Chapter 6: Homes of the Damned

Part 1: Salba

Present Day
As she ran and the tears streamed down her face, she couldn't help but see glimpses of the horrid scene in her mind. Four people shrouded in darkness appeared in her cove and stabbed her mother. Her silver face looked at her in sadness as she handed her the shimmering black stone. And before the dark ones could grab it from her hands, she had squeezed it as hard as she could, and her vicinity exploded, where she found herself in a dark place, but this place was dark with a cruel red color, like the color of the blood that flows in the River of Cocytus. In this place, there was a searing red river that bubbled and steamed with fire, and suddenly, a creature leapt from within this hot river and she screamed, as she squeezed her stone again as hard as she could, and here she was, as much magical as it was sudden. And she ran for her life; a fragile Samarian in a world of the walking dead.

"Hey. You!" An old woman motioned to her from the corner of a street. Salba looked around. She was in an extremely strange place. It was unusually bright. She looked upward and winced as the violet rays of a strange object in the sky shone into her eyes. She looked behind her. The shades of darkness weren't chasing her anymore, so she relaxed.

Now there was a new potential threat. This stranger that was calling upon her. And everything inside young Salba told her to trust no one but herself and to keep on running.

The stranger stood there in the street corner and smiled at Salba: "Oh look at you. So afraid. So fragile; a lost young Samarian. You cannot possibly survive on Naryn."

"Naryn?" Salba asked.

"Yes, Naryn. The city that you're standing on."

Salba looked around again and saw small houses, most of them half-built. She felt a new feeling in this place. An immense sense of sorrow and guilt. She tried to smell it, but couldn't trace that distinct and foul scent of fear. She finally relaxed. "You won't hurt me?" Salba asked.

The old woman shook her head, her demeanor not having changed in the least. "Never, little one. Now follow me quickly before they catch you."

"Who?" Salba asked. She looked around her and saw tall two-legged shades walking towards her. They had their hands extended towards her and they were mumbling... Something like "We are sorry." and "Will He ever forgive us?" Salba was startled. She looked around her and noticed that they were coming towards her from every direction.

Suddenly the old woman jumped in front of Salba and a strange bright object enflamed her hands and shone a peculiar ray of white light. "White light?" Salba asked herself. She never imagined that such a thing existed. And although it was mesmerizing and... Beautiful in its own way, the light was too strong for Salba's eyes; themselves accustomed to fourth and fifth degrees of darkness. "Stand behind me child. They won't hurt you as long as I can help it." The shades started to walk away. They cursed out in different and strange tongues. The old woman replied to one of them and spat at him. Then she turned around at Salba and smiled, "I still have some Latin remaining in me."

She extended her hand towards Salba, "My name is Kasrel. Some used to call me, the Erector, the builder of Palaces in a place called Edenim."

Salba blinked. "What?"

Kasrel shook her head, "Goddess. You are an ignorant little one, aren't you? Were do you come from, little Samarian?"

Salba shrugged. "Somewhere darker than this place."

Kasrel nodded. "You're from beneath the surface.. Somewhere beneath Tartarus probably. From the shape and color of your eyes I can tell that you're accustomed to fifth degree of darkness, so most probably you're from the fifth circle of Hell. That is very strange how you got here."

"Hell? Are you mad? You speak like the shades. Hell doesn't exist. There's only the seven levels of light and seven levels of darkness of Inferus and the throne of Lucifer beyond the darkness."

Kasrel laughed. "And such is the cycle of life, realities are forgotten and the residues become myths, then the myths are whitewashed and turned into falsehoods, and the truth is forever lost."

Salba opened her pouch and took out the black stone. But she looked at it and gasped. The black stone wasn't black at all; it was a shade of glistening green. She showed the stone to Kasrel.

"Oh my. It's an earthen stone... If I'm not mistaken, this used to belong to Nefertiti, gifted to her by Anubis when he tried to win her love over and make her the queen of the underworld."

Salba shrugged as she let out a quiet sigh. "Whatever. That's how I got here. I press on it, and it takes me somewhere else."

Kasrel nodded. "Yes, it warps you into a higher level of luminescence. You must've activated it three times to get here."

Salba nodded, "How do you know so much about things? Are you a demon-queen? Like Lilith?"

Kasrel laughed, "No, far from it. I could show you my true self, but I'd be radiating too much light for your sensitive eyes to be able to handle, you might go blind. I am one of the Mekshilim; the angels who followed our mother and Goddess Lucifer in her banishment from Heaven."

Salba's mouth opened in astonishment, "Y... You’ve walked with Lucifer?"

Kasrel nodded. "Although it has been several millennia since I had last seen her. And trust me, I'm not the only one, there are hundreds of us, scattered across the cosmos. Some of us shroud ourselves in the shape of old people, to symbolize our wisdom that is paralleled only by the Devic Lords, and of course, Raziel. Our wisdom led us to question the justice of God and hence, fail Him, and thus, our banishment."

Salba fervently looked about, her excitement barely able to be contained, "Tell me about Lucifer! I have heard so much about Her... Is She as beautiful as the stories make Her to be?"

Kasrel grinned with a sort of half-smile etched upon her face, "If beauty could be ranked in the hosts of heaven, then Lucifer would've been the most beautiful of the entire host."

Salba shook her head lightly, her thoughts still those of awe, "And Her body is shrouded in the darkest of darkness?"

Kasrel shook her head with an odd sort of chuckle, "Now that's an ethnocentric myth if I've ever heard of one... She was actually made as a product of the primeval breath of God and was the phlogiston that produced the first Flame. The same flame that spewed out from the first day of creation and formed galaxies and stars in the cosmos of the Real. And from the light of her fire, the first rays of light were formed, and those rays were the angels."

Salba: "I want to know everything about Her! Can you tell me, Kasrel?"

Kasrel looked around: "Well, soon, little one but first let us take you to safety. You have a lot of neutral morale in your aura, so the negative ones will be attracted to you and will try to destroy you. Come with me, I will teach you how to conceal your aura."

Kasrel took Salba's fragile hands and they walked across the streets. Kasrel pointed at the houses along the path, "These are the Homes of the Damned. The humans of earth-realm who've earned their spot here in the third circle of hell try to hide their shame by building houses out of the wood of the Sorrow Forest and the heated bricks from the Murks of Pity. But they find that to hide only makes their endless suffering seem longer.

Salba tugged on Kasrel's hand, "Why am I different? Different from you and from the human-shades?"

Kasrel shrugged, her expression changing into that of thought. "Well, fate dealt you a different card I guess. You were born a mortal Samarian, I was born an immortal fallen."

Salba perked a brow as she came to a conclusion, "So I will remain scared and weak for the rest of my life? Because fate said so?"

Kasrel shook her head at the comment, seeking for the best way to explain her case, "Of course not, dear. You make your own destiny, but at the end of the road..." Kasrel pointed at the end of the street, where an old man leaned against his cane. "..You will realize that there have been people watching over you, hoping you would make the right decisions in life that will make you the role model of yourself."

Salba seemed oddly annoyed by this as she curtly stated, "But my role-model is Lucifer."

Kasrel grinned once more as she looked Salba over with benevolent eyes, "And so was mine, and his." Kasrel pointed at the old man who pointed his cane towards the wall on one of the houses and it opened into a large vortex that spewed every other shade of light known.

The old man nodded as he looked to the two, "Until we realized that even with her countless millennia of wisdom, she was still fallible, just like any one of us. The true model should be the part in you that is ever-searching of knowledge and perfection." Salba stood in front of the vortex and looked at Kasrel and the old man. She then shut her eyes and stepped into the vortex.


Salba spun. She couldn't stop herself. Suddenly a hand grabbed her and smiled. "Welcome to the bottomless pit."

Salba looked around and saw billions, no, billions upon billions of creatures of every race imaginable and unimaginable against a peculiarly colorless background.

"WHAT?!" She screamed.

Several angels flew towards her, "Before the physical universe was created, this is all there was, minus the creation. It was only the creator beyond the walls of this plane... We are the Primordial Angels."

Kasrel smiled and added to the angel’s explanation, her hand still maintaining a firm grip upon Salba’s. "This is the repository for creation that is taken in and out of the script of life. We have access to see and move in and out of this plane, only because we are the Primordial Angels, we have existed before the primeval, secondary and tertiary angels were created in the preceding instances of creation. Although the only difference is, since we are now fallen, we have no control of the creation process any more."

Salba perked a brow as she looked over the expanse of colorless nothingness, “Who does?”

Kasrel searched the well in a practiced manner as she spoke, "Well, God of course. From time to time, he used to bestow the key to this realm to whoever earned the rights to create something new. In the lifetime of the universe, only two beings ever got that honor. Those were, of course, were Lucifer, and her arch-nemesis, Raziel."

"Why are they enemies?"

Kasrel bit her lip as she contemplated the question, before giving into the query with a shrug. "Well I suppose now is a good time as ever to tell the story. This was the place that was created before time even existed; therefore we are not losing any."

Phasarel scowled a slight as his eyes traveled to what would be considered upwards, "Not that time matters in the accursed realm that we've been confined to."

Kasrel smiled as she went on with her historic narrative. "When God decided to erect the universe, he had to ensure the absolute balance and the guarding of the laws that will keep the universe in balance, so he created three races. For every race that was ever created, my dear Salba, they were tied to a pure or a mix of elements. The first three races created were the Angels, created of light, the Demons, created of Darkness and Lucifer and his children the Chaos, created of Fire. The angels' duties were to keep the universe in balance and to watch over the other races. The demons were created to counter the weight of Angels and the neutral and conscious element, ‘Lucifer’ was created to destroy the stars."

Salba remained silent for a few moments before speaking up once again, "Destroy the stars? That doesn't make any sense."

Phasarel interjected quickly, his voice holding a small hint of annoyance, "The Universe, like everything else has a limited capacity to sustain what it contains. If that limit is exceeded, the universe will not be able to bear the weight of all the stars and worlds that it bears, so it will collapse into nothing, destroying everything in existence. That is the second Law of Existence."

Kasrel nodded in support of this claim, "Lucifer had two titles, the first was the Destroyer, and the second was the Light-giver. Those two titles were used interchangeably. You see she picked worlds that didn't sustain what would constitute as life and gave its star her own energy, therefore, destroying the star with the resulting explosive inevitability. As the star got destroyed, Lucifer would absorb the energy and fling it here in the bottomless pit, where the Laws of Existence do not hold and thus, the energy turns into nothing."

Phasarel added, "She did this for countless millennia during and before time began. At one point, she had boasted to the Host that she was the only being to have ever worshipped God in every inch of the known universe."

Salba was amazed by all this knowledge, never having been privy to the actual story of creation, "Wow. So why did she fall?"