Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
Current Game: Dungeonseige series
The world is such a funny place. When I stepped into Heaven for the first time, saw, the world they live in, I felt both a stranger and at home. Humans know what heaven is supposed to be like, and they are both right and wrong.
In the years since the Shift, while what are now called the Religions Of Submission collapsed, people began to ask not only the Angels, but the Demons
as well if there was a heaven and hell. The answer was yes…
Perhaps I should explain. There is a human soul, a spirit being tied briefly to a body, which goes on to the place it belongs, but there is a catch.
You see, people have in their minds a clear distinct definition of who should go to either place. The problem is; does the person you would consign to either place agree with your characterization?
What if the person believes he is just and right in doing what he did? Does he go to hell because of his evil? Or to heaven because of his belief in the purity of his cause?
Take the inquisitions as an example. While everyone remembers the Spanish Inquisition, who remembers the Episcopal Inquisition from 1184 to the early 1230 or the Papal Inquisitions of the 1230s? You may not remember them, but one of the victims of that Inquisition was named Joan Of Arc, who was condemned and exonerated by Inquisitorial courts 25 years apart starting in 1430. The so called Albigensian heresy caused the only Crusade on European soil with a third of the population of southwestern France thrown into the holy fires.
Then the Monarchs of Spain; Ferdinand and Isabella, pressured the church into what was later called the Spanish Inquisition. It started with Alonso de Hojeda in Seville and Cordoba in 1481, and by 1492, covered eight major cities in Castile. It went on under the name of Tomás de Torquemada, and thanks to Ferdinand, even Papal dispensation didn’t mean anything. In fact, it was punishable by death to ask for it without permission of the monarch. This Inquisition, for those who have not paid attention, arrested the little known writer Miguel de Cervantes best known for the character Don Quixote.
Then there was the Portuguese Inquisition which lasted until 1821, and the Roman one that ended in 1864. Yet that did not end it. In 1908 the name of the Inquisition became "The Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office", which in 1965 further changed to The Congregation For the Doctrine of the Faith as retained to the present day.
So the same people who tortured thousands in the 15th century are still alive and well today.
Now consider Tomás de Torquemada, who supervised the torture of thousands. Do you think for a minute he felt he was in the wrong, with God on his side? Or What of Adolf Eichmann, who designed Auschwitz? A man who stated publicly that he didn’t mind leaping into the grave because six million Jews preceded him there?
Take a wild guess who ended up in heaven.
At first the Angels weren’t sure how to deal with this. Some of the most willing butchers of God arrived in their realm. Olaf Tryggvason nicknamed ‘Christ’s best hatchet man’ by those who were not Christians. Torquemada, Marx and Spengler, Zwingli, among others. They were doing God’s will obviously. So was Joseph Stalin Adolph Hitler Heinrich Himmler and Idi Amin.
They were buried in people who believed Genocide and slaughter was proper because ‘god’ approved it. People who caried over every bias into their afterlife, and actually had to be separated. Think of the old joke where the Pagan goes to heaven, and finds a section surrounded by a high wall. When he asks, the Angel escorting him shushes him and says, ‘That is where the ‘insert Religious group’ stays, and no one else belongs here according to them.
And who do you think ended up in hell?
No, everyone who ended up there believed they belonged there.
Who believes they are going to hell? People under puberty, that’s who. People who believed that bed wetting, playing with yourself, and ogling women means condemnation. Think of every child told that his actions would lead to hell, who never grew to puberty or adulthood. That’s who went to hell.
Let’s face it, humanity caused more grief than they could even begin to understand in those two realms during those millennia. Partly because they didn’t know they were causing it.
It wasn’t until several months after the Shift that Angels Demons and humans got together to try to correct this. Courts were created in both Heaven and Hell.
The Hellish ones were easy. 90 percent of the inmates didn’t even deserve a minor penance. They had not even reached the 15th century in Heaven. In Hell they were already done.
Heaven’s tribunals started within three months of the Shift, and the tribunals were determined by what was legal and proper by the modern times. Daniel Webster, who administered Torquemada trial set the record after standing in court 4,000 times to state, ‘Sir, regardless you tortured this ‘person’ who’s only crime was her religious affiliation was wrong by your definition’.
If you look at the 8 levels of hell created by the Romans and Dante, all but the first and second belong in hell, and the Demons were kind of glad to be punishing those worth punishing after tormenting those who thought they deserved it.
It would take a century before everyone was properly assigned, and the court cases would take maybe another century.
Speaking of court, starting since the Shift, we had faced cases regarding the Paladins. Not a good idea for those filing such suits.
You see, a Paladin is chosen by a god, but how can a court deal with this? Remember back in the 80s when a criminal was able to file a lawsuit because he fell through a skylight; on the grounds that there weren’t proper signs warning you?
The first case where a Paladin was sued didn’t go the way the plaintiff expected.
First, think of this; A god sanctions your actions, and the first thing a court does is demand that you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. Now picture this; a Paladin’s word is his bond. He can no more break his word than a leopard can change his spots.
Some of the Gods took this badly. How dare you demand that this person do to your satisfaction what a god already demands?
Now consider that a modern court does not worry about truth as much as appearance. The first and last serious attempt to sue ended badly. The plaintiff swore, then claimed that after stealing a purse, he had only run because he was being chased!
The Paladin stood, said only one word, ‘liar’, and a lightning bolt struck the courthouse. That bolt ignored the lightning rod, striking the building. The jolt shot down through the wiring, burning out everything above of the courtroom, then leaped from a socket, sending the plaintiff into the next life.
Since then, claiming damages worked, because every Paladin had a drawing account created by his god. Every valid charge was paid, every malicious claim got nothing.
I considered this as the Attorney General’s office called. I knew the actual damages would be taken care of, but what of the official’s ‘suffering’?
No way on this side of hell, I surmised.
Lilith seemed to be a bit happier after speaking with Captain Morgan. I hoped she’d had a chance to tell him how she felt.
“Lil?” She looked at me, and I could see the happiness in her. I wished I knew who had chosen him, I’m sure Lil felt the same. “What shall we do first?”
She handed me a file, and I opened it. While the captain was gone, I had gone through the two dozen files we’d been handed. Of them all, only five were truly in our venue. This one was simple compared to the others.
Otto Cronkite had been under arrest, even under trial as a serial killer when the Shift happened. The trial had gotten to the original hearing stage when he’d turned into a were-wolf in court.
Seven people had died when he escaped, and the death toll which had begun with nine victims, plus seven people in the court went to almost 20 before he had hidden in the Were Legation area here a few weeks ago.
This time we had a real name. I took the file to the Captain, and he came out of his office. “The first time we get to show what we can do. I’ve already called the Legation office and we’ve been given permission to enter and arrest the criminal.
“Now, first; we have the legal permission to arrest Cronkite. We also have the right to go through anyone who tries to stop us. However the Were have asked that we do not injure any that are innocent.” He looked at each of us. “This is our first mission, and I charge ye all to protect the innocent, and capture those who are guilty.”
I felt his words like a geas upon me and truthfully on all of us. His god has chosen to make us all obey; arguing that we harm only those deserving of punishment. I could sense the Dwarf trying to resist and failing. Above us on the helipad the dragon struggled then his resistance collapsed.
I found myself, nay all of us running to the elevator. We reached the helipad, and both Lilith and I leaped into flight. The Were Legation was to the East, and both of us flew as fast as we could. Behind us the Vrumugan followed with the more humanoid members riding him. Only our Vampire member wasn’t there yet.
The Were enclave begins at Charleston and Valley View, runs East to Decatur, then North to Sahara, then back West to Valley View, an area of perhaps one and a half square miles. Within that area, you can see she-wolves sitting, panting as cubs, kits, kittens and other were children played under their scrutiny. The area is not fenced; the were belief anyone stupid enough to intrude deserves what they will get. We landed near the Zia second hand store at Sahara and moved Northeast. All of us could feel our target, and we had landed to surround him. Art had gotten off at Valley View and Charleston, and the SWAT headsets we wore linked us. There was an aura about us, part of the geas. The Were saw us, then moved aside.
“Andiel, head North, north east to block his escape.” I heard.
“Everyone, my name is Arthur. Call me that or Art.” He admonished. “Lilith, head North, north west also to block.”
“Brachian and Loki, move South, south east, Droman and Danika, South, south west. Be prepared.”
“Yes, Art.” Loki replied, followed by Danika making the same call.
I mentally placed them all, we were in an elongated pentagram, only Arthur Lopez and Vrumugan had not been placed, but both Art and Lopez were placed at the fifth point, and Vrumugan was flying overhead. I cold see what he planned. If Cronkite broke south, he would face demonic and Angelic powers. Either of us could trap him with no problems. If he broke toward Loki he would face a God’s powers entrapping him, and facing a mage and Elf was not much better.
Whereas facing a Paladin and a were gave him a chance to escape.
I could understand the concept. Art was a Paladin. Facing an enemy at one remove, escaping from him; was an insult. The enemy could break any other way, and lose because nothing could defeat such power. But to attack toward Art implied a chance of some sort. A Paladin and a were. No creature would take the hard way if an easier way existed.
I looked around, at the tension of the Were around me. Faces watched me, recognizing that I was not of their kind, but at the same time, recognizing I was not someone to mess with.
I could feel the others, one of the gifts the God had given me. Lopez was a suppressed ball of fury to my left, glaring at anyone who dared to look at us funny.
I could feel Cronkite too, a dark stain on the town. We paced forward, and suddenly I heard a howl. Usually this would be dangerous. A Were calling others. In a movie, this is where the frisson of fear runs up your back as it is answered from all around, and you know you’re dead.
Not this time. The Legation could feel me there, knew I would not intrude without purpose. Knew as well that any who stood by my enemy would suffer his fate.
The house was almost bland. Of course, architecture didn’t change during the Shift. We turned in the walk and as we approached the door exploded outward as Cronkite charged. The man had shifted, and I faced a creature the size of a dire wolf.
The sword was there and I spun like a top, the flat of the sword slapping the four foot tall creature away. Lopez leaped, a golden mountain lion finishing the leap to sink his teeth into Cronkite’s shoulder. I turned, and saw Danika make a motion as she ran toward us. There was a clunk, and the wolf leaped as if clothes lined, falling on his back.
Andiel arrived, and there was a flash as bright as an arc light from her hand. It hit the wolf, and it screamed. I pulled out my cuffs with the silver lining, locking them over his forelegs.
“Wait!” Lilith flew in, catching Andiel’s hand. “Art, he’s possessed!”
“What?” I looked at her.
“Can’t you smell it?” She insisted.
Loki joined us, drawing out a small token, He held it out, and it glowed. “She’s right.”
“So what does that mean?”
“He’s got an insanity plea built in.” Lilith said sarcastically. She knelt, and stretched the fingers of her left hand. “Well if it must be done…”
Her hand shot out, sinking into the wolf’s chest, then came back out, a green squirming blob in her fist.
“Imp.” She sniffed. “It’s been in there for years from the smell of it. Do we need it for evidence?”
“No.” I said.
She looked at the thing, which was now trying to make itself smaller. There was a flash and a puff of brimstone smoke, and it vanished.
The wolf began to change, and soon there was a naked man there. “Otto Cronkite, you are under arrest.”
Last edited by machievelli; 03-19-2009 at 10:18 PM.