It’s 5.15… (Firestorm: Descent)

Readers of Firestorm: Descent have been asking about some of the mythology and numerology that occurs in the book. Without giving too much of the plot away, I thought it would be fun to share some of the background to this book (and its upcoming sequels), so these posts will give some clues as to what lies beneath the surface of David’s journey through Hell.

So, let’s start with the biggie. The figure 515 occurs (sometimes deeply hidden) within the text in many places – most obviously being the inscription on the door that takes our intrepid group from the Court to Exdis – that is, closer towards the hell that is Dis. But why?

As with much of Descent, 515 has it’s origins in Dante’s ‘Inferno’. Dante uses this number to refer to a messianic messenger, and ultimately, it is used in Descent in the same way. But it also has a much wider significance.

515 is important in a number of religions:

  • In Judaism God made his promise to Sarah in the 515th verse of the Talmud (Sarah? Recognise that name?)
  • Moses prayed to enter the Promised Land 515 times
  • In Christianity 515 people witnessed Christ risen from the tomb
  • 515 also refers to two passages in the Bible – Ezekiel 5.15 and Revelation 5.1-5 – both key elements of the prophecies about the rise of the Antichrist and the battle for the Temple in Jerusalem. This battle must be won by the armies of God if the Antichrist is to be defeated and a heavenly Jerusalem is to descend, marking the beginning of heaven on earth. This is at the heart of the Prophesy DAXOV and his minions are so concerned about, and why they fight so hard (especially in later books) to prevent the Prophesy from being fulfiled. DAXOV knows that his power to be the Alpha and Omega of all existence may not last for ever!

So what about Firestorm?

The name ‘D∆XΩV’ (DAXOV) – the ruler of Dis – consists of two elements, the first of which derives from this number: 515 in Roman numerals is DXV.

The second element – the ∆ and Ω – has its origins in the Book of Revelation (verses 1:8, 21:6, and 22:13). D∆XΩV is the ultimate power in the new world of Firestorm – the force of pure evil that ousted God during the Division War (of which more in the sequel, Realm of Violence). He is the beginning and end of everything humans experience in this world: he is the Alpha and Omega – or ∆ and Ω. (This term can found referring to Jesus/God in the Book of Revelation).

Hence DXV (515) plus alpha and omega = D∆XΩV. From him every occurrence of the number 515 originates.

There are several in Descent. Here’s a couple to look out for to get you started…

  • Tithonus acquires the Great Secret on “twenty-first day of Dhu l-Qu’da” (at this stage, we are using the Islamic calender because the Traveller originally arrives somewhere in the Middle East, but it is 7 September 1395). Tithonus’s first visit from the ‘devil’ with whom he makes a pact is “third of Jumaada al-awal” (February 2nd 1397), about a year and a half later. That’s five hundred and fifteen days he has to chose whether to use the Secret for good or evil.
  • The ‘devil’ also comes as the clock outside his bedroom strikes the quarter hour just before dawn. Which makes it 5.15am…

There are other references to this magic number. But I’ll leave you to dig the rest up!

I will be posting more about the mythology and numerology of Firestorm soon…

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