Castiel had never been to Hell, but if he were to picture the infernal realm, it would be similar to what he saw below.
He looked down on the smoking volcano, the thick wall of ashes rising into the air forcing the sky to take on the hue of a cadaver; a grey nebulous mass curving its tentacles around the city and choking the helpless men, women and children who inhabited it, the hellish red lava instantly vaporising any one who tried to escape.
The angel who had set all this in motion stood at his shoulder, Uriel, the smiter, appointed to be his mentor, to acquaint him with these creatures created by His Father, the humans who inhabited this ball of water and rock denominated Earth.
He wondered what they had done to deserve such a horrible death but Uriel had explained to his young apprentice that the "mud-monkeys" as he called them, had to be disciplined now and then, when their decadence became inglorious in the eyes of Heaven.
Castiel didn't dwell on it too much, it never crossed his mind to question. If Uriel had ordered it then it must be just.
His place was only to obey.
All around the city like a gathering of vultures were the reapers, stoically waiting for the death of their assigned souls in order to accompany them on their journey into the after-life.
Uriel explained that they only presented themselves in such numbers in times of great catastrophe.
The two angels watched until the last reaper collected his charge and then made ready to leave, when Castiel noticed two human figures watching the distruction from a far hill-top, much as he and Uriel had been doing.
"Two have escaped the inferno," Castiel observed, nodding towards them.
Uriel cast his eyes over the two humans that Castiel had indicated.
He grimaced, his face expressing his disgust.
"They are not to be harmed," Uriel answered disparagingly. "They will be re-born many times until their moment arrives. One is blessed but the other is an abomination. Through them this world of ungrateful and unmeritorious monkeys will be purged and arise like a phoenix from its ashes.
That is all you need to know for the moment Castiel, but you will see them again, as you have been chosen to help bring Heaven's plan to its conclusion.
After your training you will be assigned to them and you will do all you can to make what has been written come to pass.
They are only miserable humans and will never be able to stand against the might of Heaven."
Castiel nodded his obedience as he always did. He never presumed to doubt that two weak humans could contrast the will of Heaven.
It was a mistake he and others more expert than himself would make, for such emotionless beings as angels could never understand the love, tenacity and sheer stubbornness the two brothers standing on that far hill would exhibit; never giving up not even when faced with one going to Hell for the other.
Castiel was not blessed with fore-sight, so he had no idea that first he would befriend then betray those same young men, and that he himself would be the cause of a civil war in Heaven and the near destruction of the Heavenly Hosts.
The only One who knew all this was absent from Heaven and had been for a long time now.
Castiel prayed that when the moment came to do his duty, God would have returned to impart guidance to His heavenly plan.
He gave one backward glance at the two brothers standing tall and proud, shoulder to shoulder, appalled by what they had just witnessed, and wondered….