This much I know — Time does NOT heal all wounds.
At least not for me — for I am Azazel and I am a charlatan.
Perhaps it might be more correct to state that I am THE Charlatan — for it has become painfully clear that my whole life (if you can call it that) has been naught but a flamboyant fraud – an elaborate series of useless tricks perpetrated both by me and on me.
Yes, I’ll admit that I have committed (and created) more crimes than anyone else the universe has ever known but that was a long time ago.
Why can’t I just be forgiven for my so-called sins?
When will my punishment be sufficient?
Why does my penance need to last forever?
Be patient? You say. Just wait a little longer. Everything will resolve itself when the time is right.
I’ve heard all that advice before, friend, but nothing ever changes, so save your counsel. I’m old. I’m tired. I’ve been waiting for my pain to go away for billions (yes you read that right) of years, yet here I am, ever-condemned to suffer for crimes that occurred so long ago that nobody even remembers the details — how could they, when everyone else involved has long since left this world?
Except for me.
For I am the one who has suffered more than anyone the world has ever known.
And yet my pain goes ever on.
There are no answers to these questions. There are only lies – always more empty promises that mask an intricate webs of lies.
I’ve been forsaken by every god you’ve ever worshiped and countless more you don’t even know exist. Yet, still I must carry on — even though all I crave is death, oh sweet death.
It’s ironic when you really think about it.
Knowing my reputation, does it surprise you to hear me admit this?
What’s that – you don’t know my reputation? Eh, you don’t even know WHO I am?
Poppycock! You know me better than you know your own mother.
EVERYONE knows me; for I am the only certainty in your life.
And what is that certainty?
Why Death, of course.
Surely you know that you will die (sooner rather than later) and when you do, you will meet me.
It’s a guarantee.
Neh, it’s THE Guarantee.
A Rose by any other Name…
As I said already, my name is Azazel (yes I am one of those ‘fallen’ angels), but perhaps you know me as Azrael – for despite what history has taught you we are one and the same.
Or maybe you prefer to think of me via the cliché you’ve cast upon me — The Grim Reaper.
Indeed, I’ve gone by many names throughout the vastness of Time and Space, yet I prefer the simple moniker The God of Death.
Think you know me now, huh?
Ready to dismiss me as a crackpot?
Not so fast, friend.
Oh sure, you’re probably aware that lately my primary job has been to ferry your immortal souls to their final resting place.
But everybody knows that, so don’t pat yourself on the back too much.
Yes, I’m the coach driver. Yes I’m the ferryman. But so what? Somebody’s gotta do it, right?
It’s a rather thankless job, and to be honest, one I’m rather tired of, but at least it gives me something to do – for now. (Honestly I think A’H just keeps me busy so my mind doesn’t wander again).
Funny, whenever I talk to someone of the mortal coil, undoubtedly the first question I get asked is, “Does Hell really exist?” Most of you think it’s just a fairy tale designed to scare you straight — yet if that was the case, it hasn’t worked too well lately, has it?
But to answer the question for you: yes, hell does exist (although I like to refer to it by its original name – Illusia).
It follows then at heaven – Illyria – also exists.
As to how you get to either upon death – let me just clarify that it’s not up to me. All too often I’ve get blamed when you people complain about your final destination while I force you along the River of Eternity…
Yet, what you seem to forget is that I wasn’t the one who made the decisions in your life!
You need merely to look in The Mirror of Regret and you’ll see the truth about yourself. (Ah, but don’t worry, for when your hour arrives, I’ll have The Mirror ready for you too).
What will Your Future Be?
Enough small talk, let’s get down to business – obviously you want to know why I’m talking to you – since clearly you are not dead… yet.
The fact of the matter is that I am not here by my own choice.
I believe the current system still works and that I’ve ferried the correct number of you to my former masters down in Illusia, and a sufficient number of your souls back to Illyria (where they all first came from anyway). However, A’H apparently doesn’t agree – for It (and yes “It” is the correct pronoun for A’H) has a bit of a problem with the current system – and since It is the Master of the Universe (at least for now), when A’H talks, the rest of us have to listen.
As it turns out, A’H is rather peeved that so many of you people are getting sent to Illusia and that fewer and fewer of you are being taken by me to Illyria. [Thankfully, unlike you, at least A’H doesn’t blame ME for this. In fact, A’H knows that if there’s anyone to blame, it’s Itself – for A’H is the one who gave you that (comical) giftcurse called Free Will].
So here’s the situation – A’H has asked me to visit with you now – prior to your death — to offer you some insights that may allow you to change your final fate. And since most of you are on a path towards spending eternity ‘in the fires’ as they say, if that’s not what you want, then perhaps you should listen up.
Do I really think you will be successful?
Ha, not a chance! I’ve lived in your world too long. I KNOW you. No matter what I say, you’ll continue to make the same mistakes.
After all, poor choices are your birthright — and I’ve witnessed every last one of them.
The fact is that you will fail (again).
Then I probably will get blamed (again).
And then A’H will once again say that my Penance must continue. It’s a tired, played-out game, but alas I have no choice but to continue on. After all, maybe, just maybe, you will finally listen this time!
You think I’m making all this up? You don’t believe I can save you?
In fact I expected as much from you.
Nevertheless, A’H has faith that you can still learn, and It insists that I work with you on this.
Amazingly, despite A’H’s reputation for micro-management, It has left it up to me to decide how best to handle this project. And while I don’t really think it matters what I do, I’m going to give it the old college-try as you say, and do my best to enlighten you.
What’s in it for me?
Why must you think I have an ulterior motive?
Ha, that’s just like your kind – always believing the worst in others. Well, if you must know, I DO have my eyes on a nice little prize – FREEDOM.
For you see, I would not be here with you had it not been for a slight miscalculation on my part at a rather crucial moment in history – an unfortunate little blunder that, well let’s just say, got me stuck with you. It’s a story you’ll learn in a bit. But for now, what’s important to understand is that, finally, A’H has decided to offer me my own redemption…
And saving YOU is the way I can escape my fate and finally find peace.
As you can see, we’re in this together. I’m here to help you, but I need you to pay attention, and most importantly, to change your ways! (Hey, at least I can dream, right?)
With that in mind, let me tell you a tale – and since we both know that wisdom is in rather short supply in today’s world, I’ve decided to take you back to The Time Before – to a period of history that’s been long since lost to you.
You’ll view this story as something ‘fresh and new’ – and perhaps that will make you pay attention. But don’t worry, I know how your kind craves fluff too, so let me assure you that the story is filled with all the cliches you love – there are…
- inspiring heroes (both male and female),
- cruel villains (myself proudly among their ranks),
- and an array of those weird mythical creatures you love so much.
But don’t let the familiarity with such archetypes fool you — that’s where the warm and fuzziness ends.
People die – lots of them. Love is lost. Lessons aren’t learned. Evil sometimes wins. In short, my tale is not just a fantasy, it’s a reality.
More importantly, this isn’t a bedtime story meant to sing you to sleep; I’m trying to save you soul here!
I’s time you knew the truth about a few things.
For starters allow me to open your eyes to the web of lies you’ve been subjected to for thousands of years.
For example, pick a holy book, whichever one you want. Have one in mind? Good, I say it’s garbage. That’s right – pure fiction.
How can I be so sure? Because I was there, people!
I’ve lived through history, ALL of your history, first hand.
Would you rather rely on the word of an actual eye-witness who lived these events, or would you prefer to continue to put your faith in words written by unknown authors, most of whom wrote about events they’d only heard of through others, and whose work was in turn later rewritten over and again by translators who used said ‘holy’ books merely to further their own designs (most of which involved a play for more money, more power, and more often than not both).
Why do you trust them? Because your religious leaders said so?
Friends, you are being duped by charlatans (and remember, I know a thing or two about that game).
Stop being a fool.
Open your eyes and see the truth.
Listen to me instead – after all, unlike your false prophets, I desire neither money nor fame. I have no agenda.
I merely speak the truth — and my truth will set you free!
If you care to listen, all the better, if not, that’s on you.
With that in mind, let’s begin by setting the record straight about something most of you have gotten horribly (and quite comically) wrong –The (True) Story of Creation…