Excerpt for Lucifer's Symphany by , available in its entirety at Smashwords








LUCIFER'S

SYMPHONY


Movement One

THE LOST KINGDOM, AMARYLLIS














L. W. BROOK

Copyright © 2016 AMSER STUDIOS

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 1539017303






Please Note:

Amser Studios is a collection of works that connect by following the “Amser Studios Timeline”

See the full timeline:

www.amserstudios.com/collections














This work is a part of AMSER STUDIOS and falls within “LUCIFER'S SYMPHONY”.

(A Four Movement Piece)








Dedicated

to the lost, the broken, and those

we've forgotten.



























ACKNOWLEDGMENTS




I would like to send a shout out to all of the amazing artists out there who have created work for Amser Studios! I love seeing their beautiful artwork around the internet/on DeviantArt!

Also, I'd like to acknowledge my family. You are all amazing and I couldn't keep writing without knowing you're there to support me.

In addition, I'd like to thank everyone reading my work. Your support is greatly appreciated!

I hope you enjoy the first movement of “Lucifer's Symphony” and ask that you please rate and review when you finish!

Any errors are admittedly my own.









INTRODUCTION




Homes are built from wood and pieced together by iron nails. Towers of stone stand tall above the common households. Each hall has been lined with windows to look down upon the citizens of the Southern Italian Kingdom, Amaryllis.

The land is hushed. Silent. It grows quieter the further one gets from the groups of housing and shops until one reaches nothing but the wind rustled farmland.

It's a small kingdom, not known to many.

But it makes a living, survives.

The sky clouds as the sun threatens to rise above the horizon and awaken those who lie asleep in their warm beds.

That warmth quickly vanquishes, however, as the cloud cover moves at an alarming rate. Before the blink of an eye, sunlight fades until all that is left are the darkening clouds above.

A chill runs through the air, then, and many startle awake. Children cry and adults scurry outdoors to watch this strange phenomenon.

Within moments, a flurry sets in and peace takes over. The city watches in awe at the first snow of summer.

However, that awe is quickly broken by a harsh wind, followed by a treacherous fall of snow.

People struggle to fight the winds, hurry inside, and close their doors and shutters.

There's screaming, but it cannot be heard over the roaring of the snow storm outside.

At the edge of the city, an old farmer sits on his porch. He watches this process with the wondrous eyes of age and wisdom. Such a thing is unheard of.

He looks up at the sky and winces at the penetrating sunlight filtering in through the array assortment of clouds that thicken over the majority of the city. His jaw drops and eyes widen as he watches something small fall from the clouded sky and plummet just within the start of his property.

There's another noise, and so the old man turns in his chair. From behind himself, he witnesses a ball of fire fall from the unclouded portion of the sky. It crashes at the other edge of his land where the city's neighboring village begins. Within the minute, houses are aflame.

Red and orange light reflect within the old man's dark brown eyes.

“What in the devil...?” He breathes.








CHAPTER

ONE




Snow falls with a steady, nonthreatening rhythm from the gray clouds above. The flakes float down from the heavens to cover the crops of the farmland.

Unripe tomatoes rest along the ground. Their leaves shake with the gentle toss of the wind. A figure as white as the snow, itself, lies with them.

From beneath the still body, a dark red soaks the ground. It trails along the frost bit crops and taints the otherwise pure snow.

There's a stutter of breath that breaks the silence.

Red eyes shoot open and the corpse inhales. With a blink, the red in the stranger's eyes fade down to the thinnest ring around the pupil. The rest of the iris turns a startling light blue and the body exhales a cloud of white.

In an instant, pure white strands of hair darken until they're as black as night.

Blue/red eyes look around tiredly as the snow drifts toward the ground. They stop, however, when they land on a white, feathery object falling with the ice crystals. The white feather darkens until it looks as though it belongs to a raven.

In a heavy motion, the injured struggles to reach up and grab the feather.

As the feathers shift colors, it becomes more obvious as to what is snow and what isn't.

The stranger's eyes prickle at the sight of the falling feathers.

This being is like no human on earth. It's very existence lacks a defining gender. The lean, cloaked body could be that of a feminine male, or masculine female. All that is certain is that the pale, fairly average structured stranger has a gentle facade about them.

With a cringe, this creature pulls the feather to it's chest and weeps without noise.

After a moment, there's a crunch of ice covered vines beneath booted feet. The fallen stranger startles a look behind itself. Off guard, is the wide eyed look this being portrays.

“Whoa. Sorry.” An old man wearing a blanket over his head barks with a step back. A farmer, is what the dirt stains and callouses define this man as. Religious, is the assumption one makes upon noticing the cross around his neck.

The injured eyes him without so much as a breath.

The man stares back. He looks down around the broken body at the unusually dark blood. It's everywhere. Absolutely everywhere, tainting the snow.

“Your...” He stutters a breath and gestures toward the stranger. “Injuries... They're from your fall?” He asks. His skin is an olive color and hair a patchy gray. He sports heavy work boots, worn pants, and a loose shirt that may have properly fit the man at a younger age.

The fallen dares to unclench it's jaw, but no words escape the parted lips.

“Child-” The man begins with a look to the sky, then back at the young, gender-less being on the ground. He shifts. “How is it you came to be with the clouds?”

There is no response.

“Did you bring this foul weather?”

Again, there is no response.

“The flame.” The old man licks his lips and tries a step closer. “There was another who fell...”

The fallen struggles to sit up. The old man takes two steps back and winces at a cold wind.

“Are you associated with that who has brought flame to our people or are you here to stop this devil that walks among us!?” The old man has to shout over the whistle of the wind.

Upon sitting up, one can see the stranger's back is a dark red mess of raw skin and two gaping injuries at either shoulder blade.

The gender-less being grabs at the cloth around itself and stares widely back at the old farmer.

He turns, and the stranger follows his line of sight to a far off point across the land where smoke rises into the air.

“A witch has summoned the beast.” The old man bites out before looking back into the unusual eyes of the fallen. “I ask... Are you our savior?”

The stranger opens it's mouth and gapes. After a struggle, a whispered, “Yes.” is managed.

---

“I knew a day like this would come.” The old farmer mutters as he walks around his home collecting blankets and ointments.

There's a fire in the fire pit. It struggles to stay aflame as the stranger sits upon a wooden stool and stares at it.

Longing.

The stranger longs for the warmth the fire gives.

The old farmhouse creaks with every step the old man takes. The home is barren, poor. He owns little more than what is necessary, and what he does own hasn't been new in years.

The faintest aroma of mulch has been dulled by the cold, dry air.

“Those who speak with the devil don't know what they've gotten us into.” The old man tisks as he exits the main living space to duck into a dark room. After a second he comes back out, his arms full of old, ratty blankets.

He's breathing in white gasps as he sets the blankets down beside the stranger. “What do I call you?” He asks with a pop of the ointment cap.

The injured tilts it's head to look at the old man. Upon meeting such a gaze, the farmer stills.

Wind howls against the shaky exterior shutters of this Italian, 15th century farmhouse. It creates a loud whistle that breaks through the silence.

“Lucifer...” The fallen angel breathes as though the ghost of a word were a struggle to get out.

“You're no devil.” The man bites out. He begins to fiddle with a roll of bandages. “I've seen the devil fall, myself.” He nods. “The flames of hell surrounding his accursed nature of sin-”

“Flame is pure...” Lucifer gets out, a smile ghosting it's lips. The smile fades, however, as blue/red eyes drift over the weak, open flame before them.

The farmer eyes the stranger. “Not even the purest of flames could save the devil's soul.”

Lucifer stares at the flame as though it's heart has just broken.

“Come, now, child.” The old man says with a toss of two raggedy blankets onto Lucifer's lap. “Let me see those wounds.”

Lucifer closes it's eyes and gently sways it's head to the left. It humms, as if to a voiceless melody.

“You are kind...” Lucifer looks up at the old man. “But your ointments cannot cure what ails me...” The fallen angel looks back to the fire, a dark colored feather gripped tight within it's pale white fist.

The farmer stills, then stutters out a quick nod and sets his first aid equipment down onto an old wooden table that's been chipped and scratched from many years of use. “Your choice, then.” He huffs with a plop onto the chair beside Lucifer.

“Dare I say it's colder in here than it is outside?” The old man says through a smile. With shaky motions, he pulls a heavy blanket over his shoulders. “The fire can barely stay alight.”

Lucifer twirls the feather in it's grasp, then stuffs the object into a pocket of it's dark cloak. With no rush, it then grabs the nearly frozen blankets in it's lap and sets them upon the table.

The old man watches silently as the blankets stiffen from the stranger's touch. His eyes avert back to the fading flame.

“A touch like ice to save us from a devouring flame...” The farmer begins. He looks over to his creaking window where wood shutters struggle to stay in place. “Tell me, stranger with a name of our devil...”

Lucifer peers over at the farmer, it's bright eyes practically glowing in the weak fire light.

The old man stares back. “How are you to save us?”

There's a creak as Lucifer inches forward in the old chair. The farmer instinctively leans back and the flames give way. It's heat has been absorbed by Lucifer, whether the being meant to, or not.

Dark eyes dart to the white smoke in the fireplace before landing back on a multicolored soul.

“By bringing forth an end.”













CHAPTER

TWO




Flames engulf the small village at the end of the Amaryllis kingdom. Homes are alight by orange/red flames that breach the sun rising sky and offset the dull gray color of smoke surrounding the streets.

A single woman walks through the roar of flame. Her bare feet step casually in hot ash.

There's a trail of dress behind this woman that knots around her right hip and then falls behind her left leg. It slides across the ash, the material the same color as the destructive flames and sun colored sky.

Red lips remain passive as dark eyes set forward. The woman's dark, spiral curls toss in the wind while the towering flames around her flicker. She stills.

The woman dares a heavy, threatening look over her shoulder.

“Better be an ally.” She drones, her voice choppy and pitch wavering. Her words slur with an uneven Italian accent.

From a shadow of flame, out walks a tall, dark man in a uniform the color of blood. A cap covers the man's head as he stares back at the woman without word.

“Magec.” The woman breathes. Her red lips threaten a smile as she turns to face the man before her. “Followed me down here, did ya?” She asks with a bold grin and raised brow. Her arms now cross before her chest.

Magec stares back.

The woman's smile fades.

“We may not have been made to speak, but... As the fallen, we no longer sit perched on anyone's shoulder, ya know.” The woman explains while popping out a hip. “It's no longer time to listen, Magec.”

Magec parts his lips to speak. After a stuttering exhale, he closes his mouth and looks away. After a beat, he closes his eyes and tries again.

“Others.” He gets out shakily, his voice both heavy and strong. “Th-there are others.”

The woman lets out a shaky breath, herself. “And Lucifer?”

“I am uncertain.”

The female nods and glances over at the kingdom's distant castle. She eyes the snow storm.

“Strange, don't cha think?” She asks.

“Should not be possible.” Magec says, his posture perfect. “Not with so many fallen flames in the area...”

The woman looks back at Magec.

“Not with the brightest, strongest, most beautiful of flames in the area, no.”

“Armageddon...” Magec tries, and Arma looks away. “Just because you're the only one lighting villages on fire does not mean Lucifer didn't make it-”

“Luci isn't like me, ya hear?” Arma barks. “I'm not expecting a burnt down city to tell me where Lucifer is, just...” Armageddon looks back over to the distant storm. “That snow storm is making me nervous, is all.”

Magec looks to the storm. His head tilts in idle curiosity. “Most unusual, yes.”

---

Lucifer stands before frosted glass. It stares wide eyed out at the snow covered land, followed by the burnt down village in the distance. A hood from the fallen angel's borrowed cloak is now draped over a head of short, thick hair that's been brushed chaotically to the side. Several strands dip before pale skin and bright, blue/red eyes, threatening to block the creature's vision.

There's a curiosity there, in the stranger's eyes. Curiosity and awe, like a child trying to analyze the mysteries of the world.

The old farmer watches this from beside his shaking doorway. It struggles to stand against the harsh winds outside.

He's draped in numerous blankets, but still he shivers.

“Is it coming for the rest of us?” He asks.

Lucifer eyes the crimson color on the horizon. “I recognize that smoldering red flame anywhere.”

The fallen angel turns to look at the old man. It's eyes shine brightly from beneath the shadows of the cloak's hood. “Armageddon is upon us.” It turns back to the window and breathes, “She knows not what she's done. What she's doing...”

“But you-” The farmer begins. “You will stop this? Stop us- from burning in the fires of hell?”

Lucifer steps back from the window. The weakest of flames in the fire pit flickers from the movement. Like the prior, it's clear this fire isn't going to last.

Lucifer smiles and lets out a breathy laugh. “Fear not.” The floor boards creak with the weight of an angel as it dares a step forward. The fire flickers once more and dims until it's neared extinction. “This is all a misunderstanding.”

The words flow with an odd sense of elegance from Lucifer's lips. Likewise, the steps it takes are almost graceful despite the ungodly noise it sends through the old house. “I am here to stop this torture.”

Lucifer pinches a smile and looks to the dimmed fire. It extinguishes.

There's a sudden stillness in the air both inside the home and out. Blue/red eyes stare at the white smoke escaping burnt wood, the gentlest of smiles from earlier now faded.

From beside the door, the old man sucks in breath after breath in puffs of white. He, too, stares at the unlit fireplace.

In a beat, the farmer's eyes dart to Lucifer.

The angel glances at the old man, then at the ground. It pinches a forced smile and forces back a sting in the eyes.

“Like the fire, you've dimmed...” Lucifer whispers in the quiet.

Outside it has stopped snowing. But still, the cloud cover remains.

The farmer glances at the fire pit, then to the stranger he'd let into his home. “Armageddon, you said...” He's out of breath. “H-how is it you know this devil by name?”

“This devil-” Lucifer lets on an amused smile. “Is my dearest friend.”

The old man shakes in his seat. He chokes out a noise through his throat. “Oh lord, where is our savior?” He mutters to himself.

The fallen angel stares wide eyed at the farmer before darting down in front of him. The old Italian's mouth drops, and his face turns pale.

Lucifer grabs at either arm rest and shifts closer. Blue/red eyes search wide, dark browns that glaze with a light-less color.

“I am your savior. Don't you understand?”

The old man drags his line of sight over to the fire pit where nothing remains but white smoke.

“N-no.” He bites out while looking back to Lucifer. “Y-you are no devil- no savior, either, y-you...” He whispers, his features fading to white. “Y-you are death...” He exhales with his last breath.

The farmer doesn't slump and his eyes don't close, but one can tell... He's gone.

Lucifer stares back at the old man. The room is silent, as though there were no life left within it.

The fallen angel stutters back to the moment with a blink and a whisper. “Sir?”

It grabs at the old man's arm and the corpse turns as stiff as ice from the touch. “Sir?”

A frost climbs up the man's right arm where Lucifer has made contact, and then continues up his neck.

Lucifer promptly lets go and stumbles back. There's horror in the fallen angel's eyes.

It lets out a broken scream, followed by a clumsy retreat into the corner and another cry of terror.

From the wall at Lucifer's back, the room begins to spread an icy layer of frost until it covers the entire farmhouse.

Lucifer cradles it's head in it's hands and cries with dry eyes.

Outside, it's silent.

The frozen farmland is void of noise as the cloud cover overhead darkens.










CHAPTER

THREE




The city of Amaryllis is blanketed in snow. The homes are old and creaky as men, women, and children walk carefully outside onto their ice covered streets.

They appear enchanted as they look around themselves.

Wide eyes.

Dropped jaws.

It's hard to believe this is happening.

From within the city's towering castle, up in the king's quarters, several men gather around.

They stand in one of the most beautiful rooms of gold and silk within the castle. A large bed fit for only the king of Amaryllis fills a large portion of this over sized space.

The scent of clean linen is masked by the musky scent of man, for many have gathered for conference with the king. Their boots dirty the red carpet and polished floors beneath them, but the matter is too important to take in such trivial details.

Most wear the wardrobe of a warrior, a knight. Their garments are topped with steel and swords rest dutifully at their hips. However, one wears no armor, but instead the finest silk in the kingdom with a solid gold crown to match.

This man, the king, stands before his chamber's window, his eyes cold as he looks down upon his frozen city.

“We seek out a witch. A powerful one... And with her head, the snow will melt.” The king of Amaryllis preaches. He turns, then, to his best warriors, his captains and chiefs.

“Marrian.” The king calls, and the young leader steps forward.

The young leader is just a boy. Perhaps even the youngest in the room. But he stands tall, his shoulders squared.

“Yes, sire?” He asks with just the slightest bend at his waist. He holds eye contact with the aging king as he does this.

The king can't help but smile. He looks back to the window. “I grant you control on this matter. Temporarily... all able are at your command.”

The king stares off in the distance where snow turns to ash. His venomous, deep blue eyes don't blink at the suffering.

“This city does not sleep until our serpent witch is found.”

---

Lucifer is crumbled before a frozen corpse of the man who had dared offer the injured stranger shelter. The fallen angel rests it's head against the unoccupied arm of the farmer's chair, it's sights set dead on the ice laced walls of wood.

The cloaked back of the stranger is bloodied, but dry. The injury has long since stopped it's dripping.

A silence has settled in.

Lucifer's mind has gone blank.

There's been a pause that's lasted nearly an hour now.

Finally, it's broken by the sound of distant cries and screams, followed shortly by an uproar from the city's center.

Lucifer sits up and wipes at it's eyes. It glances at the open mouthed corpse before standing and walking steadily to the window. Blue/red eyes drift over the sight of the city as small homes go up in flames.

They're different this time, Lucifer notices.

The being shifts closer to the frosted window. Pale fingers reach up to touch the glass and slide over the newly ignited flame.

“You're no angel...” Lucifer whispers, an inquisitive look turning shocked as the glass freezes over in an instant before shattering at it's fingertips.

Startled, the angel jumps back and stares down at the broken shards. Several are laced with an almost purple shade of blood.

Lucifer looks down at pale fingertips now sliced open and bleeding out a dark, red nearing purple color.

A sound chokes at the back of the angel's throat before it balls it's fist and looks painfully out the hole in the wall.

Homes begin to collapse as people scurry about the burning city.

---

Knights, guardians, protectors in Amaryllis uniforms torch their own people's homes in search for she who resists the burn. She who has brought the devil to Amaryllis.

A knight drags a young girl from a shack of a home and tosses her out into the street. She falls and scrapes her knees on the uneven path below. Her younger brother comes running out after her. He screams and hits at the soldier of the kingdom.

“She's not a witch, she's my sister!” He cries, and the knight pushes him back.

Another in a matching uniform walks up to the home with a torch in hand. “All who practice the dark arts will be burned at the stake! All who refuse to submit themselves for trial will be burned where they stand!” The man shouts while waving his torch around like a sword. People run passed one another and retaliate against the knights who burst into their homes and drag out the women of the household.

From a distance, in an old, worn out blacksmith's workshop, Armageddon and her followers watch the happenings around them. She leans against the window, distaste in the snarl of her lips and bend of her frame.

A knight walks passed the workshop. The torch in his hand flickers before going up in uncontrollable flame. The man drops it and runs away in a panic toward the larger crowds.

All in the area scurry from the open flame.

“A witch.” Arma scoffs. “Is that what I am now?” She turns to the handful of men and women at her disposal. “Witches? Sorcerers?” Her voice cracks, and with it comes a wide smile.

“I'll give 'em somethin' to panic about.” She growls. Her voice has dipped an octave lower than usual.

Magec, who stands before a table of welded pieces of metal, shifts his weight. He takes a look at the five other men and women standing in the room with him. The five other angels who have given up their rightful place in heaven to follow that of whom they could not seem to find.

“I do not believe we should be drawing attention to ourselves so soon after the fall.” He says this as a fact, despite it being suggested as an opinion.

Armageddon deflates and falls dramatically across the window ledge. She sighs. It's heavy and breaks in pitch. “You're right, of course. I've already made quite the mess, haven't I? Enough to get Luci's attention, if he's around...”

She looks out the window and watches the flames spread over to the building next door. Within moments, the side of their hideaway has caught fire.

“The city is on fire, and yet there's still this chill in the air...” Nirvana, a tanned young woman with cropped, jet black hair brushed over dark, unwavering eyes whispers from across the room. She steps forward, toward Arma.

Fire eats away at the wood of the workshop, but no one pays it any mind.

Flames cannot hurt angels, fallen or otherwise.

“Could it be our death is waiting for us?” Nirvana asks. “Here? In the city?”

Armageddon lolls her head back against the window and grins. “Could be.” She looks to the flames eating away at old, gray wood through the corner of her eye. In a beat, her dark brown gateways to the soul take on a crimson glow. The flame crackles before entirely engulfing the room.

No one within the workshop's walls so much as flinches.

“If that's the case, I sure would love to see those little snow flakes try to burn out our flames, wouldn't you?” She laughs and looks back out the window. “I mean, it would be adorable to watch.”

---

Lucifer walks across frozen farmland in huffs. The angel walks on shaky legs and covers it's head with a cloaked hood that threatens to blow over with a sudden thrash of wind.

Scabbed finger tips reach up to catch the garment, then Lucifer stills and takes a quick look around.

Not a hundred meters away are burning homes and screaming children. It's chaos as the citizens of the city fight a losing battle with the knights who swore to protect them.

Several men in familiar Amaryllis uniforms ride around on tall steeds. They watch as their orders are carried out and shout some more when they feel dissatisfied.

Lucifer's eyes catch on a young man riding a tall white horse. The pale green eyes of the boy, Marrian, stare boldly into the strangest eyes he's ever seen.

Blue/red orbs go wide at this distant staring before diving down to the ground to break the unwanted contact. Lucifer reaches up to pull down it's cloak's hood in an attempt to hide it's face from the knight's view.

A strongly built man on the footsteps of an old home dares to throw a cooking pot at Marrian. He misses and hits the chief's horse, instead.

The white steed lets out a whine and jolts forward. Marrian grabs at the reigns to steady the animal.

“How dare you look down upon us- watch this madness go on under your order!” The man shouts up at Marrian.

People run by screaming, but this man holds his ground.

“You, sir!” Marrian calls. “What is your name?”

The man steps forward, and the horse startles once more.

“What does it matter at a time like this!?” He shouts in anger.

Marrian pulls out his sword from it's sheath and stares coolly down at the man. “I prefer to know all names of the men I dispatch in the honor of our great king.” The boy gets out calmly with the smuggest raise of his brow and upward quirk of his lips.

The man's anger depleats and he steps back.

With a smile, Marrian looks back over his shoulder at where Lucifer had been approaching the city, but it's gone.

Whatever it is, it has vanished.

Green, confused eyes look around in search for the surreal blue/red eyes of the stranger. By the time the chief looks forward again, he finds the man he was about to dispatch has also taken the initiative in pardoning himself from their conversation.

Marrian lets out a heavy breath that ends in a hitch when he sees his breath fog and feels the temperature drop.

Even his heavy armor is doing little to fight the bite in the air.

Shouts fade as the area is evacuated, the people no doubt making their way toward a sufficiently guarded castle. Fortunately for those inside, this was the expected, if not encouraged reaction. After all, the women would be taken to the castle for trial, and it would be meaningless without an audience to fear both the sorcerers and those who are to defeat such beings.

Marrian shivers, then cringes at the invasive, lowering temperatures. With a heavy set frown, he looks up to the sky above and watches as snow flakes begin to fall from the dark cloud cover.

They flutter lazily down to melt against Marrian's exposed flesh.

It's an unnatural feeling, the prickle of melting snow.

Marrian brushes the water droplets off of his skin, then shakes the odd, white flakes out of his hair.

Afterwards, he flicks the reigns and barks, “Hyah!”

The horse he's seated upon kick starts to life and rides down the burning streets of the city.











CHAPTER

FOUR




A cloaked figure tip toes passed those who decided not to follow the mobs toward the castle. Most lie crumbled in the streets, children and older men crying and cursing on their knees.

Lucifer moves swiftly only to stutter upon coming within close proximity to another living person. It halts and falls back when this happens, the stranger careful to stay within the shadows.

There's a home on fire not one street down. Lucifer eyes it while stepping back against the wood of an old shed.

The fiery mess of what used to shelter a family crumbles and cries shout out. People run to avoid the untamed flame.

Lucifer can hear breathy wines, shouts, and curses.

It pulls it's hood further down to cover the eyes that undoubtedly give it away.

They are not the eyes of a human.

Nor an angel...

The fallen's strides are quick as it moves toward the burning wood that had once been walls and a roof. However, as Lucifer nears the flames waver with distress.

The being stops, and not thirty feet away the flames die down at a steady rate until the ashy wood lets off nothing but smoke.

Lucifer's lips part in awe at the display, as do many of those close enough to have witnessed the flame's death.

The stranger's mouth snaps shut upon noticing the handful of civilians who have steadily gathered around. All of their eyes focus then on the unusual intruder.

Lucifer's jaw clenches, and it moves forward, passed those who don't dare follow.

Those nearby stare wide eyed at the stranger as a shiver runs up their spines and their breaths fog before their eyes. All the while, Lucifer keeps it's back to the people now speechless in the creature's presence.

---

People shout at the gallows the soldiers have brought their female population to.

The women of all ages stand side by side, their hands cuffed at their backs by rusted iron.

Wrists bleed from the rough material against delicate skin, but none dare complain. Instead, they duck their heads or stare wide eyed at their surroundings, their reddened cheeks laced with salty tears.

Marrian stands upon the castle terrace overlooking the city square. Beside him, the king and queen walk up. Guards allow them to pass without question.

The queen walks to the left and places her hands gently upon the stone railing. She looks down passively at her people, then focuses heavily on the long stretch of women aged thirteen and over.

“Brings back memories...” She breathes. Her voice lacks emotion.

The king stalks up directly beside Marrian and peers below. He raises a brow and returns to his neutral position beside he who has been granted control of the city's defense.

“Is this all of them?” He asks.

“All potential threats, yes.”

The king glances at his wife. When she looks back, he turns from her.

“I am not so sure...” The king breathes.

Marrian looks to his majesty through the corner of his eye, then stares out ahead of himself at the clouded skyline.

“There was... one... strange individual I came across on quest...” He says while staring at the clouds.

The king stares at Marrian with void, dark blue eyes, as though patiently awaiting an explanation.

Marrian looks back to the king. “It was the eyes...” He begins. His brow crinkles. “Blue- like yours, except lighter, and...” He stops to exhale. It's a frustrated little noise. Marrian looks away. “I could have sworn they had a ring of fire within them. And when I turned to catch a second look-” The young leader explains with a turn back to the king. He freezes, and tries to clear his thoughts. “The... individual... was gone, sire... Vanished like the devil.”

The king breaks the contact and slides his hands upon the terrace railing. He stares out at the scared, angry, and confused men and women.

“Find this devil of yours.” He says with almost passive distaste. “And I'll find she who summoned it.”

Marrian nods and dares a glance at the queen. She appears disinterested in their conversation.

“Understood, sire.” Marrian confirms. He then pardons himself with a bow and turns to leave. Without word, he walks passed the guards and makes his way toward the exit.

There's a silence between the king and his wife.

After a moment, the queen sways in her husband's direction. With one foot in front of the other she makes smooth, steady motions until she's directly beside the king.

“I fear our negligence, Anthony...” She whispers as they both focus on the happenings below. “We should have burned the remains...”

The king scoffs. With a half grin, he looks at his wife through the corner of his eye. “You are foolish to fear she who lies beyond the grave.”

The queen looks to her husband with a poised sense of anger. “I fear not the dead, but the friends one may make in hell, your majesty.” She bites out with sarcastic wit.

After a beat, the queen turns her back to her husband and walks back into the castle.

The king stays stationed upon the terrace. He exhales a long, winded breath of doubt.

If their daughter were the cause of this... Their kingdom was sure to burn.

---

Armageddon and her handful of fallen angels stand outside a burnt structure. No one is within sight, however, several cries and screams can be heard in the near distance.

They never truly fade out.

No matter how far you get from the city's center, there's suffering.

“Look at this dump!” Arma shouts with a screech as she gestures to the burnt down home.

White ash settles upon the ground, but still the air remains thick.

“I find this insulting, ya know?” She asks for agreement from the others.

All stand with their hands folded behind their backs like proper soldiers. Arma sighs and kicks at a smoldering piece of wood with her bare foot. A chunk of it breaks down into ash.

“Burning down their own homes...” Arma tuts. “Bit pathetic, I must say.” She squeaks, her voice unable to hold a single tone for any length of time.

“They fear us.” Magec explains, his posture never faltering.

Arma grins and looks around at the mess humanity has made for itself. “I'm thinkin' they should be a bit more concerned about their brothers and sisters than a few strangers lookin' for an old friend.”

Magec looks to the ground. He pauses, then looks up to the clouds above. Thick and heavy. Every now and again they'll even let loose a few flurries.

“It must be hard for them to focus, think things through...” He says in his usual soothing baritone.

“Stop making excuses for the pigs, Magec.” Arma snaps.

She takes a breath to calm herself. It ends in a lazy smile. “I'm tired of wandering aimlessly around, ain't chu?” She asks.

“Shall we set up a smoke signal, Arma?” Nirvana asks. She tilts her head in question and holds Arma's gaze.

Armageddon grins. “If by smoke signal you mean bonfire? Absolutely.”



















CHAPTER

FIVE




Lucifer holds it's head high upon two sturdy shoulders.

The fallen angel is walking the perimeter of the kingdom's city center. It's looking for answers. Answers no one but the creator can give.

Lucifer stops advancing and ducks behind one of the thankfully still intact homes of Amaryllis. A young woman runs down the alley Lucifer had been using. She looks paranoid as she glances repeatedly over her shoulder.

There's the sound of hooves, then, loud and clear.

Lucifer pinches concerned lips, lips that yearn to plead for answers and speak an unfiltered mind.

A man on horseback cuts the woman off just before the home Lucifer has hidden behind. The angel frowns as the woman screams for mercy and falls to her knees.

She's crying on the floor when the man leaps off his horse and pulls her up by the hair. With his free hand, the warrior of Amaryllis pulls out a steel set of cuffs.

“Please, no!” She begs.

Lucifer can hear breathing. It's own breathing, the creature soon realizes. Biting back the voice telling it to stay put, Lucifer steps forward and into view.

The man dragging the woman back to his horse does a double take at the hooded figure. He stops and the woman tries to steady her breathing. The tears, however, are relentless and blur her vision.

Please.” She begs, but she's not sure to whom.

“Silence.” The knight bites out.

Lucifer stands before them now, back straight and fists balled at it's side. “You do not wish to harm one another. You are merely confused.” The stranger explains.

“Who-?” The knight asks. His eyes narrow as they drag up and down the stranger in the heavy cloak. He realizes then that his breath has begun to fog.

Lucifer, too, notices this and startles a step back.

The Amaryllis knight catches Lucifer's eye line and panics a draw of his sword. He lets go of the woman and doesn't dare turn to watch as she makes a run for it.

The knight is just a boy when one gets down to it. A terrified boy with his sword now at the ready. “What are you, monster!?” He yells. “Is this you!?” He asks with a gesture around them and up to the clouded sky.

Lucifer looks up. It stills. “I...” It breathes. “I don't know.”

Black brows crinkle above yearning blue/red eyes. The stranger looks back down to the knight, and the boy flinches. “I seek the truth. Just as you do.”

The words come out as a quiet, elegant string. Lucifer is nothing but passive as it stands back in a non-threatening manner. But still, the boy slashes his sword at the air.

“Lies!” He barks. The horse at his side lets out a whine and raises onto it's back legs to kick at the air. “You have brought death to our people! Forced our hand!”

The knight of Amaryllis shifts his weight from foot to foot as though he were revving himself up to attack the devil. He shifts a half step forward and his breath turns white before his eyes.

The boy's horse whines again. It's loud, as though in warning.

Lucifer steps back and raises it's pale hands in attempted surrender. “I mean you no harm.” It promises.

“Devil!” The boy shouts, his breathing now visibly erratic. “Satan! You monster of hell!” The boy sucks in air from behind clenched teeth. He's fuming with fear fueled anger.

Lucifer takes another step back, it's hands still raised. “Please. I am as lost as-”

The boy screams. He raises his sword above his head and pushes his body forward with as much momentum as he can manage. “To hell with you!” He shrieks at his highest volume.

Lucifer immediately moves it's arms to a defensive position and cowers. “Please-!” The fallen angel shouts, it's eyes now covered by a raised arm.

There's the noise of a sword hitting the dirt ground. Not a second later, the thump of a paralyzed body follows.

The boy's horse makes a dash from the scene, it's saddle unused.

From the kneeling position Lucifer has cowered to, the devil uncovers it's eyes. The stranger is practically shaking as it's lowering arms reveal the paralyzed corpse that has fallen just a few paces away.

The boy's dormant eyes lay open, the knight's armor covered flesh turned a sickly, frost covered purple from having gotten too close to the devil.

Lucifer's jaw twitches from words unspoken. A single syllable, “I-”, escapes before it's mouth is closed.

The devil collapses in the alley, it's fists clenched.

A noise hurls itself from the back of Lucifer's throat. When it repeats itself, the hooded stranger shoots it's hand up to cover it's mouth and rolls back to stare upon it's latest victim.

“No.” It breathes behind shaking fingers. “Not this...” It's lips twitch. “N-not again- god, please, not again-” Lucifer cries.

The devil curls up.

It moves it's hands to the back of it's neck and looks away from the boy's unblinking stare. There's ash residue left on Lucifer's face, but it goes unnoticed. The two are now covered in the burnt substance that films the ground.

A whine strangles the back of Lucifer's throat and it's eyes squeeze shut.

Cold, heat-less hands rub at the devil's neck.

From above, flakes of snow begin to fall again. They fall to the ground with a lazy sense of ease.

Lucifer cringes and grabs at it's chest. Blue/red eyes burst open and the pupils hidden within the strangely colored iris' dilate.

A sound of pain breaks free. When more arise, they're strangled.

Lucifer's brows furrow. It looks up at the falling snow.

Multicolored eyes catch and hold on smoke from a distance. Lucifer's lips part and it's body moves instinctively forward.

“Arm-ah!” It chokes out. It's word ends in a shout and cringe. There's a pain deep within the devil's gut, within it's soul. It feels as though something were twisting a knife through the inside of it's abdomen. “Arma.” It tries again, it's eyes focused intently on the newly lit fire across the city.

Help.

It needs help.

Lucifer forces itself up to a stand and bites back a cry. It's body curls, unable to straighten itself out.

Shaky fingers release the material of the creature's cloak. It's almost surprised when it doesn't find blood slicked over them.

Through a tremor, Lucifer steps toward the flames of Armageddon.

---

Marrian rides through the city's streets on horseback. Two of his men follow closely behind.

The burning city lies practically abandoned, but those who have stayed by their homes curse at the knights as they pass by. Marrian doesn't so much as glance at these citizens.

The air is stale. It's dry, cold, and smells like burnt wood.

Green eyes set forward on the fire ahead. It had gone up just as he'd left the castle.

The flames are a heavier crimson than the rest of the torched homes.

Yes, this flame is nothing like the ones his men have set.

Instead, it looks far more like the devil's fire that had eaten their village, Amo.

As they draw near, Marrian slows his speed and makes a draw for his sword. He can feel the metal's cold touch even through his gloved hand as he makes a grab for the handle.

“Shhhh.” He whispers as he pulls his sword from it's sheath and slows his horse to a stop. His two companions follow his lead and do the same, their horses stationed and swords now at the ready.

There are distant cries and the crackle of fire, but otherwise the area is silent, abandoned, left for dead.

Marrian looks around in quiet calculation. He observes the frozen film of ice and ash that covers dirt ground, preserved plant life, and what homes were left untouched by flame.

He climbs off his steed just two alleys from the crimson hell fire.

“Attack on sight.” He whispers to his men as they, too, prepare to travel the rest of the way on foot.

“And what are we attacking, exactly?” One of the knights asks.

Marrian looks back at his two subordinates, each willing to give their life for the king and queen of Amaryllis.

“You'll know when you see it.”










CHAPTER

SIX




Armageddon and her ex-soldiers of heaven stand wearily around the fire she's set.

Magec has his arms crossed over his chest. He's staring heavily at Arma's crimson flame with dark, unblinking brown eyes.

His jaw is strong. It's set in a very... characteristic way to show poise, and perhaps even loyalty. Obedience. He's a biddable soldier through and through.

Nirvana sits on a porch step beside him, their bonfire just across the narrow street. Her back is straight and hands placed punctually within her lap as though “relax” were a term she'd never heard before. Her bangs are in her eyes, but she appears to be unbothered by them as she stares down the fallen angel's fire.

A leg swings up and barely misses Nirvana's head.

At her side, draped along the uneven steps to the porch, rests Arma. Her legs are in the air, walking on the clouds.

Idle snowflakes fall around them. However, the ice crystals melt long before coming into contact with any of the fallen angels.

Arma lets out a heavy sigh and drops her legs down upon the porch with an obnoxious bang. She then rubs at her face and groans. “Time is dragging.” She whines with a drop of her arms beside her head. “I'll kill him. I swear I'll kill him.” She adds, her voice a roller coaster of shrieking pitches.

“Someone's here.” Magec mentions without so much as batting an eyelash.

Arma flips onto her side and holds the position. Her eyes glue to the alley to the left of the house beside their bonfire.

She grins. Her brown eyes begin to speck with a crimson color.

“Come on out and play, boys...” Arma coos.

Marrian walks out from the alley and onto the main street. Two men follow his movements like shadows.

He's holding his sword at the ready and advancing at an angle, his steps slow and calculated.

“You must be the witch.” Marrian says while slowing to a stop. “She who summoned the devil.”

He smiles, and Arma's grin widens.

Marrian bites his own lip. He looks over each of Arma's followers one at a time. “These must be your followers. Worshipers of Satan.”

“Must have me confused with someone else.” Arma croaks while uncomfortably rising to a stand. Her eyes are practically glowing.

Her bare feet slap against the ash dusted ground, the ice having melted at her presence. At her advancement, Marrian swallows thickly and takes two steps back.

Armageddon barks out a laugh. Her hands fall upon her hips. “So afraid.” She sings.

Her smile drops. “So weak.” She growls.

Arma raises her right hand out before herself, palm down.

Marrian's men shuffle steps back as they watch a cloud of heavy black smoke appear beneath the woman's hand. Her eyes are fire as the smoke flares out before diminishing. In it's wake is a crimson handled sword with a platinum blade. It shines in the glow of the fire.

The angels at her back don't so much as glance at the scene. Instead, they stare blankly ahead.

Arma's crimson speckled eyes fade back into simple dark brown. She swings the swords in her right hand and gives it a few testing slices through the air.

Marrian's knights take two steps back before reaching forward to pull back on their commanding officer. “We cannot fight the devil, sir.” One of the men whispers while attempting to pull the stubborn chief away from an unwanted fight.

“We need more men.” The other bites out.

Marrian shakes their grip off his shoulder. He's terrified. That much is written across his face.

But this just makes him angry.

“Enchantress! I will have your head planted upon the wall of my chamber!” He shouts at Arma.

Armageddon laughs. It's loud and uneven.

The two men assigned to follow Marrian push at one another and take off. Their leader ignores the abandonment and instead snarls at the group of men and women.

“The rest of you, as well!” He shouts with a heavy swing of his sword. “You shall all be trophies upon my shelf!” Marrian boasts.

Armageddon's chest spasms with amused laughter. She's grinning ear to ear as she looks back at the others. She sighs.

“Ignore their disinterest, won't ya? We're kinda waitin' on someone much more important than you.” Arma gets out through airy chuckles.

Marrian tightens his grasp upon his sword. “I know for whom you wait, you foolish wench.”

Arma's grin fades into a passive stare. Her chin raises, and she looks down into angry, terrified green of a boy she couldn't care less about.

“And who would that be?”

“That thing.” Marrian hisses. “The beast of hell!”

All turn to look at Marrian. Arma's arm raises until her sword is pointed directly at the knight's neck. “Lucifer?” She asks.

“You will all burn.” He promises.

The fallen angels who had taken to sitting now rise with their brothers and sisters. They stand at Arma's back as dutiful soldiers.

Marrian's eyes dart from one fallen angel to the next, his level of adrenalin dropping with each set of dark, dead eyes.

“You're pretentious. Worthless, you understand?” Arma seethes through gritted teeth. “We live to burn.”

Crimson flakes light up Arma's eyes once more. She steps forward. Marrian shuffles back. “Don't chu' dare talk about Lucifer like that.” She advances at a quickening pace, her steps growing shorter and faster the closer she gets to Marrian, who in turn stumbles backward until he's off his feet.

“The only beast here is you!” Armageddon shrieks with a raise of her sword above her head. Marrian raises his own in a defensive position, ready to block the attack and yet still so unbelievably unprepared for the blow he doesn't have any chance of stopping.

Arma's blade swings down and easily knocks Marrian's own blade out of his hands. She's just about to slice the knight's throat when the fire at their side burns out.

All movement slows to a halt.

The streets have grown dim, the cloud cover above lighting the space a dull gray.

Marrian's breathing is erratic. His arms act as a makeshift shield. He's too scared to open his eyes, so instead he holds this position, his breath now white and skin crawling with goosebumps.

A chill runs up his spine and he clenches his jaw.

Armageddon looks back to the others. She catches Magec's eye, but they give off no answers. The sword in her hand is lowered to her side and she steps back.

She spins in a slow circle.

“It's not you...” She mutters in reference to the knight upon the ground. “So who is it...?”

Arma stops turning and peers over her left shoulder. She holds this position until there's the sound of approaching footsteps, boots smacking against roughly textured ice.

The fallen angel grins. “Our mystery snowman has decided to join the party, is that it?” She asks the alley beside what used to be a burning home.

Marrian dares to open his eyes. He begins to lower his arms, but freezes mid motion as another, more powerful chill prickles his neck.

Arma's smile drops with the temperature. She twitches at the neck and her companions move to a more defensive position beside her.

All watch, then, as Lucifer emerges from the shadows, it's head guarded by the hood of it's cloak. A pale hand reaches up to touch burnt wood. The contact causes a layer of frost to spread across the left side of the home.

Immediately, Lucifer retracts it's hand and tries to bury it in the cloak.

Marrian watches this in panic. He's stuttering frigid breath after breath as he makes a clumsy grab for his sword and rises to stand. When he swallows the lump in his throat, he finds it burns.

“Devil!” He shouts with two steps back. He points the sword at Lucifer before remembering the fallen angels at his side. Marrian then switches his target and moves back some more.

Arma barks out a laugh and faces Lucifer. She spreads her arms out wide, and then drops them to her sides. “Devil?” She squeaks out in a high pitch.

She points to Lucifer with her sword and laughs again. It turns to giggles. “This?” She snorts and looks to Marrian. “This is your devil?”

Lucifer removes it's hood and winces. It grabs at it's chest in pain.

“This is nothing but an injured soul with frost bite, you infant!” Arma chuckles out.

Marrian looks between both evils, his sword at the ready. “If this witch has not summoned you-” He begins to ask Lucifer before quickly darting his sights back to Armageddon. “Who has?”

Lucifer tries a tired step forward. “Arma-”

Arma shoots her sword defensively up to level Lucifer's throat. Her eyes glow a dangerous crimson as she looks heavily over the devil. “What are you supposed to be and how do you know my name?”

Lucifer startles a step back. It looks wounded, both physically and emotionally. “I-” It tries. It's mouth snaps shut after the first syllable finds it's way out. The stranger nods a look to the ground before meeting Arma's eyes once more. “Arma-” It practically breathes through a weak little laugh. “Do you not recognize me?” Lucifer asks, it's hand on it's heart and blue/red eyes conveying nothing but hurt.

Armageddon holds the unrecognizable eyes of something she's never seen before. She then stutters a look and half turn to Magec. Silently, he lowers his head.

He's trying to tell her what she already fears.

Arma pinches her lips and shakes her head. She looks to Lucifer. “No.” She bites out. Her eyes close and sword lowers. “No- that's not-”

She laughs, her motions stuttered and uncomfortable. “You can't. You can't be.”

Lucifer steps forward, a hand still placed above it's beating cavity. “Armageddon-”

“No!” Arma shouts. Her sword's point shoots up to Lucifer's eye level. She snarls at the stranger's startled retreat.

Lucifer looks away. The fallen angel drops it's hand to it's side. “I... I cannot express the thoughts.. cycling through my mind... I don't understand what's happened, Arma, Magec-” The fallen angel tries to look at the others, but it's gaze falls short. “I've failed you- all of you, I-”

“You can't be Lucifer.” Arma cuts in. She shakes her head in denial. “I can't even identify your soul, I mean-” Her pitch heightens. “What are you?” She asks, her lips trembling and brows crinkled.

Lucifer glances to Marrian. The knight catches this look and points his sword at the devil in misguided defense.

Taking a moment to consider the question, Lucifer looks up to the clouds above. After a moment, it lets out a laugh and drops it's head. It raises a brow and nods. “Lost. Very lost... As are the rest of you.”

Arma's hands are shaking. Her face has turned red from attempting to hold back powerful, unfamiliar emotions. A tear runs down her cheek. “Wh-what-” She breathes. “What has he done to you?”

Lucifer can't meet Arma's eyes, and so the devil takes to staring down the line where it's icy presence has turned to ash just around where Arma and the other angels have taken to standing. The fire of their souls, the fire of an angel's existence, fights against Lucifer's now infectious ice of a soul. Opposites. Polar opposites. The devil has no right to dare consider itself an angel.

Perhaps once, but not anymore.

Armageddon clenches her jaw and darts venomous eyes back at Marrian, who jumps back in response. He appears confused, afraid, much unlike the adrenaline pumped, know it all patriot she had first met. “What have they done to you?” She asks, her eyes holding firmly on terrified green.

With a sharp turn, Arma darts toward Marrian, her skin steaming. He barks out a scream and falls back, his sword raising too slow to hold a proper defense against the sudden attack.

Within the blink of an eye, Magec has disappeared into the shadows of the neighboring aflame structures. Then, he's back again, his hand firmly around Arma's wrist. But she's snarling, her sword already burning the inside of an unsuspecting corpse.

Lucifer's mouth is agape. It's body stands petrified in place, it's eyes glued to the startled look in the boy's dead eyes.

Magec closes his own eyes, releases Arma's wrist, and turns away from the scene.

Armageddon slides her sword out of the boy's chest and the body collapses onto the ash covered ground.

The other angels stand void of emotion, void of thought, even, as though they were drones instead of living beings.

Arma's breathing is erratic when she stares down upon her victim. She smiles, and her blood covered sword crumbles to ash within her hand. She looks to Lucifer. “Now.” She begins. “What do you say we set our creator's favorite species aflame until the bastard finally decides to destroy us all for good, yeah?” She asks with a look around the group, her words pitchy and uneven.

Lucifer looks heavily from Marrian's blood draining body to Arma. Blue/red orbs contain a mix of broken, unspoken, incomprehensible emotions that fly right over Arma's head.

She's smiling as she stares back, her chest rising and falling to a heavy, yet steady rhythm. With an exhale, her vocal cords shake out a breathy laugh. She looks back at the other angels.


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