Infinite time felt more harrowing when there was no activity in Araboth. It was silly that most mortals fretted about their time to die when all Israfel wanted was some kind of release from the plaguing expanse of forever. There was a whispering voice that told him what he felt was wrong, indecent, and even unforgiveable. Still, it didn’t stop him from wanting something different. He witnessed the vicious politics of other races. They were all pathetic to his narrow mind. All of them were an insult to the Angels that sought to protect humans.
For centuries, he watched his brothers act as slaves to the humans, and as time passed at a desperately slow pace Israfel noticed the lack of gratitude. They were all fools to think that the newest race of beings could understand what troubles were awaiting them in the universe. They ridiculously thought that there was nothing else in the vast planes of existence.
It wasn’t until he heard her voice that his thoughts were soothed. Her soft sound caressed him like he had never felt before. She didn’t ask for help, but for hope. The name he gave her was Lilith and he listened to her for days, even ignoring his brothers when they would call upon him at his temple. He could envision her silky, brown hair tied into a knot at the back of her head, little tresses of stray hairs falling onto her forehead. Over time, he found her beautiful; brown eyes that were deep like the mountain valleys and a figure underneath her robes that were curvaceous like a supernova.
He appeared to Lilith for the first time when she was alone. Even then she sat like a painting, still and pensive, staring out of her open window at the endless blue sky. It was better not to make a sound, he thought, but just to watch her as her silent desires washed over him. Lilith wanted to be free, too, she thought restlessly. Free like a bird in the sky or a fish in the sea. A relentless barraging of similar feelings raced from her, causing Israfel to take pity on fair Lilith who had the complexion of a porcelain doll.
Perhaps it was the first time that an Angel had spoken directly with a human and for that reason, Israfel should have exercised caution. Though his mind was inundated with guilt, he couldn’t resist talking to her. He wanted to know her. Maybe her voice would sound different out loud, or maybe she would hide her desires. Either way, Israfel wanted to lure her into his comfort. If he could placate her, maybe – just maybe – things could change for them both.
“Why are you sad?” he asked her gently.
Reaching his hand forward, Israfel touched her for the first time. Lilith turned to him, a forlorn gleam in her eyes. Her lips raised only a fraction of an inch on her slender, pale cheeks. It was then that he saw her true beauty. Ethereal sorrow poured from her, feeding into him and causing him to gasp. Never had he experienced an emotion so powerful that it would render him physically staggered. Is this what Araboth was missing – a radical sense of emotion that both elated and capsized its victim?
It was intoxicating.
“I am chained by my master. I am nothing more than a slave,” she told him in a soft whisper. “He has left for the day and I am stuck in his room to tidy his messes.”
Israfel’s eyes scanned her body, taking in the hollow of her throat and the sharp edges of her collar. As he followed the length of her arm he noticed that indeed she was chained at the wrists by a manacle which hardly stretched to fit her tiny bones. Its bond to a rusted silver post in the center of the otherwise immaculate, beige room seemed impossible to destroy. Impossible for any other human, he noted as a new emotion – anger? – began to permeate his sense.
“If I remove your irons, will you follow me?”
Lilith’s entire body turned from the window and as she stood to her full height, Israfel knew that she would agree to his offer simply by her very first smile. Her eyes strayed to a space just over his shoulder; it was the first time a human had ever laid eyes on real Angel’s wings. He fluttered them for show, though there was no betrayed smile on his face. There were serious consequences to his actions, and he could feel the weight of his brothers’ judgment beginning to fall onto him.
The only way to be free was to push it aside and into the darkness where he once hid his guilt. With his hand still on her shoulder, Israfel peered into her eyes and extracted the thoughts he had become so familiar with.
Freedom. The wings of a dove. Perhaps he will lead me home.
“You will have a place to call home with me,” he promised her, dropping his hand deftly down her arm to the shackle that bound her. “We will have a future that you can’t imagine.”
“Will I fly?” she asked still staring at his wings.
Israfel broke the iron cuff from her wrist and took her hand. “You will fly one day, sweet Lilith,” he vowed, “but first, we must Fall.”
As if he were severing his own set of chains, Israfel jumped through the window and dragged Lilith with him into his world. Pain shook him as they plummeted toward the cold, hard ground, and he knew that Araboth had let him go. He had easily Fallen away from everything his Angel soul had ever known.
Israfel would never forget the freedom that Lilith gifted him as he tempted her into his covetous underworld. He was the first Angel to break free of Araboth’s limits. It was a new era. Infinite time was renewed even as the clock began ticking faster.