Damien knew exactly when his father arrived in the room. It was not hard to miss his overwhelming presence, although the sound of flames flaring and the sudden quiet that followed was a giveaway too. Lucifer always did like an entrance. Unfortunately the quiet did not last long.
“You dare call me like some peasant?” Lucifer snarled
Damien looked dispassionately at his father. To show any other emotion in the mood Lucifer was in would only end badly. As it was, his father was in a rage Damien had only seen a few times in his existence, and the creature it was aimed at rarely lived long. Being his son had never saved him from his father’s wrath. No, the only one immune was his mother. Although, now Damien was not even sure she was safe. Sara…Sapphira was a special case.
“Hello, Father,” he greeted quietly from where he stood in front of the dais. “Glad to see you too.”
An instant later Damien was airborne, crashing into the black obsidian throne with such force the massive chair toppled over. Groaning, Damian tried to get to his feet before his father could hit him again, but he was too dazed and soon found himself once again airborne, this time slamming into the wall in the back of the room. With a resounding crash, he landed on the table that stood against it full of gold and silver vases, breaking them into pieces as he crashed through to the floor.
“Do not be insolent with me, boy! I am in no mood for it,” Lucifer growled stalking around the toppled throne towards his son.
Shifting carefully, noting the broken ribs with a grimace, Damien glared at his father in his full glory. Black leather vest that showed his well-muscled chest and arms, tight black leather pants tucked into the same color boots that reached up his calves. Enormous glossy feathered black wings flared out behind him as his eyes flashed with fire, his power radiating around him, stirring his hair and feathers. Yes, Lucifer was beyond pissed and far into furious. If it had not been for the pain Damien might have been frightened, but he had seen it all before and he was very well acquainted with what would come next. The moment he betrayed his father by hiding Sapphira, the small amount of clemency Damien had by being his son vanished.
“Where is she? And don’t lie to me by telling me you do not know!” he snapped as he reached down and grabbed Damien by the neck, hauled him to his feet and slammed him once more against the wall, his feet far from the ground. Strangulation would not kill him, but it was very uncomfortable.
“I don’t know where she is,” Damien choked, his hands pulling on his father’s wrist, unable to get a good grip because they were covered with something slippery and slightly tacky. Blood, and Damien could guess at whose. “She is out of this realm so I cannot sense her, and even if I could I would not tell you.”
With a howl of rage Lucifer launched Damien into the center of the room. Damien landed hard on the stone floor, rolling to the middle of the room to stop on his side coughing and gasping as he tried to open his airway and breathe around the pain in his chest.
“You lie!” Lucifer roared.
Damien was barely able to roll out of the way before his father landed right where he had been laying, the rock under his feet cracking from the force. Struggling to his feet, one arm carefully wrapped around the broken ribs that were slowly knitting themselves back together, Damien backed away as Lucifer advanced.
“If you cannot sense her, how in the hell am I supposed to?” Damien snapped. “You’ve reminded me enough times of how weak I am. How worthless.”
“Because you are worthless. Hiding behind your mother’s skirts when you were young, and when you outgrew her you hid behind Sapphira. Always following her around like a lost puppy, claiming you were keeping her safe from those that would harm her. You who would never pick up a weapon, afraid of sullying yourself with the blood of others. You were a disgrace! You would not even defend yourself when I punished you!”
Those punishments were a result of his father’s frequent rages that needed an outlet. Usually there was some unfortunate demon nearby that would bear the brunt of his fury, but more often than not it would be him or Sapphira who were the closest. Fiercely protective of his sister, Damien would step in between them, purposely catching his father’s eye, and his fists. Afraid if he fought back, if he showed any form of the strength he held inside, Lucifer would turn towards Sapphira who was an easier target, Damien would be left broken and bloody on the floor, barely able to move or breathe. Even though it meant he looked weak in his father’s eyes, he would endure the humiliation again if it meant Sapphira was safe. Today was no different.
“And if you did not have me to beat, who would you have turned on? Sapphira? Mother?” Damien asked quietly.
That stopped his father.
“I would never hurt your mother,” he whispered. Fear was not something you would think to see in the Fallen One, but the thought of losing his beloved Sachi was at times debilitating. If Lucifer had one weakness, it was his wife. It was why she was kept locked safely in the castle where those that would use her to overthrow him could not reach her.
“When you were in one of your rages, you didn’t care who it was standing in front of you. As long as you bathed in someone’s blood you were appeased,” Damien reminded bitterly. “Better mine than theirs.”
With a wave of Lucifer’s hand, Damien once again was airborne, flying sideways onto long wooden table laden with plates of food, vases full of his mother’s favorite flowers, and bowls of fruit. When he landed on the other side, the glass cutting into his skin as the gold and silver clattered to the floor around him, he stayed where he was. The memory of his father’s power and the pain behind it was never far away. He was not relishing reliving it.
Gritting his teeth, Damien slowly rolled over onto his back, praying the angels had found Gideon and were on their way out of this realm, because he was not going to take much more of this. For the first time in over a hundred years he felt strong enough to fight back, and for once he could.
“Enough talk. You have a connection to your sister that I do not,” Lucifer snarled as he stalked around the end of the table. Damian quickly pushed himself to his feet, but he did not back away. He stood his ground. “Don’t,” Lucifer warned when Damien opened his mouth to deny his father’s statement. “I know the spell is broken. I know your bond is reconnecting, that I can feel. So don’t tell me you can no longer sense her. Now. Where. Is. She!” he repeated through gritted teeth, his face in Damien’s.
“Somewhere you cannot reach her,” Damien answered evenly.
Lucifer started to retaliate, but Damien acted first. This time it was Lucifer who flew through the air, crashing against the far wall. It would be the first and last time Damien knew he would be able to catch his father off guard, and because of his injures he was not up to full strength. Something he could not let his father know.
Nephilim. The children of angels and humans. Creatures of great strength and beauty, yet they held no real power and could not fly like their angel parent. It was one of the things his father used to use against him. However, there was one secret that he and his sister had kept from him and everyone around them.
Being the oldest, Sapphira had developed her power and wings first. So surprised they had not thought to hide it from their father. She was a first of their kind, and it was what alerted Lucifer to the fact that she may be the one prophesized a millennia ago when he and his kind were cast out of heaven. The one who would free them from their prison.
Because of Lucifer’s obsession with Sapphira, Sachi had wisely decided to keep quiet when Damien’s power and wings had begun to develop. Years of abuse could have been avoided if he had only shown he was not weak, but his powers had grown stronger than his father’s and Sachi was afraid that Lucifer would fear that power and destroy her son and thus destroying the very fabric of the universe.
The time for secrets was over.
Appearing out of mist, a sword, long and broad, its handle carved with intertwining runes that spelled his and Sapphira’s names curved around Damien’s hand as he gripped the long pummel. Runes of power and battle graced the blade. Keeping the sword to the side, he calmly walked to stand in front of his father. Lucifer was down on one knee, fists resting on the floor, head bowed, wings spread out to each side trying to catch his equilibrium. Damien could feel the rage radiating off his father and knew he was trying to quell the urge to kill him because he needed answers. Dead Damien could not give them to him. His wings flaring wide behind him, Lucifer raised his eyes full of anger and hate, his own sword materializing in his hand. When he saw his son, his rage turned to shock and Damien knew he had his father’s full attention.
Stretched out behind him, a wing span as large as his father’s, were silver wings. The air moved his hair and feathers, not unlike his father’s had only a few moments ago, as his power pulsed around him. The creature that stood before the Fallen One was not Nephilim nor angel, but something quite different.
“How?” Lucifer breathed, his voice filled with shock as he slowly stood.
“It was easy when all you cared about was the chosen one,” Damien answered bitterly, raising his sword point to his father’s chest. “When you were so focused on Sapphira and her powers and what it meant to you that the son you bore, her twin, was no more than a bug you stepped on when it suited you, it was easy to hide what I had become. But I am not going to hide who I am any longer, Father. Just as I am not going to suffer your abuse.”
“You cannot leave here,” he scoffed. “None of us can.”
“None of the Fallen can leave. Unlike you, I am not fallen and neither is Sapphira. We are from all realms – heaven, earth, hell, and many more you have no idea exist. So we are free to traverse each one freely. The prophecy states a single power will unleash the End of Days. Sapphira and I are two halves of the same whole. Together we are one, and I will not allow you or anyone else use us in some twisted game of power. All we want, all we have ever wanted was to be is left alone.” He took a step forward, his voice low and dangerous. “I am only going to tell you this once. Do not search for us. Do not attempt to use mother to lure us back. Leave us in peace and we will leave you in peace.”
“Do you think they will allow you to live in peace?” Lucifer scoffed. “Every god and goddess in every pantheon will be hunting for you. You cannot defeat them all. One way or another you and your sister will have to serve your fate. You will release the apocalypse.”
“We have managed to avoid it this long. I think we can manage to avoid it a few centuries longer,” Damien said.
“If you think I am going to allow you to simply walk out of my kingdom, you are mistaken,” Lucifer sneered with an evil smile, bringing his own sword level with Damien’s.
“I think you will find I am not so easily defeated, Father,” Damien countered with a wicked smile of his own.
“We shall see,” Lucifer sneered.
With a lunge, the sounds of swords clashing filled the air and castle as father and son fought to defeat the other. Flashes of fire and lightening singed the floors, walls and ceilings, narrowly missing skin and feathers.
From the shadows a pair of dark blue eyes watched and waited with worry as the two most important men in her life battled for dominance. Both equally matched in power and skill, neither one willing to back down. As the first metallic tang of blood filled the air, a hand rested on her shoulder. Jumping, Sachi turned to see her husband’s second in command, Elden, watching the battle with sad wary eyes. He turned those eyes to Sachi.
“Please, my lady. We mustn’t stay here,” he urged, taking Sachi’s arm and pulling her away. “Lucifer and Damien will never forgive themselves if you were hurt in the crossfire. Please. Come away.”
Knowing he was right, Sachi allowed him to lead her away from the sounds of battle. Whatever the outcome, she prayed that the sacrifices she had made to keep her children and the universe safe were not all in vain.
Copyright 2018 Heidi Barnes