Carnifex

By G0REL0RD All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Horror

Blurb

The belligerent realms of Heaven and Hell are amassing armies from the souls of Earth dwellers in preparation for their final battle. Fearing the rapid growth of Heaven's ranks, the Satan introduces a new gambit into the game by sending to Earth his personal servants named Carnifexes - powerful beings capable of devouring human souls and then claiming them for Hell's legions. However, the Satan's carefully orchestrated plan is disrupted when the 13th Carnifex he sends to Earth suddenly decides to defy his Master and free himself of Hell's leash. Meanwhile, Heaven learns of Hell's violation of the law and sends its own warrior to Earth to stop the current Carnifex. Now, between being haunted by both the realm of angels and the realm of demons, as well as trying to survive in the world of men, the new Carnifex has to find a way to reclaim his own destiny and also discover that he might be the only being in the universe capable of resolving the age-old conflict between the two races.

Prologue

What divides good from evil?

Various cultures and religions have been trying to answer this question since the very dawn of times. Some believe that good is a primary concept that has existed from the moment the universe was born, while evil is just a supernatural force that was artificially forged by some dark powers as an antithesis of the good. Others surmise that good and evil are just relative opposites of one another, with evil being the distorted mirror reflection of good and vice versa. Thus, the two have always been indivisible from each other and arose simultaneously to continue existing in perfect unison until the end of days.

The number of versions and theories on this subject could be infinite, but regardless of their correctness, the fact of existence of good and evil has never been in question. That very thesis became the guiding principle for the Architects - a race of mighty ancient beings responsible for designing the guise of reality itself. So when crafting the universe with all its worlds and inhabitants, the Architects saw to it that the evil and good were kept in constant balance to each other. Thus, two major realms were sculpted by them: one – a realm of goodness and light, inhabited by beautiful angelic beings, and the other one – a realm of violence and darkness, dominated by hideous demonic creatures. Heaven and Hell – those were the names given to these two rivaling realms. And from the very instant they were both founded, a brutal, merciless war ensued between these worlds – a war that would then drag on for eons to come...

A millennium passed, yet neither of the two conflicting armies had been able to gain the upper hand over the other. Blood went on being shed with the representatives of both worlds being massacred ruthlessly, slowly drawn to the very brink of complete extinction. Still, the end to the war didn’t seem to be in sight. Soon the Architects began to grow worried about the effect the prolonged conflict between the two realms was starting to have on the Balance in the universe. The realms they themselves had created were no longer in their control. The Architects realized that the war between Heaven and Hell required some outside mediation. Therefore, they built an impenetrable wall barring the path from Heaven to Hell and back, thus forcing the two groups of combatants to cease battling and conclude an unwanted truce.

However, that truce was only a temporary one. The purpose of the wall raised by the Architects was not to end the strife between the two races, but merely to postpone it for another several thousand years, giving both conflicting sides enough time to prepare for the so-called Promised Day. On this day, the wall would finally be torn down and the armies of Heaven and Hell would be unleashed at each other anew so they can settle their scores for good. But until then, both races were to be kept isolated from each other, given their time to regroup and fill their dwindled ranks with new recruits.

Yet, the changes made by the Architects didn’t just stop at that. After watching for ages how closely the warriors of the two realms matched each other in combat, the Architects decided to place a new card on the table of their conflict that would help break the stalemate and lastly determine the one and only dominant army. For that purport, a third realm was built by them – a realm named Earth, inhabited by creatures called humans. The Architects purposely made those beings to be weak, fragile and imperfect, yet very resourceful – so resourceful that their existence became the most pivotal factor for maintaining the balance in the universe. After death, the souls of those humans that had lead righteous, sainted lives were to be transferred to Heaven where they were reborn as God’s celestial servants, while the souls of sinners and transgressors were to be dragged into the pit of Hell where the ghastly demonic post-mortem existence under the aegis of Satan awaited them. Thus, the outcome of the final battle between Heaven and Hell became dependent solely on the Kingdom of Men, for it was from the souls of its very inhabitants that one of the conflicting sides would amass a bigger army and would then become the more likely favorite to win this war.

However, to ensure that the competition between Heaven and Hell was fair and free of any deception, the Architects fenced the Earth from these two realms with the same wall that contained the skirmish between the latter, thus banning both opposing sides from ever interacting with humans and trying to somehow influence the fate of their souls after death. That way, the final battle between the world of light and the world of darkness would truly be determined by the balance of good and evil in the universe, lastly answering the perennial question: which force is really the dominant one?

Over time, it became evident that notwithstanding the large number of human souls tainted by the poison of corruption and sinfulness, the better half thereof were still making it to Heaven instead of Hell. Mankind, despite all its flaws and imperfections, had more good than evil in it, which was gradually starting to turn the odds in favor of Heaven’s army. The news about this quickly agitated Lucifer, the monarch of Hell and the commander of its dark legions. Afraid that his forces would not be able to stand against the ones of God if outnumbered, Lucifer decided to resort to nefarious tactics and break the law imposed by the Architects. By stealing the arcane knowledge hidden in the depths of another secret realm that had also been forged by the Architects, Hell found its way to bypass the wall’s barrier and invade the Earth. Then, in order to gain the advantage in their favor, Hell started sending its own heralds to the Kingdom of Men – powerful beings created from the human souls transferred to the oblivion after death and then imbued with energies of the demon dimension. Those beings were made for one purpose and one purpose only – to kill those humans whose souls were sinned and then claim them for the realm of Satan before those souls could ever get a chance for forgiveness or redemption. Those servants of Hell had many names: executioners, butchers, soul reapers... But to their creator, Lucifer, they were known under the name that he himself had given them – Carnifexes.

Despite the insidiousness of the Satan’s plan, it had its flaws too. Creation of Carnifexes was taxing for the Lord of Hell, for it required donation of its own demonic energy to each harvester of souls, thus weakening his own self. Therefore, not willing to diminish his own potency, as well as jeopardize the secrecy of his plotting before the Architects, Lucifer would send only one Carnifex to Earth at a time, tasking it with collecting as many souls for the realm of Hell as possible. If a Carnifex failed to do so or died in the process, its spirit was dragged back to Hell to be condemned for eternal damnation, while Lucifer would send a new Carnifex back to Earth to replace the failed one. This circle would last until the ultimate supreme Carnifex is found – the one worthy of leading the armies of Hell into their final battle with the realm of Light.

And it is with creation of the 13th Carnifex that my involvement in this saga begins. But there isn’t much I can do, for I’m just a humble Watcher... A Watcher that doesn’t wish for this Universe he keeps an eye on to perish...

- The Watcher, Chronicles of the Universe

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