Paradise Falls

It all began with the idea of Immortality.

The Sect said he stole their perfection. The Fallen claimed he stole their salvation. The Celestial believed he stole their creation. For Enock Mace, life has never be the same. Hunted by Men and oddities of nature, he had known nothing but death, betrayal, and suffering. Hard bitten and heart-broken, the promise of freedom brought him to the mysterious town of Paradise, but then he did not come alone...

Welcome to Paradise. Capital of madness and a vault of uncanny secrets. Home to its prestigious five founding families caught in a strife of one to be above the other. Here we meet Cassandra Prendergast, treasure of Paradise town and daughter of the wealthiest family. In an attempt to free a beautiful stranger, she triggers a long awaited battle between Angels and Demons. An unforgiving world where nightmares last forever and Bad dreams come true. As the line between good and evil is lost to survival, the drums of death and treachery are..

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1. Bad Dreams Come True

 Prologue

 

 

London, August 1800,

 

 

  The door was broken and covered in blood stains.

The wind wafted an odious scent and Enock covered his nose with his hand. He slid an emerald dagger from his belt and stormed through the doorway. There were corpses on floor and red blood flowed like spilt milk. He treaded carefully past the bodies and searched the room with his eyes.

Someone coughed faintly.

He turned quickly and saw a woman choking in her blood. He sheathed his dagger and ran to her.

“What happened here?” Enock held her gently and raised her head from the crimson floor.

“Grrr…green…green eyes,” She began to cough again.

Enock ran to the kitchen to fetch a glass of water. He hurried back, spilling half the water on the way. He raised her head again to give her a drink, but she had gone cold and pale. His grip loosened, the glass fell from his hand and shattered on the ground.

Green eyes…, the thought floated in his mind.

He stared at the corpses. He knew most of them as they had kindly offered him shelter two days ago. They didn’t deserve to die like that. He knew when they allowed him in, they were already doomed.  But he was weary and in dire need of care and just couldn’t refuse their offer.

Forgive me God, good folks don’t deserve to die like this, he prayed silently in his heart. But who did this?

The question rose in his mind again. He had a good idea of the many enemies he had gained responsible for such, but the woman’s last words didn’t fit.

The green eyes…

He had only encountered three of the Fallen, Lucille was blessed by fire and her features were a fiery red. Azeroth was a Prince of sapphire and Acheron his brother, favoured a golden hue. They were all after him, after something he possessed which they believed their salvation, but he had never encountered a Fallen with emerald eyes.

Enock hung his head in despair, “May all ye departed find rest in eternal bliss.” His right hand was upon his left breast.

He stood up and picked two burning logs from a hearthstone. He sighed and threw them on the curtains and cushions. He walked outside and watched the fire engulf the building. A rustling came from the moor and he found his hand reaching towards his belt.

“Is there someone there?” he called, but silence grew in the darkness.

The rustling came again. Two green serpents came from the shrubs and slithered past him. Enock trailed them carefully into the woods, the burning building growing distant as he pushed further. He was desperate to know who was hunting him.

 The serpents began to crawl faster and he followed, running past shrubs and thick oaks. He stopped suddenly. A broody mist crept through the forest, concealing his feet and the serpents disappeared in its obscurity.

He hissed in disappointment.

Something gleamed in the distance. He peered from the trunk of an oak and saw a cabin deep in the woods. He left the tree and began to walk towards it. Barely three steps forward, he stepped on a piece of metal.  In half a heartbeat, a spiked wood sprung from a tree and impaled him.

The agony was deep, blood spread quickly on his white clothing. He pulled the spikes from his torso and blood spurted like a fountain of red wine. His cries echoed in the woods with sweat running down his face.

He rested at the foot of a tree and watched helplessly as blood slowly drained from his flesh. Soon, he grew cold and pale, death was reaching for him. His sight was blurred and his breath shallow. Help was not coming and he did not expect it. His existence was a mystery to himself and the few who knew him wanted him dead. He grew scared of what was coming and did not want to face it…again.

But darkness came and death claimed him.

 

 

 

   # # #

 

 

 

   A brilliant light forced its way into his eyes and he placed his hand over his face to restrict the beam. The air was musty, the atmosphere dank. He winced and looked over his chest; his wounds were gone and left no scars. He raised his head and gazed at a man weaving on a loom. The man was old, stunted and wore the beige robe of a monk.

“Sorry for the trap,” the man weaved as he spoke. “I had to be sure you were the one.”

Enock helped himself up, “You impaled me.”

“I knew death had no hold over you and if it did, then you’re not whom I seek and not worth the risk of my exposure.”

“Who are you?” Enock’s eyes grew bright with curiosity.

The man spared him a glance, “I’m not one of the Fallen, if that’s what you think. I’m not a Fiend or a Celestial, but I’m something in-between. My name is Asphodel.”

“Asphodel,” Enock repeated, “I’ve heard of you. You are from the Sect.”  He reached for his dagger.

“As I said before, I’m something in-between. I was the Keeper of Mysteries and was expelled for losing the secret of life, that which you stole.”

Enock shrugged, “How did you find me? What do you want from me?”

“You cannot run from the Fallen, they have been here longer than any man dead or alive. They want what’s hanging around your neck.”

Enock felt the silver pendant with his hand. “Why do they crave it so intently?”

The old man left his loom and approached Enock. “You will have to give in order to receive. Now, I believe you asked what I want from you.”

Enock stiffened his brow and waited in anticipation.

“A drop of your blood if I may.” The man brought out a pin.

“A drop of my blood,” Enock chuckled, “you impaled and found me dead with a lot of it seeping into the earth, why didn’t you take what you needed then?”

“It is useless without the owner’s consent,”

Enock felt reluctant but then he pricked his thumb and squeezed until a drop of blood fell into a vial. “What do you want with it?”

“Too many question my young friend,” the old man laughed. “But I will answer that which troubles your mind the most.”

 The man opened a blackened pot. He brought out two pieces of meat and threw it on the floor. Two serpents slithered and swallowed them hungrily.

“I seek knowledge of a Fallen, green of eyes.” Enock watched the serpents crawl back from whence they came.

The old man coughed softly and cleared his throat. “Come, sit, have some tea with me.”

“I’m being chased by oddities of nature, hunted by a mad sect bent on seeing me dead or alive and you want me to sit and drink?”

“But you cannot die,” the man retorted.

“Oh, I die just fine. I feel agony and torment. That moment between death and life for me, I will not wish upon my enemy.”

 Tears welled in Enock’s eyes as he recalled.

 “It was once a simple life for me, the son of an Earl, fifth in line with no hope of inheritance. Dearest to me was my mother and sister, but none the less, they took my entire family. I will never forget their faces or their screams that echo continuously in my head, nor will I forget the fiend responsible.”

The old man chuckled, and Enock threw a gaze of contempt at him.

“Now, you have answered your very own question.” The man’s voice was rasp; he dipped a quill in the vial of blood and began to scribble words on a parchment.

“What do you mean?”

The old man chuckled again, “It was not a fiend that killed your family. It was a man from the Sect. It always comes down to that, doesn’t it? Men blame fiends for evil deeds, while they are responsible for the worst of it.”

Enock pondered for a moment. He was there that day, he saw it all. His father’s guards had been massacred. Blood from servants and chamber maids splattered all over the walls. His four brothers were beheaded and their head placed cruelly on their hands as they knelt lifeless. When they reached for his mother, he came to her defence, but found a sword driven through his heart.

Enock touched the scar on his chest. The jagged flesh still kept the memories fresh. It was the first time he died, only to wake amidst the corpses of half his household. His survival was a torture in disguise, the guilt was overwhelming.

“Why did I survive,” he had asked then. He had tried to take his life many a time, but always came back to the beginning. His father, he called a coward for running away and his sister, he knew nothing of.

“Are you still there?” the old man shook Enock from his reverie.

“Tell me, Keeper of Mysteries, how do I undo that which had been done?”

The old man scrolled the parchment and went silent suddenly. “They are here.”

“Who?” Enock asked.

Fear grew like a wild fire in the old man’s eyes, “I knew I shouldn’t have talked about them.” He began to gather his possessions.

“Who are they?” Enock asked again.

“Judges, the Sect’s enforcers, they are here to kill me and perhaps you. They are sworn to rid the earth off oddities of nature… fiends to be exact. Here, take this.”

The old man gave the parchment to Enock, “When you get out of here, open it.”

“What…?”

Enock tried to speak, but the old man burst into a murder of crows and they flew out of the cabin’s window. For a moment, he forgot the old man’s warning. His mouth went open, displaying his set of white teeth as he was entertained by the dramatic departure.

The door broke open and landed with a loud thud. Enock ducked behind the old man’s loom. An odious smell crept into his nose. He peered and saw a huge man searching the room with an axe held tightly in one hand. The man was clad in a black coat, but his hair caught Enock’s gaze.  They were weaved in locks, long, brown, and scattered on his shoulders. The man picked out items that were scattered on the table, turned them with his hands, gazed at them, and dropped them back.

He bent down and dipped one finger in ash remains, left where the old man had dissipated. He put the finger on his tongue and nodded in satisfaction. Enock tried to calm his racing breath not willing to alert the intruder and get into a brawl. He attempted to rest his back comfortably and bumped against the loom.

The man turned immediately, and at that moment, Enock caught his cold gaze. The emerald glow sent shivers down his spine.

The green eyes…, Enock remembered. 

He was consumed by anger and every bone in his body ached for vengeance. He pushed out of his cover and sprung upon the man with his dagger in hand, but the man saw him coming. He lifted Enock and slammed him on the loom. Tiny pins pricked his back.

“You,” The man gazed at him, “I killed you before, didn’t I?”  His voice was a crackling thunder.

Two men stormed into the room, they all looked similar and wore their hairs in weaved locks. The man gazed at the two and addressed them in an old but familiar tongue, Latin.

“You’re Nazirites… Judges, from the Sect, you were meant for good,” Enock spoke weakly, his head crushing beneath the man’s strong fist, awfully strong for a man.

“We keep fiends from infesting the earth, yes, but we all serve our masters, don’t we?” He increased the pressure on Enock’s skull, “Mine will be happy to see you…and of course that which you stole from him.”

“I didn’t steal anything.” Enock struggled to reach his dagger.

“What did you say?” The man brought his head down to hear Enock.

“I said…” Enock reached his dagger, “I did not steal…” He plunged it in the man’s shoulder and blood spilled on his hands.

The man held quickly to his shoulder struggling, to stop the bleeding, and freed Enock from his grasp. “You bastard,” he yelled angrily.

Enock jumped out of the window, escaping the grasp of the other two. He fled into the woods, taking a frequent glance backwards to make sure he was creating a good distance between them.

The mist cloaked him in its obscurity, granting him an advantage. He stopped and rested his back on an oak. As he took shallow breaths and recuperated, something fell from his loosened grip.

The parchment,

He had forgotten and almost lost it. He picked it up and unrolled;

Paradisum,

“Paradise,” he managed to translate the words of the old man. What does he mean, Enock asked himself.

The thudding of heavy steps grew in the cold night. Enock could hear the men’s voices growing closer. He took to his feet, but his run was short-lived as he came to a halt at the edge of a cliff. He would not give in to defeat, not when he was getting closer to finding the truth. Not now that the sufferings of decades past was about to profit him. He must live, he must find Paradise, but to live, he must die…again.

Standing at the edge of the cliff, the world seemed so small beyond his feet. The moon peered from the clouds and blessed the night with its magnificent beam, revealing nature’s beauty in silver hues. Crickets chirped in high pitched rhythm and the glow of fireflies lighted the trees. He looked to the sky, where stars shimmered brilliantly in the vast darkness of the firmament, but then all the beauties of the world would not save him from his nightmare.

The thudding footsteps grew closer. Enock turned and saw the Judges coming towards him, coming to take him into everlasting darkness. He freed himself of all burdens and with one deep breath, threw his body off the cliff.

 

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