Disclaimer: This story is based on certain parts of the bible and I’m aware that there are elements in the story that might offend some people – if anyone reads it that is. Rest assured that was not my intent in writing this. I simply wanted to explore some ideas I’ve had floating around in my head for the last twenty years and turn them into a somewhat coherent story. That is to say, this is a work of fiction, not a religious commentary.

”Angels! They’re real!” the old man slurred, his face inches from mine, his breath stinking of alcohol. ”Is that so,” I replied in a flat voice, turning away to avoid the stench. ” ‘as right, as real as you or me,” the man said matter-of-factly, ”but they’re not what you think they are.” ”Uh-hu,” I mumbled, taking a swig of my beer. ”Just ignore him,” Miriam hissed beside me. ”God and The Devil are real too,” the man continued, seemingly oblivious to my disinterest, ”but their roles are reversed.” 
”What do you mean?” I couldn’t help being curious about that last statement.
“The being we call God is actually a fascist dictator while the one known as Lucifer can best be described as the leader of the revolution.” 
“Wait, you’re saying that Lucifer – as in The Devil, The Evil One himself –  is some kind of freedom fighter?”
“You call him The Evil One because that’s what it says in the Bible, right?” Before I had time to say anything the man continued. “You think the Bible is the truth? It was written by God and his cronies, it tells their version of events.” Somehow his voice was sounding less slurred than it had just a minute ago.
“What the Hell are you doing?”Miriam whispered. “I’m curious about what he’s got to say,” I replied then turned back to the old man. “You’re saying there’s a version of events most people don’t know about?” The man nodded, then finished his drink, holding the empty glass in front of him a few moments as if contemplating its shape, then set it down on the bar. “What are you drinking,” I asked. “Rusty Nail,” the man answered, moving his chair closer to mine; despite sounding more sober he still stank of alcohol. “You’re really doing this,” Miriam wanted to know. I nodded and she grabbed her drink and went off in a huff. 

I ordered, one for the old man and one for myself, and we waited in silence as the bartender mixed our drinks. When the drinks arrived the old man smiled at me, took a sip then launched into his story.

“It may be difficult to believe but angels aren’t actually divine beings. Demons aren’t evil entities either. In fact, angels and demons belong to the same species. They call themselves Tauriel which means People of the Ether, and they call us humans Asriel, that is, People of the Soil. What the Tauriel really are is a bit hard to say – there isn’t exactly a lot of research on them. What we know for sure is that they aren’t fully corporeal. They exist, at least partially, in something called the Ether which is…well, it’s been described to me as ‘the space between atoms’ but I don’t fully understand what that means. Well, when I say exist in…that’s one of the possible translations of their explanation. Another possible translation is that they are part of the Ether…or perhaps that the Ether is part of them. I guess when you’re noncorporeal, it doesn’t make much of a difference.

Anyway, being of the Ether – however you’d like to interpret that – means that they can manipulate reality…at least, reality as we humans see it. This is what gives them their supernatural abilities, their divine powers, or whatever you want to call it. That’s how they can show us visions of the future or work miracles and other things like that. But, and this is important, there are limits to what they can do. Strange enough, those limits are affected by humans. As far as I understand it, how we perceive reality limits how much they are able to bend that reality. But I’m getting ahead of myself. For now, just know that they’re  noncorporeal beings with magic powers, you with me so far?”

His explanation seemed unbelievable but I could at least understand it. I nodded and he continued.

“Now, being partially noncorporeal doesn’t mean that the Tauriel are ghosts – they do have a physical form of sorts. It does mean however that their outward appearance is not strictly defined, at least not to the eyes of simple human beings. How they appear to us is influenced, to some degree, by our beliefs and prejudices. When we think of angels we tend to think of pious looking humans with wings on their back. That hasn’t always been the case; early accounts talk about monstrous creatures – giant floating eyes surrounded by wings and such. There’s a reason old testament angels had to start off any conversation with “be not afraid”. Basically, how we see them has evolved over time along with our beliefs. Their true appearance – that is, what they see when they look in the mirror – is something mere humans can never know. Their true appearance isn’t important however, the keypoint is that their appearance can change. I’ll get back to that later.

You might think that noncorporeal beings are immortal but like us humans, the Tauriel are mortal. However, just like their appearance, their mortality isn’t really well defined. Most of them live for a few hundred years but being ”of the Ether ” means some of them can live for thousands of years. Exactly how the Ether is able to prolong their life spans is unknown but it seems to be connected to their ‘divine powers’. The more powerful they are, the longer they live. Again, the details aren’t important, just keep in mind that they can die. You still with me?”

I wanted to ask him how he knew all this but the old man paid no attention to my question. Instead he took a swig of his drink then continued his story.

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