Stories are an integral and interwoven part of our world. Every conversation we ever have, every lesson we are taught in school, every book we read, every show we ever watch, even the very history of humanity and the Earth itself, are all in the end, stories to believe or disbelieve as we choose. Some are personal, like the family camping trip. Some are played out with friends, such as a campaign of Warhammer 40k or Dungeons and Dragons. Others are shared with hundreds, like graduation. Some are based in irrefutable proof, after all, who among us would be so callous to deny the horrors of the World Wars and the terrible mistreatment of the Jewish people? The terror of 9/11?
Others are not so easily verifiable, their cast and tales lost to us in the immenseness of not only spacetime, but the multiverse as a whole. My tale is one such story.
My beginning was like any other. I was born, went through childhood, got into a few messes, squabbled with family and entered college. And I was like any other person, easily lost in the masses at that time. My name was Stefan, still is but that isn't why you are here. To describe myself in those days would be, well not a Brainiac, but I was intelligent enough, could be a little abrasive and cynical at some points, shy in others, and goof as well. At five foot six with dirty blonde hair in a buzz and grey eyes, and of average weight and build, I was unremarkable. My life in the United States was peaceful. Didn't have to worry about too much. Most definitely not someone who would find themselves in the situations I would later be placed in. Of course, that's when it all ended.
There was a leader in my former world. Let's call him Tim. Tim and his family ruled over a small, insignificant country far from mine with an iron fist. This country wasn't liked by much of the world and we all generally tried to ignore him. Unfortunately, Tim liked having the attention on him at all times and he generally took great insult to very minor things. Furthermore, he had nuclear missiles. So, Tim got pissed off at something, and not caring what the rest of the world thought, launched them.
On that day my world ended, or at least my life, I was minding my own business, enjoying the warm weather on a walk. People were out and about, children playing in the streets or sprinklers everything all nice and peaceful. Then the sun disappeared. That's odd, I thought to myself at the time. There are no clouds in the sky today. Then I looked up. A rather shoddy looking missile was bearing down on me. People were screaming. Time slowed to a crawl. In the distance, I could hear the sounds of sirens and Helicopters in flight, radios blaring out that my nation's leader had ordered a retaliatory strike as the missile roared down to the street where I was walking. After that, I don't know what happened. At least, not the specifics. I know I died that day, as did others, and that many billions more would follow in the coming weeks. But how and why, I don't know.
After my final moments on the face of Earth, I slowly came to. But I wasn't in a place I recognized. I was standing among puffy white clouds and behind me were the great Pearly Gates. Now, I have my own opinions on religion and this certainly was a bit of a shock to know that I had somehow made it to heaven as I most certainly didn't go to Church or read the Bible. I mean, sure, I tried to do good, but never expected to automatically be let through the Great Gates. I looked around; Heaven was surprisingly empty. There were signs that there were souls here but I didn't see a single one. I wandered away from the gates. After a time, and a rather amusing few minutes where I saw an angel of all things trying to get a cat soul out of a tree and being pelted by squirrels with halos using golden acorns, I looked down at myself briefly. I was clothed in a simple white robe and sandals.
"Could be worse," I muttered to myself, "I could be naked as the day as I was born. Or being tortured in some forsaken place I'm not going to name. Or some freezing ice prairie or struggling to survive in a radioactive… waste…. land." At that moment I realized what had happened. Slowly closing my eyes, I shook my head. Now I knew what had happened. Sinking to my knees, I slowly started sobbing. "Dear God, please, help them. Stop that madness."
It was then I felt a hand on my shoulder. "I'm sorry my child. There's nothing that I or anyone else can do now. It's too far gone." I slowly regained my feet, and of course who was standing in front of me, but He Himself. To described Him would be difficult, as He was Everyman. He radiated sorrow, peace, forgiveness, regret and above all love.
"Walk with me," said the Almighty. This was I knew something that could not be disobeyed. We strolled around the Gardens of Heaven as angels rushed hither and yon in a panic as slowly but surely, the sky above shifted to show what was going on back on Earth.
I eventually regained my voice, and carefully asked, "Not…that I'm questioning your judgement, Lord, but why am I here? I an average mundane guy being greeted personally by You, is, well, unexpected by a great order of magnitude. I most certainly did not expect to be let through the Gates automatically! Why?!"
HE didn't answer straight away, but turned to look out over Heaven. As we walked, our path had taken us from the Gates up to the heights where His Throne stood. The Everlasting sighed, "My child, there is something you must know. In the multiverse, there are a number of universes that I am the Supreme Power over. But there are a number that I have no presence in and a few where, while I can visit from time to time, my power is limited. What happened is very tragic, and it is only beginning, but humanity will rise from the ashes as it always does. I will do what I can to temper the violence and guide proper leaders into place, but remember, when I created Adam's soul, and every soul since then, I granted them the boon of free will. As the first casualty of this new time, I wished to speak to you, as I have done with every first since the dawn of time."
I looked out over Heaven. More souls had started to arrive and out beyond the Gates, I caught a glimpse of something waiting. For what, I dare not guess, but I didn't have too, for He continued on.
"The legions of Lucifer herself. Contrary to what is Written in My Holy Book, Lucifer didn't rise up against me. I sent her to reign over the Pits of Hell to keep order. The tale of her fall was passed around to try and relieve the overpopulation that Hell was going through at the time. She merely changed her look to help ward off those who still had a chance left and she does her job with utmost care, to the point of finding and retrieving personally those who have earned redemption down there in her domain. Her legions, however, the demons and devils, are not so," He paused, "Well behaved, is probably the best term for it. But we all have our part to play in the multiverse."
God turned to me and held me in His gaze for at time silently. After a time, where it seemed like I was being weighed against something very valuable, He smiled.
"Child, for all of your faults, there is a purpose to you being here, and though the reason will not be clear to you until long from now, I'm going to offer you a second chance in a way. I'm going to give you a new start in a different universe. One that I at least have a presence in, however faint. You will retain everything you had at the moment of your death, every skill and piece of knowledge as well as any abilities that should help you survive in which ever world you choose."
I couldn't believe what I had heard. But the question had to be asked, "And if I choose to stay here, Lord?"
"As long as you exercise your right to free will, I will not say anything," came the reply.
I weighed up my options. I thought long and hard about what was easy and what was right. I still could have a chance at life. Granted it would not be in the world I knew, but still I knew what I had to choose.
"Alright. I accept the offer. Where am I going or is it another case of free will?"
"You have a choice." HE displayed a series of orbs that showed different worlds, many that I recognized from fiction of my world. The Almighty stepped back as an angel approached him. As I browsed through the different worlds, a memory of a discussion with my twin arose in my mind. A world of well-endowed monster girls. A pervert's dream world. Perhaps it would be better than my home world. As if synced to my thoughts, the orbs vanished leaving one behind.
As it expanded, I could see that it indeed the same world that my brother and I spoke of, though I couldn't see everything. The Father turned, and peered into the world.
"Ah, yes. This was an interesting experiment. I am a minor unnamed god in this universe. However, I was the one to, nudge a rather interesting little succubus into becoming the Monster Lord and changing the balance forever. She's an interesting friend. I must say, if this is the world that you have chosen to be placed in, you will have many interesting adventures. However, the Chief God there is not so…. Tolerant; of things not going to her whims. She wants to return things to the old ways of monster eating humanity. You going there would help keep the Chief God distracted while Lilith and her husband attempt to fix the errors in their plan."
"But how," I asked, "I don't know how to fight with medieval weapons!"
HE chuckled in amusement and extended a hand, "Now you do."
A great piercing pain shot through my body and mind as knowledge pervaded my brain and muscles. Suddenly I know how to swing a blade, black, parry, stab and slash with any weapon. I could now fight at any time of day, in any weather and stand a chance.
Something else came with it. The Almighty handed me a glaive to use which I quickly stored on my back after new clothes were put in the place of the robe and sandals I wore.
"There, you have everything you'll need. Supplies will be at your landing site."
Wait, landing site?!
The orb soon engulfed me and my mind was scrambled; erasing my memories of Paradise. I saw the world approaching me at a very rapid pace. When I hit the atmosphere, my vision was of fire and smoke. All I could hear was a thunderous roaring screech. I don't remember my landing, though there are others that do, and they will get the chance to tell their part in this tale.