Beneath the Lion, A Love Story Amongst the Nephilim
What follows is a tragic love story amongst gods, giants and angels. The God of the Old Testament is a jealous god and it wasn’t that those other gods didn’t exist, he bullied them around, much like his tyranny upon disobeying angels. Chaz’s story takes place at the time of the Tower of Babel and before the great deluge. It provides a different perspective than the one you’ve come to know. Love doesn’t always conquer all, but love defies all, despite the consequences.
Beneath the Lion
by Chaz Wood
A primal overture to the Trinity Chronicles
“Bow to the Sword of God, or die by it. The choice is yours.”
The barbed tip of the blade extended beneath the rebel’s chin, drawing tiny orbs of glistening fire onto his skin.
Dust swept the foothills of Mount Eden, swirling clouds broken by a dying sun which bled red and gold across a cruelly darkening sky. Rainclouds spawned in the heavy belly of the heavens, multiplying to smother the struggling solar disk which would never again rise upon the glorious Plains of the Lion, pushing it out of sight beneath the horizon so it would not see the cruelty that stained the land.
Shem-Azza tasted the desert upon his tongue, blinked dry sand from his eyes. The land was still green, still fresh, but it was a portent of the future that he sensed, a time to come when all his verdant acres would become waste, his statues and temples dashed to fragments, his very legacy twisted into a myth of depravity and corruption that would become anathema to the pitiful tribes who would inherit the world after his passing.
“Ab-Addon, your choice is that of a tyrant, He who rules you and who seeks domination over everything. If I submit, I will have eternity to rue my failure, and if I refuse, I will never again have the chance to look upon the face which is more beautiful and more perfect than all creation.”
The Flames of Destruction danced the length of the red blade, black fire which had cut through the legions of Shem-Azza’s tribe; his wives and sons, his daughters, and his two hundred brothers; and their wives and sons and daughters, and the sons of their sons. The carnage wrought by the Destroyer was terrible and the slopes of earthly paradise lay thick with their scorched and slashed flesh. The rivers haemorrhaged red like opened veins in the murdered land, gurgling with fallen rains of blood cast by the Sword of God as Ab-Addon. The sword did not waver, but nor did its wielder react. Shem-Azza tried again.
“ Look at this. Look at this waste. We had wonders here. We had cloisters of marble, we raised the greatest city to the heavens, with towers and spires so high even the falcons could not reach – and now He, He has dashed it to rubble, this city that was greater than anything that will ever be seen again.
“ Your master is a monster. A breaker of lives – a killer of love – a desolator of beauty. He is a petulant child with power beyond his means. Is it any wonder we abandoned the court of that arrogant and cruel demiurge?”
The stench of his smouldering beard spiralled through his nostrils, into his throat. Still Ab-Addon did not react, not consciously, but the perishing sun threw forth a final finger of light upon her face and delicately spotted the warm tracks of her tears. Shem-Azza knew the rains had not yet come – the rains which the Mistress of Flame had vowed would follow the blood and the fire – which meant the rain was from within her own soul. And as that silent silver speck of conflict wrenched itself onto her cheek, he knew he had said enough. He bowed his head to look upon the searing blade.
“ Ab-addon, my life is yours, if you will take it. I do this not for your tyrant god, but for my own heart. I could never face eternity knowing that you were still out there, and I was not with you, nor would I ever be again. Take this life, and return to your heavenly father to speak of a mission accomplished, and bask in his praise. May you live forever in glory, at the right hand of the Cosmocrator.”
The sword flew aside, swirling up through the creeping twilight to land a thousand cubits thence. Ab-addon threw herself down before the rebel king of Eden and wrapped her arms around him, squeezing him to her breast.
“What on earth have we come to, you and I?” she cried into his shoulder. “This was not how it should have ended. We had everything. Why – why did you -”
“ -go? I, and my brothers, left the side of God for there was nothing there for us but an empty existence of eternal praise for one who never appreciated it. Chants of Holy, holy, holy is all we were good for – we, who stood higher than all! I was made for more than mindless mumbling.
“ I rather be a ruler on earth than a minion in Paradise. And – you know now, my dear – I, too, ruled Paradise. Did I not create a heaven, here, on earth? Did not I and my brothers bring the wonders of the heavens – of the stars – of nature – of magic – to the crude and simple men your god had created, cast across this world like seed, and then discarded? We took those clay-born golems of flesh and we made them!” his voice cried out long and strong across the plains, carrying to the stone deaf ears of the slaughtered men and women of which he spoke, the butchered angels and their wives, and the giant sons of their unholy unions.
Ab-Addon’s hands tore into the fallen King’s hair, clawing at his skin and robe. Her mouth met his in a frantic merging of passion once long-lost and forgotten, but now regained a hundredfold. The fires of the sun had once burned within their breasts, a love that could never have been, for the cruel tyrant of which Shem-Azza spoke would suffer the presence of no love for any but Himself, and total submission to His will and His wishes.
“ I understand,” she sobbed into his face. “I know now why you left, and took your brothers with you. You knew we could never be together, and you damned yourself for me. Shem-Azza, your sacrifice is greater than any I know – or ever will – you, whose love was so great, so pure, that you fell from the highest heaven for it! You, who cast aside immortality, and the presence of glory – who has seen the horror of your brothers, your wives, your tribe, your city, your achievements, all torn to shreds and cast into the winds of mayhem – could any heart in all creation ever bear such anguish, ever again?”
His lips met hers to silence her, but also to acknowledge the truth that passed between them. It was their first kiss, a kiss of angels, and golden flames danced with joy as two bodies became one upon the green velvet slopes of Shem-Azza’s crumbling paradise.
His fingertips traced the tender lines of her lips, teased the silken strands of moon-pale hair which framed her beauty. “My dear, you cannot linger here. Eyes will see you and whips will punish you. You must be about your business, for I can die happy now, knowing I have finally grasped that which I longed for.”
She shook her hair and rose beneath him, cradling his head between anxious hands as though fearing it would fly away. “No, my work here is done. I have done too much. I have destroyed you, my sacred one; I have committed crimes against all that must surely be just. I have slain two hundred of my brethren – decimated the order of Watchers – and cast countless mortal souls screaming into the abyss. It must end. Here, and now.”
“ You promised rains,” Shem-Azza reminded her. “Rain will follow blood and fire, to cleanse the earth of my giant sons, the progeny of my carnal will. But know this, that throughout the creation of all my children, there was only one I ever thought of. Every mortal bitch of His creation had your face.”
He brushed her cheek, mopping the tears which still came, heavy and fast now. The Destroyer’s breast heaved and shuddered beneath her armour, shining metal of the sun which she now sought to remove and cast aside. He aided her with the straps and the chains, and the breastplate flew far, a heavenly treasure descending into mud, forgotten.
She pushed herself against him, wrapping him tight as he brought his mouth to bear on her neck, her ear, shoulder, in tender puckerings of exploration. “We are not opposites, you and I, Shem-Azza. We are the same, we always were. We share the same heart, the same spirit. We are united in the love we could never have had.”
“ And now, you think, we can?” he asked, surprised. “You must not fall as well, for that would be too much tragedy for one day.”
“My dear, for you, for one hour in your arms – I would fall any height.”
Their remaining robes and garments were torn asunder from frantic scratching. Sacred skin fashioned from the essence of eternity now blended in dusk-veiled passion. No words passed between them, nor were any words needed. Both hearts had already bled their aching truths through trembling mouths unused to delivering messages of desire, and now it was the turn of the flesh to profane those ideals.
As they lay tightly wrapped, face to face, he wiped a tear from his face. He wondered why he had not felt it fall from his eye.
“What is it?” she asked, her dreamy admiration of his body interrupted by his pondering.
He raised his face up into the scowling night, to see the heaving raincloud above him, and then he understood why he wept.
“ No,” she drew a breath in panic. “No, the rains can only come when my task is done. I am not finished – you still live, and are still free – so there will be no deluge! There can’t be. I refuse to finish the work, my sweet – and until I do, the earth will remain. That was the pact.”
“ The pact is void.” an unseen hand wrapped around her hair and cast her, shrieking, aside. Shem-Azza seized his robe but was struck back, flattened to the earth. A great and vengeful presence was now among them, and the force of His wrath bore heavily down, as heavy as the rains which began to chill them both to the core.
“ Ab-Addon, angel of destruction, your rank is forfeit. Fall you shall, to the deepest and blackest depths of hell, and for all eternity you will serve the Bottomless Pit.” from the earth beneath her arose two dozen black serpents, binding her limbs and body in a hissing, seething mass. “Your sword will bring destruction and death to all generations to come, and your name will be loathed and despised by all who walk in the valley of the shadow. Angel of Death – hell awaits.”
She screamed against this sentence but the serpents silenced her and drew her writhing body down deep into the blackened ground from which they arose, leaving only steaming putrid cracks in the dead earth.
“ And you, Shem-Azza of the order of Seraphim – you, who led astray my Watchers from their holy mission – once again, you defy me.”
“I will always defy you.”
“But for the last time. I have ordered the destruction of all your people, and your city. Every brick you have built has become sand, every tower, dust. Nothing of your world remains. The bones of your bastards will not even linger to be found by later generations of men – all memory of this place will be lost. Yet, I have preserved but one of your structures.”
The unseen hand picked him up by the hair and turned him to face the distant monument he had built to the lion in the sky. The enormous stone beast lay crouched, forever silently gazing out at its own reflection in the stars; the map of the heavens which common men would later call the constellation of Leo, for it was there that the sun rose upon Eden.
“Beneath its paws you will dwell, Shem-Azza. Entombed forever within your proudest creation, the stone beast that you would have before Me, and you will have all eternity to regret your crimes. This one creation of yours will linger through all time, and be your prison.”
From the earth beneath him unravelled chains of black and red fire, binding his limbs in screaming, searing agony as bonds and flesh melted as one. “And I will take from you an eye, that with the remaining one you will see your suffering as you hang upside down in mockery of your own abandoned heritage.” a hook arose from the midst of the fiery metal and struck deep into his face, from eyeball to the back of his skull. His screams died in the rising wind as he was dragged across the spluttering earth, between the forepaws of the giant lion.
Before the flaming bonds pulled him out of sight forever, he turned his remaining eye to heaven and fancied he saw the face of his beloved Ab-Addon there within the stars.
“My dear, tell me. Does it rain in heaven, also?”
And then he was gone, forever banished from sight as the Deluge began.
As tall as trees, they had stood, the fallen angels of the order of Watchers; now cut down to bloody stumps, to be remembered only in legends, cursed as rebels, and damned as traitors to the Holy Word. Yet among the blood and the twisted bones, one living soul still lingered, forgotten by the Destroyer and unseen by the tyrant demiurge – a young woman so radiant with beauty, that she seemed to be clothed with the very sun. A daughter of Shem-Uzza himself, she cowered in the remains of the tallest tower of her father’s kingdom, a tower known to its inhabitants as Bab’el.
And not one visitor to the giant lion, the guardian of Shem-Azza’s empire and symbol of his earthly paradise, would ever know that its architect lay buried beneath their feet, even after the lion had long since worn away and become known among mortal men merely as the Sphinx.
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