Heaven's Wars: Guardians of Paradise
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Heaven's Wars: Guardians of Paradise

Preface

In the great void of nothingness, God said, "Let there be light," and that light was Lucifer. Lucifer was created before time itself. He was the first of the many angels. Angels were the first creature made in an image of God and was the first of many other humanoid shaped beings. God gave each of his angels feathered wings. The angels were ageless, and as they reached the peak of their body's perfection, they remained that way forever-unless dragon or griffon struck them down, by sword or fire or any other deadly force. God showed Lucifer how He created each being. It was rumored that He even told him the secrets of creation. God gave the angels and other select beings He created at that time two forms of magic: Heavenly-which was used primarily for defense and protection-and Earthly-which was used to attack and destroy. Each angel favored one form of magic.

God loved His creation and never wanted Lucifer to be destroyed. To insure that, He made him the strongest of all angels; his wounds healed faster than any who came after him. No matter how many centuries elapsed, Lucifer and the other angels appear to be in their twenties, although they are capable of altering their appearance in age or form when they wished. The first seven angels were adults from their first breath. As God created more angels, they had a childhood of two years and then reached adulthood. The six angels who came after Lucifer were Michael, Gabriel, Beelzebub, Raphael, Uriel, and Zachriel. They were known as the Heavenly Seven-the seven princes of the Heavens-and were the leaders of God's angels. God gave them a pupil to instruct.

Azrael was the first and only pupil of the Seven. They trained him especially in the magics, combat, and knowledge of the universe to prepare him for a destiny that would prove to be more important than anyone could imagine. He held within himself great potential to rise in the ranks of the angels and to someday be equal in strength to Lucifer. Because of these reasons and many others, he would be the only angel directly made by God to be a pupil of the Seven. His destiny would be strung together with Lucifer's in a way that would affect the entire universe.

In the beginning, God generated worlds and beings to inhabit them at an alarming rate. Angels were the one creation that He forbade to procreate or kiss. But they were also the only ones permitted to live permanently in His perfect Heavens. He made a world known as Aeirliel, which was also known as the Garden of Eden or Paradise. That world was connected to the other Heavens. The creatures living in it were like angels in that they did not age or die from illness. Because that world was so close to the Heavens, the angels were involved in its operation more than any other place in the universe. God held them accountable for keeping peace and order amongst the beings that dwelt there. One of the creature types were the dragons and they were by far the most powerful creatures in Paradise.

Verinity, queen of the dragons, believed that the dragons deserved to be a part of the Heavens, as the angels were. The dragons thought they were the most powerful of all God's creatures. Because of their greed and arrogance, they instigated a series of battles against the angels. These skirmishes lasted for many millennia with brief periods of peace in between. They became known as the Dragon Wars.

But another creation threatened an even greater war.

God forged a world called Earth that was immensely larger than Aeirliel. It was on a separate plane of existence. He created a being to manage and control it and called her Mother Earth. She commanded the elements and spoke to all the living creatures. God wished to spawn a new creation that was made of parts of Himself and the Earth. Upon this creation, evil would be born. From this point, a timeless battle between good and evil ensued that would be fought throughout the ages and this is how it began...

Chapter 1 Preview

The sky was a surreal brown. The air smelled of death and the winds roared in chaos. In the world of Aeirliel, in the area called Gethyn, the ground could not be seen through dark gray clouds of smoke. The blood of dragons and angels covered the terrain. The corpses of both species lay everywhere. The scene of horror displayed was not the typical beauty of the canyon of Gethyn.

The angels that weren’t too weak to fly, fled in terror from their dragon adversaries. Those who were able, carried the injured. Dragons hovered in the sky, covering the ground with a thick blanket of deadly firepower. Some had the ability to shoot lightning from their mouths; others, magic blasts that exploded and injured or killed many of the angels. The dragons were like wolves pursuing sheep.

While the angels had the advantage of numbers against their foes, they were no match for the size of this dragon force. A formation of angels fled through a canyon with a colossal dragon in pursuit, shooting fire. At the telepathic command, the formation deftly broke off in different directions, and the heavenly soldiers turned as one and shot blasts of ice at the dragon’s wings. The beast was unable to slow down in time and smashed into the canyon wall.

Other angels were not so fortunate. With a lust for a kill, a vicious shön dragon—the size of a killer whale and flew as gracefully as the whale swims in water—hunted down his enemies. Shön dragons were the most powerful of all dragons. They were masters of all five elements, fire, water, earth, air and art (or magic). First it picked off the injured, easily crushing them with its claws or crunching them between its teeth. A few brave angels shot arrows into its thick hide, but they had no effect. The agile monster maneuvered out of harm’s way, then shot a cone of ice, freezing the top half of his winged adversaries. As it passed them, it whipped its tail at them, and they shattered to pieces.

The angels continued their retreat down the canyon, trying to reach a safe place where they could regroup. As they fled in chaos, there seemed to be no hope for them. Some were capable of launching spells to fight back, but they were only strong enough to kill smaller dragons. It was not enough. As the dim light of hope wavered like a candle about to go out, suddenly the shepherd who guided the sheep arrived.

Lucifer screamed as he cut across the sky with incredible speed, charging headlong toward the shön dragon. The huge creature heard him and altered its course from the group of angels it was pursuing toward the bigger prize. Other dragons saw Lucifer and took flight, while a brave or foolish few shifted course in his direction. Lucifer’s presence cheered the angels, who knew that now the sheep would bite back at the wolves.

Lucifer led the dragon through the gray smoke and mist that covered the ground into a screaming ascent that pierced the surreal brown sky. He banked left and fired white balls of energy at the beast. It tucked in its wings as it drew closer to him. Two of the white energy balls missed, but one hit the dragon’s wing and slowed it down. The leader of the angels charged, gripping his shimmering claymore sword tightly. The shön dragon shot multiple lines of electricity from its talons. Lucifer held out his free hand commanded a green energy ward, which acted as a shield, to deflect the power surges.

The giant shön dragon raised its head and revealed a mouth full of sharp teeth and foul breath. It snapped at Lucifer, but the angel was too quick. In an instant, Lucifer slid away and cut the dragon across the neck. The wound was deep but not fatal and the shön dragon escaped a possible second wound from his attacker. Lucifer moved past it to greet the horde of oncoming dragons, all of which craved a chance to kill the legendary angel.

A fire dragon tried to scorch him, but Lucifer pushed his sword up and under its throat. A breath of fire burst up into the sky. Lucifer quickly smashed his powerful fist into the dragon’s head, and it spun thirty yards away from him. As the battle raged on, Lucifer continued his magnificent display of strength and skill. One dragon after another fell to him. Some scraped or clawed him, but his wounds mended in seconds. Some creatures made a second attempt to dethrone the king of the sky. However, the result was the same. The defeated serpents of the sky returned to the canyon floor, either in death or by their own choice. The tales throughout the dragon clans that Lucifer’s strength was equal to that of an ancient dragon were not exaggerated.

For a moment, the winged shepherd floated alone in the sky, taking in his victory without a scratch. He dove through the gray clouds and began his quest to rally his brothers and sisters. Although the skirmish was at a momentary end, they would need to regroup.

“Quickly, through the canyon!” he ordered, speaking directly to their minds.

The remaining angels ran or flew as fast as they could, some carrying the last wounded stragglers from the battlefield. Lucifer covered their retreat as they fled. He alternated between a steady barrage of lightning and small blasts of energy to discourage any dragons from following. Other angels assisted his efforts. After all this was not his fight alone, but he always carried himself as if he were the only hope of victory.

Finally the fleeing angels reached a fortified position. Angels lined up along the canyon walls and down the trench, just as Lucifer had instructed. Any dragons bloodthirsty enough to attack became prey. From this vantage point, the angels were the hunters; and the dragons, prey. Balls of fire wreaked havoc on the dragons’ onslaught, although the fire and shön dragons were immune. The angels’ arrows and magical spells covered the sky. Well-placed spears pierced the dragons through their open mouths, killing them instantly. The wave of dragons crashed against the wall of angels. The two forces held their ground with neither side gaining a distinct advantage. Once again, Lucifer would try to be the difference maker.

He had swooped down to protect wounded angels from the horse-sized dragons who were able to easily penetrate their ranks. Lucifer caught a dragon in midair and threw it into its comrades, knocking them aside. They shot acid at him, and again he blocked with a green energy ward. Another beast approached him from his left flank. Luckily, another angel saw the dragon and stepped in front of the fire projected at Lucifer.

“Lucifer!” the angel shouted a warning.

As he turned, Lucifer saw the other angel covered in fire. He quickly put out the flames, even while he himself caught on fire. An angel called Israfel swooped in with a squadron of angels to aid Lucifer and the fallen angel. Their impact was immediate and made the area safe, at least for the moment. Lucifer knelt beside the burnt angel even as his own wounds mended.

“Hold on, my brother,” Lucifer urged him.

Lucifer started to heal the soldier’s wounds but was interrupted by a touch on his shoulder.

“Lucifer, the Father has called you and the other Seven to an important meeting. He sent me to tell you to return to the palace as soon as possible,” Israfel told him.

Lucifer narrowed his eyes with a hint of frustration. He did not want to leave. He wanted to remain with his brothers and sisters. But it was the Father who called upon him, and there was nothing more important to him than serving God.

The angel on the ground turned his head. “I will be all right, my brother.”

“I am truly sorry I must leave like this,” Lucifer apologized.

Israfel stepped forward. “I shall tend to him. Please go, brother.”

Lucifer rose and nodded. “Be well, my brothers and sisters. I swear I will return with more angels to aid you.”

Lucifer sprang into the air, heading for a white portal that Israfel and the angels had passed through in the sky. Portals were only used to crossover to different planes or dimensions. They were never put up in the middle of combat because of the risk and danger to allies. Lucifer entered, and the portal closed behind him.

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