The creature that emerged was bathed in shadow. No, not bathed, soaked in it. He seemed to suck away the light until the air around him was electric with the lack of it. But he was as beautiful as he was dark. He was known as Lucas which meant luminous, for it was said that he was once made of light.
The doorway that hadn’t existed before, melted away behind him and the windowless room was awed into silence. A group of creatures stood at once around the large table in the middle of the room and Lucas moved towards it. He could smell the fear on them though none would look at him. It was the smallest of the creatures present that spoke first:
“My Lord.” He stood and bowed respectfully, “We have been waiting.”
“Good.” His voice was malevolent and stunning all at once. “Then we can begin.”
They waited for him to take his seat and then sat themselves. He stared at them for some time, unnerving them with the intensity of his gaze. No one spoke, they barely breathed until finally…
“What news do you have, my friends?” He smiled at them, an intoxicating smile that sent shudders through them all.
The smallest creature rose again, “My Lord, we have news of the man you seek.”
“Have you now?” he asked, eyebrows raised, a grin playing on his lips. “And?”
The creature shuffled uncomfortably.
“And?” he asked again and although his voice was low, its vibrations buffeted the small creature so that he tilted backwards slightly.
He cleared his throat,
“Well my Lord, he is not as pliable as we first thought.” He rattled and lowered his head in anticipation of a fiery response. There was an uncomfortable silence. “That is to say, my Lord, that it has not been as easy as we expected.”
“Easy?” came the low reply, seething and venomous. “I never implied that it was easy, I only said it had to be done.” He stood, his chair scraping against the earthen floor. “Do you have any idea what it would mean to our kind if we do not succeed?” he glared at them, terrifyingly beautiful. He shook his head as if to clear his mind. “Of course you do. It has already been determined – at least that is what He keeps telling you. But it is not determined. If we can turn this one man, this faithful man, then we will be on our way to becoming the true victors.”
“So you say,” came another voice from the other side of the table, a gnarled face looked up at Lucas, “But if it has already been written, there is no changing it.”
Lucas roared and slammed the table in front of him. He hit it with such force that the stone buckled and cracked down the middle, “NO!” he cried, “You must break him. You must force him. He is only a man!”
“But my Lord,” came the smallest again, “he was a prosperous man, blessed by God and we have taken everything from him – we have killed his family, taken his lands, riddled him with diseases but still he praises God – what else can we do to him?”
There was a pause as Lucas floundered. His skin seemed to glow and pulse with the rage he held within, “There must be a way.” he growled softly and looked from one creature to another. “Does no one have an answer for me?”
“We have done every wicked and detestable thing to him. He still will not be swayed. He rants and raves at God but still calls him God. It is obvious his faithfulness is not dependant on blessings.”
The gnarled one chuckled, “perhaps he knows the truth.”
“And what truth is that?” Lucas spat, the beauty of his face deteriorating for an instant.
“That he is on the winning team.” The words were barely out of his mouth before he was reduced to ashes by a fireball sent from Lucas’ hand. That small victory made no difference. He was already defeated.
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