along with their troops, wearing an expression of rude pride at what they had accomplished. The palace itself was wrapped in chaos. Zendar's troops were battling Jehovah's servants. The swords of the former found their mark while those of the latter seemed to be chasing shadows. Across from me stood the throne of the Son, who was locked in a psychic war with the one called Cherubim. Zendar touched me on the shoulder as if to say that it was time for us to make our move. I hesitated. I could not move after what I had seen. He grabbed me by my hand and lunged towards the Creator's throne.
Jehovah stood in front of the throne in pure form and it overwhelmed my senses. The force sent me hurtling back into the rubble. Zendar, too, is stunned, but did not relent. He continued to lunge forward towards the throne and the Sacred Sphere. "I shall defeat you, Jehovah," he proclaimed as celestial energies shot forth from his hands towards the Creator. Jehovah countered those with a thunderbolt. This gave Zendar time. He got closer. Moloch entered the palace and uttered a roar which shook what was left of the palace. This gave Zendar even more time. Time enough to seize the Sacred Sphere. Upon touching it Zendar became infinitely more powerful. Power coursed through every fiber of his being as he wrapped his arms around his latest prize. He declared that he would destroy Jehovah and prepared to do battle. When I fully recovered my senses I became sickened at what I had witnessed over the course of this battle. The thought of Zendar becoming ruler over all disgusted me even more. He was ruthless. They all were. Zendar cared nothing about the good of the kingdom. He simply wanted the throne. It was then that I remembered what Vena had told me earlier. She told me that there would be a moment at which I would have to make a decision that would determine the fate of the universe. The moment had arrived. So had Zendar's opportunity to usurp the throne and I found myself becoming terribly afraid of what might occur should Zendar emerge victorious. In that instant I saw that I had a clean shot at Zendar. I hesitated and then shot forth a cosmic blast which struck Zendar's arms. The Sacred Sphere shattered into billions of tiny pieces as Zendar released it and the fragments spread throughout the universe. Zendar screamed in agony and the pain ripped through me as well, since the two of us were celestially bound. Overcome by agony, I fell to the ground. It was as though the pain I had caused him was felt tenfold by me. It felt as though my very essence were being torn apart by fire. Zendar fell at Jehovah's feet, writhing in pain. With a wave of those powerful hands, the Creator sent forth a burst of light, sending Zendar and the other members of the Stygian Council hurtling towards the edge of heaven. I then saw a burst of radiant light that shot forth from the Prince's throne. When it faded only a pile of ashes that used to be Cherubim remained at the Son's feet. Zendar and his angels lay defeated and battered at the gates of paradise. The Creator spoke these words unto them:
"You wicked and faithless foolsl How dare you oppose me! Zendar, you, who were once my favorite angel, have betrayed mel You realize not how much your actions have pained me! Realize, then that you are hereby banished from the kingdom forever!"
With those words Jehovah raised those powerful, awesome hands and opened the door of unreality that led into the abyss and hurled Zendar and his angels into a vortex of nothingness. I could hear them screaming from the other end of reality, but it was Zendar's anguish that I felt ripping through my soul and his pain would remain a part of me forever. I knew that I made the right choice. I also knew that a great sacrifice came along with it. Zendar and I would remained bound in mind, body and spirit forever and I felt that I had a responsibility to try to either help him or stop him from becoming a greater threat by recovering the shattered fragments of the Sacred Sphere. It was just a matter of time before Zendar would escape from the abyss, recover those pieces and find his way back to reality but the emptiness that now sat in his soul would always remain. I turned and gazed upon the face of my Creator for the very first time. The light that emanated from that awesome presence blinded me once again, but I could still perceive the Divine Essence and it showed the face of Vena. The voice bade me to go forth into the universe and fulfill that responsibility that I harbored in my heart, to bring Zendar back and eradicate the threat he posed. With a flash of light and by Jehovah's whim I was recreated into a new being, with my powers increased a hundredfold and a coat of armor that was as mutable as the ocean yet as impenetrable as a fortress. Armed for war with a heart that desired peace, I ventured forth into the abyss to begin my mission.
NEXT CHAPTER: THE FALL OF MAN
Also: Cherubim undergoes a transformation of her own.