Reconstruction of A Shattered History

“History shattered. It was the only thing that could give. Very strange event. There were cracks left all over the place. The… oh, I can’t remember the words… the fastenings that tell bits of the past which bits of the present they belong to, they were flapping all over the place. Some got lost for ever…”

Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time.

This was, perhaps, the area of research which simultaneously offered the greatest challenges and most intriguing opportunities.

The deeper we dug, the further back we looked, the more we realised that a lot of what is considered “established historical fact” is so much guesswork, gossip, and what we might call ‘fake news’ in this age.

We all know the saying that “history is written by the victors” and we know this is true. The apocalypse of the Mayans, the holocaust of the Native Americans, the genocide of Columbus; history tried to hide those stories from us but failed in the end. Sooner or later, it seems, the Truth will turn up, mopping its brow and muttering something about the traffic.

Eventually.

A Hole on History

There is a great deal of History we know nothing about, that we make educated guesses, make educated stab in the dark (first establishing with what to attempt said stabbing and the correct intensity of darkness to attempt to at least wound), hold fingers of investigation to the wind, and so forth.

Up until quite recently, your average person want to school and was taught what we could call the consensus version which, obviously, they accepted without question. Then most people get on with their adult lives after school and leave history well alone. Those who maintain an interest or take history as a profession tend to not attract too wide an audience.

Those ‘In the business’ know which way the trench is dug (or better said, the budget granted) so keep their mouths shut about ‘the secret’, wouldn’t you?

The simple fact is that a lot of the historical record was commited to perishable materials because that’s all they had available at the time. Of the vast cache of documents recovered from Qumran in 1947, it is said that at least one third were used as fuel before someone told the shepherd those foreigners paid a fortune for that stuff.

So much could have been lost that way, or been sequestered away in private collections, locked away in the fabled Vatican Archives or similar hidden vault of Forbidden Knowledge.

We know that many Mayan books and scrolls were burned as “heresy”, Aztec monuments defaced. Early Islamic expansion contributed to the destruction of ‘haram’ or unholy items such as stuff the priests didn’t like or that disagrees with what kept them in nice clothes and palaces.

The library of Constantinople contained a lot of what was saved or recovered from the fire that destroyed the Library of Alexandria centuries before. In 1204 AD., the Library was burned to the ground by crusaders and, we hear, nothing survived.

How much history was lost due to ignorance, war, ideology, brazen stupidity and, perhaps, a bit of intent?

Stitching it Up

The possible irony of that heading is indeed intentional, thank you for noticing…

When it comes to studying the history I needed to in order to properly research both The Chronicles of Enoch and Hegemony, a lot of information was missing. The main source of material, The Bible (various versions), translations of the Torah and midrash, the Qur’an and other works, ancient codices, the Book of Enoch itself, and numerous works of ‘uncertain canonicity’ (apophryca etc).

I noticed a lot of missing information, contradictions, plot holes, and explanations lacking.

Now, I know Sir Terry’s works are as fictional as ours are (we think) but we wonder sometimes…we’ve often heard of something called ‘parallel creativity’; inspiration coming from…ah…somewhere else and fiction accidentally reporting reality. Sir Terry mentioned something called ‘unwritten books’ and has a magical library containing books that haven’t yet been written, implying that information can, perhaps, persist and ‘leak’ as it were.

We wonder whether some of this information and history was intentionally repressed and hidden as The Chronicles of Enoch assert. Has history been filled with individuals or groups that do not want the truth reported; not just Lucifer (and through him, The Vatican and other Church organisations) but others too? In The Chronicles, we have the Unknown Men, the Illuminati, and others we’ll stay quiet about for now.

Hidden History?

Each one of these organisations has an agenda and aims as well as being very keen to hide their existence from the world at large. 

In The Chronicles, we have the example of The Hidden War of 79AD. The world’s greatest Heroes gathered in Meggido valley to face down a horde of monstrous Nephilim led by Lucifer and his Horsemen. Sable, Conan, and Gilgamesh led the charge and, though countless heroes of legend were killed in the battle, Lucifer’s forces were decisively broken; two Horsemen were defeated and the others fled.

The world, however, did not end and the forces of Heaven were conspicuously absent. Everyone, except for the dead, simply pretended that the battle never happened. Asmodeus erased even the vaguest of references regarding the battle from history. They existed, of course, there had been mortals present in the fifty-thousand strong Army of Heroes, there were witnesses, there were armaments and weapons as well as bodies left behind. A great many of those bodies did not look even close to human; there were giants, orcs and goblins, beast-men, and dragons among them and their bones decorated the Meggido valley.

The scale of the operation he mounted in the 1960’s, the disinformation, the sequestration of both information and remains, the neutralisation of those that couldn’t be ‘financially convinced’, and the practical rewriting of some history books is almost impossible to imagine but he did it.

Fragmented accounts remain in folklore, mythical accounts of Heroes, strange legends, they are even encoded in the “Approved Modern Version” of the Book of Revelation. It is odd to think that the great Battle of Armageddon there mentioned refers to an actual historical event rather than a future one or (as many today claim) a more allegorical struggle.

The account in Revelation is said to have been Asmodeus’ greatest gamble and success simultaneously.

Conclusion

History is written by the victor and the most powerful; money and threats have made inconvenient pieces of the historic record disappear almost as well as accidental occuraces such as fire and misapplied zealotry can.

We know there are parts missing, we see repetions, fixes, and inventions applied over some of the holes and rarely do people question them. One has to be looking in order to spot the important ommissions and fabrications. One has to pay attention to the stories and folk tales for explanations at times, the evidence that should be there at others.

Sometimes the evidence or information is glaring in its absence.

We are not talking about those shows seen on a certain channel sharing a name with the field we keep mentioning. We are not talking conspiracy this time, we’re making logical and educated forays into what is so obviously there.

Or, of course, obviously not there but has left a hole like a missing jigsaw piece will…you can imply its shape in its absence.

Maybe not all of our fictional history is as fictional as we think it is…

The Forgotten War

The year 79AD is fraught with mythological significance. There was the destruction of Pompeii, terrible Norse rumours of Ragnarok from the frozen North to stormy Lindisfarne. Several prophecies hinted at dark events on the way.


According to history, the worst thing that happened that day was that two Roman towns were buried in ash, killing hundreds in mere moments. Terrible as this event was, it was not the worst thing that happened that year, it is simply the worst thing that people remember…


Asmodeus did a very, very good job in erasing the most significant historical event since, well since anything, from anything but Viking and Celtic legend, which nobody believes anyway.
On August 25th (modern calendar) AD 79, the world ended but it also did not. It was a very close thing.


This battle, called variously ‘Lucifer’s Folly’, ‘The Harvest of Heroes’, or ‘The Neverwar’ , depending on who you listen to, two vast armies faced one another in the shadows of the Megiddo valley in Isreal/Palestine. In the foremost ranks of one army stood the greatest heroes you have every heard of; Nephilim every one.

Opposing them, the seemingly unending ‘armies of Hell’; imagine orcs, kobolds, trolls, giants, ever type of monster you could imagine and some you wish you hadn’t…


“He was most amazed by the fact that it was a lot quieter than he’d thought it would be. He didn’t really know what he’d been expecting but not this. He heard the gentle ruffle of banners being pulled at by the wind, the jingle of harness as the soldiers around him moved from foot to foot or stretched to keep muscles from cramping on them.


Otherwise, silence, pretty much, which only made the waiting worse.
Across the other end of the valley, they were gathered. It looked like a huge wall of shadow from here, so large was the mass of enemies. Some early calculations based on what their local scouts told them, said that they were outnumbered somewhere between 450-1 and ‘it doesn’t really make much of a difference we’re all going to die anyway’.


Of course, thought Fionn, as he tightened then loosened the grip on his spear, they had almost every hero that had ever lived on their side so those were pretty good odds to some of them…but only if you actually believed the stories…


He smiled as he rotated his shoulders and looked around at the men and women beside him.


There was a knot of big Norsemen over there, all axes and hammers with their winged helmets and shiny armour. Big fella with the hammer had sparks jumping all over the place which was something Fionn considered unwise in the presence of so much nervous metal. They were clearly bonnie fighters though, he’d heard that the big one with hair and beard of the purest white had cut his way out of the dragon that’d tried to eat him. He caught Fionn’s eyes and cocked an snow-white eyebrown in greeting before turning his head back to the bigger fellow with the fancy hammer and sparks.


Fionn’s group of hairy, tattooed warriors stood in a loose knot of aggression, clustered around the Big Man himself, him as had brought them here from the Eagle Isles far away in the Mist.


The Wolf was big. He held a claymore casually over one shoulder, its metal full of strange blue reflections which danced along an edge that was, from certain angles, not entirely there. A large bearded axe, heavy with runes and knotwork designs, was being used to draw patterns in the dead desert dust.


Not a good place for fighting, Fionn spat in the dust and watched the moisture vanish almost right away. Already enough death here but he could feel the thirst for even more blood rising from the barren rocks like smoke.


The Wolf looked down at Fionn, or at least his heavily carved silver wolf mask did. Fionn never had figured out how Cú saw through those blue jewels his war mask had for eyes but on those rare occasions the Big Man felt inclined to speak, he’d said “clearer than you can imagine. Like eagles on the wing and wolves beneath a full moon see, I’d wager”.


The azure gaze lingered on Fionn long enough to cause the wiry hunter to finger his fine beech bow with a barely repressed shudder.


“Big Man likes you, so he does” Bran had said through bright red moustache. “The wee giant is his best mate, sure he is.”


At 5’10”, Fionn was small for a giant, slight of build and sparse of beard. His Da had been the giant that’d built the Causeway to get across to where his mother – daughter of some distant cousin of Bran Boru, a nasty lesser Lord of Ulaid- was being held prisoner as was the fashion of the time and Fionn the half-giant was the result.


The Big Man was near a foot taller than him and a great deal older, folk said. He came from the drowned lands under the Morimaru off the coast of Albion. They said he’d fought these fellas, the Fír Bolg and Bálor’s kin before. They said him and that blue-eyed devil with the two most beautiful swords Fionn had ever seen beside him went way back. Back even before the ice left and the sea came in.


“About bloody time,” the Big Man said to no-one in particular. He gestured towards the storm gathering over the Fír Bolg with his impossible sword held loosely in one hand. He bumped the blue-eyed devil, who appeared to be asleep standing up, on the leg with the flat of his axe. “That uncle of yours has decided to show up.”


The odd significance of those words made the hairs of Fionn’s heavily tattooed arms stand up and he gripped his bow even tighter.


“I know you’re in charge here, Sable,” Big Man continued all nonchalant as one of those priests getting off a boat in his dress to chase of the snakes Eíreann never had anyway. “But I’d suggest it’s time for that signal.


The one called Sable appeared to awake and look towards his friend. Fionn felt his gut tighten as those devil-blue eyes brushed his and fought the sudden wave of terror down with great effort. Sable nodded and waved one of his beautiful silver swords up in the air.


Far off, the deep growling scream of a war horn sounded, setting Fionn’s teeth on edge and his heart pumping harder. Another answered it, this one bright and singing like the way Fionn imagined a swan’s one and only song would sound. Across the valley, answering horns and trumpets winded, their discordant cacophony bouncing off the valley walls.


Big Man nodded and indicated the horizon with his sapphire wolf’s eyes.

“Here they come,” his normally booming voice barely above a whisper. “If you’ve any ginger on you, Atlantan, I think the men’ll be needing it soon.”


Sable nodded and rolled his neck, producing some fine crackles of bone Fionn most approved of. He said nothing and kept those eyes fixed on the black storm-front, crackling with lightning that could not be natural.
It took a moment for Fionn to see how right that assessment was…


The storm was no storm, it was…
In the boiling inkiness of the tortured air he saw them, colossal figures that were nearly not there. They looked like pictures of light projected into the storm…like…like…like ideas trying to take a shape.


They were like the star-creatures dropping from above, trying to become what men said they should be but struggling. He thought he could see four creatures slowly striding through the lightning but they kept blurring and changing like pigment in water, swirling and coming apart before reforming again.
Then, his temples pounding and his eyes threatening to turn themselves inside out, his mind let him see them. His béan sidhe heritage let things hidden from mere men reveal themselves to him.


There were four figures but, seeing them clearly now was not the blessing he’d thought it would be and he prayed for ignorance now.
As big as the sky and each filled with lightning, they strode over the innumerable Fír Bolg.


In robes the colour of the grave drifted the first, his raised hood empty and arm of bones holding a massive scythe whose blade was larger than the sky itself, it seemed. A smoke swirled around it and, as he felt horror knew at his gut, Fionn swore he saw faces in that smoke or, better said, the smoke was faces, millions of them. The scent of long abandoned tomb mounds drifted towards them.


As the second figure moved, the scent became stronger, richer and riper. This figure also bore a scythe in one emaciated hand but it looked normal compared to that which the first carried. The rest of the figure did not look normal. Every inch of its bare flesh not covered by crumbling rags was the deep black-brown of the long and dried up dead yet somehow it retained an unholy gloss to it . Atop stooped and bowed shoulders was the skull of a great ox or steer in place of a head, baleful and sickly fire burning from the eye sockets.


Compared to the bandy, famine-wracked frame of his neighbour, the next creature was a giant. Corroded heavy iron armour covered all but one corpse’s hand and splayed lizard-like feet. In one iron-clad hand, it gripped a vast bow of shining metal and in the pallid, diseased bare one it held an arrow from which unhealthy light did not shine so much as ooze, like pus from a wound. Its face was an outlandish mask of dull material covered in tubes and pipes with an opaque glass plate over its eyes and two great drums either side of where a mouth should be. From these drums a fog of a colour one could only describe as unhealthy huffed in and out periodically as if the creature were breathing it.


But Fionn had eyes only for the fourth figure for it was glorious. Behind it’s heavily armoured body spread vast wings of living flame. Where the other figures appeared to now be waiting and quiescent, this one was in constant motion. In one hand it held a whip which appeared made of broken blades hammered together and ending in a glowing skull of white-hot brass; it coiled and snapped with the sound of a heavy infantry charge with only the slightest movement of the creative’s right shoulder. In its left hand, it held a double-headed axe of molten iron easily as long as Fionn’s father had been tall. Upon its jagged armoured shoulders, brutal fire the colour of burning blood blazed from the dry sockets of the skull of a great ram. The eye wateringly bright fire that filled sockets and skull grew brighter and softer, brighter and softer…as if it were the breath of the creature. As it ‘breathed’, the stench of shit, and blood, hot iron, and fear sweat washed over Fionn and he was certain that the blaze of its gaze fixed upon him and only him within the multitude; weighing him up.


Fionn tore his gaze away, counted, and thought on his impressions of them; they scrabbled at and dug up something deeply primal within him and, when realisation finally broke the surface of his thoughts, the words fell from his quivering lips before he was even aware of the thought that heralded them.


“Oh shit, are those what I think they are?” he wavered. “Now we really are f-“


Sable, who it was now clear had been watching Fionn the whole time, cut in adroitly, his voice level and deep, filled with a confidence Fionn knew his lacked. “That’s them, half-giant,” his voice had a laugh to it for reasons Fionn could not fathom. “This is, indeed, IT”

Fionn said nothing but this time, when he met those blue eyes, it was not fear that he felt, it was hope. He licked dry lips and nodded.

“That one,” Sable indicated the burning whip cracker with one silver sword. “That one is mine, Conan.”


Such was Sable’s quiet assurance that Fionn felt certain that a million Fír Bolg would barely slow a man like that down.


“Everyone’s got to die sometime!” Big Man roared in reply, butting Sable with one shoulder, over the nervous clatter of a thousand suits of armour. “I want to see what colour that big sheepie bastard bleeds for myself!”


It was not even that funny, Fionn reflected as his voice joined the rising roar from the rest of the army, but he laughed along with the rest of them.


“This blue-eyed bugger has killed giants for fun so I’m for getting to that shiny bastard while there’s still big fekkers left to fight!” He roared even louder and stabbed claymore at sky. “Who is with me?”


In a wall of noise; terror transformed into desperate bravado, screams of rage, swords beating shields, and the sounding of horns from a hundred nations which filled the plains of Meggido from end to end, fifty thousand men and women told him that they were.


As they charged forward into certain ruin, the battle at the end of the world began…

Sable & Gilgamesh – Combat Scene

An excert from a storyline which will take place at some point in Book Three of The Chronicles of Enoch but one which shows just how interesting Sable can be in combat, even in today’s modern world of guns.
I chose this piece to share because it also contains so tasty little hints that fans might well appreciate…


Gilgamesh was looking down at the approaching nephilim; there were at least twenty of them now. They were schlepping their way across the rooftops towards he and Sable’s current position, trying to keep low and not present a decent outline. Clearly, they were more modern creatures as they were exercising the due caution of one who knows well how guns and bullets work. They were using cover well and advancing in groups, practise he approved of. Several, he could see, were armed with handguns though none carried a larger weapon. He’d known that they’d been spotted a good ten minutes ago but had focussed on trying to get his shot off. Or shots. He didn’t like the need to kill but with those two down there, wounding was not an option. He had to find a way to get them close enough together so that he could take out Krampus and then hit Lucifer three seconds later without giving that monster time to react or escape.

There was no way that he would let Lucifer be President of the country he had so grown to love, one which had been very accepting of him until Krampus had started stirring the old hatreds up.

He sucked his teeth and looked over at Sable, who appeared to be doing something with the sleeves of his long coat. It was almost like he was looking for something. Sable was clearly unarmed and, his peerless combat skills aside, even he would be unable to take on their soon-to-be-guests barehanded. Well that just about buggers it all up doesn’t it? He thought, considering whether to ghost just one of them and have done with it. Better to take Lucifer with us if this is it…
It struck him as rather odd that Sable appeared so unconcerned by their predicament. He was focussed on his coat-sleeves again, something which was both intriguing and annoying to big Sumerian. He was about to ask his friend what in the name of any gods he may or not may not believe in he thought he was doing when Sable made an ‘ah’ noise. He then proceeded to do something which caused a feeling of more than mild surprise – mixed with a fair measure of terror – in Gilgamesh’s heart.

Sable reached into the sleeves of his long coat and smiled. He took hold of something with each hand and pulled. To Gilgamesh’s genuine awe and terror, Sable pulled his long silver swords out of his coat. Each sword was close to four feet long and curved like scimitars; there was no way Sable’s arms were that long and the coat certainly was not large enough. Gilgamesh had been admiring it earlier; it was a nice brushed suede type thing in a variety of shades of grey which fit Sable rather well. It would not fit the much larger Gilgamesh, but he had been meaning to ask Atlantan where he had gotten it from. He had not expected, however, for Sable to just whip his famous swords out from inside of it, magic coats were not something he wanted in his sparse wardrobe. He stared his friend, face a multitude of questions.

“A left over from whatever you lot did to me in Atlanta. Might be a small surprise gift from our new friend too.” Sable explained in great depth. “I know where they are, I just have to tell them to be here.” he settled his grip before spinning the swords in air-ripping circles and considered the approaching group. “Twenty?”

Gilgamesh nodded with a grim smile.

“Cover me from the shooters.” Sable set his swords down and shrugged his coat off, letting it fall to the ground. Underneath he wore sleeveless black t-shirt with a very faded rock band logo on it. He also had some weird tattoo on his right shoulder which Gilgamesh could not recall him having before, a swirl of angelic script covering shoulder and part of his arm. Unfortunately, the Sumerian was very new to those letters and had no idea where to begin. Sable was already moving towards the lip of their rooftop, assessing the distance to the roof down below. Their visitors were starting to gather bare metres away down below, looking for a way up to them. Sable crouched on the edge, swords back in his hands, reversed upward, and nodded. Gilgamesh nodded in reply and swung his rifle around.

He had a ten-shot custom magazine locked and loaded but there would be a 2-3 second reload time. Still, better than nothing. With a scream which would have made even the dead get up and run, Sable leaped, right into the centre of the crowd. Sable against twenty nephilim armed with knives, machetes and guns? Gilgamesh almost felt sorry for them…

He shrugged and set his eye to his gunsight adjusted the focus all the way out, as far as it would go. Some of the figures were a little fuzzy, the sight wasn’t designed for such close-up work, but he could aim. He had never seen Sable in combat up close before, but he would never forget it. He saw Sable land in a crouch in the middle of the crowd and explode into motion. Gilgamesh had his own abilities; at the moment when he took his shot, he was able to slow time somehow, stretch out those vital seconds to be sure he placed his bullet right where it needed to go. He couldn’t sustain this slowing effect for long, but he intended to push that ability now. In slow motion he watched his friend dance…

Slowed down, Sable was more than incredible, his silver blades flashes and blurs of metal. He seemed to have the entire fight planned out in advance, so fluid and connected were his moves. Instantly his left sword swept out and opened the throat of the man directly in front of him in a carmine spray. Sable did not stop though, pushing the sword along its path to carve open the face of another, his right-hand sword dipped and curved up into the stomach of a third man; dropping his guts onto the floor. Immediately Sable had some space as the third man got snagged in his own entrails and they uncoiled around his feet causing him to fall back into the group behind him, dropping several to the ground. Sable breathed. Swords always in motion, body never still, eyes and senses always active he became a whirlwind of death; blocking, cutting, deflecting and retaliating. Killing.

Whipping his swords left and right, up and down he wove a cage of silver death around him. Where his swords struck, men fell, and blood sprayed out. Even slowed down as Gilgamesh’s perceptions were, Sable was almost too fast to follow.

One of the nephilim with a pistol took aim at Sable’s head and fired as a sword was extracted from a bleeding neck. Gilgamesh felt his stomach tighten to a knot; he could take down the shooter but not stop the bullet. There was no way he could warn his friend or prevent the danger in time. Somehow Sable knew. Faster than Gilgamesh could imagine, Sable arched back at the waist and got his head out of the way of the bullet fractions of a second before it was due to hit, catching the speeding projective with the silver edge of one sword and helping it safely out of the way with an explosion of sparks. He straightened and knifed a blade into the juncture of neck and shoulder of each of the men before him. He twisted the blades out and blocked a desperate machete swipe at his unprotected torso with his left, killing the wielder with his right. Gilgamesh breathed and time returned to normal. There were nine nephilim, aside from he and Sable left; four shooters hiding behind air conditioning units and five standing before Sable. The four shooters appeared to be quite undecided on what to do, two were looking for reloads. They had emptied their magazines without Gilgamesh even being aware of it or actually hitting anyone. Such a waste of ammo offended him for some reason.

His friend had killed ten men in less than a minute! The five men with knives and machetes in front of him were well aware of this fact and were sharing wary glances, looking over shoulder for as long as they dared to see what the shooters were doing. Sable had stood still for nowhere near long enough for anyone to get a decent shot at him after the first. He was not even scratched, and Gilgamesh was sure none of the blood upon him was his own. He could not believe this sight, no- one dared to move and Sable just stood there, waiting.

Sable appeared relaxed and his chest moved regularly and slowly. He rolled his shoulders and grinned at the men in front of him, looking like a demon of war covered in blood and gore; smiling like a maniac as blood dripped from his loosely held swords. Lucifer was on the stage below so none of remaining men dared to be the one to return without Sable’s head, failure could be much worse than death.

I’d be more afraid of my best friend than his Dad! Gilgamesh decided. No-one should be able to fight like that…Clearly, he did not know enough about Lucifer though, he must be terrifying indeed to give a man a reason to fight Sable.

In the end, it seemed that numbers gave the balls unto the man. They shared a glance and attacked at once, thinking this would be to their advantage. Sable kept his swords in close and tight, each hand appearing to communicate with the other. He casually batted a machete aside to pierce the chest of its wielder and used the falling man’s weight to pivot around and almost shear the face off of another. Keeping his momentum up, he took one knife fighter’s arm off at the elbow causing the man to scream and spray blood into the face of the man next to him. Sable finished the disarmed man off with a quick stab to the throat and took down his colleague in the same manner as that one tried to clean blood from his eyes. His right-hand sword was in the chest of the last man before Gilgamesh could even figure out how it had gotten there. The Sumerian’s finger was poised numbly over the trigger unable to neither aim nor fire.

“I know you’re all out of ammo.” Sable told the four crouched men with pistols. “I was counting as the bullets whined past my ears like hot mosquitoes. You can reload and make me come over there and get you or you can drop them, and we talk. You decide.” He let that hang in the silence for a long time. No-one spoke nor made a single move. Gilgamesh found that he was holding his breath again.
The only sound was the soft drum of blood from Sable’s swords striking the metal roof.
“The first man who fires a shot at me dies.” Sable added. There was silence for the longest moment before the first pistol clattered to the ground, the metallic skittering noise followed quickly by three similar sounds.

“Good.” Sable clapped his swords together, blood dripping from their blades onto the hot asphalt. “Because I was getting tired and thought I will probably never get these clothes clean anyway, more blood would just make washing them murder!”
Gilgamesh’s mouth hung wide open as the four nephilim came out of hiding, their hands held empty and high. They were actually laughing nervously at the joke, as terrible as it had been. Gallows humour; men who are scared enough will laugh at anything…anything but face inescapable reality.

“Wise, wise choice boys.” Sable reached down and cleaned his swords on a dead man’s hoodie before sheathing them at his belt; a belt that Gilgamesh could have sworn he had not been wearing earlier and held his empty hands out to the four nervous nephilim. His arms were bent slightly at the elbows, palms upward and fingers slightly bent; inviting. “You know who I am. You know what I am, but you only heard half of the story.” He said. “Here’s the other half.” He gestured around at the organic carnage. “Scram. Now. All of you. Go!” He gestured to the empty rooftops behind them. “Do not force me to kill you because I would rather not.”
To Gilgamesh’s amazement, all four backed off slowly, their hands still held up in front of them, in complete silence. Sable watched them leave and cracked his neck with a sound like breaking light bulbs. “I think you can focus back on Krampus and my father now, Gil.” Sable called up as he set to searching the dead men and collecting their weapons. “They won’t be coming back.”

He found, most curiously, a small hand towel in the pocket of one man and set to cleaning his arms and face with it.
Gilgamesh found no words to respond with, so he simply swung his rifle around on its tripod to face back at the stage with a nod of his head. If he had not seen it, he would never believe it. In fact, he had seen it and he still wasn’t sure that he believed it!

We Don’t Need Another Hero

(Or the Rise of the Anti-Hero)
We thank the incomparible Ms. Turner for the inspiration and the fact that your song is now stuck in my head.
The idea of the anti-hero is hardly a new one; literature is full of examples and several of these have served as inspiration, to some degree, in The Chronicles.
  • Conan the Barbabarian (or Conan the Cimmerian originally) was a thief, a killer, and a rogue who was more interested in his ongoing survival than helping people, that sort of came as a happy coincidence than his primary concern.
  • Elric of Melnibone, a necromancer and power-hungry beast who was looking for revenge rather and personal satisfaction predominantly but he ended up hailed as a somewhat hero all the same.
  • Lestat de Lioncourt, he is mostly interested in being a great vampire and surviving. He gladly uses people and even makes others vampires so that he isn’t lonely. He is mainly concerned with his pursuit of sensation and hedonism but has a loyalty towards his friends and will protect them. That does not mean that he’d risk his life for them, though. He is selfish and vain.
All of these characters and others are not, in themselves, heroic beings but they do heroic things and that is part of what makes them popular, we think. let us analyse it more closely.
The Hero of Olde
Imagine your typical hero, hero. They tend to be attractive to look at, they are muscular if male and lithe and slender if female, they are excellent in combat, and virtuous to a fault, usually ascribing to some antique Code which fell out of fashion among everyone else. They are a paragon.
  • Will always help the weak and defend them against evil
  • Will confront evil wherever they find it
  • Be at the front of any charge
  • They never lie or deceive people
  • Never do anything for personal gain; they will not cheat, steall, or murder
  • They will always go back for an injured colleague that falls behind
  • They would risk their life to save that of a person in danger
  • They will see everyone else as Good as they are
There is quite a depressing quote on heroes, I think you know it, though Asmodeus has paraphrased it a little;
“There are two types of people in this situation; dead heroes and live bastards. Remember that it was that live bastard that pulled your arse out of the fire while the dead hero is still down there…”
Heroes are well and good, they have their uses, but they do tend to become rather predictable after a while.
How the Hero Did Evolve
A long way back in time, when genres were much more tightly controlled, the hero would often be the one diguised as a member of the ‘lower classes’ and, despite his diguise being about as convincing as Superman’s, would remain anonymous until it was time to realise his destiny. Now, narrative causality would ensure that he learned to get in good shape, not catch any horrible or disfiguring diseases, and get the right amount to weapons training to be useful.
Through various adventures, which he would enjoy with a number of interesting sidekicks, who served to help him learn and essential skill, he arrives where the villian is waiting and kills him in a dramatic battle. Sometimes, for variety, his first attempt fails and he is imprisoned, only to escape and kill the villain in a more unexpected and less-evenly-matched final confrontation.
It worked for centuries, that good formula and, oddly enough, it came back with some subtle differences and remains quite popular in two or three different incarnations. Let’s summarise it and let you figure it out;
  • Unregarded and hidden away in less than idea surroundings.
  • Conditioned to believe they are unattractive and worthless.
  • Some form of abuse suffered, at least subtly but enough to make the reader uncomfortable.
  • Secret destiny revealed by mentor type character.
  • Become immediately attractive to pretty much everyone at that moment
  • Get a lot of cool friends, at least one of whom dies in heartwrenching fashion.
  • Are usually the scion (often unknown or illegitimately) of some powereful monarch or PowerFul Person and heir to an Amazing Thing.
  • Have martial or other gifts unlike “anyone we have ever seen”.
  • Have a fully-functional deflector against even the most dramatic forms of death until they arrive at their destiny, where it malfunctions but, it turns out, actually did work because they’re not really dead afterall.
See? It makes sense when you break it down properly.
Predictable. Lacking in nuance. Lacking in Depth.
Entertaining and enjoyable obviously if that’s what you are in the mood for, there is no doubt about that. It’s like a straight action movie, it’s fun to watch but you know they’re going to win in the end, you’re just enjoying the journey, the explosions, and the witty one-liners; usually from the morally-flexible ethnic sidekick.
The Anti-Hero
The anti-hero is, as one might expect, the hero that isn’t. They do, as we mentioned, do acts of heroic scale; they fight monsters, kill bad people, resist oppression, defeat the villain, etc. but they are, more of than not, motivated by their own needs and desires rather than those of others.
Take Deadpool; he’s out for revenge initially; then he moves onto being worthy of entering whichever heaven or afterlife his girlfriend is in. He does heroic things and defeats evil but he’s doing it for himself, ultimately. This does not make him any less likeable, though. His wisecracks and excellent repartee of course help with that but, and here’s the key, him not being perfect makes him more accessible.
Look at it this way; these paragons, you’re born as one of those. You’re born Chosen and with amazing talents, you can’t become that. The anti-hero, though, they’re just like us, warts and all. They tend not to be attractive or popular but, they tend to not really care about that.
Like all great comedians, they tend to use humour as a defense and to be liked or, at least, considered inoffensive or, in Deadpool’s case, obnoxious enough to be left alone.
Enter Asmodeus
He would certainly have a joke about that title, and no hesitation in telling it to you. Asmodeus enjoys making people squirm, he likes making them uncomfortable, and out of their depth.
It is commonly thought that he gains pleasure from people’s discomfort and, ultimately, pain and suffering because, to many, one thing leads to another. He does nothing about this talk though, of course, he is aware of it.
Instead he makes silly and dirty jokes, makes people uncomfortable in his presence, shares socially unacceptable observations (often of a sexual or anatomical nature), hides away in his little hidey-hole and buries himself in his ‘work’, he lets people arrive at their own conclusions. He works very hard to make sure that those conclusions are the wrong ones.
He has a plan and is not shy about people dying along the way as long as he is not one of those people. He will take risk but never direct ones because he is, to a point, very careful to make sure that no trail can lead back to him.
He is in no small amount of danger should he be discovered but, then again, he has gone to incredible lengths to make sure that he is not.
Add to this that he has spent a lot of time and effort making sure that people do not even consider suspecting him of doing anything intelligent or creative.
Conclusion
The tagline of The Chronicles of Enoch : Preludes includes the following
“In a time of danger and the rise of the shadow….one would think we need a hero.
We don’t.
….We need a bastard..”
This, to me, encapsulates the need for the anti-hero. Let’s be honest here, if the hero type is predictable and follows certain rules without exception, they are both predictable and a liability. If they are going to behave in a certain manner when faced with certain circumstances, they can be manipulated.
Take Sable. He is not a typical hero in a number of ways but, in his essence, is a moral and honourable being. He will endanger himself in order to protect his friends or the innocent, he would stop a nothing to protect Enoch (something Gilgamesh manipulates masterfully in Darkness Within but, thankfully, for a good reason). He allows himself to be captured and brutally tortured so that his friends can get away, resulting in a lot of pain and suffering for himself along the way. All of this happens because Sable can, as a hero, manipulated, his actions predicted.
Asmodeus willingly sacrifices people who trust him, would shoot the hostage and then the enemy without compunction, he would ‘trust’ his friends to act as he anticipates they would when they are in a dangerous situation he created but not cry too much if they failed to escape unscathed.
Why? Because very few people know Asmodeus as he really is, they know one or more of his personas but they, very importantly, don’t know him so he’s not invested in anyone. Well, almost anyone but that’s as much of a spoiler as you’re getting.
So; that is why we don’t always need heroes because an anti-hero is more interesting, more entertaining, more frustrating and engaging, more unpredictable and, with all of that, they are a much deeper and enjoyable character. People love the anti-hero because they can identify with them, see themselves as them, and even admire them.
Or maybe we still need heroes because sacrifice is what really gets things done when everything is in the balance but we also need a capable bastard or two to help them out.