Throughout Heaven, there are a host of palaces that exist and they are used by a range of heavenly beings. Even though all of the beings that exist in Heaven have access to these palaces, each one is specifically designed for a specific group of beings. It is easy to determine what palace is used by what heavenly class of creature or creatures. This determination is judged through the design of the palace. Some of the most beautiful are those that are designed for, and are primarily used by, angels. With these angelic palaces, the higher the order in which they belong, the more elaborate the palace becomes.
Orkney Palace is one of these angelic palaces, belonging to the angelic order Powers. Because it belongs to the Powers, it is designed more like a fort than anything else. This is due to the fact that one of the responsibilities of the Powers is to defend Heaven from any possibility of hostilities, invasion, or potential overthrow delivered by the hands of the demon hordes. This is why palaces belonging to the Powers tend to have ramparts, battlements, and other such characteristics.
Orkney is also located in a tactically sound location when fighting against ground troops. Even though it is located in an open air environment, the topography in which it sits forces ground forces to only attack from one direction; the south.
This is because the palace is located upon an outcropping where there are sheer cliffs located on the northern, western, and eastern sides. The palace is also located close to the intersection of two mountain ranges. This allows for the construction of defensive measures surrounding the palace. These defensive measures include turrets and bunkers which have been dug into the rock face of both mountain ranges to insure that the palace is protected in case of an aerial attack. These defensive measures are also found on both sides of the peaks to increase the security of the palace. Connecting the turrets and bunkers are a series of tunnels and pathways that have been dug within the mountain.
Running down the rock face of one of these mountains, located to the palace’s southwest, is a ninety-foot waterfall. If a person stands in the right place, they will be able to feel the mist emanating from it. Once the waterfall finally reaches the bottom, it feeds into a river, which itself runs along and below the palace for almost five hundred yards before it empties out into a grand lake to the palaces north. The lake is a clear, crystal blue and it stretches out toward the horizon.
As Samael approaches the palace, he flies over the southern mountain range. Once he passes over the mountains, he comes across a roadway that leads to the palace. This roadway is filled with people, human beings, either coming to or leaving from the palace. As Samael passes overhead, the mass of people below can’t help notice him as he passes by. Because of Samael’s natural light that is being emanated from his being, it is like a miniature sun passing over head.
Because of the presence of angels, large buildings need to be constructed with special openings placed into the outer walls so that angels can enter the buildings without landing first and exit the building without obstruction. These openings are also lined with different jewels, indicating the nature of the openings. The entrances are lined with emeralds and the exits are lined with rubies. This is designed to prevent any accidental collisions. The openings are also designed to be wide enough so that an angel can fit through comfortably when entering, but narrow enough so that the angel has to contract its wings when it enters. This is to prevent an angel, or any other winged being, from flying full force into the building and causing havoc by doing so.
When Samael enters the palace, he uses one of these openings to enter an upper level corridor. The corridor floor is laid with a blue-gray marble, containing special white stones outlining the landing areas for these special openings. These white stones act as warning signs, meant to prevent people from standing in or walking through these areas.
The walls have an arching design, creating a semicircular structure within the corridors and this feature appears in all of the corridors within the palace. The pillars also have an arching characteristic to them as well and are decorated with intricate carvings that are crested with gold.
Besides the openings for the arriving and departing angels, which are irregularly placed, the corridor also possesses windows to allow natural light to fill the interior space. Unlike the rest of the corridor, the windows do not curve. By not doing so, alcoves are created and allow people to look out the windows without discomfort or block the flow of traffic. These alcoves are wide enough to accommodate large windows, which allows the maximum amount of light to fill the corridors.
When the day is over and night descends, candles are used to light the palace. Within the corridors, there are wall fixtures and elaborate chandeliers in which the candles sit and give off their glow. Besides ample light, the corridors contain plant life so that they have a more welcoming feel. The plants can be found at the windows and within the alcoves themselves. So regardless if the corridors are filled with people or are completely empty, life can always be found in them.
But today is a busy day, with a crowd of people going about their business when Samael enters the corridor. The majority of the people are human beings, but angels and a few other heavenly creatures can be found within the crowd as well. There are friends conversing with one another; there are others discussing politics and religious matters; some are just off to the side, watching the crowd as it goes by. But despite the hustle and bustle that is going on, Samael’s presence can’t be missed. Standing in at over six and a half feet tall, he is head and shoulders above most of the crowd. In addition to his impressive size and natural glow, Samael’s natural beauty can’t be avoided.
One such pair of eyes that are drawn to him belong to an androgynous appearing creature situated in one of the window alcoves, enjoying the sun and playing a panpipe. He plays a sweet little tune as he watches the Viceroy of Heaven walk by. He is also sporting a shaggy look, with long, dark hair that needs to be washed, fingernails that need to be clipped or filed, and despite being clean, his clothes have a dirty look to them. Besides his clothing, the only indication of gender is the stubble growing on his face.
As Samael makes his way down the corridor, the angel pushes himself off of the wall which he was leaning on and walks after the towering blond. Still playing his panpipe, the angel manages to maneuver his way through the crowd and to catch-up with Samael without breaking note. Once reaching Samael, the angel switches tune and plays something upbeat and playful. Samael looks over at the angel and a smile creeps across his face as he does so.
“Hello, Gabriel,” Samael says in a deep and sultry voice.
“Hello, Samael,” Gabriel replies, taking only a brief moment to do so, and returns his attention back to the panpipe.
“How are you today?”
“How’s everything going?”
At this, Gabriel stops playing the panpipe all together. “Nothing new to report. Just delivered some messages from God to humanity, conversed with some prophets, and guided the course of world events. Nothing out of the ordinary. How about yourself? How are you doing today?”
“I’d rather not talk about it right now.”
“What? I tell you my life’s story and all that I get is a ‘thank you, talk to you later’? Gee, thanks.”
“That’s not what I meant. Things are complicated right now and I’m not at liberty to discuss it.”
“Hm. An undisclosed mission that involving the Viceroy of Heaven. He’s not a liberty to say and it has him on edge. It sounds intriguing. It sounds dangerous. You got me interested. Do you need an assistant?”
Samael laughs at this. “No.”
“Well, you’re no fun.”
Changing gears, but not necessarily changing subject, Samael asks “Have you seen Sara around recently? I was supposed to meet her this morning, but she never showed up.”
“No. I can’t say that I have.”
“If you see her, will you let her know that I’m looking for her? It’s important.”
“Does this have to do with the dangerous covert mission you are about to embark upon? How can you tell her about it but you can’t tell me? That isn’t exactly fair. I asked first, remember?”
“Can you pass the message on for me or not?”
“Yes, I’ll do it,” Gabriel replies a little offended. Changing subjects. “Where are you off to?”
Still on the previous subject, it takes Samael a second or two to realize that Gabriel is asking a new set of questions. “What? … Oh, I’m off to a trial.”
“A trial? Off to administer the values of truth and justice?”
“Oh, off to test a person’s faith. That is far more interesting. Are you planning to destroy another person’s belief and keep them away from the presence of God?”
“I’m not out to destroy any person’s faith. All the Council wants to do is to determine a person’s level of faith and dedication to God and it needs someone to argue against that person during the trial. And besides, it’s the responsibility of someone else to do the prosecution today.”
With the Council, one of their responsibilities is to discuss the level of faith in which a human possesses while that person is still living on Earth. Among the Council members, there is a body of angels who have the responsibility of arguing against that person’s faith. It is their responsibility to develop the temptations and tribulations that are used against that particular person. These angels are commonly known as celestial satans, but their official title is slightly different. Since Samael is the chief member of these angels, it is his responsibility to make sure that their side runs smoothly and effectively.
“Well, whatever the outcome, I wish you good luck,” Gabriel says.
“Thanks,” Samael says a little disingenuously.
As they head down the corridor, they eventually reach the council chamber. But before Samael heads in, Gabriel remembers something. “Samael. I almost forgot. I have something for you.”
Gabriel reaches into his belt and pulls out a folded piece of parchment. It’s sealed in the back and he hands it to Samael.
“Who’s it from?” Samael asks as he takes it.
“Read it and find out.”
Samael gives Gabriel a look that says “don’t play with me.”
“I’m not at liberty to say,” Gabriel proclaims as he puts both hands into the air. “Besides, everything you need to know is in that note.”
At that, Gabriel departs. Samael watches Gabriel leave, then looks down at the note. He doesn’t have time to read it right now, so he slips it into a pouch that is attached to his belt. As an afterthought, Samael reaches into his vest and pulls out the note from earlier and puts that into the pouch as well. With that taken care of, Samael proceeds into the Hall of Tribulation.
(c) 2009 Bradley P. Thomas