"Why do you insist on fighting, Novanda?" coaxed the Devil. "You are the Keeper of Time, I had thought you to be more wise, more sagely."

    I knew he would opt for flattery, but it would not work on me. I have worked much to hard at my post, my thoughts coalesced. He desires to ruin me, and take my place. It shall not be.

    "Oh, but I am wise," I retorted coldly. "And sagely enough to know that you are not to be trusted."

    A look of hurt crossed the Devil's face, a lie. A facade, like so much of what he was and claimed to be.

    "Why would you say such things to me, friend Novanda? I am Lukefra, don't you remember?"

    More lies, I thought with defiance. Lukefra was sent to Creation to guard it, to ensure its purity.

    "I see it in your eyes; a struggle," the Devil cooed. "You don't want to believe me, but deep down, you do. I've spent my time on the earth, seen the beauty of Creation."

    He paused here, and both beings waited with still breath, the only noise coming from Mortana, above, who gurgled into his gag.

    "I saw, too, the pestilence that became of it," he continued. At that point, I saw him as a cohort, not an enemy. My muscles relaxed, I felt somewhat at ease.

    Is this a trick, too? I was anxious, wondering if I should anticipate a crippling blow in my moment of weakness. It never came.

    "I worked against them from the beginning, since, you see, I was the lone ambassador of the Heavens. Our Garat-Plethorae could not step into his own Creation, he would destroy it. I sacrificed so much for that world, don't you see? I brought myself into Sin to bring them mortality, to ensure that you, Novanda, could act upon their frail and weak existence. Simple being there, among them, polluted me. Changed me."

    An epiphany.

    "So it is because of you, Lukefra--" I said the name reluctantly, but now convinced "--that my hand can operate in their corporal plain?"

    A simple nod. No words. No smiles.

    "I owe you so much, then," I mouthed. "Shall we rid Creation of Man then, together?"

    "And rise, together?" came the Devil's, no, Garat-Lukefra's response.

    I was quick to answer. "Yes, my friend. Together."

    Grins split both our faces, and at that moment, the struggle above us ceased.

The End

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