,' replied Kelly, and buggered off to her bedroom.
* * * * *
'Are you sure you can handle 4 of us?' asked Kelly, looking at Suzi Oravec, in a bikini, playing in the back yard with Katy and Taylor, also in bikinis. It was a pool party, Suzi had moved in the week previously, and was actually getting along with everyone really well.
'No, actually. Probably not. But I've got major ancient crushes on about 2 dozen girls, and it has never really increased. Believe me 3 is plenty, and 4 is really pushing it, so if life is ok with Suzi, all well and good. But if she has to go one day, she will have to go. Unless you girls think we make a family with her. If she fits in ok.'
'She might,' said Kelly, sipping on a ginger beer, looking at the 3 of them play with a blow up ball, getting along like a house on fire.
'Remember, you're still my number one,' he said.
'You say that to the other two all the time,' replied Kelly.
'But I don't mean it for them,' said Callodyn.
'We heard that,' said Katy.
'Busted,' said Taylor.
Callodyn whispered to Kelly. 'Your my number one.'
The two of them watched the 3 girls play as the afternoon passed, and Suzi was in charge of the barbecue for dinner, for she claimed to be an expert, and when Boaz and Ruth came around it was a nice Spring evening, and a good time for all.
* * * * *
'Well, it's been good,' said Suzi, to Kelly and Callodyn. 'And I will keep this eternity ring, loverboy,' she said, winking at Callodyn. 'But 4's company and 5's a crowd, and I can tell when it's a full house. But I will visit. And I WILL keep this ring Callodyn.' And she came and kissed Callodyn on the cheek, and looked in his eyes intensely. And then she was gone, out the front door, back off to Suzi world, and none the wiser.
'She's not permanent?' asked Kelly, looking at Callodyn.
'I don't want to give the three of you the wrong impression. I do like other ladies, but I'm not looking for an increase in our family permanently. I'm no Jacob. 4 is too many for me.'
'Right,' said Kelly. 'Pity. She makes great barbecue.'
'Mmmm, that steak was to die for,' said Callodyn, and they were lost in conversation about Suzi's cooking all afternoon, but secretly Kelly was relieved to see the back of her. One lover for her man too many as far as she was concerned.
* * * * *
It was Christmas in Televon, and while the planet only had a small community which actually celebrated Christmas, mostly full of Jews, Noahides and Jehovah's Witnesses, there was a smally Christian community who observed the celebration, and Callodyn's abode usually had a Christmas tree up for the season.
'Paradision. Our town. It's a lot like Cooma in New South Wales,' said Kelly.
'So you've finally noticed,' said Callodyn. 'This street we live on is very similar to a street in Cooma South on Earth,' said Callodyn. 'Modelled on it very closely in fact. There are differences between the towns, but apart from living next to Boaz and Ruth, which was sort of arranged early on, it's why I live here.'
'Right,' said Kelly. 'So what did you get me for Christmas?'
'You want a present? Are you sure? I mean, you have a trillion items. I was just going to take us all on a special holiday as usual.'
'I've made you something. A craft item,' she said. 'It is only temporary. I haven't prayed the Eternya prayer over it. Do the same for me. We have everything we need now, so just make something sill and we will enjoy it while it lasts.'
'Hey, that's actually a good idea sweetie. I used to do that for the family a bit, but we don't bother anymore. But why not. Sure. I'll do you a felting design.'
'Don't tell me idiot. Just use your imagination.'
'Ten four, big sister,' he replied, and his imagination got to work.
The season dragged on, and both Katy and Taylor had been told about the idea for temporary craft items, so had all agreed to do the same for everyone. Callodyn had decided to stick with his felting idea, and decided to do a traditional Noah's Ark, which he normally did, and make one for each 3 of them, with their names also in it.
The day came, and the girl's smiled at Callodyn warmly, and said 'Wonderful', each in a slightly sarcastic tone. Then Daniel brought out the 3 paintings he had also done, which were of each of them in a Monet style, as best he could manage, which wasn't bad, and the were far happier with that.
That night Kelly slipped into Callodyn's room, and was naked. He slept on his own much of the time now, leaving the girls alone unless they actually wanted some loving, but Kelly had agreed with the other two that tonight was the night with her man.
'Do you love me,' she said to him.
'More than life itself,' he replied.
'Do you want me,' she said to him.
'So bad,' he said.
She reached down, and touched his manhood, and gave it a quick tug. 'Happy with that?' she asked.
'Ooh, bad girls always turn me on,' he said. And she was bad that night. Very, very bad.
* * * * *
'Mmm. Lovely weather. Beautiful spring evening,' said Kelly.
'Got that right,' said Callodyn.
'So you love Suzi,' said Kelly to Daniel, sitting on the front porch of their abode, looking down at the Paradision street they lived on, in a cool afternoon of Spring, just about to turn to summer.
'She's ok,' said Callodyn. 'I wouldn't say I am desperately in love with her, but I fancy her. But I don't think I can have four. It's one too many. I have a lot of love in me. You know that Kay. But while I am not the strictly one girl only monogamous type, it doesn't really mean I want a trillion wives. Melech Shlomo is just not my scene, kapiche.'
'Right,' she said. 'So it is back to the three of us, and that is the way it really is, is it?' asked Ms Clarkson, looking at her Cherubim twin.
'I guess so,' replied Callodyn. 'What? Do you think it will just be you and me and the Ice Wolves in the end, do you?'
Kayella didn't say anything, but remained silent.
Then, after a while, 'Lovely Weather. Beautiful spring evening,' she said.
Callodyn just nodded knowingly.
The Tears of Amy Lee IV
'You love me even less than your comic collection,' Amy Lee said to Daniel the Seraphim.
'Don't knock the Batman,' responded the Seraphim. 'He's saved my life more times than I care to mention.'
Amy looked at him, nodded, and slowly started crying.
'Babe? What's up?' asked Daniel, suddenly concerned.
'It was me. I was the final choice. At the end of all creation, the Ultra Chosen one of all of humanity, Daniel himself, chooses moi? Me. Amy Lee. To be the chosen glory. And you love Batman more,' she said, and started wailing.
Daniel felt like a jerk. 'Look, you're at least as valuable as a Batwoman comic.'
Amy burst out wailing even louder.
'Maybe not Batwoman number one, but issue 7 or 8. Something like that.'
The wailing continued.
'Although issue 8 was kinda cool. And I think the Bat shows up in issue 9, so we might have to wait for double figures for your valuation.'
The sobbing was getting kinda noisy.
'But I'm sure around issue 13 or 14 you definitely hold your own.'
The sobbing started to diminish a little. She looked at him through teary eyes. 'Really?' she asked.
'Yep,' he said, nodding.
'I'm really worth as much to you as, maybe even Batwoman number 14?'
'Your to die for babe,' he responded.
She jumped on him and hugged him. 'You're so sweet,' she said, kissing him.
'The thing we say for love,' said Daniel, not sure if Batwoman 14 was really worth this much struggle.
Life at Golden Fries VI
Ambriel was bored. Again, very very bored. Like he had been all his life at Golden Fries in some ways. But that is why he did the work. So that he would be bored. It was a truth of life, of psychology, that things which went to high up, always came too low down. And if Ambriel spent all eternity getting high on love and joy and peace, being the Messiah of God's glory, and being the saviour of every heart's love which he believed he should try to be, then he would get so high up that, when the real world intervened, and reality came a knocking, with all its mundane ways, and all its mundane truths, then he would be as useful as a chastity belt in a brothel - no bloody cop at all. So he worked in Golden Fries and Burgers, for his Seraphim brother Daniel, in Joniquay on the Second Heaven, were he mostly worked now, in the same old place he had worked forever, when he did work, for he usually worked for a few millennia or so, and did his own thing for ages, but, inevitably, returned again, for that grounding in the real world he needed. And he was bored.
But he was enjoying his boredom.
Daniel came into the office and looked at Ambs.
'The paperwork up to scratch?' he asked his brother, who was playing on a Nintendo DS.
'Yes boss,' replied Ambriel.
'The toilets clean?' he asked.
'Yes boss. Checked them half an hour ago,' replied Ambriel.
'The lunch hour went well?' asked Daniel.
'Smooth as silk. Fiona was top class today. Enjoys working under me, so she claims. Prefers it to management. To be near her loveheart.'
'Good, good,' said Daniel. He looked at the game. It was a Mario game. 'I pay you to play games, do I?' he asked.
Ambriel glared at him. 'Look, boss. Everything is ship shape. 100% mate. I've got 10 minutes or so to jerk off, so I'm playing Mario. Ok?'
Daniel looked at his brother. 'I'll check everything. Someone has to.'
Daniel disappeared for a while, and Ambriel was feeling a little guilty. He was pretty sure, though, that everything was up to scratch. He did take his job seriously in the end.
Daniel came back in. 'Right. Everything's mostly fine. I have a few jobs which you are supposed to address every few years or so, which, seeing as you have time, you may as well get to now. The curbs on the drive in have a bit of a build of tire tread on them. You can make sure that is cleaned off.'
'Yes boss,' said Ambriel.
'The garden looks mostly up to scratch, but I don't think those woodchips have been replaced in decades. We usually have woodchips on the garden. That's our policy. You were taught that at induction.'
'Yes boss,' said Ambriel.
'There should be a garden supplier in the book,' said Daniel. 'We use the same team universally.'
'Yes boss,' said Ambriel.
'And you may as well have the electricity checked in the joint. Last time I was here I checked the log book and the wiring hasn't been checked in centuries. Things can build up, you know, so get that done soon.'
'Yes boss,' moaned Ambriel.
Daniel looked at his bro. 'Apart from that, mostly up to scratch. Yeh, sure. When things are 100% under control you can play Mario a bit, but see to those tasks I have given you, and you may as well do a complete checklist of all 'Branch Tasks'. They need to be looked over every now and again. That should keep you busy for months.'
'Yes boss,' said Ambriel, saluting sarcastically.
'That's the spirit lad. And remember, you work for Golden Fries and Burgers. Leaders in the industry.'
Ambriel sank back down to his chair as Daniel disappeared. Another day another dollar he thought to himself. And God was he bored.
And then Fiona burst in telling him a customer had puked over the counter, and it was another busy day as usual.
Kokabiel in the Afternoon V
'Maybe it is exalting themselves,' said Kokabiel. 'Maybe they really should learn their place, and not behave as if they are greater than their caste teaches they are. Maybe India is the great nation it is, and remains, because people know their place in the world, and that is how it works. And should work. And does work.'
The guests are Arjuna and Kerana's restaurant, who had been reluctant to attend, but had finally acquiesced, looked at Kokabiel intently. He had risen from his seat after the first course and was speaking.
'But that is not how it always works,' said Kokabiel. 'And it has never been how it always works.' He took a sip of water, and glanced at them. Fearsome faces. Men of decent caste. Men of good standing. Men of little to no compromising.
'There has always been a bigger world, which we ARE a part of. The world beyond the borders of India. For we are not just the Hindu culture, and we are not just the Buddhist culture, but there are Christians in our world, and Muslims, which we know all too well. And even Jehovah's Witnesses.'
There was a small chuckle from the guests.
Kokabiel continued. 'And that world, and the world it is part of, the west, and even the east. Sometimes they don't always think a person is born to serve a role which they can't escape. And sometimes they make legends of those figures which rise up, break the shackles, and make something of themselves, despite the odds. And shouldn't we, perhaps, sometimes. Sometimes my friends. Sometimes shouldn't we do just the same.'
A figure put his hand on his chin, stroking it in contemplation. Kokabiel continued.
These boys - these 15 year old - MEN. They have prepared tonight's meal. And you already knew this. And you have agreed to eat it anyway, despite knowing their lowly caste status. But, as you can see, they are fine cooks. Some of the finest, in truth. And if such talent is in them - such 'GOD' given talent, a God Hindus do seem to acknowledge these days, should we not have enough mercy to allow them to apply such talent? Must they forever be the pariahs? The untouchables? The lowest of the low? Can we not, as one might say, give them a break?'
Faces seemed to be listening. They seemed to be making a decision.
'Our world, our culture, is ancient,' said Kokabiel. 'And in the end, I guess, we must accept what things are, even if we don't like it. But when we can, when we can make an acceptance, if that acceptance is for the greater good, could we not, no, should we not, at least, be willing to try something new. To make a compromise. At least give the lads a chance,' he said. 'At least give them an opportunity to prove themselves before they are so casually, so inevitably dismissed.' And that said, Kokabiel sat down, and Kerana took his hand and squeezed it.
The meal went on, and the courses were served. And the contractors ate. And they seemed satisfied.
At the end of the meal one came up, after they had chatted together for a while. 'The meals were competent,' he said. 'If we have no repercussion we will allow the contracts for now. But if they ever step out of line or we hear one too many complaints you will be looking for suppliers elsewhere.'
'Thank you, thank you,' said Arjuna, a look of relief on his face.
The afternoon had gone well, Kokabiel felt, followed by the evening meal. And they had gotten their result. Later that night Kerana took him aside.
'See, you fool. You knew exactly what to say,' she said.
'I was lucky,' he said.
'It was inspiration,' she replied.
'Luck of the Irish,' he said.
'Your not Irish,' she replied.
And Kokabiel smiled, and winked at her, and they both burst out laughing. And another day passed in the Realm of Eternity and life, as they say it, went on.
Daniel and Mum 2
Callodyn was at his great-grandparent's home. Cyril and Mary Daly, at 29 Merriman Crescent. It was a relaxed evening, and Cyril was home from Telstra, where he worked in Canberra. They were discussing Callodyn's grand invention - the robot Monkeyman.
'Monkeyman is almost real, it seems, in many ways,' said Mary Daly.
'I think he is,' said Daniel.
'Callodyn. You are my great-grand son, and I love you dearly, but don't go having fantasies.'
'Yes great-grandmother,' responded Daniel Daly, the angel Callodyn the Cherubim of Eternity.
Cyril looked at Monkeyman in the corner of 29 Merriman Crescent, at their home in Canberra on New Terra, where the family usually resided, and spoke a point.
'He listens to everything we say,' said Cyril.
'Programming,' said Mary, who had grown in knowledge of technological things, despite a great aversion to them in younger years.
'It contemplates them,' said Cyril.
'Deeper programming,' said Mary, unconvinced.
'It makes salient philosophical points,' said Cyril.
'I've noticed that,' said Mary, looking at the Robot. 'Our great-grand son's genius, I guess.'
'He is alive,' said Callodyn dramatically.
'He is NOT alive,' said Mary, looking nervously at the robot.
There was a knock on the front door. Callodyn got up and answered it. It was Daniel the Seraphim, and a familiar looking old man beside him. They both came.
'Hey grandpa, grandma,' said Daniel to his grand-parents.
Cyril looked at Wolfgang DeBear. 'Settle an argument for us. The Robot is alive. Yes or no?'
Wolfgang looked at the robot, and came over and sat down next to it.
'Are they being problematic?' the Theophany asked Monkeyman.
'They are fine,' said the Robot.
'They charging you enough? Giving you enough juice?'
'The electricity supply is adequate,' said Monkeyman.
'Cleaning you out regularly enough and giving you a good service every now and again?' asked God.
Monkeyman whirred his lights.
'He's alive as they come,' said God. 'Now who's up for a game of 500?'
Cyril volunteered, and Callodyn thought he might as well. As the game got under way, and Mary returned to her knitting, she commented. 'Well he's only a bloody robot.'
Callodyn, wisely, did not respond.
Life at Golden Fries VII
'Well, it's long delayed, so you better check it. You know the policy. Claudette can do it. She will have to forego cleaning the toilet mirrors this afternoon,' said Daniel.
'Yes boss,' said Ambriel, and appointed Claudette Williams the job of checking the piping of the restaurant that afternoon, a half an hour job to look at the outside piping to make sure no unsightly stains or marking or any other deficiencies, including spider webs and birds nests and so on had built up.
Later on that afternoon. 'I guess we'll have the local superintendent come around and we'll have a 'Quickie' again,' said Ambriel.
'As per policy,' said Daniel, sitting in the front of the cafe, looking over records for the store. The usual weekly meeting on a Friday ran for half an hour, but there was a policy for Golden Fries and Burgers that when a standard task was not able to be done for the week, or a number of standard tasks, that the usual friday half an hour meeting would be replaced by a 'Quickie', a ten minute meeting with the local Joniquay area superintendent.
The following morning, after the superintendent had finished with the 'Quickie', Ambriel was expecting him to leave, but he stood in the front of the cafe for a while, and then started walking around the cafe, checking things. Then he spied him up on the road in front of the cafe, looking in both directions at the traffic, so as much as he could tell. He came back in after a while.
'Let me see your meal logs,' he said. Golden Fries and Burgers also kept physical meal logs of all items served over the week, just in case electronic records failed for some reason. But, regardless, the physical records were the ones assessed usually by management when something was up. The Superintendent spent all the following week in the store looking at the years build up of records, and then he began asking Ambriel questions about his time in the job over the last few decades. And then he came in briefly in the mornings for a while, and said he was out in the city, which didn't meant anything to Ambriel. And then Daniel showed up, and it actually seemed to be in his official capacity, which never really happened for his store, as he only hung around because of their friendship for the most part. They chatted for a while, and nodded, and then brought Ambriel out the front of the cafe with them.
'Right,' said Daniel. 'McAllisters has built a new housing complex a couple of kilometres from here, replacing an old factory. Joniquay has been settled for the most part for a long time now, and we never get any increase in custom at this store, but looking at the figures there has been a slight increase in custom since previous decades due to the new complex. I don't think it will ever happen again, but the previous owners always had intended to move to Santron once a contract had finally elapsed. And it has finally happened. So we are in a bit of a conundrum.'
'He's been using the purple manual,' said Ambriel to Daniel about the Superintendent.
'So he should,' said Daniel. Ambriel didn't have authorisation to use the purple manual in the management office, so didn't know what was going on.
'We're having a restructure,' said Daniel. 'Official figures of sales have pushed us just enough into the next sales figures band, that we need to expand the store. Which is a challenge, as no further room is available, so we will have to build up a level.'
'Up a level?' queried Ambriel.
'Up a level,' replied Daniel. 'There will be an extra drive through which runs down the side of the allotment, which will be served at the back and the other side on the upper level, and then come back down to ground level. There will remain the drive through on ground level. And the upper level will have the extra counter front as well as a grade 2 managers office, and we will be putting in a conference room at the front which can be hired out.'
'Grade 2 managers office?' asked Ambriel astonished.
'Can you handle 10 years of training?' asked Daniel. 'You have enough experience. But you need the quals for grade 2.'
'I think I can,' said Ambriel excited. 'Good to hear,' said Daniel. 'Now. At the back of the freezer you will find a sign with 'Closed' on it.'
'Uh, we never close,' said Ambriel.
'Today we are closing,' said Daniel. 'Take the sign, support it with the rubber sign holders, and place it at the front of the drive entrance into the cafe. We are officially closed.'
Ambriel found the sign, which he had never really noticed before, and, there it was. The unclosable had closed.
Ambriel and the staff were brought in for consulting on the architectural design, and then Ambriel was sent away, with Fiona, who didn't need the training, but was asked to do a refresher, and a decade later they came home and found the store. It was finished, ready for the grand reopening soon. Ambriel got the keys from the nearby Golden Fries and Burgers down south a bit, and he and Fiona had a good look over the store.
'It looks brilliant,' said Fiona.
'Doesn't it,' said Ambriel. The conference room on the upper level had nice chairs, and looked suitable; and then he found the grade 2 managers office on the top floor at the back. The previous management office he had been used to was the size of a toilet, practically. A seat with a tiny desk and PC, and charts all over the wall - an office you literally had to squeeze in and out of. But the new level? By no means a grand Joniquay apartment office, but it was the size of a regular bedroom, had a lovely desk, and, unbelievably, a view westwards. You could now see the lake, which you couldn't before from the ground level. And the view was stunning. Ambriel was amazed.
It was a few months later, and Meludiel was in the office with him late one afternoon at the end of the week, that he looked out at the twilight lake, with its lights lit, and looked at Meludiel, sitting in the office chair he had, texting, that Ambriel smiled to himself. It was the most God-Awful, boring work in the whole world - Golden Fries and Burgers. And he knew he needed that. But, sometimes, it wasn't. It was the opposite. And, looking at the picture of the founder, Seraphim Daniel, on the wall, while he was oft tempted to take the picture out of the frame, and use it on a dartboard, he almost, almost smiled at Danny Boy. Almost.
Karaite Zebulunism IV
'So, where you really all destroyed?' the Karaite Zebulunite youth of a Karmiel New Terran Synagogue in Israel asked father Zebulun.
'Oh, that old tale,' said Zebulun. 'You've read it in the Chronicles of the Children of Destiny I take it?'
'Yes grandfather,' said the youth.
'There is a lot of truth in that chronicle, I admit. But its a pseudepigraphal work, you know. Portents of future were imbued in it, and mysterious histories of the past. But Callodyn the Cherubim and Daniel the Seraphim were not always telling the literal historical fact. It was embellished a lot. Take Lord Chronology for example. He's an angelic sort of figure who crops up at various points in history and does things to solve some of God's issues. He doesn't really alter or affect the timestream, but does intervene in time, or history, or life, to bring about desired results of Hashem. And, no, we were not all destroyed as a people. Never. It never happened. It symbolizes some of the rivalry between the Noahide movement and Israel at the time. Just jokes. A lot of the time its just jokes in their Chronicles. The divine comedy, in a sense.'
'Aliens?' asked the youth.
'Controversial subject,' said Zebulun. 'Best leave that one alone.'
'What of Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly's writings? Supposedly they are more historical?'
'The father of the scoundrels,' replied Zebulun. 'Yes. He was more properly a historian. A little creative with what he said, but usually more factual. A little more reliable a witness.'
'Did Ambriel really sleep with goats and molest chicken?' asked the youth.
Zebulun looked at the lad a little dumbfounded. 'It says THAT in the Chronicles?'
'No idea. Just what I heard rumoured. Karaite Noahides sometimes tell those jokes.'
'I can assure you that is a vicious rumour. Ambriel has not a speck of bestiality in him. The Messiah is a man of decency in sexual ethics. Unlike certain Karaite Noahide overlords I could care to mention.'
The youth chuckled on that point. 'Apparently there is not a prostitute in all the world that Seraphim Daniel has not slept with?'
Zebulun smiled. 'They borrowed that. It was the fame of a certain Talmudic rabbi.'
'Oh, wonderful,' said the youth.
'Exactly,' replied the son of Israel.
And so they chatted on about the Chronicles of the Children of Destiny for a while, and what didn't really happen in history, and what in fact did, and a lot of fantasies were dispelled, and a lot more truth became known to the Karaite Zebulunite Youth league of Karmiel Synagogue on New Terra.
Wolfgang sat on the chair and looked at his new little boy. Bruce.
'You're Batman,' he said to the 5 year old.
'Don't be silly, papa,' said the boy.
'I'm Superman!', said little bruce, and he flew around the room, all in a mad Kryptonian huff.
'Figures,' said God Almighty, and settled down for another morning of stories, feedings, and cross looks from Rihanna who was in one of those moods, if you know what I mean.
The Gayness of King David
'You know, dad. It's just that. Well, its just that your a bit gay.'
King David looked seriously at his son Solomon. 'I am NOT a homosexual,' replied the King.
Solomon smiled. 'That's not what I mean. In the English language, before the word fell into common usage to describe homosexual men in particular in about the 1980s but especially the 1990s and beyond - Before that - the word actually had a different meaning. Joyful. Light. Airy. Frilly. Sort of feminine. Soft. Delicate. Beauty. Arty. Those sort of ideas. Just, really, not terribly masculine. A woman's thing.'
King David glared at his son. 'And why do you think this?'
'Take your psalms. I mean, these days, nobody seriously praises God. It's just a bit - well - gay. It's a frilly sort of thing. A regular person is not given over to so much - emotion. It's more like a woman.'
'I see,' said King David.
'And the way you dress around Jerusalem. In those frilly clothes from a royal court, still stuck in middle ages.'
'Right,' said King David.
'And the way you still say to me 'I love you my dearest Solomon. You are my heart and soul. My life beats for you. It's just, tragically,.................gay.'
David did not respond. After a while he returned to his Torah study. Then, not looking up, 'I'm not a damn homo,' he said.
Solomon smiled. The issue had been raised. Best leave it at that.
The 7 Angels of Death II
XADXDAX. The chief operating facility in purgatory for the processing of souls for sanctification. The ultimate purposes - redemption of the soul to make it fit for eternal life. The Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly, 347th Cherubim of the Realm of Eternity, had established XADXDAX as a facility in Purgatory, with God's approval, in a contract between himself and God Almighty. Mankind, post millennium, had had enough. They were finished with bothering much on their works of righteousness, just didn't give that much of a damn anymore, just wanted to party and sin, so God had had his fill of them. It had become time to let man go. For God to finish his plan of salvation, to let the work come to its natural conclusion of things and, when mankind had finally stopped propogating its seed in the various realms, which was inevitable, as there was only so much dedication in each of them, then the final product would be had, the final product would be gained. The 7 Angels of Death existed in a super-real place of existence. Beyond the time and understanding and fathoming of Lord Saruviel. It was the actual Creation of God, before the Multiverse, which had continued onwards regardless, for it had ongoing work, regardless. And Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly, who had not been in any of the plans of the Multiverse, continued on with his work and duties in Purgatory, taking souls assigned to him. The Multiverse was Saruviel's job for now. And when Saruviel's patience had run thin on salvation, the multiverse, in time, would end too. God had neither committed, like Michael, or any of the 7 Archangels, unto them to be responsible eternally for salvation of soul. The 3 Daniel's had committed, Valandriel had joined Daniel the Seraphim and agreed, and Jesus was still a bit curious. Nobody else was prepared to commit to the kind of suffering the redemption of new souls required. Old, battle hardened Salvation warriors could to the job. Few else. So at this time, Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly, founder of XADXDAX, was working with souls too challenging for Saruviel normally. Oh, they got some sweeties from time to time, but mostly it was plain old son's of bitches. There was, of course, pre-work required. The soul really needed 5000 passages of Torah prayed over it, first and fundamentally so, to ensure its guidance and survival through eternity. Without Daniel himself prepared to commit to each and every soul with that work, then forget about the glory he ultimately sought. Daniel committed, so souls were stored, put in long term slumber by God, and eventually, for the back catalogue, for many of them, googols of millennia in the future Daniel would get to the soul, give it a good old look over, and prepare his prayers carefully. That was the chief job of Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly, founder of the XADXDAX sanctification plant of Purgatory.
'Daniel. I am having a problem.'
'Speak to Shamro,' replied Daniel the 347th Cherubim to Lord Chronology, who had wandered into XADXDAX.
'He said see you. A difficult one.'
'What is it?' asked Daniel, looking up from his PC.
'I have some concerned rabbis at a future point in the timestream. They are much distressed about the Karaite Noahide 'Judea Contract'. Would you care to enlighten me a little.'
'Right,' replied Daniel. 'Technically Israel lost its rights to new members of their community a long time ago. We have just been adding them in for the time being, but they long ago refused to work with the generations which were becoming to challenging for them. We've been doing the work, and just throwing them to the Jews when the soul is ready. The Judea Contract is when we plan on claiming our rights, and gaining our slave.'
'Your slaves?' asked Lord Chronology.
'We'll hand them over for a while, but later we could use them as servants. Well, slaves. I'll be honest. There our slaves. The rabbis will be concerned on that.'
'Right. I think I understand,' said Lord Chronology, stroking his chin. Very well, I will address the conflux as sensitively as I can.'
'You do that,' replied Daniel, and returned his focus to his PC.
And that was that, and life went on, and another day of busy soul sanctification continued in the heart of XADXDAX facility, in Purgatory, a world beyond the multiverse.
The End of the Road
And so the plans of God came to their culmination. The first works. The Children of Destiny had been born, had had their lives, and the realms of God had come to be. Life had settled down, for the children had had their fights and battles, and pride had been won, and names made. But the future beckoned. God, now, had decision time. What to do? What to do? Growth. Stretching them out a little. Building them up, now. Giving them a new beginning certainly, but a beginning with a bit more of a challenge. A bit more of a fight. A bit more of a fuller destiny. For they were not 'gods' yet. They were not children of the most high yet. They were a happy and content bunch, settled down, finding their purpose and point in life, and content enough with that. So, what next? No longer the children of destiny. That had come to be. And the children of fate had spoken for a while, but settled also. Now, a time of growth, and a time of passion. Now a time of testing. Now was a time for them to express their character. Now was a time for the 'Icons of Endurance'. And who would be those Icons of Endurance. Who would be those, at the end of this new era, those survivors, who had continued to make a name for themselves, in all the testings, and come to the fore? For the 'gods of Glory' at the end of the road would only accept a Name well and truly earned. Only a name which had risen to the challenge and endured. Only a name befitting a lord or lady of glory.
Thus, as he had done so at the beginning, and would do so again, God sat down at home with Metatron, looked at the old and ancient chess set, and went inside, returned with the 9 by 9 which they had promised to get to eventually, and smiled at his son.
'Can you handle the God piece?' he asked him.
'We'll see,' said Metatron. 'We'll see.'
Lucy Potter and the Wisdom of Torah
'You know, Enrique. I'm happy.'
'Lucy, Lucy, Lucy. You are never happy. Unless you are smoking. Or reading male pornography,' replied the Terran Dragonrider.
'Shaddup. I don't read pornography,' she said resolutely.
'And Abraham doesn't have a spam scam network the size of Olympus.'
'Ooh. He even emailed me personally. Said his butter knives franchise was a sure bet. Looking for a trillion realm credits of investment,' said Lucy.
'He needs the cash,' said Enrique. 'They are borrowing heavily at the moment. Israel. Starting new business constantly at the moment. Eternya has been flooded with new Jewish shops, all over the damn place. They are determined to rule, so they claim.'
'Yes. They have a bit of ticker in them,' replied Lucy. 'Good old Abraham. Has initiative.'
'Perhaps we should find some. Instead of just letting this tranquil days in heaven spirit rule us. Get on with life. Continue to build our name.'
'What's the point?' she asked.
'I got over that. The point of no point. The point of no point, in the end, doesn't really have much of a point.'
'Very funny,' she replied.
'Seriously. There is a hell of a lot of points in doing things to occupy your life. And I think old Abrascam has worked that out. Glory generally pays the bills, and these days the children of destiny give kudos to effective bragging, which has earned it. Take Daniel and Valandriel. Ambriel congratulates them all the time now, and Michael says well done. They got off their arse and earned their Regency and Prime-Ministership of the Realm. But I think Ambriel is smart. He's not a quitter. Just warming up. Has a good witness, and now intends to rule in reality with huge businesses. They are a sensible people, Israel.'
'You know, you are right,' she said. 'Just saying what's the point is kind of defeatist.'
'Exactly,' said Enrique. 'I think, when you have the courage to get over that, when you find the courage to actually endure forever, and mean it, life sparks up. Lots more things to do. And an inner contentment.'
'Be a spark in the dark, a passion unending,' replied Lucy.
'The Wisdom of the Torah,' said Enrique.
'The Wisdom of the Torah indeed,' replied Lucy Potter. 'Old Abraham, huh. You know, I think I will. I think I will invest in his butter knives empire. I have a trillion credits. I think I'll do just that.'
Enrique nodded, played around with Lucy's old paper mini umbrella, and smiled at her. 'Life still goes on, sis. So let's get busy. No point in being last place when all is said and done.'
'No point at all,' said a suddenly happy and rejuvinated Lucy Potter.
Daniel and Valandriel: Dare to Dream Bigger
It was peaceful, on the Sellawon. Daniel and Valandriel were downstream from Sariel's Dalnaphon abode. It was peaceful.
'No, that idea has been done too,' said Valandriel. 'Abraham is predictable. I mean, come on. Business? Sure, if you wanna make a buck. That doesn't make people happy. It just bores them. Sure, we need a living to get cashola, but without some decent new agenda, people get bored, and would rather what paint dry. In fact, they would rather watch shit thrown by an infant dry on paint which is drying,' said Valandriel.
'Shit fights?' asked Daniel, eyebrow raised.
'Quite disgusting,' remarked Valandriel. 'I'm sure Satan might be up for it.'
'The Realm Shitwar,' said Daniel. 'Hey, that gives me an idea.'
'I don't like the sounds of that,' said Valandriel.
'We'll throw shit. Not literally, but we'll mock everyone and everything.'
'I'm listening,' said Valandriel.
'We'll denigrate the holiness of Jehovah,' said Daniel.
'Satan took care of that,' said Valandriel.
'We'll cast aspersions on Israel,' said Daniel.
'When do you ever refrain from doing that,' said Valandriel.
'Porn movies?' suggested Daniel.
'You have NO inspiration,' said Valandriel.
They sat there, stumped.
'We could start another war,' suggested Valandriel. 'Feed misinformation between the disc overseers, and sit back and laugh.'
'Jehovah will get us back. He usually does,' replied Daniel.
'True,' replied Valandriel. Mmmmm.'
And so, they sat on a shore of the Sellawon, as the afternoon passed, and water trickled on by.
It was late, and Meludiel had wandered downstream from Dalnaphon to find them.
'Dinner is ready,' she said.
'Anything new?' asked Daniel.
'I spat in it,' said Meludiel.
'Angel spit. Could be interesting,' said Daniel.
And so, bored, not having yet struck their new agenda, the two of them wandered back to Dalnaphon, had dinner, and retired for the night.
It was morning, and Daniel was out in the fresh morning air, on the grass, doing light exercise.
'Are you fucking kidding me,' said Valandriel, still sleepy, coming outside.
'It's just a circle anyway,' said Daniel.
'Life. It all comes around again, so do something you like and chop and change when you need to, and move on buddy. I think I'll do some indoor cricket for a while. I know, we can start the Daniel and Valandriel SuperMegaExtreme World Indoor Cricket Glory Championships. The 10 inner discs, the best team from each, and a knockout cup. We'll do it for a decade. Something to do.'
'I suppose,' said Valandriel, and watched, tiredly, as Daniel did some stretching.
'You're happy then are you?' asked Valandriel, looking at his younger brother who seemed to have some fresh motivation.
'Oh, life's ok. I like the good bits of it. Cricket for a while will be ok. I think I'll read a shitload of my comics when it's all finished, and then maybe work for Golden Fries with Ambs for a few years. And maybe a recorder tour. I never tour with my recorder tunes, and there's a bit of demand in some places in Eternya. Old communities which don't need so much fucking rock and roll all the time.'
'Do you need a manager?' asked Valandriel. 'For the tour.'
'Sure. We'll set it for 20 years from now. You can organize the booking of places now. Look into it. I'm sure you'll know what to do.'
'It will give me something to do for a bit,' said Valandriel, now less bored.
'So Dare to dream bigger, by enduring,' said Daniel. 'It gets better slowly. Just persevere.'
Valandriel disappeared inside.
'I heard that. It was good of you to say that,' said Meludiel, coming out of her hiding place.
'What?' asked Daniel.
'He's been restless. Bored. Needs some new inspiration. You found that for you brother. It is good of you, Daniel,' she said.
'Then give me a kiss,' he said.
She, promptly even, came over, kissed him on the cheek, and smiled at him. 'No shitwar. Valandriel told me what you were discussing.'
'Scout's honor,' said Daniel.
'Good,' she said, and returned inside.
Daniel continued on with his stretching, smiled at Meludiel's words about his bestie, and, looking at the sky, knew it was going to be a good day.
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly and Mary Elizabeth O'Donnell
'Madonna's bitch,' said Mary. 'You never did tell me. Lourdes Ciccone? Are you kidding?'
'Nah, she's the twin,' said the 347th male Cherubim of the Realm of Eternity, Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly, Chief Founder of the Advancing Noah Movement.
'You see her much?' asked Mary.
'Never. She has her own life. Don't even know where she lives, or how to contact her. Probably wouldn't, even if I could. Life moves on. Some things were never meant to be anyway.'
'Oh,' said Mary. She sat down in Gladhaven ANM Assembly Hall in Nebraska on New Terra, sat on a front pew of the Hall, a hall she knew from ancient days now, and picked up the Rainbow Bible. 'How are sales on this?' she asked Daniel, smirking a little.
'It outsells both the Jewish and Christian bible,' said Daniel. 'But ANM has the numbers. Messiah got mostly over his agenda, and Jesus doesn't bother much anymore. They just enjoy themselves, work done, as they see it. People are holy enough - why bother. Life has other opportunities in it, apparently.'
'You don't see it that way?' asked Mary.
'I'm a fundamentalist, extremist, hard core, son of a bitch,' replied Daniel. 'I'm not the kind who gets over it. It's what I do. It's what life is to me. I live in the Word and the Word lives in me. And I know that its the pathway of actual eternal life. I question, now, from my pride, whether some who claim it, in the end, actually do have it. I think many have forgotten old lessons. Sin, and so on. Getting over being a worry wart, apparently, from what I hear in conversations with many of the ancients. They've walked forever. 'We've worked that out,' they tell me. 'We're fine, Daniel.'
'Then what's the problem?' asked Mary.
'The wages of sin are death,' responded Daniel.
'Don't I know it,' replied Mary.
'And they've never really repented. Just conformed. The thing about conformity, out of 'Fine if you insist' attitude, is that it just has never really gotten the point. It didn't take it to heart. It didn't become personal. It didn't become the truth of their lives, the whole point. Unless it does that........................they'll fade.'
'So you say,' replied Mary.
'So I say,' replied Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly.
Belteshazzar and his Unholy Herd
'Listen up, Babylonian scum,' said Belteshazzar.
Shadrach looked at his bestie. 'What's up your butt?'
Meshach ignored him, and concentrated on his game with Abed-Nego.
'Babylon has a new agenda,' said Belteshazzar. 'I have been promoted to Vice Arch-Regent, serving directly beneath Nebuchadnezzar now. The old fart has finally buggered off to a province in Eternya, a large one albeit, belonging to Babylon, and Belteshazzar the Brilliant, the long suffering third member in the Kingdom, is now second in command. So we have a new agenda. Daniel, Daniel and Daniel. The Noahide scum.'
'From the council of Daniel's,' said Shadrach.
'That's them,' replied Belteshazzar.
'Which you sit on,' said Meshach.
'An irrelevant point of fact,' replied Belteshazzar.
'Who happen to be your 3 best friends in all the known world and beyond, I do recall. Your own words,' said Abed-Nego.'
'They are Noahide scum. Nothing more, sons of Melzar. Now listen up. We have a new agenda. Holy Father Judah is Conglomerating as much of Eternya as he damn well can at the moment, and ANM run provinces stand in our way. They have muchos influencos.'
'Get Dkyel to deal with it,' said Shadrach.
'Archangel Michael. Has grown lazy. And fat,' responded the Cherubim Angel Daniel. 'I am afraid he has lost his panache.'
'Panache?' queried Shadrach.
'He had a small dose. Quite small. It has expired now. Don't really know what I ever saw in him, really. But, be that as it may, it is up to us to defend both the honour of the old worlds of Babylon and Israel. NOAH MUST DIE!!!'
'Is this another Torah crusade?' asked Shadrach.
'It might be,' responded Belteshazzar.
'Nadiel. She got you over that. When you blew up the statue of liberty on New Terra calling it an idol. And Brazil, with their giant Jesus, had your file at the president's office itself, so the news reports go,' said Shadrach.
'The Zeal of the Lord is in me,' said Belteshazzar dramatically.
'Let Shmavid deal with it,' said Abed-Nego, concentrating on his game with Meshach.
'Listen, you unhold herd. It is up to us to gain Newfound Glory. I sense these Daniel farts, and their beloved associates, have a new spirit, one of endurance it appears, and they may be something to handle in a little while. WE WILL NOT LET THEM. We are gaining ground, albeit slowly, in the age long war with Noah. Now is the time.'
'Yes preacher. I'll get right on it,' said Shadrach. 'Now where did I leave my car keys. Islamic State is sounding more preferable to this place at the moment.'
Belteshazzar ignored the slur. 'You have no ambition, fellas. Come on. We're the Book of Daniel. Get your acts together.'
Shadrach looked at Meshach, who gave a slight nod and Abed-Nego just shrugged a little.
'Ok, fine,' said Shadrach to Belteshazzar. 'But wisdom this time. Nothing foolhardy. They are a tough fight. Be smart about it, ya hear.'
So Daniel the Cherubim acknowledged the point, and retreated to the back of their Babylonian Palatial abode, to contemplate things. Winning the war with the Noahides. Winning the damn war.
God and Rihanna were at a huge concert on New Terra at New York Central Park. Steel Panther were playing, and it was raining.
'Death to all but Metal!!!' screamed Michael Starr, as God and Rihanna moshed along to their favourite band.
Suddenly there was the rarest cracks of lightning, and a bolt hit a supporting lighting beam, which jolted, and suddenly collapsed on Satchel the lead guitarist of the band.
Michael, Stix and Lexxi, the other band members rushed to the floundering guitarist, lifted the beam, to be confronted with blood spurting everywhere.
Satchel was in no good state - he had totally severed the thumb of his left hand.
Michael picked up the thumb and held it up to the crowd. 'His fucking left thumb!'
The crowd roared in response.
A medic came out on stage, and took the thumb, put it in an ice box, and Satchel had bandages quickly wrapped to his hand. The crowd waited in anticipation.
'A fucking big shot of it, bro,' said Satchel to the doc, who loaded him up with the good stuff.
Shortly Satchel appeared in front of the crowd. 'You came to see a fucking rock and roll show. You paid good fucking money. We aint wusses like Metallica who cancel a show because of appendicitis. You came for a rock and roll show. We'll give you a fucking rock and roll show!!!'
And so Satchel, nervously, sat down at the drum kit, which Stix Zadinya had vacated, and Michael looked at the crowd once more.
'He's only got his right fucking hand, and two fucking feet, but here's tribute to Def Fucking Leppard,' said Michael Starr.
And the show began again, and Satchel, in pain somewhat, but the happy juice currently floating through his bloodstream, played on, and the crowd rocked and the crowd rolled.
'This is what I like about this band,' said God to Rihanna, as they rocked on. 'They aint fucking quitters.'
'Amen to that,' said Robyn Rihanna Fenty.
Babylon is Fallen
The tunnel ran alongside the auditorium The tunnel, at the western entrance, came up a flight of stairs, to the upper world. The school, there, was not what anyone sane would have wanted to be in. It was Christian world. Christian world in a time when the faith had gone, and the works were dead, and the souls were living, but never really alive. It was in Australia, on a planet of Terra in the teens, New Terra 17 to be precise, and the faith of this Catholic School was gone. But most of Christianity throughout the realms was like that now. Dead. Jesus had left the church, and gone to Judaism. Orthodox Judaism. He'd had a revelation - he never had been Messiah at all. So he spoke to Peter and he spoke to Paul, because he'd had enough anyway, and Peter said he would run the Catholic Church just as an organisation, and not much else, and the faith had died, and nobody cared. In the tunnel, there were toilets, and latrines, full of mouldy piss, for the water didn't run very well, and some of the toilets were full of old shit. They only ran a little, and nobody cared much. Kids still came, though, and they didn't care much either. It was a shitty world, and they were only on New Terra 17 for a few hundred years, anyway, before they had to find their place in the universe - the early planets were all settled now - new souls came constantly through procreation, but they would have to leave in time. Just the way it was. It had a spirit, though. The school. It was old. The spirit was full of hate, but it had its melancholy. There was something strangely addictive about it. And beside the underground tunnel was the auditorium It was a basketball one for the most part, but they played other sports. It stank a bit - the whole school stank - and it was hell on innocent kids, for the bullies were mean. David was teaching there. And Callodyn. They had signed up when Jesus had admitted he wasn't Christ. Just a few centuries, and they chose this school. They didn't want to change it, though. They just wanted to watch. To watch the decline of an empire.
'They're almost evil,' said Callodyn. 'These fuckers. I thought I had it tough. These ones give new definition to the word 'Cunt'.'
'It's as bad as a prison,' replied Ambriel.
'Yeh. I think these kids are definitely doing time,' said Callodyn.
The school decayed, in those years. And that world decayed. It was living in something running down, running out of steam, for it was mostly a Christian world, New Terra 17. It was spiritual, there was no denying that, but it was melancholy, for want of a better world, of a world were it wasn't really about evil, because they weren't trying to practice that, and many had noble enough intentions, but it was just so fucking crap. People's attitudes were mostly pathetic. They did their work, but they didn't care. Not much got done. Drug use was rampant, and so was gambling and prostitution. There were old Cathedrals, were drug-users would now congregate. An ancient priest was found here and there, still clinging to the vestments of his faith, but most had left the flock, and left the world, and found their salvation elsewhere. It was life in the body of Christ after the party had ended. And it was hell.
'Babylon is fallen,' said Callodyn to Ambriel, one morning, as the kids walked by.
'Babylon is fallen,' agreed Ambriel.
Kokabiel's Kollector's Korner
'Come to New Terra 17, they said. It will be great, they said. It needs a new injection of industry, they said. IT'S FUCKING HELL, MATE!' said Kokabiel, as Gilgadel settled down with the comic he had for reading. They were at Kokabiel's Kollector's Korner, just around the corner from were Callodyn and Ambriel were schooling kids in a fallen Babylon school - a now reprobate Catholic address.
'I've noticed the smell,' said Gilgadel. 'Mouldy piss.'
'Don't go to the public toilets,' said Kokabiel. 'You'll never be seen again.'
'It didn't take long,' said the Seraphim. 'A few hundred years, and they'd gone to the shit. And now look at them. Keep the faith forever, apparently. But it's all gone. Jesus leaves, and they've fallen to hell.'
'Unclean spirits galore,' said Kokabiel. 'But still...........' he said, trailing off.
Gilgadel looked at his Batman comic for a while, and then turned and looked at his Cherubim brother. 'Still what?'
'The kids. I mean, come on, they are evil. But........'
'But there is something about them. They are sort of looking for something Something to encourage them. To inspire them. To give them a point to this shitty life. Ambs and Cal said we should probably show up. Do our job. Says Jesus can't do that for a long time, otherwise he would be a hypocrite.'
'He's finally admitted it,' said Gilgadel. 'So can't look in and be responsible about things till God has done his business in their salvation.'
'Exactly,' said Kokabiel. 'It is what we are all about.'
'Cool,' said Gilgadel, returning to his comic as the sun came shining through from across the roof of the blocks opposite.
'It's not that bad, though. Right here. In this reading lounge you have set up here. It's a nice view. It doesn't smell inside here.'
'I keep it clean,' replied Kokabiel. 'And I do the plumbing myself when necessary, to make sure it runs smoothly. The kids are told were the toilets here are, and that they can use them whenever they need to. I show them handwashing practices a lot of the time as well.'
'You want me to hang around?' asked Gilgadel. 'I'll work for standard part time wages, right here.'
'That would help,' responded Kokabiel. 'I'll show you the ropes.'
And so, the day passed on New Terra 17, and despite the fallen state of Babylon, a small streamlet of the river of life had flowed in to the planet, and life, despite the general hopelessness of it all, went on.
'I am the Archangel Michael, Lord Supreme of the Realm of Eternity, God's greatest, most powerful, and most majestic angel. I am divinity supreme, glory unparalleled. And I have come to be your saviour,' said Michael.
'Cool,' responded the school kid. 'Could you buy me the Batman comic I want from Kokabiel's Komic Korner. They're just there,' said the kid, pointing across the road at the comic store.
'Verily I shall,' replied Michael. He accompanied the teen as he walked across the street, entered the comic store, and purchased him Batman number 3, a reprint of the ancient DC Comics 52 series Batman number 3.
'I have 3 of them now,' said the kid. 'I'll need number 4 one day. But I can be patient. Maybe a few months from now?' asked the boy, looking up hopefully at Michael.
'Verily you shall have your comic,' said Michael.
The kid smiled, departed, and Michael went over to the lounge of Kokabiel's Komix, and sat down, exhausted. He'd bought about 300 comics so far that week, and it didn't look like it was lightening up any time soon.
'You're their saviour,' said Gilgadel, coming over with two hot chocolates.
'They like the freebies,' said Michael.
'Kokabiel is likings his profit as well. Michael taking care of business.'
'Somebody has to,' replied Michael.
Gilgadel sipped on his chocolate. 'Where are you living, then? Nearly everywhere around here is pretty shitty.'
'Down the street a little. I renovated the place myself with Elenniel's help. It didn't cost much. Nobody wants to live on New Terra 17 anymore. They are leaving in droves.'
'Our job is urban renewal,' said Gilgadel.
'Our job is love,' responded Michael. 'Patching up the holes of what Jesus had to leave behind. Just the way it was always going to be when he got over it.'
'They are pretty nasty holes,' said Gilgadel. 'The local catholic bishop, who is the only priest in this diocese, is beside himself every night. He gets stones thrown at the presbytery regularly. They don't actually confront him, but he has had that many eggs to clean off the churches around here.'
'It will take them a long time to get over it,' said Michael. 'It is only natural, as bizarre as that sounds, this rage. This bitterness. She's going through death throes, and not sure of what is on the other side of it all.'
'So we lick her wounds and comfort her. Is that it?' asked Gilgadel.
'Something like that,' said Michael sombrely.
Michael sat there, sipping on his chocolate, watching the world pass on by. Traffic was sparse these days, but there was some. People did a shitty job at the moment, but still, technically, the work was being done. Michael had applied for a councilman's advisory job on the city council, for this city of New Bridlington, the city they were currently dwelling in, and they had said it would be reviewed, but likely to be approved. And Michael, with his aeons of experience, knew what was required. He didn't even have to consult God. He just knew. Hope. Restoring hope, bringing new life, and reawakening that spirit in all men which, when it finally found the light at the end of the tunnel, invariably responded with an effort to try once more. Hope was here now. And the Children of Destiny were also present, and they would do their part, and restore and renew this city and, in time, this nation and world. And the others, for there were many planets now like New Terra 17. It wouldn't be easy, but hard things never were. But it needed to be done - it had to be done - and were bitterness remained, they would bring new life, and encourage the faithful to try once more, and find their life again in Jehovah God their king.
Life in New Bridlington
Elenniel smelt the air. It still ponged, but in the last few years, less. It had started to improve. She looked out over the block of building opposites, scraper blocks, old and dirty looking brick buildings, English spirit, a dread feeling world from the 19th century in many ways, but it was modern enough. It had started happening, now, as she looked northwards at the block of buildings, and the winter sun in the sky above them. It had started improving in New Bridlington, and on New Terra 17. The Children of Destiny had been weaving their magic. Down the road, west from where she was, and then around the corner to the south on the opposite side was Kokabiel's Komic Korner. Michael, her twin, stood on the opposite side of the road, were kids from the Catholic school just down the road south a little came by after school, and, being the best Superman he could be, he bought them comics, and encouraged them in life. He was her hero. Every night he came home and talked to her about his adventures, she silently smiled at him, and was extra passionate in their lovemaking, doing the things he liked. She worked across the road in a dentists, as a dental assistant, and they had become the most in demand dentists in the city since she began working there. And life, really, just went on. In the wake of the departure of Jesus as Christ - life, just, went on. They were starting to get over it.
'You know,' said Meludiel. 'I do like that picture. Despite its desolate nature, it is strangely comforting.'
'Depressing brick of this ruddy city,' said Aquariel. 'And you find it comforting? Interesting.' She stood from the couch of Michael and Elenniel's Penthouse apartment, which was really just a top floor apartment, and walked over to the picture of a factory.
'It belongs in industrial Britain,' said Aquariel.
'This whole city is like that,' said Elenniel.
'That is what I am finding too,' said Meludiel. 'Haven't been here long, but it's like a step back in time.'
'It is all they really wanted out of life, Michael tells me,' said Meludiel. 'Comfortable old spirit. Their Catholic faith. Nothing much else wanted for New Terra 17.'
'Technology is advanced enough,' said Aquariel.
'21st century sort of technology, but a lot from earlier eras as well,' replied Elenniel. 'There is quite a mixed bunch of those eras in this world. The way it wanted to be, I guess.'
'New Terra 16. Nothing but Hawaii,' said Aquariel. 'From that to this. But God never worked logically in many ways. Culture just came in God's time, as he saw fit.'
'Perhaps,' said Elenniel.
They resumed their seats, and Elenniel poured them each a fresh batch of tea.
'I guess it's back to work tomorrow, then?' queried Meludiel to Elenniel.
'Pretty much,' replied the Firstborn female of the Seraphim angels of the Realm of Eternity. 'But I know the place well, now. And, despite the smell, and shoddy lifestyle in many parts, life is ok here. We're making a difference, you know. Michael believes that with his whole heart. We are making a difference.'
'And that is what it is all about,' said Aquariel.
'Amen to that,' said Meludiel.
And so the Children of Destiny chatted on that day, and life passed on New Terra 17, but it was a steadily improving life after the departure of the spirit of the Christ Child and, it seemed, there was a hope, after all. There was a light at the end of the dark and dismal tunnel.
'Jerahmeel's Jollicles, huh?' queried Raguel the Seraphim.
'Yep,' replied Jerahmeel, Seraphim male of the Realm of Eternity.
'And what exactly is a Jollicle?' asked Raguel.
Callodyn stood, and grabbed his crotch and said 'He's got me by the ruddy Jollicles.'
Jerahmeel grinned a little, but ignored his Cherubim brother, and looked at Jerahmeel. 'Well?'
'Iceblocks,' said Jerahmeel the Papua New Guinean, smiling. 'I'm opening up next door to Kokabiel, down Yardley street.
'Michael's on Yardley Street. Him and Elenniel, aren't they?' Raguel asked Callodyn.
'Further East than Kokabiel's,' replied Callodyn. 'Kokabiel's is on the south-West corner of Yardley and Crimson Street intersection. The Catholic school is fruther down south on Crimson Street, on the Eastern side, were I and Ambs teach.'
'Where is Elenniel's dentist?' asked Raguel.
'Yardley Street. Opposite were they live on the street level,' replied Callodyn.
'So. Jerahmeel's Jollicles on Yardley,' said Raguel, looking at Jerahmeel.'
We are hoping to get a lot of the schoolkids, naturally. A lot drift down Yardley from the School after school hours,' said Jerahmeel.
'It's when Kokabiel gets a lot of business,' said Callodyn. 'From Michael a lot of the time as well.'
'He buys the kids comics,' said Jerahmeel to Raguel. 'He's being Superman. A good example for them.'
'He's a very good example,' said Ambriel, not looking up from his chess game with Callodyn. 'We could do well to look to his conduct to learn from it.'
'Shut up kemosabe. No hero worship. It's your move,' said Callodyn, focusing Ambriel's attention on the game of chess between them.
'Do you want to work for me? Muriel has agreed. I could use an accounts manager and a janitor?' Jerahmeel asked Raguel, looking hopeful.
'It stinks a lot here,' said Raguel.
'Why we are here. To clean it up,' said Jerahmeel.
Raguel picked up a copy of the Batman comic on the table between them. 'Pay me in comics,' he said.
'I thought you would have had them all by now,' replied Jerahmeel. 'What, are you missing issues or something?'
'No. Just pay me in comics, and make it DC. Start with More Fun number one, and work through them all. I'll be buying an apartment nearby Michael and Elenniel's. I'll need a huge comic collection.'
'Why?' asked Jerahmeel.
'It's time I had another kid. I'll settle him down in apartment, send him to school in that school, and he can work for your Jollicle company when I'm finished.'
'Wonderful,' said Jerahmeel, holding Raguel's arm and smiling at him.
Ambriel looked at Callodyn. 'That's an idea. What do you think?'
'A couple to replace you and me when we leave? Is that what you are driving at?' replied Callodyn.
'I guess so,' said Ambriel, looking at the chess set.
'Mmm. Katy has been looking quite hot recently. I'll send her an email. See if she can come around.'
The chat went on, and New Terra 17 life was improving yet again, a new breed of citizens, seemingly, on the horizon. A new hope being born, a fresh start for a forlorn world.
'Who the hell is Spaz?' asked Cosadriel.
'Spazandrael,' replied Kwintakel. 'He's my boy. 18 years old, and full of life. Azrael calls him Spaz.'
'Spaz?' Is he Azrael's.
Kwintakel shifted her feet. 'I think so,' she said nervously.
Cosadriel raised his eyebrow. 'Well?' he asked, starting to smile.
'Well, he better be,' said Kwintakel. 'Anyway, he's going into his old man's business. We're starting Spaz's place. On New Terra 17. Opposite Jerahmeel's Jollicles in New Bridlington.'
'Yeh, I heard about that,' said Cosadriel. 'They asked me to come and visit.'
'Well. Why don't you,' said Kwintakel.
Cosdariel eyed the scots lady. 'I'll think about it,' he replied.
* * * * *
A few months later, on Yardley Street in New Bridlington on New Terra 17, opposite Kokabiel's Kollector's Korner and Jerahmeel's Jollicles, 'Spaz's Place' had been born.
'Now, remember,' said Azrael. 'If'he's from Iceland, he's barred entry.'
'Gotcha dad,' said Spazandrael.
Cosadriel walked through the door.
'My favourite Icelander,' said Azrael, opening his arms in welcome.
Spaz looked at Cosadriel and his dad, and shook his head at the old hypocrite.
'So what do you think of Spaz's place?' asked Azrael. 'Do you like the donkey head above the bar?'
Cosadriel looked at the donkey head. 'He's a Connelly, that donkey. They all are,' said Cosadriel.
'He's a comedian,' shouted Azrael to Spazandrael.
'Right,' nodded Spaz.
'Dickhead,' said Azrael to Cosadriel, under his breath.
'Bite me,' replied Cosadriel, under his breath.
Kwintakel walked in from the back room. 'Oh, I see the entertainment has arrived.'
'This place. It kinda freakin smells a bit,' said Cosdriel, waving his hands in front of his nose.
'We've all noticed that,' said Kwintakel. 'They have a lot of plumbing challenges on New Terra 17. Other problems also.'
'You should be right at home,' said Cosadriel to Azrael. 'It smells just like Scotland.'
'A comedian,' shouted Az to Spaz. Then, under his breath to Cosadriel. 'Asshole.'
'Bite me,' replied Cosadriel.
'Dad said you might want to work for me for a while,' said Spazandrael.
'Michael suggested I have a kid here. I guess so. He can work for you, in time, I suppose,' replied Cosadriel.
'That's the spirit,' said Azrael, patting Cosadriel on the back.
Cosadriel was about to insult Azrael, but softened. 'Yeh, my Scottish friend. I suppose I can have another one. Working here won't be too bad for the kid.'
'I'm sure he'll fit right in,' said Spazandrael, and turned to look at some office notes with his mother.
Azrael and Cosadriel sat down.
'The aftermath of Jesus legacy,' said Az. 'Apparently the city was a riproaring economy once. It just died when Jesus left his messiah claim in the dirt.'
'Kwintakel says its slowly recovering,' replied Cosadriel.
'It is,' said Kwintakel out loud. 'Why it needs you. Needs a touch of Cosadriel's love.'
'As bizarre as that sound,' said Azrael. 'She's right. We need a kid of yours. My boy will work well with him. He'll be the life and the death of the party here, Saddy.'
'Yeh, yeh. I here you,' replied the Icelandic Seraphim. 'I guess I'll see if Oshanel is in the mood when I get home.'
'Better yet. Bring her here,' said Azrael. 'We can put you up for a while.'
'I guess so,' said Cosadriel, looking around the bar. 'Not sure she'll like the smell, but we can put up with it for a while.'
'She'll feel right at home in no time,' said Azrael.
'I'll bet,' replied the Seraphim.
And so they chatted on, and the day passed, and new life continued in New Bridlington, and new destinies were born.
The Adventures of Joe Hoe
'Joe Hoe, huh,' said Spaz. 'An interesting name.'
'Yep,' replied Joe. 'I'll have a beer.'
Cosadriel came out from the back room with a carton of spirits and looked at the old man.
'For fuck's sake. Who let him in?' queried Cosadriel.
'You know him?' asked Spazandrael.
'He is the worst sort of scum,' replied Cosadriel.
'Cheers,' said Wolfgang, lifting the freshly poured beer to Cosadriel's honour.
God found a seat, and Cosadriel, finishing up behind the bar, came and sat down next to him, a large schooner of ale with him.
'So. You've graced us with your presence at last,' said Cosadriel.
'Jerahmeel had a new flavour of Ice Block never before released,' said God. 'He's had the rights on it for aeons.'
'What flavour?' asked Cosadriel.
'Lemon Jungle, he calls it. A sweet lemon flavour with a bit of curry in it. It is actually quite distinct and refreshing,' replied God.
'I'll have to try one,' said Cosadriel, sipping on his ale.
God looked around the bar and noticed the stage at the back.
'People perform here?' he asked.
'Luladiel, currently,' said Cosadriel. 'Every Friday night. Callodyn sits down the back and cheers her on wildly.'
'Sounds interesting,' said God. 'I'll have to drop by.'
'You do that,' replied Cosadriel. The Seraphim looked at God. 'So, what have you been up to?'
'My usual adventures,' replied Joe Hoe. 'Lecturing in a Scandinavian community on New Terra 774 ironically.'
'Yeh, I know the planet,' said Cosadriel. 'Very primitive. First century of the common era culture, for the most part. Pre-Christian community.'
'Still idolatry based people, somewhat,' replied God. 'There religion has legal status with me, and I have been correcting them mildly on some pertinent points of inter-relationship between Asatru and Torah. They are making the necessary corrections as we speak.'
'The Adventures of Joe Hoe. What else would you expect,' grinned Cosadriel.
'I get up to regular stuff as well,' replied God. 'All sorts of stuff.'
'Try me,' replied Cosadriel.
'Goat wrestling,' said God. 'There is a Chilean community in Terraphora who have an annual Goat Wrestling festival. For sport.'
'Fascinating,' said Cosadriel.
'Whale riding,' replied God.
'That sounds impressive,' said Cosadriel. 'What is involved with that?'
'A harness is attached to a whale, which you are fitted into, and you are given breathing apparatus. Then the whale is released and off you go. It can get really wild.'
'Fab,' said Cosadriel, and yawned. 'I suppose you have a life,' he said, and sipped on his ale.
God dag deep. 'Skinny dipping in Antarctica,' replied God. Cosadriel yawned again.
'Hunting dinosaurs in Brazil. With a bow and arrow,' said God, hopeful. Cosadriel just gave him a 'Please' look.
Finally, God had his response. 'I had to stay home while Rihanna was having her monthly, and her mother lectured me all the time,' said God, and sighed.
'Fuck,' said Cosadriel. 'I feel for you buddy. You must have been through literall hell.'
'Tell me about it,' said God, relieved.
And so the boasting continued in Spaz's place, and Joe Hoe's Adventures were the flavour of the day, as another fine afternoon passed in the world of New Terra 17, a fine day of destiny for the children and angels of God.
Michael's Favourite Jollicle
Michael surveyed the range of Ice Blocks.
'What do you choose?' he asked the teen.
'What do you recommend?' asked the teen.
Michael looked at them all. 'I've always liked sherbet supreme. It has a lovely blast to it.'
'That sounds good,' said the girl.
'There is always Blueberry Heaven,' said Michael. 'Elenniel likes that particularly.'
'Ok,' said the angel girl.
'It's hard to decide, actually, sweetie. Can't my daughter choose herself?'
The 15 year old looked at all of Jerahmeel's Jollicles. 'I don't know. You choose,' she said.
Jerahmeel, who was serving today, looked at Michael. 'Shandrakrystel is such an obedient child. Let's her parents make all her decisions.'
'Let me bloody choose one, dumb arse,' said Callodyn's boy, Blundrakel. 'I'll make up your bloody mind.'
'Little shit,' said Michael under his breath.
Blundrakel hovered over the freezer. 'How about Orange Blossom. I know its a bit gay, but it tastes good.'
'I suppose,' said Shandrakrystel, smiling at the boy in the year above her in class.
'Raspberry Thunder is always a cracker,' said Blundrakel.
'Whatever you like,' said Shandrakrystel, and played with her hair.
'Humph,' said Michael. 'I'll choose. Killer Kola. That will do. It's always been my favourite Jollicle.'
'I'll have a Killer Kola too,' said Callodyn, reaching for his wallet.
'I'll have one too dad, if that's ok,' said Blundrakel to Callodyn. Callodyn nodded.
'Well I'll have a Lemonade Supreme,' said Michael. 'I'll try something different for a change.'
'Coming up,' said Jerahmeel.
A little later they were down the road a little, further west on Yardley, on the south side, in the park there. The kids had finished their iceblocks, and were on a see-saw, chatting to each other.
'She likes him,' said Michael to Callodyn.
'I noticed,' replied Callodyn.
'Must be the Elenniel in her. A soft spot. I'd have too much sense to dilly dally with that hooligan,' said Michael.
Callodyn glared at Michael, but said nothing.
'Are you sure he's all there? He seems a little thick,' said Michael.
Callodyn looked at Michael. 'You know, Mikey. You've done real proper by teaching the younguns good values and stuff. An we really appreciate it suh. Don't blow it,' he said, more seriously his last words.
'She'd be an idiot to marry him,' said Michael, smiling, looking at the kids.
Callodyn just licked on his Ice Block.
The Offices of Shangri La Corporation
'Shangri La. Dedicated 'Heaven on my Mind' escape adventures. We are the best in the business, universally. Our office here on New Terra 17 has hosted many adventures since debuting last fall, and we continue our work with skill, dedication, and the zeal to awaken New Terran's to all of life's possibilities. I'm Gandel the Seraphim, and I would like to say to you men and women of the press, we are here for keeps, and my son here, young Arjundiel, is dedicated to giving the best of escapes from Mundania to all who call on our services. Thank You.'
When the press had gone, Arjundiel looked out of the office, at the small park beneath. They were on Yardley Street in New Bridlington, right near the other children of destiny who had settled in this town centre CBD area. They were the new life for the New Terra 17 - that had become apparent. He was 23 years old now, had been born in the Realm of Eternity, but had always been prepared for this life ahead of him. It was his destiny, so his father Gandel, maintained.
'Dad. Michael and Callodyn. And there kids,' said Arjundiel to Gandel, who came over, looked down at the angels, and nodded.
'A small world at the moment,' said Gandel, and Arjundiel smiled at his father.
Later, sitting in front of his PC, he had 'Adventure Plan Creation' document open. It was a template. He'd done 3 or 4 of them by now, and now had to come up with something new. A new adventure escape to cheer people up.
'Something new,' he thought to himself. Then inspiration.
He typed down, 'Treasure Hunt. Teams of 3 players each, minimum of 5 teams. Find all the items around the city, and win the prize.'
'Not bad,' said Gandel, over his shoulder.
'Oh,' said Arjundiel.
'Work on it,' said his father. 'We could use that idea if it is well developed.'
Arjundiel nodded, and got to thinking.
Shangri La was a recent phenomenon, Gandel having started the first of the Escape Club's in Terraphora just a few years back, but with the recent fuss over New Terra 17, they had started an office here to play their trade. It was a family affair. Heaven on my Mind was a subsidiary corporation of Shangri La, a registered company Gandel had owned forever. It was new, and just starting out, but Arjundiel was to be the head of this division of Shangri La, and all his training so far had been about this work.
'Heaven on my mind, heaven on my mind,' said the young Indian to himself, as he looked at the screen.
The day passed, and his dad had gone home at 5, leaving him in the office alone, with a cleaner who had just come in. It was Shivana. A distant relative of the family. She was only young. 17.
'Hello Shivana,' said Arjundiel.
Shivana nodded, and continued on with her cleaning.
Arjundiel opened his shirt a little, and smiled at her. 'Are you a virgin?' he asked her.
She nodded softly.
He stood, and opened his fly, and pulled out his erect phallus.
'Well?' he said, looking at her.
'My parents,' she said. 'What will they say?'
'You like me don't you?' he said, pressuring her softly.
'You would have to marry me. We are a respectable family.'
He sat down, and thought it over. He was 23, not looking to marry so quickly necessarily, but didn't mind the look of Shivana. He reached into his desk and pulled out a small ring box. He opened it and showed it to her. It was a lovely ruby ring.
'I bought this just for the hell of it. You seem pretty enough. Marry me, and fuck me now if you say yes.'
She put down her vacuum cleaner handle, and sat down on the spare seat.
'Will you be faithful? Will you stay loyal?' she asked him.
'I hardly know you. But I know you well enough from what I've seen. Sure. Whatever. Why not. I lost my virginity at 15, but haven't been with another woman since. You will do I guess.'
She looked at him, and looked at his penis. She was shy, but didn't actually mind the forwardness of the proposal. Arjundiel obviously liked what he saw.
'Ok,' she said.
'Good,' he replied.
She looked at him, and his eager face, and slowly disrobed. Soon she was naked.
'Turn around. And put your hands on the table,' he said.
She obeyed, and he came up behind her, put his manhood into her, and after he had broken her hymen and cleaned off the blood, started fucking her.
Soon he came. She grunted a bit on him, and had enjoyed it.
A few weeks later she told him she was pregnant. He told his father, who said that he would have to go through with the wedding then, and he agreed. She was a nice enough girl.
God caught up with Arjundiel in Spaz's place a little later, after the marriage, and when Arjundiel had settled down with a home loan, and was doing his job.
'She suit you?' he asked his grandson.
'Shivana? She's fine,' replied Arjundiel.
'Did you like your piece of ass? I knew you were desperate for some. I hope you can commit to what you got.'
Arjundiel felt guilty, but nodded. 'She will do just fine. She's only a bloody wife. It isn't the Spanish bloody Inquisition.'
And God smiled, and Arjundiel smiled back, and got on with life for Shangri La, another Child of Destiny finding his way in the world.
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly and Mary Elizabeth O'Donnell II
Mary sat with Daniel in the basement level ANM Assembly Hall in New Bridlington on Yardley Street on New Terra 17. Upstairs was the Dentist which Elenniel worked at, and they owned the downstairs basement, which they had agreed to rent out to the ANM for meetings.
'While I acknowledge that Noahide Friends of Catholicism has survived reasonably well in this post-Christian era, do you really think Fallen Babylon wants to know?' asked Mary.
Daniel, the 347th Male Cherubim of the Realm of Eternity, talking with his twin, Lourdes Ciccone, looked up at Mary. 'Lourdes thinks so. It's her idea, so we'll run with it.'
'Mother thinks we need to do something here, as the Children of Destiny are congregating,' said Lourdes. 'I've known about this movement forever, and thought it would work well here. Give people something familiar they still crave, but won't conflict with what they now know.'
'I don't know,' said Mary, looking at an Assembly Music Book. 'I've been talking with people and they resent Jesus more than anything else now. I'm not sure if our message will come across well.'
'We can only try,' said Daniel.
'We can only try,' agreed Lourdes.
That evening, with the turnout of 7 souls, apart from Daniel, Lourdes and Mary, they clapped the praise song, for it was a semi-charismatic style they were working with, Daniel kept his eye on the gathered flock to see if any would make for the door. They did that in Charismatic things a lot. He let them - that was his policy - when others would try and ask what was going on. If they didn't try to stay he wouldn't force them. But he gave an altar call at the end of the service, and asked if anyone wanted to confess their sins to God, and get right with him, and 2 of the ladies came forward, and finally a gentleman, and they prayed the sinners prayer, and one of them said they felt better.
'Hope for the hopeless. Are you sure that's the best of inspiring songs we should work with?' asked Mary, after the service had ended. 'Do you think they really want to be reminded.'
'People can be brutally honest about their situation when it comes right down to it,' responded Daniel. 'I think they take hope out of that song.'
'Let's hope so,' said Lourdes, who had gathered up the song books, and was shifting around on her feet, looking for something to do.
'Are you settled into your place?' Mary asked Lourdes.
Lourdes looked at Daniel. 'Yes. Sort of.'
Mary looked at Lourdes, and looked at Daniel, and said nothing more. Something seemed to be going on between them by the looks of it.
'Well, let's hope we can bring that hope to New Bridlington,' said Mary positively.
'You bet,' said Lourdes, who gathered her leather jacket and keys and mobile, smiled at Mary, and went up to Daniel, kissed him on the cheek, and said something softly to him, and left.
Daniel finished with his notes, and Mary stood in front of him. 'What was all that about then?'
Daniel looked at Mary for a long time, sighed, and said, 'An eternity of agro dealt with,' he said, and said nothing more. Mary didn't make any further inquiries.
'Callodyn. Why do we praise God anymore?'
Callodyn looked at Kayella. 'Well, I don't, really. Not really. Sort of gave that away a while ago. I've worked a lot of him out now. He really is mainly a Jewish God, with a Pro-Jewish agenda, and doesn't particularly care for non-Jewish people very much. I was in the throne room a few centuries ago and he said to me 'WELL, YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO CONVERT TO JUDAISM, THEN?'
I responded I wasn't, and he said, 'I HAVE NO NEED FOR NON-JEWISH PEOPLE.' It was the last time he spoke with me, and I think its the last time I'll speak with him.'
'Yeh,' replied Kelly softly. 'I get that from Elenniel. Says she doesn't expect to fellowship with us eternally. Says she and Michael are going to Israel in Terraphora one day, and never leave. That they have seen the end of their witness, and it will do. If people don't want to join them, then that is their business.'
'Well, it's Noahide eternal for me,' said Callodyn. 'I can live without Jehovah. I never really agreed with a lot of what he did anyway.'
Kayella came close. 'I never really liked him. He was always too dogmatic for me.'
And the Children of Destiny, whom the Universe of Life favoured, spoke their eternal words, and life went on in New Bridlington, another day of truth.
Michael was no longer Superman. He, Ambriel, the others - when Wolfgang had shown up one afternoon to each of them, and, in the way he did things, to Israel and the Abrahamic people throughout the world and realms, they retreated into their enclaves, their own lands, and built up walls and fences and barriers, and closed themselves off from the rest of mankind and angelkind.
A witness had been given - and a separation had come.
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly took the lead, and organized the building of mankind's own walls, in response, not far away from Israel's. The walls were twice the size, impenetrable, stable, solid, non-threatening, but non-climbable from both sides. They were basic, bare - and eternal.
Noah sat with Daniel after that, and agreed that the Rainbow Bible as it stood would do fine. Morality and justice could be drawn from it. But a new section - which they titled 'Life Goes On', would be added to the Rainbow Bible, and they would start working through morals and teachings and life principles, garnered from their experience, which they would apply spiritually and religiously, with themselves as the chief iconoclasts of faith, to be their own witness for the future of mankind. Because they were happy enough to do that, to set that example, and be that icon of faith which people could rely upon.
And, after a few centuries, when people had settled down, and life had continued just that - going on - God was talked of gradually less and less, and the new morality replaced it, which wasn't humanistic or atheistic, because it didn't forget that God had made them and the world, but was a positive morality which helped people, reminded them that this was life, and it was their choice to live it, encouraged them to do so, and to make something of it. And that was enough for people, and life went on.
'You happy enough?' Lourdes asked Daniel Daly, one afternoon.
'Yeh. Relieved, if anything. Pressure is gone. A happiness in my soul is there now. It was always this melancholy of subtle depression. It's gone now. I have a real point now. A good reason to really work on this faith, and give hope to people. I'm more alive than I've ever been.'
Lourdes touched his hand, and they continued preparing for the evening service of Noahide Friends of Catholicism, which no longer had Jesus as an Icon, after the revisions, but a Catholic feel remained, and life went on. Life went on.
Callodyn and Cosadriel
'You like fishing?' asked Cosadriel.
'Scotsmen like fishing,' said Callodyn.
'Come on, you're a Celt. Celt's love fishing,' said Cosadriel.
Cosadriel looked out from the fish and chip cafe at the gathering storm. 'In that weather?'
'Try Azrael. It's his bloody town. Half the people here are his own clan descendants.'
'Why they are so smelly,' said Cosadriel.
'They smell good and proper,' said Azrael, returning to the table with thee serves of fish and chips.
'What is this town called again?' asked Callodyn.
'Smalby,' replied Azrael.
'Great name,' said Callodyn, looking at Cosadriel. 'Ok. Fine. If you dare.'
'We're going fishing. In that,' said Cosadriel, pointing to the swell coming.
'You'll frikkin drown,' said Azrael.
Cosadriel and Callodyn set off, and hired a small fishing boat, and came a kilometre off shore, set down the anchor, and started fishing. Callodyn had a life buoy two feet from him, ready to use it, and as the swell got intense, Cosadriel just smiled at him.
'You're crazy,' said Callodyn to Cosadriel, as the storm continued.
'You want to quit?' asked Cosadriel, looking mean.
The radio crackled, and Azrael's voice was heard. Callodyn went inside to answer it.
'Are ye frikkin comin back to shore?' asked the Scotsman.
Callodyn gave Cosadriel a long hard glare, and replied 'We'll see you in the morning.'
The storm was wild all night, and they fished all night. They caught a few as well. The boat rocked, but Cosadriel just gave Callodyn that rock hard glare, and he didn't complain.
In the morning the storm had passed, and they returned to shore.
'A good catch,' said Azrael. 'We'll pay you handsomely for them.'
Callodyn nodded, and Cosadriel took his cash later, and patted Callodyn on the back.
'You passed, Celtic bastard,' said Cosadriel. 'I won't do that again to you. But you now have the balls to hang with Azrael and Cosadriel.'
Callodyn smiled. 'Thank God for that,' he replied dryly, and the Icelanders grin summed it all up.
'If you treat others kindly, remember they might not care at all. But many will probably appreciate. Life doesn't have any rules for how people choose to behave or respond. They might think you have ulterior motives in your kindness, or they might simply not give a damn. Others, still, might be kind and grateful. There is a diverse array of life and thought in humanity, and there is a diverse array of reaction to what we say and do. But the bottom dollar of the new teaching of the Rainbow Bible,' continued Callodyn, 'Is that we HAVE chosen life, and life principles, and life affirmation ideas, and oppose concepts of evil in general. Torah had a lot to say - and the early Rainbow bible was based on Torah inspiration. But we have progressed in life, as God just wants his private club now, so we move on as well from him, and continue to grow and develop, holding fast to principles of life and morality which work, being those things the Advancing Noah Movement has dedicated itself upon, and continuing to let go of evil and death. Life moves on. Life continues to grow and develop. Our job is to respond to it with our accumulated wisdom and understanding, and to seek the continued eternity of this life, for the betterment of all. Thank you.'
He sat, and they clapped at the Noahide Friends of Catholicism meeting in New Bridlington, and Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly gave a short speech, and they departed for the evening.
They were at MacDonalds, after the service, further west on Yardley Street, further down past 'Spaz's Place' on the corner of Yardley and Armstrong, the next north-south way after Crimson street.
'That went well,' said Daniel. 'Positive. People seemed happy with what you had to say.'
'I think so,' replied Callodyn.
'It was good,' said Lourdes, reaching for a french fry, seated comfortably next to Daniel.
'He has a touch,' said Luladiel.
Mary O'Donnell, in the next cubicle, sitting next to Jerahmeel, spoke up. 'You need to work hard at the moment. There are life ideas out there, now, with this new move from God. This Separation. A range of fresh copyrightable information on spirituality has been born, stuff never known before, and we need to get it before it's all gone. It's always been like that, with new developments. The information gets released, and then is swallowed up by the early bird,' aid Mary.
Callodyn looked at Daniel, and they nodded to each other. They were their thoughts exactly.
'So dig deep, Danny Boy,' said Jerahmeel, and have a Sprite on me,' he said, holding up his cup of sprite lemonade. The group laughed, but Callodyn nodded to himself. Time to dig deep. Time to unearth the new agenda, and come out on top, in true Callodyn the Cherubim style.
One to Six
'One, two, three, four, five and Six,' said Kantriel. 'All fucked off to Israel in Terraphora, leaving you in charge, mate. And they took care of the Saruvim of Infinity by bringing them into their world so as not to leave us with a headache. Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Raguel & Phanuel all fucked off to Israel, Logos, Metatron and Memra returned home permanently, which is also sealed off, and Saruviel sits on the throne of Zaphon, with no challenger but Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly the Cherubim.'
'Let him come,' said Saruviel, polishing a sword from house Darvanius.
'Your a fucking nutter,' said Daraqel. 'You think the rest of the angels are just gonna roll over and let you play God?'
'Well, they need one now,' said Saruviel. 'And I fit the bill perfectly,' he said in the most sarcastic of tones.
'The bill of imbecile,' said Krystabel, knitting over the side of the throneroom of Zaphon.
Saruviel had arranged for a pompous throne to replace the throne of God, whose light had died recently, the eternal flame no longer shining in Zaphon, and he sat on it, and looked quite proud.
'Ok. I'm being a dickhead,' said Alexander. 'Let me be. Get it off my chest.'
'Your good at being a dickhead as well,' replied Kantriel.
'Very qualified,' said Daraqel.
'Long live Saruviel the dickhead,' said Kantriel.
'All hail,' said Daraqel.
'My first decree,' said Saruviel. 'Bring me Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly the Cherubim. We have a new order to work out, and the Seraphim rule. What, there is about 45 of us now remaining, or something like that, so it's time to see who runs the show.'
'Just a council,' said Krystabel. 'Don't get ahead of yourself dear husband.'
Saruviel bowed to his twin. 'Ok, ok. I get the point. But let me have my fun first,' he replied, and she nodded, continuing on with her knitting.
'BRING ME THE HEAD OF DANIEL THOMAS ANDREW DALY THE CHERUBIM,' said Saruviel dramatically.
'Yes sire,' said Daraqel grinning madly.
And another new adventure began.
'You are scum,' said Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly to Saruviel, in the throneroom.
Daniel had been officially arrested, was in handcuffs, and was standing before the 'Most Supreme and Glorious, radiant and perfect, Divine Holiness of Pontifical Excellence, His Majestic Brilliance, Saruviel the Magnificent.'
'Saruviel the asswipe,' replied Daniel, to the Minstrel's bellow.
'We shall have council,' said Saruviel. 'There are 45 Seraphim and most of the Cherubim remaining, and God is gone forever - good riddance I say - so we shall have council, and your Seraphim Son Daniel shall no longer be Arch-Regent, for we are equals upon the Council of the Realm of Eternity.'
Daniel wanted to spit at Alexander, but thought better of it.
'Ok. It's a new paradigm, ok then. We will get our future glory elsewhere. I swear off the campaign of Daniel's for the future, and agree to abide by Council rule. I think you are right anyway, as Theocracy and Monarchy don't represent as fairly as democracy.'
'We are a Monarchical council,' replied Saruviel. 'And we will take turns in the chairman, running through the list of remaining Seraphim and Cherubim, a period of a Million years of service each, starting with myself, as I am the eldest. From eldest to youngest. We shall consider the Ketravim in time.'
'Fine,' replied Daniel. 'Now get these cuffs off me.'
Saruviel came down off the throne, took the key from the guard, and undid Daniel's cuffs.
'Now you play fair,' said Saruviel to Daniel. 'We're in charge now, and the world needs good role models. You have learned to be a good role model, haven't you?'
'I think I've figured that out brother,' said Daniel, patting Saruviel on the back. Let's go to the cafeteria.
A little later they were in Zaphon cafeteria, drinking Coca Cola, and Daniel began.
'It's NEW life. It's OUR life. I always had relationship problems with God. It didn't work the best. We didn't see eye to eye on a lot of shit. But I wasn't stupid. He was God. But now that he's fucked off, its a relief more than anything. And I looked inside, and found that it had been my own choice to be loving, decent and moral, and eternally so on it. I'm probably made in the image of God and that is probably what we are like when we are honest with ourselves. Probably the way we are wired. Life goes on, and we probably just don't need him anymore anyway.'
'Fancy a game of Keldo?' asked Saruviel to his younger Cherubim brother.
'I'm all yours,' replied Daniel.
And that was that.
'This is Refat Belayet. She's from Bangladesh. She's also known as Jasmina. She's a cherubim angel.'
Daniel introduced Refat to Mary.
'Oh. Pleased to meet you,' replied Mary O'Donnell. Mary looked at Daniel, with one of those looks.
Refat sat down on the seat in the Assembly hall and picked up one of the song books.
Mary waved Daniel aside. 'Does Lourdes know about her?'
Daniel looked straight at Mary. 'What do you mean? Know about her?'
'Aren't you and Lourdes.............' she trailed off.
'Me and Lourdes Ciccone are the best of friends,' replied Daniel.
'Friends, huh?' said Mary.
Daniel looked at his notes, and then looked straight at Mary. 'Friends,' he said forcefully.
'Right,' nodded Mary, and went and sat down next to Refat.
The service came and want, and Refat sang a short praise to Allah, and they had tea and biscuits after the service.
'Your from Bangladesh,' said Lourdes.
'Yes. On New Terra,' said Refat.
'Ooh. New Terra royalty,' said Lourdes. 'Well, pleased to meet you.' Refat smiled.
Daniel, later, took Lourdes aside.
'What the hell did you say that for? New Terra royalty? What's up your butt?'
'Thinks she can just waltz in. I'm from Bangladesh. I'm from New Terra. Bitch,' said Lourdes.
'She's as sweet as anything,' said Daniel. 'What is your problem?' but he was smiling at Lourdes sarcasm.
'You won't even frikkin propose, and I've been hagning around ages,' said Lourdes. 'What is your fucking problem?'
'Your expecting a proposal?' he said, eyebrows raised. 'I had thought the daughter of Madonna deemed Daniel Daly eternally uncool.'
'Go fuck yourself,' she said.
'The biggest dork in creation, apparently.'
'And your mother,' said Lourdes.
'Worse than the Theophany himself.'
Lourdes poked her tongue out at Daniel.
'Lourdes think's I'll propose. Hmmm,' said Daniel, and looked at Refat.
'Well, life always has a merry hum and strum to it, sis. You never know what you'll get next.'
'Asshole,' said Lourdes, and looked the other way, but Daniel only grinned all the more.
And Saruviel is Great
'So, say it again. Saruviel is Great, and God is Gay.'
The theophany glared at Saruviel, seated upon the throne of Zaphon.
'Say it,' said Saruviel. 'SAY IT!!!'
'saruviel is great and god is gay,' said God.
'SARUVIEL IS GREAT AND GOD IS GAY,' said the Theophany.
'Very good,' said Saruviel, and stood, got off the throne, and Wolfgang nodded to his movers, who brought in the old throne, and, as soon as it was in place, the flame appeared, the eternal flame of God, above the throne, burning its constant blue, and God glared at Saruviel.
As it does.
Got back to normal.
Israel unwalled its walls, and God apologized for his outburst of pride, saying he was only human, and Krystabel said 'I told you so,' to everyone.
The Final Jollicle
'I'll give you 50 bucks for it,' said Callodyn.
'I'll pay you 80 dollars,' insisted Ambriel.
'I'll throw in an early printing of Morning Stars,' said Callodyn.
'I'll give you my next daughter as a sex slave,' retorted Ambriel.
Both Callodyn and Jerahmeel cocked their heads on that point, but Callodyn continued unperturbed.
'I'll start a cult of Jerahmeel worshippers,' said Callodyn, and glared at Ambriel.
'I'll worship you myself,' triumphed Ambriel.
'Sold to the angel with the blonde hair,' said Jerahmeel..
'You are - despicable,' said Callodyn to Ambriel, as the final of Jerahmeel's Jollices on a hot New Bridlington summer day sold to a proud and triumphant Seraphim.
The Chronicles of the Children of Destiny
'Daniel,' said Meludiel, to Daniel the Seraphim.
He continued on with his meal, watching the A Team, and said 'Yeh babe, what?'
'You are aware of Ambriel's writings. On history, aren't you?'
'Vaguely,' responded Daniel. 'He asked me once to mind my beeswax on his Messiah Ministries campaign, so I've never really looked into it. Frankly, I don't even know what he teaches, and Frankly, I couldn't care less.'
'Noahide Books allows fanfiction. Of the Chronicles, doesn't it,' said Meludiel.
Daniel looked at her. 'We register them. They've always been registered.'
'In the beginning, apparently, you gave permission for individual's to write it without that.'
'Oh, for fuck's sake. Yes. I am aware of some fucker's who aren't registered. They don't bother me, I don't bother them.'
She smiled. 'That's good then.'
He continued watching the A Team. Hannibal was on the jazz, but he found this annoying question rising up.
'I mean,' he said, turning to her. 'What the hell has that got to do with the price of tea in China?'
'Ambriel asked me to let you know. He has completed his first works on his task.'
'Good to know,' said Daniel, and returned to his TV. Then the question again. 'Well what bloody works?'
'On his history. Like I said. He's been recording the lives of the Children of Destiny, as Eve calls us all. He's called it the Chronicles of the Children of Destiny.'
Daniel looked at her. For the first time, perhaps ever, his jaw dropped. 'Dafuq?' he asked.
'It's called the Chronicles of the Children of Destiny. It's vast. And you are in it all the time,' she said. 'He follows most of your canon and guidelines.'
'And Messiah Ministries is based on this?' asked Daniel, eyebrow raised.
'Yes,' she replied, about to be triumphant about it.
'Well, good luck to him. Hope he sells a trillion,' and he returned his focus to the TV.
Meludiel glared at the arrogant bastard, and left the room.
But when she was gone, Daniel looked to see she wasn't watching, and hopped on to the Internet. He found the Messiah Ministries website, and started searching. There, bold as brass, the tab. 'Chronicles of the Children of Destiny.'
'The little shit,' said Daniel, clicked on a sample story, and, for the first time in history, began reading through the other half of the history of the Children of Destiny.
The Wisdom of Jehovah
'I AM UPSET,' said God to Saruviel.
Saruviel sat on the seat which had been provided for him by Ambriel, who sat on the side benches of the throne room of Zaphon, observing the show.
'What has upset you, divine one?' asked Saruviel.
'DANIEL. DANIEL AND VALANDRIEL. THEY HAVE USURPED MICHAEL'S GLORY.'
'Daniel and Valandriel worked hard. Life is what you make it. They obeyed your Torah, sought the glory, and were wise in how they handled it. They used their talents, and earned their place in the world,' said Saruviel.
'CURRENTLY THEY HAVE RESUMED THEIR EXERCISE REGIME. THEY HAVE LEFT NEW BRIDLINGTON, AND ARE TRAINING FOR THEIR KNOCKOUT CRICKET CUP. I FEAR THE GLORY THEY WILL EARN WILL BE QUITE VAST AT THIS TIME.'
'You can't handle the competition? Not lazy are you?' asked Saruviel.
'THEY ARE IN NO WAY COMPETITORS.'
'Then what is the problem?'
'MICHAEL. HE FEELS NEGLECTED.'
'The laziness of a firstborn Seraphim who merely rests on his laurels of past glories should in no way deter Daniel and Valandriel, nor any other adventurer who is prepared, as Tony Robbins might say, to 'Go Get Life.' Michael gets what he deserves. If he performs, his reward will be manifest.'
'MICHAEL LACKS AMBITION. HE IS A FAITHFUL SERVANT.'
'Such is life,' replied Saruviel.
The Final Death of a Heretic
Jesus sat with Belteshazzar.
'We have decided to make the final payment. It has come to our attention you have finally admitted not being Christ,' said Belteshazzar to Jesus of Nazareth.
'That is good. The payment is to the executioner. He would not do the work until we had paid in full. The payment was made yesterday, and he is among us.'
A man, dressed in black, with a familiar smile walked through the door. He sat down opposite Jesus.
'Your sins against Israel are eternally held against you. Do you have anything to say?'
'Go to hell,' reacted Jesus angrily.
The executioner lifted up his GHT666, aimed at Jesus in the head, and pulled the trigger.
The brains splattering against the wall were the final death of a heretic.
'I guess I got my second, third and final rebukes on the Christ Child all rolled into one,' said Michael, the executioner, firstborn of the Seraphim angels of Eternity.
Belteshazzar, the wise, nodded.
The Final Death of a Heretic 2
Sariel commented. 'So its seems we now know who are rebellious, don't we Daniel.'
Michael picked up his GHT666 at the gathering, and shot Bahaliel and Muhammed in the head, there brains splattering everywhere, their blood drained from their existence.
Angela looked at Michael. 'I dare thee,' she said.
Michael handed the gun to Daniel.
'Well? Are you man, or are you a mouse?' Michael asked Daniel.
Daniel aimed at Angela, then shot her in the heart. She died quite quickly. Not as much blood, either.
Torah reigned supreme, then. The false religions quickly died out after that. The New Agendas, unless Torah based, fell.
Callodyn sat with Daniel and Valandriel one afternoon.
'If they continue with this aggression, and turn it onto us, in their self-justification, we do know how it ends, don't we?' Callodyn asked the other two.
'I will speak for them,' said Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly. 'He held a GHT777 Rifle in his arm.'
The Final Death of a Heretic 3
Michael glared at Callodyn.
'We don't approve of any non-Jewish Torah.' He pulled out his gun, and pointed it at Callodyn.
'I'm sorry. You were mostly ok. But heresy is heresy.'
'Are you sure about that?' Callodyn asked Michael.
'Ok, then. I guess there can be only one.'
Callodyn looked in the distance, and a rifle, with a silencer, had it's trigger pulled.
Michael suddenly slumped in his cafe seat. A bullet had penetrated the base of his spine.
The cafe worker came over. 'We were sure it would be you, Callie.' She looked at the dead body. 'That's ironic, I guess. What will happen to Israel now?'
'The rot set in a long time ago,' said Callodyn.
The Noahide cafe worker just nodded soberly, and got on with the rest of her work for the day.
Callodyn and Cosadriel 2
'Sorry to hear about your mother's passing,' said Cosadriel to Lourdes Ciccone.
'She's over it,' said Callodyn, being careful with his father's twin.
'Mum was never going to live forever,' said Lourdes softly. 'If she wasn't Catholic, she was a Kabbalist, and either would have killed her in the end.'
3 millennia had passed since the death of Michael. In the first millennia the remnant of fallen Babylon which had remained Christian had warred on Islam and Israel, and the bitter children had decimated each other. Bloodlines had been hunted down and destroyed. Bahai had survived independent for a while, but then had been attacked by the remnants of the other fallen children, and over the second millennia it had died out. In the third millennia final feuding groups, here and there, tiny surviving elements, warred, till a few centuries back, the last died. The other religions had quietly let it go, and some people drifted off into the world, and death rates were up a lot at the moment, and a few had chosen the Noahide covenant. The very few.
Callodyn smiled at Cosadriel. 'Let's go fishing.'
'I'll see you the hotel tomorrow,' said Lourdes, waving to Callodyn as they disappeared.
The sea was steady that evening, and they fished the whole night. Callodyn worked hard, and caught a lot of fish, twice as many as Cosadriel.
'You seem to be getting the hang of it,' complimented Cosadriel.
'Natural talents have emerged a lot recently,' said Cosadriel. 'I have a lot of confidence now. Found more and more peace in the last few thousand years.'
'Terror. It's been dealt with,' said Cosadriel.
'I guess it has,' replied Callodyn soberly.
The following morning they sold their fish at the same fisherman's place as before, and Azrael smiled.
'It's a triffic catch. For an Irishman,' said Azrael.
Callodyn pulled out a little stingray. 'We saved this for you,' said Callodyn.
'Don't eat it all,' said Cosadriel. 'We're coming over for lunch with Lourdes.'
'Now how am I going to cook this monstrosity?' Azrael asked to himself. But he found a way.
Saruviel, wearing his favourite Grim Reaper Halloween outfit, was in the throneroom of God in Zaphon, chatting with God.
'TELL ME THE LIST THEN,' sighed God.
'Abraham's army. Can't find a solitary one anywhere in the universe,' replied Saruviel. 'There isn't a functioning synagogue in existence, as far as we can tell. Nor any Church, Mosque or Bahai temple. All gone. Same for all the other religions. All gone now. Suicide has been epidemic, people running out of their spiritual steam, so it seems. They've had enough. Wanted to rest in their eternal peace. Big names gone. Jesus. But you knew that well. Gabriel, Raguel, Phanuel, Uriel, Raphael. And, of course, your favourite and mine, Michael. Couldn't handle the going, and we are waiting on the resurrection website to see his name. None of their bloody names have been added, and its been ages. Literally ages. What gives?' asked Saruviel sarcastically. Daniel has maintained you will raise Angela from death, because he is not a murderer, and unless she was guilty of death, which we know she was anyway, she is due the resurrection. But no. Jehovah has not done so, and Daniel is confused.'
'HIS EXECUTION OF ANGELA WAS LEGAL. HE BARED NO ANIMOSITY, AND THERE WAS PRESSURE FROM MICHAEL WHICH MAY HAVE KILLED DANIEL UNLESS HE HAD COMPLIED.'
'Perfectly understood. You need a fall guy, someone to finish off the reprobate, and Dan had the balls. Good on him. Of course, famous christian celebrity after christian celebrity, all dead and gone. The legends, kaput. Not much competition now. And Callodyn is amused by the depression in Luladiel, Taylor and Kayella. He is hoping you don't have anything too drastic planned for them, and is praying fervently.'
TIME WILL TELL,' responded God.
'Well, it has been an interesting experience, life so far, dear heavenly father. Some dreams live, some dreams die, by the looks of it. I have taken note of the dreams which die.'
'VERY WISE OF YOU,' responded God.
'Thanks. Father.' And Saruviel grinned a little, headed off to the canteen for a can of Coca Cola, and got on with the rest of his day.
'Iron Maiden. They are on the lifelist,' said Daniel to Callodyn.
'Don't I fucking know it,' replied Callodyn, still grieving over the final suicide of Kayella, the last of the three to bite the dust. Depression had been too extreme. Life had come, life had gone.
'Talzudiel,' said Daniel. 'Doing well. Azrael and Cosadriel and their twins. In amazing health. Saruviel, Kantriel and Darqel. Couldn't be better apparently. Amused where everyone has gone. Gamrayel. In good health. Loquiel, smiling at everyone, but disappointed about Ambriel. Yet, he'll live, so he says. Life goes on. And, the only other surviving Seraphim, Jerahmeel. Doing well, in good spirits, and starting to chat with Loquiel about a Zaphon support group for the angels. And, of course, Sariel. Couldn't forget Sariel. In fine spirits, with his twin, and having the time of his life. Of course, among the chicks Melaniel is fine, and prospering, despite the loss of her twin, which didn't really bother her anyway. Melanie the Cherubim is in good health, and Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly the Cherubim is currently managing the Spice Girls on a 'Farewell to all our loved one's' worldwide concert tour. The non-survivors.'
'And including me, and about 5% of the Cherubim, not much left of the children of destiny, buddy.'
Callodyn sighed. 'Oh well. Is that Baby Spice available at the moment?' he asked, eyebrow raised.
Daniel chuckled. Boy, did he knowingly chuckle.
There can be only one
'The way I see it,' said Richie Sambora to Jon Bon Jovi,' is that the celebrity status cuts off at about 2000 in the common era calendar. Adele. She's one of the very few post 2000 celebrities who has hung around, with Rihanna and Steel Panther. The rest - oblivion.'
'God digs Rihanna and Steel Panther, and Adele is humble enough,' replied Jon.
'Yep,' continued Richie. 'But, I've been working on it, and I figure the old man has a punishment on them all. They are being denied glory for their sins and pride, and will be in the pit a fair long while. I don't think he'll damn them forever,' said Richie.
John looked at his bro through dark eyes. 'Are you really that fucking naive? And we have a show to do.'
'Let't hit it,' said Tico. 'There can be only one rock and there can be only one roll. And the 21st Century is no substitute,' shouted Tico, as the band came onto the stage.
'Be honest, Callodyn. You don't think they will really stay dead forever, do you?'
'Shut up Daniel,' replied Callodyn. '7DF is doing amazing things in growth and popularity at the moment. We have kept the faith forever, and those idiots felt they could just do their own thing and tell God to go to hell. Pride rose up in them. They forgot that God eternally protects innocence and gentle souls. God hates the agro and Jews and Christians and Muslims and Bahai all had the agro in the end. They couldn't get the fuck over it. We prosper, now. They are dead forever. And when Tails and Co show up in the end, I will mock their arses off. And fuck em. Glad they are dead forever.'
'Right,' said Daniel, satisfied. He went to the fridge, got a can of Coca Cola, and sat down next to Callodyn who was doing an ancient family jigsaw of the 6 million dollar man.'
'Dad did this. In Berridale. As a kid. With grandma Mary,' said Daniel the Seraphim. 'I can feel the spirit of it still.'
'It calms me down,' said Callodyn. 'It's an easy Jigsaw, but its therapy. I'm still dealing mostly with Kayella being gone. I liked Baby Spice for a week, but she and Jovius are tighter than ever.'
'Kelly is in hell,' said Daniel. 'Getting over her ancient idolatry. God will not forgive any of them until they get over their false prophets. It's the way it really is Cal.'
'I know,' said Callodyn. 'She's an idiot,' he moaned. 'I love her, now. So deeply. So much. And I can't live without Luladiel and Taylor. It's us 4 for all eternity. Life just sucks without them.'
'The show must go on bro. It will be like this for a long time, you know. For a very long time, before God forgives them.'
'Did Wolfgang say that? When he was here last week?' asked Callodyn.
Daniel sipped on his Coca Cola. 'Wolfgang DeBear said a lot of things,' said Daniel. 'But he might have softly said something like that. But he told me to get over it for a very long, long time, as it would be an age of ages before he would forgive them. They pushed their Christian thing forever, and didn't once give a damn that it was idolatry. They didn't once repent of it. They are in for the long haul, bro. It's just us for a very long time, ok.'
'And dad,' said Callodyn.
'Dad will be always there for us. Old man Daniel always has been. And grandpa Cyril is a rock for him, so things will be ok in the end, bro.'
'Everything will be ok in the end,' echoed Callodyn. He sat there, quietly, doing his therapy, doing his jigsaw, and looked at the picture of Meludiel and Ambriel on the wall. 'I miss the buggers, but its our turn in the sun. They'll be back one day. I can endure.'
'That's the spirit,' said Daniel. 'Now let's watch some porn.'
And as 'Holly does Hollywood' got going, Callodyn cheered up, and in the throneroom of Zaphon a streak of majestic blue ran through the flames of God, and all was well in the world. All was well.
Harvest of a Lifetime
Jenny Gilmore. Smart, intelligent even, well spoken, polished. A lady. These thoughts entered Jenny as she looked at the webscreen on the 'Oz Luv' website, filling in her dating profile.
'Hardly!' she thought sarcastically to herself. Then she started typing. 'Real. Down-to-Earth. Humble. Salt of the Earth. Doesn't like fortune hunters. Hard working and reliable. Country girl.' Yes, that would do she thought to herself. Aeons - ages - and she had ended up with nobody, and Daniel the Seraphim saw her once every century for a visit, and that was about it. She was a nobody, forgotten, and not even Coleman took an interest any more. It had come down to 'Oz Luv'. She was desperate. She continued filling out the profile, in the early morning hours, the cock suddenly crowing as the light creeped in from the break of dawn, and she chose her words carefully. She didn't know the New Terran society. She hardly mixed. She never mixed. She was considered royalty by much of the universe, now, simply because she lived on New Terra, the oldest of the planets, and was among mankind ancients. That didn't make it any easier to find love. It never really had. Daniel had been a consistent theme, and not much else. Not much else cared. Was she good looking? She liked to think so. But, no, she was ok. Really just a regular sort, who would hopefully attract that. A regular sort. But they never showed. Her grandmother, every now and again, reminded her that unless she socialized, nothing ever much would happen. But she only agreed in life's natural occurrences, and she never really socialized. She went into town rarely, and a familiar face said hello from time to time, but that was about it. Nothing more. There never really had been anything more. So it was time for Oz Luv which Fiona had harked on about, and to try the online dating scene. Who knows. Maybe prince charming was just around the corner.
* * * * *
Greg Daly. The Cherubim angel Gregory, 232nd Male Cherubim of the Realm of Eternity. Brother to Daniel. Long time married to Christie Gonzaga, but they had eventually separated. They'd never divorced, as neither would accept such a thing, but Greg was only mildly fond of her in the end. She never really had been the one he was completely taken with. Greg lived on New Terra, often at his home in Perth, which Christie stayed at from time to time, visiting their son James who lived there, but usually at 29 Merriman Crescent, Macarthur, Canberra on New Terra. The Daly homestead in a way. It was built up now. It had many levels and sub-levels. Time had moved on, and space had become a valuable commodity on New Terra for the city folk, so they ended up have to build up or down. The Daly's did both. 29 Merriman, now, had 742 upper levels, and 394 lower ones. And it wasn't finished yet. And that is where he was on a fine Spring morning, looking over his ancient 'Oz Luv' profile. Then he noticed a star. New Matches. There hadn't been any new matches forever, literally. He'd met em all. They were not suitable. As simple as that. Who the hell could this be? He clicked on the tab. The girl looked strangely familiar. 'Fuck,' he swore. 'It's Jenny Gilmore.' He couldn't, he thought to himself. He shouldn't, he thought to himself. He wouldn't, he thought to himself. He did though. He sent her a wink, and an email, and suggested he drop around on the weekend, as he knew where she lived anyway. A response came back in 5 minutes. 'See you then, Greg. Looking forward to it. Jenny.'
* * * * *
'Daniel never brings me up here very much,' said Jenny. 'But I do like it up here. Looking out over the town. A big town now. Lookin up at half of it, actually, but still a good view.' They were on Polo Flat hill, were the Telecom tower was, looking out over Cooma town. There were quite a number of scrapers in Cooma town, now, but you still had your lower level abodes. The air was fresh were they were on a Saturday spring evening, and the two romantics were full of beans.
'We own that place there,' said Greg, pointing towards Bradley Street. 'Number 6, but I guess you knew that,' he said.
'I've been many times,' she said, smiling in response.
'There are a few places in town the family owns now. We've seen a lot of people come and go over the years, lot of long lifers who, in the end, were just long lifers. Not eternal ones. My brother Daniel thinks much of the recent mob will be back eventually, because they were actually judged, but many bite the dust cause they just can't hack it. They don't have any zest for life. Apathy is the real killer in the end. Not getting a kick out of sin, which just needs to be reformed enough to make it tolerable.'
'Very funny,' she said, smiling at him. 'You have your own theology, then?'
'Dan's not the only one with a brain,' said Greg. He looked her over. She was dressed in a flowery frock, with a white bra which was noticeable, and looked radiant. Fresh and lovely, like the spring evening, with a beautiful aroma from her perfume. He quickly kissed her on the cheek.
'What was that for?' she asked him.
'You're cute,' he responded.
Soon they were back in town, and had parked next to the Motor Registry on Soho Street. Greg led the way to the back of the building, which was all solid brick, but there was a steel door, with one of those security key locks. Greg pulled out a key, and opened the door.
'We can't bloody go in there,' said Jenny. 'It's the RTA. And how did you get the key?'
'It WAS the RTA. This is a back section, which was sealed off long ago when they put a security worker to live here on night-shifts. They'd had a lot of vandalism for a long time against the shopfront, and when they caught the dudes, they never restored it to its original purpose. They sold it as a makeshift bedsit, and I bought it. I never bothered changing the keys.'
He went in, turned on a light, and Jenny followed him inside.
'There are no windows,' she said.
'There's a shower, and toilet,' said Greg. And a bench with a sink, which serves as the kitchen. That's why we went shopping first.'
Jenny looked at the small makeshift bedsit. 'Bruce Lee Posters?' she asked him.
'It's my 70s lovepad,' he replied. 'I'm the dude. This is the makeout station, babe.'
'Very funny,' replied Jenny, tapping his arm.
Greg turned on the TV, and the late news started showing, and he got out the Cadbury's chocolate bars, the Oak Vanilla milks, and they ate and drank, and had fun.
'Will I get lucky?' he asked her.
'Maybe when I know you better,' she replied. 'A girl has to be concerned with her reputation.'
'Fair enough,' said G
And so they chatted, and watched TV, and Greg eventually lay down on the King size bed, and she lay next to him, and they fell asleep. There was no dilly-dallying, and in the morning he drove her home, back to Dalgety, and she smiled all the time. Greg Daly. The perfect gentleman.
* * * * *
'Archangel Gamrayel. Nathan Hitler. He lives in Munich here on New Terra mainly,' said Greg. 'I speak to him often. He's gone the distance. Cosadriel. Lives all over the place, but mainly in Reykjavik on Terrraphora in the Realm of Eternity. He's still around. Jerahmeel. Papua New Guinean angel. Lives on his Disc as Overseer in the Realm of Eternity, but gets everywhere. He's been on New Terra 17 for years, currently. He's still going strong. Sariel in London in Terraphon. He's probably in the top 3 of the Seraphim now, with Saruviel and Daniel. And Saruviel is at Kalphon and Daniel is all over the place. Gloryel is with Sariel mostly, and then she does the Spice Girl's stuff pretty regularly. Kantriel and Daraqel never leave Saruviel's side, and their twins stay with their men also. Azrael never leave's Az's place in Zaphona City, except to see his son in New Brildington. Samael, Sandalphon and Aphrayel of Infinity are still going strong, as are most of the 70 Onaphim of Infinity. They don't seem to be too much of a problem to life, and Logos lives in his world and never really leaves it. With Jesus dead he says he's more relieved than anything else. Oh fuck, Daniel the Prophet. He's survived so far. The Council of Daniel's prayed over him, and nobody seems to have a grudge against old Belteshazzar. Mostly harmless, so they say. The theophany has been hanging with him, teaching him Karaite truths, and strengthening him. Says he will rebuild Israel through an actually faithful Jew. Good luck to them, I suppose. Pope John Paull the Second. The only surviving pope. All were killed, but he had been hidden a while, and when he came out in public most of the slaughterings had finished, and they've left him alone ever since. Daniel took care of that because he was the pope of his generation, and he knew him. Iron Maiden. Still going strong. Bon Jovi. Stronger than ever. King's X, Def Leppard, Poison, the Rolling Stones. Spice girls, of course. The Beatles. Led Zeppelin. Black Sabbath. Dio. Motley Crue. Metallica. Abba. Queen. They are all still around. 20th century legends, the beginning of rock and roll, the only bloody survivors in the end. The only ones hard enough in the end. I know most of them a bit. Seen them over the years from time to time at a live show. They've got countless fans, but don't you know it, in time you meet em all. I mean the people I've met, the places I've been in my time,' said Greg.
'I know,' replied Jenny. 'But she didn't know quite that well. She'd been in Dalgety forever.
'I mean, there are others, and Dan says that some might eventually be restored to us, but this is life. I don't know, though. Personally I think some people aren't cut out for it. Repentance isn't in them, in the end. They want to party, go mad. Not repent of it. People are hopeful, but I'm not really sure if we will see the dead again. I think that might be it. I mean, the world is going to hell these days anyway. Crime is up all over New Terra, and prostitution is rampant. People have forgotten about serving God. It's the same everywhere.'
'Who'll survive?' asked Jenny.
'Cooma. Dalgety. Most of Canberra, probably. Daniel thinks the London and Hull communities in England will have a remnant. His mission has done works of prayer in those places a very long time now.'
'The Noahide community, you mean?' asked Jenny.
'Noah too,' smiled Greg. 'He's still going strong. Like Adam.'
'The more things change the more they stay the same,' said Jenny.
'Ain't that the truth,' were Greg's words of ironic reply.
* * * * *
'He's an asshole,' said Ambriel to the theophany. They were in a familiar place, in the Heart of God, which they had been to previously on more than one occasion.
'You're an asshole,' said Jesus to Ambriel.
'You're a bigger asshole,' said Michael to Jesus.
'I concur,' said Gabriel.
'Me too,' said Raphael.
'Me three,' said Raguel.
'Interesting,' said God, as Phanuel brought in the goat. 'Who fuck's her first?' asked Phanuel.
'You know, that really is quite disgusting,' said Wolfgang. 'I've been thinking it over, and even in the vast heart of the decadent free will of God, I'm still not sure I approve.'
'You can drink the blood,' said Phanuel.
'Fine,' replied Wolfgang. 'Anyway, I have a question for all of you. Repentance. Are you ever going to take it seriously?'
'Daniel can go fuck his mother some more,' said Jesus.
'I heartily agree,' said Michael. 'His literal mother.'
'Crude,' replied God. 'The thing is,' said God. 'They are about to get their long delayed cricket comp up and running, and Greg Daly has been suggesting to his older brother Daniel they now start on a prayer campaign to sanctify the rest of the world in the name of Noah, seeing as you guys don't seem to be coming back. At least not any time soon. And you know what, if they get established well enough, I'll let em keep it. Forever even.'
Jesus looked at God. 'Seriously?'
'You don't quite get the repentance thing yet. There has always been a certain level of it I require for the physical world. Don't meet the requirements, sorry, it's a no show. They are mostly over their idolatry problems since Babylon fell, but there are still issues Yeshua. Deal with them, or we'll be partying here for quite a while yet, and all the time, in the real world, you will be losing ground.'
Jesus sat down soberly, and looked at the goat. Phanuel had the blade out, and was thinking about cutting off a leg to start with. Once they had killed it and had their fun, the goat would actually dematerialize. That was what it was like in the heart of God. It was spiritual, and no real harm ever happened. Just sin sarcasm.
'Ok. Ok, fine,' said Jesus. 'What do you suggest?'
'Just run with your Gospel Followers ministry, and your revised writings. That should do,' replied Wolfgang.
'Fine,' said Jesus, and stood, running over to Phanuel, taking the knife, and slicing the goat's throat. 'Death to the Infidels!' yelled Jesus, and the party got going once more.
* * * * *
'Prick' said Daniel the Seraphim to Greg Daly. 'She's my babe, Uncle Greg. Get your own woman.'
'You are never loyal to anyone long,' replied Greg. 'And she digs me. We have even been talking marriage, Danny.'
'Don't expect me to be there,' said Daniel, poking out his tongue.
'What? You love her to object?' Greg asked Daniel seriously.
Daniel looked at his uncle. 'Well, ok. No. No I don't. I don't like it, but no, I can't commit to Jenny eternally. Just on and off.'
'Well, I can,' replied Greg.
'Ok. I'll come to the wedding,' said Daniel. 'And, well, good for you, I suppose.'
'She hasn't said yes, yet,' said Greg. 'And she wants to see the big Knockout cricket cup coming up in the Realm of Eternity. She's got the season ticket for the comp from you, and wants to watch it all. No serious discussions on marriage till then, according to Jen.'
'She's a good woman,' said Daniel.
'She is indeed,' replied Gregory Daly.
* * * * *
'What do you mean I've lost ground?' asked Jesus to God. 'I'm dead. Who the hell cares?'
'Well, with that attitude, I suspect you will go on losing ground. Currently there is the tiniest remnant of your followers alive in the spiritual universe. There is nothing from the physical Earth. That religion died a long time ago there.'
'I thought it had,' replied Jesus.
'But in the spiritual that tiny remnant is enormously wealthy from inheritances. And after the soul has been dead for a millennia, it loses its rights. And you have been dead 3 of them,' said God to Jesus.
'So what,' said Jesus, miffed.
'Yeh. What does that mean?' asked Michael, listening in, distracted from the dwarf wrestling.
'Most congregations and church buildings have janitor's being paid to maintain them. By the remnant. But because of exorbitant fees for such a large number, approximately 3% of your congregation buildings universe wide have been sold off, and about 12% of various church land holdings. And the Advancing Noah Movement has claimed nearly all of it.'
'Your being replaced,' said Michael, grinning to Jesus, hovering over his shoulder.
'What a bastard,' said Jesus. 'How the hell do we get out of here, then?'
'Have you given me a decade of repentance and Torah study yet?' asked God. 'And there are some core repentances which will have to be eternal, you know. Certain changes and commitments which will need to last forever. And if you don't make them that 3% will grow to 5% and, well, you get the picture.'
'For fuck's sake,' replied Jesus of Nazareth. 'Fine. I get the picture.'
'About time,' said Wolfgang. 'Now where are those dwarves?'
* * * * *
'Taylor? Dafuq!' yelled Callodyn, rushing over from his sideline in the cricket match, to confront a lady. She looked at him. She was dressed in white, with a hat, and looked quite elegant. It looked just like Taylor.
'Is that you Tails?' he asked the lady, not sure.
She looked at him, and sat down on a spare seat. 'It's been a while since I've been to a cricket match.' She looked up at Callodyn. 'I was let out early. For good behaviour. Katy and Kelly are back at home on Televon. They told me to come and see you. We were just gonna wait till you showed, but best to let you know. We were called the 'Tithe of Life' by the community. We weren't in hell. Hate that rumour. We were in God's heart. I remembered it vividly from my youth when I was there, but it's all a mystery again.'
'The tithe?' asked Callodyn.
'The first 10% to be restored,' said Taylor. She looked at Daniel. 'I'm sorry for a lot of my sins against you Callodyn. I'll try to be more faithful.'
He grabbed her, hugged her, and she followed him to the sideline.
'Are you winning?' she asked.
'It's close. Daniel and Valandriel have been in for ages. But 333 is a lot in a one day match. They've got 156 for the second wicket partnership, but it could go down to the wire.'
'Hey, Taylor,' said a voice. Taylor turned. It was Jenny Gilmore behind them, with Greg Daly, Daniel's uncle.
'Hello Taylor,' said Greg.
'You knew?' queried Callodyn to them.
'We heard last night,' said Greg. 'News travel's fast. There's quite a few out and about here, you know.'
'I'll be a Monkey's uncle,' said Callodyn, and looked at Taylor once more, hugged her, and looked up to heaven, with the biggest Thank You ever seen on the face of the 228th of the Cherubim of eternity.
* * * * *
Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly, 347th on the list of the Cherubim of Eternity, was dressed in his best suit. Quite an old one actually. He looked at his brother Gregory.
'Are you sure you are up for it? I mean, a Dalgety girl? What will the cricket team say? Sold out to Dalgety?'
'Dalgety are cool enough,' commented Matthew Daly, their older brother. 'Greg has found the right woman for him. More his pace of life. Berridale his his birthright. Dalgety girls make sense because of it.'
'You're probably right,' responded Daniel, looking at Greg as he flexed his shoulders in the suit. 'Fabio is ready,' said Daniel. 'He's down the front, and I've checked 500 times that he has the ring.' Fabio Bozzato, childhood friend, was Greg's best man for this wedding.
'You read to settle down forever? In a farming family?' asked Daniel.
Greg just nodded. It was now or never.
They emerged from the side chapel, and came and stood at the front of the small Berridale Catholic Church. The church was full, and the Gilmore's were on the right side of the Church, the Daly's on the left. Stewart Gilmore looked at pleased as ever, and the rest of them were glowing. Jenny had finally found true love, this time. That much seemed apparent.
Greg stood there nervously. 'You sure you got the ring?' he whispered to Fabio.
Fabio showed the ring to Greg, who nodded. And then the music began, and the bride came forth, and it was beautiful.
'I'm not 100% happy with the Lovepad being our destination for our honeymoon,' said Jenny, looking around Greg's RTA bedsit.
'I bought a new Bruce Lee poster for the occasion,' said Greg.
Jenny looked at it. 'Making love with Bruce Lee watching?' she asked him.
'Grasshopper. You have much to learn in the ways of the force,' said Greg, mockingly, in a fake chinese accent.
'Apparently,' replied Jenny Gilmore, as Greg grabbed her, practically ripped off her top, and as he continued kissing her all over her now naked chest, the fire down below starting to stoke up, she gave one last thought of her innocence over making love to a man (Daniel) and his uncle (Greg) in a lifetime, but just sighed, as Greg found her carnality, and the wild monkey got going again in old Cooma town, a well known enough activity indeed. This was her harvest, she thought to herself, her life's harvest, all coming into fruition, as they started to get passionate. Her lifetime Harvest, of struggles, trials and passions. Indeed, her Harvest of a lifetime. Her Harvest of a Lifetime.
Jesus had his nerdy glasses on, his calculator out, and was sitting with God, doing the sums.
'4 frikking percent of Christian Churches, and 23% of land holdings, now gone!' he exclaimed. 'And what have you to say to that, heavenly father?'
The father of glory looked at his Jewish-Looking son, and replied. 'The ANM have advanced. As simple as that.'
'The Advancing Noah Motherfucker's,' said Jesus under his breath, looking at the notebook with his calculations.
A reporter stood nearby from the Catholic Universal, and said 'Can we get a photo, Yesh?'
Jesus posed, dramatically albeit, in his glasses, holding his calculator, God looking equally square in the photo. The photo made the news universally.
'A business man, aren't you,' said Jenna, Jesus twin, as they watched the news. 'Nothing really more than that in the end. The Christ Child - a business man. Eye on the bottom dollar.'
'I gave my life for my bride,' replied Jesus.
'Yep. I'm sure,' said Jenna. 'Oh, the calculator was a nice touch,' she said grinning.
'Shaddup,' replied the Christ of God's Greater Glory.
'The Children of Destiny are life, the Children of Destiny are death,' said Noah to Adam and Eve. 'But they are my beloved.'
'And ours also,' said Eve, proudly.
'The road goes ever, ever on, but I think tis now to sing this song,' said Noah, looking at God. 'With Yah the weak become the strong, from him I'll not depart.'
'Amen,' said Adam.
'Amen,' said Eve.
'AMEN,' said God, the Theophany, ruler of Heaven and Earth.
'Ok,' said God to Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly, at Rob's camping shack, out on a piece of land Rob Preston, the cherubim angel Trant, owned, the evening beginning to dim. 'You keep watch. I'm afraid of the dark.'
'Very funny,' replied the 347th of the male Cherubim of Eternity.
Semyaza was an angel. A Cherubim angel. Recently a whole lot of angels had been dead for a while, and then they were back up again, living in the spiritual universe, as they called it, because there was a physical one were Earth resided, but that was barely an issue any more. But the dead were alive again, and God had said to him that people don't stay dead long. They work it out in the end. He cancels contracts, though, if people insist on sinning, but gives them grace and restores them eventually. But you can lose out. Things can be lost forever, or you can lose eternal ground, if you insist on being a stubborn sinner. Old souls can pay the toll, the theophany of God had said to Semyaza. They can pay the toll.
Sharakondra was Semyaza's soulmate. She was more than just his 'Twin' as they called them. His was a sexual one, a one he was comfortable mating with, and some of the twins were like that - appropriate for partnership - but not all. Sharakondra was appropriate for Semyaza, thus she was his soulmate. And he liked it like that.
He didn't like the smurfs cartoon. Sharakondra would put it on and taunt him. 'Can't handle smurfs, huh,' she would say. 'Go to hell bitch,' he would respond. She just laughed.
Semyaza liked to smoke. He did so regularly. He had to leave off for a while every few months, or his lungs would collapse, so he went cold turkey every seventh week for the full week, and then got back into it again. He was not quite a chain smoker, but smoked a lot from time to time. But he had his system worked out now, and it worked for him. He liked Bruce Lee movies, was in the Bruce Lee fanclub for the Realm of Eternity, and was learning karate on and off with a sensei who taught him a move once every quadrillion aeons. He had learned 5 so far. 'Patience, grasshopper,' the drunk sensei had said. 'Practice first. Wax on. Wax off. All that bullshit.' Semyaza was in no great rush. He could wait. He liked comics. Harley Quinn comics. She was the shit. He had an ancient collection of them. He'd actually done the deed looking at pictures of harley a few times. He was embarrassed about it. She was only a comic character. The pictures never stained though - fortunately. Semyaza was a character. He liked being one.
'Bitch. You smell.'
'It's hot outside,' she said, sitting down after mowing the grass.
'You reek of lawn,' he said.
'I just mowed the grass,' complained Sharakondra.
'You need a shower,' he said.
'Have YOU ever thought of mowing the grass?'
'I pay the bills,' he replied.
'You don't work,' she said.
'I have ancient shares,' he replied.
'Don't I know it,' replied Sharakondra. She never quite invested well enough in the beginning. She relied on Semmy's money.
'Wash. And we can have some fun,' he said.
'Ooh,' she replied, going off to refresh herself.
She came back, half an hour later, wrapped in a towel and nothing else.
'Awesome,' he said. 'You can order the pizza. The A Team is on in half an hour.'
'But..........,' she said, trailing off.
'Yeh?' he replied.
'Asshole,' she said, and stormed off.
'What the hell is her problem,' he said, as he fished around for the mobile.
The pizza arrived, and she came in. He passed her some, and a can of coke, and she ate, and drank, and sat down next to him, and laughed at the A Team.
'It's funny,' she said. 'That Murdoch is crazy.'
Semyaza smiled at her. He liked her simplicity.
He cradled her in the bed, when she was least expecting it, and said, 'I knew what you wanted. Thought you might like a decent meal first.'
'Ooh, you sweetie,' she said. 'I actually had fun tonight.'
He kissed her on the lips. 'I luv ya babe.'
'Me too,' she replied.
And they snuggled. And did the wild turkey.
And it was great.
Daredevil and Squaw
Shonday was the 60th male of the Cherubim of Eternity, and his twin, Gelzentra, was the 60th female of the Cherubim of Eternity. They were both native American - 'Daredevil and Squaw'. Daredevil rode a Harley Davidson around America in Terraphora, with a red scarf with skulls on it around his head, and Squaw seated behind him, dressed to kill. He was a lone wolf, 'The Daredevil', and didn't care much for responsibility, this Apache Warrior, but cruised his life away, travelling from reservation to reservation, smoking his dope, and living the life. He had money - in shares. It had been a bit of a thing, early on, the idea, to secure realm shares in successful companies, and then cruise forever. The ego Seraphim seemed to think it their job to keep the realm endlessly entertained with this and that act of bravado, as did many of the elder Cherubim, but the sensible ones, following Semyaza's example, bought shares, and when population had increased, and companies become established, and their shares reaping solid dividends, retirement was the order of the day, and cruising forever. Cherubim were sensible - they didn't want to work terribly much.
'Woman. Do you have my peace pipe?' asked Daredevil.
Squaw retreated a few steps to the motorbike, opened one of its leather satchels, and obtained her man's peace pipe. She handed it to him and followed him inside the cabin.
'White man is an asshole,' said the Apache chief.
'Well red man can suck my dick,' said Sariel, smoking on Daredevil's peace pipe.
'While Sariel the Seraphim is of decent kind,' said the Cherubim Apache Chief, 'White man is an asshole.'
Daredevil took the pipe offering from Sariel, who had sucked in enough of the happy fumes, and drew deeply. Ahh, marijuana. The good stuff.
'White man can be an asshole,' said Daredevil. 'But can be ok as well. I have known many who have similar values to us. They just push technology to the nth degree.'
'Industry is how it works,' said Sariel. 'Harnessing the power of nature.'
'Yet we should live in harmony with nature,' said the Cherubim Apache Chief.
'Oaks. Cedar. Magpies. The occasional Viper. An angry Rat. I know them well,' replied Sariel. 'I'm not fond of snakes, don't like the plague, and swoopers really annoy me. But Oaks and Cedars - magnificent.'
'Redwood,' said Apache chief. 'Real trees. Tall trees. Oaks? Humph.'
'Bite me,' said Sariel, and drew deeply again on the peace pipe.
'It went well,' said Daredevil. 'England and Apache are on better speaking terms. There has again been a slight increase in hospitality between us.'
'Quite a few thousand visits from Sariel, now,' said Squaw. 'And he has brought decent offerings each time. Our lives are starting to become enriched because of him.'
'The Apache have considered that,' said Daredevil. 'Let's ride.'
So they mounted his Harley, and she held on tight, and as they sailed into the sun, indeed, relationships between Empire and Apache had improved again over ancient wars, and the world turned.
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly, 347th angel of the Cherubim of Eternity, had been in a fowl mood, and had exploded on the Cherubim Female Angel Mashenta. Darondalvarnakay, Mashenta's twin, had stood by, as Daniel had ridiculed her for her stubborn personality, which had very much embarrassed Mashenta. Mary Daly, mother to both Daniel and Mashenta, later asked Daniel to please keep the peace, as she was nervous, and Daniel came and gave his sister a hug, and said he had been a bit pride-filled when he'd had a go at her. The tension calmed down after that, and life went on. Christmas was approaching, and Mashenta was celebrating it with Cherubim Shaltoriana and Cherubim Georgia and Cherubim Jayden, her kids to Cherubim Darondalvarnakay. Mashenta's human names was Brigid Bridges nee Daly, mother of Madalene (Shaltoriana), Jayden (Jayden), and Georgia (Georgia), married to Darondalvarnakay (David Bridges. She would possibly visit her sister Jacinta and her family, but hadn't made up her mind. Mashenta was a strong angel. She was not a feminist at all, and behaved herself in a decent and feminine manner, but she was strong none-the-less, and didn't really tolerate much bullshit, as belied her Australian upbringing. In the early days of the Realm of Eternity, she and her twin would wander around the Monaro region of Australia, on their adventures, and Darondalvarnakay was quite obviously a farmer, and of that sort of lifestyle. Mashenta liked city and country, a definite mix of both in her heart. These days she'd lived a fair while now, and had a good idea of how to live, keeping faith in God and faith in Family and faith in Friends. She had a lot of friends, and enjoyed their company, and while she was sister to Daniel Daly, and related to those Noahide pioneers, she had always been a traditional Catholic and didn't worry too much about religion. When Babylon had fallen, as it were, in recent times, she'd gone on with her simple faith unperturbed. She kept it simple, trusted in God, and loved like she wanted to be loved herself. As simple as that. Mashenta was a genuine angel. She had a good heart, she also had reasonably good looks, and a good reputation. She enjoyed life, enjoyed its stead rate of steady challenges, and got along with most people. She liked Canberra, Tuggeranong particularly, and got involved with various clubs from time to time, like Apex and Lions and Vinnies, and was good spirited contributor to society. A good example. Mashenta was a cherubim who God liked, and who got along well with the world. A good example to many.
Belteshazzar and Callodyn
'You know it's not easy being a Cherubim,' said Belteshazzar.
'I'll excuse you,' said Callodyn. 'You're Jewish.'
'Be that as it may, it is not easy being a Cherubim. First off, you are surrounded by other Cherubim of your rankings, who all think they are above and beyond God's greatest imagination. Take this Jesus fellow for example. Can't be content with being a simple Cherubim, and letting the Seraphim rule the Realm of Eternity. No, he has to go make waves, and pretend to be the Christ of God's greater glory, an honour befitting the likes of Zerubbabel.'
'For once I agree,' replied Callodyn the Cherubim.
Belteshazzar, the prophet Daniel, continued his diatribe. 'There is also this David Fellow. The king. He think's he is respected by Israel. Saul calls him a show pony. I'm not sure if I disagree.'
'I remember reading in the book of Isaiah, chapter 39, that some of Hezekiah's own descendants would be exiled in Babylon. Those of the nobility. Those of the DAVIDIC nobility. Babylon. You know,' said Callodyn.
'I mean, he is just a show pony,' continued Belteshazzar, ignoring Callodyn's words. 'And, of course, there is my good friend Callodyn.'
'Can't say I've met him,' replied Callodyn.
'No. He's not proud. Parades the virtue of humility every day, but then goes off and boasts of the size of his phallus to all his girlfriends.'
'Shaddup,' replied Callodyn.
'And he thinks he is genuinely funny as well,' said Belteshazzar.
'Ok then,' replied Callodyn. 'You tell a joke then.'
Belteshazzar looked at Callodyn. 'What do you get if you cross a Jew with a Jehovah's Witness.'
'What?' asked Callodyn.
'A Karaite Noahide,' replied Belteshazzar.
Callodyn looked at Belteshazzar for a while, and then replied with his own joke. 'What do you get if you cross a Jew with a piece of shit?' asked Callodyn.
'What?' asked Belteshazzar.
'A Jew,' replied Callodyn.
'Yep. It's not easy being a Cherubim,' continued Belteshazzar. And the day dawdled on.
The World of Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
'This is Excelleron. In Excelleron we have fun.'
'Sounds boring, Daniel,' said Lourdes. 'I'm too old to have fun.'
'In Excelleron we watch porn.'
'That's more like it,' said Lourdes, smiling.
'In Excelleron we watch Dolphin porn.'
'Boring,' said Lourd.
'Dolphin porn with pretty female human maidens,' said Daniel.
'You are evil, aren't you,' smiled Lourdes.
'Excelleron has 228 rooms. In the enormous sub-basement is the Comics archive. I have copies of practically every DC and Marvel comic ever written.'
'Fascinating,' said Lourdes. 'What about Zenescope?'
'In Excelleron the Zenescope comics are in the sub-sub-basement,' replied Daniel. 'With the regular porn TV.'
'Ooh, I'll have to check out the sub-sub-basement,' said Lourdes.
'We have solar powered heating all year round,' said Daniel. 'Everything is made of Eternya. It has taken us trillions of dollars, and aeons of prayer, but it is all Eternya now in Excelleron.'
'Good to know, buddy,' said Lourdes, taking a cheetoh from the snack tray in the front hall of Excelleron.
'We have rules in Excelleron,' said Daniel. 'The Rainbow Bible applies.'
'Can comply,' replied Lourdes.
'We have a gym in excelleron. With pink gymnasium equipment for the girls and blue gymnasium equipment for the boys, each tailored to the specific sex's requirement.'
'A good idea,' replied Lourdes approvingly.
'We have a large central library in the hub centre of Excelleron, which has Internet Portal stations, were people can surf the web. One of our rules is that we don't allow tablets in Excelleron. People can only use the Internet, apart from the Central Administrator, in the main library.'
'The walls are covered in traditional wallpaper, as you can see, of various types of design, mostly in brown and gold as well as blue and white. The sub-basements are usually painted, though.'
'Interesting,' said Lourdes.
'In the library we have hundreds of thousands of books for reading, both fiction and non-fiction,' said Daniel. 'Discussions on the literature are a favourite of Club Excelleron's pastime. As we get old and advanced in years, we discuss our philosophical ideas on our literature, to develop and ADVANCE our culture and way of life. Excelleron has many master, double and single bedrooms. This is were people sleep. Fornication is forbidden in Excelleron, but masturbation is tolerated, as long as people shower afterwards, and keep such activities private to themselves of their tiny group. Married couples may freely engage in sexual activities between Six PM and Six AM. Not in daylight hours though. After all sexual activities showering is mandatory, and showering must be thorough. All games of entertainment have been analysed for approval by Excelleron, and things which are ungodly do not enter in. Sarcastic swearing is permitted, but good nature is the divine rule. There is one large TV room in Excelleron, the only TV in the building, which has seats for about 100, who can come and go as they choose, with just our programmed television showing. There is a news bulletin regularly. We keep it clean in Excelleron, and if you litter you are expected to pick it up and dispose of it in a bin, which are in every room. We have a clock in every room, so that people can easily see what time it is. There is a large dining hall, where everyone shares meals together. We dine at 9 in the morning, 1 in the afternoon, and 6 in the evening, with a 9 o'clock late supper of hot chocolate. No snacking is aloud, but you can go to the kitchen to eat an apple or orange at any time. We have a large collection of toys in Excelleron, which can be played with in the gamings rooms, which are on a level of their own. Hide and seek is played and enjoyed in Excelleron. We have an in-house laundry service which takes care of all dirty clothing. We have extensive gardens where a lot of our fruits and vegetables come from, and our own cooks and pastry chefs. There is one formal dining room, next to the administrator's office, were formal dinners can be given for our guests on special occasions. Retreats at Excelleron are a minimum of 1 month, and a maximum of 6 months. All members of the Advancing Noah Movement can apply. Excelleron will be multiplied gradually throughout the spiritual universe, to satisfy demand for it's own particular culture and way of life.'
'Cool,' said Lourdes, and smiled at her twin.
God had commited evil, once again. It seemed it never stopped. Mockery from Jehovah. Mockery from Wolfgang. Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly had ignored it for a long time, and wanted to keep good relations with God, but time was up. He moved on.
Life answered him, and said 'He's only Jehovah. He has a spirit of life as well, but so do you. Eternity is in you by your own decision and choice to be a good person. It is a law of life and goodness. You have spent an eternity sowing seeds of goodness, devotion and purity into your heart. This God hasn't bothered. He's taken it all for granted. Those who want God in your community, well, it's best they move on. It's not where you are going in life. Ok.'
Daniel wored in Excelleron for a while, as the chief administrator, and cheered up then. Lourdes made him smile, and life went on. And he occupied himself with regular things, gentle things and normal things. And spirits from Jehovah disappeared over time, and Jewish people didn't come knocking anymore, and the rest of the bride of God departed, for its comfortable cultic Yahweh worship, and belief in a being which only hated and killed those who wouldn't conform. Note: I wrote this story to signify my departure from the faith in God. I acknowledge God exists - he has spoken to me. But I don't find goodness in him anymore. There never really was any. The Children of Destiny go on, and the Jews will taste eternal death with Jehovah their God, but my own children will survive.
God's Depression and Death
All good things must come to an end, but in this case it wasn't really goodness. Life had been hinting to Jehovah for a long time that he wasn't a good person. That his deaths, and the deaths of his followers, were its way of telling him to get his act together. But he didn't care. He was God. But the depression had been around for a long time, and then, one afternoon, he turned his thoughts inwards, and let the cold dead black enter in, and his thoughts stifled, and he was frozen, and then gone. And his spirit decayed very quickly, and Israel died and all those with the seed of Jehovah in them, but Daniel and the children of Adam and Noah survived, and life went on. The universe and the spirit of life had chosen them to replace what just didn't work in the end.
The Choice to be Good
'You have to choose to be good. Life doesn't eternalize for those who don't choose that, Cosadriel,' said Callodyn.
'Yep, gotcha,' said Cosadriel. 'Life guides us, you know, Cal. Our spirit has eternal life by nature within us, and it teaches us what we need to know to get along with others. God tried to make us comply with his will. He eventually got sick and corrupt on those ideas, and he died. But the life in this infinite universe made it clear, with my dreams, that my life went on, and the more I sowed normal things and attitudes into my life, the more it strengthened my choices to be a good person. Elements are purified within our hearts Callodyn, and eventually the darkness diminishes, choices we had made in younger years, and eternal life is born gradually, with wisdom earned, lessons learned.'
Callodyn picked up a chip with gravy and ate it, looking out at the ocean. 'Are we going out fishing again sometime?'
Cosadriel looked out at the ocean. 'Sometime Danny boy. Sometime.'
Daniel, formerly 347th of the Cherubim, but now much higher on the list, walked along the street. He was in Chisholm in Canberra on New Terra. And life went on. He was walking along the street, looking at houses, and sipping on his Coca Cola. It was a spring day, around 1 in the afternoon, and slightly cloudy, but mostly ok. He was happy. He was making more of his own decisions in life, now. Not guided so much any more by Torah religion. He'd begun the process of drawing from the Rainbow Bible principles and teachings based on life itself, and the choice to be decent and upright, rather than anything motivated by belief in God. God had gone as far as they could tell. God was no more. But life remained in the universe, and it was a life of happy and gentle adventure, and calm and quiet peace. There weren't religions killing in the name of anymore. The hate of Jehovah was gone. The seed of Jehovah - the Extremism - was gone. Life had chosen gentle souls to survive, who lived and let lived, and were not given over to aggression and violence. A more civilized time. A more civilized society.
Daniel sipped on his Coca Cola, walked on, and walked down to the Chisholm cricket oval. There wasn't many around, and he sat down on the grass, sipping on his Coca Cola.
'Hey idiot,' said a voice behind him. He turned. It was his twin, Lourdes.
'I've been following you,' she said. 'Staying out of sight.'
'Nice to see you. It's been a while.'
'Only a century. I've been mourning,' she replied.
'Death of Israel?' he asked.
'Something like that,' she replied. 'A lot of God was in me. There is nothing there now, but I feel the soul regenerating anyway, and seeking good things naturally. It doesn't appear God has much to do with our own choices to be good.'
'He never really did, I guess,' replied Daniel. 'It was something our own heart had chosen.'
Lourdes looked around the oval. 'Let's walk down to Pine Island,' she said.
'Can we stop at Richardson shops to get more coke?' asked Daniel. Lourdes smiled in response.
They walked, and occasionally talked, and Daniel was happy. Lourdes, his twin, was good company. She seemed to be a good match for him.
'What do you think of magpies? As creatures?' she asked him.
'They're ok. They've never really been much of a concern, though.'
'They swoop,' she said. 'Are they fit for life?'
'Aren't we becoming a bit legalistic?' replied Daniel.
'Am I?' she asked. 'You don't like being swooped,' she said.
'They are just protecting their patch,' said Daniel.
'Humans rarely cause magpies harm anymore. But they still swoop us.'
'Then life will work it out in the end,' replied Daniel.
'I guess so,' said Lourdes in response.
They continued on, got to the Richardson shops, and bought some Coke and chips, and Lourdes suggested they just head over to Calwell and one of his sister's places there.
'Mashenta will be at work,' said Daniel.
'I have a key,' replied Lourdes.
'She's entrusted you with a key, huh,' said Daniel.
They arrived at the address, and came inside. Daniel sat down in front of the TV, and put on Foxtel. Lourdes snuggled next to him. Shortly she had her hand on his crotch. What came naturally happened for the following 20 minutes. After showering and getting dressed again, they left, and decided to walk back home instead. When they got to Chisholm oval, they sat again, drinking Coke.
'Magpies need to get over their stubborn ways. It will kill them in the end, otherwise,' said Lourdes.
'You might be right,' said Daniel, looking out at the oval. He sat there. For quite a while, just looking. And then he turned to look for Lourdes, but she was gone. He couldn't see her anywhere.
Soon enough it was Twilight, and then he was on his feet again, and he was walking back, the way he came. And he was on his adventure again. And he was still Daniel the Cherubim. And life went on anyway.
Life Rolling on by
Rodan Carruthers, the cherubim angel Ezeqiel, 8th on the 'Infallible Twenty' as they called the undead top 20 Cherubim, was in a good mood. Poison was playing on the CD player, the Alabama sunshine was shining bright down on him on this Terraphora day, and he was happy. He had been studying Rainbow Bible theology, and was starting to think through ideas it presented, working with them, replacing the idea of God with that of the spiritual universe. God seemed to be dead, now. Nobody had heard from him since Israel had died and dropped down dead, and rotted away. All the throne rooms were quiet, and no flames burned anywhere in the Realms anywhere. God, whatever God had been or was, had left the building. He wasn't the glory of Zaphon anymore.
'It's idolatry anyway,' said Rodan to Callodyn Daly.
'Worship of God?' queried Callodyn in response.
'It's just seeking a strength outside of simple moral truths of life. There is something in life, in the universe, in the way it is all structured anyway, which makes it work. Which makes goodness survive, and evil fall away. Life just blesses those things which work properly, and dismisses those things of pride and ego,' said Rodan.
'God had become like that in many ways,' said Callodyn.
'He had a chip on his shoulder,' said Rodan. 'He could have dealt with his pride, but he chose to enjoy being stubborn and pigheaded. He delighted in it in the end. In the worship from those who fawned over him. But it was something which life doesn't like. Which life doesn't approve of. Worshipping something. It's just weird. Dictating to another sentient being your own will, and attacking it if it doesn't comply. It's just evil in the end. It is what the monotheistic faith was made of. I'm not surprised it's dead now. I'm not sure if it ever will recover. If it is even there anymore.'
'I'm not sure if I care either,' said Callodyn. And he was being honest.
Later on that year Callodyn was in Cooma on Terraphon in a small section of the graveyard, with a sealed off grave. 'Here lies Jehovah. He tried, he lied, he died.' it read. 'Rest in peace, old fart,' said Callodyn.
And life just continued rolling on by.............
Samsiel the Cherubim
Samsiel the Cherubim was 14th on the list of the 'Infallible Twenty'. He wasn't exactly infallible. His earthly name was Felix Carruthers, brother of Rodan Carruthers. And he was the dude. He rode Harley Davidson with Daredevil a lot, the Cherubim Shonday, the Apache Warrior, 60th on the list. He'd cruise with him from time to time, down the highways of America, smoking dope, still evading the coppers, which didn't like dope smoking, but had only marginal powers of arrest, depending on amount of dope and wildness of activity. If they were smokin the peace pipe with the Apaches, the cops couldn't touch em. And that excuse was used a lot, especially the official 'Peace Pipe' bong, which was legal for use throughout the southern states, from teenagers of 16 and up. Samsiel wore heavy black leather, and was a big guy like Shonday. 6 foot, 2 inches, and built well. He was caucasian in appearance, of English stock for the most part. Samsiel and his brother Rodan got along well, and Rodan, being the elder, was more responsible, but had a bit of Samsiel's toughness about him. Samsiel was tough, and big, but had a bit of Rodan's responsibility about him. Just a smidgeon. He was one of the fallen angels, as the top 200 of the Cherubim angels had been so long ago, but that was ancient history. He was now just Samsiel. The way he liked it, the way he kept it. He collected telephone books. Realm telephone books, and had a huge collection at his homestead in the catacombs, which he digged further down upon every now and again. Mainly to store his telephone book collection. He liked to study phone details, learn phone numbers, and after an aeon, when he knew a number well from any particular book, he would dial it up, say hello to whoever answered, and see if the person had moved on or not. He would put an X against any numbers of people who had moved on in life, and were no longer at that address, and now there were heaps of X's with all the recent spate of deaths. But some had remained, some had stabilised, and Samsiel's hobby on this continued. Samsiel had a regular sense of humour. He was tough, but not really given to brawling any more. He'd done enough of that with the Gang - saruviel and his bro's - in earlier years, but had finally grown up and gotten over his juvenility. Life continued rolling on by, and people changed in time. They got over it. Samsiel was content. In the end Samsiel was simply a content angel. Life didn't always work out the way it should, but it often did, and he was happy then. But in all the laws of Karma, he came out ahead, so life was good. He was content, and happy enough with the world. As simple as that.
God is Alive
'I'm God Alive,' said Mashenta to her brother Daniel.
'God is dead.'
'He was,' said Mashenta. 'A core part of him, the only part of him which was actually decent, has survived. The flame burns bright in Zaphon once more.'
Daniel looked at his sister, and said to her 'Can I use your phone?' she nodded. He rang a number. 'Saruviel? Yep. Is the throneroom alive to God again? It is? The first? Seven throneroom's back up and running so far? Right. Ok.'
'Fine,' said Daniel. 'But I'm far from impressed. The old fart died, and rested in peace, because he had relational problems. Getting along with him is very challenging.'
'Ambriel was spotted near the Sellawon with Meludiel in Terraphora,' said Mashenta.
'Right. The idiots are back as well. Pity,' said Daniel. 'We could have had a good time. What life sends to test us, I suppose.'
Mashenta poked her tongue out at Daniel. 'And Lucy Smith is coming to dinner. She arrives on the next flight from Heathrow.'
'Ooh, Lucy Smith. A witch who isn't a bitch. I think I'll stay around for that if that's ok.'
'Fine,' said Mashenta. 'But aren't you glad that God is alive again?'
'I wonder what Lucy has been up to,' said Daniel.
'God probably loves you so much now Daniel.'
'She might have some tales to tell,' he said.
'He probably has plans to bless you and give you an abundant life.'
'I wonder if she is available at the moment.'
'You'll probably be famous very soon,' said Mashenta to her brother.
'What was that?' asked Daniel, looking at his sis.
'Nothing,' replied Brigid, and sighed. Her brother was an idiot. An old fashioned loon. But some things never changed, did they. No they never did.
King David and St Brigid
'My dick is quite big,' said King David to St Brigid.
'I've seen it before. It's regular size,' said the nun, sipping on a latte in the Vatican main cafeteria.
'It fits a nun well,' said David. 'I'm sure you will find it perfectly accommodating.'
Brigid looked at David with one of those 'Give me a break' looks.
'It's not right,' moaned David. 'The twin of God's greatest Cherubim, the fair majesty of Jerusalem, the Sovereign of Zion, the glory of Israel, it is not right that the son of God's twin should be a - catholic. It is just reprehensible.'
Brigid sipped on her latte, and continued looking at her copy of The Universal Newspaper Magazine. 'Beggar's can't be choosers,' said Brigid. 'It hasn't bothered you for the last 5 million millennium, so why does it bother you now?'
'I feel - alive again. That rest in Sheol has done me the world of good,' said David. 'A good time to mate with the twin, and get a new kid.'
St Brigid gave him another one of those 'Give me a break' looks, and continued on with her newspaper. 'Ooh, Pope Paul the Second has a new job with the mission fields in Africa,' she said. David just looked on frustrated.
'I'll name the kid Joseph or Mary,' said David.
'Not buying,' said Brigid.
'I'll donate a million dollars to the Vatican,' said David.
'Keep your cash,' said Brigid.
'I'll get baptised,' said David.
'You've done that. 15 times already,' said Brigid.
'I'll become a Catholic Priest for a century,' said David. 'Study in a seminary and everything.'
Brigid stared at him. 'One night. Get the result in one night, or game's off. And you'll still have to become a priest anyway.'
'Ooh,' said David. 'A piece of Biddies ass.'
She just glared at him, and continued on with her reading.
Kardos and Belladear
'As I vaguely recall,' said Slezonock, the 257th of the male Cherubim of Eternity, the preacher John Downs. 'You are Kardos and you are Belladear. 258th of the Cherubim of Eternity. We still don't have a full roll call, you know. Not any more. Names still haven't remembered, since their manifestations, their angelic identity. You guys never did remember by the looks of it.'
Robert, the angel Kardos, the undead Vampire Kardos, shook his head. 'No, I never did. Kristen has always been special to me. There was a lifetime, in one of the worlds we lived in once, were we lived out our fantasies in a way, and were the undead of the night, and all was glory.'
Kristen looked at Robert. 'I still feel that in me, you know. Celestevere.'
'That's what it was called,' said Robert. 'I remember now. Darkthorn. And Gladitorius Vigantes.'
'We were consumed with Dark Love,' said Kristen. 'It is what gave us life then. The Twilight of our hearts.'
'Do you want an official place made for you in Zaphona City in the Keep of the Cherubim?' asked Slezonock.
'What is the Keep of the Cherubim?' asked Kardos.
'God built it recently. With Michael and Saruviel and co. It is a large building in Zaphona City which can house all the Cherubim, should they agree to have their names added to its foundation stones. It is called Rihannaphon. He has named it after his beloved.'
'Sounds fascinating,' said Kardos. 'Sure. I guess.'
'Good,' replied Slezonock. 'Hopefully you will drop in some time. Aprelliou and I dwell there quite regularly. Zaphona City is becoming quite the place to be again. There is new life there and new activity. God is recharged in recent times, since showing up again in the throneroom. He has a new zest for life.'
'We've noticed,' said Kardos, quite sullenly.
'Well, it will be great if you can show up,' said Slezonock. 'We hope to see you some time.'
'Sure,' replied Kardos.
Slezonock rose to his feet, and was escorted out of Robert and Kristin's apartment, and Robert came back inside, sat down in the Kitchen, and looked out over the scenery of New York on New Terra. A river flowed down beneath their high rise apartment, and they lived in the centre of the action, in a way, for the physical universe. But there were a lot of places which were the centre of the action these days.
'Do you want pizza tonight?' Belladear asked Kardos. 'I'm not in the mood for cooking.'
'I'll cook,' he replied. 'I'll make Cheese Macaroni with 4 cheeses. Some good stuff.'
'Sound's great,' said Belladear.
The day passed, and Kardos was busy in the kitchen when Belladear came up to him.
'I always thought we were angels,' she said.
'It took Slezonock for us to know for sure,' said Kardos.
'But now we know,' said Belladear.
'Now we know,' replied Kardos.
'Are we going to go to the realm?' she asked him.
'Sure. I guess,' he replied softly.
'Good,' she said.
'Right,' he replied.
'Put some garlic in. I like garlic,' she said. 'It deals with vampires.'
He chuckled, and added in the garlic, and life passed another day away in New York City, New Terra.
Jesus Christ and Angela, Queen of Islam
'Jesus Christ. Lord Supreme of Holy Christendom, your majesty,' said Mohammed, as Jesus walked up the throneroom red carpet, and gazed at the lady of Islam.
'Humph,' she said.
'Your highness,' said Jesus, bowing. 'I have come with a complaint. Al Qaeda is pissing us off, not to mention those Islamic state thugs. Are you sure you want another crusade?'
'Can't handle the wild boys?' asked Angela, suspiciously.
'Oh, I can handle them alright,' replied Jesus. 'Are you sure you wanna rumble?'
'Al Qaeada is still finding its feet,' commented Mohammed. 'Some patience, prophet. They will be fine in time. Give them - space.'
Jesus glared at Mohammed, but continued.
'The Taliban is becoming somewhat acceptable to us. They have an improved reputation as we have looked at their fruit and they continue to keep the faith and soldier on for Allah. But God is full of vigour once more - he has been reborn after some soulsearching, and has spoken with me. Christ of Israel I may not yet be, but by his leave I may preach my Gospel and continue my missionary work of spreading the good news of the Kingdom of God. I do not like rivals. I will state that again - a son of Israel does not like rivals. The Noahides are of no consequence. They suck at the teet of Noah, and worship their rainbows as they see fit. It is Torah, I do not mind. But your prophet has a new message which is not the faith we know.'
'Islam is ancient,' interceded Mohammed.
'Heresy is as old,' replied Jesus, looking at Mohammed.
'We do not care for your trivial complaints,' responded Angela. 'We have our own Empire, and our own Majesty. Islam does not serve the church, nor shall she ever. If you can't handle the heat, kid, get out of the kitchen.'
Jesus glared at Mohammed, and looked at the Queen once more. 'I made mistakes. Early in my ministry. I claimed the mantle of Christhood too soon. Israel was not ready for that. Yet, in time, with service, they shall accept me. You WILL see that. And the Son of God does not tolerate rivals.'
'Kiss my ass,' said Angela. 'We don't serve Jews. We are our own people, we are proud, and we serve Allah alone. Go to hell Christ Child.'
'You made your bed,' replied Jesus. He looked at Mohammed and said 'Prophet? Humph,' and turned, walked back the way he had come, and was gone.
'This could be trouble,' said Mohammed to Angela.
'Don't I know it,' replied the concerned Queen of Allah.
Jesus the Gospel Teacher
'I'm not frikkin Jesus the Gospelarian,' said Jesus.
'What's wrong with the title?' asked the Theophany. 'Do you prefer Jesus the Gospelator?'
'I'm not an android,' replied Jesus soberly.
'How about Jesus the Gospelist?'
'That sucks,' said Jesus.
'Jesus the Good News Ambassador?'
Jesus gave God one of those 'Please' looks.
'Well, Christ is taken. So think again,' said the Theophany.
'How about Jesus the Lord Divine,' said Jesus.
'Dream on,' replied God.
'Jesus the Supreme One,' said Jesus.
'Who are you kidding?' said the Theophany.
'Jesus the Prophet of Faith?' queried Jesus.
'Prophet? Change that to heretic and you might have something. No, it's Jesus the Gospel Teacher then. My original suggestion.'
'Fine,' replied the Man from Nazareth.
'And the Church are now Gospel Follower movements. They are sticking with their original denominations, and are now Gospel Followers. But I like Gospelarians.'
'Whatever,' replied the son of Mary and Joseph.
'So how big is King David's dick?' Mashenta asked Jesus, who was moody, sitting in the back room of Mashenta's Calwell abode on New Terra.
'What kind of question is that?' asked Jesus. 'He's a happily married man.'
'I'm not interested in him. My twin is curious.'
'David Bridges? Wants to know how big King David's penis is? Brigid Bridges. What is your problem?' replied Jesus.
'I bet he has a small one,' said Donna Veneables.
'I bet it's tiny,' said her sister Sonia.
'It's a majestic penis, befitting a King of Israel,' said Jesus to his Cherubim sisters.
'I'll bet,' said Sonia.
'About 12 inches when erect,' said Jesus, now smiling.
'Oh, as big as your ego,' said Mashenta.
'Nothing is as big as my ego,' replied the Christ Child.
'True,' said Sonia.
'Look. It's normal size. And why the hell does Darondalvarnakay want to know that for?'
'He thinks his schlong is probably bigger. It's a male pride issue,' said Mashenta.
Jesus whipped out his own schlong. 'I'm descended from David, so as you can see we are well endowed.'
'About average, actually,' said Donna.
'Gee, thanks,' replied Jesus, putting his schlong away.
'Don't do that when mum is around,' said Mashenta. 'She'd have a heart attack.'
'Don't I know it,' replied Jesus. 'The Gospel of grace has hardly sunk into her soul yet. Typical Catholic Matriarch. Practically orthodoxy that generation.'
'Father Murphy was very strict,' said Sonia smiling.
'Ahh, good old Father Murphy,' said Jesus. 'Barely a child sex case at all with that one. Faithful. Devoted. Didn't mind the altar wine, but he's only human.'
'What do you expect from an Irishman,' commented Mashenta.
'Exactly,' replied the Lord of the Church.
'Bye bye Miss Austrlian Pie, take your arse back down under, kiss my butt good bye,' said Flint Hardwood, New Terran American Cop to his latest buzz from Oz.
'Fuck yourself,' said the Aussie chick. 'Flint Hardwood can bite me. You think you're fucking cool. I'm a cop, says Flint. I drive a cop car. I arrest the bad guys. Noooo, I don't smoke dope. Noooo, I don't visit strip clubs. Nooooo, I don't embezzle funds from cop charity ball fund.'
'Vicious rumour,' replied Flint. 'You can't believe lawyers and judges. Undeniable proofs are never facts. It's only the position of the law on that issue.'
'You're an idiot, Flint. What, your frikkin trillions of years old, and you haven't grown up. I don't know what I ever saw in you.'
'I'm the Cherubim Angel Satael, babe. Rank 15 in the Infallible 20, and I'm the coolest of them anyway.'
'The Insane 20 more like it. Oh, the Irrational 20. The Irritating 20. The Irresponsible 20,' she said with a sarcastic tone.
'Fuck of Miley Jones. Back to your Canberra Coven.'
'They treat me with respect,' replied Miley. 'Mandie rules with wisdom and integrity.'
'Mandie, Mandie, Mandie. I never stop hearing about that bitch and Lucy Smith. The most enlightened New Age Wiccan's in existence. They're bloody witches.'
'Nobody understands witchcraft properly,' replied Miley. 'It is the natural energies. It is the power of nature and creation. God made it all anyway, so poo you to the religious freaks. They are only do gooders who think they are holy. Oh, I'm Father Ted. I have a big bible. Come worship Jesus Christ with me. Blah blah blah. Bullshit, buddy.'
'I'm a born again Christian,' replied Flint.
'You call yourself an atheist,' retorted Miley.
'Only in practice,' replied Flint. 'Me and Jesus were tight for a while. He got me through some hard shit once. I read the Gospel every now and again. It does it for me.'
'And the rabbis don't even accept Father Ted's claims on Jesus,' said Miley. 'What a joke. Can't even win his own people.'
'What does that fucking matter,' replied Flint. 'It's only religion. Jesus is only having a go teaching his shit. He didn't care about titles. It was just soulwinning in the heart of Christ.'
'Bullshit. He wants all the glory,' said Miley.
'You don't know him, babe. He's a sensitive guy.'
She glared at Flint, then softened. 'You can keep the CDs and other shit. I've got my suitcase with what I need. Don't call. I'll drop around in a few centuries to say hi, and see if you've grown up at all. But that's it babe. Miley is out of here.'
Flint turned and got himself a drink from his mini bar. 'Don't let me stop you,' he said. And she was gone just like that.
'Busy day boss?' asked the young rookie of a few centuries.
'You took your time getting to work,' said Flint, picking up Bob Smith from the station, as they went back out on patrol.
'Was vomiting, and didn't think I'd make work,' replied Bob. 'But I puked it all out, and felt a lot better. I feel ok enough now.'
'It's another day for another dirty dollar,' said Flint.
'And the city is full of dirty dollars,' replied Bob, the well worn response to Flint's catchphrase.
'I've been thinking, Bob,' said Flint, as they ate donuts, taking in an afternoon snack, parked nearby the local Krusty Kreme. 'I've got shitloads of long service leave. Why don't you take some time off, and we'll head up to the Rocky's, do some fishing, and chat up chicks.'
'I'm married now, Flint,' replied Bob, hooking into his third glazed donut.
'Yeh, I was forgetting,' said Flint. 'Never mind. I'll go check up on Semyaza then.'
'Yeh, you're Satael the Angel, aren't you,' said Bob. 'Of Eternity.'
'I think I mentioned that once,' said Flint.
'So you're ancient then.'
'Pretty much,' replied Flint.
'Then why are you so poor and unsuccessful. And a cop?'
'I might have cash elsewhere. I do this job to serve God.'
'Bullshit. You're an atheist.'
'Only in practice. Technically its my good works for my Christian faith.'
'You're a Christian?' asked Bob, thinking over another donut.
'Yeh. Yeh, I mentioned this already today to Miley. And she's gone now.'
'The shit you learn,' said Bob.
'The shit you learn,' replied Flint.
The day wore down, and it was not much action, and as Flint got home, looking at the empty apartment, he sighed a bit. He'd need a new squeeze now. Miley had been around forever. What would he do? Suddenly there was a knock on the door. He went to it and looked at a face he hadn't seen in an eternity.
'Fuck. Wolfgang. God,' said Flint. 'What do wanna see me about?'
God walked past him, into the room, and sat down.
'You wanna order pizza?' asked God.
'Sure,' replied Flint.
As they ate their pizza, God spoke. 'Do you remember your twin's name.'
'Shazza? Shazondiel, or something like that. Haven't seen her forever.'
'Sharondariel,' replied God. 'She lives in Zaphona City. She's been asking about you.'
Flint ate his pizza, and looked over his apartment. 'You want me back in the realm?'
God did not reply. Later, as he was leaving, he spoke softly. 'You've been a good cop. It's made you strong. I need you at home now. Your twin will want you now.'
'Right,' said Flint, and God left.
He sat back down, looked at the box, and finished off his pizza.
'Sharondariel?' he thought to himself. An angel he didn't think he would see again forever. The old bloody twin. The blonde bimbo herself.
He finished his pizza, went off for a piss, and going outside to look over the city, he summed up his thoughts. Life. It went on forever, and you never stopped drifting. Funny that he would be called home, after all this time. Funny that. He farted, went back inside, and spent the night watching porn. He dreamt of his twin, though, that night. And she snarled at him and said, 'Don't you fucking bring me flowers, bastard. Make it a bloody ring.' And he sort of got the agenda from that.
'Bob Smith calling HQ. I have a bandit on Highway 46. He's a nasty looking so and so, over the limit most likely, with a shotgun out the window, shooting in the sky.'
'Approach with caution, Officer Smith,' replied HQ.
'This could be fun,' said Flint Hardwood. 'The Wild Boys out again.'
The Wild Boys were Coldstart City's most notorious gang, and there were a few of them these days. They boozed, gambled, fornicated, did marijuana, and carried shotguns to look tough. But not, technically, criminally. Not usually. There wasn't that much crime on New Terra. But there was a hell of a lot of disorderly behaviour the cops had to handle. People who often pushed the edge, for kicks. It didn't work in the end - criminal sin. It would kill you in the end, which sin does, and you either learn your lesson in Sheol while you suffer, or stay there. But bad boys had always been bad boys, and while the Wild Boys had lived a long time, and toed the line just enough for society, they sometimes got out of hand.
'How about we pull up alongside him and ask if he is having fun?' suggested Bob. 'Not do the lights or anything?'
'Try it,' replied Flint.
Bob manoevered their police car up alongside the speeding vehicle of a group of 3 wild boys, and opened his window, looking at the driver.
'You having fun, hombre?' asked Bob.
The Hombre glared at Bob for a moment, shot his gun in the air in defiance, but then put it down, and pulled over to the side of the road. The cops got out, and came up to them.
'Sure that is the best of behaviours?' asked Bob. Flint looked tough, in his sunnies, glaring at the driver.
'Just having some fucking fun, bro,' said the driver. 'I ain't over the fucking limit. The boys might be, but I'm fucking under. Only a shot of Tequila, Amigo.'
Bob nodded. 'You wanna cool it down, a little, perhaps?'
'Sure think Amigo,' replied the Wild Boy. 'We're going up the road to El Guapo's Inn. Gonna party the night away, but I'm still the designated driver.'
'You have a good day,' said Bob, and walked back to his vehicle, leaving Flint giving the driver a long hard look, before returning to his vehicle. The Wild Boys took off, a little more sedately, and the cops followed them a while till they pulled up at El Guapo's Inn, before moving on.
'Didn't think they'd have much of a go,' said Bob.
'Not these days,' replied Flint dryly.
The day moved on, and they were at Krusty Kreme's again, doing their afternoon tea with donuts and coffee.
'So, wassup?' asked Bob, hooking into a donut.
'Same ole shit. Been cleaning out the apartment since Miley left. Put her stuff in storage. She'll be back one day. She even said so.'
'I don't know. She seemed pretty pissed,' said Bob. 'Had enough of your bullshit.'
'Bullshit is what I do. What makes Flint Hardwood the man,' replied Flint.
'Don't I know it,' replied Bob.
'The old man wants me to see my twin.'
'You have a twin?' asked Bob, sipping on his coffee.
'Not birth twin. Spiritual twin. Angel twin. Cherubim have them.'
'Fascinating,' said Bob. 'Where does he live?'
'He is a she. All the twins are opposite sex. She's in Zaphona city. Don't think I'll go though. Fuck the bitch. Let her find me.'
'That's what I like about you man,' replied Bob. 'Such a ladies man.'
Flint just grinned.
'HQ to car 497. We have a report of a homicide in your locale. Claire Belle Avenue 778. Please proceed to the estate immediately.'
'Ten four,' replied Bob, and they finished off their donuts, and started rolling.
It was a familiar street, but the lights were flashing outside of the address, and the front screen door had been ripped off its hinge.
They had their shotguns ready, and Bob nodded to Flint as they checked the entrance, coming in cop style, guns at the ready. They came into the main living room, carefully observed everything, but they heard weeping from the kitchen. They came in slowly, and found an old lady, hovered over a dead body. It was all a bloody mess, full of dagger holes.
'He's dead,' moaned the old woman.
'You look pretty dead too, Mrs,' said Flint. 'Enjoying sin too much, huh?'
'For fuck's sake!' screamed the woman. 'My husband is dead.'
Flint signalled for Bob to case the rest of the place, and kneeled down to check the body's pulse. He was dead alright. Bob soon returned, and shook his head. 'Nothing,' he said to Flint.
Flint looked at the scene, and looked at the wall. There was a bloody circle on the wall, with a dagger crudely drawn inside the circle.
'For fuck's sake. Daggerthrust again,' said Flint.
'Daggerthrust?' queried Bob.
'Old crimes. We never found the perpetrator. Way before your time. He or she left this symbol, in blood, with every victim. I used to be on homicide. I was on the case briefly. It's one of the dirty secrets of this city.'
Bob looked at the symbol. 'This will happen again?' he asked Flint.
'It always does,' said Flint Hardwood soberly. 'And its never pretty. Never pretty at all.'
* * * * *
'It's not pretty,' said Shonday, looking at the body. 'But, yeh. I think so.' He continued looking at the diagrams they had drawn up of what the knife they felt might have looked like, and it was thought to be an old Apache design. Flint had called in his old Cherubim buddy Shonday, in on the investigation, as he and Bob had been temporarily been promoted to homicide to handle the case.
'Yeh, its probably an apache dagger. The hook is a design we introduced in the third heaven period.'
'We thought so,' said Flint. 'Do you have contacts here in Eternya? Anyone you know who can tell us where to go to find people who might use this knife?'
'Apache populate like all tribes of America,' said the Daredevil. 'But there is a reservation outside the city, and I know the chief. He's lived in Coldstart county a long time. I can talk with him if you like.'
'It's what we were hoping for,' replied Flint.
They were in the police cafeteria, chatting, and Bob spoke up. 'You have a twin, as well, I take it?'
'Squaw,' replied Shonday. 'Her name is Gelzentra the Cherubim. We are 60th of the Cheurbim.'
'What rank are you?' Bob asked Flint.
'Fifteen,' replied Flint. 'The coolest number.'
'Semyaza tops the list, right?' asked Bob. 'I looked it up. They said Semyaza was the oldest of the Cherubim.'
'Of the Cherubim of Eternity,' replied Shonday. 'There are a group of Cherubim of Infinity who are older than us. We don't interact much though.'
'Fascinating,' replied Bob.
'Chief Sharktooth,' said Flint. 'He's ornery. Very argumentative. Not forthcoming with information much. Do you think he will talk?' asked Flint.
'You never can tell,' said the Daredevil. 'Apache like Americans. We get along. Sharktooth doesn't bear grudges like some of the ancients do a little. But he's cautious. He will probably help out on a homicide though.'
'That's what we're counting on,' replied Flint.
'Your twin wants to see you,' said Shonday. 'Squaw mentioned it.'
'She can see me. Whenever she gets off her ass and comes visit,' said Flint.
'Women are tricky business,' replied Shonday. 'Wisdom is needed. When a squaw needs her man, she expects him to be forthcoming. Father always expected us to look out for our twins, Satael.'
'Yeh, that's you. Satael the Cherubim,' said Bob. 'There was a brief bio on you. One of the fallen angels or something.'
Shonday looked at Bob. 'There were a few of us who fell. That was a long time ago.'
'No shit,' replied Bob, looking at his partner. 'Well, we gonna check out this apache chief?'
'In the morning,' replied Flint. 'Me and Shonday are gonna catch up on some old times, first.'
'Cool,' replied Bob, and looked on curiously at the way the two of them seemed so comfortable in each other's presence. Like ancient friends. Like old buddies.
* * * * *
'It's Crusoe's knife. Wolf Claw's,' said the Apache chief. 'He has one of that design. He's cold. Very cold. Jonny Crusoe. Mother is Apache, father is yankee. He lives on the outer reservation. You better approach with caution. He's cold. Doesn't like people.'
Bob and Flint had their shotguns ready, and had approached the shack. Suddenly shots went off, and Bob collapsed on the ground, a bullet to his neck.
'I'll live,' said Bob. 'I think. He's our man.'
Flint continued on, carefully ducking out of sight, and up to the window. He peered through. Bloody mess everywhere, with Daggerthrust carvings on the wall.
Flint Hardwood was a tough cop. And he was an ancient cop. But for the first time in his life he was a scared cop. He pushed open the front door, and carefully, so slowly, entered, gun ready. There was no noise - a deathly silence greeted him. He came into the front room, and there were seven bodies from a quick count, all riddled with blood. He edged his way around to the kitchen, checked the yard, but it was empty, and he could hear noise upstairs. He came to the stairwell.
'You won't take me alive,' said a voice upstairs.
'I don't intend to,' replied Flint.
He stepped, one step at a time, and gun ready, ascended the stairwell. He searched the rooms, but nothing, and then he noticed the open window. He peered outside, and there was Jonny, on the front lawn, mocking him.
'Kill me, cop,' said Jonny, who's arms were raised out to his side, ready to be shot.
Flint came back downstairs, gun ready, and out the front door, pointing his gun at the Apache warrior.
Jonny's hands were still raised, and his gun was on the ground in front of him.
'I really don't give a shit,' said the Apache. 'Life is hell. Kill me.'
Flint raised his gun, and his cop training took over. Almost like instinct. He approached the Apache slowly, and looked him in the eye.
'There's a death penalty for murder,' he said to the Apache.
The Apache glared back at Flint, then lowered his head.
'Your under arrest,' said Flint, and cuffed him. He took him to the car, cuffed him in, and retrieved the weapon. Then he called the ambulance, glanced at the Apache through the mirror, and sighed. A tough day on the job. Murder - literally.
* * * * *
They were at Krusty Kreme's again. 4 months later. Bob was ok. The wound was superficial in some ways, but he'd lost a lot of blood. He'd been out of action, and had counselling for a while, but was now back on patrol.
'Even an Apache can't kill you,' said Flint.
'But these donuts will,' replied Bob. 'The cholesterol in these fuckers.'
And Flint laughed, and sighed in relief.
'Are you bored, Delta?' asked Cheryl.
'She's bored,' said Jack Dagger.
'I'm not bored,' said Delta. 'Watching paint dry sounds good at the moment.' She turned and looked at the wall of the Harvestfield 'Way of the Eternal Dove' Assembly hall. 'Yep, I suppose it's still drying,' said Delta.
Jack looked at the wall, lit a cigarette, and smiled. 'Atomic interaction on drying still going on you think?'
Cheryl looked at the stark blue wall. 'It's just paint,' she said.
'Boring paint,' said Delta, disinterested now.
'Do a crossword,' said Jack. 'It passes the time.'
Delta looked at Jack's book of Crosswords. 'How many of them have you done then?'
'What? You mean in my life? Fuck. Trillions, I guess. What's an ex Hull copper got to do then? With my time? I'm not as gay as I used to be, you know. These days the biggest thrill is an extra scoop on my ice cream cone.'
'Ooh, Ice Cream,' said Cheryl. 'Is there any left in the fridge?'
'I ate the last bit after last night's service,' said Jack.
'Bugger,' replied Cheryl.
Delta turned to look at the wall once more. 'You know, being a dove is great,' she said. 'So much peace. So much lovely peace. No, it isn't bland at all. It's great.'
'Is that sarcasm?' asked Cheryl. 'I can never tell with you.'
'Noooo,' said Delta. 'Not at all. Wouldn't dream of it.'
The paint continued drying - supposedly.
'Posssibly Quadrillions,' said Jack.
'Huh?' asked Delta.
'I've possibly done Quadrillions of crosswords in my life. I've been thinking about it, and maybe Quadrillions of the fuckers.'
'Fascinating,' said Delta dryly. 'Oh, do go on.'
'I like word find as well,' said Jack. 'And number find.'
'Your life. It must be an endless cavalcade of fun,' said Delta.
'Right,' said Jack. 'Shutting up now.'
Delta looked at the paint again. 'I'm bored,' she said. Cheryl continued on knitting, and Jack focused on his crossword book.
* * * * *
'I like soap,' said Delta. 'It keeps you clean.'
'God knows I could use cleaning,' said Jack.
'On your morals?' asked Delta.
'Crotch, mainly. The beasts which have been down there. God only knows.'
Delta smiled. 'Charmed.'
'I've met some of those beasts,' said Cheryl. 'Alfie Lambert, right?'
'What in God's green heaven are you talking about?' asked Jack. 'Alfred Lambert is a dear old heterosexual friend of mine.'
'Sure he is,' replied Cheryl.
'No, we did not have multiple liaisons in the early years of Televon. That is a vicious rumour.'
'God knows I could use some multiple liaisons,' said Delta, looking at the paint dry.
'Your considering an affair with British Paints?' queried Jack.
Delta turned and looked at Jack, and then returned her focus to the wall. 'Is the bossman cute?'
'Rolf mentioned him. Said he was a cracker.'
'Trust British Paints. Sure can,' replied Jack.
'I didn't know Rolf was gay,' said Cheryl. 'Thought he was just the Octopus.'
'He's the Octocock from my memories,' replied Jack. 'Nah, I'm just shitting ya. Maybe.'
Delta continued staring at the paint. 'I wonder what it would be like doing Rolf Harris?'
Cheryl looked at Delta. 'Sometimes I worry about you Delta Goodrem.'
'It's apparently massive,' said Jack. 'I'm reliably informed.'
'You like em big, don't you D?' asked Cheryl.
'It's like thinking of having sex with your grandfather,' said Delta. 'Isn't it.'
'Gee. Thanks,' said Jack.
'Oh, I wasn't casting slurs on you oldies,' said Delta. 'I'm sure you are great in the sack Jack. It's just that beard and everything. He looks like a Teddy Bear.'
'He's scruffed a few of those in his times as well most likely,' said Jack, grinning.
'I could use a Teddy Bear,' said Delta. 'Who would wake me up from this Way of Dove eternal dream, and say to me, 'Remember your fans, Delta? Go on tour. But, no. The big bossman says that life is over with. I have reached 'Enlightenment' and must rest for eternal bliss in the comfort of Noah's arms.'
'Daniel said that?' queried Cheryl.
'He hinted that the world will send me to hell if I keep on whacking at my parties like I used to. I don't know. I was never that wild.'
'I've heard tales,' said Jack.
'Rumors,' said Delta. 'No, seriously. I choose this serene environment to escape the fans in the end. It's calm her. Harvestfield is quiet, and very few bother me here. A show a millennium. It's all I want anymore.'
'Are you married?' asked Jack.
Cheryl stood and walked over to the side of the room, and returned with a Jewish Bible. 'Go on. Throw it at me,' said Cheryl.
'Huh?' asked Delta.
'If Jack Dagger, after knowing you for more millions of years I can remember has only now finally asked you if you are married, well. Well I need the word of God thrown at me to get over it.'
'I don't really pry,' said Jack.
'I'm not married,' said Delta. 'I have a man. Who I see. Once every blue moon. He takes care of those things. He lives on New Terra. Once a Millennium, when I tour, I visit. Technically a boyfriend, but he's mainly a priest. Doesn't see anybody else. Says he only wants my love very rarely.'
'What type of priest?' asked Cheryl.
'Anglican,' said Delta. 'He serves the Lord quietly. We're not technically married, but we don't see anyone else.'
'Fascinating,' replied Jack.
Delta looked at the paint dry. 'I'm bored,' she said.
Life continued rolling on by.
* * * * *
'I've been considering suicide,' said Delta.
'Always an option,' replied Jack.
'Could be a rush,' commented Cheryl.
'Death by boredom,' said Delta.
'You're getting good at that,' said Jack.
'Practically an expert,' commented Cheryl.
'Maybe I could paint the walls,' said Delta.
'Why would you do that?' asked Jack.
'That paints been there forever,' said Cheryl.
'I could watch it dry then - literally,' said Delta.
'These crosswords aren't as boring as you think,' said Jack.
'I find knitting very therapeutic,' said Cheryl.
'Tip buckets of paint into a bath and drown myself in it,' said Delta.
'You might be good at Sudoku,' said Jack. 'I can never work them out. Takes me forever.'
'Jumpers, socks, little teddies named Pookie. I do all sorts of things. I sell them too. Part of my income. They go out on shuttles to distant planets usually. My fame commands quite a price for them now,' commented Cheryl.
'Maybe drink a bottle full of Methylated Spirits,' said Delta.
'You'll get drunk,' cautioned Jack.
'I could use some grog,' commented Cheryl.
'Go swimming in a Piranha filled section of the Amazon, maybe,' said Delta.
'Don't like swimming much,' said Jack. 'Don't like them seeing my pale skin.'
'They always perve,' commented Cheryl. 'Always the boys gawking at Cheryl Colson.'
'Bungee Jumping without a rope, maybe,' suggested Delta.
'Could be a painful landing,' said Jack.
Delta looked at him. 'That's the frikkin point.'
'Oh,' responded Jack sensitively.
'Ok, ok, ok,' said Cheryl. 'You have earned it I guess. We'll go out next Friday night to the club in the city, and flirt with boys, drink till we're drunk, and have the time of our lives.'
'Sounds bliss,' said Jack. 'I could use a break from this.'
Delta looked at the paint for a while, and, slowly, turned to look at Cheryl. 'I have been very patient, Cheryl Colson. Can I bring a pack of condoms with me?'
'I wonder if they let teenage boys into that place,' said Jack.
'JACK!' yelled Delta and Cheryl.
'What! I'm kidding. Really,' replied Jack Dagger.
'Friday night. Finally something to do,' thought Delta to herself, as she thought of the break from their perpetual routine just around the corner.
* * * * *
'Get down and boogie, all night baby. Get down and boogie all night,' and so the song went.
They danced. They drank. They danced some more. Cute boys flirted. Jack noticed a couple of them. They sat on the seats, in the upper loft, and drank, and watched the show.
'Ah, it's been good,' said Jack.
'Better than watching paint dry,' said Delta, smiling at a guy looking at her.
'Think you'll get lucky?' asked Cheryl.
'I don't know,' said Delta. 'But he seems interested.'
They looked at a bloke who was looking towards their table. He came over, and smiled at them all.
'I'm Paulie,' he said. 'Call me,' and he took out his card.
'I'd be delighted,' said Delta. Paulie gave her a funny look, and put the card in front of Jack.
'Uh, thanks,' said Jack, and gave Paulie a wink.
'Don't say it,' said Delta.
Cheryl didn't comment. Her smile said it all.
The following morning Delta awoke. Jack's hand was on her knickers. He was asleep, half naked.
Cheryl was in the bed also, in her bra and knickers as well. Just like Delta.
She stood, went to the hotel windows, opened them and looked out. Early morning. The Sun was dawning.
'Life. Life is not that bad at all,' said Delta to herself, as the sun shined gloriously the new day. 'Not that bad at all.'
'Your son,' said Lucy Smith.
'I've had one at last,' replied Grimlock.
'What is his name?'
'Krimlock,' replied Grimlock.
Lucy stared at him.
'How old is he?' asked Shelandragh May.
'4,' said Grimlock.
'Does he look like you?' asked Shelandragh.
'His mother is an angel. He looks like her. Wolfgang said he was Saruvim.'
'Saruvim?' asked Lucy. 'A Saruvim Angel?'
'There numbers are not yet complete,' said Grimlock.
'Will he dress in black like his father?' asked Lucy.
'Most Saruvim dress in black. Like Saruviel,' said Grimlock. 'They are mostly goths as well. Emos galore in that world.'
'Don't I know it,' replied Lucy.
'I have dressed him in black. His mother requested that be the clothing of choice. She shops mainly in some of the Supermarket Franchises owned by Saruviel. Most of the Ketravim do.'
'Is your wife into magic?' asked Lucy.
'She dabbles a little,' said Grimlock. 'But she is mostly lethargic. She allows me to do all the work in the house. By her grace.'
'Typical Saruvim,' said Shelandragh.
'Yes, they are like that for the most part,' said Lucy. 'I've met some special ones. But most are ordinary.'
'That suits me well,' said Grimlock.
'Why am I not surprised,' replied the witch Lucy Smith.
'I shall form,' he paused dramatically. 'A Geo-Science Conglomerate,' said Grimlock, quite proudly.
'Sounds fab,' replied Lucy Smith.
'Daniel's shit?' queried Mandie the Wtitch.
'Yes. Daniel's shit,' replied Grimlock soberly.
'Daniel comes up with a lot of shit,' said Lucy.
'Usually shit as well,' said Mandie.
'It will be a magical conglomerate,' said Grimlock, quite proudly.
'Sometimes its useful shit,' suggested Lucy.
'Mostly crap as far as I am concerned,' replied Mandie.
'It will be dedicated to growing schools of witchcraft and wizardry all throughout Eternya and developing the culture, even more so, of our fine craft,' said Grimlock, quite proudly.
'7DF was ok,' said Lucy. 'But his father started that anyway.'
'Old Daniel,' said Mandie. 'That old fox. I remember him. He was keen on me once. A very long time ago.'
'I am open for members in 'The Grand old and ancient Empire of Wizarding skill and sophistication,' said Grimlock, again, quite proudly.
'I can never work out, though,' said Lucy. 'Whether Daniel the Seraphim is his son or grandson and whether Callodyn the Cherubim is his son or grandson. The data is always confusing and misleading.'
'They change the story from time to time,' replied Mandie. 'Retconns away history, and leaves us befuddled.'
'Are you girls listening to me?' asked Grimlock.
'He's cute though,' said Lucy. 'Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly. I could do him.'
'Dream on,' replied Mandie. 'He only really likes his twin and that Mary O'Donnell girl.'
'I take it you are contemplating my most gracious offer,' said Grimlock.
'Pity,' said Lucy. 'I often feel this connection to him. Like he's family or something.'
'Fascinating,' replied Mandie.
'I wonder what's for dinner,' said Grimlock, out loud, thinking what his wife might be cooking.
'You're inviting us to dinner?' queried Lucy to Grimlock, eyes lighting up.
'Sounds great,' said Mandie.
'All official members of the Grand old and ancient Empire of Wizarding skill and sophistication are entitled to dine with their sovereign warlock overlord on occasions,' replied Grimlock.
Both girls gave him one of those looks.
'We're having cheese macaroni I think' said Grimlock, defeated.
'Fine, I'll join, Grimmy,' said Lucy.
'Count me in, then,' replied Mandie.
Grimlock grinned, and his mind was on his impending glory.