THE WOMAN AND THE DRAGON


A work of religious fiction loosely based on Chapter 12 in the Book of Revelation.



A VIEW DOWN TO EARTH


The fairest angel perched himself along the rim of heaven's edge, peered through the thinning cloud vapors and assessed what was happening on the earth below. Tuning in, he began to hear a cacophonous hum that vibrated his stomach and it made him feel nauseous. Then his clairaudience kicked in and all he could hear were the sounds of coins, money exchanges, voices buying cattle and other voices selling doves. He heard more bartering than he did prayer. It had seemingly become one, giant marketplace down there.


Tuning into this low vibration even further, the fairest angel started to hear everybody's fears. They feared a lack of food, they feared the weather and lack of shelter, they feared thieves, they feared their own neighbors, they feared the Romans and, most of all, they feared death. 


Then, he heard loathing coming from victims. And guilt coming from perpetrators. He could feel envy, too. The envy was among neighbors. 


It was pandemonium.


The nausea became overwhelming and he couldn't take much more of it. He had no choice but to take a step back and tune out of this horrible low frequency. With his step back, the sounds of money, buying, selling, fear, loathing and other low energies dissipated. Now he tuned back into the higher frequency, one comprised of pure joy. This joy was coming from the party that was still going on in the far part of the heavens. In fact, it had been going on for quite some time now. 


The fairest angel couldn't understand how his brothers could be so merry when planet earth was in the shape it was in. Something needed to be done. There was no more time to waste.




THE HEAVENS


It was nothing but thick cloud for as far as the eye could see. Some clouds looked like hills. Others looked like mountains. In fact, it looked like God had taken all the goat and calf cream he could get his hands on, whipped it into various formations, and thus made a world out of it. It was absolutely beautiful.


The fairest angel masked his melancholy with a smile and wove his way through the dancing, drunken angels. The music was full of high energy, complete with horns, a fiddler, a flautist and a booming percussionist. The angels switched partners as they danced to the music and swung each other round and round. Most of the dancing was graceful but there were some angels who had clearly had too much wine.


The fairest angel ingratiated his brother angels and joined in with the festivities. He tried a slice of minced pie. He swung a partner hither and thither. He even took a sip of wine, mainly as an attempt to fill his energetic body with artificial joy. The wine could only do so much, though. In fact, f
orcing himself to participate in such activities only seemed to drain his energy lower than it was to begin with.


He soon withdrew from the near-bacchanal-like fest and stood in the corner, feeling uncomfortable and awkward. "Look at all these angels laughing away," the fairest angel remarked to himself. "They have no care in the world." They were so content with the present. Hath they no concern for what was going on down below? 




GOD'S THRONE


The fairest angel passed through a thin veil of vapors rising from the clouds and saw that the party was even livelier in the "royal" section. God had recruited the best jugglers in the heavens. And also the best dancers. The greatest thespians, too. 


The jugglers juggled sticks of fire in one corner while the dancers did tumbling acts in the other. As for the thespians, there were three of them and they were currently reenacting the story of Adam and Eve. One angel was dressed like a man (Adam), the other held an apple and wore a wig to resemble a woman (Eve), and the third was dressed as the devil in disguise, the serpent.


And the serpent said unto the woman: 


"Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."


The fairest angel politely watched the Adam and Eve reenactment for a few moments - up until Eve bit into the apple - before he flapped his wings to more beautiful music and proceeded to the three thrones.


God sat in the middle throne, waving his cornucopia from side to side with glee. His curly brown hair hung down over his pink cheeks, which were more rosy than usual because of the wine. The twinkle in his eyes radiated pure love. One glance into those eyes and you felt like you were being wrapped in the warmest of blankets.


To the left of God sat Gabriel, one of God's chief messenger angels. The fairest angel gave his fellow Gabriel a nod and Gabriel nodded back. Then the fairest glanced over to the throne beside God's right hand. His heart fluttered with excitement knowing he would soon prove himself worthy enough to call that throne his own...


"Aaaah.... fairest Lucifer," God said, momentarily taking his eyes away from the entertainment. "Brightest star of the angels. How is my Son of the morning?"


Fairest Lucifer genuflected and rested his glorious wings on the puffs of the clouds. The colors on his wings matched his eyes, which were a beautiful turquoise.


"I am well, Father."


The twinkle in God's eyes dimmed a bit. So didn't the rosiness in his cheeks.


"Ah, but there is something troubling you."


Lucifer felt relieved knowing he could now lift his draining facade of "joy" and allow his true feelings to come forward.


"Yes, Father."


"What is it?"


"I'm worried...."


God didn't like that word 'worry'. It was a filthy word existing on a very low energetic frequency.


"...about man."


"I see."


"Something needs to be done."


God gave Lucifer a nod and took a sip of his wine to replenish the warmth in his face.


"Something will be done. There is no need to worry."


"I want to volunteer my services. I know I can help."


"Fairest Lucifer, be not plagued by your worry. Go and be merry!"


"With all due respect, Father, I find it rather difficult to be merry."


Lucifer's words created a brief wave of awkwardness. Gabriel pretended not to be listening but he felt the awkward energy and took a glance over to his fellow angel. As for God, he told the fairest of angels:


"Be present, my Morning Son. Be merry."


Lucifer sighed and reluctantly said, "Yes, Father."


The fairest angel didn't like what he was hearing. He could hardly stand still, let alone be present. He was practically bursting at the seams with so much energy and ambition. He could do this now! He was ready. There was no need to wait. 


How God could act so casual about such grave matters was something that fairest Lucifer just couldn't understand. All He had to do was say the word and he would go right on down there to spread his powerful light amidst the disgusting darkness. He was the fairest, wisest and most powerful angel in the heavens. God had said so Himself. Only He was fit for such a daunting task. 


The longer they waited, the worse off they would be. Fairest Lucifer was ready now to get humanity back on track and save the world. And through his honorable deeds he would prove himself worthy to sit at God's right hand.




SLEEPING QUARTERS


The morning fog rose from the clouds and soaked every angel's lips with a moist dew as they slept off their merry hangovers. Fairest Lucifer wasn't just soaked in dew, though. His wings were also soaked with sweat.


He was dreaming a terrible dream where he found himself in the middle of a hot, unpleasant desert. His wings had been clipped and he couldn't fly out of the heat. He was stuck there in the middle of the desert, thirsty and in so much aching pain.


Then he looked down and could see a snake slithering up to him. He was too tired and dehydrated to move. All he could do was watch the snake slither up onto his foot and around his ankle, then come up his leg. Poor Lucifer couldn't move. He was in a state of paralysis and his jaw was even locked in an open position. The snake slithered up his chest and neck and then slithered its way into Lucifer's mouth. O horrible! He could feel it going down his throat! Then it was coiling itself around his lungs!


And this was when fairest Lucifer woke up with a moan and sat up in his bed. He looked around him and saw all of his fellow angels snoring in what-sounded-like peaceful sleep. Their pleased potbellies rose up and down with the rhythm of their deep breathing. Lucifer realized now that it was all a dream. 


He looked himself over and saw that he was drenched in slime, which he realized was a combination of the sweat and the dew. He wondered why in the world he would have had such a disconcerting dream. That was not a normal dream for him. In fact, he usually slept rather soundly. It could have been stress, perhaps.


But then fairest Lucifer remembered the play he had caught glimpse of at the party, the reenactment of Adam and Eve. The serpent that tempts Eve must have influenced his subconscious mind and manifested in the form of the terrifying snake in his dream. That was the only way he could explain it.


He sat upright in bed, his head spinning in a daze. But then...


A trumpet blast!


The sound of the horn scared Lucifer out of his wits. It was Gabriel's horn. He was apparently calling for a meeting and at such an early hour. There must have been something important going on.


All the angels groggily awoke from their slumbers, wiped the dried dew crust out of their eyes and reluctantly went to congregate for the meeting. Fairest Lucifer rose from his bedding and joined his brother angels...




MEETING AREA


The angels filed their way into the hall, gossiping among themselves and wondering what this unexpected meeting could be about. Soon, hundreds of angels were present. They surrounded three thrones, in the middle of which sat God.


Fairest Lucifer joined the circle and so didn't his friends Moloch, Belial, Beelzebub and Mammon. All the angels were still bleary-eyed from their hangovers.


"Doth thou knowest what this is about?" Moloch asked Lucifer.


"I know not," the fairest angel answered.


The assembly of angels grew exponentially and soon there were thousands of angels in the meeting area. They murmured amongst each other. The murmur rose in volume. But then...


There was another horn blast! And, with that, the angels all fell silent.


The fairest Lucifer looked up and saw Gabriel holding the horn in his hand. Then he saw him fly over to sit in the throne at God's left hand. God was now
 looking down to his beloved angels with a warm smile. And thus he spoke:


"Let us all give thanks for a merry time last night. The food was delicious, the wine was refreshing, the music delightful, and the dancing jolly..."


The angels giggled. It was, indeed, a jolly time.


"...But, alas, the party is over, and it's time we discuss more serious matters..."


The angels stopped their giggling, composed themselves and tried to look as serious as they possibly could.


"...As you all probably know, the light on earth is dimming. A dark age has risen. Man has fallen off course and he is in trouble..."


The fairest Lucifer listened intensely. He liked what he was hearing - not that the grim news made him happy - but because God was finally addressing the situation instead of telling everyone to be merry. It was about time to get down to business here.


"...Something must be done soon, or man will cross the point of no return, the point where all hope will be lost, the point where earth will forever be suffocated by a cloud of impenetrable darkness..."


The fairest Lucifer nodded to show his support.


"...But never fear. Someone will bring light back into the world. This someone will be glorious. And we will all worship him..."


Fairest Lucifer's eyes brightened with this wonderful news. He had been awaiting this announcement for a very long time now. Rumors had been circling the clouds for what-seemed-like ages. All his brothers hath anticipated such an announcement, that fairest Lucifer would be the one to sit at God's right hand.


"...A child is to be born to a virgin named Mary. This child will grow into a man and this man will save the world. His name will be Jesus..."


The light immediately dimmed in Lucifer's eyes. These words sounded strange.


"...Jesus will be my son through the miracle of immaculate conception. And when he fulfills his mission on earth, he will ascend into heaven and sit at my right hand. He will help me rule the heaven and the earth."


Fairest Lucifer could feel his heart starting to break itself in half. But he tried to compose himself and not reveal to his friends what he was feeling inside.


Fairest's friend Beelzebub raised his wing high into the air. God immediately spotted it and called on him to voice his thoughts.


"Beelzebub, speak your mind."


"Are you saying that a...MAAAN...is to be this new king you've spoken so much about?"


"Yes."


The assembly of angels burst into chatter, some snickers and even a sneer or two. Fairest Lucifer, however, stayed both silent and still. The burning in his eyes was almost unbearable, though. He didn't know how long he could hold back his tears.


The noise in the vast meeting area got louder and louder. It wasn't until Gabriel blasted his horn one more time that everybody stopped their chatter.


"But Jesus will be no ordinary man," God continued. "He will be the strongest man who ever lived. His strength will humble you. His strength will humble me."


Fairest Lucifer couldn't allow his fellow angels to see him in such a state. It was embarrassing. Everybody was almost certain that the fairest Lucifer would be 'the one' who was going to end up ruling at God's right hand. But now this news? How could God do this to him? All that talk about bright and shining star? Son of the morning? This was humiliation. 


He couldn't control the burning in his eyes any longer. It wasn't just shock and embarrassment anymore. Now he could feel something that he had never really felt before. Why, it was rage. An intense feeling of rage. 


He needed to be alone.


And, with that, the fairest Lucifer abruptly left the meeting and returned to his sleeping quarters where he could process the humiliating news.




SLEEPING QUARTERS


The fairest Lucifer sat on the edge of his bed with his elbows on his knees and face buried in his hands. He could hear the angels returning from the meeting now, which must have just been adjourned.


Moloch saw his dearest friend Lucifer on the bed and knew something was off.


"Dearest Lucifer, what is it that troubles you?"


"Nothing, my friend."


"You walked out of the meeting."


"Aye."


Moloch sat beside his dearest friend and rubbed his hand up and down his back. The consoling didn't seem to be helping, however.


"Oh, Lucifer. What is wrong?"


The fairest angel took his face out of his hands and looked at his dearest friend. Moloch couldn't help but be unsettled by the dimmed sparkle in his dearest's eyes. There was a negative energy emanating from them complete with a vibration that made his stomach growl.


"O Lucifer! Your eyes! What hath gotten into you?"


"No lone man can save the world. It's impossible."


Moloch was astonished to hear these words.


"So THAT'S what this is about. You're upset with God's news."


Lucifer didn't grace his dearest friend with a response.


"But God said he is to be a strong man," Moloch assured his dearest. "The strongest man who ever lived."


"No man can be that strong."


"But God said..."


"Millions of years!" the fairest angel shouted as he jumped onto his feet. "We've spent millions of years helping God run that creation of His. And what is it we get in return? A man? For a king?"


Moloch was officially upset at this point. All the yelling! This wasn't like his dearest friend at all. No, not one bit.


"It doth seem strange," he said to his friend, trying to calm him down. "But God worketh in strange ways. You cannot be his judge."


"But I will, Moloch. I will."


"Dearest Lucifer, please watch what you say. He might hear you."


"Then let Him."


And, with that, the fairest angel stormed off, leaving Moloch on his bed feeling so worried for his dearest friend.




A VIEW DOWN TO EARTH


The fairest angel Lucifer stood at the edge of the cloud and peered down to the troubled earth below. He couldn't help but think of all the good times he'd had with God. His mind was haunted with flashes of God holding him and hugging him and giving him kisses on the cheek. All this time God called him Son! Ha!


He had trained so hard, studied so hard, meditated so hard and did everything right. How was it that he wasn't good enough to sit at God's right hand? What an embarrassment this was. All this time God was just teasing him with his love.


The fairest Lucifer peeked over his shoulder to see if anybody was watching him from close or afar. Nobody was. So he turned back around, bent his knees, spread his wings...


And he dove down to the earth.


...


The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.

- Revelation 12:4 



...



THE NIGHT SKY


The fairest angel soared through the twinkling stars and amazing constellations. Lucifer's wingspan was breathtaking. It was a sight that words couldn't even begin to describe, more magnificent than a condor, hawk, and eagle...combined.


The mixture of blues and greens turned into more discernible landscapes as the angel flew closer and closer to the earth...




THE EARTH


With a poof of dust, the fairest Lucifer planted his feet upon a dry patch of land in the middle of a pasture. He fluttered his wings and then put them to rest.


Taking a look at his surroundings, he could see there was nothing but wide-open pasture for as far as the eye could see. Maybe there was a doum palm or sycamore - perhaps even a Cedar tree or two - but, other than that, there was only pasture.


He proceeded on foot and soon came upon a sheep. One sheep turned into two sheep and then ten and then perhaps hundreds. The fairest angel wove his way through the herd of sheep and soon happened upon a lonely shepherd who was about a hundred yards away. The shepherd was talking to himself, trying to pass his lonely time, and he did not see the fairest angel Lucifer...not yet, anyway.


Fairest Lucifer moved closer to the shepherd...and closer. Closer...


When, suddenly, an entity flew down from the heavens, right between fairest Lucifer and the shepherd. It had wings. Why...it was an angel! A familiar angel...


Gabriel.


Identifying his fellow angel, Lucifer retreated and found a large stone to hide behind. He was far enough away to remain undetected, but close enough to listen.


The fair Gabriel fluttered his wings behind the shepherd. The wings were so loud the shepherd thought an owl to be nearby. But the fluttering was followed by a voice:


"Rejoice, shepherd!"


The lonely shepherd yelped in fear, turned right around and gasped at the entity before him.


"Be not afraid," the fair Gabriel said with his warm voice.


The astonished shepherd could hardly calm his rapping heart, let alone speak his mind:


"Wh-who...who are you?"


"I am an angel sent by the Lord. And I come to deliver good news."


"Angel, I feel blessed by your presence. Tell me: what is this good news you speak of?"


"Rejoice, Shepherd, for Christ the Lord is to be born in Bethlehem. And he will save the world from its sin."


Such news filled the shepherd's heart with great excitement.


"This news brings me joy, angel!"


"You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. This will be a sign that I speak the truth."


The shepherd was speechless.


"Rejoice and be glad!" the fair Gabriel exclaimed.


And those were the fair angel's last words. Gabriel spread his wings and returned to the heavens where Lucifer knew he would resume sitting at God's left hand.


As for the shepherd, he could not contain his joy. "Glory be to God in the highest!" he shouted into the heavens.


The fairest Lucifer couldn't help but cringe at the sound of such words leaving the shepherd's mouth.


"I must see this glorious thing that the Lord hath made known to me," the shepherd spoke aloud to himself.


And, with those latter words spake, the shepherd dropped his staff and ran for Bethlehem.


With Gabriel gone, the fairest Lucifer slunk out from behind the rock. He heard everything that was spoken and stealthily followed the shepherd.




BETHLEHEM


The beautiful baby Jesus lay in the manger swaddled in clothes just as the fair Gabriel told the shepherd. Joseph and the Virgin Mary sat on each side of baby Jesus and admired him as he slept. There was, indeed, a glowing aura around this baby, something divine and something people had never seen before.


The shepherd ran up to the manger and was astonished to see everything Gabriel had described to him. He knew at this point that the angelic visitation had not been a hallucinated product of his intense loneliness. No, what happened to him was real. It had to have been.


"Glory be to God in the highest!" he exclaimed with overwhelming joy.


He ran into the manger, introduced himself to Mary and told her what had just happened to him while he was alone in the pastures. Mary believed every word of it because she, too, had been blessed with the visitation of a similar angel before she became miraculously impregnated.


As for the fairest Lucifer, he had found a nearby olive tree to hide behind that was close to the manger. He could get a good view of the newborn child and he couldn't help but admit that the baby was rather breathtaking...though a man nevertheless. 


God was misguided in thinking that this one man could change the course of the world. A human with free will just couldn't be relied upon. It was too risky and the world was too important. He and the other angels had invested so much time in helping this world thrive. He wasn't about to see it be consumed by darkness because they put all their faith into one fragile, mortal man.


Jesus was a threat, that was most apparent. And Lucifer had to eliminate this threat. This wasn't about envy or who was going to be king and sit at God's right hand. This was about saving the world from God's mistake in thinking a man named Jesus could do the job that Lucifer was better fit to carry out.


Strangulation would prove to be the wisest way to eliminate Jesus and the threat he posed the earth's future. Nobody would suspect that anything foul had occurred. Infants often died in their sleep. And perhaps once Jesus' mortality became apparent, God would come to the realization that he was gravely mistaken.


And so the fairest angel waited patiently until Mary, Joseph and the other admirers fell fast asleep and then he crept out from behind the olive tree. But he couldn't get too close, as the sound of flapping wings stopped him in his tracks. 'Twas not an owl or any nocturnal bird. Why, it was Gabriel again, the pest! That misguided angel who knoweth not what he does! 


The fairest Lucifer ducked back behind the olive tree whilst the fair Gabriel took post behind the sleeping baby Jesus thus putting the babe in a state of protected grace.


There would be no way for the fairest Lucifer to eliminate the Jesus threat without his identity being revealed. He would have to get somebody else to carry out his deeds. Somebody with a vested interest. 


It didn't take long for him to think of a very good candidate.


And, with that, the fairest Lucifer flapped his wings and flew back high into the sky. He soared over miles and miles of moonlit pasture. The bluish moonlight gradually changed to a warm orange. The sun had risen and the day had arrived.



JERUSALEM TEMPLE


The fairest Lucifer landed soundly in the middle of the temple at Jerusalem and couldn't believe what he was seeing. Everything he had heard whilst in the heavens was now right there in front of him. The sounds of money. The selling of sheep, cattle and doves. Money exchange. Fear of not having enough. Envy of those who have more...


Faith in God had seemingly been almost completely replaced by faith in money and materials. Such a low vibration the fairest angel had never ever felt. The energy was so low in frequency that fairest Lucifer's stomach churned and he ducked behind a vendor's stand to vomit bile so black that he was shocked such a substance could come out if his own body.


The fairest Lucifer took a blanket from one of the vendor stands and wrapped it around himself to function as a disguising shawl and hood. He was still about three feet taller than the tallest human but at least his identity as an angel of God wasn't as blatant. Not that people were looking twice anyway. Everybody was more concerned about what they were buying or peddling. 


The fairest Lucifer browsed the market and soon came upon two traders shouting numbers in each other's faces. Then he noticed a young thief reaching into one of the distracted trader's pockets to steal some coins. The thief thought he was rather sneaky, but when he turned around to run away, there he found fairest Lucifer blocking his escape.


The thief looked up and up...and up into the hooded angel's face. He could tell that there was something not-quite-human about this 'being' in front of him.


"Put it back," the fairest Lucifer said with a tone so intimidating it made the thief's knees buckle.


The thief, however, did nothing, mainly because he was paralyzed with fear. So the fairest angel opened up his shawl and revealed one of his wings.


"Put...it...back," the fairest angel repeated. "NOW."


The young thief let out a little whimper and did as he was told. He turned right back around and slipped the stolen coins back into the rightful owner's pocket. Then, he turned back to the tall, mysterious entity...


But the 'entity' was gone. For a moment, the young thief thought perhaps the entity was all in his imagination. Maybe it was just his conscience getting to him. But he didn't want to steal again to find out. He ran on home instead.


As for the fairest Lucifer, he felt pleased in reprimanding the boy thief, though he couldn't help but acknowledge his own potential hypocrisy since he had just 'stolen' a blanket shawl from a vendor's stand. There was a difference, though. His actions were being done in the name of God...or, well, in this case, not God, but in the name of what was best.


Even if the young thief needed the money...stealing wasn't the answer. Prayer and faith in God was what he needed most. Stealing was evidence of one lacking faith in God.




HEROD'S BALCONY


The beloved King Herod stood upon his balcony having just awoken from his restless slumber plagued with unpleasant dreams. He was still in his nightgown as he sucked in the morning air.


The noise of the market below put him ill at ease and he let out a despairing sigh. What kind of kingdom hath he created and how could he have allowed the temple to mutate into such an ugly abomination? He was currently in good favor with the people, there was no doubt about that. But with God? That was another question. He was getting old and his day of judgement would soon come. How would God judge his life? Perhaps not well, he thought. Not unless he started doing things differently. He needed to restore the temple to what it once was: a place of prayer. He needed to direct his people back to God.


Beloved Herod was about to turn and go inside to fetch his breakfast, but this was when he was startled by a boisterous voice.


"Rejoice!"


The startled Herod turned towards the voice and was astonished by what he saw before him. There was the fairest Lucifer standing on the balcony. The angel was no longer wrapped in a shawl. His wings and everything else angelic were fully exposed.


"Be not afraid," the fairest Lucifer said in the warmest of tones.


"Wh-what is this entity I see before me?!"


"Beloved Herod, I am an angel sent by the Lord."


The beloved Herod looked the angel over and was in admiration of the fairest Lucifer's beauty. Then he genuflected.


"Good angel, I am blessed by your presence."


Fairest Lucifer felt uncomfortable by the genuflection. Perhaps he even felt a little guilty. He needed to do what he had to do, though. This was necessary.


"Please rise, Herod."


"Yes, angel," Herod said, rising as he was told. "As you command."


"Dearest Herod: with you the Lord is pleased. You have done well with your kingdom. And you shall be held very highly come your day of judgement..."


Needless to say, hearing such news surprised the beloved Herod, especially coming at a time when he was questioning his own morality. If God was pleased, though...well, he was pleased, too.


"...you have created a healthy market and a prosperous city. God is pleased to see prosperity. With you he is pleased..."


"Angel, this news you deliver...it brings great joy to my heart."


As for Lucifer, it was difficult for the fairest angel to utter such flattering words, especially when he felt that the power-hungry Herod had done more bad than good. Nevertheless, he needed to praise the beloved Herod so as to put him in a state of easy malleability. Herod was to be his key instrument in the elimination of Jesus. 


"But, alas, wise Herod, there is more work to be done."


"Whatever you say shall be done."


"A baby has been born in Bethlehem...this baby will grow up into a man who claims to be the son of God."


"So the prophecy was true! This news makes me rejoice, angel!" 


Bursting with joy, Herod leaned over his balcony and shouted, "All hail the newborn king!"


Fairest Lucifer's eyes darkened with disapproval, maybe even a hint of agitation. He grabbed Herod by the arm and abrasively pulled him away from the balcony's ledge. 


"This news does NOT call for you to rejoice," Lucifer said with almost a growl, one that even shocked Lucifer himself.


Herod, of course, was taken aback. He thought he was supposed to express joy upon hearing such news. Now he was confused.


"Gracious angel, forgive me. For I thought this news called for me to be glad."


Lucifer composed himself and resurrected his initial warm tone.


"This man will claim to be the Son of God," fairest Lucifer continued. "But he will be mistaken. For it is the devil whom hath given him life."


Herod's eyes seemed to almost pop right out of his face.


"The devil?!"


"Yes, beloved Herod. Jesus is his name. And he is the enemy of all that is good. He will start a revolution, in the name of God, one that will challenge your rule. One that will destroy your kingdom, this...


He looked out over the balcony ledge and could hardly get the next word out of his mouth. But he needed to. It was his duty...


"...this lovely, prosperous kingdom that you have worked so hard to create. His followers won't foresee the consequences of his actions until it is too late. I come here now to foretell you of the consequences."


Herod's gut was in a state of unease. Something didn't sound right about all of this. 'Twas strange.


"Forgive me, angel, for my question, which is perhaps ill-contrived. But I thought the prophecy said - "


" - the prophecy was but a product of a false prophet. It was the devil whom hath contrived such a fate, not God."


Herod took a seat on a stool and drooped his head to the balcony's stone in sorrow.


"Angel, this news brings great worry to my heart."


"So it does to mine. But fear not, humble Herod. With you God is well-pleased and he graces you with the vocation of stopping this...false prophet. This...Jesus."


"I am at the Lord's service, good angel. Consider the vocation already fulfilled."


"Peace be with you, wise Herod."


"And also with you, good angel."


And, with that, the fairest Lucifer spread his amazing wings. The beloved Herod was amazed by the beauty of them. Of course this magnificent entity standing before him could be none other than an angel of God! How splendid a sight!


Fairest Lucifer then took flight, soaring high into the air and disappearing into the heavens. Herod was astounded by the grace emanating from the angel's flight. But, then, a voice:


"Your highness...


Startled all over again, the powerful Herod looked up from his stool to see his servant standing before him.


"...there are three Wisemen here to see you."


"Wisemen?"


"Yes, your highness. They are from the East."


Herod still looked pale and sweaty from his angelic visitation, thus prompting his loyal servant to inquire about his well-being.


"Is something troubling you, your highness?"


"No, servant. All is well. What brings these Wisemen to Jerusalem?"


"I am not certain. Do you wish for me to inquire?"


"No, servant. That is fine. I shall see them."





HEROD'S PALACE


The three Wisemen stood tiredly in the middle of the royal room that was lined with tapestries. The servants had provided them with food and drink, for which the Wisemen were very thankful. 


"Your royal highness..." the servant announced to the room, at which the Wisemen stopped their eating and stood respectfully at attention. At their feet were packages filled with incense, myrrh and golden treasures.


Now fully composed, the beloved Herod entered the room commanding authority.


"Greetings, King Herod," the Magi said. 


"Greetings, Wisemen. What is it that has brought you to me this fine morning?"


"We come to find the king of the Jews. We have seen his star in the East and come to worship him."


"Yes, I know the king you speak of. But, alas, he is not here in Jerusalem. It's in the city of Bethlehem that he graces the earth."


"I see," the Magi said. "Then it's to Bethlehem that we must proceed."


"Yes," Herod said encouragingly. "Go and search diligently for this glorious child, and when you have found him, please bring me word, that I too may come and worship him."


"We will do so with great honor, dear Herod. Farewell."


"Farewell, blessed Wisemen. May God protect you in your journey. I know that I will pray for you."


"Thank you, dear Herod."


And, with that, the Wisemen gathered their golden treasures, which they intended to give to the glorious Jesus and his mother Mary. Then, they continued with their journey, which would now extend to Bethlehem.


As for Herod, he asked to be alone and his servants honored his request. He took a seat in his throne and thought deeply about everything that had gone on in just one hour of the morning - less than that, even.


He wasn't completely alone, though. Somebody else was present, hiding sneakily behind the throne. Why, it was the fairest Lucifer whom hath successfully guided the beloved Herod to do his deeds. 


With King Herod he was very pleased, indeed. Very pleased.




THE TEMPLE 


Leaving Herod in truth this time (for his first attempt was trickery), the fairest Lucifer couldn't help but take one more look at the temple-turned-marketplace and almost conjure that hideous black bile all over again. He needed to tune all those low frequencies out. He was happy to fly back into the heavens, where the vibration rose with the elevation.

 


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