In the beginning, there was naught but the one and the one was the last. From the one begat the two, the laws which govern, the strength which creates, and the strength which destroys, the light and the darkness . . . Day, and Night. The one was torn in two, but the two preserved the one. From the two came forth the ten thousand and so the one was divided, destroyed to ensure it's continued existence.

-Inscription upon an unknown tomb

It is unknown how it happened, or exactly when. It is impossible to give a date for the beginning, but when reality occurred, it did not spark so much as it bloomed. From nothing, energy arched out across the cosmos. From a single point, creation rushed, rippled, and screamed in all directions, expanding, and unfolding the underlying layers to create space and time. The spark of life roared out into the nothing, and as it grew and cooled, it coalesced into energy. The first sparks of what would become matter flared into the darkness, and then flickered. And as it grew, it awoke. Reality opened its eyes to all that was and would be. Filled with wonder and desire, it stretched out to all the possibilities awaiting creation's child. It reached out in every direction, fulfilling every possibility and seeking to manifest itself in every possible form. It was, however, a flawed creature. This being was neither omnipotent nor omniscient, and as it grew and became more complex, the Divine Manifest began to lose cohesion, stretching too far, too fast, and grew dangerously close to heat death. In its quest to master everything, it was competent in none, and in its quest to seek all possibilities, nearly tore itself apart.

The Divine Manifest was far too complex, too unlimited for its own control, and thus, was paralyzed. In order to survive, it had to impose constraints upon itself, discarding some power and accepting limitation in order to save itself, such as when an author finally rouses himself and puts his pen to paper to turn chaotic and contradictory thoughts into a unified plot. So thus, The Divine Manifest began the story. Reality fissioned itself off into two aspects, one of entropy and growth and chaos, and one of utter, unbreakable law. From the Divine Manifest, God and Lucifal were created, the first to grow and build reality, the second to rein in the powers of God, act as a counter balance to the naturally destructive nature of entropy and unbounded change. When God forged a sword, Lucifal was the temper. When God created worlds, Lucifal ensured they maintained a natural order. When God dreamed, Lucifer planned, and assured that God did not build too high, too deep, too large, or too small. To this end, Lucifal devised laws to maintain a grip on reality, to ensure that existence would always move forward, that life would never be erased, and harmony would echo across the vacuum. Physics, and the laws governing how reality worked were wrought out and placed upon the universe.

With the new framework in place, God would create, and Lucifal would maintain, and the Divine Manifest would thrive. For a while, this worked, but as reality took shape, the two brothers found that they were as yet unable to do all that they wished. So far detached from the tiny nuances required, they found themselves unable to directly worth with nature as they saw fit. The details were too far removed from their sight, too obscure, too insignificant to their eyes. To them, seeing these things was like trying to see through a fog to a distant firefly. More constraints, more limits had to be enacted in order for them to craft their visions, and as a fine watchmaker needs the proper tools, God and Lucifer conspired to forge the tools they would need.

To this end, a system was devised, called Conception, to allow the remains of the Divine Manifest, through Lucifal and God, to manifest themselves into servants of the Will. These were the first, the elder race, and to them God gave the name "Angel". Encased in physical forms, they were strong, powerful, able to directly work with reality. Armed with new tools to assault their problems, God and Lucifal once again set to building.

Time immeasurable passed, and the brothers found themselves again at an impasse. The tools they created, though serving their purpose utterly and without question, had proved insufficient. Their will was not their own, and could only look where directed. They saw more than God and Lucifal had ever imagined, but the lack of their own will restrained them. The experiment had to be taken a step further. God questioned Lucifal as to the viability of separating them from the Divine Manifest upon creation, and whether it would present a problem. Lucifal considered, and approved this notion. They would have their own will, but as children of the Divine Manifest, they would enact the brothers' plans in ways they, and indeed God and Lucifal, could never imagine. It was the way to create everything they ever wanted. This was the second stage of Conception. . . but as all "perfect tools", they were to prove fatally flawed.

To prepare for their coming, Lucifal, for the first time, set his hand to creation. A finer touch was needed here, and the brothers agreed that allowing God to make this realm would be long and arduous, as Lucifal checked each action of God's to ensure no "rules" were broken. The creatures that were to be made would be weak, fragile, as their limitations demanded, and they needed to be shielded from the chaos, violence, and death that permeates reality. To this end, Eden was forged. This was a world, a sphere, created to provide a cradle for humanity. To keep vigilance, and to allow greater access their new set of tools, Lucifal wrought a nexus of the Divine Manifest, where their will permeated a separate instance of reality. Eden was encased within it, and upon its surface, mankind awoke, saw, and knew.

Free of the overbearing presence inflicted upon their angelic brethren, humanity was free to create, destroy, and adapt as they saw fit, shaping themselves and later reality to their whim. Each of them had a small essence of the Divine Manifest within them, an inner self that gave them everything they were. Until then, all life that had evolved on worlds innumerable were mindless automatons, driven only by primitive wants and needs or bound as slaves to the dominating will of the Divine Manifest. Even as they warred and wrote and loved, such creatures simply did not experience. Even the angels could only experience reality through a haze, a dreamy fog that kept them from knowing the universe. Mankind was different in this respect, they were fully aware, and had conscience. And as they toiled across Eden and bent it to their will, Lucifal watched, and knew he had made a mistake. Within humanity, Lucifal saw the chaos he recalled from before the first fission, the unstoppable force capable of unmaking everything. Laws were useless, as they would be bent, circumvented, and finally broken. The first virus had been birthed in the universe, and Lucifal came to know fear as he saw them groping blindly towards their full potential.

Filled with dread, Lucifal considered. He should destroy them, right here, while he had the chance. It had happened many times, God would go too far, and Lucifal would kick the sand castle down and tell him to start over. This time however, Lucifal was unsure how his forceful hand would be taken, and whether his brother would understand this time. This needed a more delicate touch, better for his brother to imagine that the process was a failure, and start again. With great anxiety, Lucifal called upon entropy, to which he was ill-suited, and made one, final, alternation to their creation, and forged them a sense of self. This was a driving force that forced each human to realize themselves, their place in the world, and do whatever it took to advance forward. Lucifal knew this was dangerous, as it was accelerate the problem, but he wagered that the added instability would cause them to rip themselves apart first.

The moment it happened, conflict wracked the face of Eden. Humanity destructed, fractured and further splintered into a thousand thousand pieces. Theft, murder, war, everything that had been held back was released by Lucifal's abomination, and flooded into the vacuum. However, mankind was too resilient, and bounced back. Single families merged into tribes, tribes allied against each other, and the wars grew larger, but fewer. Nations of allied peoples were founded, and war was avoided from the fear of mutual annihilation. Like steel to the the flame, war had tempered them, they had grown stronger than Lucifal had feared, and far from destroying themselves. . . humanity thrived. However, Lucifal saw an unexpected side effect. They were no longer unified by the Divine Manifest. They were only interested in their own works, and thus worthless as tools. The second stage of Conception was a failure, and Lucifal now would have the leverage needed when telling God that they must start again.

God was troubled with what he saw on Eden, and without consulting Lucifal, attempted to apply a bandage to the problem. And so, as Lucifal had dabbled in chaos, God called upon law in an effort to restore humanity to their original purpose. God crafted a new being, Gabriel, the Metatron, Mouth of God, in order to bring his Word to mankind. Gabriel descended to Eden, and spake the truths that have become prophecy. He preached of unity, peace, and of a day far off when humanity would unite with the Divine Manifest. Gabriel was humanity's link to God, and as such he as a father, a leader, and a judge. His word quickly became accepted law.

Lucifal was taken aback and stung, insulted, by this new development. Rather than consult him about the proper path to take to quell the raging storm that had been brewed, God had circumvented him, removed him from the equation without so much as a thought. To prove his point, as much to himself as to God, that humanity was un-tamable en mass, Lucifal took a mortal form, and sowed opposition to Gabriel. He had a different story to tell, that of God's lost, wandering children, and he would be most pleased with those that released them from their shells so that they may be once again unified with the creator. Whereas Gabriel preached peace, unity, and patience, Lucifal's word spoke of action, instant gratification, and rather than being children or tools, they were God's assistants, accepted as equals. As Gabriel preached in blissful ignorance of the growing storm, Lucifal's following drafted a plan, and sprung the snare.

Gabriel was sacrificed on a small island in an inland sea; beheaded and quartered. His followers were slaughtered not long after, and when his legion looked up from their work to their leader, Lucifal had long departed. Lucifal knew that his actions were completely transparent to his brother, and feared a threshold had been crossed. . . but one that was necessary to save reality.

Seeing now that Lucifal was behind not only the slaughter of the Metatron, but behind the original creation of the Ego and Man's first turning away from God, God called upon Lucifal to explain his actions. Lucifal felt that there was nothing to be explained, and that he had only stepped outside his boundaries when God had done the same. God was insulted that Lucifal should think him a child incapable of handling any situation himself. As they argued, the children of the first conception joined the debate, taking sides as dictated by which ever deity that had created them. From a few whispered words, a cacophony grew, till a shouting, screaming chorus filled the skies of Eden, and humanity cupped hands over their ears to save themselves from the torrent. It lasted for days to them, and finally, it reached an apex. God had lost his temper, and bringing himself into a physical form upon Eden, challenged his brother to single combat. Lucifal, startled, refused. God taunted him, challenging his commitment, his strength, and his reason for existence, and after enduring the endless spittle, Lucifal finally agreed. As swords were drawn, their minions took the cue, and launched at each others' throats. As God and Lucifal clashed on Eden, their minds focused only on each other, the laws that they'd enacted to calm the storm began to erode. Entropy, chaos, and mindless power crept back into reality in fits and starts, twisting and bending creation and destroying every held dear. Everything the brothers held back threatened to rush into the void, and as reality began to pull part around them, Lucifal was shocked out of focus. Looking around him, he saw his forces in disarray– they had not come expecting a fight. God's angel's raged and tore, and their opponents' primitive attempts at tactics held no sway now. Though they had the solid discipline and single mindedness of iron law, the angels of God held the upper hand, launching creative and brutal attacks while easily swatting aside the predictable blows of Lucifer's angels. The blood of the fallen soaked the ground around them, and entropy threatened to tear them all apart.

Lucifal hurled his sword away, dropped to his knee, and conceded defeat. Law was restored, the universe stopped its hemorrhaging, and the symphony picked back up at the next measure. God however, was not finished yet. He tore the name from his brother, naming him Lucifer, grabbed him by the throat, and cast him far and far away into the darkness of the unformed universe. The remains of Lucifer's angels pursued their master, as they swore curses upon their enemies and blood oaths upon their fallen. They held true to Lucifer's ideals, and knew his course to be right and just, and that humanity had to be purged.

With Lucifer's influence in remission, God turned his gaze toward the chess board, and the terrified pawns that occupied it. He knew they could yet be fixed, repaired, saved, but he had to get them out of here, away from the influence of the Divine Manifest until such a day that they could assume their proper role, or at least defend themselves. To spirit them away, his angels constructed a vessel for humanity, the Ark, and herded humanity onto it. It was constructed for their use, but not their control, and would shut down once they had arrived at their destination. Three billion people boarded the craft, and as they did, God decreed that they, nor their children, would step foot upon Eden for a thousand generations. With that, God looked over creation to find suitable asylum.

Not just any world would do, as they would need to be separated in the endless gulf of reality from both Lucifer and from the power of the Divine Manifest. God stretched out, feeling the worlds he had created, but none would suffice. All were too close to he or to Lucifer, or inhabited by species that would tear man apart, or followed rules of physics that humanity could not survive. The unlikely system he found, was named Sol. . . little more than a forgotten attempt, another world on the outer fringe of reality, long since cast aside as a child may cast aside a broken toy.

Eight planets orbited the glowing ember of a brown dwarf, unfortunately just under the mass threshold needed to blossom. The third planet from it was barren and desolate; where it wasn't encased in ice, its rocky surface was gray and destitute. Looking to the failed star and Lucifer's rules, God kicked one of the quantum variables, and thus, a shield of hydrogen plasma encased what was to become the core of a new yellow sun. After yanking the law back to where it should be, he brought forth humanity's vessel into the system, and decreed,

"These worlds are your's. Do as you will, and remember".

With that, he left them to watch their world bloom. The new star crushed under its own mass, the core ignited, and the star expanded. It turned yellow, ejecting heat and radiation in all directions. Over many generations, they saw as they new home melted, forming vast oceans and a breathable atmosphere. Life came impossibly quick, and one could almost see the green turning gray into emerald. Finally, when the transformation was complete, they landed, and thrived.

As God considered what to do with humanity, Lucifer brooded. He hadn't expected his brother to turn against him, and with such force. He obviously did not understand the stakes– he had almost destroyed them all by starting a damn fight. A madman was at the helm, and something had to be done. However, he could not kill his brother, nor even force him into submission. All they could do was wrestle with each other, and leave destruction in their wake. It would take guile, strategy, and determination to box his rogue companion in, and force him to accept Lucifer's law. He couldn't go it alone however, and his loyal angels, now scarred and boiling with rage, had been helpless. But the flicker was there. They could win, he had seen the beginnings of it. As the battle had raged, early tactical command had overridden all else, and now they were blooded. . . They just needed a tutor. Lucifer looked to the chess board, and was struck with a thought.

Among humanity, one of the leaders of men stood out. A woman, hard as black iron but flexible as copper, and with a taste for blood, glory, and vengance like no other. Lilith had seen more bloodshed than her contemporaries knew existed, and time and again had brought her forces to victory. She had burned nations, exacted genocide, and cared only for victory. She wasn't cruel, rather had no heart, and practiced no cruel acts that did not grant an advantage. She was a prime candidate. Lucifer came to her in secret, and offered a pact. Immortality, freedom from God's word and his impending banishment. And finally, asylum from Lucifer's wrath if only she would take a place at his side. Thus, as the rest of humanity boarded the Ark, Lilith ascended. Her physical limitations were stripped, and she was given a new form, strong, capable, and worthy of her every desire. Should she ever fall in Lucifer's service, she would be reborn. In return, she would teach those who followed Lucifer, train them in the art of war and bloodshed, second only to Lucifer himself. Their pact was sealed and as Humanity was herded onto the Ark, Lilith slipped into the night, leaving only her mortality behind. As the unformed reality around him slowly condensed into his home, Lucifer watched and awaited humanity's inevitable return. He had a feeling they might be a little early.

Safe on their new world, humanity grew strong and powerful. Their origin was forgotten in the mists of time, as the memory faded into legend, legend degraded into myth, until it finally fell before Reason. They recognized and named their world. The planet, earth. The star, Sol. Sciences rose to understand reality, and as they advanced, Lucifer, though not knowing where they were, could sense the disturbance and pressed his forces to train harder for the coming conflict. Just as predicted, laws were eventually circumvented, bent, and broken. The force of humanity twisted life, the universe, and everything to every possible whim, and yet felt empty. There was something within them, something long forgotten and yet remembered. Something that ate at them, and only seemed to get worse, more insistent, at every breakthrough. It was a disease that some acknowledged, and some didn't. It was silly, they had everything they'd ever wanted, wasn't that enough? Mankind tried to clear its head, looked up, and rediscovered the Ark.

Tumbling its way through space, the original Ark had floated for over 500 generations as it traveled along its high eccentricity orbit between Sol and Proxima Centauri. In a routine training exercise for one of their endless wars, it was sighted by a military surveillance sweep. It was initially classified as a derelict, however once gravity measurements were done and the size of the vessel was discovered, it was re-registered as Extra Solar Alien Anomaly 1378. The vessel was immediately boarded, and a special expeditionary force was requested to investigate the continent sized craft.

The Ark was intended to be mankind's key to Eden, and the fulfillment of Mankind's covenant. For a thousand generations, mankind would live and toil on Earth, slowly moving away from the sins of their forefathers, and growing till they could stand against Lucifer. When the thousandth generation had come of age, the Ark would return to Earth and allow humanity passage to Eden, to fulfill their roll in Conception. It did not occur to God what might happen should it be discovered early.

What they found was an infinitely sophisticated vessel that didn't actually seem to have any propulsion systems whatsoever. It was designed to accommodate human life for an extended period of time, and seemed little more than a floating habitat. Due to its inconvenient location (despite its proximity, the Alpha Centauri system was little more than a nearby backwater due to its lack of natural resources), scaffolding was erected around one end arbitrarily deemed aft, and thrusters were attached so that it might be hauled back to Earth for study.

Upon arrival, it was placed in geosynchronous orbit, and a research station altered its trajectory to position itself alongside. At that moment, excavation and extraction teams were deployed to strip the interior in order to glean its secrets. Once the walls started being torn down, they found a hidden computational subsystem that, while also controlling life support, seemed very preoccupied with the task of time keeping, and was far more accurate than the most sophisticated light clocks of the age. All the wiring centralized to what was quickly deemed the "Black Box", a shielded block which could not be opened.

When the Ark arrived in low Earth orbit, awe spread throughout the populace. Just the size of the craft inspired wonder, inspiration, terror, and anxiety in a race that had begun to be bored with its own existence. Was it some deliverance from evil? A harbinger of final judgment? Should they learn from its secrets, or destroy it to protect themselves? As details slowly emerged from the team of millions working on it, the timing mechanism and the Black Box captivated the imagination of billions. Why such precision? Why such security? On a secular world that had all but eradicated irrational thought, cults quickly arose, each extolling their explanation of the Ark's existence. As they fought and squabbled and local governments strove to control them, one rose above all others. The Ark was the prophet of doom and destiny; responsibility and sacrifice. It was a puzzle meant to be solved, and would open the way to mankind's final endeavor.

Three billion souls assaulted the Ark in the name of fulfilling humanity's destiny. The massive mob overwhelmed the entrenched security and spread throughout the entire vessel, and the experts with them set themselves to cracking the riddle that lay before them. The military had a very large problem. The number of people and the size of the craft prevented any sort of boarding operation to retake it, and destroying it was out of the question. However, a plan was enacted. The attached thrusters were eradicated, and it was reasoned that the denizens would eventually tire and leave of their own accord. Prosecuting three billion people would be impossible, so general amnesty was offered for all but their leaders, who would have to stand trial for sedition, insurgency, and sabotage. Their appeals went unanswered.

Forty days and forty nights later, the cultists successfully hacked the timing mechanism. As a test of how much control they had over the subsystem, they jumped the clock forward 2000 years. The military blockade saw the ship distort, contract rapidly into a single point of light, and vanish. Spectrometers and gravity sensors found nothing. In the nexus of the Divine Manifest, the Ark appeared from nothingness. For but a brief moment, all was calm.

Lucifer was extremely amused at humanity's early arrival, and before God could react, hurled the Ark into Eden, killing much of its inhabitants. The craft was resilient however, and managed to save the lives of most of those on board. As the tattered refugees pulled themselves from the wreckage, God saw that his plan had ultimately failed – there would be no triumphant return of a reborn mankind ready to stand against Lucifer, only tug of war between the two deities as they attempted to rise of the ashes. With this in mind, God called upon his brother for one final parley.

They met upon an open field, far removed from humanity's doom, and together authored the Final Pact. There would be no more direct battles between them, for the sake of each other, and all that exists. Conflict there would be, but each recognized the destroying the other was all but impossible.

They stood in legion, a milling mass of life ambling about, each attempting to observe the events. Their enemies were few – a measly two hundred. But these stood in rank and file, scarred and hardened, in two equal blocks. Standing between the diametric forces stood the Alphas and the Omegas; those who were the Beginning and lately the End. Law broke the silence,

"Did you bring me here just to intimidate me with your mob? Because I was sure you knew better than that."

God was becoming used to his brother's thinly veiled jabs, and wondered for the thousandth time how he had brought them all to this.

"I do. I asked you here to-"

"Is this the pathetic excuse for a force that destroyed the lot of you?!"

The voice was female, cutting through the conversation, and turning the attention of God and his followers down to the orderly blocks. Lucifer's angels stiffened as a human woman walked among them to the fore. Her hair was long and severe, pulled back tightly so as to provide no interference. As per her desire, her eyes had turned from their original terrestrial brown to burning red. Lilith strode to the front and leaned against her master.

"Luce, surely they couldn't have been that tough."

Lucifer smiled, and only widened his grin when one of God's angels standing foremost called

"My lady, you need only to look at their scars."

Lilith snapped back to her feet, crossed the distance, and looked the demi-god in the face,

"Certainly, Gabriel. Those who removed their scars I gave new ones to so as not to forget. Now, where are your's? I recall tearing a certain limb from its socket, or is your memory so easily blocked?"

Gabriel drew himself up, and might have done more had his master not interjected.

"Lucifer, call off your . . . pet."


Lilith was now staring down her supreme designer.

"Is that any way to talk to one of your precious children? Precious enough to risk all of everything?"

Lucifer however did as he was asked, and called her back. As she flashed a grin at her creator and returned to her master, God attempted to return to business.

"This direct conflict has to stop. I think we both know the risks of going at each other's throats again-

Lucifer was laughing.

'. . . and neither of us need cause unnecessary strife."

Lucifer managed to regain his composure enough to respond.

"As you wish. Lilith, deal with this."

Lucifer was gone, and very soon after, Lilith and her band of two hundred were left alone with the untold legions of God. She widened her grin, turned, and walked down among her trusted.

"Gentlemen, dispose of this rabble."

As humanity spanned the width and breadth of Eden once more, they came to find a blasted plain with a single stone. Upon it read only the words "Blood For Blood".