Succumb to the Light
“Lucifer’s war has come to your father’s realm. Soon a storm will rage up out of the ocean placing an innocent soul on the surface. Find and protect it. Keep it safe against all that may cause harm. This is your duty Asmodeus as you are my son, the Prince of the Shedim.”
The words from his mother’s prayer entered his being waking him from a peaceful slumber. As he rose from the bed, he felt the surreal feeling of the pounding inside his chest bring him back to life. The echo of the beating floated through his veins forcing him to open his eyes. The darkness surrounding him obscured his sight leaving nothing but the voice of his mother to repeat itself. Slowly as his sense of sight gave way a flicker of a candle came from across the room. The smooth skin of the women on both sides of him reminded him of the night he enjoyed just a few short hours ago. Unwilling to wake either of the beautiful indulgences he succumbed to a few short hours ago, swiftly he appeared outside his bedroom door.
The smell of coffee filled his nose as he roamed through the hallways of his home leading him straight towards the kitchen where the aroma originated from. The shadows of his servants danced out the doorway on the wall, but the sound of his mother’s voice drowned out every other sound surrounding him. Closing his eyes he tried to push her words from his mind, but even then it refused to leave him. As he pressed his fists into his temples, he could have sworn the words grew even louder.
Unknown to Asmodeus, as he fought the battle in his mind, a great growl crawled up out of his throat. Suddenly the sounds of the chopping knives and the crackle of fire filtered into his ears as he opened his eyes to find his most beloved servant standing directly in front of him. Her brown eyes first full of shock filled themselves with bewilderment. Just as she turned and readied herself to leave Asmodeus knew he had to stop her. The waves of words quit as soon as she entered the space containing him. He needed to keep her near fearing his mother’s voice would once more resounding into his mind.
Once he laid his hand on her shoulder, she shuddered instantly and froze. “My lord.”
“Mary,” Asmodeus spoke her name for the first time since he laid his eyes on her. He remembered seeing her there bound, to be burnt with the rest of the witches. Saving all that he could, Mary stood out against the rest. Her brilliant red hair craved his attention as did her brown eyes. Everything and everyone surrounding her became lost in the background as he entered the damp dungeon containing nearly thirty witches and warlocks awaiting their doom. Mary refused to give in like the rest. She fought. She screamed. She knew something no one else did.
Mary came with a special gift although she herself calls it nothing more than a curse. It would haunt her until the day her death truly came. Unlike every witch Asmodeus has known throughout all his years here on the surface of the earth, Mary could see every time death sought her out. Mary constantly suffered through the worst possible situation every living person must face, and then as death touched her soul, time took her back forcing her to live. But that isn’t why Asmodeus kept her so close.
Mary’s rescue became difficult as he stepped in to the sight of her. Every ounce of power he owned diminished down to absolutely nothing. A sense of release pours out when her eyes meet his, and he can finally feel the bitterness of brutal mortality down to the core of his being. It was such an odd feeling, but the first instance he felt it, he knew he would crave more. The release of everything he was given, gave him the freedom he always desired.
“Please join me for breakfast.” The pain from his mother’s voice inside his mind remained as he spoke to her. “I desire your company.”
“If that is what you wish, my lord.” Mary slowly turned to face her master, her savior, but she tried as hard as she could, not to let her eyes roam. Asmodeus remained unclothed from his endeavors only hours ago. As hard as she tried his muscles glistening from the cold sweat still covering him tore her eyes away from his. In that single moment she forgot the pain she suffered only moments ago forcing her towards Asmodeus. She caved in against the sight of him, allowing the dread inside her heart to die. Mary looked up once more to her master’s eyes. With only the fire inside the kitchen pouring out the doorway, the hallway remained dim causing Asmodeus’ deep brown eyes to stray into a deeper color. Inside the obsidian Mary found peace against the upcoming hours of pure torture she would endure until death would take her.
A shadow entered the hallway, but both Asmodeus and Mary were oblivious to the presence until it began loudly clearing its throat. Instinctively acting as though someone had caught them amid a crime each one jumped away from the other. Neither of them realized as they pulled away, Asmodeus slid his hand down from Mary’s shoulder allowing their fingers to intertwine themselves together. Mary quickly pulled her hand from Asmodeus’ and backed up towards the shadows to hide the shame now covering her face.
“Mary,” The shadowy figure spoke with a boisterous voice killing the silence of the area he now entered, “Go get our master some clothing.”
Before Asmodeus could object Mary disappeared into the darkness causing his mother’s prayer to overwhelm him once more. As the pain reached inside of his mind Asmodeus instinctively pressed against his temples hoping to release it, but he had no such luck. The torment with his mother’s pleas nearly brought him to his knees as the shadowy figure caught him quickly. “When she comes back, do not send her away, Joseph.”
“Sir, you know I must.” Joseph lost the power in his voice as he wrapped Asmodeus’ arm around him. “You are in danger whenever she is near.”
Asmodeus took Joseph’s lead as he helped him towards the library at the end of the hallway. “I don’t care. Right now I need her to kill this pain.”
“No,” Joseph insisted on fulfilling his duty. “She will be nowhere near. You asked that she remained here, but urged me to keep you safe against the danger she will bring.”
Asmodeus fell back into the chair to see the sun now rising through the window. The torture of his mother’s words pushed through him as he relinquished his frustration against Joseph who now stood beside him. “I know what I told you to do, but I need her beside me.”
“Sir, I must insist.”
“She stays!” Asmodeus rose up out of the chair with a newly found power. He stood against Joseph, who towered over him by nearly a foot and almost a hundred pounds. With a simple touch of a finger against Joseph’s chest Asmodeus forced him backwards into the book shelves causing several of the books to fall to the floor. “Next time, I will throw you out the window.”
A light tapping came on the door as Mary stepped inside, “I have clothes for you, sir.”
Joseph instantly walked away from his master with no fear of harm and took the clothes, “Thank you. You may go now.”
“No,” Asmodeus protested as Mary turned to leave. He reached out for her, “I am your master and I say you will stay.”
Joseph placed himself between Asmodeus and Mary, “If she stays, so do I.”
“Fine.” Asmodeus took the clothes and put them on. While Joseph urged Mary towards the window trying to give him master a semblance of privacy. Asmodeus found the peace from his mind as he sat back down. While he stared at Mary gazing out at the sunrise, he found her hair catching fire in the rays of light. Never in his life has he met someone like her. She wasn’t even the most beautiful woman he had ever known, but the power she held over him drew him in as though he had never felt before. No older than sixteen she had grown into an angel beautifully. Her porcelain skin seemed so fragile hidden underneath her hair. The red of her hair seemed so wild and untamed, but it fell down around her body as though it were a shield protecting her from everything. Each time he gave in against his own willpower and stared into her hazel eyes he was sure he could see the future.
“My lord,” Mary finally broke the silence of the room as she watched Asmodeus’ reflection in the window instead of the sunlight as Joseph advised her to study. She could see the agony he fought hard against, but she knew the unbearable pain that would befall against them both in the coming day. “I beg of you to do as your mother wishes.”
“No!” Asmodeus’ fist slammed down against the arm of the chair. To his surprise, he watched as Mary’s legs buckled from underneath her. Collapsing down to the floor she lost control over her emotions as the tears flowed out of her eyes. Everything she had just lived through, could not stop now. Her life would end in a few short hours and her master would be the only one to save her.
Watching her fall brought Asmodeus to his feet and as he rushed towards her, he found Joseph directly in his path. Joseph placed his hands on Asmodeus’ shoulders halting him, “No, sir, I think it might be best just to leave her.”
Asmodeus lowered his voice, “You do not understand, Joseph, she can see the future.”
Joseph nodded towards the three plates appearing on the table close to where they stood. “Let us eat and then we will discuss our futures.”
Asmodeus sat down with Joseph at the table, but Mary stayed right where she collapsed against the wall beneath the window. While she sat there in her tears, several thoughts ran through her mind to end this death she could feel looming towards her. More than a few times in the past she faced death in visions, and although this time she feared she wouldn’t be able to change what she saw. Without her master’s help in following through with his mother’s wishes, this would not end well for anyone.
With this death, a dread filled her thoroughly. In the many times when death would find her, there had always been a sense of peace before she would come back to reality. This time there was no tranquility . Instead, it felt as though she wouldn’t come back. She feared during the terror spreading through her veins she would never wake again. Pure darkness filled her mind as the world collapsed around her. Never has she ever feared her own demise until now. Perhaps, not only because this time she worried she would never wake again, but her death was not her own.
Asmodeus sat there for nearly an hour after eating with his eyes fastened on the woman he secretly desired above all others, but feared more than anything else in his life. Joseph remained firmly planted right between the two refusing to allow communication between either of them. Mary never let her eyes draw up from the wooden floor underneath her, but Asmodeus had tried several times to go to her. As her death played over and over in her mind, the pain produced more tears. Finally, Asmodeus’ heartstrings had enough of seeing Mary in agony.
Quietly he spoke with his bodyguard, “Joseph, how long has it been since I have known you?”
Joseph rolled his eyes at the question, but refused to answer.
Asmodeus used his question as he had done several times before with Joseph. He knew Joseph since he was just a young boy, younger than what Asmodeus seemed by appearances now. Joseph now averaged in looks of what would be twice Asmodeus’ age. Joseph had grown into a man while his master remained a teenager. Throughout those years Joseph saw his master take care of his own with the powers he held, but with Mary being around, it stripped away those powers leaving Asmodeus helpless against the world around them. Joseph feared for his master’s life not only because he cared for his master, but because Asmodeus had made a point to Joseph to protect him from Mary’s powers over him.
Joseph saw throughout the years the powers Asmodeus owned. Asmodeus had enough power inside him to control the world, but yet he remained deep in the world away from society. With just one look from Asmodeus, Joseph watched giants fall to their deaths. In the blink of an eye, Asmodeus sent women into such an uncontrollable blissful frenzy. Joseph watched as Asmodeus built this entire house from his mind with the trees he had removed from the land in only a few hours. Joseph not only feared his master’s powers, but respected them all the same. He would never cross him, but he grew close to his master as they became friends throughout the years. Joseph watched as his master would save all those like himself without the power to save themselves.
Since the witch hunting craze that took hold of the colonies, Joseph feared for everyone like him. His family ran from Europe in hopes to be free, but it followed them to the new world. Spreading like wildfire it came with no surprise as he watched tragedy fall before him. Asmodeus came in, saved them, protected them and offered them a life safe from those who would see them all dead. Not only did Asmodeus wish to stay away from the world, but he also saved all those like himself even though their powers did not amount to anything near his. He was their savior, their god, yet he never asked for anything in return. He offered every single one of them their freedom, but when they refused to leave, he built them a home only a king could wish for. All of those he saved fell into his service and swore to serve him without ever being asked to.
“Now you see my point,” Asmodeus leaned in hushing his voice, “I would not want her so near if it didn’t mean something I could control on my own. I fear not only for my sake, but everyone’s. Whatever is affecting me has touched her. You must allow me to go to her so I can discover how to fix all of this.”
“I can’t allow you to do that, Sir.” Joseph stood up. “Allow me to go to her.”
“Very well.” Asmodeus agreed nearly thankful himself. Deep in the back of his mind he feared to go near Mary.
Asmodeus got to his feet and watched cautiously as Joseph, his most beloved friend walk towards the future. The unknown about to be revealed nearly caused his heart to stop. Asmodeus remained perfectly still against all caution as he watched Joseph knelt beside the crying woman who constantly stole his soul with her eyes. When Joseph placed his hand on her shoulder Asmodeus remembered the brief moment their fingers entangled in the hallway. He relived the moment inside his mind, the peace that filled him as their skin touched. Mary was everything he desired, but she held his death inside of her. He loved and feared her all in the same moment.
Silence fell throughout the room and several minutes passed as Asmodeus stared at the statues refusing to move. Asmodeus watched Joseph touch her shoulder, and he was sure time itself had stopped for the world as it had done to him thousands of years ago. Asmodeus nearly rushed towards them when abruptly Mary’s voice erupted breaking the hush that collapsed on the world.
“Moments you have never known will collide into each other. The phoenix will die and any future set forth against this heaven you have grown to adore if you continue as you are. Save the light and save all you adore.”
Asmodeus knew his mother’s words as they came through Mary’s voice. It came as a warning, but nothing could stop the blood about to pour into the world. He watched frozen in place as Joseph removed his grip from Mary’s shoulder. Her eyes trailed back out towards the sun rising over the treetops passed the gardens beyond the window while Joseph stared straight back to Asmodeus.
“I saw it, Sir.” Inside Joseph Asmodeus saw the terror about to unfold into the world. A single tear escaped the big man’s hazel eyes as the knife appeared in his hand. Unable to pass through the time unfolding Asmodeus stretched out his hand and inaudible scream echoed inside as he watched Joseph place the sharp edge against his throat. With an entire room between them and without the use of his powers Asmodeus knew he could not save his most beloved friend from the pain of death he was about to inflict on himself. “I saw the world with no light.”
With Joseph’s last words, the hold against Asmodeus let go, but without his powers he remained helpless. He sprinted across the library to Joseph. Each time Asmodeus’ foot hit the floor he knew time would continue allowing more blood to pour from the wound. Finally collapsing at the side of his friend, Asmodeus leaned over him only with enough time to watch Joseph’s struggle to breathe ended.
“His death is a warning.” Mary remained as she was, “He saw a future beyond my own. Joseph looked upon the destruction to be unleashed against the world as the light dies. He watched the Holy Spirit die, the deformation of the Father, and a world where the son does not exist. You must save the light.”
Asmodeus watched the burial of his friend and another servant who inadvertently touched Mary trying to remove her from the library. The mid-day sun beat down through the leaves of the tree casting a dancing shadow over the fresh graves. Now he questioned his rash decision against his mother’s request this morning. A fear he never knew before came over him as he watched Mary through the window.
After more than a thousand years, Asmodeus felt death as he had never known it before. In all that time he has watched those he cared about fall from life, but never this way before. Fear of a future unknown to anyone but themselves drove the knife, ending their lives. He could only imagine the amount of fear cascading over him now was only a fraction of what they felt seeing their own futures.
He sat there for some time in silence watching Mary through the glass wondering what secrets she held, what future she owned inside her skin, and why she herself remains unharmed. He could see it in her eyes, she feared the future coming for her, but yet she stays by the window watching the sun climb higher into the sky. What kept her here after knowing death is only a few short hours away.
“Mary?” Asmodeus entered the library to find her the same as before. “Can you show me what they saw?”
“You cannot undo what has been done. We all must walk the path we are given now. The decision has been made, and you have chosen to let the world die.” Mary’s voice came through the stillness of the room, with his mother’s words still echoing inside. “You can see what you must through the power, but this future cannot be undone. You will find it, but not in time. The light will fade as the darkness takes over. Madness will take hold and the world will no longer be. Yet, you will remain. The key to your life will die with the falling sun never to be reborn after tonight begins.”
“Where do I find it?”
“Where the sun rises on the solstice morning through the devil’s circle. She awaits you at the foot of the heel stone, but you are too late. This is the last time the sun shall shine on the surface.” Asmodeus’ mother gradually released her grip on Mary leaving her stare to drop from the horizon. Asmodeus still fearing to lay a hand on Mary he knelt down beside her until their eyes met. It wasn’t the fear of seeing a future where the sun would no longer shine on the ground, but the thought if he touched her again, he would never want to leave her side. “Sir, I’m sorry.”
While she stared aimlessly at the future, Asmodeus watched the glint of life in her eyes leaving. The sunlight glistened against the windowpane, but it lost all hope inside Mary. The darkness he knew from years gone past etched itself inside her soul. Refusing to allow her to succumb to the Hell he knew as home, he mustered the courage to leave her side, to find the light which was dying. The one his mother bewitched to kill his love.
Closing his eyes, he prayed to her knowing she could never hear the words, but to hear them out in the open truly would break his heart. It wouldn’t break it as though many would think. As his heart beat in his chest, it stood like a rock, resilient against everything the world stood to use against it, except her. Mary could pierce through it as no other has. He feared more than death itself, to fall in love. If he found love in this world, his mother would undoubtedly rush him back home where he would rule until the end of days. Even though he found his queen, his love, he refused to allow her in because he refused to leave this place where he could help all those who needed it. Going back down into the darkness of Hell, he could help no one. So it was a stone heart he pushed her away, but he couldn’t let her die.
Asmodeus prayed of his love for Mary as he left her side. Rushing outside of his home to find himself alone, he closed his eyes and opened them in front of the heel stone. Staring directly into the sunset falling through the stones standing as they were commanded thousands of years before, he knew the light gleaming from behind him was the one his mother wished for him to save. As the light faded across the land, the light behind him diminished. It grew dimmer with each second passing.
Before Asmodeus could turn around to gather up the light and take it back into the sunlight to save what was left, a laugh emanated in the air surrounding him. The stones took their hold on him, refusing to let Asmodeus move as the voice drew closer. Searching his memories, Asmodeus tried to discover where he knew the voice, but it all drew a blank. Slowly the image of the voice sparkled in the sun’s darkness fully setting in front of Asmodeus. Bracing himself for his father’s image to come into view, but when someone else appeared before it him, it didn’t kill the unease growing in his stomach.
Stuck in place Asmodeus watched as the sparkle grew deeper and came like a fire growing out of the air. Red eyes pierced the space in front of him, followed by the pale alabaster skin of the forbidden one. Black hair framed around his face forcing Asmodeus to look into the monstrous eyes. Asmodeus never looked at God, but he knew who he faced here in this holy temple which one stood to serve him. Standing his ground Asmodeus tried to tighten his muscles against the force holding him, but they refused to give way to his demand.
God laughed again at Asmodeus, but this time he let Asmodeus in on the reason he brought him here. “Flesh and spirit will be entangled together until their deaths come, in which, the sun will set to claim the death of all. If they should fear the end, darkness will fall over the sky, causing death to bloom. Flesh onto flesh, blood displace blood. A single mortal soul attached to my godly origin will soon collide and take hold of that which I demand. Death will enter the innocent, the moon will fall and the sun will refuse to rise, if harm should come to my children. I will obliterate all heaven. Keep my children safe. For they will be born onto the one you love.”
Asmodeus never feared God before, but as he faced him, the nerves in his body twitched uncontrollably. It was as though he fought the cold, but it never once touched his skin. The power God held over him brought him down onto his knees begging, “Please do not harm her. She does not comprehend our world. She is innocent.”
“Innocence is perception.” God lost his charm as he came face to face with Asmodeus, “Place this light in that which you desire, save all you are devoted to. Give me which I desire.”
With the last bit of light God held, he placed it gently in Asmodeus’ hands. Feeling the weight of true power, Asmodeus nearly dropped it. The mass itself came as a feather, but the burden on his life, the torment of knowing he couldn’t refuse God made it feel as though the true weight of the world was left in his hands.
No longer able to come and go as he pleased, giving up the last of what he truly was, he turned and walked away. Breaking the barrier holding Asmodeus in place, God walked towards the west into the darkness of the world. Knowing he could never hold the gracious power of light again. After giving it away to all those he loved in this world, this heaven he created, death as he knew it took him. Giving the first bit of power to a simple priestess who held his heart, but she lost faith and her life. Now placing what he had left inside of his last children, he knew nothing else could save him from the torment he would face. God lost everything the moment he handed Asmodeus the last of his power. If Asmodeus refused to do as God said, and the last bit of light died, so would the world.
Looking to his fortress he built to protect all those of his kind, Asmodeus held the power of God in his hands. Fearing to gaze into the eyes of his beloved, knowing he would forever change her life placing this light into her. Mary would undoubtedly become the mother of the most incomprehensible being the world ever saw because if not, the world would come to a bitter end inside the darkness he commanded.
As he sat there contemplating the ocean of pink rays coming from the horizon, time refused to interrupt God’s will. Trying to figure out any way out of this predicament Asmodeus lost the battle within himself as his eyes fell from the skyline to the light in his hands. Gazing into the pure creation of life, the will of all the humans, Asmodeus could feel the power entering his blood. He could not hold it much longer before it would kill him.
Gathering his feet beneath him, the gravity pulled his feet to the ground refusing to let him move willingly. Trudging through his own front door, his steps grew sluggish the closer he got to Mary. He didn’t want to ruin her life, but he thought as he walked. This child she would be forced to birth, he couldn’t let her do this alone. He would remain by her side even if it meant his own death. They would raise this child together. If Asmodeus could change the outcome of the world today, he could bring love into this child’s life, refusing to allow it to grow up like its true father. This child would know love.
Mary remained alone in the library, everyone in Asmodeus’ service refused to be near her after the death of Joseph and the other servant. Even though the room contained no light, no fire, as soon as Asmodeus opened the door, he released the brutality of her power against him. Welcoming the feeling of no control over anything he moved with ease over the threshold. The weight of the world lifted off him, but he saw the tears glistening on her cheek as he got closer with the light still held in his hand. Asmodeus’ hand trembled aggressively as he lost control of the power.
As it lowered itself with grace, landing but for a moment on the floor, Asmodeus watched as it broke itself into two parts. Neither part greater than the other, but he could see the darkness from inside his own soul merging with only one of the two pieces. The brilliance of the light reached Mary entering her body. Exploding inside her womb it filled the room with glory forcing Asmodeus to protect his eyes against the radiance expelling all around him.
When God got as he desired, light and darkness merged as one, the sun instantly shined in through the window. Blaring into his eyes, Asmodeus ran towards it to find his love. A warm feeling came over him as he sat down next to her by the new-found sun coming towards them. No longer burdened with the death she would succumb to, she looked to her savior with pools of tears in her caramel eyes. Taking her hands in his, Asmodeus knew at once her tears were still that of pain.
“You must understand.” Asmodeus cringed as he pulled her to him. Wrapping his arms around her Asmodeus brought their hearts together. “I couldn’t lose you. I couldn’t bear to lose you.”
“Sir, you will have to learn to lose me. It may not be today and it may not come tomorrow, but it will come in the years to come. I will die and your soul will carry on, but I have seen them.” Mary allowed the tears to fall as she pulled away from Asmodeus placing his hand on the two boys growing inside her womb, “Our children. They will stay by your side as my bones wither away. Like yourself, they will defy a father’s love, but in the end, they will love you. Love them as though you have never cared for another. Cherish them more than you do this world and our people. Please, even though it may be tough, you must always love them. Promise me, you will love them above all else in this world.”
Without hesitation, Asmodeus knelt down beside her. Taking her hand in his brushing it against his lips, he promised. If he would have only known then, the trouble those two boys would grow up to be, he might not have promised. But for the love of the woman, the phoenix who had complete control over him, he would have given her the world. If he had known those two boys would bring about the end of the world as he grew to love, he might have not promised so suddenly.