After Eden

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In the Beginning

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Within the waters moved the great beast, Leviathan, he who was death, he who was chaos. No land could rise, for Leviathan smote it. No light could shine, for Leviathan devoured it.

The Lord moved upon the face of the waters, and the Lord said: Let there be light, and there was light. The Lord fashioned this light into a spear, the name of which was Lucifer, and with great wrath he set about the smiting of Leviathan. On the second day he threw his spear and it rose as the sun in the east, to illuminate the deep. On the third day he tracked his quarry across the endless sea, and grappled with Leviathan. On the fourth day their struggle raised mountains from the depths, and the Lord broke Leviathan's back upon them. On the fifth day the Lord drove his spear Lucifer against the breast of Leviathan, shattering its head into the stars of the night's sky. On the sixth day the Lord crushed the head of Leviathan with the broken shaft of Lucifer, and so the world was created.

On the seventh day, the Lord slept for the first time, and in his slumber creation flourished. Birds and beasts were fruitful and multiplied, and when the Lord returned his gaze he saw that it was good. The Lord built a garden in the east, where the first sun rose, and named it Eden. In that garden he planted two trees: the Tree of Knowledge, which contained his mind, and the Tree of Life, which contained his body.

The Lord fashioned the first man, Adam, from clay drawn from the banks of the great river that divided Eden. He gave Adam the breath of life, and charged him with tending the garden. The Lord said: I have given you all that which grows upon the face of all the earth, and every tree is yours to eat freely from. But thou shalt not touch the Tree of Knowledge nor the Tree of Life that I have planted. If you do, you will surely die.

The Lord said this for he knew that to eat from one was to become mortal, and to eat from both was to become a power unto the Lord. So he took clay from the banks of the great river, and he fashioned the first woman, Eve. The Lord said: Adam, give this form your breath of life, and she will be your companion in this Garden that I have made for you.

Adam complied, and Eve was brought to life. They lived together in the Garden, and the Lord saw that it was good. The Lord returned to the mountain where he had broken the back of Leviathan, and there he built a stair to the firmament. Above the firmament, he made himself a throne, and he called it Heaven. From there he raised a host of servants fashioned from the remains of his great spear, and he called them the angels.

The greatest four were the seraphim: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Azrael. The Lord gifted them treasures to suit their natures. To Michael came the Sword, that burned with the last light. To Gabriel came the Horn, to signal the armies of the Lord. To Raphael came the Staff, to guide the fledgeling tribe of Adam. To Azrael came the Scythe, giving him stewardship over the dead.

While the Lord raised his throne of Heaven, within the Garden at Eden crawled the Serpent. The Serpent was the last piece of Leviathan, and sought the ruin of the Lord. He curled around the ear of Eve and whispered to her: Are you not to eat of every tree within the Garden, as the Lord has commanded?

Eve replied, the Lord has told us we may eat of every fruit, but to touch the twin trees at the center is to surely die.

The Serpent coiled tighter and brought chaos to the thoughts of Eve, saying: How can you think the Lord's command wise, when you know nothing of wisdom? Eat of the Tree of Knowledge and your eyes shall be opened.

Swayed by the Serpent's sweet words, she took fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. But she did not touch the Tree of Life, for the Serpent knew that to eat from both would bring about divinity. She shared the bounty with Adam, and they knew of good and evil, becoming mortal. They felt the cold, and fashioned clothing to try and keep themselves warm. But the cold was the approach of death, and nothing could warm them.

The Lord returned to the Garden and sought out his creations. The Lord called to them, but they hid from his sight. When the Lord found them, and saw their mortality, he asked: why do you clothe yourselves? Have you eaten of the Tree?

Adam and Eve fell down before the Lord, unable to look upon him with their mortality, and begged forgiveness. Both saying, it was the Serpent who took advantage of your absence and tricked us.

Wrathful, the Lord cast down the Serpent, saying: You who were Leviathan, bringer of discord, are to become my lowest servant. For the crime of creating sin, you shall never again know joy. For the crime of temptation, you will gain nothing in return. This I decree, I call you slave, I call you adversary, and when your purpose is served I will destroy you anew.

The Lord exiled Adam and Eve from the Garden, knowing that if they were to eat from the Tree of Life, they would shed their mortality and become as the Lord. He placed Michael at the gate with his Sword, to bar the way to Adam or any of his kin for the rest of time. But Michael took pity on their exile, and he gave them the secret of fire by placing the tip of his Sword in Eve's palm. Alone but not unarmed, the first man and the first woman left the Garden and departed to the West, leaving the Lord upon his throne above the firmament.

Following the Expulsion

Beyond the Garden, Adam and Eve found others of their kind, but they were as beasts, living wild and understanding nothing. Eve tamed them with the fire contained within her left hand, and so they were gathered into a single tribe: the Adamites. The lands outside Eden were rough, but Adam and Eve had tended the Garden for many years before becoming mortal. The Adamites were taught to till the soil, and to tend to livestock. The Lord watched from his throne as Adam never forgot his duties even far from the Garden, and he was moved.

It came to pass that Eve bore two sons to Adam, and they were named Cain and Abel. Cain was raised to till the soil, and Abel was raised to tend the livestock, such was the way of the Adamites. The Lord sent the archangel Raphael down to speak to the brothers, to tell them that a sacrifice would earn them a favor from the Lord, so long as it was truthful.

Cain took forty bushels of wheat from his fields, and set aside half to be burnt for the Lord. Abel brought his knife into the pasture and slew the firstborn lamb for the Lord. Raphael took his Staff and touched it to Abel's brow, placing a blessing there that glowed with the first light. But Cain received nothing, and his wrath grew.

He said unto Raphael: I sacrificed far more than my brother yet am granted nothing in return, why am I passed over? Raphael spoke for the Lord, saying: You gave nothing that you could not spare, but your brother took the life of his best newborn though there were ten times as many he could have chosen.

The next morning, Cain called out Abel to the pasture. Abel heeded his brother, but when they met Cain took Abel's knife and slit his brother's throat. He called on Raphael, and the archangel saw that Cain was covered in blood, and he heard Cain say: I have given everything I cherish to the Lord, grant me my blessing.

The Lord had never seen such greed in man before, and his wrath was great. Raphael touched his staff to Cain's brow, but no blessing was placed. Instead there was a sign that no man nor beast could fail to heed, and it said: murderer.

The Lord spoke through Raphael: Abomination, I cast you out of your kin and out of your fields. You shall not sow, every crop you touch will wither and die. You shall not keep, only the vermin will not flee from your presence. Forever shall the Adamites shun you and turn you from their gates. Let my mark burn you for now until the end of your days.

Cain fled from the presence of the Lord, the mark burning like fire upon his brow, and the light of day cutting through him like a chill wind. He crawled into a cave and retreated beyond the sight of his kin and the Lord, into the darkness beneath the world. Adam and Eve wept at the loss of both their sons.

The Lord spoke unto the shade of Abel, asking him what he would do with his blessing. He saw the grief of his parents, and knew what he must do. He turned to the Lord and said: fashion me an estate within the sight of your throne above the firmament, measuring from corner to corner the length of a year's journey of the sun, and open its gates to all those who follow me in righteous death.

The Lord beheld the majesty of this new creation, and saw that it was good. He brought Abel to the estate and placed in his hand a shepherd's crook, saying: that which you have gained from me shall be called Paradise, to be entered by those who died a righteous death. All others shall pass out of my sight to dwell beneath the earth until the end of days, when judgement will be passed.

After many years it came to pass that Adam and Eve had a third child, Seth, and then a daughter, Awan. The boy grew into a man, and laid his parents to rest when their time came. They entered Paradise, for they were righteous in life and in death. To Awan passed the fire from Eve's left hand, and to Seth came a crown of bronze from the archangel Raphael, who said: the Lord has said that Seth is now king of the Adamites, master over the lands of Canaan where his people dwell.

The Tower

Generations passed, and the line of Adam stayed strong even as the tribes of man fractured across the land. The great cities arose across the fertile plains, and the greatest of these was Babel. The Lord looked down upon his chosen people to see that they strived for glory, and he saw that it was good.

The king of Babel was proud of his city, and proclaimed the great works of his ancestors, saying: look to the port of Babel, which holds so many ships that their masts resemble a forest. It had been his father's decree that had created the port. He said: look to the walls of Babel, which are so strong and wide you can walk a herd of cattle ten abreast across the top and they will remain standing. It had been his grandfather's decree that had created the walls. He said: look to the palace of Babel, which shines like the sun from the golden pillars that surround my throne. It had been his great-grandfather's decree that had created the palace.

But the king had made no decrees, and he sought to outdo his predecessors tenfold. So the king went to the wisest astronomers of his court to ask them the name of the greatest edifice ever created. They replied: above the firmament lies Heaven, the throne of the Lord, and it is resplendent in its perfection. The king retired to his chambers to think upon this. In his slumber the worm called Adversary, that was once Leviathan, whispered in his ear.

The next day the king decreed that there would be built a tower, that would stretch all the way to the firmament, to anchor Babel as the central point of the world. At the top they would bring hammer and chisel, and break down the Vault of Heaven, so that man could worship at the foot of the Lord.

The Lord saw this, and his countenance was troubled. He spoke to the Heavenly Host: what use will man have of the earth when they can ascend the stairs to my throne? The fields shall lie fallow, the herds shall be unfed, the great works of man will become as dust in the wind.

All the way from the lands of Egypt to the great mountains that protected lost Eden, stone came to Babel. The servants and slaves of the great city fashioned it into bricks measuring one rod on each side. The quarries scarred the land and levelled mountains as the Tower rose year after year. The king sickened with age, but he did not die even when his days numbered two hundred and fifty years.

The great twin cities of the plains, whose names were Sodom and Gomorrah, were of five cities of the land of Canaan. Within these cities crept the Adversary to turn away the Canaanites from the Lord. Temples were profaned and the wrath of the Lord grew great. He said to his archangels: Raphael, find one in the land of Canaan who still has faith, or I shall send forth Michael and his Sword to smite their cities from the face of the earth.