The Angels Saga
The Keeps of Zaphora
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
Copyright 6181 SC
PART ONE – GELPHON KEEP
Lost in Zhendar
Life in Simple City
Gelphon Keep 2
Skriamios and Laquenda
Steve and Taylor
Rippin' in Ripon
The Overseer of the Realm of Eternity
Rippin' in Ripon 2
Gelphon Keep 3
Steve and Taylor 2
4 O'Clock 17
PART TWO – DANIELPHON KEEP
The Mountain II
Restanar and Helladera
Radrukiel and Urshalel
PART THREE – HELYPHON KEEP
PART FOUR – DALNAPHON KEEP
In Dalnaphon's Shadow
4 O'Clock 18
Dalnaphon Keep 2
PART FIVE – BETHLEPHON KEEP
PART SIX – NAZRAPHON KEEP
The Eternal Noahide Seraphim 2
Yomiel and Melaniel
PART SEVEN – DUNAPHON KEEP
PART EIGHT – SENERSPHON KEEP
Gemstone's New Home II
Jessica and Daniel V
PART NINE – SELPHON KEEP
Love V: Family Ties
The Eternal Noahide Seraphim 3
Vampires, Vampires and More Fucking Vampires 2
'Hey, baby,' said the Cherubim Sarbratellion, 95th male Cherubim of the Realm of Eternity.
Meludiel turned and looked at the angel. 'Excuse me,' she replied. 'Who are you calling baby?'
'Hey, I'm sweet on you Mel. Your my girl.'
She came over and stood next to the angel and looked at him. 'Sarbratellion, isn't it. I recognize you. From aeons ago.'
'Guilty as charged,' replied Sarbratellion. 'But you can call me Sarbie. I'm keep warden of Gelphon Keep.'
'Keep warden. What, an idiot retired and they chose you, did they?' queried Meludiel.
'I've been here forever,' replied Sarbratellion.
'Exactly,' replied Meludiel.
'You want a drink?' he asked her.
'Fine. Buy me a drink, then,' replied Meludiel.
'Okely Dokely. I'm manager of Gelphon, but I can pour you a drink from our tavern if you like. I'm a bartender at difficult times. I've served Michael and Ambriel when they stop over here from time to time,' he said, smiling warmly. She looked at him then.
'What, are you polite then?' she asked him.
'Quite polite. Hey, I'm not a ladies man, babe. I do sweet talk, but I am an angel. Don't expect any funny business. At my age I've learned my lesson. Too many dirty nights with Marckonyel has taught me my lesson Meludiel.'
'Fine,' replied Meludiel. Sarbie bought her a drink, lemon and lime bitters, and had the same himself.
'Low alcohol,' she said, indicating the drink.
'Naturally. I mean, if you want the heavy stuff, let me know. Otherwise I just figured.'
'You just figured what?' asked Meludiel.
'That heavy drinkin' wasn't your scene. Not every frikkin angel is still on the go, you know. I've been to that many funerals over the years, waiting for some of them to come back from Sheol, but no. You know. Like some of them are dead, now. And that's all she wrote. I figure, you know, its the sin thing in the end. Unless you get a handle on your shit and get it under control and ultimatel commit to live a decent life, well...' he trailed.
'Well what?' she asked.
'God lets you go. It didn't work out. You know. Just the way the cookie crumbles. Some take it for granted they can have an attitude. You can't, in the end. You got to repent, and mean it eventually. I've worked that much out, and I keep faith with God and the Cherubim Torah. I'm not into being a sinner in the end.'
'Apparently not,' replied Meludiel. 'Good drink, by the way.'
'We have the best in Gelphon. Well established connections in the beverages and alcohol industry. We compete well with Az's place. Not as lively an atmosphere, but we have a very dedicated roster of regulars. And we do the sporting competitions and things very faithfully. One of the mottos of Gelphon Keep is fidelity to God and Community.'
'Yes. I know,' replied Meludiel. 'I have studied up on that.' She looked at the Cherubim. He seemed – decent.
'Well, I must drop around again,' she said.
'Bring in Michael and Ambriel, would you. And maybe Daniel. We'd like them to know we've served forever, and have a good reputation in our keep. We care.'
'Will do that Sarbratellion,' she said, and smiled at him. He smiled back warmly. Initial impressions was a punk, but no. He was a gentleman.
* * * * *
'The draw,' said Sarbratellion anxiously. 'Awesome. Who's first in the cricket?'
'Helyphon Hellraiders,' replied his twin Jollyanna.
'Fuck. They're tough. Wanted them after a bit so we could warm up. They must want a fight this year, Zaphon. Putting us through the grind. I'll get that Cindradel. She's a bitch.'
'Wash your mouth,' replied Jollyanna. 'She is completely impartial each year in the draw. Over the long haul you've always had your dream seasons. Don't complain. It's beneath you.'
But it was to no avail as Sarbie was going through the seasons draws for the various competitions, expletives to boot. Later on, back in the Overseer's office for Gelphon keep he was throwing a baseball into a baseball glove, and looked at his twin as she came in.
'Hey, babe,' he said. 'Want to get me a drink?'
Jollyanna sighed and opened the fridge next to the door, and got him a glass of coca cola.
'Coke. Your strict this week,' he said. 'It's after work.'
'You want to win this season, like you said? Stay off the grog.'
'Fine,' he replied. 'Don't know this season. I think it will actually be softball for me this time.'
'Notify Jones. He needs names well before round 1. He'll be annoyed if you just show up.'
'Yeh,' replied Sarbie. 'I'll do that now.' He spent a few minutes on his PC, emailing Ron Jones, the Welsh Warrior, as they called him, and indicated it would be softball for this season's overseer. He chose, every season, which of the 7 main sports he competed in for the keep. Cricket, Rugby League, Soccer, Softball, Baseball, Basketball or the less popular Grid Iron, or American Football as it was called, which he didn't bother with much. Those sports were the main focus in the minor leagues for Gelphon Keep, but the Keeps of Zaphora officially competed in grass roots level anyway. Districts handled the more stricter competitions. He occasionally played in the various district levels, and had represented Zaphora itself on occasion. They were old heads at the sports, and it wasn't that surprising when Daniel or somebody led a succesful Zaphora side, despite the competition of quality from the other inner discs, the main competition for the inner realm.
'We'll kick arse this year,' he said to his twin.
'Keep on dreamin buster,' she replied.
* * * * *
Sarbratellion picked up the statue of Buddha and rubbed its belly. 'Wish me luck this season, Goatama,' he said to it. Then he picked up a copy of his favourite spiritual text 'Wisdom of the Buddha in an Enlightened Era' and started reading. It spoke to him still. Sarbratellion was a Monotheist. Nearly everyone in the heavenlies was a monotheis, although some atheists disputed that God existed and that this was the next level of evolutionary awareness, provided by the spiritual matter in a human being. It was all explainable in naturalistic terms, apparently. But like the Flat Earth society, they were considered largely a bit of a joke. Sarbratellion, though, enjoyed Buddhism's teachings on many of their issues, primarily the spiritual virtues which the religion taught, and he found his peace in this faith. There was nothing in his own approach to a western styled buddhism which conflicted with his CherubimTorah devotion, which was always the fundamental grounding of Truth in Sarbratellion's life. Buddhism, over its long sojourn, had adapted its sacredy and legally owned knowledge to formats palatable with Torah truth, as Christianity had also been doing more so of in recent times. Sarbratellion had met Buddha a few times, and had prayed with him, the Buddha wishing him well in life and glad he kept faith in the core teachings. He went to a meeting with other buddhists occasionally, but mostly it was a quiet life in Gelphon Keep, living with his twin, and getting on with his work. The spiritual was important, but in living the spiritual mundane matters occupied its time. The spiritual guided the approach to the mundane, and the choices made, and that is where the balance was kept. And so on went his life, and he was a happy enough angel, doing his work for God, in Gelphon Keep, in Zaphora, in the heart of Eternity.
* * * * *
Sarbratellion was doing the books. He kept the accounts for Gelphon Keep, while his twin, Jollyanna, checked his work. They both had degrees in accounting, and he did the main labour, and she checked his results.
'We're accounted for,' he said, after finished the work that evening.
She sat down with the books, and started reviewing. By midnight she had finished, and looked at him. 'Perfect. Again. You do do your job competently,' she said. 'We're making a good living.'
'An efficiently run Keep means an efficient life, and when everything is accounted for we have a properly accounted life,' he replied.
'Good business ethics,' she agreed.
'Well. Of course. Got to do that,' he said. 'Not every ship is run as tightly. Further out you hear all sorts of tales of shoddy accountants.'
'But that is where our example is important,' she said. 'The inner disc needs to set the example for the Realm of Eternity. When we do our job properly, they have someone to learn from. Things take a while to get up to the standards of excellence. These days there is not always the motivation in new angels to do much with their lives. Everything has been done, and they are just another link in an enormous change. Not much passion to make their mark on the world.'
'I suppose that is true,' replied Sarbratellion. 'I guess that is why some angels take their ministry work so seriously. Like Daniel and Ambriel. Always trying to win souls and encourage them.'
'We're not excused from that either,' said Jollyanna.
'No. We're not,' agreed Sarbratellion. He poured himself a drink of wine, and sat with her, the late hour being a nice time to relax. He got up, put on a classical CD, and they sat there, enjoying each other's company. He didn't notice when she fell asleep, put they were on the couch, her head on his shoulder. This was life. Life in Gelphon keep. With a loyal twin, and ongoing eternal duties to get to. It was a good life. And he had a lot to be grateful for. Demanding work at times, especially the tavern, but it gave him something to do. And life, in the end, without something useful to do, was meaningless. Or at least not very enjoyable. Work was like that. It gave substance to life. Having responsibility and doing your best to live up to that responsibility. It was what it was all about. He nudged her after a while, and she laid down on the couch, falling asleep again. So he left her there, retried to his bedroom, and slept soundly, the end of another day's busy work.
Lost in Zhendar
Zhendar was not a city. It was an experience. One of the three Megalopolis' of the 3rd disc of eternity, Mitraphora or Mitraphana, depending on who you talked to, alongside the Europan Biblical Toracrag, of Celtic Biblical proprtions and Simple City of Nubian Delight, Zhendar was Asian Triumph. It abounded with offspring of famed Cherubim down the generations, as well as Ketravim and Saruvim and others too, also humans finding occasional home there, quite a challenge for the inner discs. Zhendar had dialects. Not a dialect, but dialects. This showed its size – beyond trillions, literally quadrillions of souls inhabited this city, many in the hugely built up and often self support towerscapes, which had industries of their own, including food production, within their own maze of attractions. The smells all throughout Zhendar were the smells of the Orient, and in the city you could find every trader under the sun trading everything under the sun – literally. It was in Zhendar that Uriel the Seraphim, was, to put it bluntly, lost.
'Now where the hell are we?' asked Jackie Chan.
Lee Chiu, his twin the Seraphim Karel, looked at him. 'How the hell am I supposed to know? We took a back street, and now we are in bazaar central by the looks of it. Look, find an internet terminal or an information centre. Or ask someone?'
Jackie put his finger up suddenly, and clicked on his watch.
'We are,' he said bravel. 'Here,' he said, pointing to the map in Zhendar city. He scrolled it out.
'That's not frikking going to hellp us. It's a mess of streets and ins and outs,' said Lee. 'Use your noggin.'
Jackie looked at her. 'Right. Ok.' He looked about. 'Stand with me there,' he said. Karel followed him to a clear section.
'Everybody!' he yelled. ' I'm Jackie Chan. The Seraphim Uriel. Can someone take me to an information centre?'
People looked at him, but no response. Then a kid of about 12 came up to them and offered to take them to an information centre – for money.
'Is this enough?' asked Jackie, producing a 20 credits note. The kid nodded, and said 'Follow me.'
As they wound their way through the back city of Zhendar Karel took in the sights and the smells. It was a wondrous city, but so big, and so easy to get lost in. It seemed, only yesterday, there they were, in the Realm, innocent Seraphim angels of God. But blink and now? Well, not really blink. In fact aeons had passed. But she liked the sentiment of the idea.
Soon enough they found their information centre, and found out they had just taken a wrong turn and were hardly any distance from their hotel at all. They walked back, took the right street, and soon found were they had went wrong.
'Here we go again,' said Jackie. Karel shook her head, but they continued on with their day's adventure.
'Look at the size of that,' said Karel, pointing up to one of the huge towering scrapers of Zhendar.
'There are probably a million souls or more in that one,' said Uriel. 'Just mind boggling how big some of the places get here.'
'It's common enough to find the big towers in the Realm of Eternity,' said Karel. 'But always overwheliming when confronted by one. Amazing what we can do with a little initiative.'
They continued wandering on then Uriel turned to his twin. 'Uh, where are we?'
'Here we go again,' she said. She looked up at a street sign. 'Zang street. Oh, that's a long one. It connects to our hotel further down an avenue.'
'Yep, that it does. Well, let's just wander along down Zang for a while, and then we'll walk home.'
'Righty o,' she replied.
After a while they came to a spa centre. 'I could use a relaxing dip,' said Karel.
'Fine,' agreed Uriel. They went inside, paid, and were taken to a private spa which they had afforded, and relaxed down into the warm bubbly water.
'This is the life,' said Karel.
Uriel looked at his twin. 'You look so attractive,' he said.
'Don't get any ideas,' she replied. But he did. He came next to her, and started kissing her next.
'Uriel, don't. Someone could walk in. But he persisted for a while, before leaving off.'
'Must be the place. But that is a nice bikini you have on.'
'I had second thoughts about it. A bit revealing,' she said.
'You have a nice figure,' he replied.
'Humph. Thanks,' she said.
They sat there, in the spa, enjoying the water, relaxing. It had been a good holiday, Uriel felt, but soon enough they would be going to Zaphora. He had a plan at the moment. Something new. A little sporting adventure, and making a name for himself again. He had his work, and his conferences which he went to and signed autographs and things, and his disc of overseersmanship. But he wanted a bit of a change. Not too much of a change, for Uriel was a steady angel with a steady attitude in life, to let things come in their own time, and to do the work he was given, to do it properly, and get on with life. But every now and again a little spontaneity shaked things up a bit, and it was time for a little spontaneity.
'Can I kiss you again,' he asked her.
She smiled, and he came and kissed her neck, managing to get one hand on her breast.
'You devil,' she said, and felt at his crotch. It was a memorable experience.
Finally they finished up, and he didn't get too lucky, and then dried up, thanked the establishment, and continued on with their sojourn.
'Let's get a meal, and go back to the hotel. And can we get a taxi,' she said.
'Fine,' he replied.
They found a restauarant, and had Mongolian Lamb and rice, and soon enough were in a taxi, heading back to the hotel.
'Do I get lucky?' he asked her.
'Kiss me, and you'll find out,' she replied. He kissed her. He found out.
Life in Simple City
Sarbratellion was on holiday. In the third disc of the Realm of Eternity, in Simple City. There was a buddhist convention, in the old city of Simple City, in the third quarter. He was relaxting this day, by the pool of his hotel, on his own, his twin not with him, thinking over life. Simple City was Nubian delight. Dark skinned men and women were everywhere, living uncomplicated lives in the spirit of Simple City. It didn't take a genius to get along here – the underlying philosophy of the village. It was for simple men with simple plans of work and family, earning a credit the old fashioned way, not given over to the grand glories very much. Manufacturing companies, as a result, abounded. Factories were everywhere, practically half the city full of warehouses for this and that basic foodstuff or product of various kind. Tissues were produced in a large amount in Simple City and other paper products, and it fed a large chunk of the inner disc's world of A4 printing and photocopier paper. You could see them all over the outskirsts of the region, pine plantations especially, grown ultra-quick, chopped down, and processed. Not to say there wasn't recycling – that was practcially half of the product. Sarbratellion was amused by the place, and the street whores especially. They were rather honest in Simple City – they didn't tend to deny the more base inclinations of sexual behaviour. Cheap harlots too, and not all of them would ask you to use a condom, which was the law. Sarbratellion found it a place to call home in many ways, but in the end, despite being a very blokish sort of angel, he had gradually become just a bit too spiritual now over his aeons long sojourn to mess around too much with that sort of thing. Besides, in the old city, in the centre, were the upper classes resided, it was not as noticeable, and was similar to Zaphona City in many ways, even with the same towering skyscrapters. He'd been enjoying himself, had a few days of the conference to go, and was focusing his thoughts and faith on the upcoming sports season, were he wanted to excel for a change, and really show himself a man – or an angel. Time would tell how successful he would or would not be.
'Ok, Shaneka. I do think you are attractive, but I don't want a blow job for 15 credits.'
'I do them the best, she said. 'Right down to your ball, dude.'
'No thanks,' he said, and passed the street whore by, continuing down through the section of Simple City, just ouside the district of the old town. He was exploring, seeing the sights. There were street hawkers, selling rugs and clothing along this particular bazaar he was wondering through. And he'd been propositioned three times now. The smell of food was strong in the air, and down the next alley he came to he entered into a food market. He spied salamis of various kinds, cheese, and lots of fruits and vegetables. And lots of meat. He didn't eat a lot of meat anymore, and it was not that big a thing in a lot of the restaurants of Zaphona City, unless it was very refined quality meat. Vegetarian delights and imagination was a thing strongly in vogue these days. He found an internet cafe, and put in the coins and checked his email. There was an email from his assistant manager at Gelphon, letting him know that things were under control and to enjoy his holiday. He checked on some sporting ladders which he followed throughout the realm, and checked the Terraphora Football league. He followed Terraphon Keep ironically, one of the big guns in the Terraphora league, and he had a scarf at home, amongst his huge plethora of sporting memorabilia. After the interent he found a stall and ordered a rice dish with savoury chicken, which they gave to him in a white eating paper box. He didn't object, as things were quick and cheap in a lot of Simple City, the fashion of the place. He continued walking around the rest of the afternoon, before finally making his way back to his hotel in the old city, and going for a dip in the pool. He'd relaxed, seen many of the sights, but the conference wasn't finished yet, and he had been thinking about spirituality and being a better angel. It was still about that, especially as the aeons passed, and he went the distance. About being a better angel. It had not always been much of an issue to him, but he was a respected angel now, with a lot of responsibility all things told, and it was important to him to have a good reputation. He still swore somewhat, which was his blokish nature, but very rarely in any formal sort of setting. Lectures from others had eventually worn him down in this respect. Probably for the best too. He sat there in the pool, and then floated up on his back, looking at the sky. Clouds were overhead, and the day was dimming. He was, pretty much, content. The softball was on his mind though. He wanted to be the best this year. It would be a tough year, and Zaphon and Helyphon would likely be the most challenging teams yet again, but maybe they would find some luck this year. One way or another, as any angel should do, he would give it his best, and see what would be.
Gelphon Keep 2
'Yeh, I just got back from a stay in Zhendar. So you were in Simple City?' queried Uriel.
'Pretty much,' replied Sarbratellion. 'Buddhist conference.'
'Goatama. I know his teachings well,' replied Uriel.
'Have a beer on the house. Dutch finest,' said Sarbratellion.
'Heinekin,' said Uriel. Sarbie got him an ice cold bottle.
'So. You have some free time at the moment?' queried Sarbratellion.
'As I was saying. A quiet time for me and Karel. We anticipate being at Zaphon in a few million years, Looks like Wolfgang is doing things from the start all over again,' replied Uriel.
'I honestly get that impression to,' said Sarbratellion. 'I mean it is common tavern talk at the moment, with Michael back in charge. Pretty sure the plan is to go all the way up to the end of the 12th bunch of angels this time as overseers to function at Zaphon. A greater push seems to be the plan.'
'I heard exactly the same thing,' said Uriel. 'Still with 70 official groupings of angels he's not yet set to go all the way through.'
'There are more than that. But 70 official groups,' replied Sarbratellion. The other ones are much further out and you don't get official group names that easily from anyone. I know the 71st are the Ellenephim, but not much else than that.'
'Fascinating,' said Uriel.
'Anyway, can I ask? Will you be spending a lot of time these days in Zaphora?'
'That is the plan,' replied Uriel. 'Close to home. Where the action is.'
'Would you like to join the Gelphon sporting assocation. I'm competing in softball this year. Maybe the cycle as well.'
'2 years of competitive softball. Could be useful as an outlet for some exercise for a while. Haven't exercised in a while. Mainly maintain a standard activity program which keeps the weight off, but no major exercise campaign,' replied Uriel.
'Then it could be exactly what you are looking for,' suggested Sarbratellion.
'I'm in. Why not. I'll see if Karel likes the idea.'
'You do that,' replied Sarbratellion. 'And I'll get you a form to fill out.'
'Uriel is joining Gelphon Keep Sporting Association. He'll be playing softball with me this season,' he said to his twin Jolyanna.
'Fine. I'll play too then,' replied his twin.
'Oh, baby. No basketball? You'll break a streak.'
'May as well,' replied Jollyanna. 'Need a new thing. Softball will do for a change.'
'As good as a holiday,' smiled Sarbratellion.
'As good as a holiday,' replied his twin.
* * * * *
'Go Gelphon Gladiators!' yelled a fan from the stand. Game 1 of the season, and Gelphon were behind the Kalros Knights 8 to 5. 1 innings left.
'We're stuffed,' said Jolyanna.
'Where there is life, there is hope. Maybe Uriel will strike this time. He's first at bat,' said Sarbratellion.
Uriel, on the sidelines, took out a bag and brought out a new bat. He showed it to the stand who cheered. He pointed it at Sarbratellion and yelled 'Here we go. Game on.'
The pitcher took aim, swung, pitched and released. The ball went through the air and connected with Uriel's traditional wooden bat first time, sailing away into the far stand. A home run. Uriel ran around the circuit.
'Next is Karel,' said Sarbie. '8 – 6. Almost a chance.'
Karel took the bat from Uriel and kissed it. She stood, and the ball came in, and she slashed it, just like Uriel's, almost the same spot, over the far outfield.
'What the hell?' asked Sarbratellion. 'Oy. 8 – 7. You're on babe.'
Jollyanna came up to Karel, who spoke to her, showed her something on the bat, and handed it to Jollyanna. Jollyanna stood at the mound, and the pitch came, and she struck but missed. Strike one. But the second, yet again, went sailing into the crowd. 8 all.'
Sarbie was next at bat. He came over to Jollyanna. She showed him the bat. It had an insignia on it. 'Danielphon Elite League Series Custom Job 6678.
'One of Daniel the Seraphim's special's,' said Jollyanna. 'Hand made by him.'
Sarbratellion took the bat. He hit a home. They led 9-8. The match ended that way. They won.
* * * * *
'The balance was beautiful,' said Sarbratellion. 'Like it was made for me.'
'Exactly what I felt too,' said Uriel. 'It felt like – it had been crafted out. Not made, or worked on. But crafted out, every milimetere perfectly checked.'
'He's a pro. Always near the top when he pushes,' said Sarbratellion. 'He gave this to you?'
'Cost an arm and a leg. I paid for it a long time ago. First at bat. Said it took him a century to hand carve the thing. One of his concentrations on Seraphim excellence. Precision sporting equipment,' said Uriel.
'Amazing,' replied Sarbratellion. 'With that baby we have a realistic chance this season.'
'Don't count your chickens.....'
'Before they are hatched. I know,' said Sarbratellion. But he was already picturing the glory.
* * * * *
'Roderick Durander. Is the front walkway swept?' asked Sarbratellion to the Keep cleaner.
'Yes boss,' said Roderick, relaxing in the tavern, having a drink of lemonade on his break.
'Good. Were the toilets done early this morning?'
'All good buss. Toilet rolls replaced. Tonight I do the polishing of the upper ball room. Should take an hour or so. I have checked the chemical cleaner, and we have plenty. Will all be done to an exacting standard as usual.'
'Good,' replied Sarbratellion. 'Now, how much longer do you want this work experience to go on? We have a regular cleaner who has enjoyed his three year holiday, but is looking to get back to work soon.'
'Oh, well, I thought that was up to you. This work will be excellent for my resume. I should be able to get the parliamentary job in the UK in New Terra with this experience on my resume. I'm eternally grateful, you know, for giving me a go. I had waited on this application with baited breath.'
'We don't exactly get requests for cleaners from New Terra very often,' said Sarbratellion, sitting down with the human Roderick Durander. 'Me and Jollyanna thought it would be the right thing to do to give you a go.'
'Very kind of you. I'm only a million years old, you know. I don't have a technical mind, and cleaning is what the whole family does, apart from mess around a bit with magical things.'
'Your a wizard in training, aren't you?' he asked.
'Comes from an ancient grandfather, Zen Durander,' said Roderick. 'Runs in the Durander's a bit. But it doesn't always pay the bills, as we are sometimes not the best of magicians. We get a lot of crazy results with spells at times.'
'Not sure if magic is the holiest of occupations, you know,' said Sarbratellion.
'We do use the dark magic. But we have decent enough intentions. We stay on the legal side of things with the law,' replied Roderick. 'I have a book by Lucy Smith on the ethics of magic. I study it pretty regularly. Trying to make sure heavenly father is pleased enough with me.'
'Well, that's good I guess,' replied Sarbratellion. 'Anyway, I can't speak for your magical talents, but you are a first class cleaner. You'll get a good reference when you are finished.'
'Well, I'll finish up this year then,' said Roderick. 'It is enough time in the job.'
'Good. I'll let our fellow know. Now back to it. Your five minutes is up.'
'Yes boss,' replied Roderick, and finished his drink, getting back to his cleaning duties.
Skriamios and Laquenda
'Kelsea. Where have you been?' asked Niall.
'Busy bringing in the bucks,' replied Kelsea Ballerini to her cherubim twin, Niall Horan, the cherubim Skriamios. Kelsea was the Cherubim Laqeunda, and they had been together, forever.
'Is it too much to ask just how?' he asked.
'Small private tour. Out in the sticks,' she replied. 'I mean, you live on royalties. We need some street cred now. Things are happening all over again. This time can't afford to lose out buster. Gotta have the goods on tour, and see if any competition shows up. You know what I think? I think they think they've had the glory, and are resting on their laurels. That's what I think.'
'You could be right,' he replied smiling.
'Of course I'm right. Now where is that computer? Did you move it?'
'It's in the spare room. Out the back. Daniel from down the street has been using it to store some files on it, though. Wants some stuff not on his own PC. It's password protected documents, though.'
'Daniel the Seraphim?' she asked.
'Pretty much. Down the street a block. About 7 houses down, same side.'
'Yeh. Danielphon. Ego central. Name a keep after yourself,'grinned Kelsea.
'Big rep. Richest bastard in the realm practically. Lots of credits. Does a lot with his life,' said Niall.
'Like we should hubbie,' she replied.
'Like we should,' he said. 'Ok. I'll go out on tour again. If you want a new start I have nothing but standard social club commits, so can do something. How about this Danielphon Devil's softball team he wants to enter into the league at late notice? We could join that for fitness?'
'Count me in,' she replied. 'Something to do. Even if we get slaughtered.'
'One of his grandparents just up the tree a little is from Mullingar. Peter Paul Daly. His grandfather Cyril's father.'
'Small world,' she replied. 'You could be related.'
'Wouldn't know,' he smiled. 'But everyone Irish is kin to some degree.'
'As we all are. Now let me at that PC. I have memoirs to write up.'
And Kelsea disappeared, leaving Niall a bit happier his twin was home, but now thinking about Softball, and another tour out on the scene.
* * * * *
Skriamios was sitting in the music room at the piano, tinkling away.
'Play Mozart,' said Laquenda. Skriamios did the first section of Rondo Alla Turca, and Laquenda clapped him when he was finished. 'Maybe you could do a classical tour,' she said. 'You don't necessarily have to do your standard stuff.'
'I've done some classical guitar shows before,' said Skriamios.
'How about the piano instead,' she replied.
'Not my strength. I'm barely a pianist. I mainly just tinker.'
'You underestimate yourself. Your naturally musical. Give it a go. Could be something new to do in life. An – emebellishment.'
'An embellishment,' he said.
'Yes. Life needs an occasional embellishment,' she replied. 'It's how we give colour to our lives. Doing things, at times, we don't normally consider. How we learn, grow and expand.'
'I'm mostly content,' he replied.
'But only mostly. Come on,' she said. 'It's not like your not a go getter.'
'True,' he replied. He turned to the piano, and played the first movement of Mozart's first piano sonata.
'There you go,' she said. 'Practice for a while, and give a small concert tour around Zaphona City. It could lead to bigger and brighter things.'
'The next Amadeus,' he said, smiling.
'Your not that good yet,' she said. 'But don't think you shouldn't aim that high. Come on twin of mine, give it a go.'
'I'll think about it,' he replied.
'Do that,' she said. 'And I'll get lunch going.'
When she left the room he looked at the piano, and went and sat down on the bean bag, staring at the instrument. It was not his strength. But, again, he was not one to say away from a challenge. And music was his industry. It could be something new to pursue the piano in a major way. He went back to the piano, sat down, and started with some scales. Nothing came from anything unless you did your practice. So, just for this moment, he would do some work on the idea, and see if anything came from it. Something new to do anyway. And it would probably keep his twin happy to say the least.
* * * * *
Laquenda was in the back yard of her home, in the garden. It was ancient garden in many ways, as they lived in the former Kazraphon farming district of Zaphora. From ancient days it was were the farming in the early days of the realm took place by and large, and the soil was still good, having ancient cultivation part of its properties. She kept up a garden, filled with fruits and vegetables, which she used in the home for her and her twin, and she did all the gardening herself, Skriamios showing little interest. She was looking at the lettuce today, thinking they were about grown enough to pick. They would have salad for lunch that day, with radishes and tomatoes. She had some fine french dressing, a very good quality brand, which cost a tonne, but was worth it. She would also open a can of tuna, and they would have that as their lunch, with some apple juice. She like to keep it healthy, their diet options, but Skriamios would escape from time to time, down to MacDonalds, to indulge in burger and fries. She chided him, but he kept his weight under control, so she left him be. She picked the lettuce of her choice, got the radishes and tomatoes, and decided on celery as well. Finished with her picking, she went inside and started preparing their lunch. She did most of the meals. Again, Skriamios didn't do that very much. Not that he was against it. Just that he was somewhat traditional, like herself, and he did manly things, or so he liked to tell himself. But he was a modern enough angel, and would do things from time to time which surprised her. She cut up the celery and tomatoes, and left the radishes as whole. Everything had been washed, and she put on the french dressing, and put it in a bowl on the table. She called him in.
'Looks good,' he said, and they started their meal.
'So, have you thought about the music idea?' she asked him.
'I practiced a bit, but no definite decision yet,' he replied.
'Ok. But you'll do it, right?'
'If you really insist I'll scrap together a repetoire and play at a local club down at the shops.'
'That will do for starters,' she replied.
'I'm not committing to anything Laquenda. 'Don't get ideas. I like a quiet life, and doing things at my own pace. It's how I run things.'
'I know,' she replied.
'Good,' he said, but knew she was unconvinced. He started his meal, and enjoyed the salad. 'The french dressing. The expensive stuff,' he said.
'Yep,' she replied.
'Why not try the Italian one again,' he said. 'They have a few flavours.'
'I'll do that if you do the concert series,' she said.
'Bribing me with dressing,' he said. 'How very Laquenda like. Fine. I'll think about it.'
'Your in a rut,' she said. 'A comfortable ex supersar rut. And you like it.'
'I'm not in a rut,' he replied. 'I do things.'
'Bugger all,' she said. 'You take in your royalties, pay the bills, and chill. And your 1D mates come around, and you party, and not much bloody else.'
'That's the way I like it. Its what I worked so hard for.'
'It's hardly angelic,' she said. 'And I have expectations.'
'Obviously,' he replied.
She put down her fork and looked at him squarely. 'And what's wrong with that? Having expectations.'
'I didn't think you really minded. All of a sudden I'm a go getter. I did that. This is the after party. The reward for the effort.'
'It's always been the after party,' she sighed, and picked up her fork, returning to her meal. 'I want excitement again.'
'Fine,' he finally said. 'I'll give it some more serious thought'
She seemed satisfied with that, but he could tell she wouldn't let the issue drop with a casual 'I'll think about it.' He would have to take her new zeal a bit more seriously than that.
Steve and Taylor
'You got a lot of cool CDs,' said Taylor to her twin, Steve. Steve Mansfield, the Cherubim Steve, Tuggeranong boy. Friend of Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly.
'Yeh,' he said. 'I liked your CDs you showed me yesterday. A lot of very fine music in there. James Taylor CDs were excellent.'
She smiled at her twin. 'What you doing these days?' she asked.
'Not much,' he replied.
'Want to come to Reading with me. Hang around the Christmas Ranch for a bit?'
They spent the next few weeks at the ranch, and Steve was as polite as ever. Her twin had always been like that, thought Taylor. Quiet, reserved, down to earth, no nonsense angel. What Daniel didn't provide all the time. And now Lourdes was showing up at Danielphon a lot, and Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly spent a lot more time with her as the years passed. There was a renewal in original things at the moment, and twinship was amongst them. May as well run with things, thought Taylor, and chased down her twin. So time with Steve. And see what he was made of. Her support? Perhaps. And she did like his taste in music. The sort of stuff she could get in to.
Time to see where this escapade would lead her.
Rippin' in Ripon
Ripon was a lovely yorkshire town in England in Terraphora. And it had a tutelary prince of the nations. The Cherubim Ramnaradiel, 101st of the male Cherubim of the Realm of Eternity. He had a twin – Kagramina. They spoke, but were not particularly close. Ramnaradiel had lived on Earth and had been in a punk rock band called 'Rippin''. They were, course, 'Rippin'' from 'Ripon'. An obvious play on words. They had such metal classics as 'Take your head off' and 'Bleed Bitch'. Charming stuff, but Ramnardiel always said he was young, and overly inspired by the Sheffield rockers 'Def Leppard' to the point it went to his head. And, thus, 'Take your head off'. He also had his own disc of overseersmanship, with a population he could not quite fathom, a size he could not quite fathom, and responsibilities he left to the 'Council of Administrative Dignitaries', his own discs titles for their chief administrators. But he mostly did his traditional princely work for the nations from ancient days, and lived still in Ripon in Terraphora, directing affairs on the city council, and generally enjoying his work.
'Ay up,' said Ramnaradiel 'What is a Lancastrian doing in this neck of the woods?'
Georgiandel the Cherubim, 597th male Cherubim of the Realm of Eternity, Prince of Lancashire, gave him the thumbs up. 'Just checking in on some friends, Rammy. Ties all throughout Ripon, you know.'
'You busy? These days? With all the fresh excitement? Leading Lancashire to a war of noble glory?' asked Ramnaradiel.
'Would be. But there is no real competition,' replied Georgiandel sarcastically.
'True,' agreed Ramnaradiel. 'At your level, so very low, nobody really bothers.'
'Buy me a drink,' said Georgiandel.
'And they call me tight,' replied Ramnaradiel. They were in a Ripon pub, and it was late, after 9, and near closing time.
'I'll have a guinness,' said Georgiandel.
They sat, they chatted, and they smoked. Smoking was not technically legal in the pub, but they pulled rank a lot of times and did, not so much what they wanted, but enjoyed their privileges.
'Any plans for Ripon glory?' asked Georgiandel.
'Might get the band going for a few years,' replied Ramnaradiel.
'Yep. Exactly what we need. More b-grade metal from Ripon's finest excuse for a rock band.'
'We have hits,' argued Ramnaradiel.
'Kamahl has hits. But he knows when to call it quits,' replied Georgiandel.
'Who is Kamahl? Asked Ramnaradiel.
'Australian forgotten singer. Don't worry about it. See the twin much?' he asked.
'Not much,' replied Ramnaradiel. 'But every now and again she drops by with a basket full of bread, of all things. Says I need my fibre.'
'Ironic support idea,' replied Georgiandel.
'Tell me about it,' said Ramnaradiel. 'Tell you what. Hang around. I'll look up the guys and get a concert going.'
'Will do,' replied Georgiandel. 'Here's my phone number,' and he wrote out his mobile phone number.
They chatted on a while till closing, and went their separate ways. Ramnaradiel enjoyed catching up, but was enjoying, even more so now, the idea of getting 'Rippin'' going again. Time to rock and roll.
The Overseer of the Realm of Eternity
Michael, Valandriel, and the three Daniel Daly's were at Danielphon. God the Theophany was watching the A-Team on TV.
'I am the overseer of the Realm of Eternity. So I am the boss,' said Michael the Archangel.
The three Daniel's looked at him, then returned to their conversation.
'I'm the Prime Minister, buddy,' said Valandriel. 'You want any official change to Interdiscal law, you come through me.'
'Interdiscal law?' queried Michael. 'What the hell is that?'
'He doesn't even know,' commented Daniel the Seraphim. 'Pathetic. There is a Parliamentary community on the 12th disc of the Realm. They handle a fair degree of legal issues for the entire Realm. It's equivalent to Federal Law for the entire Realm. As Arch-Regent I am more of a monarchical thing, but with certain specified laws I have a right to act on. You are overseer. You are responsible for the general everyday running of the realm, and application of the law.'
'And who decided this in the end?' asked Michael.
'It was passed by referendum and public support,' said Valandriel. 'We'd won a lot of hearts, and Wolfgang approved of our vying for the position. Old news.'
Michael looked at God who shrugged.
'I run the show, Mikey,' said Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly. 'Spiritual head of the entire realm's Torah community. I act with the authority of Adam and Noah, children of Heaven. The ANM is the divine spiritual and religioius code in force in the Realm. We work with the Monarchical and Political powers.'
Michael looked at Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly and Seraphim Daniel, and then at Valndriel. He looked at Callodyn then.
'So what the hell is your authority then?'
'I tell bad jokes,' replied Callodyn. 'I'm also the main operator in the Daly Foundation. I have the most business nowse and power in the realm. Daniel and Daneil let me run the show on those matters ususally. No technical authority apart from vast influence from the business sector. I'm also the most popular.'
'Pig's arse,' replied Daniel the Seraphim. 'I have your number kemosabe. The girls, they love me dude.'
'Keep on dreaming,' said Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly. 'I've stolen the lovelies hearts.'
'Oh, you keep on dreaming,' said Daniel the Seraphim. An argument ensued. Michael turned to God.
'It keeps them busy,' said Wolfgang.
'Jesus Christ!' swore Michael.
'Leave him out of it,' blurted out Daniel the Seraphim. The other Daniel's gave Michael dirty looks as well.
Michael grumbled the rest of the afternoon. God just watched the A-Team.
Rippin' in Ripon 2
'We're Clown Stew!' yelled out Georgiandel. 'Are you ready to rock Ripon?'
The crowd cheered, and the battle of the bands continued. Rippin' had played their set of 3 songs, and now Clown Stew, formed by Lancastrian 'Georgiandel' the lead singer of Clown Stew, with 4 other Lancastrian angels, were belting out their tunes. It was a traditional English Civil War going on, Yorkshire versus Lancashire, and Ramnaradiel was no longer that confident of victory. Clown Stew were tight, and Georgiandel's singing was better than his own bass playing. They did their set, and the crowd calmed down, and the host came out. 'Now, men and women of the Ripon metal scene. We are anything if not fair. If Rippin' were the best, let them know it, and if Clown Soldier stole your heart, let em know it also. The decibel metre rules. Now. Rippin'. The crowd yelled out, and Ramnaradiel was pleased with the roar. 'Ok,' said the host. 'Now Clown Stew.' The crowd yelled again, equally as loud. The competition was tight. The host spoke to the technical people. 'Ok dudes. The winners are – Clown Stew. Just.' The crowd roared approval, and the battle of the bands had been decided.
'You sucked bad,' said Georgiandel. 'You're bass playing made Alec John Such look good.'
'Your singing made Alice Cooper sound like an angel,' replied Ramnaradiel.
'I do my best,' replied Georgiandel, bowing. 'But your Rippin' men are fair and decent. We knew we'd edged you. Tighter performance. You have decent material, but we were better rehearsed. It's all in the show, dude.'
'Indeed. Dude,' replied Ramnaradiel.
Later on that day he was with his twin, who was consoling him over the loss.
'You didn't suck. They were just better,' said Kagramina.
'We sucked. We didn't play very well,' admitted Ramnaradiel. 'We do have good enough material. We just threw it together for the show, and hadn't practiced much beforehand after the challenge came.'
'Then do better next time,' she said. She kissed him on the cheek. 'Good luck champ. You'll get there.' And she was gone.
Later on, in the pub.
'I'll buy you a beer,' said Georgiandel. 'And why don't we do this again. But at the Monsters of Rock. I'll see if I can get us both in on the upcoming UK show.'
'You can manage that?' asked Ramnaradiel.
'Good friends with Nicko McBrain from Iron Maiden. He pulls a lot of punch. They are occasionally on the look out to try a new act. We probably both have a show.'
And as depressed as Ramnaradiel was, the thought of the big time cheered him up. And he got smashed, and came home drunk. And his visiting guest, his twin Kagrmina, didn't complain at all.
Gelphon Keep 3
'You again,' said Sarbratellion.
'Me again,' replied Meludiel. 'You did well. It's all over Zaphona City news. Gelphon Keep's new competitive edge.'
'Yeh. Tell me about it,' replied Sarbratellion.
'The bat, apparently. Carved to perfection, apparently. Daniel's skills are that good?'
'It's a freak that bat. Been using it in practice when Uriel let's me. Very well balanced. Smooth. Weighted well. Made for the sport. It's a godsend, believe me.'
Meludiel smiled. 'I'll have a lemon, lime and bitters,' she said.
Sarbratellion poured out the beverage for her, and said 'There you are sweetheart.'
'You think you have a chance? Danielphon have a late entry coming in to the comp.'
'Yep. Danielphon Devil's. Appropriate title,' he said smiling.
'If you know Daniel,' she said.
'If you know Daniel,' he agreed.
'Skriamios and Laquenda have joined in. A big 1D star showing up for softball. Do you think he will be any good?'
'He'll have to be,' replied Sarbratellion. 'They've missed round one, and can't claim any points in the revised draw. They'll be playing catch up straight off the bat, forgive the pun.'
'You know Daniel, though. If he's got a bat, he's likely to have something else up his sleeve.'
'Are you saying something?' asked Sarbie, putting down his drink of ginger beer.
'I'm on the team. The Devil's,' she said. 'They roped me in. I used to play softball. In a competitive league on Ambriel's disc. Many long years ago. I got quite good at it.'
'So it's a showdown of strength, is it?' asked Sarbratellion.
'Something like that,' replied Meludiel. 'Thanks for the drink,' she said.
'Right. That will be 4.50,' he said. 'Show of strength, know what I mean?'
Meludiel smiled, and forked over the creds. 'See you on the pitch,' she said.
'See you there,' replied Sarbratellion. After Meludiel left Sarbie mumbled 'Cocky bitch,' and then got on with the rest of his day. But he had the Danielphon Devil's. Thought they were a challenge for the Gelphon Gladiators? Well they had another thing coming.
Steve and Taylor 2
'Let's try the Ferris wheel,' said Taylor. Steve sighed. She had so much energy. They did the Ferris wheel, and they did the dodgems, and they ate Fairy Floss, and Steve said 'Im Bushed.' So they sat on a bench, and Taylor chatted on and on and on.
'Look', said Steve. 'It's pretty obvious I can support you with a cool country collection of sombre records and chit chat, but you are just too much for me, Swiftie.'
'I know,' she replied. 'Worked that out already. Your too sedate. Don't get me wrong, I like that. But Daniel is usually the guy who gets me going and like the Swiftie thing. He's into my music, digs it with the fans, and has the sarcasm to handle me and keep me wanting more. Your great to come home to for a retreat, but its not working otherwise.'
'I read a book on the twin thing once. It's a support, not necessarily a romance thing. I think I'll leave it at that.'
'You've been good for that,' replied Taylor.
'And where I'd like to leave it,' replied Steve. 'I do have a wife, you know.'
'I know,' she said, and bit into her fairy floss. They spent the rest of the day down by the river of the fairground they were at, and then he left for the airport, back to his life. Taylor was in her room at the hotel, and took out a picture of Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly. Joe Alwyn had rung her the other night, asking if she wanted to catch up, and Ed Sheeran said he was always a friend in need. But, no. Daniel would do for now. He loved her right down to the core. May as well stick with a good thing.
4 O'Clock 17
'The Key of Destiny,' mused Wolfgang. It was late. 4 in the morning. The gang was at Danielphon, and God was playing around with the Key of Destiny.
'Don't let it go to your head,' replied Daniel the Seraphim.
'You were lucky,' said Callodyn. 'Definitely fowl work.'
'I have been steadily working through my glory,' replied God. 'So many hidden treasures.'
'About that,' said Daniel. 'Can I make you an offer for the collection?'
'You can offer. And be refused,' replied God.
'Ok. Then you have the key. It's your turn to fill the room with goodies. At least 40,000 of them. I'll give you a break. And make it a challenge for us to find the key. I only have softball on the plate at the moment, and Melanie C is winging that I don't pay her enough attention, but I have room for a challenge.'
'I'll accept the challenge as well,' said Ambriel, who was playing Road Rash 47 on the Megadrive.
God looked at them looking at him. '40,000 of my lovelies? I don't part with anything.'
'Tell me about it,' replied Daniel. 'And after all the goodness of the Daly Foundation's generosity.'
'Tell me about it,' replied Callodyn.
'You'll have to muscle up,' said Micahel, who had been hanging around, trying to work out the news on Danielphon's Devil's softball team. He was in charge of managing the Zaphon Zeroes squad. He didn't intend losing. 'You'd be chicken if you didn't meet Dan's generosity somewhat.'
'Fine,' grumbled Wolfgang. 'I have a humungous supply of quality goods. I can spare a trinket or two.'
'A decent trinket or two,' said Daniel. 'Those were quality items from the Daly foundation.'
'Tell me about it,' said Callodyn again. God stared at him.
'I'm not a wuss. I come prepared,' said God.
'Good boyscout,' commented Michael, which brought a gentle nudge from his father.
'I'll offer up a reasonable 40,000 items exactly, including decent rare comics, coins and stamps. But the challenge is to a limit of about 20. I don't want too many knowing my goods. Only trusted sources.' God looked at them all. 'Or at least ones I can scold well enough if I have to.'
'Tell me about it,' said Callodyn.
'Ok. I'll come up with a challenge. And I'll buy the winner a drink to boot,' said God.
'God shouting a round. That's a laugh,' said Michael.
Callodyn almost spoke. The look from God silenced him for the rest of the afternoon.
'Rise and shine, lazy face,' said Ruth, opening the curtains and letting the sun shine in to the bedroom at their Paradision home. 'Today we go shopping. I'm in need of everything under the sun for the pantry.'
'It's too early to go shopping,' complained Boaz. 'I had a late night. Work was heavy yesterday, and I've got a hangover.'
'You worked for 4 hours that morning, and spent the afternoon at the pub. You don't fool me,' she said. 'I have sources.'
'That girl at the Paradision pub you speak to. What's her name? Margaret,' complained Boaz.
'She's the owner,' said Ruth. 'And she knows all your coming and goings.'
'Fine. I'll get a shower.'
Ruth returned to the kitchen and tended the eggs. They were having omelettes for breakfast. There was kosher sausage in the omelette, guaranteed free from unclean meat. She had reliable sources. But that was not hard on Televon. It was full of Israelites. Jehovah's Witnesses too. They were everywhere. Good friends she had with them as well. Sudenly there was a knock on the door. Ruth went to the front door and opened it, after peeking through the peekhole at a lady in blue. It was an old familiar face.
'Claudia!' she exclaimed. 'I forget your surname. Forgive me.'
'Don't worry about it,' she said. 'It hardly matters these days. Call me Claudia Smith. That's about it these days.'
'Oh,' said Ruth. 'I see. Well, come in then.' Claudia complied and came into the kitchen.
'That smells good. I am kind of hungry,' said Claudia.
'You look – dishevelled,' said Ruth. 'What's the problem.'
Claudia looked down. She mumbled something but didn't say anything more.
'Come now dear. What is the problem?' she asked.
Claudia looked up at Ruth. 'My last husband, Roger Smith, died. He was flat broke, and he was a trouble maker. My family doesn't want to know me, and I'm down to my last 50 credits. I spent all I had getting here. I'd been living on the streets till I though of you and Boaz. I really hope you don't mind.'
Ruth looked at her. Poor Claudia. On her last legs.
'You sit there. I'll give you Boaz' omelette. I'm sure he won't mind.'
Boaz came into the room shortly, and looked at Claudia. 'Is that my breakfast?' he aksed.
'It's Claudia's. She's been in dire straits recently.'
Boaz looked at her, who looked back shyly. 'What's the trouble?' he asked sensitively.
'My husband died. And I'm broke. I don't really know how to work anymore. I've been living off him for so long now that I forget. I need retraining, but I ran out of money, and I just didn't know what to do.'
Ruth looked at Boaz, her eyes pleading for mercy.
'You just eat your omelette,' said Boaz. 'We won't help you.'
'BOAZ!' exclaimed Ruth.
'Because I am calling Daniel Daly. Callodyn has a soft spot for Claudia. He would want to handle this if at all possible. I know him.'
'Thank you Boaz,' said Claudia softly.
'You stay with us till he gets here,' said Boaz. 'Believe me, you are entirely welcome. But I know Callodyn. He'll want to help.'
Ruth touched Claudia's shoulder. 'It will be alright dear,' she said, and looked at Boaz. A troubled soul in need of help.
Callodyn the Cherubim, Daniel Daly, put a plaster on Claudia's shin.
'I have just left it alone. Thanks for cleaning it with dettol,' said Claudia. The two of them were in Daniel's kitchen, next door to Ruth and Boaz.
'Claudia. You should have called me straight away,' said Daniel. 'Jesus, girl. I'll put you on an eternal stipend from the Daly Foundation if you need help. I really don't mind, believe me.'
'It's not necessary. I just needed help to get back on my feet,' said Claudi.
'I see,' he said, frowning. 'Do you need work, then?'
'I just need a chance to do a certificate or something,' she replied. 'I can get my own job.'
'And pride comes before the fall,' said Callodyn. 'You don't be silly. The ANM has a number of chapters in Televon. I can rustle up a reception or admin job for you without any problems.'
She looked at him, and was about to refuse, but softened. 'Ok. Thanks. Thank you,' she said.
She'd been humbled. Daniel could tell. The marriage between her and this Roger Smith had not gone well, and from what she'd said he'd been a terrible drunkard, and died from alcohol abuse.
'I don't even know if he'll be back one day. They don't always come back,' she said.
'I know,' he replied.
They spent the day chatting, and catching up, and Callodyn, currently single, looked heavenwards that afternoon. It was an old flame, which hadn' quite worked out. But Kelly was entrenched in her marriage and maybe, just maybe, God was offering him a possibility.
'Do you want to stay with me. Indefinitely?' Daniel asked her.
She bit into a bikkie then, after a moment, nodded.
'It's settled then. You stay with me. I could use a good housekeeper anyway. I'll pay you for the upkeep of the place, especially as I'm not here a lot of the time.'
'You'd do that?' she asked.
'You can have the job forever if you want,' he said.
'Ok. But not forever. Just till I'm back on my feet.'
'Whatever you say,' he replied, smiling all the while.
Callodyn had taken less than 3 days to get to Paradision, and Ruth and Boaz were quite amused by his so sudden appearance.
'So he's taken her on as his permanent housekeeper then?' queried Boaz.
'Indeed,' said Ruth. 'His devotion to her is as strong as it once was. Clearly he hasn't let his heart slip.'
'Obviously not,' replied Boaz.
'She's to look to the upkeep of the property. She signalled to me that life is hard, and security in it is difficult to find. She plans on making this the eternal job. She hasn't told Daniel, but he won't look elsewhere. She knows it.'
'So we have a permanent neighbour,' sighed Boaz. 'And Jewish to boot.'
'I think the Lord has blessed us also. He works in mysterious ways, but he has bought a hen home to roost. She'll be the best of our friendships. I can tell.'
Boaz settled down on the couch next to his wife. 'I guess you'll be having breakfast there a lot now.'
'Oh, I guess so,' she replied. 'I always did like Claudia. She was such a passionate rose to start with. So full of life. Funny how life can drag so many down into the gutter. It gets the best of us at times.'
'She's been redeemed from that. Made of the right stuff in the end, I think,' replied Boaz.
'Is that your Israelite pride coming to the fore?' chided Ruth.
'Nothing of it,' but he went silent. Then, 'Maybe a little.'
'Fine,' said Ruth. 'But she has gone this far in life, and knows where to look for help when she needs to. She obviously a survivor.'
'That indeed she is,' said Boaz.
'Anyway. Tomorrow we go shopping at last. I'm down to my last litre of milk, and had to borrow some sugar from next door this morning. Don't forget. Shopping day tomorrow.'
'Another day in Paradision,' sighed Boaz.
'Rise and shine, lazy face. Shopping day. And Claudia is coming with us. She's buying supplies for next door.'
'Oh, wonderful. This will probably become a habit. I can already tell,' said Boaz, getting up and stretching.
'Probably,' said Ruth.
Ruth had an omelette on the go again. 'Now, treat Claudia sensitively. She's gone through a lot. Not so much of the brash Bethlehemite that I know too well.'
'I'll go easy,' replied Boaz.
They finished their meal, and Claudia was suddenly at the back door. She had a little trolley with her.
'I've got a list,' she said.
'Good,' replied Ruth. 'A housekeeper needs a proper list. Men can be fussy at times.'
'I fear I'll be cooking for myself half the time. Daniel's made it clear this is usually a second home of sorts, but promised that he does visit regularly enough. Is that true?'
'True enough,' replied Ruth. 'He's not gone for terribly long before he shows again. Sometimes there are large gaps, but he inevitably shows up again.'
Claudia smiled at that.
'Oh,' said Ruth. 'Do you have, feelings again?'
'No. Of course not,' said Claudia.
'I see,' smiled Ruth. She gave Boaz a look.
'Women,' sighed Boaz.
And another day in Paradision came and eventually went for thelives of Ruth and Boaz, children of Israel.
'I've had her cleaned. Thoroughly,' said Michael to God the Theophany.
God looked up at Zaphon Tower. 'Quite obviously. She looks – brilliant. In the classical sense.'
'It's a time of rebirth,' said Michael. 'I intend this Morning Star to make an impact this time. I did a lot first million years of the job, but I've had a long reflection and new impetus for success. A time to gather stones indeed. I don't intend to let your advice slip. This time around I'll do an even better job. Got my act together,' said Michael.
'We all get jaded,' replied God. 'I'm not immune. But when we start again we revisit and we refresh. You seem to know what you are doing. Keep it up.'
Michael nodded, and smiled, as God wandered on.
'We've had the entire library recatalogued and reworked,' said Gabriel. 'There were a lot of titles which, quite frankly, were out of date and practically obsolete. Old tomes which sat there, gathering dust more than anything. They've gone off to Terraphon Archives, and we've updated with some very sophisticated and thoughtful replacements. You should find the new works stimulating.'
'Good work,' replied God the Theophany. 'I see you are taking the renewal seriously as well.'
'Thanks old man,' said Gabriel, as God wandered on.
'We have a brand new curriculum. It's been 18 months of intense scrutiny and revision,' said Raphael. 'We looked at ourselves, frankly, and brainstormed. We've been on the maintenance idea for so long we didn't really know anything else. But we've recharged, been reborn, and we're ready to do the work of Mitraphon Keep even better than before,' said Raphael proudly.
'Excellent attitude,' said God the Theophany. 'I'll keep tabs on your results.'
'Thank you Father,' said Raphael, as God wandered on.
'Mostly about softball at the moment,' said Uriel.
God wasn't impressed.
'Yeh, I heard about the rebirth idea,' said Raguel. 'Not my thing. Just worried about the upcoming world cup.'
God wasn't impressed.
'Why the hell do I want to change? I don't want to change a frikking thing,' said Phanuel. 'Rebirths suck. Unless its the NBA. They could use a frikking rebirth.'
God wasn't impressed.
'I have – ADDRESSED – the concerns,' said Saruviel.
And how so, exactly?' asked the Theophany of God to his dearest son Saruviel.
'Things have been – looked at,' said Saruviel.
'You've done nothing then,' replied God.
'Been busy with the cockroach league down in the basement of Kalphon, actually,' said Saruviel. 'Kantriel has a top roach which is raking us in heaps of credits.'
God looked at his son. It wasn't that he wasn't impressed. That word just didn't suffice.
He wandered on.
Another day passed.
The Mountain II
Life passed in the modern world. And Thorn Daly resided at Danielphon for a while. He chatted with Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly about this and that, and his work with Allegiance which he had been doing. Then Daniel took him aside one day.
'There is – something – you should know.'
'Yes,' replied Thorn.
'There will be a change, soon. In the order of things. Danielphon has been chosen for the authority in a sense. A surviving authority.'
'What do you mean by that?' asked Thorn.
'I'm moving the base of Danielphon. To another place. Far, far away. For a reason. It's a pinnacle of hope. A place which is sanctuary. A place you know.'
Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly wouldn't explain anything more after that, but soon Thorn was sent to see an old friend, Jemba, who asked him to meet her at her science lab for Allegience one day. And he shaved that morning, and looked in the mirror, and he suddenly had a vision, instant, and it was all darkness, and all blackness, and the Hand of Jehovah had struck 12. And Doomsday, in a sense, had come.
* * * * *
Thorn Daly looked at the microscope. 'I'm hardly a doctor,' he said to Jemba.
'You don't need to be a doctor. Just look,' she said.
He looked. 'Funny virus, or something. I don't know.'
'It's out there. All around. I suspect professor Zelzazon. The Saruvim indeed are suspected of breaking him loose from the maximum security planet he was housed on. He's nowhere we can find on the grid. The best of Allegiance can't track him down.'
'So what?' asked Thorn. 'It's hardly my responsibility.
'You have a spirit to you,' replied Jemba. 'A liveliness. You left the mountain once. For a reason. To see the real world. You've seen it now. What do you think?'
'It sucks. A lot of the time, quite frankly, it sucks. I'd almost return to that mountain, if I had the choice.'
Jemba took his arm, and displayed a syringe. 'Can I inject you?' she asked.
'What is it?' he replied.
'Trust me Thorn Daly,' she said.
Thorn nodded, and Jemba injected him. 'You are now immune. The antidote is extremely difficult to manufacture. It requires molecular and practically atomic reconstruction to make the stuff. We've injected a familiar pact. The Mountain pact. A few others, but only those Saruviel gave the nod to.'
'Why?' asked Thorn.
'Because that bug is spreading like wildfire. Within 1 year everyone, everywhere, will be infected.'
'And what does it do?' asked Thorn, now a little anxious.
'We've fast forwarded the effects on mice,' she said. 'Come look.'
Jemba led him to a cabinet of glass, with strange feral creatures inside. They were hissing and were like deformed bats or something.
'They are the mice. The virus turns them into, I hate to be pathetic, but it turns them into zombies.'
'Dafuq?' asked Thorn.
'World War Z here we come,' replied Jemba.
Thorn was far from amused.
* * * * *
'The choice remnant of aeons of archival glory,' said Daniel the Seraphim to Thorn Daly. 'The rest was getting old anyway. Time for out with the old and in with the new.'
'I don't have that much anyway,' said Thorn, looking at the truck back into a tunnel which was on a secluded part of the mountain, cut off from view to the rest of the society by its location, nobody out there able to see what was going down.
'The world will change this time,' said Daniel, coming to sit down next to Thorn on the curb of the bitumen road. Daniel lit a cigarette, and puffed away.
'What do you mean by change?' asked Thorn.
'Wolfgang is not hiding the intentions of the Almighty. Why Danielphon is moving here, sort of. Can't really claim the mountain, but we intend building about here actually, the new keep. We don't have much original land to work with. This is the cornerstone of the new creation, after all. All that will survive what is coming. Like I said, out with the old, in with the new.'
'You talk too much,' said Cyril Daly, Daniel's grandfather. Thorn probably gets the point of what is going on.'
'We have about 10 million with us, all up this time. Much more than before, but some new souls have hardened up, and some old souls have found enough passion for life eternal. Same old crew as last time, just some new additions. It will be tight in there, though, but new sub-levels have been built. The remnant of us. All that will be going forward. God's tested out souls for a long time, and many have just bitten the dust in Sheol anyway. There are numbers beyond counting who are edging that way, and equal numbers of those who no longer care. Jaded, having had enough of this crazy life, and ready to retire eternally to the heart of God, for I am assured God stores them away to let them dream on forever,' said Daniel.
'Not everyone wants life eternal eternal,' said Cyril.
'And not everyone can afford it,' finished Daniel.
Thorn looked at the old men, who'd been through this before, like himself, but who'd also been around practically since the beginning of things.
'And zombies?' queried Thorn.
'We'll be tucked away good and tight before the shit starts going down. But there are already signs,' said Daniel.
'That's reassuring,' replied Thorn.
'Anyway, back to work,' said Daniel, who got back to instructing the truck driver in his backing into the tunnel.
Daniel the Seraphim, sighed Thorn. The world was coming to an end, but he made sure he had his shit under control. The irony spoke volumes.
* * * * *
They watched on the view screens for months. The world turned to chaos, and when the 7 heavens fell, time was up.
'Home is immune,' said Wolfgang one afternoon.
'That's guaranteed, right?' queried Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly cautiously.
'The remainder of your stockpile is down in a sub-basement under Metatron's careful eye. You had strange objections over Logos handling the job, so I left it with Mettie. Logos took care of a lot of the others, though. Metatron another quarter of the goods of the remnant. I took on half the load. It was backbreaking, believe me,' said Wolfgang, holding his back.
'Humph. You have your magic,' replied Daniel. God winked at him for that.
'What's next?' asked Thorn.
'That I'd like to know too,' put in Saruviel.
'The virus will kill them off after a few more months. It's pretty much universal. When they are all dead and gone, I wipe it all out. The perimeter of the mountain will extend about a kilometre from the base, just a little bit further to make sure the new Danielphon has enough room, as per Daniel's request, and then we build again with this land. It is only one realm this time. Eternya,' said God. 'And I won't change from that.'
'Will home be accessible?' asked Daniel the Seraphim.
'You'll get your stuff back. Don't winge,' said God.
'Good,' replied Daniel.
'Here we go again,' said Saruviel.
'Indeed,' finished Thorn.
* * * * *
And everything was black. Beyond the perimeter, everything was black.
'It's space,' said God to Thorn. 'Everything is gone. That is a big bunch of black.'
'What next?' asked Thorn.
'We've been mulling it over. About 2% to 3% of those in the heart of God have mostly learned their lesson. They are in for a rude shock, as they'll be starting again when God finally gives them another go. But mostly its just a rest on the realms. They are just being cleansed by the Almighty. They are sort of in other parts of the universe at the moment, being refined, cleaned, and made new. Danielphon hasn't really been moved.
'I'm sure Daniel will be relieved,' replied Thorn.
'Just watch the screen. The eternya buildings will be back in place. Everything else was either destoryed, or cleansed out. A fresh slate.'
The months passed, and slowly, bit by bit, viewscreens started showing more of the old realms being put back together. Eternya was put into place after a while, and then, wiz bang, no sooner had they been on the mountain, then they were off again. To start anew.
Times will be tough,' said God. 'And you guys were chosen because you are not afraid of hard work. The glory of establishing everytying anew is up to you, but copyrights and patents are all in place, and once some of those with less passion return, their claims will be back in place. But the entire corpus of their original product is gone. You don't claim eternya unless you really mean it.'
Thorn smiled. Daniel would be pleased.
So life returned to something approaching normal, and a fragmentary group lived in Zaphona city for a while. New children proceded to come along, and soon enough there were about a billion souls in the Realm of Eternity again. And then dead from Sheol started returning, and life, as they say, gradually started getting back to normal. Daniel was pleased. He had collectable items which were worth infinitely more now. Strange how glory came to those who stuck to their guns, thought Thorn. Very strange indeed.
'Danielphon is the font of eternal wisdom,' said Daniel the Seraphim.
'Danielphon is the seat of eternal ego,' replied Ariel.
'And vanity,' commented Kayella.
'Insensitivity. Mostly insensitivity,' put in Lourdes Ciccone.
'Hey. That's a low blow. I'm as sensitive as they come,' replied Daniel.
'Like the butt of the behemoth,' said Lourdes. 'Doesn't react to anything. Apparently that is where its brain is as well.'
'The brain is in the tail,' said Daniel knowingly.
'In a human that amounts to the butt,' said Lourdes, in one of those mocking tones she used.
'We could call him butt boy,' said Kayella.
'Too kind. Lord of unknowing fools I think,' said Ariel.
'Ladies. I love you all. One day you will understand my divine glory. It just takes appreciation of the finer qualities of life,' said Daniel.
'Slugs have fine qualities. In their own way,' said Lourdes.
'Even shit has a purpose,' said Kayella, glaring at Daniel.
'I think of him as one of those redundant magazines from a bygone era, which is at the back of a bookcase, and nobody really reads it much, but the publishers waffle on about its impact on society all the time,' said Ariel. Daniel grinned on that one.
'At least I'm not as bad as Callodyn,' said Daniel.
'He's a gentleman these days,' said Kayella. 'Taking good care of that Claudia lady. Giving her a permanent job supported by the Daly foundation. Very charitable of him.'
Ariel looked at Daniel. 'What good work do you have to offer the world, twin of mine?'
'Justice,' said Daniel. 'I am the Arch-Regent of Eternity, and I display the unwavering justice of God's holy Noahide Torah.'
'That's my twin,' said Lourdes. 'Try again.'
'Well its still justice. I provide inspiration for people. I take a difficult day, fill it with wit and humor, and you girls get going and are happy when I am around.'
Each of the girls looked at him, then picked up their magazines.
'He has us there,' said Kayella.
'True. He is very entertaining,' said Lourdes.
Ariel eyed her twin. 'You and that crazy Valandriel have been decent Seraphim forever in keeping us all amused. I forgive your shortcomings because of it. I recognize your statement as valid, brother.'
'Thanks,' said Daniel. 'Which one of you is going to sleep with me tonight then?'
One by one the girls gave him a look, and left the room, leaving him with his twin Ariel.
'Unbelievable,' she said to him. 'But I did smirk a little. I think you have crossed a line just a little with that statement though. Think that over during the week ahead.'
'Yes,' he replied soberly. 'It was a tad too much cheek. I apologize.'
Ariel nodded, and left the room. Daniel sat there, reminding himself that justice was decent behaviour. You behaved lawfully and treated people as they deserved. He went outside to the back of Danielphon, picked up a cricket ball, and for the next hour, practicing his bowling, he thought on his words, and about tidying up his current slack attitude. Justice demanded it. He would comply.
Restanar and Helladera
'Radrukiel can bite me,' said Restanar, the 151s male cherubim of the Realm of Eternity. 'And aren't we cherubs? Why the hell are we always called cherubim? The bible calls us Cherubs individually? What gives?'
Helladera, his twin, composed herself. 'The Cherubim is our full title of Glory. God is Eloah in the individual sense, which scripture also testifies to. But he uses the plural Elohim in a fuller sense. It is a plural of majesty, but also a plurality of his fuller nature and his creative and reproductive capabilities. Or his ability to create children, rather than literally siring them. Like that, we are Cherubs individually, but we are made in the image of God, and are Cherubim also.'
'Right,' nodded Restanar. 'I forget these things. I'd rather study the Koran than the Tanakh anyway, and I forget these things.'
'Still following Rophiel's teaching then,' replied Helladera. I would have thought you would finally now be back to Seraphim Torah as the foundation.
'Mohammed is my light and my inspiration. Apart from Allah, who I love with all my heart,' replied Restanar. 'And Radrukiel can go to hell if he thinks Afghanistan wants to be an Orthodox Christian nation in the new style of Christianity. Heck, Jesus is no longer even the Christ to the Church. They can't stick to anything.'
'Zerubbabel really fulfilled those prophecies. And Ambriel fulfils Jeremiah's eternal prophecy of a King of David's line always being available,' replied Helladera. 'There is talk of Jesus applying for 'Christ of his Generation' status with Israel, but the Rabbis of his era still do not really like him that much. And I am not sure if God likes the idea that much. He doesn't like rivals. He never has.'
'No. Well nor do I. God is one,' replied Restanar. 'And as the tutelary angel and prince of Afghanistan I am not going to let that Russkie try and overtake us any more. They've always tried to put one over glorious Afghanistan.'
'He's ambitious. Wants to rival the west. As you say, he always has,' said Helladera. 'Anyway, stop your winging. Zaphona City has a lot to offer, and I want us to review this tourist guide so we can enjoy our holiday here. This hotel is expensive enough, so we better make our stay worth while.'
'For the life of me I don't know why you didn't just agree to stay in our dormitory rooms in Terraphora. We could have stayed there for free, and just based that as the location of our holidays from. It would have been much easier. Gabriel would have welcomed us to Terraphon Keep. It would have been fine,' replied Restanar. 'And I could have gone back to some of my old work around Terraphon Keep. The gardening and things. Would have been nice to see the flowers again.'
'We can afford it. Stop your fussing,' replied Helledra. 'Now come and look at the brochure.'
So for the next hour they discussed the manifold sights of Zaphona City and what they would do for the next few days. A time of rest and relaxtion for the 151st cherubim twins of the Realm of Eternity.
* * * * *
'Restanar, right?' said Azrael.
Restanar nodded. 'We'll have two lemon lime and bitters. Non-alcoholic type,' said Restanar.
'Right away,' said Azrael. Restanar and Helladera had visited Az's place in the heart of Zaphona City. It was located in the south-western quadrant of Zaphora, not too far from Zaphon, and it was a hive of activity at times. They had come to see what the growing fuss was about the place. Azrael bought them their drinks, and sat down next to them.
'Muslims, right? I recall you have that affiliation with Rophiel.'
'Correct,' replied Restanar. 'It keeps me spiritually satisfied.'
'Not too many cherubim choose Islam,' said Azrael. 'Controversial.'
'It has its following,' replied Restanar. 'There are Seraphim who are Muslim you know.'
'I know,' replied Azrael. 'Funny, at times we don't serve a lot of alcohol. When the realm goes through teetotalling phases. Happens every now and again. We have alternative menus at times, depends on the season, you know.'
'Fascinating,' said Helladera. 'Oh, he does occasionally drink alcohol. He just never gets drunk. Very unseemly for a Muslim to get drunk.'
'Not my scene,' said Restanar, sipping on his drink.
'No. I'd be probably out of business in a muslim disc. Or change of menu completely,' said Azrael.
'What are your alternative beverages?' asked Restanar.
'Soft drinks and juices. Lots of non-alcoholic cider types,' said Azrael. 'Tea and coffee as well, if we need to, but that is not our thing. We sell a lot of cola at times as well.'
'Well we'll be sure to drop in and try some cola before we leave,' said Helladera.
'On holiday are you?' asked Azrael.
'Pretty much,' said Restanar. 'Taking our time to get to know Zaphora somewhat. Been so busy in my disc for so long, I forget the old world. Time to catch up.'
'Well things don't change here much. Like the menu at Zaphon cafeteria. They still serve the stuff they started with these days. Even traditional Langwah, the way they used to make it. Caught on again not long ago.'
'We'll have to try that too,' said Helladera.
'Well, been good meeting you,' said Azrael. 'Don't be a stranger.' And he left them too their drinks.
Restanar looked around the pub. 'Traditional,' he said. 'Very scottish I suppose.'
'They way Azrael likes it I would imagine,' replied Helladera.
'He has a boy. Spaz. Out on New Terra 17 I think it is,' said Restanar. 'Runs a similarly styled pub. Az and Spaz they call em.'
Helladera laughed. 'Gosh. Would be something to get out to some of those human planetary bodies. We never get out to places like that.'
'Maybe one day,' replied Restanar. 'Anyway, why don't we have lunch here, and go to that museum of weird things afterwards.'
'It is called the International Museum of Bizarre and Strange Artefacts,' said Helladera. 'And it has a reputation of having some of the most eccentric oddities in the universe on display.'
'Apparently the balls of King David,' chuckled Restanar.
'Watch your langauge,' chided Hellader.
He sipped on his drink. 'Then why don't we go to the Zaphona City Zoo. It's well renowned. First class service, everyone says.'
'That will be a fine choice,' she said. 'Exactly why we have come here. To enjoy the quality of Zaphora.'
'As you wish,' he replied. He looked around the room. 'This is memorable, anyway. I almost expect to be served haggis.'
'Uck,' grimaced Helladera. 'Couldn't imagine eating the revolting stuff.'
'Nearly as bad as David's jollicles, heh,' he replied.
She gave him a look. He knew that look. He didn't comment on the King of Israel's testicles again.
'Well on we go,' he said, and they got on with their holiday.
Radrukiel and Urshalel
'I'm not dating you again, Siberian swine,' said Urshalel to her twin.
'Da. You shall date me and fuck my dick with your hot vagina, dearie,' replied Radrukiel.
'You are fucking drunk,' she said. 'Look at you. You're a mess. Are you even wearing underwear? Your T-Shirt is hiding your crotch.'
Radrukiel, drunkenly, got to his feet and raised his T-Shirt, showing his kajolies to his twin. 'You want me, Jezebel. I must have your hot muff in my mouth and take you to heaven.'
'I'm not dating you, I'm not doing you, and if you think this is impressing me, you are far from right.'
'Vodka,' he said. 'I need vodka.' But he got to his feet, and stumbled, and fell on the carpet. Then he passed out.
His twin looked at him. She was single, but dated now and again. She'd married him once, for a long time, but they were separate again. He was not what she was looking for. Radrukiel was too boorish to Urshalel, and he didn't really want to change his stubborn Russian pride. She kicked him. He didn't move. She kicked him harder. His hand thrust out and pushed her foot away.
'Cretin. I'm going,' she said. But she looked at the room of his abode, and it was a mess, and she sighed, and started picking things up. The kitchen was worse. An overseer really needed a maid. She supposed he had one – he certainly had the funds – but the place was a mess. She spent a while washing the dishes, the tidying up the benches, and noticed on the fridge a note which showed the housekeeper would be there at the end of the week. Two days aways. Never mind. He needed the tidy up anyway. When she was finished she looked satisfactorily at her work, then went back to the other room, looked at her twin, and took a rug from the side of the room, and sat down on the couch. She put the rug over he knees, took out her current paperback, and started reading. She looked at her twin every now and again, mainly to see if he was still breathing, then continued on with her book. She fell asleep later that evening.
* * * * *
'We shall convert them,' said Radrukiel.
'I think you have the same chance as a Mink does in wrestling a Lion,' she replied.
'Afghanistan universally has had its fill of Islam. On New Terra they barely follow it anymore, and Rophiel doesn't preach half as much as he used to. The new church can gain ground,' said Radrukiel.
'Yes. The new church. My priest never changed much anyway. Still keeps the same service, and while he acknowledges the doctrinal changes, much the same in practice goes on. It is just religion. There is no need to make everyone as you are. People find their own way in life.'
'It does not mean evangelism is not part of it,' replied Radrukiel. 'We show our strengths and faith thereby, and he who wins the most souls – wins.'
'It's an excuse for an ego trip,' replied Urshalel. 'A proper man of God fears the Lord, keeps his commands, and doesn't dwell on pride. It does no good. Whatever the faith, the underlying substance is the same, and those who keep good and holy the Lord Almighty favours. You don't need to complicate things with endless debates on who has better teachings.'
He glared at her, and softened. 'My head feels better. Get me vodka.'
She sighed, and went to the kitchen and retrieved a bottle of vodka for him. 'Your kidneys and liver are ok, I take it? Should I be giving this to you?'
He nodded. 'I've been binging on it for about 3 months now. It is the year in the century I indulge. I shall damn well enjoy myself dear Urshalel.'
'Yes. That is your routine. Very well.' She took a swig first, and gave it to him. He drank a bit, and flicked on the TV. A Russian soap was playing and he smiled, and sat there, drinking vodka, not giving a damn. It was his time off, and he would enjoy himself whatever the cost.
* * * * *
Urshalel had him up in the morning, doing a bit of exercise. She made him waffles, and they went to the local park. They were in Radrukiphora, the capital city, also named Moscow in Russian tradition, the 46th disc of the Realm of Eternity, where Radrukiel was Overseer. He had a small enough regular flat not far from the Parliamentary buildings, a practical home for practical use. His proper abode where he kept the fulness of his property and wealth was across town in a lovely district full of trees and flowerbeds, with a river running through it. But the flat is where he spent a lot of time, especially when he was working at the Parliamentary offices in his job. There was a small park near his abode, and they sat there, feeding the ducks who were in a small pond, Radrukiel recovering from a hangover.
'I think I still love you,' he blurted out.
'You probably do. But we don't go together so well,' she replied. 'We had forever to make it work, and there were issues, and we were better off apart in the end. But we do the twin thing ok.'
'We do do that,' he agreed. 'No sex though?'
'I don't think its appropriate Radrukiel. We're not fornicators in the end. It's not our way as Seraphim.'
'No. You are probably right,' he replied. 'Well, I think I can accept that. I will say, though Urshalel. I am proud to have you as my twin in life. You are a good sister.'
She smiled at that, and they fed the ducks. Things were nice at the moment for Urshalel. Despite the headache of her twin, things were nice.
* * * * *
'So you'll drop around some millennium or so?' he asked.
'I'll see you again. The Seraphim are never apart for that long.'
He kissed her on the cheek, and she smiled and left. He looked at his room, and the cleanliness it was in. But then he spied the full bottle of vodka on the bench. He put on some Russian Rock music, and ordered pizza, and 5 hours later the room barely resembled its former state. Such was the life of Radrukiel the Seraphim.
They were at Danielphon.
'Be in the hearts of men. A simple enough idea. What of it?' asked Ariel to her twin Daniel the Seraphim.
'How do I fulfil my Seraphim Torah passage?' asked Daniel.
'Keep the faith in it,' replied Ariel. 'Commit to it. Learn the basic idea and endure with it.'
'Right,' repled Daniel, thinking. 'Ok. Well, how was your day?'
'Why do you ask?' she replied, a quzzical look on her face.
'Just trying to show some love and support to my twin,' he replied.
'Oh,' she said. 'Ok. Well, it has been a reasonable day so far. How has yours been?'
'Good,' he said. 'Do you like Risk?'
'The board game?' she asked. He nodded. 'It's fun enough.'
'Are you busy for the rest of the day?' he asked her.
'Not really. This is time pencilled in for my twin.'
'Good. We'll play Risk then. I'll get Callodyn.'
'Oh,' she said. Daniel wandered off and soon Callodyn's head appeared, and they had a Risk set with them. Ariel settled down at the table with them, and Daniel had bought out the Coca Cola and Peanuts, and they played 3 games that afternoon, 1 game won each. Ariel had concentrated on the third game, having gotten used to it a bit, and had a strategy which seemed to work well enough.
'That was fun, Danny,' said Ariel.
'I do love my twin,' he said. 'I don't need to bed you, you know. I have a girlfriend these days. Jessica.'
'Yes, I know,' she said. 'Looks like things are working out for you.'
'How is Mike?' he asked.
'Well,' she replied. 'Still busy with his sporting life. You know. Pays the bills.'
'Good,' he said.
'I'll be off,' said Callodyn. 'Going back to Paradision. Got a flight this evening. Want to spend some time with the housekeeper. She's gotten over a bit of a struggle, and she's a great friend.'
When Callodyn left Ariel looked at Daniel. 'What next?' she asked.
Daniel went to the other room and came back with 'The Giver' on DVD. 'One of Jeff Bridges finest movies,' he said. 'We'll watch this this evening. I have a salad and chicken wings prepared. Cold, but they taste yummy.'
Ariel smiled. What had gotten into Daniel the Seraphim?
* * * * *
Seraphim Daniel was spending some time at Danielphon with his great grand-father, Cherubim Cyril, 241st Cherubim male of eternity.
'Who is going to win the cricket? Bangladesh or Scotland?'
'Tough match to predict,' replied Cyril. 'Terraphoran cricket can be unpredictable. The Bangladeshis have a top batting team, but Scotland has one of the finest bowlers in the inner disc.'
'Right. I think Scotland might do it,' said Daniel. 'But we'll see how it goes. How's grandma Mary?'
'She's happy at home at 29 Merriman on New Terra.'
'Cherubim Dan still living there?' asked Daniel.
'He has a place in Macarthur up the road now,' replied Cyril. 'Jacinta mostly lives at 29 Merriman with me and Mary. Brigid is over at Calwell, and Matt hangs around here and there. Your father Callodyn drops in from time to time. We visit him in Paradision a lot. The spitting image of Cooma in many ways.'
'It was based upon it in its foundation,' replied Daniel. 'That area of Televon is Australian themed. Televeran culture is diverse and mixed, and there are spirits on it you don't find on earthly planets. But Paradision is familiar to most visitors.'
'How is the Daly Foundation running?' asked Cyril.
'Worried about your income?' asked Daniel. 'I'm sure Grand-Dad is taking care of things in that respect.'
'He's entrusted business matters to you I do believe,' replied Cyril. 'Is Xadonemmetry Music sales doing well in new outer discs?'
'Xadonemmetry has a strong field of fine Christian and Noahide musicians who perform for us,' replied Daniel. 'They pay a small millennial fee to the Daly Foundation for our Agency work with them, and we have a large range of music teachers we employ. There are not really new instrument sales in the first few thousand discs anymore. It just doesn't happen much anymore. You have to go much further out for instrument manufacturing and sales. The inner world is full of permanent citizens mostly now, who have mostly got there eternya belongings. Of course, everything made of Eternya survived the recent purging, and he brought back most of the dead a few weeks back. But concerts and refinement lessons are perpetual in music regardless of possessions.'
'A lovely term for it,' commented Cyril. 'Refinement lessons.'
'We have to assume that most people are competent enough,' said Daniel. 'I know the term is politically correct, but that's the way things go.'
Cyril smiled. Daniel turned on the cricket then, and they spent the afternoon watching Bangladesh thrash the pants out of Scotland, and Daniel enjoyed time with old Cyril, his Great-Grand-Father.
* * * * *
Seraphim Daniel had invited his great uncle Matthew, Cyril's son, to Danielphon. They were playing Risk.
'I'm ancient at this Dan,' said Matt. 'I have knowledge reserved from the roots of the Risk culture. Before you invaded creation with your presence.'
Matthew was Cherubim Matthew, the 231st of the Cherubim males of Eternity. Angelic manifestation often ran in angels being grouped in families. That was a traditional way God had done things. Daly's were some of the earliest of the clans in the Cherubim list of angels. But there were others, including a bunch of Changs, Smiths, Fuentes and others, who were the classic Cherubim families of Eternity. The Irish Corrs were also notable for this phenomenon, as well as the Gilmores.
'It just means your shit has aged only moreso. I'm fresh and full of new ideas. 21st Century brilliance makes old 20th century punks look obsolete,' replied Daniel, looking at the state of play in the game.
'So you say,' said Matthew, and reached for his lemonade. The game took a while, and Matthew won, but Daniel knew he would have him next game. He could sense it.
'You still kick around on the dojo?' asked Daniel. 'I have a glorious reputation in Karate, uncle.'
'I train regularly,' replied Matthew. 'At the centre in Fadden Pines,' said Matt. 'On New Terra.'
'I should get back into Karate again one day,' said Daniel. 'Want to watch Karate Kid 19 later with me? I think that's the best of the series.'
'Sure,' said Matt. 'But Risk game two? See if your twenty first century brilliance can beat this old rooster.'
'Very funny,' replied Daniel, and they started the game, and he won, as he expected. Got the bastard.
* * * * *
Daniel was upstairs in the attic of Danielphon. He had formerly housed a pair of the testicles of King David, but now that had been replaced by a statue figurine of David clutching his crotch. Calloydn had done the sculpitng and painted it, but Daniel had glazed it, and it took pride of place on his window sill in the attic. Valandriel was looking at it also.
'The museum of weird antiquities or whatever it is called can keep his balls,' said Daniel. 'I like my new statue. It brings to mind the experience.'
'David is down there Zionistya with a new lease of life,' said Valandriel. 'He has new balls and new seed. He went through hell regrowing them, but it has spared knew progenerative creativity in him, and Israel is going gung-ho down there at the moment. Pushing at some of the key elements of life to make living happy and enjoyable. A strong focus on biblical studies to base as their foundation for their new zeal.'
'Scripture never fails,' said Daniel. 'I doubt they'll be much threat, though. Michael is well enough received again, coz he's lost his damn attitude, but I'm not sure they'll take to Israelis in the Realm much again. They need to be far more polite, and they care less about that now. They've got their own realm now, and they don't care about the sledging against them as much anymore. They'd rather parade their chosen status, and to hell with the gentiles.'
'It doesn't matter,' replied Valandriel. 'ValDan is strong, and Michael poses no real threat. The other Seraphim don't seem to have the drive to compete with us that much anymore. I think they're waiting till we get over it.'
'Then they have the patience of Job,' said Daniel. 'It's how life is lived in the eternal. Get a focus for success, and inculcate that into your nature and routine. Since the beginning God has stressed these things. The wise take note, the casual do enough to get by, and the fool lives in his poverty. The reality of life.'
'Your uncle Matt? He seems a cool enough fellow,' said Valandriel. 'Obnoxious. Proud. Conceited. Like someone I know so well.'
'Yeh, Matt's tops,' replied Daniel. 'Rich Daly sarcasm. Or probably Cooma sarcasm. It runs thick in that town.'
'Tell me about it,' said Valandriel. 'Anyway, anything new on the agenda?'
'Sporting glory for me at the moment. Danielphon Devil's have a softball tournament to win. I doubt we will, but I'm looking for clever play, competitive behavioiur and jovial bits. Lots of jovial bits. I want to entertain people and give them a show. Big part of our reputation. Still gets me going, and I think I serve God by making people smile and laugh.'
'Then all is going as I have foreseen,' said Valandriel in his best Palpatinesque voice. And Daniel laughed.
* * * * *
Daniel examined the plaque headstone of Danielphon Keep. Founded 'The Year of Glory'. Boy, was he having a go when he had that inscribed. It was the cornerstone of the stone building, at the front on the left of the keep, facing it, on the ground. Daniel had taken a long time in carving out that stone, and praying the eternya prayer himself over the foundation stone. It had taken a long time, and Wolfgang had been consulted a number of times to ensure he was satisifed with the prayer, as it was usually a prayer entrusted to those with specific qualifications for the job, when it was not the stuff directly manufactured. But it had lasted – job done. He sat down, on the grass, and looked at the fence on the left side of Danielphon. It ran alongside the keep, down to the back alongside the cricket pitch, then along the back row, past the shed, and then up to the front again on the right hand side. The keep ground was mostly a standard sort of bungalow size block, the keep itself built in eternya stone. It was an impressive keep, with a few levels, and it had stood the test ot time, one of the Keeps of Zaphora. Valandriel, was, with his own domain, matching him, and had earned eternal ownership of his abode. Daniel was confident that the Daly foundations ownership of the Keep, which it was now in the name of, was satisfactory to God, who had assented in the throneroom that it may be kept in the name of the foundation perpetually. Because of that Daniel had become slack and let Callodyn and Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly general usage of the keep in their own names as well. He no longer tried to make it his only abode, and in fact spent some time in his dorm in Zaphon and around his various archives in the Realm, as well as at Danielphora, which he ran occasionally as overseer. Danielphon was his testimony to his Arch-Regency over the Realm of Eternity, and it was praised as a Keep of the Realm, and had been acknowledged as such. That much, for the glory it had earned so far in life, was sufficient. Finally, he stood, put on his earphones, and went for another jog around the block. He was in training for his softball, and that was the thing for the moment. Win, lose or draw, they would compete, and he would continue to earn his reputation as a decent and competitive angel of God.
* * * * *
Daniel streched and put on the Rocky music on his tape cassette player. He put on his earphones, and he walked out the front door of Danielphon keep. He turned north, to the left, and walked down the street. After a while he past Skriamios' place, and looked in the front window. They might be home, and where on his Danielphon Devil's softball team now, but he'd leave the Prince of Mullingar alone. Of course, he had Mullingar blood in him from his great-great-grand-father Peter Paul Daly. Skriamios', Niall Horan, was from Mullingar, and had done his heritage proud with his success in music. He kicked his feet from side to side, and walked on. He got to the local shops shortly, and turned up a street, headed for 'The Garden'. The Garden was still intact, as it originally was, and he made his way steadily up the street, coming to the guard to the Garden, who patrolled the outer perimiter fence. Access to the garden was strictly administered, but Seraphim had permission. He acknowledged Daniel, knowing him, and let him into the garden. Daniel made his way through the bushes, and found the tree of peace. He stood there, looking at it.
'I haven't eaten this fruit in a long, long time,' he said to God.
Daniel took a piece, and sat down on the grass. He bit into it. It was nice. He ate it all. He sat there, strangely enough, feeling peaceful. Then he stood, and walked a bit of a distance, till he came to the tree of knowledge of good and evil. There was a plaque on the ground, next to the tree. 'Kokabiel was here,' it read. Yes, he'd heard the rumor. Kokabiel had eaten it a long time ago.
'As I recall,' he said to God out loud. 'Not until we are well aged, and mature in our thoughts, do we partake of this fruit.'
He looked at the fruit, looked at the plaque, and walked on. He got to the western edge of the Garden, jumped the fence, and walked through Zaphona City. Soon enough he reached Zaphon, and came inside, going up to his traditional dormitory. He laid down on the bed, and fell asleep.
He dreamed. Dreams of Golden Light and Angels and Rainbows. And he was at peace. And he woke. It was late, dark, and it was quiet. He went out, and went into the cafeteria, were he found Ambriel chatting with Michael. He sat down next to them.
'You look different,' said Ambriel.
'I ate the tree of peace,' said Daniel. 'First time since the beginning of the realm.'
'It's taken you that long?' asked Michael. 'Unbelievable.'
'Yes. Amazing, isn't it,' replied the Seraphim. They sat. They chatted. And Daniel nodded at them as he left. He got outside, got on a late bus, and soon enough was near Danielphon at the local bus stop. He got out, went home, went inside, and confronted Matthew, in the nuddy, watching porn.
It was a day he would not forget any time soon. Definitely.
Ustra the Cherubim. 158th male cherubim of the Realm of Eternity. Captain of the Helyphon Hellraiders, and overseer of Helyphon Keep, at the southern base of the Dunarra ranges in the north-eastern quarter of Zaphora, was not happy. The Hellraiders softball side were down 4-2 against Gelphon Keep, the hot property in the Zaphora Softball Districts Cup this season, and things didn't look good. Helyphon were the traditional champs of many of the sports in the districts competitions, outdoing Zaphon time and time again. They were competitive. It was something in them. Not luck, nor an overly great training regime, though they did train hard. It was just dogged determinedness to come out on top, and play 'Like Aces' to be the champs. They liked their status, and they worked hard to maintain it. But today was probably not going to be there day.
'It's that damn bat everyone is going on about,' said Ustra.
'You got me out of my disc to fuss about a bloody softball bat?' queried his twin Sandriel. 'I don't know buddy. What gives?'
'I need the support. The twin does that. You understood that when I called you up,' replied Ustra.
'Sure. Whatever,' said Sandriel. 'So they have a great bat. What's the big deal though?' she chuckled. 'What? You can't stand losing?'
'Bulgarians don't lose. We just don't always win,' replied Ustra, the tutelary prince of Bulgaria in Terraphora, the technical founational nations of the universal princely national dominions. 'And we have the most dominion in discship because we compete the hardest and win the most prizes in Zaphora. Daniel – he's an idiot. Thinks he has all the glory, but we have the most land. No idea about competition.'
'I wouldn't think so,' said Sandriel. 'The Arch-Regent passed a new law, recently. Got approval from the Father. New Discs are divided into four sections. One of the quarters acts as the technical disc of authority, but all other three sectors may be competed for and claimed overseersmanship of from earlier overseers. Tell me Daniel is stupid now.'
'Dafuq?' asked Ustra, turning to look at his twin. 'When the hell did that happen?'
'They had a meeting. Daniel, Michael and Ambriel the other day. More of a chat. At Zaphon. Michael was planning the idea, and Daniel assented it pending God's approval. It got passed into law earlier this week. And Daniel has cashed in some of his credit prizes with God for his long standing status and claimed the next 10,000 2nd quarters of the new discs. They already fall under the authority of Danielphora. Now tell me he's stupid.'
Ustra looked at his twin, gobsmacked. 'Fuck,' he said after a while. He mulled on that, and then finally turned his attention back to the game. 'They're going to kick our arse,' he said.
'No kidding, buster,' replied Sandriel. In the end the score didn't change, and Ustra wasn't too disappointed. But it was the news on the new discal divisions which really got to him. He had an old prayer – for Bulgarian dominion. He'd now been challenged. And from Daniel himself. This was not good. He would have to think it over, and he realized something. Life always gave competitors. It was just the grim reality of things. Like it or not.
* * * * *
'Bake a cake. Why the hell do you want me to bake you a cake?' asked Sandriel to her twin.
'It's very simple,' replied Ustra. 'You get some icing sugar, and add some water or some melted butter, and you add coloured dye. And then you take the sponge cake you have made, and cut it in half and put whipped cream in between the two layers. And then you put them together, and cover the whole thing with Icing Sugar. Then you put currants on top. And you get small candle, and light it, and you turn off the lights, and come in with the cake with the candle lit. And you sing 'Happy Birthday Ustra. Happy day today. Thank God your still with us, and haven't turned gay. The gay part is optional, but you get the point. Then I blow out the candle, make a wish, and you cut the cake, and I eat some. Then I have the banana milkshake you have made me, and I fart a bit, and turn on the TV, and spend the rest of the day getting drunk. Because it's a millennial birthday, and I want to have a good one.'
She stared at him. 'Fine. I'll go shopping.'
'Chocolate bits would be nice as well,' he said.
'Now you're pushing it,' she replied.
Sandriel baked his cake, followed all the procedures, and wished him happy birthday.
'Any chance of getting lucky?' he asked.
He got lucky.
* * * * *
'So how do we go about claiming the quarter discs?' asked Ustra to Daniel the Seraphim.
'You cash in status credits. Noah keeps the records with Wolfgang. Officially Wolfgang as well. His personal sense keeps this information. Big to Wolfie.'
'Right,' said Ustra. 'I've got a heap of them.'
'Then there you go. Nobody has made any claims apart from me yet. I checked the register this morning. It's available online.'
'I'll claim this afternoon,' said Ustra. 'I'll ring Home. I have a few priority phone calls available to me.'
'Worth it for something like this, as well,' replied Daniel. 'The first of the quarter discs are something to try and get. They have value and merit. The eighth discs are planned when Gabriel begins as overseer. That's coming soon, now. Michael is mostly satisfied with his short term in office. Wants to just get us through to the 12th group of angels without taking forever in the job. A change in tradition was made, and it's been well received as well.'
'Fascinating,' replied Ustra. 'So soon.'
'So take advantage of the eighth discs. The plan is sort of that for each overseer the new disc gets quartered again and again. The vast size now makes this necessary.'
'Probably wise enough,' replied Ustra. 'Thanks for the info.'
'Think nothing of it, bro,' said Daniel.
Ustra got on with his day, contacted Wolfgang who assented his wishes and did the online registering of the details, and Ustra claimed quite a few of some of the early quarter discs of the Realm of Eternity. He was pleased with himself the rest of the week.
* * * * *
'Well, we're third on the ladder. Behind Gelphon and Zaphon. Danielphon have won 17 matches and are fourth. Very surprising, but they have a great team, and that Meludiel is a real goer,' said Ustra.
'Great competition this year. Every chance of making the finals,' said Sandriel. 'I've taken an interest now. Thinking about sports for my own disc of overseersmanship. Might use my patronage of many of the competitions and promote things for a while. Good health and fitness and things like that. Always gives life something to do as well.'
'That it does do. And fuels our competitive spirit.'
'Good luck for the season,' she said. 'You still have a chance at glory.'
'Hope so,' replied Ustra, and got on with his work at Helyphon Keep for the rest of the day.
* * * * *
Helyphon keep had a museum in the basement. It housed relics from earlier eras of the realm of eternity. It was one of Ustras many jobs to maintain the museum, and ensure things ran smoothly. It was coin donation entry, and today he was counting the money from the big 'Roll It In' barrell they used to collect the donations. The thing was, it took ages to fill the barrell, and it was quite large. It did have wheels, and the workers usually rolled it up to Ustra's office so he could empty the thing and count the coinage. It was demanding work.
'Ever thought of starting a coin collection?' asked his twin Sandriel. 'I've noticed a few rarities have been thrown in.'
'You've noticed,' replied Ustra. 'I've been keeping them to the side.' He stood, walked over to the side of the room, and brought down a large jar from the bookcase. He opened it, and carefully poured its contents out on to the desk. 'Rare glories,' he said. 'Even shit from human planetary bodies. All sorts of stuff no longer used, and valuable too. Some ancient ones. Been keeping the best of the rare for aeons now.'
'Crikey,' she said, picking up some of the coins, and looking at them.
'You know, we are wealthy enough. I have huge savings, and it would be selfish just to use these coins for personal glory. So seeing as they have been donated to the museum I have long had it in mind we start an official coin collection for Helyphon, to be displayed in the museum in coin folders. People can leaf through the albums, and enjoy rare coinage.'
'Very good idea,' replied Sandriel. 'And honourable too. To put the Keep before personal gain.'
'Hey, I'm that kind of angel,' he replied, a grin on his face.
'Dream on,' she said, and continued looking through the coins.
'Well, another day, another dollar,' he said. 'We raked in about 20 odd thousand creds from that haul.'
'Goodie. Pay again. It's been a long time since I've been paid. I'm down to my last ounce of butter.'
'Ooh, Miss Sandriel. You won't have to go to the salt mines this week,' he mocked.
'No brother. I could even have steak. Do you remember steak? Meat without bones. Really amazing what butchers do these days.'
Ustra laughed. 'Now how the hell do I get these to the bank?'
She smiled, and picked up the wad of plastic bags for coin denominations.
'The woes of a museum manager,' he sighed.
'Oh, poor poor Ustra,' replied his twin, as Ustra started counting off the coins and putting the right amount for each in the correct plastic bag. A long and tiring job, but someone had to do it.
* * * * *
Ustra had thrown a barbecue for various celebrities of the softball league for the season.
'Of course, Helyphon will triumph in the end. Our balls are bigger. Big balls. We have big balls in the Helyphon Softball club.'
'You'll need em,' said Daniel the Seraphim.
'They'll need to be enormous,' said Sarbratellion. 'Bigger than Bon Scott's balls, believe me, if you think you're going to wrest the crown from Gelphon's glorioius Gladiator's.'
'They'll peak. We'll get used to 'Wonderbat' and wear you down,' said Ustra, somewhat dramatically.
'Daniel can be relied on for very little. But makes a cracker of a bat,' said Sarbratellion.
'True. But I can be relied on for everything of serious nature,' replied Daniel.
'If its getting testicles displayed in a museum, for that you are reliable,' said Sarbratellion.
'Or coming up with crackpot endeavours to win the hearts of the angels of eternity,' said Ustra. 'Aeons of ego trips. Daniel has faithfully delivered us aeons of ego trips. Like this current Danielphon Devil's shmozzle. Give me a break. Danielphon is barely a fart of a bungalow, let alone a keep.'
'Tis true. She is a humble gal,' replied Daniel. 'But her glory is self-evident. Like the Devil's at the end of this season, wresting the crown of softball glory. Inevitable, really. May as well give us the trophy now.'
'We'll engrave it to the idiots from that minor keep of notrious reputation,' said Ustra.
'Or the Devil's of Average skill and talent,' said Sarbratellion.
'I should have joined this league years ago,' said Daniel. 'You guys are all the laughs. Michael – monotonous drone of blah blah blah. No fun. You guys are a laugh riot.'
'The heart of eternity has always had that edge,' said Ustra. 'Don't get me wrong, I like my disc. But this is where my heart is, and where I belong.'
'To Zaphora,' said Sarbratellion, raising his plastic cup of orange juice.
'To Zaphora,' agreed the others.
They sipped, and hung around the barbecue, enjoying the smells.
'I think we have a chance,' said Daniel.
'You'll be lucky to make the finals,' said Ustra.
'We're one place out of them at the moment,' said Daniel. 'Half the season gone, and we're in with a show. Skriamios is kicking arse. Top run scorer in the league, despite Uriel's fluidity with one of my glories.'
'He handles that bat well,' said Sarbratellion.
'Like it was made for him,' said Ustra.
'I made it with a whole host of styles and physiques in mind' said Daniel. 'It was carefully structured and carved, and the wood was first class material to work with. Prayed over it a lot as well. For it to fit in with differing people and for them to be comfortable with it.'
Ustra looked at Daniel, a serious look on his face. 'Yeh, I suppose so. Pray over a bat you are making. I suppose so. That is what we do, isn't it. With our arts and crafts. Pray to God about them.'
'Still what angels of eternity are called to. To use their talents and seek God's assistance in our day to day living,' said Daniel, sipping on his juice.
'I'll remember that,' said Ustra. And from the look on his face that appeared to be the case. The barbecue went on and they all had a good time, and Ustra was pleased wth another great end to a week, and another one coming up to get on with this thing called life.
* * * * *
Sandriel the Cherubim had a fairly good idea how Helyphon ran its affairs. She was not a permanent resident of the keep, and had her own world in her own disc, and did her own thing with her life for the most part. She was somewhat close to her twin, but they were not an item. But in this current season she was enjoying his sarcasm somewhat and agreed, again, with God's choice for her twin since the beginning.
'You expect me to clean up this mess?' she asked Ustra, at the sight of the mess after the barbecue.
'We have workers who can clean it up when the week starts again,' said Ustra.
'On monday,' she said.
'Yeh, why do you use the common week days. Everyone uses them now. We hardly use the angelic day names anymore.'
'I don't even know what day of the month it is in the angelic tongue,' sighed Sandriel. 'You know, things come and go.'
'Not officially,' said Ustra. Anyway, its Yavaladon today. Saturday in other words.'
'I know its damn Saturday,' she replied. She looked at the mess. 'Ok, I'll clean it up. But you must writ out a chapter of the Seraphim Torah. Section one in full, and then read it to me.'
'For heaven's sake. Fine,' said Ustra. 'Thanks babe,' he replied.
Sandriel got stuck in, and about half an hour later the back yard of Helyphon was starting to look reasonable again. She then got stuck into cleaning the barbecue. She scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed, and when it looked clean enough, she put the lid back on, and put it back in its place agains the wall of the keep, putting the gas cylinders beside it. They felt mostly empty so she decided she may as well do a good deed and look into them getting filled. A woman's work is never done, she sighed to herself. When she was all finished, and the yard looking clean, she sat down, and sipped on some juice, looking up at the Dunarra ranges. There were houses and large buildings all over the range, as Zaphona City pretty much sprawled over most of Zaphora. There were literally trillions of residents of Zaphora, many of them in the big micro-city skyscrapers, which went way up into the sky many cubits, mainly around Zaphon tower, overlooking the realm. There were millions of businesses and it was the centre of much of the Realm's business world. A place to be in many ways, though there were a lot of nubs of acitivities in the realm of eternity, and by no means was Zaphona City the biggest of cities. Some places were astronomical in size. She sat there, enjoying her drink, and thinking about her twin, and that, indeed, he was a good enough fellow to hang around with for a while, enjoy that brave and charming manliness common in the opposite sex, and smile at his humor and wit. He was a good enough brother. She was glad to have him.
* * * * *
Ustra looked at the dining room for the restaurant of Helyphon keep. One of the businesses of Helyphon, in fact the primary money earner, was the restaurant. He was the overseer of Helyphon, and worked with the kitchen manager, Geverendel, a cherubim offspring. Geverendel was a competent French chef, and did his job with skill and dedication. Tonight, business as usual, and he checked over the room after the cleaner had been through it following the lunch shift.
'We have Michael over tonight,' said Ustra to Geverendel. 'He's coming to check out the competition for the final, I think. Or so he hopes. Put on a good menu tonight.'
'Yes boss,' replied Geverendel.
'And chill some fine wine. Some good stuff. We'll give him a bottle on the house. Make a good impression with the soon to be retired overseer.'
'He is retiring again? So soon,' said Geverendel.
'He decided to make the run of overseers, this time, just short in their stint to give their best to the job, make a short but meaningful impact, and move on with life. Doesn't want to dwell on things for another million years.'
'Probably has other things to do,' said Geverendel.
'Apparently he wants to get to his Zaphora overseersmanship again. Not busy with Zionistya things. So its the Realm of Eternity again for him. Must have issues I think.'
'Israel always has issues,' replied Geverendel.
Ustra nodded at the comment, and looked at the room. 'It looks good. Let's have a good evening.'
He gave the room a final look over, and retired to his office. It was a busy enough life, running a popular keep. Helyphon was not the main name one associated with the disc of Zaphora, but it had a proud one. And while he was in the job, Ustra the Cherubim would ensure its reputation was solid and maintained. And that gave him meaning in life, and, as they say, something to fill in the time. In the busy humdrum of life, something to fill in the time.
And no sooner had he started the job, then he retired again, letting Gabriel back in as overseer. Michael had officially moved back to Zaphora for the running of his overseer job, and he was content with that. Gabriel had signalled he would not push it to a million years, and that they wanted each overseer to give a fair and decent crack at the job, putting their years of experience together into a rebirth for the Realm of Eternity, psyching it up for the next epoch of adventures. But to Ustra, while that was great news, it was not his main concern. It was the final. They'd defeated Danielphon in the semis, and Gelphon had defeated Zaphon, and the final match was coming. Time to do or die.
'Are you focused?' asked Sandriel.
'I'm focused,' replied Ustra.
'Are you Bulgarian and proud?' asked Sandriel.
'I'm Bulgarian and proud,' replied Ustra.
'Do you have what it takes?' asked Sandriel.
'I have what it takes,' replied Ustra.
'Then GO!' she yelled.
He started on his muesli.
'A champion day needs a champion breakfast,' she said. 'And you have a litre of orange juice to consume before the match.'
'I'll spend the afternoon pissing in the toilet,' he complained.
'Do it between innings,' she replied sarcastically.
'Will do,' he said, as he consumed his breakfast.
At lunch he finished his orange juice, and he looked at the TV casually.
'The team bus will be here in about 10 minutes,' said Sandriel. 'A short trip to Gelphon stadium, then its down to business.'
Ustra was, for once, nervous. It was not like he hadn't been through this before. He had – countless times. But it was special this season. It just was. It had been a competition taken quite seriously this year, with new happenings associated with it, and they had a chance, yet again, to claim the glory for Helyphon. But they were up against the minor premieres, the ladder leaders at the end of the regular season, and it would not be easy. Uriel's bloody wonderbat. It was legendary almost – and only a season old.
'The bus is here,' she said.
'Right,' he replied.
They boarded the bus, and he nodded to his team mates. Time to get serious.
The match was alive. The final innings, and scores were level at 3 runs each. Helypon had just batted, and made a single run, leaving it to the final innings from Gelphon.
'Are you nervous?' Sandriel asked Ustra as he went out into the field, to short stop.
'I've never been more so.'
'Good luck,' she said, and gave him a rare kiss on the cheek.
'Here we go,' he said.
They went through the motions, and Gelphon got a player to third bass, with two out, and Uriel coming up to bat.
'Come on,' said Ustra. 'Get the bugger.'
The pitcher looked briefly at Ustra, and had a look on his face. It was in the hand of God now. He pitched. Uriel struck, and the ball went sailing past first base, but they had to throw the ball to home to prevent the run. It sailed in, and the catcher caught the ball and quickly touched the runner. It was tight, and the umpire looked at the situation for a few moments. Then he yelled 'Safe.' Gelphon had won the match. The cheering started, and Ustra looked up at the skies. Not to be this year. No matter.
'You played well. A run, and got a guy home,' said Sandriel.
'We lost,' said Ustra.
'We gave it our best,' said Sandriel. 'Some times these things happen. Part of life, twin of mine, is taking the good with the bad. But sometimes we must, in all humility, just take that bad, and go on with life. Cheer up, bro. There is always next season.'
And, as the days passed, Ustra gradually lost the frown on his face. Sandriel, inevitably, returned to her home, and Ustra got on with life. But he cheered up after a while and, at Gelphon tavern, chatting with Daniel and Sarbratellion, he even bragged about Uriel's batting and clapped Daniel on the back for such a marvellous bat. After all, life went on. Well done Gelphon keep and Sarbratellion the Cherubim.
Quiet, despite the noise of Zaphona City in the vicinity. It was quiet. Sariel noted that. Back at Dalnaphon. He'd been away a lifetime of lifetimes, but he was staying again, deciding to make Zaphora his home as he anticipated, with the departure of Michael and Gabriel replacing him, to be overseer again soon enough. Possibily as little as a century before he'd have the job. So Zaphora would be home, and his own discworld could rest without him for a while, enjoying the vacant keep, were he and Jerahmeel had spent much of their youth. It was dusty. He found a copy of 'Perspectives from the Rim' in the bookcase and laughed. It was an original as well. Some things never changed. He dusted, and washed the sheets. Then a lady showed up at the door.
'I'm the landlady,' she said.
'Jerahmeel employs you?' he asked her. She nodded. 'What, does he want rent or something?'
'No idea,' she replied. 'I noticed the activity and came to see what was going on. I live just next door, down the Sellawon a little. It's you Sariel Seraphim isn't it?'
'Gosh. Another Seraphim I've met now. Funny. I should have expected that living in Zaphora, but it's kind of crazy when it happens.'
'Good to know,' smiled Sariel. 'Well, I've moved in for the duration. You can let Jerahmeel know if you want. Traditionally we don't actually pay rent for theolder keeps of the realm. More of our birthright. Things didn't change when the monetary system came in for the oldest traditions.'
'Really,' she replied. 'Fascinating. I don't know very much about the ancient days. I know this place has never changed, though. You can tell as well. Very much antiquity, this design.'
'It does its job,' replied Sariel.
'Well, if you don't object, I will contact Jerahmeel. My guess is he might want to come and see you or something. You guys are close, right?'
'I and Jerahmeel go way back to the beginning,' replied Sariel. 'Anyway, how rude am I? What, may I ask, is your name dear?'
'Helen Gilmore,' replied the lady. 'Only human. I'm descended from someone famous, though. A descendant of her oldest son. Jenny Gilmore. Works in the United Galaxy right at the top. A department head.'
'I've heard of the lady,' replied Sariel. 'That got you the job, did it?'
'Daniel the Seraphim approved of an application from myself to stay in northern Zaphora for a year. He knows Jenny well. I never met Daniel, but when the place I was doing volunteer work said they liked my attitude, I was able to prolong my stay for a decade. Then I started watching over this place for Jerahmeel, after the other landlord left Zaphora, and he employed me permanently, officiating my permanent resident rights with the authorities. It's bliss, you know. This realm.'
'It indeed is, Helen,' replied Sariel. He looked at the lady then. She was actually attractive, with brown hair, a little past shoulder length, and beautiful green eyes. Very rare green eyes.'
'So you live here with your family, then?' queried Sariel.
'No. Single. I've taken forever to find the right man, but that is so common with Gilmore girls, you know. That's a joke by the way.'
'Very funny,' replied Sariel, and looked at her again. She was attractive, as he thought about her. 'Well, would you like to have dinner with me tonight. Welcome me to Dalnaphon. I have nothing in the house, and will need to shop.'
'Gee. Sure Sariel. I'd be honoured.'
'The honour is all mine,' replied Sariel.
And so Helen took a list of Sariel's requirements, shopped that afternoon for him, and they had dinner that evening. She rattled on all evening about her extensive knowledge of her ancestry and their feats and accomplishments, and, more than her good looks, it was her voice, full of passion but sobriety, and nice and textured, that Sariel got lost in, and almost fell asleep to as she chatted on.
'Your a remarkable lady,' he said, as he stood at the door with her the night at an end.
'You'll have to have dinner with me next week,' she said. 'Oh, I insist. If you don't mind me insisting,' she replied.
'That – would be lovely,' replied Sariel.
She left, and he was tired, but he picked up 'Perspectives from the Rim' and, as he read it, he wasn't reading it. He was thinking of his new friend, and her beautiful green eyes, and her lovely voice. A voice he could disappear into – for an eternity.
* * * * *
The dinner had been wonderful, and all of a sudden he was in the Sellawon with her, swimming.
'The water is almost spiritual,' said Helen.
'It has ancient prayers prayed over it,' replied Sariel. 'In the beginning we prayed for the realm a lot. Those prayers are very old now, and very strong. They guide the realm, the lives of the angels, our work, our play.'
'You'r amazing,' she said, and drew near, and kissed him.
'Each new disc,' he said, after they parted, 'has its prayers at its foundations. Each group of angels must pray their disc, or what is it now, new quadrants, into a spiritual life of prosperity and havenship. They must all be havens of the soul. So essential. They can be raw to start with, full of young and brash adventure, before things gradually calm down. We were all young and full of beans to start with.'
'I think you still have enough beans,' she said smiling at him.
'I think you draw them out Helen,' he replied smiling warmly at her.
They continued swimming around, and after a while came up to the bank, and laid on their towels.
'Don't you have a wife or something?' she asked him.
'I've had a number,' he replied. 'But Seraphim often end up single a lot of the time. A lot of baggage, you know. We don't make that many new connections after a while. A life full of history and past lovers. You sort of reach a limit.'
She smiled at him. 'And I'm your limit?' she asked him.
'You – are a taste of the unexpected,' he replied. 'Not exactly what I was looking for?'
'And what were you looking for?' she asked.
'I don't know,' he replied. 'And I'm not really sure if I'm looking for you, either. Baggage, like I said. But this is sort of happening, I guess.'
'Life goes on Sariel. Sometimes we start again, you know. I've done that more than once. Let past flames die, and lit new ones. Sort of how eternity works in the end.'
'You are wise beyond your years,' he replied.
'Kiss me again,' she said. And he did. They didn't make love, though. He wouldn't do that. But he was tempted. He felt, strange. He identified it though. It was old fashioned love. The first urgings of it. And he wasn't sure he should correct it, as he wasn't sure if he minded. And looking at this beauty, for now he would let it run were it would. For now.
* * * * *
'This is Helen,' said Sariel, introducing Helen.
'Uh, I know,' replied Jerahmeel.
Sariel slapped his forehead. 'Oh, she's your landlady. Dumb me.'
Jerahmeel looked at Helen, standing right next to Sariel, hands almost touching. And he thought on how Sariel had introduced her, and jumped to a conclusion.
'Well, let's eat,' said Sariel. 'Helen has prepared our lunch.'
As they sat, Sariel and Helen seated closely next to each other, Jerahmeel smiled. The old devil, he thought to himself.
'Well, I've re-read 'Perspectives from the Rim,' he said. 'Absorbing.'
'You have found Helen a new support, have you. She only has this job, watching over Dalnaphon. She cleans it once a decade, from what I've been told, and checks each morning the grounds to see if we've had intruders.'
'I know,' replied Sariel. 'She's a fabulous Gilmore girl, with a marvelous heritage. Jenny Gilmore's grand-daughter. Down the line a bit.'
'I know that too,' replied Jerahmeel, smiling.
'Of course, you would. I forget,' said Sariel.
Jerahmeel sat there, eating his meal, noticing they way they touched each other, and looked at each other. It was old fashioined. They were smitten with each other. He decided to throw a spanner into the works. Just to see the result.
'Well, I've decided to get Gloryel here for a dinner party. With you two of course,' said Jerahmeel. 'Time to catch up with some old friends, and natter on about what we've been up to for the last few aeons.'
'Gloryel's your twin, isn't she,' said Helen, just then moving her chair slightly away from Sariel.
'Uh, yeh,' replied Sariel, and looked at Helen.
'Oh, they are old flames,' said Jerahmeel. 'She's spice heaven, and they have an ancient rivalry. Goes way back to the beginning. Never apart very long.'
'Good,' said Helen, and looked down, at her meal, no longer looking at Sariel.
'We're not married,' blurted out Sariel. 'Just – twins. Supports for each other, you know. That's how twin things work.'
'They sure do,' said Jerahmeel, feeling like a bit of a devil for his actions.
'I guess you love her, of course,' said Helen.
'Yes. Yes, I love Geraldine. We're th best of friends. But its just that. We're the best of friends.'
'Oh, ancient ones,' said Jerahmeel, a guilty grin on his face.
'Look, I'm not feeling the best,' said Helen. 'If you'll excuse me, I'll just go home.' And she stood, and left, and Sariel glared at Jerahmeel.
'Sorry to see her not feeling well,' said Jerahmeel.
'You, Jerahmeel. Are an asshole,' said Sariel. And Jerahmeel raised no objection to the slur.
* * * * *
'You have to think about it old man. Your an established angel. You have established relationships. If you need to dip your wink, that is perfectly understandable, but I am sure Gloryel will provide bedroom action if you push her.'
Sariel thought on that idea for a moment, but quickly banished the thought from his head.
'So I am not convinced I did the wrong thing. Helen is a lovely girl. Very suitable for the Realm of Eternity. Why I recommended her. But she doesn't need to get messed up with the likes of you. You are spoken for. You have exes who are not really exes, and a twin who likes the rivalry and the devotion when she wants it. Don't let this girl excite you. I saw the way you were together. It's not appropriate. And, as bizarre as it may sound, with so much liberality people just take for granted these days, you are angel, and she is human. Normally that is a forbidden relationship.'
'I know,' replied Sariel, and wanted to say something but thought better of it.
'Sure. Have a fling. But leave it at that. A fling. And I plan on letting Geraldine Estelle Haliwell know all about this new love interest of Hugh Grant's, and I am sure she will have a word or two in response.'
'You would do that, wouldn't you,' replied Sariel.
'Not only would I, but I plan on doing that very shortly.'
'Well, stick you. I'll let this relationship run its natural course. I'm not a silly school boy. I don't say I love her, you know. But I know the foundation of love. And I know we have that foundation. It became obvious to me the other night at her place.'
Jerahmeel glared at his Seraphim brother, and then backed down. 'Its your life, Sariel the Seraphim. If there are mistakes to be made, they are still your mistakes to make. But I've had my two pennies worth of advice.'
'I'll keep that in mind,' replied Sariel. But he didn't.
* * * * *
'It's a stork. They mainly live upstream, near the lake,' said Sariel. 'But they get down here every aeon or so.'
'They look so grand,' said Helen. 'Like you.'
They were together again, after a brief interlude, and Sariel assured her Gloryel and her were just good friends. So far she had taken him at his word.
'You know so much,' she said.
'I'm old. Comes with the territory,' he replied.
She kissed him quickly then, and ran off to the water's edge. Suddenly a snake shot out, and bit her on the foot.
'Fuck!' she yelled. 'What the hell was that?'
Sariel looked at the snake as it slithered away. 'One of the garden's official representative's,' said Sariel. 'Snakes have legal rights in the Garden. A family of them live there.'
'Oh,' she said. 'I don't feel so well,' she said, and suddenly collapsed. Sariel was old, but even Seraphim panicked. He rushed to her, and tried to revive her, but to no avail. So, bending down, he picked her up into his arms, and carried her to the car. Then he drove, through the streets of Zaphona City, without any shoes, which wasn't quite legal, to Zaphona City hospital and up to emergency.
'Snakebite,' said Sariel. 'One of the garden's residents. It had gotten upstream to Dalnaphon. No idea how it got there.'
'Oh,' said the nurse. She looked sombre.
'What's the issue?' asked Sariel.
'Those snakes are quite deadly,' said the nurse. 'Sorry.'
Sariel stood there, as they rushed Helen into the emergency ward, and his face was a knot of fear. Suddenly he felt sick in his guts, and had to get some water. He sat there and then, for the first time an an actually quite long time, he prayed. He prayed, and asked the Lord for mercy, and waited. Half an hour later a doctor came out. He didn't have a good look on his face.
'I'm sorry, Sariel. There was nothing we could do. Does she have a good name? There is every possibility for resurrection from Sheol soon enough.'
Sariel stood there, shaken to his core. Dead. Helen was dead. His life had suddenly turned upside down.
* * * * *
There was a quiet funeral, and Sariel dressed in black, with Jerahmeel somberly standing next to him. The chaplain said some kinds words, and the body was cremated, according to Helen's will. And then he returned to Dalnaphon. And he still dressed in black.
It was six months later, he was quietly eating his meal, not happy. His life was wrecked inside. He was sitting there, morbid, and Helen walked in.
'Hey, beautiful she said. Happy to see me?'
He looked up. 'Helen. Oh my God! Helen.'
'Sheol was hell,' she said. 'Literally. But some sort of being said to me after a few weeks I had died an unfortunate death, but it was mostly an act of God more than anything else. And I would be alive again soon enough. And here I am.'
He got to his feet, and rushed to her, and grabbed her. 'Never bloody die on me again,' he said, almost shaking her.
'Ok. I won't,' she replied. He hugged her then, and all that night he just watched her. His heart had been turned inside out, but a connection had been made now. One forged in death.
* * * * *
'Destiny is strange,' said Wolfgang to Sariel. 'Not everything always goes to plan, but it became apparent that you were smitten with Helen. A change of nature had to occur in her because of it. She needed to taste a forbidden knowledge of sorts, and she had to die. She is compatible with you now. It's ok to have a permanent relationship with her if you wish to.'
'Oh,' said Sariel. 'You killed her to make her mine. Ironic.'
'Your heart would not be persuaded otherwise,' replied God's theophany.
'No. It wouldn't,' said Sariel.
'That's the trouble with love,' said God. 'It will damn well make up its own mind in the end. It never listens to reason.'
But Sariel was lost in thought, and God knew his words had been spoken in vain. So he patted his son on the back, wished him well, and departed. And Sariel sat there, thinking on God's words, and realizing his heart had chosen a new love. And that his life would never be the same again.
'Daniel is home,' said Ruth.
'Oh, good,' said Boaz.
'Claudia is there as well,' said Ruth.
'Naturally,' replied Boaz.
'Kayella knocked on the door half an hour ago. She dropped by and said hello first,' said Ruth.
'Oh,' said Boaz. 'I see.'
'Don't you say 'I see' Boaz the Bethlehemite. This is serious. I am really not convinced Kayella the Callophin should be around with Callodyn and Claudia. It is not what I want at all.'
'What you want?' mused Boaz. 'I see it all now. The world run according to the wisdom of Ruth the Moabite. God help us all.'
'Stick a muffin in your gob, husband. This is not good. Claudia and Daniel had been working things out.'
'God help me, but what things exactly?' queried Boaz.
'You know. Relationship things. She is perfect for him. And we hardly need his Callophim twin interfering with things. She is hot tempered at the best of times. Has an awful reputation in Paradision. When she first arrived she was no end of trouble.'
'Kelly Clarkson found herself again,' replied Boaz. 'And settled back into regular life. She's no trouble. Besides, she's faithfully married to Mr Blackstock.'
'Which is how it will stay,' said Ruth firmly.
'Indeed. And Wolfgang the Theophany would sit on the throne of Zaphon, unmoving eternally, if you had your way.'
'Don't be silly,' she replied. 'I never liked that Callophim.'
'She's one of your best friends,' said Boaz. 'Oh, I see. Concerns. You don't know what your saying. Forgive me, I understand. Woman talk. They talk their feelings rather than the facts.'
'Shut up,' she said. 'Now let's see. I can come up with a reason for Kelly to go back to the Realm. Encourage fidelity to her husband I think.'
'Don't interfere Ruth. But I know you will.'
'Yes. That's what I'll do. Remind her of her marriage vows.'
'Have you ever wondered if they can sort their hearts out for themselves. They are as old as us, you know. They've been there, done that. Claudia is old news to Kayella. It won't be much of an issue, I assure you.'
'Your wrong, of course. Kayella will be jealous, and will spit fire at her twin if he imagines anything resembling permanency with Claudia. I know what she wants in the end. Her cake and to eat it to. Callodyn at her disposal.'
'Daniel can take care of himself. And he gives as good as he gets. Believe me.'
'I'm going next door,' she said. 'Get your own dinner.'
Boaz sighed. Life with Ruth was always complicated. Even at the best of times.
'You are a beautiful disaster, Kayella,' said Callodyn.
'Very funny,' replied Kayella.
'Was your trip good. Can I get you anything?' asked Claudia.
Kayella handed her coat to Claudia, and shook her head. 'I'll be in the other room,' said Claudia, and left.
Callodyn looked at Kayella. 'Good to see you Callophim.'
'You would call me that,' sighed Kayella. 'There's something I want to talk to you about.'
'Shoot,' he replied. The doorbell rang, and Claudia answered it.
'Who's that?' asked Kayella out loud.
'It's Ruth,' said Claudia, showing Ruth into the room.
'Oh, hi Ruth,' said Kayella.
'Hello, Kayella,' said Ruth curtly.
'Please,' sit,' said Callodyn. Ruth smiled and sat. He turned his attention back to Kayella. 'Do you want to continue?'
Kayella looked at Ruth, but decided to continue on anyway.
'It's like this. I'm faithfully married to my husband. Blackstock. I think, now, it's eternal between us. But I want you to know this. I don't intend letting go of our relationship. I'm your wife in a sense. We've known each other enough. But we'll never have sex again, and I want, this place especially, more so than Danielpon, to be a place I can also come and call home. It's practically my first home after death in a sense. I want to be that soulmate thing we are supposed to be. Like a wife in some ways, more than just a sister, but no official relationship. Not of romance anyway. But friendship, Cally. You know. What we are very good at at times. We have that spark. We actually, God help me for saying this. But we make good buddies. We have chemistry. Can we keep it like that. I mean, forever.'
'Should be fine.' Callodyn looked at Ruth. 'Not sure if I should say this, but I haven't been with a woman in 10,000 years. I get by with a bit of, you know, the jerking the gherkin stuff.'
'Callodyn!' exclaimed Ruth.
'Forgive me. But what I want to say is that I'm happy enough with an occasional love, but I like my single life. What I need is female friends. Close female friends, who have that woman's touch you don't get with the blokes, Ambriel aside.'
'Callodyn!' excalimed Ruth again.
'I like it the way it is, Kayella. It works for me. If eternal love is eventually on the horizon, so be it. But I don't need it with my twin. Not anymore. Just eternal friendship. That suits me. And I think that is probably, in the end, what works best between us.'
'I agree,' said Kayella.
'Me too,' said Ruth. 'Oh, sorry. I shouldn't have said anything.'
Daniel gave Ruth a look, and looked at Kayella. 'Stay a while.'
'No, its ok. I've said what needed to be said. It's understood now. It's been on my mind a while now, but it's understood now.'
She stood, and Claudia suddenly appeared, and handed Kelly's coat back to her.
Kayella came to Daniel, kissed him on the cheek, and said 'See ya loverboy.' And then she was gone.
Daniel sat back down, and looked at Ruth. 'Well, there you go,' he said.
'Indeed,' replied Ruth, looking at Daniel, and then looking at Claudia standing in the background.
'Is that what she said,' said Boaz. 'Well, you got your way without having to do anything.'
'Not yet. I don't think Kayella will be much trouble anymore, but Claudia says Callodyn treats her formally, and is happy with her to be his house keeper, and not much else.'
'And what's wrong with that?' queried Boaz. 'She needed a job. He gave her one.'
'They are supposed to be together,' replied Ruth.
'Dear wife of mine. In the machinations of eterna life and love there are no completely firm rules of what should be. People, in the end, make up their own mind, and not to everyone's satisfaction by any means. You don't even know if Claudia might want to meet someone else some day either.'
'I don't think that will happen,' said Ruth.
'And you know this? How?'
'A woman knows these things,' said Ruth. 'No, Callodyn just needs a nudge. He'll get the idea soon enough.'
'Let sleeping dogs lie,' said Boaz. 'If its meant to be it will happen in time. Callodyn has a string of past romances. You don't know his heart after all. There could be another woman for him in the grand scheme of things.'
Ruth looked at her husband. 'Thats a possibility I guess. But he and Claudia look so good together.'
'And if its meant to be time will take care of that. Don't interfere.'
'Fine,' said Ruth in a huff, and went off to the kitchen. Boaz came in after a while, and sat down at the table.
'Besides, it's not really any of our business. We may be neighbours, but it doesn't give us the right to run Daniel's love life. Let him worry about that for himself.'
'Your right. Of course,' said Ruth. 'Anyway, your stamp convention. It's coming up again, isn't it?'
'Uh, yeh,' replied Boaz. 'Looking for an old stamp they've had at the convention on and off for years. Need to fill a hole, but never had the cash. It costs a literal fortune, but I've been saving for a long time now for it.'
'Why don't you invite Daniel along?' suggested Ruth.
'Why?' asked Boaz suspiciously.
'To be good neighbours,' said Ruth, chopping up onions. 'Nothing more than that.'
'Fine. Ok, I'll invite him. The Daly's have a great stamp collection also. Could be a good time.'
'Good,' said Ruth.
'Are you planning anything?' asked Boaz. 'I smell a rat.'
'Just get to your convention,' said Ruth. 'Dinner will be at 6.'
'Fine,' said Boaz, but he knew the mind of Ruth. She never let on about her deepest plans.
'Look, at this stage I really just want to do my job and get on with life,' said Claudia. 'I'm not really looking for romance with Daniel. It's not that I don't like him. I do. Very much. But he's my stability in a way, and I don't want any sort of relationship thing interfering with my life. I went through a topsy turvy period, and I need a stable job and a stable boss. And that's what I want at this time.'
'But,' began Ruth, but stopped herself. 'Yes. Well, Ok. You are right of course. He's your employer and you need a stable job. God knows, Boaz's fideity to his work keeps my life stable. We have a well worked out routine because of it.'
'Which is what I need at this time in my life,' said Claudia. 'A stable routine. Anyway, I'm happy. Life is good in Paradision, and I don't want anytying to upset the balance. A relationship with Daniel included.'
'Naturally,' said Ruth. She put her hands on her knees, and looked at Claudia. 'Well, come around in the morning. I'll cook us breakfast.'
'Oh, ok. I'll have to cook for Daniel first. He's in town for a few months. He's doing work from his computer, and he's been reading a lot of books recently. Classical books of the 20thcentury. Famous writers.'
'Oh,' said Ruth. 'Does he do a lot of that? Read?'
'Only at times, from what I've gathered,' replied Claudia. 'He said, once, he goes through phases. When he does something, he takes an interest in it, often for a prolonged period, and then moves on. How Daly's go about things, he said to me.'
'Interesting,' replied Ruth. 'Well, no matter. Look, don't worry about breakfast. But I'll drop around for our afternoon chat as usual.'
'As usual,' smiled Claudia.
Ruth left, but as she walked next door to her home, she felt that the situation with Claudia's life, as the girl said herself, needed stability. And in thinking about that she realized the best she could do, at this time anyway, was to be a supporting friend, and a confidante. If there was to be love between Claudia and Daniel it would come in its own time. God help her, she was listening to the wisdom of Boaz. So she would leave things alone for now, and get on with life, and let the mysteries of the love life of Callodyn the Callophim solve themselves in their own good time.
In Dalnaphon's Shadow
Dalnaphon was practically on the edge of the rim of the disc of Zaphora. But there was an abode just north of it, which had been there a long while. And in that abode lived the cherubim Randock, 259th of the male cherubim of eternity. He didn't live with his twin Shaltoriana. She was part of the Daly's brigade. Niece of one of the Daniel Daly's, Madalene Bridges. Randock didn't see her much at all. Madalene had her own life, and no time for her twin. So Randock lived alone, as he had often done, in the shadow of Dalnaphon, at the very edge of Zaphora, doing a simple job as groundskeeper of local grasslands, which he mowed, and not much else. A quiet life, for a quiet soul.
'So, Randock. What's new?' asked Sariel.
'Not much,' replied Randock. He sat there, and sipped on his beer, and didn't say much.
'Any girlfriends of late?' asked Sariel.
'None to speak of,' replied the Cherubim.
'What do you do with your time then?'
'I read the Cherubim Torah. Go bowling with a mate ever Galadon, and mow lawns. Apart from that I watch a lot of TV, and read books on Antarctica. I know a lot about the place.'
'Fascinating,' said Sariel.
'I'm a member of the International Antarctica Society,' said Randock. 'I visit it all over the realm. In Terraphora too, up in the mountains of course, were it snows a bit. Been to Eternya's Antarctic region also. Fascinating place.'
'You like ice, then,' said Sariel.
'I don't mind the cold,' said Randock. 'But I'm a regular enough guy. Antarctic things have long interested me. Just a basic thing I take an interest in. I've thousands of books on it. Know all sorts of things. Just a hobby. I do meet up with other members of the society occasionally for trips to varioius Antarctic territories. We take pictures, collect soil samples for analysis, and chart life in the region, and other things. I know a lot of its history from the various places. There are quite a lot of cities in various Antarctic territories now, you know. Some people don't mind the cold much.'
'Right,' replied Sariel. 'So that's your thing then.'
'And the Cherubi Torah. To keep me steady spiritually. Not much else.'
'You don't get lonely, I take it?'
'I have a twin for that. Shaltoriana. She visits me every million years or so. We chat then.'
'Oh. Love not a big issue for you?'
'It could be. Just doesn't really come my way much, you know. Had a wife once. Lasted for a while. We had a kid. Haven't seen either of them in an eternity. But them's the breaks, right. I'm content, though. My spiritual life keeps me happy enough. Quiet life. I don't mind.'
'Couldn't imagine that kind of life,' said sariel. 'I thrive on interaction.'
'We're not all made of the same stuff,' replied Randock. 'What is one man's trash is another man's treasure, and while my life might seem pretty pathetic to some, well, it suits me well enough.'
'Well that's good then. As long as you are happy,' said Sariel. 'Anyway, I'm having a barbecue at Dalnaphon next week. My twin, Gloryel, is coming over, as well as Jerahmeel. Would you like to attend?'
'Sure. What day?'
'On Saturday,' said Sariel. 'Around midday. Looking forward to catching up.'
Randock nodded, and Sariel left his abode, leaving him to get on with his afternoon.
* * * * *
'Yo,' said Shaltoriana.
'Dafuq are you doing here?' asked Randock.
'Sariel the Seraphim rang me up and said you could use a girlfriend,' she replied.
Randock stared at his twin. 'You want to be my girlfriend? Are you thinking straight.'
'I don't do me easy,' replied Shaltoriana. 'They don't stick it out with me very long. I have a personality complex, I'm told. Men just don't hang around very long.'
'Fine. I see you've got a suitcase.'
'Brought my essentials. Figured I'd move in. See how it goes.'
'Fine. Come in then,' he replied. Shaltoriana came in the door, and automatically went to the guest room. She knew the place, and started putting her clothes in the drawers and cupboards, and put her toothbrush in the bathroom, along with her other hygiene products.
'What sort of girlfriend?' he asked, when she came back into the room.
'Kissy kissy stuff,' she replied. 'We'll see how it goes.'
'Fine,' he said again. He looked at her. Shaltoriana again. Weird. 'Well, do you want to make dinner? Do you care about stuff like that?'
'I'll make it,' she said. 'I don't care. Something to do I guess.'
'Fine,' he replied.
'You say that a lot,' she said.
'I know. Not much vocabulary. Not many friends. I cut down on word usage because of it.'
'Fine,' she replied.
'Very funny,' he said.
'Well, its getting on a bit. I'll look at your kitchen and maybe go shopping,' said Shaltoriana. 'Buy some decent food.'
'I don't have much,' he said. 'Basic diet, really. Same old same old.'
'Then I'll be busy,' she said. 'And its good to see you I guess. At least your still around. Guys come and go, but old Randock. Never changes. Same guy he's always been.'
'I guess,' he replied. She kissed him on the cheek, and wandered off to the kitchen, leaving a slightly stunned Randock bemused at this strange new happening.
* * * * *
He was out mowing the grass on a local nature strip, when Shaltoriana suddenly appeared in front of the ride on mower. He stopped it and looked at her.
'What the hell are you doing here?' he asked her.
'I brought you your lunch. You won't have to buy it. I made it myself. Salad and tuna sandwiches with mayo. And some orange juice.'
'Oh. I see,' he replied. He looked at his watch. A bit after twelve. 'Well, I can take my break now,' he said. And got off his mower, and came over to her.
'Well, we'll sit here,' said Shaltoriana, and sat down on the grass.
'Fine,' replied Randock. He sat, and Shaltoriana passed him his lunch, and she had a bottle of juice also. He ate silently, and looked at her. She was looking at him. It was weird.
'You're taking this seriously then,' he said to her.
'May as well,' she replied.
'Next thing you'll want to get married.'
She sipped on her juice, and shrugged. 'I guess,' she replied.
'I guess,' he said, and ate his sandwiches.
12 weeks later he gave her the engagement ring, and she kissed him, and now they could sleep together anyway. It wasn't an issue now.
'Do you even love me?' he asked her.
'I don't attract men to permanence. You're never going to stop being my twin. And I've never been in love with you, but I've never objected to you either. Your a pretty basic sort of guy, but I guess I don't really care anymore. I just don't need any wild lifestyle anymore. You'll do.'
'Oh,' he said.
'I don't plan on leaving you, you know. I mean this commitment.'
'Fine,' he replied, and smiled at her. She kissed him then, and said softly, 'And I do love you a bit.'
And that cheered up Randock the Cherubim. His twin was now an actual part of his life.
4 O'Clock 18
It was 4 in the morning. Too late for clubbing, and TV sucked tonight. God turned off the tele set, and looked at the wall. Bored. He was bored. He went outside of home, and sat down, staring at the endless aurora.
'DO YOU HAVE A PLAN FOR THAT KEY OF DESTINY YET?' the spirit asked him. 'THAT DANIEL IS EAGER TO GET HIS RECOMPENSE.'
'Fine,' said Wolfgang and went down to his archives. He looked things over for about half an hour, and made a commitment on the things he would offer up. 40,000 items exactly, and planned out a moving trip from the archive down to the bottom or Zaphora. Finishing up hisplan, he went inside and got the Key of Destiny from his bedroom side table, looking at it. 'Right. The challenge then,' he thought to himself. He was asleep by 5, though, and dreamed dreams.
A few weeks later Ambriel, Michael, Daniel and Callodyn were assembled.
'The challenge is to find the key,' said God. 'Here is the starter scroll. Good luck.' God handed them a copy each, and Daniel looked it over.
'Is this even a language?' he asked God.
God shrugged. 'You figure it out,' he replied.
God went on about his business. Several weeks later Daniel had shown up at home.
'How did you get here?' asked God.
'He just barged in,' said Metatron. 'No idea where he came from.'
'From the portal,' said Daniel. 'I got the access code from the leprechaun.'
God looked at him. 'You're not smart enough to work out that challenge. What gives?'
'I spilled water on the scroll by accident. Saw the layering within the scroll. Didn't take long as I know Aramaic. The pathway took ages to follow, as I worked out location by location, and got clue after clue.'
'By ACCIDENT!' exclaimed God. 'It came in a waterproof cover.'
'I took it out to look more closely at it,' replied Daniel. 'And I spilled water on it by accident at the breakfast table. Noticed the layered language in the scroll then. Got it analyzed by experts, and they gave me printouts of each layer. Didn't take forever. Still have no idea what the top layer is all about, but no matter.
'You've hardly solved the challenge then,' replied God. 'Should forfeit your go, really.'
'By hook or by crook I'll have that bloody key back,' replied Daniel.
God glared at Danny boy, but resigned himself to letting go of his prize. He went to the other room, retrieved the key, and handed it over.
'What is code then?' asked Daniel.
'A subtle connect the dots,' replied God. 'The language then gives the chemical formula for water.'
'Tricky,' said Daniel. 'I got lucky I guess.'
'Very bloody lucky,' replied the Theophany. Now buzz off. And I must remember to cancel that access code.'
'Please do so,' said Metatron, avidly listening to the conversation. 'This is a private domain.'
'Till next time,' said Daniel, and buzzed off, to the portal on the edge of Home, back to his own world, and off to look at his goodies.
4 O'clock the following morning, early, God was bored. Then he looked skywards. 'You helped him out.'
Silence for a while. Then 'MAYBE.'
And the theophany of God smiled.
Dalnaphon Keep 2
Helen looked at the print. 'It's a classic,' she said. 'Leonardo Da Vinci's 'Julius Caesar'. One of the earliest realm printings. When did he do this by the way?'
'End of Michael's reign as overseer. On New Terra,' said Sariel in response. 'It was major news. There's a major documentary on him painting the work and his chats with Julius.'
'Buy it,' said Helen. 'I mean, go on. Put it up in the keep. A great investment.'
'Price is a bit steep,' said Sariel, looking at the multi-trillion credits price tag.'
'Can you not afford it?' she asked.
They were in Zaphona City, at an art gallery of a famous thief, currently serving time for stealing the famed Pink Panther gem.
'I can afford it,' he replied. 'And I'm a fan of Leo's work also. Just a bit steep.' He looked at his fiance and decided 'What the hell.' He handed the gallery attendant his card, and she swiped it.
'Good as gold, Mr Grant,' she replied.
'It will have to be,' he said. 'Look, don't wrap it. We'll take it as is.'
'As you wish. I'll let you take it off the wall then.'
Sariel took the print down, and noticed 17 of 1000 on the back of the print.
'1000 copies then,' said Sariel. 'Oh, that is good. Thought it might have been 100,000. Worth it I think.'
As they drove back to Dalnaphon, Sariel smiled at his fiance. Life had been good. Very good in past weeks. He'd become so emotionally attached to Helen since her resurrection that it wasn't just love. It was something deeper. And then he swore at himself, and bought a ring, saying he should never do this again ever, but he did, and he proposed on bended knee, and she said yes. When they got back to Dalnaphon Helen took the painting print, and got a hammer and a nail, and knocked it into the wall of the keep, above the fireplace. She hung the print, and they stood back and looked at it.
'An impressive figure, you think?' asked Helen.
'A very serious fellow from what I've been told,' said Sariel. 'Lives out on the planet Romana. Ancient roman's live there in abundance. Their major planetary body.'
She hugged him, and looked at the painting once more, before disappearing off to the kitchen. Sariel looked at the print, and realized he'd spent a small fortune, but his income would recover eventually. A lot of money, though. A damn lot of money.
* * * * *
'And then we danced, and Sariel was like the purest of gentlemen,' said Helen.
'Indeed,' replied Gloryel, sipping on her soup.
'So when's the wedding?' asked Jerahmeel.
'Sometime next year,' replied Sariel. 'No firm date as of yet.'
'Oh,' said Gloryel softly.
'You're invited of course. Both of you,' said Sariel.
Gloryel looked up. 'Do you plan on having children?'
Sariel looked at Helen, who looked back. He returned his gaze to Gloryel. 'Uh, we haven't got that far in discussions yet.'
'I don't mind,' blurted out Helen. 'I mean if you want them, Sariel.'
'Oh. Yes. Have a tribe already, but sure. An interesting idea.'
'Indeed,' said Gloryel softly.
'To good times then,' said Jerahmeel, raising his wine glass. He lay back in his dining chair, and looked up at the print. 'Looks good. There, above the fireplace,' said Jerahmeel. 'Like it was born to be there. Or made to fit I guess.'
'You could say that,' said Sariel. 'Of course, we're here for a while, but I guess we can leave it at Dalnaphon.'
'Oh, yes. Leave it here,' said Helen. 'It's where it belongs 100%. Looks wonderful there. Gives the room a feel.'
'That it does,' agreed Sariel.
'One of a thousand. It's the first realm printing, isn't it?' queried Gloryel.
'Apart from tiny batch of 3, yes,' said Sariel. 'Daniel the Seraphim has one of those three. Bought it at the beginning. Cost him a fortune too.'
'Unsurprising,' replied Gloryel. 'He's after every major investment under the sun.'
'He is indeed,' replied Sariel.
'So, what would you name your first child?' asked Gloryel, looking at Helen.
'Oh, Marcus. That is if Sariel doesn't mind. It's my father's name. Or Brigitte if its a girl. That's mother's name.'
'Sounds fine. If we go down that track,' replied Sariel.
Gloryel looked at Helen, and noticed the way she looked at Sariel. Something in her heart that evening had given a little ground. She had a man, of course. Christian Horner, her on again off again husband was never to far away, but Sariel had always been that rival and lover. But she felt, in her heart, an inkling. This was permanent, this thing. Not a temporary romance, then onto a little black book afterwards. It was genuine love between them. That much was painfully obvious.'
'3 children. Not one more,' said Sariel, looking at his guests.
Jerahmeel grinned. 'Decided then, have we.'
'3 is perfect,' smiled Helen.
'Settled. Let's move on from that. They are nothing but a pain in the neck till they are a few thousand, and then its nothing but a pretense at maturity. I am grown up they moan. They never are though. A good million before they've learned half the lessons of eternal life.'
'You could be right,' said Gloryel. 'You certainly took that long.'
'I'm sure I don't possibly know what your driving at,' replied Sariel. 'An Englishman is always grown up.'
'Comes with the territory,' said Jerahmeel.
'Indeed,' replied Sariel.
The party went silent for a while, and they ate their meals quietly.
'Shall we listen to Beethoven and sip on brandy?' suggested Sariel when they had finished their dinner.
'Sounds good,' said Jerahmeel.
Sariel put on a CD, and poured out drinks for everyone, and they sat there, listening to classical music, Beethoven's 104th symphony, a happy gathering of grown ups.
'Always moves me, this symphony. Such traditional style of his. The recurring theme especially,' said Sariel.
'One of his best,' agreed Jerahmeel. The party went along, but soon enough they had chatted the evening away, and Helen had left off to bed, exhausted. At the door Gloryel, Jerahmeel waiting in the car, looked at her twin.
'Make it last then. Don't make a fool of us all.'
'Geri,' said Hugh. 'I, I...'
'Don't say it,' she said, touching his lip. 'Just remember, I'm always there for you as a friend.'
'Of course,' replied Sariel. Then she looked into his eyes, gave him a wink, and was off. He watched them drive off then returned inside. And, not quite tired yet, he put on Beethoven's 105th symphony, and whiled away the rest of the night, drinking brandy, and enjoying fine music.
* * * * *
Sariel was on the PC in Dalnaphon, looking over his shares portfolio. Quindex Fire had increased a few cents in recent days. Very strange. He consulted the website and found they had a new CEO. A Cherubim offspring, replacing the last Cheru-Seraphim worker. It had not been working out with him, and the company had no great vision anymore, so the blurb claimed. But the new CEO had ideas, and the share price had risen marginally because of it. Could be better dividends soon, and it was expanding yet again. They manufactured fire blankets and serviced fire extinguishers in hotels all over the Realm of Eternity. He'd been on the board a long time ago, but left off, happy that his investment would remain profitable. He had an extensive share portfolio which, alongside his royalties, were the chief source of his income. But a lot of that income went to family support, for many generations of his offspring. What could he say? He was a generous angel. Helen was in the room, sitting, reading a magazine. It was quiet, and it was nice. Like a family again, and it had ben a while.
'I'll wear white of course,' she suddenly blurted out.
'Huh,' replied Sariel.
'At the wedding. If you don't object. I did tell you I'm not exactly the virginal kind, but I'll wear white.'
'Entirely appropriate,' he replied. 'Looking at wedding magazines, are you?'
'Got them from the local newsagency,' she replied. 'Looking at styles I might like.'
'Well, I can cover whatsoever your heart desires. Just not another Julius Ceaser print,' he said smiling.
She laughed, and continued looking at her magazine. 'Sariel,' she said.
'Yes Helen,' he replied, looking at the computer.
'I don't really know how to put this, but do you think there is any possibility you could ask Seraphim Daniel a favour for me.'
He looked at her. 'What favour?'
'I don't really have access to her, and I don't know her personally, but do you think he could ask my ancient grandmother, Jenny Gilmore, the department head in the United Galaxy, to my wedding on my behalf.'
Sariel looked at Helen. 'Want to meet her, huh?'
'I'd be very honoured to,' she replied. 'She's amazingly popular these days.'
'I'll look into it,' he said.
'Thank you,' she replied.
'Sariel,' she said again.
'Invite Daniel too. I want to thank him personally for officiating me to live here in the Realm. If he can at all make it.'
;Will do,' replied Sariel. And sitting there, he suddenly thought on that. Seraphim Daniel at his wedding. Hang on a second. The clown prince at his best day? Not sure if that was the best idea. But he looked at his fiance, and considered her wish, and decided to accede to her request regardless. He knew Daniel well enough now. Not exactly who he would normall invite to a wedding, but that was life. You never knew what you were going to get. He finished off his share portfolio investigations, and disappeared off to his bedroom for a nap. His upcoming wedding was on his mind, and he was thinking over who to invite. She didn't say she wanted anyone in particular, really, apart from her parents, so maybe best to make it a quiet affair. But with Daniel along, well, it could end up quite the opposite. Whatever else, he was actually nervous. There was something in his heart, an inkling, which said to him, like Wolfgant intimated, this was not a temporary fling. This was the real thing, and it could last aeons. Who knows, maybe even forever. He smiled at that thought, and laid down on his bed, closing his eyes, and drifting off to sleep.
* * * * *
And so another wedding of eternity took place. In the end Daniel the Seraphim was a perfect gentleman. Helen spent half the time, though, chatting to her great grandmother of many generations, Jenny Gilmore, about their fabulous family tree, and was beside herself when learned that Jenny's nephew was Cherubim Jamie. That had shocked her. Sariel had commented that her being present in the Realm, in a funny way, was not so strange, as she had family in it. And they had danced, and drunk wine, and while there was no specific honeymoon planned, they had done up Dalnaphon keep. Then they had been passionate in consumating the marriage, and Sariel, used to such relationships, got back into a regular married life once more. Gabriel remained overseer during the following years, but after about a decade of married life Gabriel retired, and passed the job onto Raphael as expected. And then they had their first child, a boy, Marcus as agreed, and he was a dad once more. After a few more years, though, they left Dalnaphon Keep, bidding the place farewell, and moved to Sariel's own disc of overseersmanship, the eighth disc of the realm of eternity, Dalnaphora, ironically named in honour of Dalnaphon Keep. And there they lived their lives, happy, married, a family, and the life of Sariel the Seraphim continued on its merry and happy course, a time of bliss for this beloved Seraphim angel of God.
'Right,' said Daniel the Seraphim. 'Time for a chat on comics.'
'Comics,' said Phindwel the Seraphim. 'Which comics in particular?'
'Well not bloody Dan Dare comics,' replied Daniel. 'Though the Mekon is a fascinating individual, time to discuss the more serious compeititor. Blue Beetle from DC.'
'He's cool too,' replied Phindwel, returning to his headphones.
'Blue Beetle has imagination. And humor,' said Daniel.
Phindwel was bopping along to Madonna's greatest hits, ignoring him.
'Of course, the other cool character is Booster Gold. He has imagination too. And charm.
Phindwel kept ignoring him.
'Black Canary. She's a classic,' said Daniel.
'Wonder Woman is better,' replied Phindwel.
'Traditional, yes. But boring. No imagination. Black Canary? The heart of the Justice League.'
'Superman is the heart of the Justice League,' said Phindwel.
'Big Blue? Good for helping grannies cross the road, and advising kids to drink milk. Not much else going on there. Jewish character, really. Lacks spark.'
'Batman kicks arse of course,' said Phindwel.
'Another boring Joobaloober creation,' said Daniel. 'I've got his comics. But he's not the DC Glory. It's the real stuff from Ted Kord Blue Beetle and Michael Carter Booster Gold. Harbinger is cool as well.'
'You have an issue with Jewish comic creators,' said Phindwel.
'They think they rule in comics,' said Daniel. 'Egos, all of them. Think they are the hottest shit.'
'They do it to make a living. Not much else,' replied Phindwel.
'And it shows in their characters lack of any real substance,' said Daniel in response. 'Just like Jewish people, in the image of holy Archangel Michael. Boring, bland and predictable. No spark of energy. They may have the divine spark in them, but its of the redundant bits the cool kids didn't want.'
'Yes cool kid,' said Phindwel.
'Yep, Blue Beetle kicks arse,' said Daniel.
'You need therapy,' commented Phindwel. 'Jews just do their thing. They don't care that much.'
'No. You are probably right. But they end up trying to take over things. They study knowledge a lot, and try and get the best positions in society in the end, and work hard as a team to support just their own. It's a cult more than any true representation of humanity.'
'You know, as much as I hate myself for saying this, I somewhat agree with that. They do work for the best paid jobs and high positions.'
'They lack humility,' replied Daniel. 'They let the God's chosen people nonsense dominate their culture, and mock the rest of us with their attitudes because of it. And God doesn't bother correcting this. In fact, I think he fosters it. He lacks humility as well.'
'I agree with you about the Theophany on that,' said Phindwel. 'The grouchiest son of a bitch I have ever met. That bloody arrogant at times.'
'He's a classic, I agree,' said Daniel. 'Needs to study an English text on spirituality, and get over his snobbish pride in Jewish Torah values. Not sure if he would change his pride filled ways, though. Abraham's cronies sing the sweet alleluials he likes. He lacks justice in this sense. Blinded by his pride in his spiritual son.'
Phindwel looked at Daniel. 'Ok, you've voiced your concerns. We know the issues. Those things are just the way it is with Israel. Don't let it get to you Danny.'
'No. Just something to chat about,' replied Daniel. 'But comics are more interesting anyway. Like the Amazing Blue Beetle.'
Phindwel smiled, and put back on his headphones, as Daniel waffled on again for another 10 minutes on the virtues of his favourite superheroes.
Jandar the Cherubim, 221st of the Cherubim males of Eternity, was the overseer of Bethlephon Keep. Bethlephon had gone through changes in overseers and spiritual status more than once. Christians had dominated it once, but now focused primarily on Nazraphon Keep as their foundation in Zaphora. Bethlephon, now, was solidly Karaite Noahide hands. Jandar was one of Daniel the Seraphim's close colleagues in Zaphora, maintaining the identity of the southside keeps being Noahide, alongside Delnaphon, to the south-west, and Kazraphon Keep, not far from Danielphon. Daniel had set that as an objective a long time ago. He never bothered with attempting Noahidism to be the religion of the Northern Keeps, the majority of the Keeps. Mostly they just followed traditional angel Torah ways anyway, with exceptions. But he fought for the southern Keeps, and once he got Bethlephon finally in Noahide hands, he had begun a prayer ritual which persisted to that day. He would hold his ground, and make sure Noah kept a representation in his now human angelic offspring in the south of Zaphora. Most angels had lived on Earth now, and had been born into descent from Noah, the progenitor of mankind following thedeluge. Jandar, like Daniel, honoured his human covenant faith, alongside his angelic obligations. And that meant staying pure and true to the Rainbow Covenant, and keeping their covenant community strong and focused on holiness, lawfulness and the same united Noahide spirit. They had their turf – they weren't giving it away. Of course, Noahidism was the dominant human religion of the realm, the biggest now, and Church attendance was nowhere near were it used to be, Islam also declining many times, especially with the purgings from the realm by the likes of Professor Zelzazon and other objectors. Noahides had the upper hand, and, because of that maintained it, but left things mostly be these days. Jandar, like Daniel, was not really trying to get rid of the church in the end. They were no longer really idolatrous as a religion, as only the tiniest fraction of christian denominations deified Jesus anymore. So live and let live was the current Noahide attitude towards the 'New Church' mentality, but they kept their faith secure, and their strongholds equally secure. Noah, up in heaven, which thrived with his offspring, kept tabs on things, and Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly was officially answerable to him, alongside Adam, for giving report on the success and stability of the Noahide community in the Realm of Eternity.
'How's Bashadel?' asked Daniel to Jandar about Jandar's twin.
'Sleeps a lot these days,' replied Jandar. 'Very busy with evangelizing the covenant in outer new discs. Gets out their on crusades all the time. Continues to work with the ANM general body, and it keeps her going. She eats, sleeps and breathes the covenant these days. That many paintings of Rainbows up in our room.'
'Heh,' said Daniel. 'She's always been a goer for the truth.'
'Has a grudge, I think, against Jesus,' said Jandar. 'Never really liked her older cherubim brother. Since ancient days she's resented his Christ claims. Says he's still a fake, no matter how clean the church comes over the issue.'
'Thank God we have her,' replied Daniel. 'Keeps our community strong. We need people like her. We'd be up against a bit more Christian hypocrisy if not for the strength of women of God like her.'
'Yep. So she sleeps a lot because she's exhausted after aeons of the work.'
'Let her rest,' replied Daniel. 'She's earned it. 'Anwyay, I want to report on some ANM statistics. Noahidism, in general, accounts for about 87% of realm faith these days. There is a big chunk of general angel Torah faith communities, and a stable church element, as well as Islam, and a smaller amount of Israelis. Buddhism is out there still, and doesn't change its numbers much. Has gradual growth in alignment with the new discs, and the others are pretty much the same as usual. We hold the power, and it doesn't look like changing much. Still, we're officially God's covenant with mankind, so things won't really change that much in the end anyway. Iconoclasts can legally speak their mind, and gain their followings, but it is important for the official religion to maintain its place, and be defended against the others, especially when they go astray on various issues.'
'That is correct,' replied Jandar. 'And I've always been one for the official truth and facts of the matter. No change with me. No change ever.'
'ANM is the biggest body of Noahidism, but there are other movements. Lots of independent Noahide biblicalists as well, who just follow it their own family way.'
'A natural part of the faith,' replied Jandar.
'Certainly is,' agreed Daniel. 'Well, how is life in Bethlephon? Anything new happening?'
'We have a new museum planned,' said Jandar. 'Been gathering items for it for the last 200 years. A total replacement of thelast exhibit. Ancient texts on Earthly Creation Science. We have spent a lot of our built up savings to invest in some valuable old hardbacks from booksellers all over the realm. We've decided to house them permanently in our library, and an extension was arranged with the overseer to allow this. Before Michael, though. They fellow just back a bit.'
'Right,' said Daniel. 'Well that's a good idea. Creationism is a great thing to focus on. Reaffirms faith in God's power and creativity.'
'That's the main thing at the moment. Apart from the disappointing cup season in most of the sports. Wasn't even a show in softball. But you'd know that anyway. Man, it was one competitive sport this past season. Everyone was after that cup this time.'
'We almost got it too,' said Daniel.
'You never had a chance. It's the first time Danielphon has entered the league of any kind. You've always been in other district clubs.'
'Danielphon is old and established in its name now,' replied Daniel. 'And we borrowed a few players from Kazraphon. We're going for it next year, though. Intending to have teams for all the main sportinge leagues. Will run it myself initially, but I'm thinking about Melanie C as the permanent secretary for Danielphon's Sporting Associations.'
'Sporty herself, huh,' replied Jandar. 'Heck, that's a good idea. You've been keen on her forever.'
'I'm hoping she's up for it,' replied Daniel.
'Good luck on that. We'll still kick your arse. Most of the time anyway.'
'Coming from the cellar dwellers, that is rich,' replied Daniel, and Jandar grinned on the comment.
'Anyway, the Ice Cream parlour is doing well, and the confectionery shop is as popular as always. They are the storefronts out the front of the Keep, and keep us going. Bethelphon district involves us with a lot of admin work, which I look into as Overseer a lof ot the time, but they run their own affairs mostly, and we don't have any official council technically. Zaphora council runs things legally and for most administrative responsibilities in Zaphora.'
Daniel looked at Jandar then. That was something he had never actually given any thought to.
'Could you, though?' asked Daniel. 'I know you are on the Bethlephon business committee, but could you form a separate legal idenitity? A separate administration on your own?'
Jandar frowned, and his face was full of thought. 'Gosh. Don't know. I mean, anything is possible if people are up for the idea. But why would we. Zaphora is not really large enough to justify district governance. We may have trillions of citizens, but they are mostly uniform in their observation of Zaphora laws, and Realm law in general. Local councils? District councils? I know earthly things run that way, but we're not so independent. More conformist, and don't mind a more centralized governance.'
'No. We don't, do we,' replied Daniel. 'Anyway, never mind. I'll think about that idea myself though. Well, I'm off for an ice cream. Tell Bashadel hello, and I hope she finds the rest she needs.'
'Seeya Danno,' replied Jandar. As Daniel left Jandar sighed, and thought on their conversation, before turning to his PC on his office desk, and back on with Bethlephon Keep business as usual.
* * * * *
'So where's Rihanna these days?' Jandar asked the Theophany of God.
God glared at him in response, then softened. 'In her home town on New Terra,' said God. 'We're no longer together. It didn't work out. Different lifestyles. Had a thing for little black cats for a while. Over that. Single, again. Have been for a long time now. Anyway, I have a home, and that is where I get my emotional support.'
'Right,' nodded Jandar, taking a sip on his bottle of beer. 'Well, what brings youto Bethlephon Keep? Don't see you round these parts much.'
'Bethlephon Business Council. You're looking to go solo. Like Danielphon and Delnaphon. Wanting to run your own affairs. Why?'
'News on me. Daniel mentioned the idea, but nothing more than that. No idea it was an issue.'
'Delnaphon have a charter already,' said God. 'Strictly Noahide law to be administered in the district.'
'Yeh, they're the fundies,' said Jandar. 'Noahide to the hilt. Nothing but down there.'
'Bethlephon has no such plans then, I take it?' queried God.
'We could have. If its a thing,' replied Jandar. 'Don't mind the idea. Overseer of Bethlephon district itself. Could be wonderful.'
'Right,' said God. 'Well the other districts in Zaphora have no such plans. Thought you should know that.'
'Why? Is it an issue?' queried Jandar.
'Not at all. Local governance can offer many things,' replied God's Theophany.
'Then it wouldn't be a problem if we ran with it then? I mean, I could talk with the business council. If they like the idea we may indeed run with it.'
'Do what you do. I have no objections, just wanted confirmation.'
'Fascinating,' replied Jandar.
'Delnaphon will be very legalistic about it,' said God. 'They'll get there way on some issues which Zaphora has impartiality on usually. A tightly run legal community for Noahides. It's normally more pluralistic than that.'
'They don't really care down there,' replied Jandar. 'The way they like it really. Attracts the kind of people who like it like that.'
'I know,' replied God. 'Well, take care.' And he left as soon as he came.
Jandar sipped on his beer. A visit from God. And about realm politics of all things. Quite surprising, really. But Bethelephon? It's own council? Him as overseer possibly? Now if that was what was really going down, well. Well maybe he liked the sound of the idea now. Definitely something to sleep on.
* * * * *
Bashadel looked bleary eyed.
'You need some sleep,' said Jandar.
'I just slept 24 hours,' said Bashadel. 'Just need a few more years of rest. I'll be back to my normal self soon enough.'
'We're going solo,' he said.
'That's good,' she replied, and fished around in the fridge for her breakfast. She got juice in the end, and sat there sipping away. 'Solo at what exactly,' she replied, after she had gathered herself together.
'Bethlephon district. Danielphon has tacked together an official district from locals of Kazraphon district, and they have registered with Zaphon council to be an official district of Zaphora. Not just for the newly planned sporting associations, but also to run their own affairs. Delnaphon already has a draft charter, and are running hard with it. I rang up some blokes from the Bethlephon business council last night and, tentatively, they are all behind our own local district council. They're happy for me to be overseer as well.'
She looked at him, blinked, and shrugged, sipping on her juice. 'If that's what get's you off,' she replied. 'Anyway, today we buy that book on Starlight and Time for the museum. We've the funds since last week's take, and we can make a small loan. It's an essential, really. One of the classics. Will be great for the new exhibit.'
'We'll visit the booksellers this afternoon. Get a jet to Mitraphon.'
'Good,' she replied. 'Why the hell do we want to go solo?'
'It's a new idea which Daniel pushed. But all the southside districts are going for it. Not sure about Kazraphon yet, but they'll probably fall into line. Mostly moderates there, but they might go for the idea.'
'Fascinating,' she replied. 'I'm tired. Wake me when we're ready to go.'
'Will do sweetie,' he replied, and she wandered off to her bedroom. Jandar finished his breakfast, and returned to his PC. His draft document on Bethlephon Distric Council was in progress, and he was writing out his core ideas for the project. Suddenly it was happening, and why not. Overseer? District overseer? Why the heck not. And it would give him something to do which was new for a while, anyway. Soon enough he left off, and went off to do the rounds around the keep, and check on things. Another day another dollar, he said to himself, a saying of his, as life went on, mostly as usual, in Bethlephon Keep, south of Zaphon, in the heart of Zaphora.
'Bethlephon is giving me the blues,' said God to Memra at the kitchen table of Home.
'And why is that?' asked Memra. 'Bethlephon is a lovely keep. As one of the two Oraphim of the Realm of Eternity I am very proud of all our keeps.'
'Because they are going solo. It's been pretty much decided,' said God. 'And now I will have an endless headache from Michael and his protestations. Overseer of Zaphora is great, but when the districts run a lot of their own affairs, less authority still. He won't be a happy chappy.'
'The way things go,' replied Memra. 'Local councils are normal anyway. Earth is riddled with them.'
'And look at the mess they are in because of it. I never liked decentralization,' replied God.
'You wouldn't,' said Memra, getting up to make a coffee from the kettle just boiled.
'I mean, sure. Run your own affairs in business with your own council. That's the point of a district. Like the sporting teams. Builds local camraderie. But you don't have to so bloody serious and independent. It will breed patriotism and separatism.'
'Rich coming from the divider of Israel into tribes,' replied Memra.
'That's different,' replied God.
'Oh, really. How?' she asked.
'I don't know. It just is. Anyway, it's not great news.'
'The Michael complaint is all you're really worried about,' replied Memra. 'And, yes. He will be perturbed. But life goes on and he'll get over it.'
'He'll be left with Zaphon district affairs, and not much else,' winged God.
'The crosses we bear,' replied Memra.
'Very funny,' said God.
'Look, its their lives. And if, who is it? Jandar? If Jandar wants to be an overseer of a district and not just a keep, well. Well good luck to him,' she said.
'I suppose,' said God. But he wasn't happy.
All afternoon God played the blues. Old blues records, and Memra sat there that afternoon, listening to the music, but musing on God. He didn't normally react like this. She guessed it was the change as well. He was used to the stable way the Realm ran. Change like this would need to be adjusted to, and God was a conservative type of God who never really changed his rules. No matter. He'd get used to it. He'd have to anyway, if it was really going ahead.
'Bake me some cookies to cheer me up,' said God, coming into the kitchen.
'Did I hear cookies were being baked,' said Logos, poking his head into the kitchen. 'Yo, Mettie. She's doing cookies.'
Soon enough Memra had cooked her cookies, for which she was well known for in Home, and the four of them ate their cookies, the blues playing in the background and, for the moment anyway, God's blues had gone away. For the moment anyway.
'Stamps, stamps, stamps,' said Daniel Daly, the angel cherubim Callodyn.
'Well that's the one I need,' said Boaz. 'Televon 13cent stamp. With the Dalek on it. International Televon Standard stamp.'
'It's expensive,' replied Callodyn.
'I have the rest of the set. The 10cent one of Dr Who, the 11cent one of a Cyberman. The 12cent one of K9, the 14 cent one of the Master, and the 15cent one of the Tardis. I bought them years ago. But I need the 13cent one of the Dalek to complete the set. And a full set's value is far greater than the sum of its parts.'
'Right,' said Callodyn. 'Do you want me to buy it for you?'
Boaz looked at Daniel. 'I'm not sure if you should. I mean, its based on the idea that I put my money into it from my own work and effort. Things like food and flowers, or a box of tissues or other disposable, sure. They are ok as gifts. Or something which is quite personal in terms of friendship. But a thing of a person's own collection needs to be paid for with their own money or, while they might own it legally, another person, the giver, has some moral rights in a way over the item. It should be your own effort for it to be your own collection.'
'True,' agreed Daniel. He thought it over. 'I can give you a loan. No fixed interest, but with a 10% total additional fee on the whole which must be paid back in addition to the principal. I will charge you $450 a year for the repayment. Should only take a few million centuries to repay.'
'Done,' said Boaz instantly.
'We'll shake on it, to formalize. Gentleman's agreement,' said Daniel. Boaz shook his hand, and Daniel handed over the card to the seller, who swiped it, nodded, and handed the stamp to Boaz.
'You're a scholar and a gentleman,' said Boaz, looking at his new stamp.
'I concur,' agreed Daniel.
They settled down into the makeshift food court in the large auditorium where the stamp show was being held, and ordered drinks.
'So. How is Claudia?' asked Boaz.
'You sound like Ruth. I do know of her fuss between us. Claudia keeps me well informe,' replied Daniel.
'Unsurprising,' replied Boaz. 'Just a regualr query,' he replied. 'I am content to leave your love life alone as your own affair.'
'I have no romantic intentions towards Moneypenny,' replied Daniel.
Boaz looked at Daniel. 'That's an interesting nickname to use for her. What, will Bond's ladies come and go over the ages, with faithful Moneypenny saying 'Oh James.'
Daniel chuckled. ' Who knows,' he replied.
'You use the moniker with her?'
'Once in jest,' replied Daniel. 'She smiled, and was humble. Predictably. She is very much that. Demure housekeeper who does her job professionally and knows all the rules of etiquette and the master's own affairs.'
'Claudi is a proper person,' said Boaz. 'Her struggle was not her own fault. It is apparent, in how God is now blessing her, that this was more of a lesson for life. To think a bit more carefully about a marriage partner. Roger Smith likely had faults she should have thought about to start with.'
'Sometimes the cookie crumbles,' said Daniel. 'People are often not committed to eternal life. Not on any morality code, anyway. Sheol is full of souls which don't come back anymore. Souls in the darkness, who have a nature which is gone from truth and love.'
'Sad but true,' agreed Boaz.
'I've noticed Goatama Buddha is going strong enough,' replied Daniel. 'His religion does not allow worship of him, or prayers to him. It is iconoclastic monotheism in a proper sense, which Buddha takes seriously.'
'They'll likely last forever,' replied Boaz. 'The religion was modified over many ages to conform with essential codes of morality. Torah like codes, to be frank.'
'So should all religion,' said Daniel. 'Noahide faith of the Rainbow Torah is meant to be universal morality those who have lived in human flesh abide by. Noahide, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Scientologist, Deist, Buddhist, Taoist. You name it. The religious obligation of the Rainbow Torah is universal.'
'Which is the foundation of the Tanakh. Which is the Jewish Bible,' said Boaz, his eyebrow raised a little.
Callodyn smiled. 'I guess you guys have commentaries galore on Genesis 1:1 – 11:9, dont you?'
Boaz eyes lit up. 'Why, I think we do Daniel Daly. I think we do.'
'Fascinating,' replied Daniel, sipping on his drink.
Ruth watered the flowers on her front porch, and looked out eastward a the Paradision hills in the distance. Boaz was away at the stamp conference with Daniel, and she was on her own. But she would have coffee with Claudia shortly next door, and that would make her day. She put the watering can down next to the flowers, and went back inside. She did a round of the house, checking to see that everything was neat and in its place, and returned to the kitchen. The stew had been simmering all day, and she was going to invite Claudia around for dinner. She checked on it, gave it a stir, and lowered the heat a fraction. Then she went back to the lounge room at the front of the house, turned on the television, and took up her knitting. She was knitting for a charity of Televon which provided knitted garments for the Televon planetary bodies. They would be used to give to less fortunates, and she had done a million dolls literally in her time. She continued on with the knitting, watching Sharon Pearlman, the talk show host on afternoon TV she liked, and whiled away the next hour, knitting quietly. Around 3 she put down her knitting, turned off the TV, and headed next door.
'How many stamps does he have?'asked Claudia.
'No idea. I take minimal interest in Boaz's hobbies,' replied Ruth. 'He also collects coins. Oh, and comics. Not a huge collection of them, but every age he buys one and adds it to his collection. He has several hundred now. Not a big fan of them he tells me, but it's an occasional interest. Not much else, to speak of. We have a large enough library of books which we read, and he is on the Internet a bit. An extensive collection of jazz and classical music, but we mostly listen to the radio when we want some entertainment like that. Mostly quiet life, really. We chat, and he tells me about his work, and we eat our meals, and watch television. And he studies Torah reasonably regularly, and visits family in Bethlehem in northern Televon from time to time.'
'The simple life,' commented Claudia, sipping on her coffee.
'Why have it any other way?' replied Ruth.
'Not Daniel's philosophy. Callodyn is everywhere doing everything at times,' she said. 'The Daly foundation has a million projects on the go, and they are out there, not only trying to rule the world, but to own it as well. Nothing but this and that new disc of the realm of eternity he talks about where they have land investments and acquisitions of this and that. Constanly collecting every new thing, and every reprint of everything under the sun as well. He is on ebay when he comes around the whole afternoon at times.'
'Yes. He's always been like that,' replied Ruth. 'Thirsts for things to keep him entertained. Doesn't settle easily.'
'Not his way of things,' commented Claudia.
'Nor should it be. To each their own,' replied Ruth. 'But he should settle one eternity.'
'One eternity,' agreed Claudia.
Ruth was in her back garden, weeding. Something which had to be done. She was on her knees, with the litle spade, digging at the weeds, and the sun was shining down on sunny enough day, but there were ample clouds in the sky, and in the south some of them were starting to look quite grey. And it was blowing this way. She continued weeding, and took a sip from the bottle of water beside her, when a crackle of lightning lit the sky and a few seconds afterwards the thunder boomed. She looked up and the rain was approaching steadily. 'Oh well. I guess you can wait till the morning,' she said to the weeds, and stood and stretched and took off her gloves, putting them in the shed with the spade. She dusted herself off and went inside. Soon the rain started belting down. A knock came to the front door. It was Claudia.
'It's getting pretty heavy, and blowing a heck of a storm,' said Claudia.
Ruth looked out and noticed the trees shaking strongly. 'Come in,' she said.
They watched the TV on the weather channel, then the lights went out. A blackout. The wind blew, and the thunder was every few seconds.
'Is it a cyclone or something?' asked Claudia.
'I don't think its that bad. They don't come inland this far that much,' replied Ruth. 'Just a wild storm. We'll be fine.' So they lit candles, and played Monopoly for the afternoon, and drank soft drink. The storm raged all that evening, and they were up for a while, but eventually found some sleep. In the morning it was all calm, and the power had been restored.
'Ruth!' yelled Claudia. Ruth came out the front and looked. Their gum tree had been uprooted, and had fallen, covering the drive way.
'For heaven's sake,' said Ruth. A car came up the street then, and pulled up in the driveway. Daniel and Boaz got out.
'What the hell happened?'asked Boaz.
'We had a storm. Just found this now,' said Ruth.
'It was raining were we were as well,' said Boaz. 'But not as bad as this.'
'I'll get my chainsaw,' said Daniel. 'You can sell this stuff as firewood once it has dried out a season or two.'
Boaz nodded, and went next door with Daniel.
Inside Ruth and Claudia were in the kitchen sipping on coffee.
'I bet they feel like real men at the moment,' said Ruth.
'Boys with toys you mean,' said Claudia.
'Ay,' replied Ruth. 'Daniel probably thinks he's a wild bushman, doing his trade. He'll be boasting all afternoon.'
'Probably not,' smiled Claudia. 'But he will talk about it a little. A few comments on this and that idea regarding it. Probably trying to teach me a thing or two. He does that. Shares knowledge.'
'Right,' nodded Ruth. 'Fascinating.'
The men came inside about an hour later.
'The wood is all stored along the front of the house,' said Boaz. 'In winter I'll cut it with the axe, and let it dry out more. We'll arrange for it to be sold as firewood.'
'It was fun,' smiled Daniel. 'Finally found a use for the chainsaw.'
Ruth looked at Claudia, who smiled back.
'So how did the convention go?' asked Ruth to Boaz.
'Not exactly a convention,' replied Boaz. 'Just a stamp show. It was fine.'
'Did you get the stamp you were after?' she asked him. Boaz did not reply.
When they were in the lounge later, having afternoon tea, Ruth repeated the question.
'What if I did,' he replied, a little shortly.
'What's the matter?' she asked.
'There's no problem at all,' he replied.
'Oh. So you got the stamp?' He nodded. 'How much did it cost?'
'I got a loan,' mumbled Boaz.
Ruth looked at him. 'Did you say you got a loan'
'So what? There is nothing wrong with that.'
Boaz the 'Never Get a Loan' in all eternity the Bethlehemite. Well there's a turn up for the books.'
'I borrowed the money off Daniel. There is no interest, just an additioinal fixed amount of 10% extra which needs to be repaid. It's only $450 a year. Hardly a concern. We just shook on it,' replied Boaz.
'Oh,' said Ruth. 'How long to pay it back?'
'Several million years it will take. I will be fixing an automatic yearly deduction on my bank account. It will be smooth. I can set it for that long as well.'
'I see,' she replied. 'Well, good. You got your stamp.'
'That reminds me,' he said. He went into the other room, and soon returned with one of his oldest stamp albums. He opened it up, and took a plastic stamp holder out of his pocket, which had the stamp carefully hidden inside it. He opened it up, and put the stamp into his album, readjusting the other stamps.
'There,' he said. ' The complete Dr Who original series of Telveon International standards.
She took the album and looked over the set. 'It's worth more if the set is complete, isn't it?'
'Definitely,' he replied. 'Full sets always cost more now. In the beginning it was cheaper. But people were trying to sell things then, and full sets were attractive, and by charging a lesser price they were easy to sell and make money. People are far less intereasted in selling valuables now. Some collections out there never change, you know. Hard earned glories which have settled with family's and collectors forever.
Ruth looked at the stamp, and said 'Thank you God,' quietly, but Boaz heard her. Then Boaz took the album, looked at his full set for a moment, and returned it to the other room. He came back in and sat, sipping on his coffee.
'Happy?' she asked him after a moment.
He looked at her. 'Deliriously,' he replied with a sarcastic tone.
Ruth nodded, and took up her sowing. Another adventure complete in the life of Ruth and Boaz.
'Flowers. Life is like flowers,' said Jesus the Cherubim.
'You're a flower,' replied Apostle Peter, overseer of Nazraphon Keep.
'My cherubim brother Peter,' said Jesus, to Peter the Cherubim, 236th male Cherubim of Eternity. 'You need to take far less seriously at times. It's more than rules and regulations and church law and legalism. It's love. Flowery, gay love.'
'Careful on use of the g word,' said Peter. 'It has several connotations I don't think you want to use so freely.'
'But life is freedom,' replied the Christ Child. 'Like a flower. No, like a wild flower. Free and gay. With love of the spirit and the wind from God guiding us on each and every day. Who knows where that wind will blow today, Cephas.'
'Out your arse as usual,' replied the first pope. 'You know, Cherubim brother of mine. In this new age, were you seem to be frankly admitting Christhood was more a tradition carried on from Realm days, rather than any literal Isaian prophecy as such, the church could do a lot better than the free spirited Jesus we have gotten used to in recent times.'
'But the wind of the spirit is freedom, and blows were it will,' replied Jesus, smiling warmly at Peter.
'And rock's don't move with the spirit,' replied Peter soberly.
'Why I built the Catholic church with rock,' said Peter. 'But the charisms in your heart know what I am saying. They always have.'
'Business is called to order,' said Peter, to the board of Nazraphon Keep. 'Our lord and saviour is in one of his moods. Forgive him please.'
Apostle Thomas, the 234th male cherubim of eternity, cherubim Thomas, spoke up. 'He will speak his mind. His freedom is what guides our hearts in the end, Peter. Let him speak his mind.'
'Agreed,' said Apostle Andrew, the 235th male Cherubim of Eternity, Andrew the Cherubim.
'But I have spoken the word already,' said Jesus. 'And you will flow, beautifully, with the order of things Peter knows in his Jewish heart to do, with the gentle yoke of the holy spirit guiding him.'
'Right,' said Peter, and then rebuked himself for being so cynical of Jesus his lord. But it had been like that in recent times. Jesus had, in his eyes, not been what he was. Perhaps, rather, he was seeing him now as he really was. And perhaps he was no longer so impressed with his older cherubim brother's apparent eternal gospel wisdom. 'We are here to discuss the idea, now in vogue in Zaphora, of district councils being formed. Any thoughts.'
'A good idea,' commented Jesus, suddenly his face looking deadly serious. 'If we can create a semi-christian district with Nazraphora, alongside the likely catholic Glimmersphon district and possible protestant Shadlaphon district, we have a real chance of wresting back some power in the Realm. Noahides hold 3 districts now, with Danielphon becoming official the other day. Kazraphon is full of Noahides, and they might be inclined to temper any council which comes up with Noahide law concepts. If we can match them somewhat, one day we can start making some ground against this Noahide dominance in the Realm of Eternity.'
'They're the official religion,' said Peter. 'We are iconoclastic monotheism, officially. Our own agenda. Not technically Almighty God's official thing. We shouldn't think we should just aspire to the numbers for the sake of it. We have a lot to offer with the spiritual life and culture of the church, and God gives us good dominion because of it. But why should we want to compete with God's official covenant. It's God's holy Torah. We serve that in the end also.'
'That we do,' replied Jesus. 'But what's life without a little helter skelter, huh?' and saying that Jesus picked up his wreath of flowers, and went back to his carefree look. Peter looked at him, and sighed.
'Well,' he said to the others. 'Does our Lord hold the opinion?'
They all nodded one by one.
'Then we go ahead with the proposal,' said Peter. 'I'll draft up an initial plan.'
'I'll see you later,' said Jesus, and nodded at Peter before he left. Peter noticed the serious look on the lamb of God's face. He knew exactly what was going down. And he reminded himself just how much authority Jesus of Nazareth did act with when he got his dander up.
* * * * *
'How many buddhists are there in Gelphon district?' Jesus asked Sarbratellion, at the back of Nazraphon Keep, in the garden, as he pruned a rose bush.
'Oh, gosh. Don't know. Quite a few million all up. We have a strong buddhist community, actually,' replied Sarbratellion, Gelphon overseer.
'Would you call it a buddhist district, then?' asked Jesus.
'No, not really. We have a strong presence in Gelphon district. In fact, its pretty much were Zaphora buddhists reside. But its mostly just regular Seraphim Torah religious who reside in Gelphon district. Seraphim offspring and Cherubim offspring and Cheru-Seraphim also. A small amount of humankind, but mostly just the official angelic Torah community,' replied Sarbratellion.
'You have churches there, don't you?' asked Jesus.
'Very few christians of any kind bother with Gelphon,' replied Sarbratellion. 'In Tower X47 there is a smattering of Christian congregations in the upper levels. A few hundred thousand, but thats about it for the district. Nearly all the community towers are filled with regular enough citizens, living normal enough lives in Zaphora.'
'How many towers, again?' queried Jesus. 'I forget these things.'
'Oh, there are about 20,000 main community towers in Gelphon. They house about 200 billion souls or so all up. Some of them are higher then Zaphon tower, you know. Chock full of souls. But that's life in the big city, you know.'
'Right,' said Jesus. 'I was wondering. Does Gelphon plans, in the current mood in Zaphora, of its own district council?'
'Funny that you should mention that,' said Sarbratellion. 'Overseer Gabriel asked me exactly the same thing the other day. The initial discussions took place. We're thinking things over.'
'And you would be overseer for the district, I take it?' asked Jesus.
'Somewhat taken for granted by many of the special interest groups involved in the discussion,' said Sarbratellion. Why all the questions, though?'
'Fair warning. I have a feeling Goatama Buddha has ancient prayers for the Realm of Eternity. In fact I know so. And I expect his intentions on Gelphon district will become patently obvious in time. So fair warning. We have 3 probable districts with the church. And, slowly, we will be moving out further into the realm with fresh evangelism one day. We intend to make our template of Zaphora count for something.'
'Life doesn't always work like that,' replied Sarbratellion. 'I think Daniel the Seraphim has a bigger picture in mind than principles and symbols of foundation stones. Hearts are won on different ideals. And dominion is gained through struggle and perseverance, and sometimes the bird has flown the nest, and its just too late to do anything new. There are always the newer discs though. And with jet travel keeping pace with things, gosh, you can get there in 20 minutes, practically.'
Jesus looked at him. 'I know,' he replied.
'Oh. Well, good,' said Sarbratellion. Jesus handed him a rose he had cut, and smiled at him.
'We'll talk again, Sarbie,' said Jesus. 'It has been good catching up.'
Sarbratellion smiled at his Cherubim brother, and then turned and walked off. Strange questions he felt, but the Jesus agenda certainly seemed clear enough - same old church evangelism. Nothing new under the sun.
* * * * *
'So, with these new quadrants available, Terraphora can theoretically expand its territory?' queried Gabriel to Wolfgang the Theohpany of God.
'Indeed it can,' said God in reply.
'Can Nazraphon district apply for quadrants? If we officially form as a district council?' asked Jesus the Cherubim.
God glared at Jesus for a moment, then softened. Helooked at the Arch Regent in the front row of the assembled sons of God in the throneroom of Zaphon Keep.
'Uh, that's new,' said Daniel. He turned to Valandriel and chatted with him for a few minutes. Finally he looked back to God, and glanced briefly at Jesus.
'We have agreed that official Keep overseers, if they have a technical authority of a political dominion, such as a district, with an established legal structure, can theoretically apply for quadrant overseersmanship as well. The idea is theoretically sound enough. As long as the legal codes of the district are sufficiently well thought out enough and comply with other established realm law and constitution.'
God looked at Daniel for a while, and looked at Jesus. Then he went quiet, thinking. The Seraphim and elder Cherubim watched, and waited.
'Yes. Jesus, ok,' said God. 'That will be legally acceptable,' God finally said.
'And, of course, legal dominion never changes. Once a quadrant, or an eighth one day, is claimed, it never changes its legal base of authority. That is the way the Realm has always functioned, right?'
There was silence in the throneroom then. Everyone knew the answer already, but they were looking at Jesus the Cherubim. This was a different sort of authority. He had his disc anyway, but this was playing from the heart of eternity, Zaphora, were he desperately wanted his foundation.
'Yes,' said God at last. 'It never changes.'
'Good,' said Jesus. Next to him Peter nudged him. 'You know what that means, don't you. With territory expansion permanent once gained.'
'We never lose ground,' said Jesus. 'It only grows and doesn't diminish.'
'Exactly,' replied Peter.
The discussion of Assembly carried on for some time, then God finally dismissed them, and found his way to the cafeterira. Jesus approached him.
'Do I have your permission to seek quadrant expansions, father?'
'Its a free world. Many are already claimed,' replied God, almost disinteresttedly.
'Do I have your approval, though?' asked the man from Nazareth.
God turned to him. 'Lose the Christ claims moreso, and I probably won't mind much.'
Jesus nodded. 'Very well Wolfgang. I'll do it your way.' And he left, and the Spirit spoke to the Theophany's heart that a lot of idolatry had died just then.
* * * * *
Yomiel the Seraphim, the Apostle Paul, 50th male Seraphim of Eternity, was with Jesus of Nazareth.
'I have a lot of my own ministry now,' said Yomiel to Jesus. 'What do you want with me again?'
'You've heard the news. On Quadrant's being available for expansion of our discs?'
'I was at Assembly,' said Yomiel.
'Then we have an issue. Are you a Christian?' asked Jesus.
Paul looked at Jesus and chuckled. Same old agenda of Joseph's boy. 'Look, if that's all you want to ask, see you round some time,' and he turned to walk away.
'Paul. Remember, we are blood brothers,' said Jesus.
Paul stopped, and thought on that, and turned back to Jesus. 'Cherubim. We are NOT blood brothers.' And he turned again, and walked away.
Jesus watched him for a while, then turned back to his rose bush. Finally, 'I never liked that asshole anyway,' he said, under his breath. And the wind blew a gust, almost as if in response.
The Eternal Noahide Seraphim 2
'Not sure if I'm a Noahide,' said Saruviel. 'About this list Daniel.'
Daniel looked at the Eternal Noahide Seraphim list. 'Oh. That. Yeh. Well Michael is back these days, and hanging around like a bad smell. Don't think we'll shift him either. His words about being an eternal part of the Seraphim of Eternity were generally received at Assembly. I acknowledge the point also, as much as I would like to disagree.'
'Yeh. Whatever,' said Saruviel. 'But I'm not sure if I'm Noahide. I'm ecumenical.'
'Ecumenical Christian then,' replied Daniel.
Saruviel looked right at Daniel for a while, then softened his glance. He ordered a drink from Zaphon cafeteria, and sat there, obviously thinking. Daniel looked at him for a while, waiting on his answer, but Saruviel was cogitating. After a while he took out his 5 by 5 rubiks cube, and worked on it. He sat there, twiddling away, while Saruviel still continued to think. Finally Saruviel made a noise. Daniel looked at him.
'No. Not in the end. Not an ecumenical christian. An ecumenical – monotheist. I do, in the end, acknowledge that God is supposed to be the centre of religion. He must have a place. So while I agree that Buddha and co may form Iconoclastic official religions, I don't officially recognize as a religious ecumenist but a monotheistic one. God is fundamental. I think I have concluded that in my thinking right now,' replied Saruviel.
Daniel looked at his brother. 'Probably a monotheist then. One who acknowledges God, and has a spirit of unity.'
'I am definitely an ecumenist though. Unity. Togetherness. This antichrist, in the end, was not the Antichrist. Ironically it was 666 and a 4 which were my birthmarks. God has a sense of humor, you know. I represented then, and do now, truth of monotheistic unity and togetherness. I do, and this may sound strange, have a loving heart. I've never been for outright evil. I like the dark side – but in Star Wars concepts mainly. Not in any real literal sense of evil or dark magic. I do, in fact, represent God. I always have. Even in original rebellion God was not rejected ultimately. He was still our heavenly father.'
'Indeed he was,' replied Daniel. Daniel put down his cube. 'Well, good to know.'
Saurviel smiled. 'So, this list. I am not Noahide. I am ecumenist. Ecumenical monotheist to be precise.'
'And are you descended from Noah?' asked Daniel.
Saruviel looked at him, and hesitated for a moment, then said 'Of course I am. In my human aspect.'
'And do you have a covenant with God because of it?' asked Daniel pointedly.
Saruviel looked at him, and then went silent again. And then his face started making the same look. Daniel took out his rubiks cube more quickly then. He ordered a drink, and the afternoon passed. Eventually Saruviel made a grunt again, and Daniel looked up and put down his cube.
'Noah's covenant,' Saruviel said. 'That is my covenant with God, in my human faith, which is always, as Alexander Darvanius, part of who I am.'
'We call an adherent of the universal covenant a 'Noahide' said Daniel.
Saruviel looked at him, and then went silent. His face made the familiar look. Around tea time that evening Saruviel grunted. Daniel put down the magazine he had been reading.
'I am a Noahide. I am an ecumenical monotheistic Noahide. I do not believe Jesus was the Messiah, but enjoy his gospel. I enjoy much of Islam and Bahai as well. There are other things I am interested in also in monotheistic circles.'
'So, the list. You are an eternal Noahide Seraphim, like it claims,' said Daniel.
Saruviel sat there. It only took five minutes this time. 'Uh, yes,' he said.
'So is there a problem?' asked Daniel. 'You said you had a problem.'
Alexander just looked at him. Daniel got up, walked off a bit, and then looked at Saruviel.
When Daniel had gone Saruviel said softly to God. 'Yes, I am a Noahide.'
Yomiel and Melaniel
'How is Eddie Murphy?' asked Yomiel to Melaniel his twin, the Spice Girl Melanie Brown.
'Haven't seen him in ages,' replied Melaniel. She was in her overseer's office in Melaniphora, the 120th disc of the Realm of Eternity, the one of her own authority.
'Ok. So you are single, then?' queried Yomiel.
'Always the bloody conservative. Apostle Paul. Never relenting on sound doctrine and good behaviour.'
'Torah teaches us these truths, Melaniel. I assume you do not neglect your Seraphim Torah studies,' replied Yomiel.
'I get to it every now and again,' replied Melaniel. 'Been a while, true. But I'm busy, you know. Got a bloody enormous population to look after, you know.'
'I know,' he replied. He looked around the familiar office. Gold copies of her album present, and other Melanie B memorabilia, a bit of Spice Girls stuff as well. Very well decorated and fitted out as well.
'Is there something you wanted?' she asked, looking back at her PC screen.
'Just to catch up. I was wondering, though. Do you have plans for expanding Melaniphora with the new availability of outer quadrants of the discs to overseers now allowed?'
'Hadn't thought about it,' she replied glibly. But then she stopped and looked at him. 'Why? Why such a question?'
'Do you want a partnership. Disc alliances between Yomiphora and Melaniphora. It could be in both our interests to have a united front.'
'I serve on Ladies of the Seraphim Torah alliances,' replied Melaniel. 'Girl power, you know.'
'Oh. I see then,' replied Yomiel, a little dejectedly.
'Hold on sonny jim,' she said. 'Is that as hard as you are going to push it? You want an alliance, sweet talk me buster.'
'I'll send you flowers as tribute regularly,' he said.
'Go on,' she replied.
'We'll have shared competitive sporting competitions, and relaxation of trade between our discs.'
'Go on,' she said again.
'And I will bloody wash the dishes when you make our next meal. Ok, I said it. Let the issue bloody drop, ok,' he said, in true humility.
'Ok. Fine. We'll have an alliance,' she replied, and turned back to the screen.
He looked at her for a moment, then nodded to himself. 'Good. Thank you.'
'Close the door on your way out,' she replied, without looking up.
'Uh, yes,' he replied.
When he had left the room, walking down the corridor, he chuckled. 'That was easy enough, but he knew she didn't mind the idea. He could tell. A forged partnership with his twin, and she was a hell of a woman. Strong, passionate and dedicated. Good. He had ambition still, and an alliance with his twin on the new expansion idea seemed perfect. And so Yomiel was in a happy mood, as he exited the Keep of the Overseer of Melaniphora, deciding to visit a tavern and celebrate his latest coup.
Meltonia was the 200th of the male cherubim of eternity, his twin was Krystel, and he was the overseer of Dunaphon Keep. And he was a hell of an angel.
'Yo, Melty,' said Marckonyel the Cherubim. 'What's up dude?'
'Bills,' replied Meltonia, sitting in his overseer office in Dunaphon keep, nestled in the heart of the Dunarra ranges in Zaphora.
'Pay your damn bills, and let's party,' said Marckonyel. 'I know this chick in Mitraphon. Real nice. Good time guaranteed.'
'I'm faithfully married to my twin, Krystel,' replied Meltonia. 'But tell me about this chick.'
'Gazungas. Double D's all the way, and firm. Believe me, they are firm.'
'She sounds rad,' replied Meltonia. 'And you know I like biguns.'
'With the tits on your twin, no kidding,' replied Meltonia. 'She still model?'
'Occasionally. Swimsuit stuff in outer discs. Very much in demand is Krystel. She don't care much. Good money. She doesn't play around, though, so I'll thank you for your offer, but decline.'
'I was only shitting you anyway,' replied Marckonyel. 'But come and have a drink downstairs with me.'
Meltonia sighed. Bills. They could be paid online quickly, but he liked to analyze them first. But stuff it. A good time for a break. They descended the stairs, down to the ground level of Dunaphon keep, and entered the restauarnt with bar attached. It was dimly lit, with beautiful carpet, stylish furniture, and very polished. Not old style. Modern enough, but very sleek and confident looking. It was one of the finest establishments in Zaphora after all, and had a 5 star rating. Marckonyel ordered a beer, and Meltonia took tonic water. He wouldn't drink while working. They got their drinks, and sat at a table, and Marckonyel grinned at him.
'So how the hell have you been?' Marckonyel asked his old buddy.
'Oh, you know,' sighed Meltonia. 'Business as usual. The keep to maintain, and the restaurant to run. I'm manager for the restaurant also, as well as the Keep in general, and I watch over the art gallery on the upper level, but it has an admin officer come receptionist who does all the real work.
'Yeh. I checked it out before I dropped in on you,' replied Marckonyel. 'Same old shit for sale. Do you ever sell anything?'
'Not much anymore. People pay a coin donation to visit it usually,' replied Meltonia. 'The pieces don't change much, so you know. More a traditional art gallery for permanent display than a shop really.'
'Whatever brings in the bucks,' replied Marckonyel and sipped on his beer. 'How is Krystel anyway?'
'She's fine. Out getting a facial at the moment in that place she visits in the city. And her nails done as well I think,' said Meltonia.
'Must be hard. Married to the hottest chick in Zaphora.'
'I get by,' replied Meltonia. 'And there are many beautiful women in Zaphora.'
'Yeh, pretty much,' replied Marckonyel. 'But your twin is a solid 10. Amazon divine glory, mate.'
'She is at that,' said Meltonia, and sipped on his drink. 'How have you been then?'
'Usual shit. This and that to make a buck. Things are sorted out a bit more these days than past ages. A bit more settled, and faithful to my twin. I do stray a bit, but don't tell her that,' said Marckonyel.
'Why doesn't that surprise me,' replied Meltonia. 'Do you still have that cap? The one with the tubes and places for beer cans. The one from that Playboy mansion party we went to?'
Marckonyel smiled. 'Fuck. It's probably around somewhere. I remember that party. It was wild, dude. Got lucky that night, you know.'
'Did you really?' asked Meltonia. 'Those bunnies were not easy to land.'
'Well, if you must fucken know, no. But I danced with a few of them, and they were real sweet and stuff. Said I was cute.'
'Playboy bunnies. Tell you what you want to hear,' said Meltonia.
'Tell me about it,' replied Marckonyel. 'Man, its good to see you, you know. I don't get up to Dunaphon half as much as I should. But its damn expensive in these parts. Probably need a loan to eat in a place like this.'
'Yes. We cater for expensive tastes,' agreed Meltonia. 'But there is posh everywhere. Always the more affluent of places in each realm.'
'True enough,' agreed Meltonia. 'Anwyay, cheers,' he said, and lifted his drink to Meltonia.
Meltonia said 'Cheers' in response, and sipped on his drink. Man. Marckonyel the Cherubim dropping by. What a turn up for the books.
* * * * *
Meltonia looked at the mowed grass at the front of Dunaphon keep. He always inspected the gardeners work on completion of his tasks. He walked around the lawn, looking at the edges, and checking the shrubs. It was perfect – as usual.
'Good work,' he said. 'Are we using that new fertilizer?'
'Sowed it in a month ago,' said the gardener. 'You've noticed the results then. The best of the latest research. The lawn looks lush, Meltonia.'
'Indeed it does. Ok, set the sprinklers on as usual, and I'll turn them off this evening when I finish up. Now, that weeding out the back. Around the mulberry trees. Get to it now. We get people who walk round back from time to time, and its been bothering me for months now. I'll leave you to it.'
The gardener nodded, and Meltonia continued on his rounds. He went up to the gallery next, and chatted with 'Eloise' the cherubim offsrping receptionist.
'Busy day?' he asked.
'Not too bad,' she replied. 'I few coin donations, not much. But about the same as always. Oh, Michael is in there. Looking at some work. He wants to catch up with you.'
'Right,' nodded Meltonia. He tidied his shirt and adjusted his tie, and went into the main hall of the gallery, spotted Michael, and came up to him.
'It's a classic,' said Michael, noticing Meltonia's presence. 'The golden unicorn. Fantasy glory. Who on earth is the artist, though. The painting doesn't say and I've always wondered.'
'Heh,' replied Meltonia. 'She'll thank you for liking it so much. Krystel, you know. You knew she painted, didn't you?'
Michael looked at Meltonia. 'Your twin? Are you kidding me?'
'She's one of the finer artists in Zaphora,' replied Meltonia proudly. 'She's into fine things, you know. Why we had to upgrade this place time and again to start with. Always expecting more.'
Michael nodded, and returned his gaze to the painting. 'Is it for sale?'
'Gosh,' replied Meltonia. 'Ah, let me check.' He went to the receptionist, and made an inquiry, then returned to Michael. 'Krystel has indeed agreed that it can be sold. But the price must be negotiated. She doesn't come cheap, though.'
'I would imaginenot, said Michael. 'Anwyay, how are you? How is Dunaphon going?'
'Oh, fine enough. Business is about regular, and profits are good. Sporting endeavours remain mid ladder usually. Not really our main thing. Business in the district is doing well enough, though. We're popular with a lot of select clientele.'
'The way Dunaphon likes it,' replied Michael.
'The way it likes it,' agreed Meltonia.
'Meltonia,' said Michael.
'Yes boss,' replied the cherubim.
'Is Dunarra planning its own district council?'
Meltonia went silent. 'Come to my office. I'd rather discuss that in private.' Michael accompanied Meltonia to the overseer office of Dunaphon, and they sat down on the couch.
'Officially, yes. Tentatively. It seems to be a thing for the disc, now. It wasn't that we are just jumping on board with what everyone else is doing. We discussed it and felt, in all honesty, it would be a good idea for Dunaphon district as well. Good advantages with our own laws on various issues.'
'Would Dunaphon be co-operative with Zaphon district? I am looking for a tentative alliance of good will. Can't seem to elicit much interest from the others. They are quite independent with their own mission. You don't really have any axe to grind. Not religioiusly anyway.'
'Yeh, it's like that, isn't it,' agreed Meltonia. 'Me, I just study Cherubim Torah and go to a religious service once a year. No other religious observation. Not my thing, really. I like things simple enough on those issues. Yeh, sure. Would be happy to be in bed with Zaphon district. Suits us just fine.'
'Good, good,' replied Michael. 'Because the new districts overseers council is going to be hell.'
'What the fuck? Scuse my french, but what the hell is the new districts overseers council?'
'Daniel's idea. Believe me. A council for just the overseers of Zaphora districts. Will be necessary in the new community coming through.'
'First I've heard,' said Meltonia.
'That doesn't suprise me. So I can count on your general support on the council then?'
'No great promises, but we're traditional. Zaphon is head district, always has been. We'll stick with you Mikey.'
'Thank you. Now about that painting.'
Meltonia smiled. Changes. They came, even after aeons of the same old same old. Still, that was good. Otherwise things could get stale. And Meltonia, although he didn't like change that much, new stale things became deathly boring after a while. He chatted with Michael a while longer, gave him Krystel's number, and Michael left. Then he sighed, looked at his watch, and got up, back to his rounds, and his general work in the running of Dunaphon Keep.
* * * * *
Krystel the cherubim had big tits. But everybody knew that. She was a model, an artist, and housewife to Meltonia, overseer of Dunaphon Keep. And she was in a good mood.
'He's going to buy the painting. He doesn't mind the price tag. Going to put it down in a place of his in Zionistya. His main abode down there,' said Krystel, excitedly.
'How much did you ask for?' asked Meltonia.
'Money in fair words,' replied Krystel. 'My business.'
'Whatever,' replied Meltonia. 'Well, we can have a holiday then.'
'I – will visit Earth,' said Krystel. 'And watch the parliament of the United Galaxy in question time.'
'Uh, yeh,' said Meltonia. 'When did that idea crop up?'
'Recently. I have a fascination with earthly culture, and I want to visit the official planet. I've not yet been human, you know. But it is coming up in about a century. God has informed me so.'
'My God,' replied Meltonia. 'Why didn't you tell me? He's finally gotten to Krystel the Cherubim?'
'Yes, he took his time,' she said. 'And I might marry down there. You never know.'
'You probably will,' he said. 'And what will that mean for us?'
'When I get back, I will bid him farewell, if we are even together. I might have divorced. You never know. Might never even marry. You never know.'
'Wonderful,' moaned Meltonia. 'I'll be without you a century at least. Lifespans go that long with no problems these days. From what I've heard.'
'I'll be back before you can even miss me,' she replied. 'Now, would you like pizza for dinner. I am in a good mood, and you can have some junk for once.'
'Order the coca cola as well,' he said. 'And garlic bread. And use Pizza Hut. They're the best.'
'Fine,' she said. 'Ooh, I'm happy.'
So they ate pizza, and she finally told him the price, and all he could really say was 'Wow!'
* * * * *
So life went on in the Realm of Eternity, and Gabriel's time came and went, and Raphael replaced him. The overseer district council got established, and the office of overseer of Zaphora was moved from Zaphon tower down the block a bit, to another large tower. The council of distric overseers was established there as well, and Meltonia quickly got used to politics apart from his regular work, and the complicated machinations of the heart of eternity. He didn't mind though. He learned a lot, and undertook a degree on political science to assist him. But things settled down after a while, and he got used to the new routine, and that was about that. But Krystel, and her earthly manifestation was on his mind, and one day soon enough she would be gone from him, and he'd have to adjust his life yet again. For a while anyway. So life continued down its merry path, and the heart of God continued on its survey of destiny, satisfactorily doing his work, enjoying the pleasures of his somewhat reborn children of destiny.
'You know, Melanie. You are pretty hopeless at Monopoly. You do a great job running Danielphon's sporting associations, but you suck at Monopoly. Not enough sense to know when to quit,' said Daniel the Seraphim.
Melanie looked at the board. No properties left, down to her last $500. 'Ok,' she said. I quit. On one condition. You pay for the bucket of Ice this time.'
'Fine,' he said. He did. They sat eating pizza, and Daniel looked at the signature series Ice Bucket. 'Hey, it is plush. I can add this to my other one,' he said.
'Right,' she said. Then thought that over. 'Hey, I ended up paying for the first one, didn't I?'
Daniel looked at her nervously. 'Uh, yeh. Why?'
'Then that Ice bucket is mine.'
'Ok, I'll give you $500 cash. I have it in the other room.'
'Uh, no,' she said. 'I reckon its probably a collectable now. Might be worth a lot.'
'So what if it is? Historical cost, babe. That's what matters.'
'I move with thet times, buster. Where's the bucket?'
'An archive a long way away,' he replied.
'Right. Ok,' she said, and ate pizza, looking at him. 'Fine, whatever. I'll take this Ice Bucket. But I'll keep it. Ok. Right? And I want my $500 as well.'
'But that means I paid twice,' he complained.
'Not sense enough to quit,' she replied. He gave her the Ice bucket. The cash was $470.35. She waived the remainder.
Draconatissamay the cherubim stood on the steps of Zaphon keep. Michael the Seraphim and Jesus the Cherubim were present.
'So you still think you will rule eternity, do you?' asked Draconatissamay to Michael.
'It is not an objective,' replied Michael. 'Just for there to be peace.'
'I think ye jest,' replied Draconatissamay.
'What is it this time? Unicorns?' asked Michael.
Draconatissamay took out a book from his satchel. 'One of the 7000 key books I study,' he said. He opened to a page.
'The culture of common humanity, in which a commonwealth united works in harmony for the good of all must surely be the goal of all decent and godfearing people. On virtues such as this was the Empire founded, and by God's grace may it so continue.' He finished the book, and looked at Michael.
'Your point?' queried Michael.
'We are not separatists from humanity's common covenant. We stick with the faith, and keep pure our traditions. Abraham started again, by God's choice, but only because he refused to serve the covenant of mankind, choosing pride over loyalty to the human race. Pride in his own seed and his own name.'
'So you say,' said Jesus.
'And you are made in his ilk, also, Jesus of Nazareth. The same power made lust for authority above your station and position in life. Israel bemoans the world over its chosen status, or so they like to call it, and mocks us with their circumcisions and Torah scrolls and blessed kosher diets. Nay, ye won't end up ruling the Realm of Eternity. The covenant of the Rainbow will endure eternally, and Israel will remain a secondary consideration, an idea for a person not yet of sound education in the covenant already created for them. Long may the Empire reign.'
And Draconatissamay departed.
'Same old badgering at us,' said Michael. 'They never get the point that we serve humanity also in how we behave and in what we represent.'
'Crosses we bear,' replied Jesus the Cherubim, and Michael, for once, almost related to the statement.
Meltonia and Krystel were at an expensive shopping centre in the northernmost part of Dunaphon district, a place they did not visit terribly often. They were in an expensive department store, Krystel with an arm full of bags. And now she was looking at coats. Krystel looked at the mink coat an attendant had presented to her. 'Oh, yes. I'll take it,' she said confidently.
Meltonia, following her around the expensive department store, sighed. 'Your money, baby. But your spending rather lavishly.'
'I can afford it. Believe me,' she replied. 'And need a fashion update. We women have to do that all the time you know.'
'You have hundreds of clothing items in the cupboard. Eternya stuff too. Why such a fuss? You've got enough.'
'What can say? I like the posh life,' replied Krystel.
'I think I've known that a while,' replied Meltonia. They carried on for a while, then he suggested some lunch. He pointed to the donut bar, but she pointed to the restaurant at the top level of the shopping centre.
'We've dined here before,' he said. 'A while ago.'
'We've been about a dozen times. You forget things,' she replied.
He looked around. 'Yeh. I guess so. Looks familiar enough.'
'Tonight we go dancing. I want to try on my new outfit. So this afternoon we get you measured up for a new suit. The tailor on level 3. He is exceptional.'
'Your paying,' he said.
'Naturally,' she replied.
After they had finished their meal, Meltonia went to the toilet, and washed himself up a little, before they headed to 'Marco's' the tailor of the centre.
'Hello, hello,' said the owner, presumably Marco. 'You have something in mind?'
'He needs a new suit. Can you get it done this afternoon? We are dancing tonight?'
Marco looked at Meltonia. 'I am efficient when I need to be,' he mused. 'Aeons of experience. Yes, I suppose I could get it done. It will cost extra though.'
'No problem,' replied Krystel. 'Oh, and only the best. And in dark blue I think.'
'Excellent choice,' replied Marco.
And so the afternoon passed with measurements, before they sat on a bench out the front of the store, waiting on Marco to finish the suit. He'd close the store, and they sat patiently, Meltonia taking out a puzzle book, doing puzzles. Late, near closing time, his face appeared, and he opened the store.
'I am – finished,' he said. 'Please, come in.'
The entered the store, and Meltonia went to the changing room and put on the shirt they had bought him, and then the suit. It fitted perfectly, and looked majestic.
'It's the best I've ever owned,' he said.
'Ugh. Shoes look a mess.'
'They'll be fine if polished,' said Meltonia.
She looked at them. 'Yes. You're probably right for once. We'll go to the supermarket on the ground floo. They're still open at this time.'
They found some black polish, and Krystel spent half an hour working on the shoes before she was satisfied.
'We need a change room,' she said.
'The toilet blocks. Near the carpark,' he replied.
'They'll have to do,' she replied.
So they returned to the carpark, and she changed. When she came out – stunning was all Meltonia could think of his bride. Truely stunning. They danced that night, and he did his very best, and she was pleased enough. And she said 'Naturally, the posh life.' And for once he almost agreed.
Blondariel was blonde. That was a matter of irony. He was also the 183rd cherubim of eternity. That was a matter of creation. Yet he was also overseer of Senersphon Keep, in the very heart of Zaphora, by the lake. That was a matter of choice. Originally anyway.
'Take the sardines and put them in the microwave then. If the gas cookers aren't working just microwave the damn things,' said Blondariel.
The chef sighed. 'Who the hell asks for hot sardines on toast at midnight?'
'Paying guests of the keep,' replied Blondariel. 'Now get it done. And I'm going back to bed.' So blondariel, wakened by the chef as he was not sure how to deal with a guest of the keep, who wished to have sardines on toast at midnight with the gas cookers on the blink, returned to his bedroom in the keep, and noticing his partner now snoozing again, got in beside her, and looked up at the ceiling. It took all sorts in Senersphon was all he could think to himself.
In the morning their rich guest paid his bill, and left the keep hotel. He'd stayed several days, and ordered at strange hours of the day room service. It had been somewhat amusing, but they were designed to look after such things. The customer, after all, was always right. The day passed, and Blondariel was kept busy with this or that issue in his duties, and doing the rounds later that afternoon, there were the usual things policy just sometimes didn't address which needed his personal touch. And then, exhausted, dinner again with his cherubim offspring wife, and soon enough the weekend, which he had off with a replacement manager taking over for the 2 days.
'You look like shit,' said Radenza, his wife.
'I feel like shit,' replied Blondariel. 'And I've got a bloody district overseer's meeting in the morning. I'll have to get to bed early because of it.'
She nodded, and looked at him. 'Why don't we go on holiday. It's been forever since you've had a proper rest. You could probably use it.'
'I have no times for holidays,' he replied, instantly dismissing the idea.
'All work and no play makes Jonny a dull boy,' replied Radenza.
He looked at her, and sighed. 'You're right, of course. I'm just so busy these days, I don't know how to relax. Forgotten.'
'Then unforget, and book a trip with me to an island in Mitraphora, and we can go and enjoy some warm weather, fine alcohol, and beachside vacationing.'
'You make it sound so enticing,' he replied.
'So it could be. Learn to relax Blondariel. We all need that as well.'
He looked at her, thinking it over. 'Ok. This weekend we'll make plans. But I'm busy till then, so don't bother me with it till the weekend.'
'I'll remind you then,' she replied. 'Now I cooked stewed beef casserole for dinner. A lot of work went into it as well. And we have a bottle of wine, a nice drop. Enjoy this evening, get your rest, and you'll be fine for the meeting in the morning. Then we discuss holidaying.'
'Fine Radenza. If you insist.' So he ate his meal, and enjoyed it, and got to sleep early that evening. He only ended up sleeping normal enough hours, so was up at 3 in the morning, tinkering around the Keep, more than one person alarmed at his early presence.
* * * * *
'This is the life,' said Radenza. 'Blue skies, golden sand, and beautiful people.'
Blondariel watched a lady with the skimpiest of bikinis walk past, in her beautiful tanned body. 'Indeed,' he replied under his breath.
'Well. How are you feeling then?' she asked him.
'Cool as a cucumber,' he replied. '7 weeks in, and I've never felt better. Wish this could go on forever.'
'It can't,' she said. 'But we have 5 more weeks, so don't complain.'
'Oh, I'm not complaining,' he replied. 'I'm soaking this all up. We'll have to do this again, you know. I'd forgotten the virtues of the holiday. So work oriented for so long. This is just so chill now. Took a week or so, but I'm on cloud nine.'
She smiled. Her twin was the happiest she'd seen him in a long time.
'Tomorrow we go into the village again, and buy some fruit. I'll make us a fruit salad which we can have with the fish for dinner. And yet another bottle of that wine you like.'
'You're divine,' he replied, relaxing on the sand.
'Would you relather me?' she asked him.
'Sure,' he replied. He put the sunscreen on her shoulders and rubbed it in, going over her body bit by bit. Soon enough she nodded, and he applied some to his nose and shoulders, and relaxed again. They didn't actually have sun in the realm of eternity, but the light in summer heat sometimes got hot enough to do some damage. Just the way it was, and sunscreen had caught on because of it.
'I could lie here forever,' he said.
'But we won't,' she replied. 'In half an hour we are off to the hotel pool, and bubbling away in the pool spa for a while.'
'Sounds delish,' he said.
They lay there, enjoying the wonderful weather of Mitraphon in the heat, and Blondariel dozed a bit. He was letting the warm air surround him, and letting more than one rude fantasy fill his head, of attractive women who had walked past, but of his twin as well. And he was so much in a state of wellbeing. Oh, why could this not just go on and on.
'Come on,' she said, suddenly. 'Let's head up to the hotel.'
'Ooh, do we have to,' he replied.
'Come on lazy bones.'
He reluctantly got to his feet, and picked up his towel and watch and wallet, and strolled up the beach, to their hotel, coming around to the pool and the spa. It was vacant at the moment, so they had it all to themselves. Sitting in the bubbling water, she looked at him. 'Did you fill your head with thoughts of beautiful women?'
'I have nothing to confess,' he replied.
'Yeh, right,' she said. 'Well I confess more than one guy crossed my mind.'
'Your only angel,' he replied. He splashed water at her, and she splashed back, and giggled.
'Want to have some fun in the bedroom?' he asked her.
'What kind of fun?' she asked in reply.
'Naughty fun,' he said.
'Again? You randy bugger.'
They got out of the spa and made their way up to their rooms, and for about 20 minutes they kissed and made love and, his passion spent, he laid back and fell asleep. He was bushed.
* * * * *
They drove up the road, in their rental, and soon neared the village. They were somewhere in Mitraphora, at 'Heaven's Edge' holiday park, near the rim of Mitraphora in actuality, and a small village was nearby. Today they were shopping, buying fruit, as Razenda was making dinner specially that night, when most nights they ate in the holiday park restaurant. It was actually only a 4 star holiday park, but it had been recommended to Razenda by an old friend, who visited there themselves quite regularly. Regardless of the star rating, the quality of service was good enough as far as Blondariel was concerned, who knew enough to know, but the setting was glorious. And it had that weird feel, like the place was titled. 'Heaven's Edge'. Not far off Mitraphora's outer rim. They parked the car, and wandered into the village square where stalls of fruits and vegetables were set up.
'Passionfruit?' asked Radenza.
'Goes right through me,' replied Blondariel.
They continued on. 'Kiwi fruit?' she asked.
'Sounds good,' he replied.
They bought watermelon, breadfuit, strawberries and bananas, as well as some fruit dressing, and a bottle of that wine Blondariel liked so much. Soon enough they headed back to the hotel, and Blondariel decided to take the novel he was reading, and head down to the beach for the afternoon. Radenza smiled at him as he left, and simply watched television. On the beach he put the novel aside, and just relaxed, watching the waves hit the shore. A familiar looking lady walked by again, and stopped and looked at him.
'Your girlfriend is not with you?' she asked him.
'My wife, actually,' replied Blondariel.
'Oh,' she replied. 'Do you mind?'
He shook his head, and she sat down next to him, dressed in a skimpy bikini, an attractive enough lady.
'I come here regular,' she replied. 'I'm divorced. Three kids, and a pain in the neck ex. Sort of looking for a guy, sort of. But I just chill here, and get the shit off my chest.'
'Right,' he replied.
'I work in an office. It's enough to pay the bills, and I have a debt for my new address, which is a slight upgrade from the last one. Mortgage worries for the next few aeons, you know. Price of housing. Ridiculous.'
'Indeed,' replied Blondariel.
'I'm Stella,' she said.
'Nice to meet you Stella,' and he shook her offered hand. She chatted a while longer, talking about her family and life, but soon enough got to her feet, gave him little wave, and went on with what she was doing before. He looked at his book, realized he hadn't read a word, but it was getting on a bit, and he was looking forward to dinner. He made his way back to the room, and found Radenza asleep on the couch. The fruit salad was made though, in the fridge, and the fish was in the pan, on a very low heat, cooking away. It seemed fine for the moment, so he sat down beside her, watched TV, and simply continued relaxing on his long delayed holiday, in Mitraphora, at 'Heaven's Edge' holiday park.
* * * * *
And no sooner had they been away, then they were back at Senersphon. Stella gave him her email address, and he emailed her the night he got home. They'd chatted a few times, and she wasn't looking for anything from him. Just a friend. And she was easy to talk to. They chatted for a few weeks quite avidly, then it died down for a bit, but she emailed him every now and again after that. It was a genuine enough friendship. A lesson had been learned by Blondariel, though. Indeed, you couldn't work indefinitely. The angelic psyche could only take so much before it needed rest and recovery. Otherwise it started wearing thin, and could get tired. So tired. Before he went on that holiday he had been exhausted so much of the time. But the 12 weeks had refreshed him, and he was good to go for quite a while yet. But soon enough he planned to visit that holiday park again, and perhaps arrange a catch up with Stella. Might even think about letting it become a bit of a tradition. Life continued one, and a lesson learned. He got on with his work as overseer for Senersphon Keep, and his work on the district overseers council, which increasingly, in these early years, was full of tense discussion and ideas. It was challenging work, it was meaningful work and, for Blondariel the Seraphim, it was satisfactory work. How could you want life any other way?
'If there is justice in the world,' said Alf Lambert. 'They'll have a room for rent for the night.'
'You don't rent a room. You book a room. Maybe hire. But not rent,' replied Haylie.
'Rent, hire, its all the same to me,' replied Alf. 'Anyway, this place looks familiar. Just down there a bit I had that dip,' he said pointing in the direction of the pier.
'Senersphon Keep,' said Haylie. 'They have a hotel. Affordable for Zaphona City. Very rare. One of the few places which those on lower budgets can afford for this neck of the woods.'
'Which suits me just fine,' replied Alf. They came inside the hotel, and booked a room for the night. In their basic room with a double bed, they ate a chocolate bar each from those on the table next to the TV, and drank the entire contents of the mini bar. Then they spent the rest of the night watching Casablanca on TV.
'You love me that much. Like Humprey Bogart, don't you?' Haylie asked Alf.
'More babe,' replied Alf. 'But Boges was a fuddy old fella I reckon. Comes on strong, but doesn't deliver where it counts. She's left high n dry. She probably wanted some as well.'
'They were conservative in those days,' said Haylie. 'The world wasn't full of pimps, prostitutes and paedophiles yet.'
'Oh, it had em alright. They were just less obvious,' commented Alf.
'Yes. Well probably,' agreed Haylie. 'Times never change that much in the end, you always say. They just dress it up differently from season to season.'
'Something like that. The song remains the same sort of shit. Everyone's talking about the new style funny but its still rock and roll to me. The more things change the more they stay the same. You get the picture. Some things are eternal in society. Some behaviours never really leave for long, no matter what heart claims its eternally repentant on.'
'I don't know. I think we do mature slowly,' said Haylie. 'Lessons we've finally learned, and grown up and out of. Finally reaching new levels of maturity. Experience teaches us it, and common sense. Not repeating past mistakes when we know well enough. Education. Experience. Stuff like that.'
'You could be right,' he replied. 'Anyway, turn the channel. There's a monster truck special on the International station. Should be heaps of fun.'
She switched the station to the one of 15 completely realm wide TV channels, and they spent hours till well past midnight watching trucks, no, monster trucks, grind around a course, with mad Americans cheering on. Alf loved it. Haylie was just mildly amused. Then they fell asleep, as the TV droned on throughout the night. Around 7 Alf woke. He pushed Haylie and she opened her eyes suddenly, then went off to pee and shower, while he made coffee from the jug in the room. It was shitty long life milk in the little fridge, but he didn't care. He drank his coffee, and Haylie appeared, fresh as a daisy, looking great in her blue jeans and T-Shirt, and he gawked at his beauty. 'You still got it babe,' he said.
'Aw, shucks,' she replied. 'Now where exactly does this dude live in Zaphona City?'
'I kind of forgot,' said Alf. 'I'll have to look it up on the internet. I just thought I'd remember.'
'We'll find a library or something then,' she said.
'Sounds good,' replied Alf. So he showered, put his clothes back on, and they left the room, after Haylie made the bed, and paid their bills. Then it was off to find a library or an internet cafe somewhere, and chasing down one of Alf's oldest and dearest buddies, who he just couldn't quite remember the address for.
Gemstone's New Home II
'Senersphon Keep,' said Valandriel to Gemstone. 'You will stay here for a thousand years, get to know the people, get to know this area of Zaphora, and swim in the lake every day. And you will pay attention, observe custom and detail, and familiarize yourself with what goes on. Understood?'
'Understood boss,' replied Gemstone.
'We have already paid the thousand years in advance, and you have a budget for meals with the Keep which we expect you to stick to. Learn everything, neglect no detail, and don't be obvioius about it either. We don't exactly operate in secret, but we don't blow trumpets about what we do either. Kapiche?'
'Kapiche boss,' replied Gemstone.
'Well, I'll keep in touch via email. You're on your own now sweetheart. Don't embarrass us, ok,' said Valandriel, and gave her a quick peck on the cheek, and left. Gemstone looked up at the keep, and said to herself, 'Be brave girl. This is the start of the grand adventure.' With those words said she entered the keep.
'Yes mam,' said a blonde man just walking past the receptionist.
'I'm Gemstone. I have a prepaid booking of 1000 years. Arranged by ValDan.'
'Hello Gemstone. I'm overseer Blondariel. I've been expecting you. Waiting around for you to arrive, actually. I have your key. Here it is,' he said, handing her her room key. 'We have a pre-planned set of meals to send to your room each week. You can alter the diet if you wish, but it all has to be accounted for in the budget. Valandriel was quite specific in that respect.'
'I understand perfectly,' replied Gemstone, taking the key. 'What are the entertainment facilities of the hotel?'
'We have a large pool with spa, on the northern side of the Keep, not far from the lake, which is fine for swimming in also. We have a private cinema, which can house 50 guests, and can be booked for events if necessary. The restaurant is just through there,' he said pointing. 'It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but closes after lunch at 2:30 and does not reopen till 5:30. Late lunch parties can be pre-booked. And we have a games room, which is suitable for all ages. It has pinball machines, a sit down arcade video game multi machine with 5000 games on it. And there are board games and other things in there, including a table tennis table with equipment. And out the back we also have a basketball court. Finally, there is a small internet station with 3 terminals, which can be used freely, and we also have free wifi in the hotel if you have your own laptop or tablet.'
'Right,' replied Gemstone. She looked at Blondariel. 'Sounds perfect.'
'Do you have luggage?' he asked her.
'No,' she said firmly. 'Just what I have.'
'Fine. Then I'll show you to your room personally.'
He led the way to the elevator, and up the level to her floor, and showed her to her room.
'We have key as per tradition, but you can ask for a change to a card if you want, or even ask for a door code number. All 3 are acceptable, and you are not mandated to use any particular one.'
'The key will do fine for now,' replied Gemstone.
'Very good. Then this is your room,' said Blondariel. Gemstone looked in on the room. Large, queen size double bed, plasma TV, very slim, and the standard package really. Nothing terribly posh, but certainly adequate.
She turned to Blondariel. 'Thank you Blondariel. I will settle in now.'
'Very good. And pleased to meet you Miss Gemstone.'
'Pleased to meet you Blondariel.'
He smiled at her, and left. She looked around. Gemstone's new home. Well, this was her lot in life for now, as she was a functioning pawn of the ValDan agenda. But it was her security and it was her stability in life. And it gave her something to do. So on she went, and ValDan lead the way.
Jessica and Daniel V
'So who is this Jessica Bradley?' asked Jessica Murdoch, the former wife of Seraphim Daniel, aka Daniel Thomas Andre Daly the Third. 'What? Do you have a thing for Jessica's or something?' Jessica was staying at Senersphon Keep on a long term visa stay, approved of due to her status as an ex-wife of a Seraphim.
'No, I don't have a thing for Jessica's,' replied Daniel. 'Jessica Bradley is a girl from Berridale, who I romanced and married. I was single at the time, and in no relationship. I'm perfectly legally allowed to marry someone.'
'No – you are not,' she replied. 'Your taken buster.'
Daniel looked at Jessica. 'Now what the hell is that supposed to mean?'
'Melanie and Ariel will both complain that there is too much love in your life, and there is. And I'll damn well complain as well. Your taken buddy. There are strict rules around the amounts of eternal relationships someone can have, and you've crossed the line buddy.'
'Rules?' queried Daniel, perplexed.
'Messiah Ministries Doctrines on Relationships. Volume IV: Romance,' replied Jessica. 'And your sinning, dude.'
Daniel's face turned quizical. 'I don't have legal permission to read Messiah Ministries doctrine. 'I'm ANM and Noahide. I'm not allowed to read Talmudic literature either.'
She stared at him for a moment, then backed down. 'Oh. Just a second, ok.' She went to her bookcase in her hotel room, and took down a volume. She read some pages for a while, and then put the volume back on the shelf. 'No. You are not,' she said firmly.
'So don't bloody judge me by dickweed Ambriel's bullshit.'
'Messiah Ministries have a code you can read and are obligated to follow if you have genuine interest. It's a subcollection of Noahide related doctrine,' she said.
'First I've heard, Jess.'
'Do you want me to show you the chapters?' she asked him.
'Will I be obligated?'
'Not technically. But if you have an interest they will claim normal influence rights,' she replied. 'In the volume I just read there was a paragraph referring to another volume of Messiah Ministries doctrine for Noahides. I do have that volume. Not with me, but I do have a copy at home. I have the entire writings of Messiah Ministries. The official stuff anyway.'
'So you are in the congregation of Ambriel, are you?'
'Indeed,' she replied. 'I practice love, Daniel. And you've crossed the line, buddy. Hearts can be sensitive. You should damn well know that.'
'Well I'm not judged by dimwit Ambriel. So bite me babe.'
'The truth will judge you regardless,' replied Jessica.
'I already have a code on relationships,' said Daniel.
'The ANM has meagre doctrine on this issue,' replied Jessica. 'I've studied all your online material. Extensively.'
'It's not online,' said Daniel. 'It's in pastoral discussion and the spiritual life of ANM. We don't write down everything. We LIVE the rest of our lives, not on paper, but in practice. And we don't need the likes of Jessica Murdoch telling us what we can and can not do, kapiche?'
'You suck,' she said, and stuck out her tongue at him.
'You're just jealous,' he replied. 'What? Old flames of love?'
'Do you think they ever really die, idiot? You're an idiot. Sensitivities of a slug.'
'Well I still love you, so blow me. You're faithless,' he replied.
She looked at him softly. 'I'm not. I still love you.'
He glared at her for a moment, then softened. 'Oh,' he finally said.
'Yeh,' she replied.
'Hey, you're a Christian, Jack, aren't you?' asked Haylie Lambert.
'How did you guess,' replied Javk Overton.
'The Angelus picture. Up on the wall,' said Haylie pointing.
'Mum was a Catholic,' said Jack. 'I followed it barely when I was young, but it's stuck around. So I garden at Nazraphon Keep, and follow a basic sort of Catholic faith, and have my fun. Jesus is always talking to me and telling me to get my house in order. A Cherubim, so he says, needs to have his house in order.'
'The Overton clan have a lot of Catholics among the cherubim,' said Alf Lambert. 'One of the clans which likes Jesus a bit.'
'There are 50 of us,' said Jack. 'Amongst the Cherubim who affiliate with Overton Clan. Most are followers of Jesus, the Christ in Davriel's footsteps, as originally taught. But he was never God ordained then. Just his ambitions.'
'So justice never justified him in life with Israel,' said Haylie. 'And Seraphim Ambriel is their response to Nazareth's fine son's agenda.'
'Pretty much,' replied the Cherubim Jack Overton.
'Got a beer?' asked Alf. 'And do you know how much trouble we had in finding this place. Had to stay at Senersphon Hotel for a while before we tracked you down.'
'Lot of back alleys in part of Zaphona City,' replied Jack Overton. Places which nobody goes down much, but there are sub-basements galore down in some places, were people live. There are 3 levels down beneath me, and there is a door at the end of the hall of the bottom level, which is metal, and has a metal bar beside the door, which we think operates on magnetisim of some kind. You never see people going in and out of it, but I've noticed, late at night, people walking down the street who disappear down to that level by the looks of it, who might live beyond that door. No idea what is down there, though.'
'Probably vampires,' said Haylie. 'Vampires hate the light. They live in the shadows.'
Jack looked at Haylie. 'Fuck! Yeh, they do exist, don't they?'
'Lot of weird creations were made in the epoch of the 6th heavenly realm. But I think, from memory, fragmentary groups might have existed even earlier. But they were well established in that epoch. Rumor has more than just a few live in the Realm of Eternity, and that Kardos might be a Vampire. Strong suggestions of it.'
'You never see Kardos out in the day much, do you?' replied Jack. 'That's interesting.'
'Justice says that we should not really allow creatures of the night to prosper, but justice also says if someone is lawful, well, even if they were a former sodomite, God gives them grace if they behave.'
'You are still bisexual, Alf,' said Haylie. 'Don't think you are mother Theresa yet, buster.'
'I'm not gay anymore, though. Will always do women now,' said Alf. 'Gave a commitment to God in that respect,' said Alf.
'Yeh. I heard that,' said Jack. 'Someone mentioned to me that you had amended your ways somewhat.'
'The good times don't always last forever,' replied Alf. 'Nah, who am I kidding. Got over. Love this chick here way to much. But I did a lot of shit, which I moved from on in time, and while I don't really have any regrets, life is – now – a little more sedate. Probably more palatable as well.'
'I reckon they might be vampires down there,' said Jack. 'Maybe I should do some surveillance. No a detective, Alf? Aw, fuck. Sorry for sounding like an idiot. Want some work?'
Haylie smiled. 'Payday again soon, buster. Working for Cherubim Jack Overton.'
'Vampires!' said Alf. 'Another potentially interesting adventure in the life of detective Alf Lambert.'
Mixronon was the 153rd cherubim of Eternity. His twin was Shamira. He was overseer of Selphon Keep, to the very north-east of Zaphora, further north than Dunaphon, but south of Dalnaphon. Still, it was nestled quietly in the heart of the Dunarra ranges, a quiet place in many ways, a place with a life ot its own, like other parts of the Realm of Eternity. Selphonites were reserved people, not overly religious, but they did study Seraphim and Cherubim Torah, and take a regular enough interest in most things. They were not exactly posh like Dunaphonians liked to pretend themselves to be, rather, they were well to do in lots of ways, simply because they worked well as a people, and achieved what they needed to for a comfortable enough life. They kept to themselves a lot of the time, but did talk to you, and were not objectionable to visitors. Just a reserved, quiet, almost shy people. They were not exactly the go-getters in life. Mixronon the Cherubim was overseer of Selphon Keep and, quite frankly, the overseer the people wanted and the overseer the people got. He had been serving at Selphon since the beginning, and was not going anywhere. He reassured Selphon district of that from time to time – he was not going anywhere. In a way he stood guard at the head of Selphon district against the passions of the rest of Zaphora, passions which, unless it was on the sporting field, were it could be controlled and enjoyed of its own measure, they were just passions which were too much for the average Selphonite. They liked the quiet life with quiet people, who liked simpler things and happier things, without having to get so damned caught up in everyone elses business.
'Raphael is coming to visit,' said Mixronon to his working partner, his twin Shamira, as she entered the overseer's work office of Selphon Keep. Shamira ran the keep with Mixronon. They were twins. They were not husband and wife, they were not lovers, they were not the king and queen of the uinverse. They were twins. So they took that idea seriously enough to have a good working relationship, and left it at that. She had her own private love life, and so did he, but they worked together in running Selphon, as they long had, and that was they way they liked it.
'Oh. Ok. He's reasonable. Not too much to handle. Would be good to get a visit from the Realms overseer. We can catch up on what's happening in higher levels. See if there are any opportunities for Selphon to improve things.
'We're talking changes to Internet technology,' said Mixronon. 'Copper wiring, which has been there from the beginning of the Internet, is finally going to be removed. It was prayed in with Eternya, but there has been long and extensive discussions with the Theophany, and it is just too slow, when optic fibre can do a much better job for the entire community, and not have to worry about satellite technology.'
'Well amen to that. Finally, common sense prevails. It's taken forever.'
'The outer discs have had nothing but optic fibre for a long time. We're viewed as antiquated,' said Mixronon. 'It's going to be a major upheaval for settled land and buildings of various kinds, but it just has to be done. So we'll be discussing things for Selphon, as he gets around Zaphora for discussions on the issue.'
'Must be chatting to all the inner discs in time, I suspect,' replied Shamira.
'Quite possibly,' said Mixronon. 'Oh, these here are crazy times, huh.'
'Very funny,' replied Shamira, and sat down on the couch with folders from the shelf she had just picked up, and started filling in a form for use with the keep, as their working day went on.
* * * * *
'There's not a problem, we can't fix. Coz we can do it, in the mix,' sang the district overseers.
'Fuck you Sarbratellion. Fuck you Blondariel. And especially fuck you Meltonia,' replied Mixronon.
'Gentleman. Such rude behaviour is not fit for the honoured member from Selphon. It does not matter that he is half an hour late for our meeting. He must have been busy,' said Michael, Zaphon Keep's overseer.
'Thank you Michael,' said Mixronon, taking his usual place next to Danielphon's overseer, Daniel the Seraphim, on the council benches.
'The member for Kalerphon would like to speak. Addressing a concern with the member for Pelnaphon,' said the Cherubim angel Shontay, member for Kalerphon, 60th of the male cherubims, and also prince of Tuggeranong in Terraphora.
'The member for Pelnaphon has objections to being addressed by Shontay the Cherubim at the moment. The recent display of hedonistic behavioiur from the member for Kalerphon has yet to settle in the nerves of much of the Pelnaphon District community,' said Mistrel the Seraphim, also overseer of Pellersphon and his own disc, but perpetual overseer of Pelnaphon, as discussed since the very beginning.
'Please, let the record show, the member for Kalerphon regrets his behaviour. He was exceedingly drunk, and baring his privates on stage in a traditional folk concert to the honourable people of Pelnaphon District is not 'A Good Time' as he, in his intoxicated state, may have previously said. Not that he recalls such words.'
Mistrel glared at Shontay, then finally relented. 'Very well. The member for Pelnaphon accepts the albeit dubious apology from the member for Kalerphon.'
'Very gratefully received,' replied Shontay.
Michael spoke up. 'Would the member for Selphon care to elaborate the reason for his lateness?'
'Exhaustion. Work has been challenging all week. Raphael spoke with me extensively on the fibre optics internet rollout scheme, and Ashton's Realmwide Circus is at the oval behind the Keep, and there were several hosting events I was involved with for the circus, There was also a biotechnology conference, my area of expertise, which I gave two lectures at. Last night I was dead to the world, and woke up late. I was unable to get here any sooner with my state of mental wellness. Just too tired,' said Mixronon.
'The answer appears reasonable to the member for Zaphon,' said Michael.
'I second that,' said Daniel.
'The member for Selphon needs a timetable,' sniggered the member for Kalerphon.
'Please retract the statement,' said Michael.
'The member for Kalerphon amends the statement. I retract the snigger, but affirm timetable management is an area district overseers need a strong sense for.'
'The member for Danielphon affirms the member for Kalerphons statement,' said Daniel.
The recorder was recording everything wih hansard, and looked up. Nobody had spoken for a few seconds. Finally Michael spoke.
'Timetable management is in accordance with the general way an overseer should function and manage their time. It is not mandatory, but sensible practice.'
And so flowed the council, with statement of view presented, and general discussion of life and council issues flowing in an almost haphazard manner, like a general sort of discussion. It had a life of its own, really.
* * * * *
Mixronon sat in MacDonalds in downtown Zaphora, chatting with Overseer Cherubim Peter, member for Bethlephon.
'Tough day,' said Peter.
'It will calm down next week,' replied Mixronon.
'A Selphonite being late is always something unique,' commented Peter. 'I have long observed the placid nature of the district. Similar to Catholics in many ways.'
'That is somewhat true,' agreed Mixronon. 'Or Haven Noahide Fellowship. We have a smattering of that in Selphon District. They are similar to Catholics as well.'
'From what I understand from Cherubim Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly the first of the Seven Divine Fellowships, Haven Noahide, was modeled on Catholicism from its foundation. The use of candles and iconograpy in a very similar way to the Catholic Church evinces this truth,' said Peter.
'He grew up Catholic, from memory. Was an altar boy as well. Of course, each of the seven caters for a slightly different type of person. A different pscyhe for each. He certianly knew, I would imagine, in growing up in a time of passionate denominationalism, that people needed a place which they felt comfortable with. And attempting one congregation style only for the official covenant community of God might not be the best approach,' replied Mixronon.
'Learned from our example,' said Peter.
'Also Judaisms and Islams. They were equally as fractured, as they are to this day. Why bother starting something which will only disintegrate in time anyway. Found it like that,' said Mixronon.
'Wisdom from experience and observation,' said Peter.
'Yes, Selphon is in harmony with Catholic sort of life,' said Mixronon. 'Do you have a point?'
'You see no need to affiliate as a people with much other than the official angelic torah requirements,' said Peter.
'Dunaphon is the same,' said Mixronon. 'They take it a little bit more serioiusly though. It is their religion, not a dominating passion, but they observe it. We are like that in some ways, but less concerned. Just the requirements. I think, though, for our nature, it doesn't matter that much. We're not given over to passions terribly much anyway. If we needed to repent of something we would not make a big deal and just address the issue sensibly over time.'
Peter took out his notebook and started writing. Mixronon bit into his cheeseburger, observing the apostle. 'Your recording our words,' he said at last.
Peter looked up at him. 'That's not a problem, is it?'
'No. Not at all. Flattered, actually,' replied Mixronon.
Peter eventually finished, and picked up his chips and ate a few, and sipped on his water. 'Life goes on,' he said to Mixtronon.
'Aye. Life goes on,' replied the overseer of Selphon. And life did, and Mixronon got back to Selphon, chatted with his twin about his long day, and slumped down into the couch, watching TV. Later his twin put a blanket over him, as he had fallen asleep, and she turned down the TV, but left it on to give his subconscious mind some food for its dreams, which she knew from her own experience sleeping in front of TV, affected what you dreamt about. And she kissed him on the forehad, chuckled at the helpless little angel of God, and retired to her bedroom, another long day in Selphon District, in Zaphora Disc, in the Realm of Eternity, complete.
Love V: Family Ties
Gemma Watkins. Lawyer, model, blonde bombshell, bimbo. But in the end, smart enough as well. She was in a Canberra, where she had lived a while now, and she was with her family. Her mother Mary. Her dad was elsewhere, as they were going through family issues, and Gemma was living with mum, getting on with life. And David Rothchild was happy enough with Fiona MacIntosh, so Gemma didn't really care a bit.
'It's tasty,' said Gemma.
Her mother Mary Watkins looked at her. 'Is that all you have to say? I spent all morning preparing that stew. Several cookbooks were used. I'm not an expert, but I try.'
'Sorry mum. It's brill,' said Gemma.
Her mother sighed, and came and sat down on the table, and looked at her daughter. 'What's on your mind Gem?'
'Oh, nothing,' said Gemma. 'A case a bit. Compensation for an accident in a supermarket. Basic stuff, but I'm wondering whether my clien really is as innocent as she claims. And the lawyer dilemma of doing the right thing at times.'
'You want to pass on your client?' queried Mary.
'No. I won't do that. To professional. Besides, I'll handle my own problems rather than lumbering them on someone else. I just wonder if I should talk with the judge in private about the case.'
'Well, do what you think is right,' said Mary, and stood and went into the main part of the room to watch television.
Gemma sat there, lost in thought. The case was on her mind, but so was David. And Fiona MacIntosh. Did she really care, now? David and her wer on again off again eternally, and then when she'd had her fill Justine took over. And while Justine had been married faithfully forever to another guy, Gemma new David oh too well. But she was starting to ask some questions which had finally filtered through the Gemma Watkins brain about what she actually represented in life. I mean, her actual values. For nearly all eternity she really hadn't given a damn about religion but, the other day, watching a Rabbi in her local food court chatting with a religious chaplain on some issue or another, she noticed that they were very polite with each other, shook hands and parted, seemingly, the best of friends. And the thought had struck her that, in the end, while she was consumed with law and ethics, that religion was supposed to be the heart of a legal code in many ways. And, really, that was the actual point of the bible, wasn't it? The law from God. And while she had been a lapsed catholic for most of eternity, she started making a basic question of herself. What did she believe? And then, after a few days, a weird thought. What should she believe? And it struck her that she really didn't know. What should she believe? So that had been on her mind, and in her case at hand there were moral issues, and she was thinking 'What is the basis for morality anyway?' Lawyers argued it all the time, but what the hell was it based on. And love crossed her mind as well. What the hell was love? She felt it, and moved with its passion. But it died so quick, and she never really knew why. These things were the mystery of Gemma Watkin's heart as she came over, sat next to her mother, and lauged at the silliness of 'The Goodies' as they did another of their dumb adventures.
* * * * *
Justine Atkinson and John DeVere had been married a long time. John was aware of his wife's former flames, especially the Jewish Messianic figure David Rothchild, who Justine had known on Earth when she was new. He'd been on Earth too, at a latter period, and then he'd met Justine one day on New Terra, and they'd fallen in love. Now they were married, and had been a long time, but Justine would go on holidays, and not tell John a lot of the details. He didn't suspect infidelity. Justine was a faithful baptist wife married to a faithful Church of Christ husband, and they had similar views on life, love and marriage. But she was only human, wasn't she? So he didn't pry and he realized it would be difficult not to love David Rothchild after the impact he had made on Justine's life, and so he left that alone as a mystery of a woman's heart, just thankful that she was devoted to him, and had sworn she would never leave him. They didn't live on New Terra. They lived on an outer Australian planet called 'Australia 2', the second planetary body in the Australia sequence, which, ironically, had the yacht 'Australia 2' as its chief emblem, and which ran regattas with John Bertrand, one of his heroes, constantly. Of course, sequences of planetary bodies in the United Galaxy was the standard organisational way of naming many of the planets, but those who lived on the numbered planets just called themselves after the name of the planet itself, and rarely used any numbering. That was mostly the way it was, but Australia 2, due to the yacht, was often called Australia 2 by its inhabitants, and they were the official holders of the cricket team name 'The A Team' in one day cricket, which had been the first of the names of the second Australian team to once compete in the official series of one day matches at a point alongside Australia on Earth itself in the physical universe. In fact The A Team had made the final against Australia, the national team, and almost won, such being the depth of Aussie cricket at that time in history. So Australia 2 had its own pride and its own name, and weren't ashamed at all to use the numbered sequence for this bunch of proud Aussies.
'I want to ask you something, Justine,' said John, as his wife came in with the shopping.
'Yes John. Let me put this stuff away first would you dear,' replied Justine. John helped her with the shopping, and they came into the lounge room.
'Yes,' she said, looking at him, glad to be off her feet.
'We are a close family, aren't we? I mean, the kids visit at Christmas occasionally, and we stick together. We're meant to be with each other, perhaps. Perhaps forever.'
'I think so,' she said carefully. 'Where is this coming from?'
'Do you still love David Rothchild?' he asked.
She looked at him for a moment, then picked up the remote, and put on the TV.
'You didn't answer,' he said.
'I'm thinking about my answer,' she replied.
'Like a lawyer,' he said softly.
'Don't mock me. Look, of course I bloody love David. But I'm not IN love with David. I'm older now John. He's a fascination, a hero of my youth, and I love him dearly as a friend. But the romance? Mmm. I think that money was spent a long time ago. We're different worlds. He's Jewish, and I'm, well. I don't know. I'm not baptist anyway. Not doctrinally. Spiritually 100%. But not doctrinally.'
'I doubt many Christians are doctrinally christian anymore,' replied John. 'Fundamental Christianity is dead. It's just laws and morals and tradition in the church now. The gospel has had its heyday, and Jesus is an iconoclast, and not much else to regular life practice.'
'I love Jesus,' she said. 'You know. He got to my heart as a youngster, and it never changed. He's actually, and I say this from authority as David introduced me to him once and I spent a week chatting with him. But he's actually a very interesting person, and the gospel is rich and alive in him. He is life as he says. A different kind of spiritual life. Torah is life and law, and what works. But gospel has its own life, and that actually works for some people. Jesus kids. I met a few. They are like him. The same spiritual thinking. He's interesting. Not the messiah, but I like him. Fond of him.'
John looked at her, and smiled. 'Good. Good for you. He's not really my cup of tea anymore, but I keep faith with church in its tradition. But......' He trailed off.
She watched television, then he spoke again. 'You don't really have any feelings for David then?'
'Not really. He's an old friend. I love him, but I don't need him for anything apart from a catch up every million years or so for a chat and a hug. He's a good buddy.'
John stood, smiled at his wife, and went to his bedroom. He took out an old diary, and wrote a few notes, and got the car keys, said he was going for a drive to Justine, and left. He drove up to Red Hill, and looked out at Canberra. After about half an hour he said quietly 'Thank you God.' And he drove home, got into bed with his wife, and, relieved, fell asleep.
* * * * *
'Mixronon, is it?' asked David Jones.
'That is correct,' replied the Cherubim Mixronon. 'And this is your wife?'
'My sister. Francine,' said David.
Francine Jones curtsied to the overseer of Selphon Keep, as she felt he was probably a dignitary of some kind, and smiled at him.
'No need for that Francine. We're a pretty sedate people here in Selphon District. So you are staying at Hotel Selphon?' Hotel Selphon was adjacent to the Keep, but not part of the official Keep business technically. Yet when people had business with Selphon on a duration they often stayed at the Hotel, and conferences were held there in the conference room on the upper level.
'Indeed we are,' replied Francine. 'We have visas to stay for about a century in Zaphora. This is my third visit, you know. Ambriel arranged this for me. He's a close friend. I knew David on Earth when he was young.'
'I know who you are,' replied Mixronon. 'Ambriel has mentioned you a few times in conversation. I see him at Zaphora council from time to time these days, as well as at Assembly. He sits and listens to our conversation in the council a lot. Spends most of his time with Michael.'
'Wonderful to meet you,' replied Francine.
'The pleasure is all mine,' replied Mixronon. 'Anyway, we have a restaurant with a bar on the second level. It's an old addition to the original keep now. Originally all the keeps of Zaphora, barring Zaphon, were just ground level. Things changed, but apart from Zaphon, we're all just a few levels for the most part. To keep the tradition of the original keeps intact as much as possible.'
'Yes. I'd heard that,' replied Francine.
'So I hope to see you in the restaurant over your stay. Always interesting to meet new people.'
'Thank you,' replied David.
David and Francine continued on, and walked around the grounds of Selphon Keep, before resuming their walk in the region of the Hotel. They hadn't decided how long they'd stay in Selphon, and had booked Senersphon for the last decade of their stay, as it was affordable, but Selphon looked an interesting enough place to both of them to stay for a while.
* * * * *
David sighed. Another day in Forrestfield, Perth, Australia, New Terra, at Golden Fries and Burgers.
'It was a chicken place, then a Hungry Jacks and we took over from them,' said Daniel to a man in a suit he was showing through the restaurant.
'And it still sucks,' said David.
'I'm docking you 5 minutes pay for that sledge,' said Daniel.
'Amazing,' replied David, who was used to the less severe penalties now due to his long service. Daniel gave him a look and continued showing the man around the restaurant.
Fiona finished serving a customer, and came over to David as he was washing the windows. 'Bored, huh?'
'This job sucks,' sighed David.
'Then why do you do it?' she asked him.
'Because I have to. It's my income, you know,' he replied.
'Don't you earn, I don't know, gazillions from Messiah Ministries?' she asked, a curious look on her face.
'I do it because I like the work. There. I said it. It teaches me humility and how people in the real world live. And Forrestfield people are used to me and like me, and I have a lot of friends here. And the boss runs a tight ship and has good values for being a boss. I watch him and think on how he runs things.'
'Yes. Daniel is strict,' replied Fiona.
'He's run this place a long time. And the Franchise is everywhere now,' replied David. 'I'm up for management when I want it, but he suggested to me that this job should really be forever, whatever else I do. I didn't object. He told me he serves on the counter in Canberra all the time, to keep in touch with customers. He does the real work as well, and he cleans toilets.'
'He doesn't,' confessed Fiona. 'Oh, he serves on the counter, but he only cleans toilets once a thousand years.'
'Oh,' replied David, a little shocked. 'Well, he just said he cleans the toilets occasionally.'
'I suppose once every thousand years counts for that. But he is on the counter one day every month when he is in town. He does the real work as well.'
David looked at Daniel out the back. So it was true – he did do counter work. In the end he assumed he hadn't been bulshitted, but it was surprising to find that indeed Daniel did the grunt work as well. He took his rag, and cleaned it in the bucket, and started attacking the window.
'Much better,' said Fiona. 'Keep it up.'
David was grumbling to himself. 'Think's he's humble, does he? Big bossman not afraid to do menial work. I'll show him.' So David worked hard all that week, and made a point of going up to Canberra when Daniel was on counter service. Time for revenge.
* * * * *
'I'll have a cheeseburger with pickled onions and strawberries,' said the customer.
'Sorry miss, we don't serve.......' Daniel trailed off. 'Meludiel! What the heck are you doing here?'
'It's Rebecca on New Terra,' replied Rebecca St James.
'Oh, yes. Sorry. Human world. Sorry Miss, we don't have pickled onions or strawberries.'
'I'll have sausage pate with elephant steak,' said David, suddenly appearing next to Rebecca.
'Mmm. Shouldn't you be at work?' queried Daniel.
'Time off. I put in an application, and Fiona approved. Just a week off. Plenty of leave available to me,' replied David Rothchild.
'Sorry sir. We don't have sausage pat and elephant steak,' replied Daniel at once.
David looked up at the menu. It was exactly the same as Forrestfields. 'Very interesting menu. Never seen half of this stuff.'
'I'm sure you haven't,' replied Daniel dryly.
'Excuse me? Where you mocking me?' asked David. 'Hardly good customer relations.'
'I apologize sir,' said Daniel.
'Yes. You do that a lot. Not sure we should shop here, Rebecca. Terrible customer relations.'
'I'll have a chocolate milkshake,' said Rebecca.
'Make that two,' said David, handing over his card.
Daniel punched the items into the register, and swiped the card. It was approved, and Daniel returned the card, and started making the shakes. When he had them ready he noticed that David and Rebecca were seated at the very front of the large store. On purpose, naturally. He took the tray, and walked over to them, carefully placing the tray on the table.
'Sorry, sir, for the problems before,' said Daniel, and he seemed sincere. 'We do focus on customer relations in Golden Fries and Burgers. It won't happen again.'
'I should think not,' replied David.
Daniel left and Rebecca looked at David.
'Happy? Had your fun now?' she asked him.
'Barely,' he replied.
David sipped on his shake, and watched Daniel serve customers for half an hour. When it was quiet Daniel came over and inquired carefully if they would like free top ups to their shakes. David handed over his cup, while Rebecca shook her head. Daniel shortly returned with the cup completely full.
'Please forgive us for any inconvenience sir. I can give you a gift voucher for a free meal if you like,' said Daniel.
David looked at Daniel's sincere look, then relented of his fun. 'No. I was at fault also.'
'Thank you for choosing Golden Fries and Burgers. Please come again,' said Daniel, and left, returning to the counter.
'He was a perfect gentleman,' said Rebecca.
'Yes. He was,' said David, thinking over Daniel his Seraphim brother. He had been a perfect gentleman indeed.
* * * * *
Gemma looked at the brochure. 'Why do you have a brochure for Selphon District in Zaphora?' she asked her mother out loud.
Mary Watkins came into the room. 'I have a holiday there. In 4 years. My visa was approved about a month ago. It was arranged with David Jones, Francine's brother. I'm meeting up with them.'
'And you didn't tell me?' queried Gemma.
Her mother walked to the other room, and returned with two certificates. She put them down and Gemma looked at them. 'You have approval for a guest,' she said after examining the documents for a moment.
'It was meant to be a surprise,' she said. 'I didn't though have your name put down, just in case you had other plans.'
'No. No plans. The case I am on should wrap up soon enough, and I can take some leave after that. Well, a holiday would be good.'
'We'll be meeting Justine and John DeVere there. And David Rothchild has promised to show up with a friend of his named Fiona MacIntosh. We have about a decade of holidaying planned.'
'David,' said Gemma softly. 'Oh. Right.'
'I hope you don't mind us inviting David?' asked his mother. 'I have his contact details myself you know. I was introduced to him when you were young. You brought him around after university one day. We've had contact ever since, but only rarely.'
'Oh. Right,' said Gemma again. 'No, its not a problem.'
'Then all is fine,' said her mother, and returned to the other room.
Gemma sat there. 'Justine, Francine and David. All together again. And she was the last to know. Well, no matter. David was still a friend, whatever else, and it would be good to catch up. And she had 4 years to prepare herself, so it was plenty of time to get the confidence she needed. She studied the brochure for a while, looking at some of the sights of Selphon District. It was, of course, in Zaphora, the heart of eternity as they called it, and very long waits were required to get a visa for travelling there, due to the huge demand. It looked interesting enough she thought, then put the brochure down, turned to her laptop and her current case, and got on with her afternoon.
* * * * *
Francine Jones looked at the state of the game. 'You're good at chess,' she said to Mixronon the Cherubim.
'He competes occasionally,' said Shamira, Mixronon's twin.
'Well, I'm very old at this game. Not as old as you, I admit.' Francine continued looking at the game. She looked up at Mixronon. 'How much older are the angels of the Realm of Eternity than Earth?'
'That would be telling,' replied Mixronon. 'But it is not too much further back when we began. And before us was Infinity, and before them was heaven, and first of all was Home.'
'And before that?' said Francine, chuckling.
'The Angelfire,' replied Mixronon soberly.
There was silence in the front room of Selphon Keep then. Francine finally looked up. 'What's the Angelfire?' she asked, confused.
'Don't speak of it,' said Shamira softly.
'What's the Angelfire?' asked David Jones.
'The source of our life,' replied Mixronon. 'It's – not clear. It's vague. But it's known as well. It's in our dreams, its in our hearts, and its in our names. It's most definitely in our names.'
Francine looked at Mixronon, perplexed, but let the issue drop. 'Whatever,' she said after a moment. She looked at the board, and used her bishop to take his knight.
'Thought you might do that,' said Mixronon. 'Well, 2 weeks we've been playing this game, and I'd say we need another 2 to finish it. Shall we call that it for the day. I want to think about the state of play.'
'As you wish,' replied Francine. They stood and once more Francine looked around the small, white room, with a fireplace, and a basic shelf built into the wall. 'Is this the original keep?' she asked.
Mixronon nodded. 'It's ancient. Built near the very beginning of things. Basic, as you can see. We were an old world to start with. Didn't have all the kinds of ideas from latter times. But we did have fireplaces, and that is the original, with the original grating.'
Francine looked at it, and bent over and touched it. 'I've touched eternity,' she said smiling. The others smiled at that.
'Till tomorrow then,' said Mixronon, and ushered them out.
When Francine and David got back to their hotel room David asked her, 'Do you think you can win the match? I know you are not professional at chess, and only play now and again. From what I know of your history.'
'Younger brother, you know very little of my history I would imagine.' Which was true. David was a more recent arrival in her family, a choice not that long ago by her parents to have another child after an eternity settled on the issue. 'I have a chance,' she replied. 'But he's very good.'
'Good luck sis,' said David.
'Yes. I think I'll need it,' she replied.
* * * * *
'We're travelling to the Realm of Eternity in about 3 years,' said Justine to John one afternoon. To Selphon District.'
Why is that?' asked John, not looking up from his laptop.
'Holiday planned with Francine and Gemma. Oh, David will be there as well.'
John continued looking at his PC, then paused. He thought on that casual after remark.
'David Rothchild, you mean?' he asked her.
She came into the room. 'Yes. Is that a problem?'
'No problem,' he replied. 'And I'm coming on this trip also? You have visas?'
'It's all arranged,' she replied. 'Now you've met David before. He's a lovely guy. There won't be any weird pressure or anything. Just relax and be yourself when you meet him. He's really a very normal guy underneath the notoriety.'
'Fine. I'll be myself,' replied John. 'The other girls are going as well are they?'
'Francine is already there with her brother David. The recent addition to their family.'
'Yes, I recall,' said John. He thought on the fact that it was one of the girls traditional holidays, and David met them on such holidays anyway, and let the issue drop. He was coming along this time, interestingly enough, so he suspected that she really didn't give a damn about fancying David for a private romance. That had been a fear of late. He was starting to take stock of his life, and questioning things eternal. And that included his marriage. And because of that his wife's past flames of love could potentially be an issue. But, so it seemed, they weren't. She was a normal enough woman with past love in her life. Everyone had that anyway.
* * * * *
Time came, and time went, and soon enough the DeVere's were in Selphon hotel, with other well known friends resident also. John enjoyed chatting with David Rothchild, who was really quite a loving and friendly fellow. And it became clear enough with the Fiona MacIntosh lady on his arm 24/7 that he was attached, or so it seemed, and had no intentions on Justine, or Gemma Watkins for that matter. They talked about the Realm of Eternity, and they talked about business and David shared that he was actually available on New Terra in Forrestfield in Perth quite easily if John ever wanted to drop around for a chat sometime. In his humanity he had a place in the world were human beings could reach David Rotchild if they simply wanted friendship. John, one evening, thinking that over, decided he would make a visit one day. And they also, apart from those things, chatted sport, and finally David gave him almost a lecture on family. Family Ties to be precise.
'They last forever, you know John,' said David. 'We can pick and choose our friends, and they don't always last, as much as we might want or like them to. But family is forever, so if you have children with a woman, make that woman count.' And David smiled at John, and they carried on with their game of pool. But John DeVere thought on those words, and the way David was confessing he respected family boundaries and marriage and he knew, whatever else, he would not have an adulteress for a wife at the hands of David Rothchild. And that comforted his concerns, and he let the issue drop thereafter.
And then the holiday neared its completion, and they were all in front of Selphon Keep one afternoon when Fiona MacIntosh showed everyone a ring.
'David has asked me to marry him,' she said. 'I'm going to be Mrs Rothchild.'
And as Gemma, Justine and Francine's jaws dropped open, Mrs Mary Watkins, looking on, smiled and said quietly 'The Cat that got the cream,' to Cherubim Mixronon, who chuckled in response.
Yet again, Melanie and Daniel were engaged in a game of Monopoly. Melanie was telling herself she should have sense enough to quit, but he had cajoled her. And now the game was 14 months old and getting just a bit beyond the joke. Daniel was accumulating cash, and was intending to set the world record for the most. Time would tell if he would succeed.
'So you think you are rich, do you?' asked Melanie C.
Daniel looked at the board. 'I own everything. True, I have no houses or hotels.'
'Rent is usually affordable,' replied Melanie. 'We've been playing this game 14 months now. How many spare sets of monopoly money do you intend on buying?'
Daniel picked up his tablet and checked his ebay account. 'They're cheap,' he said, looking up for a moment. 'I can probably afford a few googol of them if you push me.'
'So it's make cash off Melanie C for an age, is it. Just keep me hanging on, while you pass go every now and again and, what? I pass go and manage to just stay afloat for another round of payouts.'
Daniel looked at the board. 'You know, that is interesting observation. You could say it works like that I guess.'
'YOU GUESS! You wanna make sweet cashola off me till kingdom come, don't you Danny Boy?' she asked.
'I've contacted guinness. At this stage I need about 3 more months to take the record of the most cash. I mean, you don't mind the donations do you, to stay afloat at times?'
'I should refuse,' she replied proudly.
'Don't say that. This is being recorded at the moment,' said Daniel.
'You're legal. Don't sweat it,' replied Ambriel, filming them.
'There you go. Kosher affirmation. And from the Messiah as well. This is my new guinness record, baby, and I intend to get it.'
'And if I refuse your occasional generosity?'
'Aw, don't do that,' he replied. 'In Monopoly you are supposed to take advantages to stay in the game. You're still supposed to try and win at this stage. Negotiation and asking for properties is still legal for you.'
'Give me the reds,' she said. 'For $15.'
He looked at the board. 'Ok. Here are the reds. You of course can build houses and a hotel, but I would likely compensate.'
'You don't have to try and end the game,' said Ambriel. 'For the record. It's patience, legally, at this stage. And you need to fit the money somewhere, and it has to be accounted for. If you move the cash out of this room it would be considered bad etiquette to the Monopoly community, and they would not regard the outcome as reasonable. Possibly legal, but not reasonable. The banker has to account for the money within reason at the end of the game.'
'I consulted the guide,' said Daniel to Ambriel. 'I know.'
'Guilt him,' said Meludiel. 'Let him give you a chance, and beat him if you can.'
Melanie looked at Meludiel and looked back at Daniel. 'You're screwing the system. You don't deserve the record.'
Meludiel pointed to a point of law in the greater rules of Monopoly. '4,000 sets of cash are the legal limit, Danny.'
Daniel looked at Melanie, then suddenly thought on what Meludiel said. 'Dafuq?' he asked. 'Show me that.'
'If the game requires more than 4,000 sets of cash, a draw is concluded,' he read out loud. He worked the sums in his head. 'It's fine. 3,133 sets will give me enough cash.'
'Then let the party roll,' said Ambriel, and Daniel grinned at Melanie all afternoon.
The Eternal Noahide Seraphim 3
'Not sure if I'm a Noahide,' said Bantriel the Seraphim to Daniel the Seraphim.
'Catholic?' asked Daniel.
'Frenchman,' replied Bantriel. 'Steeped in Catholic tradition, admittedly. But Frenchman.'
'Descendant from Noah?' asked Daniel.
'And a legion of ancestors after him also,' replied Bantriel pointedly.
'A host of tribes,' suggested Daniel.
'Of course. I take advantage of that as well,' said Bantriel. 'Extensive family tree knowledge and tradition. Developing French culture in my authority with much tradition.'
'You should chat with Draconatissamay,' suggested Daniel.
Bantriel took off his beret, and sipped on his water. 'That – is a good suggestion at times. We get along from time to time, but he is so English and so proud. But he does share ideas on the strengths of tradition and lore. I share likewise. France has not the might of Britannia, but we are equally eternal, dear Daniel.'
'Does the family identity of Bantriel also include his father Noah?'
'It does,' replied Bantriel.
'Does he take his father Noah's tribal name, then?' asked Daniel.
'He does. Yes, I am ALSO a Noahide,' repied Bantriel. 'But much besides.'
Daniel took out a form and passed it to Banriel.
'What is this?' asked Bantriel.
'The ANM society of genealogical research and family tradition. It's an application form for membership. They keep histories, traditions, lore, family records, archives of artefacts, and we have dedicated musems to many clans. We preserve clan culture of Adam, Enoch and Noah's bloodlines, and the other Deciarchs are not neglected either. We view it important that Noah represents the foundation of the God's covenant with mankind as a whole, ratified by the rainbow as the sign of the covenant, and is thus the head of the household.'
Bantriel looked over the form. 'The head of the household?' he asked. 'Of our human family's household?'
'By virtue of the covenant ratifying this,' replied Daniel. 'The term Noahide is of premiere imporatance and significance because of it. It is a uniting family surname for Humanity.'
'Very well. I shall join this society. I will think over my Noahide status, but I value all my family and ancestry.'
Daniel looked steadily into Bantriel's eyes. 'So do I Frenchman.'
Bantriel looked at Daniel and nodded. 'I suppose you do,' he finished.
Vampires, Vampires and More Fucking Vampires 2
'They are fucking Vampires,' said Alf Lambert. 'I followed them. They went to 'The Emo's of Darkness' club, and sat around, bearing their long teeth, and drinking what I was pretty sure was blood.
'Spooky as fuck,' said Haylie. 'We said hello and they said it would be delightful to get my fangs into you. Really creepy.'
'Are Vampires legal for life?' asked Jack Overton.
'Currently, unless they are wanted for bloodsucking, they're legals,' said Alf. 'And we had no proof of any bloodsucking going on. Possibly animal blood was being consumed. We didn't check any further.'
'Right,' said Jack. 'Suddenly I am not so sure of my residence. I'm going to confront them. Be with me. Tonight, if they go out, down at the door.'
'Your paying,' said Alf.
The night came around, and the midnight hour shone bright. The door opened, and Jack jumped out.
'Vampire! Die!' he said.
The fellow looked at Jack. 'You are Jack. Upstairs,' aren't you?' he asked, bearing his teeth.
Jack nodded. 'And you are a vampire, aren't you?'
The bloke smiled, and bared his teeth. 'They've been filed down, Jack. They regrow often enough, and we get this done surgically, so there is no pain. It's a thing of our Emo club.'
'Right,' said Jack. 'And the blood you drink at the club?'
'The red wine?' asked the fellow. 'Tradition for the club.'
'Red wine,' said Haylie.
'Should have seen that coming,' said Alf.
'What's inside? Your coffin I bet,' said Jack.
'Our kind are often pressured in society. We keep it quiet and private so as not to disturb people. Come inside.'
They followed him inside and, apart from a normal emount of gothic culture in the room, it was regular enough.
'No, we're not Vampires,' said the fellow. 'My name's Barton. Surprised you would think that, really. Real Vampires are very rare. They don't come around these parts much.'
'Right,' said Jack, looking over the place.
'Vampires? Literally? That's rich,' said Barton. 'Well, it doesn't surprise me that much. But the closest I get to real Vampires is my Vampirella comic collection.'
Alf looked at Jack. 'I guess its the case of you just got suckered, Jack.'
'Very funny,' replied the Cherubim angel.
THE END OF THE KEEPS OF ZAPHORA