The staccato burst of raindrops on the steel roof of his apartment awning echoed
in the recesses of his consciousness, along with the mingling scents of rain
and rust. Nathaniel St. Cloud was his birth name, but he had not used that name
in many, many years – it could be said that Nathaniel St. Cloud died long
ago. Sitting in a simple chair facing outward, watching the rivulets of water
cascade in a chaotic curtain in front of him as he watched over the pit of hell
that others called a city, a finely crafted yet simple sword lain across his
lap, he thought.
Sammael, as he came to call himself now, thought of many things, but mostly,
of the past. Most people had childhood memories of a dysfunctional family (are
there any "normal" families in this world any more?), but Sammael
had no family. Orphaned at birth when his mother died in labor, he had never
known his blood relations. He came to find out later in life that his father
could have been any number of men, members of some cult who had tricked his
birth mother into joining and subsequently raped and abused her for nearly a
month. He still had some of the newspaper clippings... "Woman Found Raped
and Brutalized in Condemned Building." Sometimes he wondered if he were
aware of what was happening while he was still developing in her womb –
if so, it would explain a lot.
Given into the care of social services, he was eventually placed into a convent
that his mother had served at for most of her life, before being tempted away
by the cult. He grew up in the confines of the Church, and at a very early age
studied the Bible and learned Latin. From here, he still could have had some
semblance of a normal life, but on August 13th, 1984 would begin (or perhaps
continue?) the downward spiral of his existence.
Only seven years old, he was the sole survivor of a brutal massacre in the
convent. Father O'Flynn had snapped for some reason no one could determine,
though many theories were later concocted to explain it. He had locked the doors
to the convent, and proceeded to methodically slaughter of everyone within.
Sammael, hearing the screams, hid himself away in his "secret spot",
and only when the screams died and the silence seemed to stretch on into eternity
did he venture forth. He emerged into a scene that would etch itself into his
memory forever... there was so much blood that he nearly slipped on it, and
mangled, butchered bodies lay everywhere. The seven year old blonde-haired,
blue-eyed child walked through the halls with a cold, dispassionate expression,
for something within him had died in those moments. No seven year old should
see the depths of darkness that lies within men's hearts, yet Sammael saw the
very worst of it. Walking through the halls, he gently rearranged all of the
bodies into restful reposes, and when he at last reached Father O'Flynn's body,
he took the dagger from the lifeless hand, looking to the gut wound that the
man had inflected upon himself, and calmly jabbed it in the corpse's eye.
His memory of the following events was hazy... police, reporters, an endless
sea of faces, and eventually he was placed in a conventional orphanage. It was
a nice place, as orphanages go, yet he always stood out. The other children
were afraid of his icy blue gaze, which seemed to hold within it the chill of
death. Humans being how they are, they seek to destroy that which they fear,
and Sammael found himself the victim of nearly constant beatings. Yet through
it all, Sammael held to his faith, trusting in the Lord to show him the light
at the end of the tunnel, to give him his reward for the torture he had suffered.
At the age of 12, a miracle happened... he was adopted. The Smiths had read
the stories in the newspaper, had seen the horrible news footage, and after
much though decided to adopt Nathaniel St. Cloud. John, the father, was in his
mid forties and had a warm smile and enchanting eyes. His wife Sara was beautiful
– a former model, in fact, now a house mother. And last, their daughter Lilith...
a creature so beautiful to Sammael's eyes that he swore that she must have been
an angel sent from heaven to answer his prayers. Lilith wasn't her real name, but that is all that his twisted mind can remember her as.
His life for the next four years was what could only be called perfect. A loving
family, a stable devoutly Christian household, and love all around him. But
still the darkness lingered in Sammael, yet it was held at bay by the radiance
of Lilith, who he came to love in more than a brotherly fashion. Many times
he tried to tell her how he felt, but always his mouth dried up and he could
not go through with it. So he let the love grow within him, becoming an obsession.
And as his mind and soul was slowly twisted by both his love and the darkness,
his world was once again shattered.
Fate would not let go of Sammael, for the very same cult that had enthralled
his mother twelve years later corrupted his adoptive father. The family knew
nothing of it... he merely came home from work later and later every night,
until that one night. John had been convinced that it was time to "test"
his family, and within his overcoat he carried a poisoned dagger. If his family
survived the poison, then they were worthy to live and do good works, for surely
the Lord will now allow His children to die before their time. And if not...
then they would be sent to join Him in heaven.
As Sara came to give him his customary hug and kiss on the cheek, John embraced
her warmly, secretly holding the knife in his hand, and pricked her with the
tip. She cried out, and took a step back, at which point Lilith and Sammael
came running from the den. Looking with horror to the knife in his hand, Sara
reached behind her and felt at where she had been pricked. She looked to John
with confusion, then her world became blurry and she fell to the ground, lifeless.
John looked upon her with sadness, and sighed. "She was not worthy to do
the Lord's works." Then, looking to the two children, he began to advance.
that moment, something within Sammael snapped. His entire life, he had piously
followed God, and throughout his entire life (even the conception of it), men
of God had shattered his world, brought pain upon him. At that moment, he decided
that was no god he wished to follow, and he recited a Latin prayer for strength...
except he called not upon the Lord, but upon whatever dark powers would heed
him. At that moment, he saw the world with new eyes. His father came forward,
and Sammael looked to him with cold, dispassionate eyes as the man smiled and
reached out taking his hand, and pricked his palm with the blade.
Pure fire erupted through Sammael's veins, his vision began to blur... and
then he felt a dark fire rising from inside of him, overcoming the pain of the
poison, making it as a candle unto a raging inferno. Closing his eyes, he gave
himself over to the dark power, and opening them, he saw his father advancing
towards Lilith, who was on the ground shivering in shock. Crying out, he called
upon the power of darkness to strike down his father. Lilith and John looked
to him then, and a great dark nimbus surrounded him, coalescing on his hand
as he reached forth, then searing through the air like a freezing, white-hot
gout of black flame whose brilliance is blinding to look upon. It struck his
father in his chest, and sent him sprawling, the knife flying from his numb
fingers. As calm as death, Sammael walked towards him and retrieved the knife.
Looking upon his mother's body, he said a prayer to the lords of the underworld
to ferry her safely into the afterlife, then drew the knife across her throat.
John lay cowering against the wall. "What... are you...?" Sammael
smiled as he walked towards him.
"I am Death," was his reply. His father gasped as he brought the
bloody blade up, and as the man's mouth opened, Sammael gripped the knife above
him. That single second stretched into an eternity, as the blood pooled on the
knife's tip, and fell in a poisoned crimson drop, landing on his tongue. John
blinked in confusion, then the poison slowly began to take effect, and his muscles
convulsed once, then again in a series of spasms. It was meant to kill instantly,
yet at such a low dosage the death was excruciating, and seemed to drag on for
Finally, it was over, and Sammael reached out and closed his eyes, whispering,
"Vaya con dios..." He meant it as a curse though, not a blessing.
He looked towards Lilith with a smile and spoke quietly. "We are saved."
She regarded him with a look of horror, and held the cross around her neck
up in front of her, as if to ward herself. "Demon! Stay back! Stay away
from me!" He looked to her, shocked.
"But Lilith... what I have done, I have done for love of you. You are
my light, my joy... you are my life." He began to approach her, and she
scuttled back on the floor, shaking her head.
"No! I hate you! You are the devil!!!" With that, she crawled to
her feet, and ran out the front door of the house.
Just as his heart was crushed in memory, Sammael was roused from his reverie
by a flash of lightning and a crack of thunder. Shaking his head and flicking
his cigarette, he wiped a hand over his face and heaved a deep sigh. Then, muttering
a prayer to his patron, he slowly stood. "Enough memories... it's time
to get to work." Sheathing his sword, the tip gleaming with a gelled poison,
he opened the door to his apartment and exited into the night.