First Chapter Preview
It was the beginning when a single star offered its dim light to the vastness of space, but there was already a war brewing, tormented by its own existence.
Rock exploded, fragmented and catapulted super heated chunks of molten hardness. Suddenly, there was matter where there had been none, planets where they did not exist before and tiny almost imperceptible lights in the sky. The lights were not close enough or warm enough to penetrate the rocky, barren crust of the Earth, and nothing existed beyond deep valleys and jagged cliffs.
The years passed slowly on this dark, uninhabitable planet. The darkness bred discontent. The desolation bred hostility, and out of this irritation came the first life form. Demons. They covered the planet, feeding off its hatred and hostility. It was an overabundant food source but not unlimited.
As the demons devoured the darkness, beams of purifying light emerged. At first, they were no more than a man’s finger piercing through the black sky. The demons paid them no mind. They had no concern for the lights. They were slow moving creatures.
Eons passed. The fingers became hands. The hands dropped water onto the barren soil, moistening the long hibernating seeds. Rain flooded the deepest valleys and craters, creating running streams and oceans of life giving water.
Imperceptible green spouts emerged from the soil and new seeds lingered on fragile stems. Tumultuous winds tore those seeds from their stems and spread them wide and far, and they grew.
First, those tiny fragile seeds surrounded the oceans and rivers, thriving off the handfuls of light. As they grew and multiplied, they spread to the edges of the darkness where they produced a warming mixture of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and oxygen.
The expansion of light hastened, but what was this light? The answer would prove fatal. Any demon caught in the light singed and burned to nothingness.
The demons scrambled into caves where only a handful would survive to witness the beginning of mankind – homo-habilis, homo-erectus, and finally homo-sapien. As the humans grew and spread and the existence of darkness both in the caves and at night brought carnivorous creatures, and strange illnesses began to plague the human race. Infants died. Mothers screamed in agony. Fathers became weak and withered, and the demons became objects of rituals. They were dark angry gods to be appeased lest the rains did not fall, firstborn males died and disease and pestilence ravaged the dwellings.
With the rituals came learning, and one demon stood alone when he realized he could feed off the ceremonies and human fear, discontent and anger. Vetis inhaled their fear and anger, becoming powerful from within the darkness of his cave.
Unfortunately, the light still burned, which prevented him and every other demon who survived the onslaught from entering into the world of the humans. However, with every period of light came darkness. It was only a matter of time before the demons would learn to use the darkness to their advantage. Vetis was the first.
When the moon rose high in the sky, Vetis took one cautious step through the mouth of his cave. When there was no pain, he took another and another until he was strolling amongst the world’s new population. They had solid bodies and could walk and communicate with each other in ways that Vetis could only dream. There had to be a way to walk among them in the light, and Vetis would find it.
In the meantime, he infiltrated their temples and fed from their rituals, growing stronger until he was joined by another. His name was Asmodeus.
Angered at the intrusion into his night, Vetis sought to destroy Asmodeus, pushing him out of the temples with demonic fire and brimstone and fighting him on open land.
Their battles raged far and wide, destroying villages and decimating the landscape, and as the human population dwindled, Vetis found himself pinned against a sharp rock hundreds of cubits in the air.
“Soon there will be no humans, and then what will you do, Vetis?” Asmodeus snarled, breathing his brimstone breath in Vetis’ face. “Grow weak and wither until you are called to Hell under Lucifer’s rule.”
Vetis launched himself off the rocks with his powerful wings, hurling them toward the ground as he wrapped his dark gray hands around Asmodeus’ black neck. “You will be the one cast back into Hell.”
Asmodeus slammed one demonic foot into Vetis’ chest, shattering his bones and freeing himself before they impacted the jagged, barren rocks below. He soared into the black sky just as the first rays of deadly light crested upon the horizon.
With Vetis injured but in pursuit, Asmodeus fled into the nearest cave. They fought through the day. Neither gaining nor giving ground until their black blood coated the rocks and the mountain above them trembled. From opposite sides of the cave, they snarled and gnashed their teeth.
“If we continue, the mountain will fall upon us,” Asmodeus said as he watched a large gash on his arm heal.
“Then we shall declare an uneasy truce,” Vetis said. “You will not enter my temples, and I will not enter yours.”
Asmodeus frowned in contemplation. “If you cross into my territory, I will slaughter you.”
“Then, you agree to my truce,” Vetis said.
“I agree,” Asmodeus said.
For more than a mega-millennium, Vetis and Asmodeus honored the invisible line they had drawn across the earth. It was not until 4,000B.C. that Vetis dared to cross the line, landing in front of Asmodeus as he walked across a field to a new temple.
“Vetis.” Asmodeus snarled and narrowed his gaze.
“I am not here to fight you,” Vetis said. “I am here to inform you.”
“Of what?” Asmodeus asked.
“Have you seen the garden between our two lands?” Vetis asked.
“I have,” Asmodeus said.
“There is a man inside,” Vetis said.
“An insignificant man,” Asmodeus said. “He is of no concern to me.” He stretched his wings as if to take flight.
“He talks to god,” Vetis said.
Asmodeus raised an eyebrow and lowered his wings. “Does he?”
“And I have heard his lineage is the key to our unhuman immortality,” Vetis said.
“Explain yourself,” Asmodeus said.
“I have seen a lesser demon posses a human,” Vetis said. “We are far more powerful. By corrupting this man, we could possess his lineage and free ourselves of the caves and the darkness.”
“You do not need my help,” Asmodeus said. “Simply corrupt the man and possess him.”
“I cannot do it alone,” Vetis said as he circled Asmodeus. “I have heard you have a human who practices sorcery.”
“What of her?” Asmodeus asked as he followed Vetis with his red eyes.
“With her help, we could gain human bodies and live infinitely in the human world,” Vetis said.
“And what of her?” Asmodeus asked as he narrowed his gaze.
“Once we have our human bodies, we can change her, allowing her to live infinitely alongside us,” Vetis said.
“How are you so certain?” Asmodeus asked.
“I have heard it whispered in the darkest caverns,” Vetis said. “You could have your human for all time.”
Asmodeus weighed Vetis’ proposition. “This one thing. Then, we go our separate ways.”
“Agreed,” Vetis said.
Asmodeus watched him take to the sky before continuing his trek to the temple. He would need to observe this garden man. Asmodeus had thus far ignored him, deeming him useless. However, the odds of corrupting a man who speaks with god were so low that it piqued Asmodeus’ interest.