An Unholy Redemption Chapter 8.1 continued
“Hi Mary, John has just woke up from his afternoon sleep and demanded to speak to you. Don’t worry, he’s okay, he just has something important to tell you.” Mary waited anxiously on the phone, hearing in the background John’s voice thanking the nurse while he took hold of the receiver.
“Mary, is that you?”
“Yes, John. What’s wrong dear?”
“I’ve just had a wonderful dream. I dreamt I had died and was sitting talking to God. I was told that my suffering would soon be at an end and you would play an important part in ending my suffering. The dream showed you by my bedside crying over my lifeless body. My face looked so peaceful, and behind you I saw a shadow of a man but it was a strange shadow because even though it was black, there was so much light coming from it …” John trailed off and groaned sharply in pain. “John! Are you okay? Damn it, I’m going to cancel going this evening and come home straight away.”
“No! You must go tonight. It’s a matter of life or death. You have to look for the light, God told me. Please, promise you will go? Oh I just heard a voice telling me you have to wear the red one.” Mary was stunned, she shook her head. A coincidence, she thought. “I’ll go if you’re sure, take care little brother. I love you.”
“Love you too Mary, bye.”
“Is everything all right?” Ruth had joined Mary and was placing a blanket around Mary’s shoulders as she stood in the hallway. “Yes, I’m fine. John had another one of his dreams. God told him I had to promise that I would go tonight. He also said something strange, that I was to look for the light. I wonder what that meant.”
“Strange. Come on, if we hurry we can go for a drink before dinner tonight. Have you decided on what dress to wear?”
“Yes, I think I’ll wear the red one.” Lucifer stood in the open doorway of the temple and his pupils dilated as he took in the sight of the magnificent room in front of him. He looked down and underfoot was a red and blue carpet equal in squares like a chessboard. Chairs were laid out equally on either side of him and the carpet. Looking down the centre of the room, he noticed men stood in rows, all of them wearing regalia made from animal fur. Lucifer walked down the centre aisle and the men parted to let him pass as they watched the stranger in their domain. Lucifer ignored them with an air of contempt as he walked by. In the centre of the carpet was a pedestal next to a red-cushioned kneeling stool. To the east of this pedestal was an altar in front of a big wooden chair.
On the back of the chair was a picture of a lion’s head. In the south of the room there was another pedestal and wooden chair with a matching picture of an eagle’s head. In the north there was the same again, but these pictures were that of a calf’s head. Finally, in the west, another chair and pedestal depicted a dark figure of a man. All of the fixtures, except the pedestal depicting the man, had candles adorning their mantles. “Luther please,” Daniel had his hand on Lucifer’s back, “there is someone over here who is glad you came.”
Lucifer was led over to an eagerly waiting Jeremiah whose face was alight with excitement.
“I am so glad you decided to come, Luther. You have made an old man very happy.” Lucifer lifted his eyebrows; it was not his duty to make people happy. “Thank you Daniel,” Jeremiah said, “I will take over from here.” Daniel hurried off to a table and chair in the corner and opened his black book and took out his trusty pen to start writing. “So what do you think of our temple? Pleasing to the eye, don’t you think? Have you seen the ceiling?” Lucifer had concentrated so much on what was in front of him that he had neglected what shone above. Above the pedestal was the same triangle symbol as on the entrance door. This time it was made of gold, and the candlelight from below danced and bounced off it in different directions. The ceiling was painted to depict various people, animals and symbols. At its centre was a golden picture of a lion’s head watching carefully down on all below with its observant red eyes. On each side of the lion was a picture of two men; one white, the other black. Either side of the black figure were two other black figures holding wooden mallets in a menacing manner. There were scenes depicting people praying and screaming while being engulfed in flames. On the other side, the white figure stood holding the chains of two beasts. Out of one of the beasts’ mouths was a big golden sword, the other beast’s mouth housed a white dove. Above the dark man was a picture of the moon, while the white figure had the sun illuminating him and the beasts below. In between these two celestial bodies, a falling star merged with the lion’s head in the centre. “Every time I come to a meeting, I look up at that and realise I still love it the same as the very first time I saw it,” Jeremiah said. “Does it say anything to you, Luther?”
“I must say, you are a persistent man aren’t you?” Lucifer said, annoyed. “No, it means nothing to me except the picture of the lion is magnificent and I do have an affinity with lions.”
“Good, good, that’s a start.” Jeremiah was once again smiling like a child on Christmas Eve anticipating the morning and opening all his presents.
“All stand to receive the one accompanied by those who are to follow.” A man at the entrance of the temple stood in front of a row of men all lined up in procession. At the head of the procession was James and behind him was the candidate walking very sheepishly. They all moved forward in time with the organ playing from the other side of the room. Sheep, just like sheep. Lucifer smiled as he thought. One by one, the procession got smaller as certain people broke away. First, James took his place in the east, another man broke off in the south, the candidate stood in the west and then a man arrived in the north. When everybody was stood by their chairs, the organ ceased and everybody looked towards James holding a wooden gavel in his hand. With authority he bought the gavel down hard on the altar surface. This was followed by the men at the other points of the compass. “My brother situated in the south,” James said. “Why have we come together?”
“To remember a moment in history when everything was lost, Honourable Master of the East.”
“My Brother in the North, what moment in history shall we bring forth to our memories?”
“That moment when day turned into night and light into darkness, Honourable Master of the
“Do we know the brethren present to be faithful and true, my Brother in the South?”
“We do, Honourable Master of the East.”
“Do we know the temple to be safe and secure, Brother in the North?”
“We do not yet know, but with your authority, we can ascertain the temples position by the correct communication, Honourable Master of the East.”
“Then Brother in the North, you have my command to instruct our brother in his duty.”
“Brother,” the man standing near the temple door stepped forward. “You, having being elected caretaker, will communicate the position of the temple, then afterwards you will relate that communication to me.” The man motioned towards the door. Lucifer looked down and saw the dagger tightly held in his hand, then leant forward to see what was behind the door. The brother holding the dagger used his other hand to slowly open the door, bringing up the dagger as though ready to do his duty and stop anybody rushing forward.
“Brother Protector, how do you report the position of our temple?”
“Very safe and guarded to the best of my ability.” Lucifer heard David’s voice sounding from behind the door. “It will remain that way even to cost of my own life, Brother Caretaker.” The door was then shut and the brother caretaker came to the edge of the carpet. “Brother in the North, the temple is found in a safe and protected position and will remain so even to the point of a sad loss of a brother.” He then walked back to his chair. Lucifer watched with amusement as the brother in the north repeated the communication to the honourable brother in the east. Lucifer could see all around him the other brethren moving their lips, repeating the ritual in silence. The gavel smashed down on the altar again, bringing Lucifer’s mind back to the proceedings. “Brethren,” James continued, “as the Honourable Chosen one in the East, I declare the meeting open, and safe in the knowledge that we can conduct our business in peace and harmony.” Down the gavel went again followed by the other two gavels held firmly in the hands of the two faithful brothers, then everybody sat down.
“This is the boring bit,” Jeremiah leant forward to whisper in Lucifer’s ear. James read a list giving thanks to certain people. “He is an excellent leader, but he certainly knows whose backside to kiss,” Jeremiah said and started to laugh. Lucifer gave a faint smile, but his attention was more focused on the candidate who sat silently in his big chair in the west looking very thoughtful. “Why does he look so worried?” Jeremiah noticed Lucifer looking in the direction of the candidate. “Well, he has a lot to remember and tonight he’s representing the villain so to speak. All will become clearer later. Oh good, now the good stuff, about time too.” James had finally stopped with all the thanks giving. “Brethren, tonight the ceremony is the appointment of an honourable master. But first let us open in our first state of reverence. My brother in the south, hail all brethren in the first state of reverence while I observe.”
“Brethren,” said the brother in the south, “shield your eyes from the light above, as none of you are worthy to observe it in all of its glory.” He smashed his gavel down and all the brethren stood and bowed their heads. They took hold of their right shoulders with their left hand, while resting their elbows flat against their chest. Lucifer wanted to laugh, but Jeremiah was looking at him and gesturing for him to copy, which Lucifer ignored, much to Jeremiah’s disappointment. “I, as Honourable Master, acknowledge your submission and respect and now command you to remain in a state of darkness and prayer until man is found worthy.”
He bowed his head and slammed down his gavel, then everybody lifted their heads and dropped their arms. “My brother in the north, has any brother among us not yet advanced to the second state of reverence?”
“Brethren,” said the brother in the north. “I enquire of you, are there any of you who have not yet advanced to the second state of reverence?” Three men stood up and followed the caretaker to the door where they turned and faced James, saluted him with the first state of reverence and went out through the big doors.
“My Brother in the South, for the second time I ask you to hail all the brethren but this time in the second state of reverence while I observe.”
“Brethren, having hid your eyes from the light above, I ask you to remain the same but now with meditation and contemplation of what we are searching for.” After hearing the gavel, the brethren took their original position of reverence, but this time lifted their right arm and crossed over their left, and took hold of their left shoulder in a self embrace. Again, they bowed their heads. “I for the second time acknowledge your submission and respect, and in a way of contemplation through meditation, you still have not found what you were looking for, but I assure you through patience, fidelity and hard work, man will be found worthy again.” Everybody, except for Lucifer, dropped their salutes. “Only one more to go.” Jeremiah said, having sensed Lucifer’s boredom. “It’s just ritual. We have to do this every meeting, depending on what state of reverence we’re in.”
“My Brother in the North, has any brother among us not yet achieved the final state of reverence?”
“Brethren, I enquire of you, are there among you any brother who has not yet achieved the final state of reverence?” This time only one man stood and made his way to the door, saluted and left. “My Brother in the South I again for the third and final time ask you to hail all the brethren in the final state of reverence.”
“Brethren, having hid your eyes and in way of contemplation and having searched your hearts, you can now safely lift your heads and see that light which is from above.”
Lucifer sat sitting motionless and watched the brethren as they put up their first sign, followed by the second. There was a brief pause and then James hit his gavel. The brethren dropped their arms, their hands outstretched and their heads facing the heavens. “Brethren for the third and final time, I acknowledge your submission and respect, and after finding you in a state of meditation and contemplation I feel satisfied. You among men are found worthy and ready to receive that light which is from above and is our watchword. All hail.”
“All hail,” they all repeated. Again the three gavels struck the wooden surfaces and they all sat down. “I do hope you will enjoy our ceremony, Luther,” Jeremiah whispered. “You’re in a very privileged position. We have a very long waiting list of men wanting to be where you are now, watching these proceedings.”
“Why don’t you allow them into your meetings? I am sure it will benefit you financially.”
“Unfortunately, quite a lot of people, even though they have a lot of money, don’t have the correct moral aptitude to become a member. I am not saying all rich people are like that. It is just that we are very careful and selective in our choice of members.”
“How did you know you could trust me? You don’t even know me.”
“I have always prided myself on my good judge of character. It’s never let me down. Besides, you befriended a caged lion, what more proof would I need?”
“Yes,” Lucifer replied. “But lions are fierce predators with an innate killing instinct. They even kill the young of another pride so they can start a pride of their own. Would you trust a lion in your house?”
“No of course not, but if you take the positive characteristics of a lion, like its courage, strength, its ability to protect its own pride and its regal leadership qualities, and apply them positively into a human mindset, that is something quite different and special. This is how I see you. Why did that lion not kill and maim you? And how did you really receive that mark on your head? Hopefully you will understand the coincidences when you see our ritual.”
James had stood from his chair with gavel in hand. “Brethren, we are now ready to receive our newly-appointed worthy, honourable master, but first my Brother from the North, are there any brethren among us not yet honourable?”
“Brethren, are you all honourable men among us?”
This time about twelve men stood and made their way to the doors at the rear, then very neatly and in uniform fashion, they saluted to James and left one by one.
“Honourable Master, residing in the east, the brethren have all been found to be honourable, except one who is still in a state of ignorance and darkness.”
“Let this man be known to me for I need to prepare him and myself for what has to come.”
The candidate sitting opposite James in the west stood. “I am he who demands knowledge.”
“Then step forward, kneel before me and demonstrate the qualifications necessary to receive
the light.” The candidate left his position from the west and made his way to the east and stopped in front of James and knelt on the stool in front of the pedestal.
“I ask you Honourable Master of the East to bestow the light and knowledge on me.”
“How do you find yourself so qualified?”
“I do not find myself so qualified, but am ready to receive the light and equally share it.”
“The light is for qualified and worthy brethren alone. Having found you are not in possession of those qualifications, I have no option but to banish you from my sight and the light therein.” Lucifer’s eyes began to widen as the lights in the temple started to dim, to a faintly lit room with just candles flickering away on each pedestal. “Brethren, turn your back on such a brother found not worthy to be in our presence and do not look back for fear of having your brethren turn against you.” James turned and showed his back to the candidate, then in one movement all the other brethren including Lucifer, prompted by Jeremiah, turned their backs. There was a brief pause, then the candidate stood and slowly made his way to the doors and let himself out. Once the doors were shut James turned to face the front.