Chapter 3: The Nether

Part 1: Arrival

Krome handed his passport over to the customs official.

The official browsed through the passport and handed it back to him, the red jacket on the passport indicated that Mr. Comeau was a CD. A member of the Diplomatic Corps.

"How was your trip to Turkey, sir?"
Krome nodded. "Exciting." his face showing no emotion.
A black-suited man walked over to him and took his suitcase.
"Yeah, I know the weather down there is damn good compared to here, eh?" The official exclaimed.
"No. I prefer the cold." Krome said, turning the official's smile into a stare.

He walked past a couple of hallways. This is the Halifax Airport in Nova Scotia, Canada. True, Krome is actually an angel called "Aryel" from the Devic Kingdom who can instantaneously travel from one point to another, heaven or earth at the speed of thought, but you wouldn't know who's tracking your whereabouts. So to be in the High Commissioner's office in Vienna at one instant and in Iraq the other (as his travels took him in search for the fallen angel Tetra) would be suspicious. The last thing he wanted was for people to find out he was the Herald of the Devic Kingdom on Earth. His latest assignment from heaven is to make sure that the tokens of Earth, Fire, Air and Water don't fall into the hands of evil.

The suited man shut the trunk of the shiny silver Jaguar XK8 (complete with a black top). He tipped the suited man about fifty Canadian dollars and took the driver seat of the car, which had red license plates with the initials "CD" in them and KROME for the label.

The car drove off, taking the car outside the city limits towards Krome's secluded Mansion. For a rich and handsome young man, Krome Comeau was a loner. And he preferred it that way. Maybe that was about to change... Who knows?

As he drove, he thought about the conversation he had had with Tetra. Saving the world is going to be hard, especially with no help. Worse than that, he knew very well that he couldn't interfere with humanity's business, that was the condition of his stay on Earth, whether he wanted to save it or not.

So even as a diplomat, he was incognito. He served no one but himself and represented no one. His guise as a non-specific "Diplomat" was the best way to give him freedom to travel and operate with minimal tracking.

He raised his eyebrows in surprise as he watched the road turn into a still image.
His eyes darted towards his watch. Surely enough, the "seconds" hand wasn't moving.

Time was paused.

He opened the door and stepped out. The road was frozen at 110 kilometers per hour, so it looked like a big long smudge. A magnificent life-sized painting, if he ever saw one.

The sky turned purple, and wind blew. He watched as the entire visible sky burned irrevocably. The fire was fierce, yet calm. That was the sky's way of welcoming a supreme being...

For the great Archangel stood in the heavens:

Metatron, Chancellor of Heaven.

Krome humbly stood on his knee and bowed his head. "Lord."

Metatron smiled. "You look so small, Aryel. Not befitting for the Lion of God."
Krome answered back. "Below the heavens, there is no class or size, Your Eminence."

Metatron raised Krome's chin. He was now changed into the form of a man. He wore a flowing white gown, and had a long white beard, his skin was dark, unmistakably a Semitic Hebrew. On his side he carried a book.

"You're wrong. As above, so below. Don't you know?.. You see my young Aryel - or Krome if I may. I, too, was a man. A long time ago. As Prophet Enoch. And my brother was Elijah."

Krome stood up and looked at Enoch. "The secrets that heaven holds."

Enoch smiled. "But the Angel that I envy most, is my own sister, Shekinah. For, even though unseen - only felt, she is the closest to humans. For she doesn't merely walk among them, she walks within them."

Krome looked concerned. "Lord, it is not common for you to contact me this way, does the Host need aid?"

Enoch rubbed his long beard. "I have good news and bad news. There was a rebellion in the realm of Hades, the Demons stormed the Gates of Fire and were going to escape. But the Host gathered an army and we were successful in pulling them back in. Now more angels have been staged into guarding the gates. About 7000 new ones, but as you know, since the keys have disappeared, Hades can be easily accessed by humans wielding the Nether Tokens." Enoch looked at Krome, his hand motioning him to complete his sentence.

"The Crown Tokens. Of Clubs. Tetra calls them the Crown of Wands. There are four."

Enoch nodded. "Yes, that's right. Blame it on these corruptible bodies for my being forgetful. And speaking of, how fares she, tetra?"
Krome shook his head. "I've just returned from Turkey, she's fine. I thank you on her behalf for your pardon, Your Peace."
Metatron smiled. "Why, you look like you don't know."
Krome frowned. "Know what?"
"It was fated to happen. Teaching man about magic."
Krome was angry. "She's suffered for 17 millenia, because it was all FATED?"
Enoch shook his head. "Why, you also think it was chance that Adam and Eve were sent down from heaven? You think the human race is here because of something that wasn't supposed to happen?"
Krome looked confused. Enoch put his hand on Krome's shoulder as a father does. "Ah. Still young I see. You'll understand one day. When you understand what fate means."
Krome: "Try me." He stepped back, making Enoch's hand fall.
Enoch sighed. "Fate is the book in which what to happen is written."
Krome shook his head. "I don't understand."
"Us Angels. The Humans, the Demons and the Sprites. Our bodies move in one direction, towards the becoming. God on the other-hand, Was, Is and Will Be. Forget thee not, the Divine Name of God."
Krome shut his eyes as The Word danced on his tongue. A word of an ancient language, older than the original Babylonian language. The language that Angels taught men once, but became forgotten after The First Fall of Babylon. The feeling of Peace filled him.
"The created cannot understand the Creator. That alone is knowledge enough for me." Krome concluded.
Enoch smiled. "Congratulations, Krome. You've uncovered the secret of knowing the Hidden. Anyway, enough of that. I've told you the good news. Now for the bad news." Enoch said.

He didn't wait for Krome to ask. "One Demon managed to escape."

Krome raised his eyebrows. "A demon has crossed through the dimensional gates?"
Enoch nodded, then his face turned sad. "On Earth our powers are limited. Even as angels."
Krome: "What? Four divine words is all that stands between a Demon and banishment into Hell."
Enoch smiled. "None was able to get close enough to him to cast the prayer of banishment..."

There was a flash. Krome and Enoch stood next to a river. It was late at night. The air smelled foul. "...Except one." Enoch finished his sentence.

They were standing on a murky River, once known as The River Ocean. The river that enters the Gates of Hell and converges with the River Styx. This is the River that leads to Hell, in a land called Purgatory, a land of eternal night that separates the Realm of Earth from the Realm of Fire.

Krome strained to see in the dark and saw a shadow walking towards him. It was a man. Black-skinned and towering. He wore a flowing black/purple cloak that rustled slowly with the wind.

Enoch: "This is Locan. In Hades he used to be known as The Lurking Shadow. He was a scientist of hell. Some say he was successful in creating something... Sinister. Evil. Mysterious.
Enoch looked at Krome. "Answer me this..."

"What is greater than God. More evil than Lucifer. The rich want it, and the poor have it."

Krome thought. He frowned, and looked back at Enoch: