C h a p t e r O n e
A short introduction
Here is a secret I don't bother concealing: I hate humanity.
Humans have an irritating knack of appearing at precisely the most inconvenient times. Just as everything is running along smoothly, a human shows up with a patent leather suitcase full of tumult and aggravation. It's a pity they don't have some respect for other people, instead of engulfing themselves in the petty tribulations of their worthless, mortal lives. Then, perhaps, they'd be a race worth the bother of creating.
If I was allowed, and the consequence would not be so great, I would kill every last one with a flourish of my hands. Whenever I close my eyes I see it happening - the entire race quailing at my touch: praying to a God who will not help, and a mercy which will never come. They have not earned the right to a merciful end, after all.
In the sparse spare time I have, I envision exactly the way I would finish them off. I rather like the idea of exterminating them little by little, country by country, creature by miserable creature. Then at least a few of them would have time to admire my work before they met their end. I quite fancy that their faces would be permenent sinkholes of shock, as they turned to each other in a unified state of helpless, deadened panic, their hands raised to the Heavens in a paralyzed defeat. Enemies would forgive as they found a shared terror deep inside them; wars would end abruptly when the participants saw their victories were useless. Humanity would band together, at long, long last, and it would all be because of me. In my visions they cry and scream when they see me, but really it would be far more sensible for them to stop their wailing and give thanks. Although, for me, the looks on their worthless human faces would be thanks enough.
Personally, I find it ironic that mankind's end would be the thing that finally allies them.
But please, do not be alarmed by the indulgent fantasies of my wandering mind. I could not inflict this scale of pain if I wanted to, for it is not my pain to give. I realise - and you do too, now that I have pointed it out - that I have not yet introduced myself. It's rude of me, I admit, but when you have all the time in the world, who can blame you when you don't say everything that must be said, all at once?
If I did not wish to tell my name, then you would never know. You might assume that you knew who I am - the clever amongst you may even be right. But - but, always the revealing word - you would never have any proof that you were correct, and proof is the only thing that matters.
However, you should be thankful that that is not the case. A masked storyteller, cloaked in the unknown, is rarely a pleasant one, and if I am nothing else I am surely pleasant.
Most of the time.
Still, I find it fair to say that amongst my people at least, I am the opposite of unknown. When you take into account humanity, that's a different matter - the majority would not know me if I had plagued their families for eternity. Upon seeing me, they would lock their eyes upon my face, staring at me in the wonder struck horror to which I am used. Not a single spark of recognition would flare in their eyes, and it is only when they were dead that they would understand who their tormentor had been.
They call me Azazel, Prince of Hell.
I am here to tell you a story, but it is not my own. If you lend me your ears I can take you on a journey of a lifetime: a voyage across seas never before been crossed. The greatest battle that's never been told; the most illuminating love story in existence, and an ending message that will take your feet out from beneath you.
Watch in rapture, and behold it in fear. This is the tale of Lucifer and God as documented by me, Satan's faithful lieutenant. Do not afear, for I shall not be biased: is the truth not the biggest evil I know? My own emotions will be kept strictly separate, I can promise you that, and I do not break my promises easily. Nothing but the most miraculous, inexplicable circumstances force me to do so, and even then it is because there is nothing else left I can do.
I have gone back on my word only once.
But enough. I bore you with useless information about myself. My introduction is coming to a comfortable end, and the story is about to begin.
Tell me: are you sitting comfortably?
Let me take you on an adventure.