As Samael leaves the cave and heads into the light, he can’t help but shield his eyes. Even though Forbidden Lands is dark and bleak, it is still brighter than the pitch blackness of the cave. But Samael’s eyes adjust quickly, taking only a second or two to adjust. With the time he spent in the catacomb, Forbidden Lands has become somewhat brighter as the day gets older.
Once his eyes have adjusted to the light, Samael curses the dust that hangs in the air for it gets into his eyes. Once this irritation has been taken care of, he spreads his black-feathered wings and takes to the air. Once in the air, he heads in the direction in which he came, back to Orkney Palace and out of Forbidden Lands.
But once he has taken flight, Samael’s eyes are once again drawn to the solitary figure that is lost within Forbidden Lands. This figure hasn’t made much progress across the landscape during Samael’s absence. To underscore this point, there is a patch of dust that indicates that the figure fell down and then either sat or laid their for a period of time. Even though he needs to return to the Palace and take care of some business, Samael decides that he will stop and talk with this figure among the dust and ruins of Forbidden Lands. He descends quickly and lands hard, kicking up a plume of dust that covers his boots and thighs. He lands several feet in front of the figure, scaring him badly.
Addressing the figure in a strong but not unkind voice, Samael says, “What are you doing out here, human?”
“Please—please, let me be,” the human says in a scared and almost whinny tone. “I don’t want any trouble. Please, don’t hurt me.”
“I will not leave you alone because you don’t belong here. So I ask you again, what are you doing here in Forbidden Lands?”
When Samael asks the human his question, he approaches in an overtly aggressive manner. As he does this, the human moves backwards in an attempt to retreat. As a result, his foot catches the edge of a rock, causing him to trip. He lands hard on his ass, becoming completely covered with dust. He then scurries back a bit before coming to a stop. The human has also cut himself when he tripped over the rock.
“I’m just passing through,” he says. “Please, let me do so in peace.”
As the human gives his response, Samael closes the distance between the two. As he approaches, Samael notices something about the human that looks familiar; as if he has seen him somewhere before. As he studies the human’s face, the human says in a whimpering voice, “Please. Please don’t hurt me.” He even raises a hand over his face in a defensive manner as he says this.
As Samael looks down upon the frightened figure, the mark that exists upon his forehead screams to be identified. The mark spans the width of his forehead and makes its way into the hairline as well as the eyebrows. It is reddish-gold in color and looks as if it is a shadow impression of a forking bolt of lightning.
“Caine?” Samael asks.
“Who are you and what do you want?” Caine responds. “I have nothing. I have nothing.” This last part he says while crying.
“I’m not here to hurt you Caine. Relax.” Samael takes a step or two closer as he says this.
“Stay away!” Caine says as he crawls back to his feet. He begins to run but he trips over another rock, landing flat on his face and once again covering himself in dust.
Unimpressed with what he sees, Samael speaks in a commanding and booming voice that has an echo when he speaks. “Mortal! Rise to your feet and stop your groveling!”
As Samael says this, he extends all four of his wings and releases his inner light upon Caine. Though he relies primarily upon the environment’s light to create his aura, Samael has the capability to generate his own light when the situation calls for it.
As he has been instructed, the broken man known as Caine raises to his feet and turns to face the angel, though his head hangs over his shoulders. He has stopped his groveling, but his lips continue to tremble. Once Caine has complied with his demand, Samael folds up his wings and tucks them within his garments. He also allows his aura to return to its natural, environmental dependent glow.
“Caine, it’s not my intention to hurt you,” Samael says in a friendly voice. “I just want to talk to you as a friend, as a companion. Let me help you.”
“You can’t help me.” Caine says as tears stream down his face. “No one can help me. I just want my brother back!”
“I know Caine, and I am sorry for what happened to you and your brother. You didn’t understand the consequences of your actions. You were just a child.”
“My parents hated me. My siblings hated me. Everyone turned against me after what I did.”
“I know Caine. I was observing it as it occurred.”
“Then why didn’t you do anything?! Why didn’t you come and stop me?” Fresh tears come poring out of Caine’s eyes as he reaches down to pickup a rock.
He then throws it at Samael, who catches it easily and then discards it. Caine reaches down a throws some more rocks at Samael who disposes of them as easily as the first one. Caine would have thrown more, but the environment ran out of projectiles before he was able to wear himself out. Once out of projectiles, Caine runs up to the angel, fully intending to strike him, not caring that he is clearly outmatched. But before a punch is able to land, Samael catches both of Caine’s arms.
“Get a hold of yourself Caine before you do something that we’ll both regret,” Samael says, looking into his eyes.
“Regret? I’ve been living in regret ever since I killed Abel. What else can I do to make my life worse?” At this, Caine relaxes his arms and drops to his knees. He then leans forward, hugging himself as he does so.
“I understand that you are hurting. But you have to understand that what you did was beyond your control.”
“No. It was. It was under my control. I should have known better.”
“You had no concept of what you were doing. No one had died before, let alone murdered. ‘Knowing better’ implies that you had a point of reference to compare your actions to. You had no such reference point. Caine. You were setup and God is responsible. God needed someone to set a precedent and he decided that you were the one to do so. It just so happened that it was your brother Abel who had to pay for it.”
“No. I don’t want to hear this. I don’t want to hear this.” Caine rocks back and forth on his knees as he says this.
“But you will. You will hear me and you will hear me well. It was your first offering. You didn’t understand how it was to be performed. No one told you what needed to be done, so you had no idea on how you were to proceed. In addition to this, no one explained to you why your offering was rejected whereas Abel’s offering was accepted. Abel was rewarded whereas you were punished. It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t hard to understand why you got upset. If anyone is to blame for Abel’s death, it should be God, not you.”
“Then how come it hurts so much.”
“Because he was your brother and you miss him. You didn’t want to hurt him and it tore at your heart to realize what you did to him after it was too late.”
“Leave me alone.”
“If you take anything away from this, remember what I tell you now. What you did was something that was beyond your understanding until it was too late to take it back. You are being punished because no one took the time to properly teach you.” For a moment, Samael pauses, hoping that what he just said will sink in. “It wasn’t your fault, Caine. There are people who still care about you. In fact, there is someone here in Forbidden Lands who cares. She is in the cave near the highest peak of the mountain range behind me. I suggest that you go see her.”
Though Samael doubts Caine will go see Lilith, it was worth a shot. And besides, humanity has surprised him before.
(c) 2009 Bradley P. Thomas