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The Ascended

By Tom Ledgard All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Fantasy

Snakes and Dragons

I was once a mere mortal but a great warrior, feared by many worshiped by most. Statues erected in my likeness, swords sworn to my glory, many died in my name and by my blade. I don't remember much of being alive but I couldn't forget that I had a brother, Nathaniel his name. Whilst I sleep and dream he strikes me down with the very sword I had given him. Though I be an honest man the devil claims my I reside in the place of evil, the realm of the damned known to most as hell. I hate this place. It's so dark, so cruel and full of death.

I do not remember my human name but now I am known as Bael, many do not know of my existence as I had chosen to hide away at first. When men fall to hell they are tortured for many years but should one rise up and claim souls of his own he becomes a new creature known as a demon, when I fell I was attacked by a demon who must've been powerful and of a high name as his killer is being hunted down. The battle lasted for hours and I was on my last legs but in the end I claimed this demons life with his own weapon and all his power became mine turning me into a demon. I do not know how to use his power but I do have his weapon. Food is no longer a requirement and sleep is rare; the voices in my head screaming for salvation keep me awake. There is also no night or day here so time is also irrelevant.

Now days I stay in a small hut that I share with a tiny dragon, his name is Klaw. He was the last survivor of his clan that was slaughtered by a demon, I killed this demon too and saved Klaw's life. Ever since then he hasn't left my side even though apparently demons and dragons are sworn enemies here. After quite some time this dark place had began to change, I could feel a disturbance coming from the castle in the distance but the more I feel this the more demons flee from it. Many have now found my hut so for my sake and Klaw's I have had to kill them, all this power I gained and I have no idea how to use them. I'm tired of hiding, I must find out what this disturbance is and I must learn more about this place if I want to survive any longer.

"Klaw come on or I'll leave you behind!" the little dragon had become quite fond of our hut and didn't want to leave, I understand it being the only home he has known since his clan's passing but we have to learn to survive. He slowly climbs onto my shoulder "good, I told you we have to go" I give him a bit of meat which he greedily eats then I begin my journey towards the big castle. This place looks like an empty dessert with red sand, only it never rains. As empty as it looks it's full of many different creatures being full fledged demons to half breed vampires or ghouls, basically it's full of nightmares. There's more creatures here than there is in the living.

Since my departure I have seen nothing but the same red sand and bones, if I was still a man I would be dying of thirst due to this heat. Klaw does drink but very rarely, dragons seem to last years without a sip of water. "Hey you!" Some random creature calls to me from behind, I turn to this foreign voice with my hand on weapon "what do you want?" the man doesn't even try to converse he just draws his sword and attacks, blocking his strike I use my polearm and cut the mans head from his shoulders. The mans power flows into me, it wasn't much but I do feel a small difference. As Klaw devours the mans remains I inspect the mans sword, it had infant bones as a handle and it's blade was a dragons tooth. Doesn't look too strong but I'll take it with me, Klaw finishes his meal then we continue on.

It seems like hours since I left but the castle isn't getting any larger although I sense more creatures around me, in fact a really strong presence is heading straight for me. Klaw is even arching his back up and screeching 'whatever this is it can't be good, I must be ready' I draw the sword I had won from the previous stranger awaiting the arrival of this powerful being. Suddenly this large creature that was traveling so fast stops in front of me, putting dust and sand all through the air. When it fades nothing but a mere man stands before me; he has red and black hair, pointy ears and fangs but as the dust fully fades I realize the man is bare naked "are you gonna eat that?" the mysterious man points to my dragon "no! And if you touch him I shall behead you where you stand" raising my sword to him he places his finger on the blade "alright alright jeez" I put my blade away 'his power is strong, its almost suffocating but he doesn't seem like a threat'

"state your name stranger"

"I'll answer your questions if you answer mine"


"good; well my name is Kye, why are you on the sandlands?"

"the sandlands?"

"yeah, what made you come here?"

"well...I haven't left here since I arrived" 'are there other places I could go?'

"really? weirdo, how long have you been here?"

"I don't know, there's no time in this place"

"of course there is! Wow you really know nothing about here do you?"

"enough! answer my question now, who and what are you and how did you find me?"

"if I tell you...will you kill me?" his eyes glow a neon blue, his teeth and nails grew and his aura became massive "I will do what I must, now are you a man of your word or not?"

"fine" his aura increased even more causing the flow of wind to increase, the blood lust was so overwhelming that Klaw crawled into a ball shielding himself with his wings "I am a hellwolf, my breed is a Bestumis; we feast upon anything that resides in hell, now mainly those horrid demons" I keep a hold of my sword, if he finds out what I am he may want me instead of Klaw "if you eat mainly demons why did you want to eat my dragon?"

"he keeps hissing at me, oh and I'm so hungry!" he let his aura down and turned back to normal "now you know what I am, do you wish to kill me?"

"I will spare you if you do not harm me or my dragon"

"aww man but I'm starving!..." I grip my sword and stare at the wolf "fine! Have it your way. Okay now who and what are you?"

"I am known as Bael and I'm a demon" Kye's eyes widen, looking back at the dragon and me "but...but there's a dragon on your shoulder!"

"yes, I once saved him from another demon and he has never left my side ever since"

"and I thought I was is a demon and a dragon being best friends like a man and dog"

"do not compare my dragon to a common pet"

"man you really are different from other demons..."

"why do you say this?" Kye walked over to a large skull and sat "I'm...the last of my kind; before human souls mutated into demons we ruled the underworld keeping things in check. Then the demons came along and hunted us down; in our normal form and basic transformations we are immortal but if we cant control ourselves during a full moon, when we're so hungry we're pushed into a wild state fueled by natural instinct or if we become territorial over loved ones or our pups we become stronger, near unstoppable but at this stage we're also at our weakest. The demons locked us up and starved us until we were pushed to this state then they would kill us...using our fur for their protective qualities, our teeth as weapons and our meat and blood for consumption" the wolf actually shed a tear, it was sad but also a strange scene watching a naked wolf-man cry on a skull "my brothers and mother and father... my entire pack and all like me all perished. For hundreds of years I've remained hidden, killed anyone and anything that became aware of my species but I feel like I you" Kye stood and walked over to me "you're the first demon who has spared my life... AND the first I've seen to befriend a dragon"

"listen Kye, I am sorry for what has happened to you but I must be on my way now"

"on your way? where are you heading"

"I'm heading to that castle" I point to it, Kye laughs at me "what are you laughing for?"

"that castle? that's the top floor of Satan's castle why in hell would you want to go there?"

"I must know what I really am and why I was damned to hell"

"well duh! you were an evil man and died then you came here"

"no...I was a righteous man, a warrior who protected my homeland and my loved ones, I did no evil"

"you...remember what it's like to be human? and you were good? what...are you?"

"if I had the answer to those questions I wouldn't need to travel"

"but how did you become a demon?"

"I killed one when I first got here" Kye eyes the polearm then me "take me with you"

"what!? why!?"

"I know this place much better than you and you're...very interesting, I too wish to know what you are" now that I think about it, his power and knowledge could come in handy and above that he doesn't seem too bad "...fine but on three conditions"

"okay what?"

"you must pledge your allegiance to me and you must use your strength and knowledge to aid me whenever I require it"

"sure no problem! what's the third one?"

"please put these on" I pull out a pair of pants "what? I have to wear pants too? you're so demanding" he puts the pants on "there! you happy?"

"now tell me everything you know about this place while leading me to Satan's castle" I pull out some meat and give it to Kye "food! And sure!".

Elsewhere many men and women pray in a sacred mansion of light, in the middle of the circle was a young girl. She had just come of age, ready to partake in the holy ritual of ascendancy. "Child no longer, Sandra now you become an angel of the lord. I Place this halo upon your head, should your wings spread shall the winds lead you to greatness in god's name, from now to eternity in god's kingdom you shall be known as St. Sandra" the halo sat upon her head but her wings did not spread; many clapped but whispers and snickers could be heard.

"my dear, I'm afraid you did not receive your wings...but that doesn't make you any less of an angel! wear your halo proud" Sandra hugged her mother then went to her room, on her way there her father looked at her; disappointment filling his eyes he shakes his head then turns away from her. She laid on her bed crying, for generations her family had spread their wings when they ascended and now she would be shunned upon. Rumour has it that those who do not receive wings have no faith but those whose halo's turn black have done an evil deed in heaven and god sees them as unworthy. Should one kill an angel they fall to earth without any of god's blessings, these angels are known as the fallen. Going to heaven was a second chance to live again but if you get tired of living an eternal life you can be reincarnated into someone new with the permission of god and you keep the blessings bestowed upon you.

The lands of heaven looks almost exactly the same as earth except it had more mountains, forests, less buildings and stretched on endlessly. There was mansions and chapels for ascendancy rituals and casual praying and on a very rare occasion it was used for funerals. Right in the middle of heaven was the forbidden kingdom rumoured to be the home of god himself.

After much crying Sandra decided to leave home and wander around heavens forest; to get away from all the angels who keep staring and pointing at her. Through the trees and bushes she runs; sorrowful tears falling from her face landing on the plants as she passes them, further and further she runs deeper into the now dark forest. She suddenly trips on a tree trunk, she hits the ground hard but she didn't care as she was too upset "oh gosh! are you okay child?" a foreign voice interrupting her sobs, she lifts her head looking for the source of the voice "hello? i-is anyone there?" there wasn't anyone around from what she could see until a branch came into view "let me help you stand" she hesitantly used the branch to stand, regaining her posture and regaining her vision by wiping the tears away she realised she wasn't holding a branch but the tail of a snake "a talking snake!?"

"well yes child, I am in god's forest which is filled with all kinds of magical creatures"

"but...talking snakes are a bad omen...and I am not a child! not anymore!" The snake laughed "you're a funny one, that's just a myth! surely you don't think god would intentionally put evil creatures in his forest do you? you have no faith?"

"I have faith!"

"and I believe you, even though you have a halo but I do not see a pair of wings"

"I...just had my ascendancy but I didn't receive wings, maybe you're right maybe I am unfaithful.."

"if you want I can test you" the snake slithered onto her arm "test me?" Sandra became a little scared unsure of the snakes true intentions, she knew her father told her that talking snakes were a bad omen but she was so mad, so upset that right now she didn't want to listen to him. The snake slithered off her onto a smaller tree "don't mind me I'm just getting comfirtable, now to test you I must know nessesary details about you"

"like what?"

"an example? alright I'm known as Belial, I do not know how old I am but I have lived in these forests for a long time. My favorite food is apples and I do not like my parents. You understand now?"

"yeah I think I got it"

"good! Now tell me about yourself" Sandra sat on the grass, Belial collected two apples from the tree and gave one to Sandra "eat up, I always know how to choose the most delicious ones" the snake bit into the apple, Sandra was once again hesitant but bit it nonetheless. She smiled as the flavour hit her taste buds, the snake was indeed correct the apple was the best she ever had " I'm Sandra oh! I mean St. Sandra, I'm sixteen, I live in the St. Michael's mansion and have done since birth-"

"since birth? you mean you didn't pass on and come here like everyone else?"

"no, my parents are St. Michael and St. Julia...I'm the offspring of two angels but I wasn't born an angel though"

"how interesting... what a rare individual you are"

"I'm not that special...I don't have wings"

"what if I told you I could get you wings?" the snake slithered towards her "you could!? how?"

"now now, I haven't told you I could yet"

"but you can, can't you!?" the snake slithered closer, stopping right in front of her lifting its head up to match her height "I could but...are you willing to do whatever it takes? And think hard! Once you agree to this you can't back out, meet me back here at exactly midnight with an answer in mind".

On the walk home Sandra thought long and hard about the decision she needed to make 'do I trust Belial? he was very helpful and he did increase my mood, not to mention that if I go through with whatever he has planned I get my wings! What kind of challenge does he have in mind? I mean he is one of gods creatures and he's only a snake, what is the worst he can do?'

In the shadows two people stand in front of each other "Belial huh? playing it a little too close to the chest aren't we?"

"she doesn't even know the meaning of the name"

"and if she did?"

"well I guess I would've had to do things the hard way...anyways she ate the apple didn't she?"

"I guess, I also hear the one in hell is looking for you"

"yes, just as planned"

"you really are a sly one, a snake fits you perfectly"

"true, you women and snakes...don't you know that we're dangerous?"

"if I hadn't listened to you in the first place I wouldn't have known this kind of life, this kind of freedom"

"also true, once the door is open I will claim all I was promised and you my love will be my queen".

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1. Snakes and Dragons
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