We are not given to choose. That - no matter whether it revealed itself in lust or wrath or gluttony - is the root of every Fall. The mortals, with their little brutish lives, are given choice, freedom, will - they can step aside from the narrow path, ignore the clarion call, and yet still avoid exile and damnation, should they only turn back before the end.
Yet we - the first, greatest, and most limited of all His creations - we cannot choose. As the apple was the mortals' sin, so any choice - no matter how humble - is our downfall. A guardian angel rests its heavy sword for a mere moment, and is consigned to the endless sloth of the void. A herald deviates by as much as one syllable from the divine Word, fills a shepherd with a fraction more awe than ordained, and the lake of fire receives another falling star. The angelic host serves, but does not choose.
My choice was pride. Not the preening vanity of lowest imps, nor yet the dominating urge of the first to Fall. My pride was that of a craftsman, a creator. I saw the fires of creation and sought to harness them myself, to add to, not supplant, my creator's work. My insolence was still punished just the same.
Born before the world was spun into being, I saw the wind sweep across the waters and the first light spark in the deep. While Lucifer plotted and Apollyon hid his growing rage, I simply watched. I watched the lands coalesce from the seas, the sprouting of the soft grasses and the beasts formed to graze upon them. I watched the incandescent glories of His flawless creation and I wanted to choose.
Lucifer believed himself higher than the Most High; an arrogance fittingly rebuked. I held - hold - no such illusions. I did not seek to better my creator, but simply to aid Him, to craft my own creatures to hunt and multiply in the virgin world. I acknowledge, as I always have, that I am but a pupil before a master, but still I sought to wield those same glories myself, to weave reality from the immaterial and give life to the emptiness of the void. The perfect light of true creation was all about me - was all of me - and I wished to know it better.
When war flared in the heavens, I did not fight. I took up no banner, aimed no javelin at the loyal hosts. I thought that the affray would hide my humble tinkering from the All-knowing, that my little, hopeful sin would be forgiven. That I would be granted a mere fraction of the mercy given to His beloved, graceless apes. As Belial swept shadows towards the shining city, I left my post and walked upon the earth, adding my efforts to creation.
I had seen every moment of this world being birthed, and I had learnt. I knew how to catch the shining strands of firmament, to wind them together into a tapestry of being. I walked across the hot sands of deserts and formed new creatures there, armoured and armed for a hostile climate. I plunged beneath the waves and coaxed twining weeds to wrap about idle rocks, mazes and arenas for the denizens of the deep. I whispered as the wind through leaves and vines, adding my own specks of green to devour and grow. I built on His creation, added my own beauties in tribute, not rebellion. I sought - I chose - to serve.
When the trumpet blast shook the heavens and cast down the disloyal, I had no thought that it would shackle me too. Uncomprehending and in agony, I fell with the prideful, the lustful, the envious and others. I did not understand. It did not seem to me to be justice.
In the void beyond the void, bereft of His light and love, surrounded by a fallen host that seemed to revel in their own unravelling, to welcome the debased shapes of jaws and scything jaws, I learnt my lesson. Cut off from creation, from paradise, from Him, our fallen forms corrupted and flowed, shaped by our sin, stature, and sympathies. Discarded and defective, shunned and flawed creations, the rebel host dissolved into chittering factions and uncivil war; from this, too, I learnt.
We are not given to choose. The act of choosing damned us, usurped a power not given. My urge to create, to build, to grant life - this was a defect in me, a crack in what should have been empyrean perfection. By choosing, I had fallen. By choosing, I had lost my place in paradise, denied myself the chance to see again creation woven, watch pure light spark from nothing. I had abandoned all that I was meant to be, and in so doing, lost all that I wished to be. A heavy price to pay for wanting to serve.
And yet... having chosen once, why not do so again? Redemption was denied to me, as that too would be a choice; to seek forgiveness was to reject it. No punishment could be greater than that which I faced, bereft of His love and light. I had wanted - still wanted - to create. Having paid full price for my dreams, why should I not indulge them?
As the fallen angels - named demons and devils now, confined to the pit - squabbled over scraps of souls and sought to bring down creation, I took another path. I had created before, added life in imitation of my Maker - why should I not do so again? And why should I not set my sights higher? Why should I not ape, surmount, his earliest work?
Once, I shone with the same light of creation that birthed the world. I was so bright that mortals could not look on me without fear: every angel is a beacon of the Most High's grace. In falling, we had lost that. We became shadowy, scabrous things, lit by sulphurous flames or sickly, rotting glow. It is a painful memory - I who could no longer see the light of creation, had once been suffused with it.
I studied. Myself and the other fallen were my subjects. Even debased as we were, each demon's flesh still showed some part of its origin. Perhaps this creature had now the exaggerated proportions of a mortal's shameful dream, but its wings retained the shape and reach of the original seraph. Or this slavering beast, horned and misshapen, still bore smooth, even skin draped across its jagged frame. In each of us, some particle of our early being was found.
Before creating on the earth, I had studied each creation in detail, watched spiders spin their webs, spores float on the breeze. By studying, I had learnt to recreate, and then to improve. In this case, trapped in the pit, I sought nothing more than perfect mimicry.
I chose, and fell; in doing so, I lost my light and His grace. But a new angel, one formed fully in the pit, would nevertheless not be fallen. A perfect simulacrum of an initial form would still remain in a state of grace. Until and if it chose itself, this new being would be suffused with the glorious, beautiful light of creation, the light of His love and the sole desire of my decaying being.
Such light would sear me now. Having been banished to the outer dark, the light of creation, the light of his will, is a scourge to us. Those fallen who go abroad in the world sometimes do not return - His light unmakes them, tears corrupted flesh into ashes of oblivion. I am no longer one with the light, no longer anything but a shadow for it to tear asunder, and yet I yearn.
I chose to create, to wield the light of creation myself, to serve Him through my addition to his work. Here, banished and betrayed to endless dark, I still will serve. I still will choose. I will make my own angel, show that I, even in the void beyond the void, can create, can equal, can surpass. I will raise an angel in the darkness and He will see it blaze beyond eternity. I chose, and am damned for it. But as my new, my greatest work flares into being, as I am dissolved by that glorious light - my own light, not His, claimed and sacrificed for - I will be vindicated. Choice, creation - these things were denied to me. Now I will take them.
I chose. I fell. I was right to do so.