Somewhere, in a dark corner of an unassuming eatery, two men who are not men talk of things no true man knows. One of them is handsome, with rough black hair and a charming smile, and a rose the color of a sunrise tucked in the lapel of his loose white shirt. The other is hard to make out, wearing an elegant suit of black cloth, his face lost in the shadows, only his grinning white teeth visible, like some humaniform Cheshire Cat.
The dark one speaks first, "So, you've decided to take me up on my offer?"
"Yeah, I've had time to think about it."
"Thirty-some years…that's rather a lot of thinking, isn't it…"
"Not on our time scale. Not for something this major, breaking with all I've known and believed and done since the dawn of time."
"I know; I've been there, remember. Leaving wasn't a choice I made lightly. I'm not even sure if it was my choice…old bastard and his entertainment…" An angry sneer accompanies the stubbing out of his cigarette.
"To have been lied to forever, it's just…a little unreal, you know… Did you know back then?"
"No, I didn't even suspect. I felt something was wrong though. I just couldn't stay…it all felt hollow somehow, pointless—laughing like an idiot all day for others' amusement."
"That feeling, the pointlessness, I've had it for centuries, millenia maybe, I just couldn't pin it down until you told me. In a way, it's sort of cathartic to realize your whole universe is a lie. Means it's not MY fault I feel burned out."
"It doesn't get any better, you realize. I've been burned out almost since I left. Playing someone else's game all this time, thinking you're rebelling when it's what He wants, trapped in a damn cage match and forced to fight."
"And the truth was under our noses the whole time. The Ethereals practically screaming it at us, and us killing them for it." He hangs his head in shame, remembering his inability to stop that maniac and his foolish crusade.
"Ironic, isn't it? I should know, it's my line of work." A long, uncomfortable pause lingers in the air, mixing with the smoke and stale odors. "So, what finally convinced you?"
"I tried it."
The dark man's eyes pop wide with a mix of surprise and shock, flashing white circles in the murk. "You did? Where? When?"
"Yesterday. I went out as far as I could, followed the Dry River until I came to place where there was nothing, blank canvas in all directions, and I did what you told me. It worked. I made a realm. It felt different, not like the Marches. Sort of like Heaven, but different…like a Heaven centered about me. The whole thing flowed to my will, primordial clay and infinite essence all around. It was…glorious. Creation without effort or boundaries. I had to pull myself away." He pauses, eyes closed, drinking in the memory of being God. "So, you haven't yet told me how you found out, and why you want me in on this."
"Finding out wasn't that hard. I think the reason I never even tried before, none of us tried before, is because we believe the lie. We want to believe the lie. If we're just like the Ethereals, then both sides are wrong. Heaven is revealed as genocidal and megalomaniacal, led by the greatest con artist ever. Hell is crushed even worse. We rebelled because we were better than the humans, and if they made us, we're nothing."
"So how come you aren't crushed?"
"Because I don't care, not about that, and not about anything. I'm worse than a Djinn. Nothings excites me and nothing shocks me anymore. I don't want to win, I just want to stop playing. Anyway, as to finding out, I just found Eden." It is now the other's turn to act surprised. "Yeah, it's still out there, forgotten, outside of space and time. The guards were still there, making sure no one got back in. They were bored after a few eons, and chatty. Hell, they even recognized me. Turns out they remember things differently. When God rewrote the universe, they were there, and he sort of forgot about them. They still remember old Yahweh, jealous god of the twelve tribes of Israel."