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Blood or Loyalty: The Wayward Sons of the Empyrean, #1

Blood or Loyalty: The Wayward Sons of the Empyrean, #1

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Blood or Loyalty: The Wayward Sons of the Empyrean, #1

Length:
460 pages
7 hours
Released:
Apr 5, 2021
ISBN:
9781622537501
Format:
Book

Description

Good or evil was never the choice.

  • WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, Summer 2021 – Best Religious Fiction
  • BRONZE MEDAL: Readers' Favorite Book Awards 2021 – Young Adult - Religious Theme

"...an insightful and exciting retelling of Lucifer's rebellion against God at the dawn of creation. ...an unforgettable read." ~ Readers' Favorite Book Reviews, K.C. Finn (5 STARS)

"The narrative was brilliant, and I do not say that lightly. The action was palpable, it was intense...." ~ Readers' Favorite Book Reviews, Rabia Tanveer (5 STARS)

Gabriel reminisces about his genesis while standing side-by-side with his big brother, Lucifer, and the other 13 archangels, as their Father creates the universe around them. They explore the seven distinct levels of Heaven and encounter the extraordinary, yet sometimes dangerous, beast that resides within them. They learn about their unique abilities, which they use to build structures or in friendly sport against each other. They honor their Father, and life is perfect... in the beginning.

When their Father mentions a four-letter name, Gabriel sees the hatred and jealousy build within Lucifer. Soon, angels face a difficult choice, one that will split Heaven in two.

"...one of the best books I have read about the primordial conflict between angelic beings. The novel is well-plotted, hugely imaginative, and packed with action." ~ Readers' Favorite Book Reviews, Romuald Dzemo (5 STARS)

EVOLVED PUBLISHING PRESENTS an epic religious fantasy, the first of the 6-book series, "The Wayward Sons of the Empyrean." Discover biblical characters as you have never seen them before, as they engage in a war for the ages. [DRM-Free]

BOOKS BY ADAM MILLER:

  • "Blood or Loyalty"
  • "The Genesis Conflict"
  • "The Exodus War"
  • "The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"
  • "The Omega Game"
  • "Final Judgment"

MORE GREAT RELIGIOUS SCI-FI & FANTASY FROM EVOLVED PUBLISHING:

  • The "A Nephilim Thriller" Series by Jeff Altabef
  • The "Hellbound" Series by William LJ Galaini
  • The "Eloah" Series by Lex Allen
  • The "Matthew Bishop" Series by Burt Clinchandhill
  • "The Tormenting Beauty of Empathy" by Richard Robbins

 

Released:
Apr 5, 2021
ISBN:
9781622537501
Format:
Book

About the author

I was born in quite possibly the greatest sports city in the country: Boston, Massachusetts. Thanks to my uncle, I became fascinated with superheroes and villains at a young age. I spent the majority of my youth reading comic books and watching superhero cartoons like “Batman: The Animated Series.” As I grew up, I never lost my love for superheroes, but did lose my love for snow. After graduating from college, I decided to leave the cold weather and move down to southwest Florida. Now I spend most of my free time traveling with my fiancé and complaining about the Florida heat. I never gave too much thought to writing, as I was not an avid book reader – more of a “wait until the movie comes out” type. However, I got the idea to create my own superhero universe, sat down, and started writing. After about a year, I’d been able to blend biblical, ancient, and modern history into a captivating superhero universe. Now I’m ready to share it with the rest of world.


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Blood or Loyalty - Adam Miller

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~~~

BLOOD OR LOYALTY

The Wayward Sons of the Empyrean – Book 1

Copyright © 2021 Adam Miller

~~~

ISBN (EPUB Version): 1622537505

ISBN-13 (EPUB Version): 978-1-62253-750-1

~~~

Editor: Kat McIntyre

Cover Artist: Briana Hertzog

Interior Designer: Lane Diamond

~~~

PUBLISHER’S NOTE:

At the end of this novel of approximately 110,919 words, you will find two Special Sneak Previews: 1) DEVIL’S DEN by Jeff Altabef, the first book in the critically-acclaimed, multiple award-winning A Nephilim Thriller series, and; 2) TRAMPLING IN THE LAND OF WOE by William LJ Galaini, the first book in the steampunk adventure through Purgatory and Hell in the Hellbound series. We think you’ll enjoy these books, too, and provide these previews as a FREE extra service, which you should in no way consider a part of the price you paid for this book. We hope you will both appreciate and enjoy the opportunity. Thank you.

~~~

eBook License Notes:

You may not use, reproduce or transmit in any manner, any part of this book without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews, or in accordance with federal Fair Use laws. All rights are reserved.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; it may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to your eBook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

~~~

Disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.

Books by Adam Miller

THE WAYWARD SONS OF THE EMPYREAN

Book 1: Blood or Loyalty

Book 2: The Genesis Conflict

Book 3: The Exodus War

Book 4: The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Book 5: The Omega Game

Book 6: Final Judgment

~~~

Adam Miller at Evolved Publishing

BONUS CONTENT

We’re pleased to offer you not one, but two Special Sneak Previews at the end of this book, each of which we think you’re going to love.

~~~

In the first preview, you’ll enjoy the First 3 Chapters of Jeff Altabef’s DEVIL’S DEN, the first book in the multiple award-winning A Nephilim Thriller series.

~~~

~~~

OR GRAB THE FULL EBOOK TODAY!

YOU’LL FIND LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER HERE:

A NEPHILIM THRILLER Series at Evolved Publishing

In the second preview, you’ll enjoy the First 3 Chapters of William LJ Galaini’s TRAMPLING IN THE LAND OF WOE, the first book in the steampunk adventure through Purgatory and Hell in the Hellbound series.

~~~

~~~

OR GRAB THE FULL EBOOK TODAY!

FIND LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER HERE:

HELLBOUND Series at Evolved Publishing

Table of Contents

Copyright

Books by Adam Miller

BONUS CONTENT

Table of Contents

Dedication

THE WAYWARD SONS OF THE EMPYREAN

Chapter 1 – In the Beginning: Verse 1.5

Chapter 2 – Welcome to Paradise?

Chapter 3 – The Prince of Angels

Chapter 4 – The Origin of Sin

Chapter 5 – Blood or Loyalty

Chapter 6 – Trouble in Paradise

Chapter 7 – Black Skies, Red Rain

Chapter 8 – The Legion of Four

Chapter 9 – Unlikely Allies

Chapter 10 – The Final Game

Chapter 11 – The Master Plan

Chapter 12 – The Fall of the Dragon

Acknowledgements

About the Author

What’s Next?

More from Evolved Publishing

Special Sneak Preview: DEVIL’S DEN by Jeff Altabef

Special Sneak Preview: TRAMPLING IN THE LAND OF WOE by William LJ Galaini

Dedication

To all who are curious to know how life ended before it began, this book is for you.

Chapter 1 – In the Beginning: Verse 1.5

Do you remember the old proverb about blood and water?

I always think of it when I recall the beginning. It is hard to believe such a simple phrase could explain our conflict. For my big brother, this proverb became the ultimate truth. It fueled his jealousy and hatred for those who sided against him. I was one of the many detested by him, though I was probably loathed the most. Like many others, I chose to put this old proverb to the test. For me, blood was important, but it was not the strongest tie that binds. In the end, I cannot tell you for certain which side was right. Whether this old proverb is true or not will always remain a mystery to me. However, I did learn one thing; even if blood is thicker than water, it can still pour like rain—a painful lesson my brothers and I were forced to learn.

I still remember standing in the red sand as the blood of my brothers poured down. The warm red rain was merely the beginning. Soon, mutilated and charred bodies toppled all around me. The stench of burned fleshed filled the air around me. I took a step back as my brother Aamon crashed directly in front of me. His body had been so badly burnt that I barely recognized him.

Extending his hand toward me, he whispered my name as if pleading for mercy. Gabriel.

I reached down and sliced his hand off with my sword. Once, he was my brother, but now he was my enemy. The time for mercy had long passed.

I quickly formed a halo and placed it around Aamon’s neck to bind him. I could not allow myself to be distracted. Neither Aamon nor the war in the sky above could deter my attention from what was happening in front of me. I stood before two titans preparing to battle one another. The outcome would decide our fate. Yet as important as this fight was, I knew not to interfere. I was merely a witness, insurance to make sure everyone else stayed out of their way. I waited patiently for one of them to strike, speak... do something other than glare at each other.

Finally, my big brother spoke. Is this what you desired? he asked calmly. Look at us! The blood of our brothers stains our robes, our hands, not His! Yet here you are, little brother, standing against me when we should be standing together against Him! Michael, why do you stay loyal to one who has forsaken us for another?

I do not know, Michael whispered just loudly enough for me to hear. I watched my brother slowly lift his hand and wipe away the blood that smeared his face. I do not want this, but I did not start this either. That was you, Lucifer. Is this what you wanted? Is your cause worthy of the blood that stains you?

I watched my big brother gather blood off his forehead and rub it between his fingers. It’s worth every single drop.

I was unsure what enraged Michael more, our big brother’s words or that damn smile on his face.

Michael erupted. This is why Father wants you thrown out, he shouted. You say Father has forsaken us, but you have forsaken us!

No, little brother, Lucifer replied as he wrung blood from his long black hair It is you who has forsaken me, and now you are nothing more than an obstacle in my way.

All the fighting above had ceased. Every Seraph and Cherub was now focused on the two of them. Chaos erupted in the skies above as all of the angels began chanting the names of their champion, each side trying to drown out the other. The sheer noise reminded me of the first time the two stood against each other at the Altar. It was just a game then. Now their fight decided our fate.

Michael reached inside his robe and grabbed his sword. The light from his blade caused me to shield my eyes.

I do not want to fight you, Lucifer, he shouted.

Lucifer snorted at Michael’s statement. I would not want to fight me either. The last time we met, you lost. Lucifer then plucked his two swords from underneath his red robe. What makes you think this is going to end any differently than before?

It is not a game this time, Michael answered. There will be no offer to surrender. Michael turned his head and glanced at us. And this time I am not alone.

Michael was right; he was not alone. I stood behind him, along with my two Empyrean brothers, Raphael and Sandolphan. Each of us prepared to do anything we could to end this bloody conflict. Yet we were not the only ones on the island providing support. Some distance behind Lucifer stood Ramiel, Rampel, and Douma, three of the wayward sons of the Empyrean. Each of us waited there to make sure the others did not meddle in their fight.

Well, little brother, Lucifer said with his infamous smile. We should get this over with. I hear there is an empty throne in the Kingdom calling my name.

You shall never see it! Michael shouted, racing toward our big brother.

The battle started just like the one at the Altar, with both taking turns delivering and parrying attacks. This time, however, they fought with much more intensity. At times their attacks were so quick that we could not even see them, but their weapons clashed with resounding clangs. The sounds of their battle were the only ones heard throughout the entire Pelagos Valley. Heaven in its entirety had slowed to watch the clash between these two titans.

Lucifer was the first to land a clean strike. He sliced Michael deeply across his left leg. Falling to one knee, Michael continued to block Lucifer’s attacks. All the wayward angels cheered Lucifer’s name when they saw Michael go down. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sandolphan grab his swords as if he prepared to enter the fight. I quickly stopped him.

Let me go! he shouted. If Michael is bound now then all is lost.

I know this. I directed Sandolphan’s attention to the other side of the island. But if we join in, so will they, and Michael would be no better than he is now. We are just going to have to wait this one out.

From the look in Sandolphan’s eyes, I was unsure if he would listen to me. Fortunately, Raphael agreed with my reasoning.

Have a little faith, Sandy, he said with a smile. Michael is going to win this one. Do not forget I am always the best at picking the winners.

And what if he does not? Sandolphan glanced at Raphael.

Then I hope it is not too late to join Lucifer’s side. Raphael chuckled, and Sandolphan and I both stared blankly at our brother. Raphael quickly reassured us with a grin. I was joking. However, if Michael does lose, we may want to rethink our choice. No matter what situation Raphael found himself in, he never took it seriously.

I turned my attention back toward the fight. Michael was still on the defensive, blocking and dodging Lucifer’s strikes. As I watched, I noticed something odd. My Empyrean brothers, Metatron and the Four, were nowhere to be seen. They had to have heard my horn. Where were they? Lucifer was also missing two of our Empyrean brothers from his side. Xaphan and Forcas were neither on the island nor in the sky. Although, Forcas could have been directly in front of me and I would not have known it. I wondered what my wayward brothers were doing, especially at a time like this.

Sparks showered from Lucifer’s hand as he released a lightning bolt that sent Michael tumbling through the air. Before he could regain his footing, Lucifer was on top of him, continuing the onslaught. I wanted to believe that Michael could win, but the way the fight was going cast serious doubts in my mind. Lucifer repeatedly delivered strikes against Michael who noticeably grew weary from blocking them.

Out of nowhere, my brother parried one of Lucifer’s attacks, driving his sword through Lucifer’s stomach. Based on Michael’s slight smirk, he had planned this the entire time. Michael easily dodged Lucifer’s next strike as he rose to his feet. Then, with the same fluid motion, he sliced off Lucifer’s right arm and wing. All my brothers in the skies above cheered wildly as the wayward angels quieted.

Michael stood tall and placed his free hand on Lucifer’s chest. I told you the outcome would be different.

Blood poured from Lucifer’s mouth, yet that arrogant smile never left his face. We both know this fight is far from over, little brother. He laughed

We shall see! A strange light emitted from Michael’s hand. In a flash, Lucifer was sent flying across the island. Lucifer’s damaged body nearly collided with Rampel, who quickly vanished to avoid it.

Lucifer moved faster than lightning. He disappeared from our sight in mere moments. Michael lifted his sword high in the air as we cheered louder. I could not help but wonder why he did not try to bind Lucifer when he had the advantage. Before Michael could speak, he dropped his sword and keeled over in pain.

What just happened? Raphael asked worriedly. Did Lucifer do that?

He could not have, Sandolphan replied. Something is not right.

A large puddle of blood pooled underneath Michael. Forcas had been careless, allowing some of Michael’s blood to flow down his robes, voiding his invisibility

"Forcas," Sandolphan shouted as loudly as he could.

I heard his howl as a bright light flashed beside me. Raphael had already begun racing towards Michael and Forcas before I could react. Seeing this, Douma, Ramiel, and Rampel charged too. I fired an arrow that forced the three to duck for cover, and the battle commenced once more. By the time Forcas realized Michael’s blood was giving his position away, it was too late. Raphael had already picked up his scent. Before Forcas could get high enough, Raphael leapt and tore a chunk out of Forcas’s wing, sending him tumbling back to the ground.

Sandolphan and I were outnumbered but held our own against our wayward brothers. My arrows kept them at a distance for a short time, but Rampel was too fast. None of my arrows could touch him. In no time, Rampel got close enough to knock my bow from my hands. With the threat of my arrows gone, Douma came out from cover, rushing to aid Forcas while Ramiel barreled at me. Ramiel’s talons moved fast and cut deep. Staggering back, I clutched the throbbing cut on my chest. I knew Ramiel was trying to get close to me, something I could not let happen at all costs.

The battle continued to rage above, and angels fell all around us. Too many of my brothers were falling, giving our wayward brothers the upper hand. Somehow Rampel had gotten the best of Sandolphan and electrocuted him with waves of lightning. Sandolphan let out agonizing screams, but we were incapable of helping him. Raphael still tangled with Forcas, and I had my hands full with Ramiel.

Help soon arrived in the form of a fully-recovered Michael who blindsided Rampel with a tremendous blow. Rampel tumbled in the sand but rolled back to his feet quickly. My wayward brother looked a little uneasy about retaliating once he figured out Michael had hit him, but Rampel never backed down from a fight. Michael easily avoided his attack and kicked him to the ground once more.

Rampel, stay down! Michael ordered. I do not want to hurt you.

Hurt me? Rampel repeated. There is nothing you can do to hurt me more than you already have, traitor!

Michael shook with anger. I did not betray you, brother! I am only doing what I must, what I was commanded to do.

Spoken like a true servant. Rampel spat as he stood. I am sure this Adam will be satisfied with you. He vanished and a moment later reappeared behind Michael. Before he could strike, Michael backhanded him. As Rampel stumbled back, he grabbed the glaive from underneath his robe and threw it. Michael caught the black weapon with his free hand and dropped it on the ground.

Enough, Rampel! Michael shouted. Regardless of how angry you are with me, the fact still remains that you cannot beat me!

Beat you? Rampel wiped the blood from his nose. Who said I had to beat you?

Rampel vanished as a sphere of fire soared toward Michael from behind. My brother dropped to the ground, barely avoiding it.

Did you believe it would be that easy? Lucifer’s tone was calm but loud enough for us to hear as he walked off the water and onto the island.

We were in serious trouble now. Michael quickly retrieved his sword and charged Lucifer. They clashed near the center of the small island, entering into a deadlock. Not too far away, I fired an arrow towards Ramiel that split into dozens as it soared towards him. Ramiel could not dodge them all. I quickly turned my attention to Lucifer and tried to line up a perfect shot.

I was so focused that I barely noticed Douma sneaking up on me. Douma struck me in the head with the blunt end of his colossal axe. My massive wayward brother could have placed a halo on me then. Instead, Douma lifted me up, holding me tightly. I was not sure what he was doing until Ramiel landed in front of me, laughing.

Gabriel! He laughed. You are not looking so good, brother. I knew exactly what he was trying to do.

Gabriel... Gabriel! Ramiel’s voice echoed throughout my head. Now which one of our brothers shall we hurt first? Raphael, Sandy, or should we use that bow of yours to take down all the traitors fighting above us? No! He laughed. We shall help our big brother bind Michael!

I tried resisting him, but I slowly felt him gaining control of my body. I was slipping into oblivion.

Ramiel said something I would never forget. Stop resisting me, brother. Father is not coming to save you.

Throughout the entire battle that was the only fixed thought in my head. At any moment, our Father would come and halt the fighting.

However, he never came, and I was scared. We were all scared. Even my big brother, who I once believed to be fearless, was scared. If only he had waited instead of acting so rashly. Maybe everything would have been different.

Everything went black as I slipped into oblivion. The darkness was heavy, but in it I saw a golden flash of light. Immediately, I thought Father was coming to save me. The nothingness , the flash of light—all of it reminded me of the very beginning.

***

Now that I think about it, all of this must be confusing. It may be better if I restart this story from the very beginning. Before the war, before we heard His name, even before the creation of the Heavens and Earth. Please let me begin again.

In the beginning, there was my father and nothing else. Now, I cannot tell you where my father came from or how long he was by himself, since time did not exist at this point. What I can tell you is that before my father created the Heavens and the Earth, He created us. We were known by many names, but you may know us best as Archangels. I remember hearing my name being called and seeing a bright, bright light, and then there I hovered in the middle of a void before my father. Father went by many names too: the Alpha and Omega, the Creator, the Almighty. We usually preferred to call him Father or Jehovah. I cannot explain in words what it felt like to be in His presence. One day, you will get a chance to experience that for yourself.

After calling my name, Father did not say anything else to me. As I looked around, I noticed we were not alone. Two others had been created before me. The being directly next to me was Michael, and on the other side of him was Lucifer. I understood why I was so familiar with Jehovah, since He was my creator, but I did not know how I knew the two beside me so well.

I studied and compared their features to that of my own. Lucifer’s pale complexion was similar to mine, and his long black hair cascaded down his back. Michael, slightly darker than us, stared at me with his pitch-black eyes. The sound of my wings spreading gained Lucifer’s attention too. The feathers appeared soft but were coarse and completely black, like Michael and Lucifer’s eyes.

Before I could speak to the two of them, Jehovah’s deep booming voice broke the silence. Raphael, Ramiel!

Then that nearly blinding light, the same one so familiar to my existence, flashed in two separate spots beside me. When the lights dissipated, two more of my brothers stood there instead. The two newly-created angels looked around just as I had when I first appeared. These two new archangels were around our height but leaner than we were. Raphael had a dark complexion and short brownish hair while Ramiel had a paler complexion with brown hair that tumbled to his shoulders. Raphael, the closest one, caught me staring at him and gave me a friendly nod, yet none of us said anything to each other. Raphael and Ramiel were not there long before Father broke the silence again.

Douma, Sandolphan!

Just as it had happened before, two bright lights flashed next to Ramiel, causing all of us to shield our faces. These two flashing lights were massive compared to the ones that spawned Raphael and Ramiel. When the lights dissipated, I understood why. Sandolphan and Douma were giants. Neither of them had hair, and they were both more muscular than the rest of us.

Our father did not stop with the pair. He repeated this process two more times, creating Rampel, Forcas, Metatron, and Xaphan. Each one of them had unique features. It was Rampel who really caught my attention. His long, twisted hair was quite different than the rest of ours. There was something else about Rampel that intrigued me, but I did not know what it was.

Next to him was Forcas. Pure white hair partially shrouded his face. Both of them shared a muscular build similar to mine. Metatron and Xaphan posessed a leaner physique, and they both had slightly gray hair. Xaphan was lighter in complexion than Metatron and had longer hair too. Father paused after creating Metatron and Xaphan. The eleven of us hovered there for a moment before Jehovah broke the silence once again.

This time, Father spoke to us. My children, you shall do my bidding and watch over all within my kingdom.

We all knelt down. Well, all of us except for Raphael who considered this the perfect opportunity to speak up.

Kingdom... what kingdom? All I see is you, us, and a whole lot of nothingness. There was only darkness as far as I could see. Most of us chuckled at Raphael’s comment, but Lucifer thought our brother was speaking out of line.

Raphael, you have forgotten your place, Lucifer said calmly.

Raphael laughed at Lucifer’s comment, which seemed to irritate Lucifer. I mean no disrespect. I am just trying to figure out what kingdom Father is referring to. Maybe it is just me, but I do not see anything.

I do not see anything either. Ramiel stood up.

I assumed Jehovah would have agreed with Lucifer, however, Father found Raphael as amusing as the rest of us. The kingdom I speak of will be before you soon, my son.

Before me soon? Raphael replied as if he did not understand.

Metatron spoke for the first time. I believe Father is talking about something that has not occurred yet. From the beginning I could tell that Metatron was more intelligent than the rest of us. I would soon learn my brother Xaphan was just as brilliant.

Oh... Raphael pondered the idea. So you can see things that have not happened yet?

I am all that has happened and all that has not yet happened, Jehovah answered.

After hearing that Father could see the future, I became curious. In fact, we all did. We had so many questions for Father, but he would not, or could not, answer them.

"I am unable to tell you that, my sons," Jehovah replied to our countless questions.

Why? we all asked simultaneously.

Jehovah let out a calm laugh. "I have given each of you the ability to make your own choices. The choices you make will ultimately send you down different paths, and even though I see the results of each choice, they are still yours to make."

Even though Father could see the future, he would not predict it. Most of us were satisfied with Jehovah’s answer. Ramiel, on the other hand, was not. Father, would it not be easier if you just tell us what choices to make?

"I could, Jehovah vanished into thin air. A moment later, he appeared in front of Ramiel. But if I did, life would not be as fun, and that is our main objective."

Ramiel chuckled as Jehovah rubbed the top his head. I see now that Father knew us better than we knew ourselves. Having fun was the only thing Ramiel ever wanted to do. Raphael too, which was probably why they grew close.

I figured the conversation about Father’s future-telling abilities was over, but one of my brothers was still not satisfied.

Father, Lucifer called out to get Jehovah’s attention. I would be happier if you just told me what lies ahead.

We all stared at Lucifer who had a serious expression on his face.

Is it really that important? Michael asked with a grin. You do not want to be surprised like the rest of us, big brother? Since Michael and Lucifer were created before me, I was unsure which one came first, but I knew now. Big brother, the title along with many others, would stick with Lucifer.

Lucifer turned to Michael, and an arrogant smile replaced the serious expression, one we would all grow accustomed to. I do not like surprises, little brother.

Little brother—what Lucifer always referred to us as. Although condescending at times, I usually enjoyed when Lucifer called me his little brother.

I followed Father with my eyes as he glided over to my big brother. He stared at Lucifer for a moment without saying anything. It was awkward.

Instead of telling Lucifer what he wanted to know, Jehovah called out four more names. Uriel, Nathaniel, Sariel, Abdiel!

Just like before, that same bright light flashed in four separate spots behind Father, blinding us. When I regained focus, four more angels stood in front of us. These four seemed quite different from the rest of us, with more than physical attributes making them special.

Two of these newly created angels were more unique than any of us. Abdiel and Sariel looked exactly alike, identical twins as you would say. Nathaniel was just as big as Sandolphan and Douma, but his black hair hung down to his shoulders. Uriel was built just like Michael with short red hair. Something about these four angels vexed me. They all had an emotionless look about them. I was not the only one with this odd feeling.

"Ramiel, Raphael whispered. What do you think about them?"

I do not know. Something about them does not seem friendly at all.

Raphael glanced quickly at the four angels. They are probably no fun to be around, but what is wrong with those two?

I assumed the two Raphael was referring to were Abdiel and Sariel, since they were the most unique.

Raphael, if you have something you wish to know about us... ask us, not him, Uriel stated.

Us... Raphael said in a confused tone. I was not saying anything about you.

No? Uriel asked with an attitude. You were just talking about Abdiel and Sariel, so I repeat, what do you want to know about us?

Ooh, he is a touchy one. Ramiel chuckled.

I could tell that Raphael disliked the way Uriel was speaking to him. I would not have liked it either, but before an argument could start, Lucifer stepped in. Calm yourself, Uriel. Raphael was just thinking about Abdiel’s and Sariel’s appearance. Gabriel was wondering the same thing too.

My brothers stared at me. I looked to my big brother, curious how he knew what I was thinking. Lucifer just smiled at me and pointed to his head. Mind reading was probably one of his most impressive talents.

Does our appearance bother you, Raphael? Abdiel broke the awkward silence.

No, Raphael replied. I was just curious why the two of you look exactly alike.

Abdiel glanced quickly at Sariel who remained ominously quiet and then back to Raphael. Why do you look the way you do?

Raphael thought about it for a short time. I do not know. This is the way Father created me.

Exactly, Abdiel snapped.

Uriel, Nathaniel, Abdiel, and Sariel were definitely a different breed from the rest of us. One thing I knew for sure was that they were not fond of Raphael, nor was Raphael fond of them.

Father, Raphael called to him with a smile. Are we not enough to watch over your magnificent kingdom of nothingness? Was it really necessary to create them?

Yes, Jehovah answered without hesitation.

Uriel glared at Raphael. Do you have a problem with us?

No. Raphael shook his head. I just do not like you!

I found Raphael to be funny while Uriel, on the other hand, did not. My brother glided towards Raphael, but before he could do anything, Lucifer moved between them.

I told you to calm down. I will not tell you again, Lucifer ordered sternly.

Heeding Lucifer’s words, Uriel returned to Nathaniel’s side. Raphael gave Uriel these weird looks, sticking out his tongue and whatnot. Raphael stopped when he noticed Lucifer eyeing him. That was the kind of presence our big brother had. We all respected him, but there was something else about Lucifer that caused us to fear him too.

At the time, I found it odd our big brother and not Father ended the bickering. Jehovah did not seem bothered by it. In fact, Father was so busy doing something with his hands that I do not even know if he noticed the squabble.

Father, what are you doing? Xaphan asked.

Planning, Father answered as he vanished without a trace. None of us knew where Father had gone, but a moment later we heard his voice. It was so loud that it echoed throughout the endless void. I will never forget what he said.

Let there be light!

Again, that familiar bright light shone in the far distance. The light grew brighter and brighter, and then boom! It happened so fast that I was unsure what hit me first—the blinding light or the deafening noise. I did not know whether to hold my eyes or my ears. Regardless, in the blink of an eye, I became deaf and blind. This was merely the beginning.

As I held my eyes, a force pushed against me, subtle at first and then intense. Instinctively, I spread my wings to brace myself. While I struggled to stay in place, my sight slowly returned. My brothers were using their wings to support themselves too. Well, not all of my brothers. Raphael had his arms wrapped tightly around Sandolphan’s waist, and Ramiel grasped onto Raphael’s legs. At the time it was not funny, but now that I reminisce, it was amusing to watch those two hold on for dear life.

Raphael’s grip loosened and then came apart. The two were sent twirling into the unknown. Forcas was the next one to succumb to this force. Rampel screamed his name as Forcas disappeared from sight. One by one, my brothers were sent tumbling through the void until there were only four of us left: Lucifer, Michael, Rampel, and myself. I was unsure how long I could keep withstanding this energy. It felt like my body was being pulled toward something I could not see. I grew weary. By the look on Rampel’s face, I knew he was no better off than I. Lucifer and Michael, on the other hand, seemed to be hovering complacently.

Rampel was the next to go. I trembled in fear for the first time as I watched my brother get blown away. I knew my time was coming shortly. My weary wings could no longer support me. Before I shared my brothers’ fate, Lucifer reached out and grabbed my hand. I held on as tightly as I could.

Do not worry, little brother, Lucifer said with that smile of his. You will be fine. Then he released me. Lucifer always swore that I slipped from his grasp, but I know he let me go.

I tumbled aimlessly through the void, although it was not as it was before. There was light, and even though I could not see him, I felt my father’s presence all around me. The last thing I remembered was hitting something, or something catching me. Then I went unconscious. I am still unsure how long I was out for, but I remember hearing my big brother calling my name.

Gabriel? Gabriel, where are you? Lucifer shouted. I slowly opened my eyes as my big brother descended upon me. I have been looking everywhere for you. Lucifer knelt beside me.

There was something different about Lucifer, but I could not place it. I was still disoriented. My ears were no longer ringing, but I still had trouble focusing because of the brilliant light from the sun. The significance of there even being sunlight had not yet hit me.

What happened? I rubbed my eyes.

Well, I could tell you, or... Lucifer extended his right hand. You could see for yourself. Unless you want to lie around here forever, little brother.

I did not want any of this. If I remember correctly it was not my choice to be lying down here in the first place. I smirked.

Lucifer laughed, helping me to my feet. I stood up and realized that I was no longer standing in a void. There was so much to see now. The yellow light from the sun above, the green grass beneath me, and the few colorful trees in the distance now decorated the darkness I was once in. I must have been unconscious longer than I could have imagined. There was so much to see now.

So, this is the kingdom Father spoke of? I studied my surroundings.

Part of it. Father calls this place Heaven. This is the home he created for us.

Us. The word sparked memories of my brothers being blown away before me. I had been so taken aback by my surroundings that I had forgotten about them. I looked around, but none of my brothers were in sight. Where are the others?

Lucifer pointed toward the east. Most are over there. I will bring you to them, but first you need to cover up, little brother.

That is when I realized what was so different about him. Lucifer was no longer naked. A white robe shrouded his body, and white boots covered his feet.

This is from Father. Lucifer handed me a robe and boots like his.

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