Chapter 5 : From the Beginning…
Scene 4 : Nero’s Deal with the Devil
As Gramstaf resumed his tale Kilabra swore she could hear a quiet melody float to them on the night breeze.
“Each Pantheon created humans within their own domain, and from there Man spread forth into the World. God was going to create his mortals in the Cradle of Civilization but before He did that, He performed a test and created a symbol. He gave free will to one of his Angels, Samiel.”
“Hold on priest, I studied hagiography in seminary before becoming a knight. This angel sounds important, you would think he would have been listed in the ancient texts.” Denzred raised a skeptical eyebrow as he spoke.
“Oh thats because God gave him a new name. The Jews know him as Lucifer. We Christians call him…Satan. Needless to say things did not go well for poor Samiel. He immediately threw off the yoke of God and thus became the Fallen One. He plummeted to Hell to reside there for Eternity. God had done this with the foreknowledge that this would happen. Satan was created as a warning …a symbol of unfettered free will without morals or ethics. At least that was the Plan. In a world without other gods that may have become the final resting place of Satan. But Satan is the Great Deceiver, and he schemed to find a way to escape and take his place beside God as His equal…or His better.”
Gramstaf stopped talking and looked up into the darkness surrounding the fire as the hint of a smile played across his lips.
“Grammy, what’s the hold up? This tale is just getting good.” Hindral tugged on Gramstaf’s sleeve to get his attention.
“Hmm? Oh yes, of course. As I was saying, Satan kept looking for a way out of Hell. This went on for millennia, there were many unsuccessful attempts. Some were thwarted by God, others by mortals. But that never stopped him from trying again. Immortals always take the long view when it comes to their plans.” Gramstaf glanced at Kilabra as he spoke. Kilabra stared back inscrutably.
“Ironically, Satan’s best chance was brought about by the success of Christianity and Judaism. The Jews replaced the Egyptian Pantheon with their own faith, and did the same to many of the minor Pantheons…Sumeria, Babylon, and Phoenicia for example…Marduk, Baal Hammon, Bel, Tanit and Astarte. Then with the birth of Jesus Christ, Christianity was brought to the heart of the Roman Empire. This destabilized the power of the Roman Pantheon and the Empire began to fall apart. Its borders shrinking back year after year. By the time of Emperor Nero the Empire occupied only the Italian Peninsula. The barbarians were ready to invade and sack Rome, erasing the Empire and the Gods along with them. That was Satan’s chance to strike. He petitioned Jupiter, he laid forth a bargain in which as long as Nero lived the Roman Empire would remain whole. Never to attain its former greatness but also never to shrink either. All he wished in return was that he be made the God of Evil and Debauchery. Jupiter looked down upon the ravening hordes marching down the Appian Way towards His greatest city and agreed… on pain of throwing Satan back to Hell himself. Satan descended from Olympus and stood before Nero in all his dark angelic glory and bequeathed upon him eternal life. Nero can never die…from age or disease or injury. In return Nero gave Satan the grandest temple in the center of Rome to be worshipped by all those that count themselves Roman citizens. ‘Til this very day Nero sits upon his Golden Throne and across the Grand Plaza Satan sits upon his Obsidian Throne.”
Gramstaf shuddered at the mental image that EGL had conjured for him at those words. As he spoke, the music had gotten loud enough for Hindral and Denzred to notice. Its soothing melody flowed over all of them like a cooling spring breeze and they felt no need to be concerned for its presence.
“Well, priest this had been a truly depressing tale but what does any of this have to do with we three, or you for that matter?”
“Denzred, do you honestly think that Satan would be satisfied with just Rome or his newfound godhood? No, the Prince of Darkness wants the World for himself. And he has found the means to do so…the Holy Grail.”