Unholy empire chronicles.., p.10

Unholy Empire: Chronicles of the Host, Vol 2: Chronicles of the Host, Book 2, page 10

 

Unholy Empire: Chronicles of the Host, Vol 2: Chronicles of the Host, Book 2
 



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  “Well done, Serus,” said Crispin. “You are learning not only how to handle animals but the art of diplomacy as well.” Serus and Archias joined them on the deck.

  The angels watched as Noah and his sons brought the remainder of the provisions aboard. Their wives were busy as well, preparing what might be their last meal before it all began. From time to time they looked up at their husbands but spoke very little. All felt like whatever was to happen was going to happen very soon.

  Scanning the area around the ark, Michael could see thousands of the enemy, like a vast black cloud, encroaching but never daring to violate the protection of the great ship. He turned to the others and spoke.

  “They are certainly biding their time,” he said. “Waiting for another opportunity to strike.”

  “They have no other recourse,” said Crispin matter-of-factly. “Their only hope is in the destruction of this family. This ship carries more than men and beasts. It carries the hope of the world!”

  A brilliant light tore a hole in the cloud of devils, as Gabriel punched through the dark morass, scattering them like so many black birds. They regrouped just as fast, and the darkness enveloped the ark once more. Gabriel alighted at the spot where Michael and Crispin stood. They hailed him, and he embraced his friends.

  “I have just received instruction from the Most High,” Gabriel said grimly. “The wrath of God will no longer restrain itself. It is tonight.”

  “Noah shall awaken to a very different world,” mused Crispin.

  “And so shall they,” said Serus, pointing at a group of men skulking about near the ark. It was a very drunk Kerz, followed by the men he had talked to in the village. They carried with them axes and torches in order to destroy the ark.

  Cheers could be heard coming from the devils, many of whom swarmed the men and encouraged their behavior. Spirits of drunkenness and anger began taunting the holy angels who had begun gathering in defense of the ark.

  Kerz looked stupidly at the great ship. He saw the wooden ramp leading into the ark and called the others to move in with their torches. He would take care of Noah personally, he said.

  As the men walked toward the great ship, a sudden wind rose out of the heavens, scattering the demons, who shrieked as they fled. Michael and the others looked up to see a great hand coming out of a cloud. Kerz and his men saw nothing. He cursed the men for stopping and ordered them onto the ark.

  They grabbed their axes and began running up the gangway, ready to kill whatever happened to come between them and their mission—be it animal or human. They stopped again, however, as the wood beneath them began to tremble. At the same time the heavens thundered fiercely, with great streaks of lightning casting a silvery, eerie phantom-like appearance on everything. Then the men watched the great door on the side of the ark lift by itself and shut with tremendous force.

  Off to the side, Lucifer, who had just arrived, was observing the spectacle. The demon spectators had long since vanished, and only Lucifer and Kara remained to observe the Lord’s handiwork. Lucifer looked across at Michael and the other angels who were bowing low, in anticipation of God’s judgment upon the earth. Kara muttered gravely, “The very hand of the Most High has sealed the ark!”

  “Nothing shall open that door now,” said Lucifer, feeling a bit unsure at having watched the Lord’s own hand seal the ark. “Away for now.” He shot over to where Michael lay prostrate. “We leave you, Michael, until this wrath is done!” Michael looked up and caught a sneer from Kara before they vanished into the earth.

  The men with Kerz fled in panic, leaving Him to face the ark alone. Fortified by his drunkenness, Kerz screamed an unholy oath and charged up the ramp. He was completely berserk in his hatred, having been whipped into a shameful frenzy by several demons who were determined to carry out Berenius’s failed plan. Kerz began swinging his axe against the door, chipping away at the gopher wood. As he did this, the earth shook underneath him, and the gangplank teetered and fell on itself. Kerz was crushed between two large beams and died.

  The earth continued to open in various places around the ark, and water came forth from the ground in a great torrent. In amazement, the angels watched the ground itself rage up in violent bursts, swallowing whole hills as great towers of water suddenly spewed forth from underneath. In the heavens, the sky had ripped open, and great blinding torrents of water began falling to the earth relentlessly.

  In the nearby village, people ran in horrified panic. It had never before rained upon the earth! Some decided to make their way to Noah’s ship and beg entrance. Others headed to higher ground—for the water was already rising to perilous depths. Cyron called upon his gods to help, but was drowned in a sudden flood that swept through his part of the village. Death was taking hold on earth as judgment fell.

  Inside the ark, Noah and his family prayed to the Lord, thanking Him for their safety. Noah could only hope that very soon the screams of those trapped outside the ark would be stilled, for now he understood that every living person on earth was soon to perish…

  But God remembered Noah

  and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark;

  and God caused a wind to pass over the earth,

  and the water subsided.

  Also the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were closed,

  and the rain from the sky was restrained;

  and the water receded steadily from the earth,

  and at the end of one hundred and fifty days

  the water decreased.

  (Genesis 8:1-3 NASB)

  CHAPTER 8

  “How much longer, Father?”

  The huge wooden vessel plowed on through the darkness, creaking and moaning as it went. Apart from an occasional growl from some nocturnal prowler, or the grunt of some beast whose sleep was disturbed, or the chattering of monkeys disputing over a section of rafter, nighttime on the ark was peaceful. The animals had been fed, the families were asleep, and all was strangely quiet. Only the wind and the waves seemed to be active at night in a graceful symphony of motion—always motion.

  Noah looked forward to these moments. This was his time alone with God—at least as alone as one can be with seven other adults and a boat full of screeching, growling, creeping animals. During the day there was so much activity aboard that time sped by in a blur of tasks: animals to feed, leaks to plug, straw to change, fresh water to distribute, sick animals to nurse. Then there was, of course, the smell.

  Even the scarves Noah and his family wore over their mouths didn’t keep out the pungent odor of very ripe animals quartered together a little too closely. A zoo is a zoo whether on land or afloat.

  In all the activity of these daily tasks, amid the craziness of the situation and the confusion brought on by these very difficult circumstances, Noah and his sons did two things without fail at the twilight of a day. First, they gave thanks to the Lord for preserving them through another day’s journey; and secondly, they encouraged each other that perhaps tomorrow would be the day they would finally see land. It usually went something like this:

  “How much longer, Father?” asked Shem.

  “That’s for the Lord to decide,” answered Noah, glancing again at the horizon through a slit in one of the upper decks of the ark. “When the time is right, we’ll make land. In the meantime, be grateful that it stopped raining so many months ago.”

  “We can’t go on like this,” complained Ham. “This boat will not hold out. I’ve been plugging more and more leaks. And that split near the big cats’ area seems to be getting longer. I don’t think we did a good enough job with the tar.”

  “So why don’t you repair it?” asked Japheth, who knew Ham’s fear of the large felines.

  “What—and get bitten? Not a chance. Father, I’m not going back near those cats. One of them snapped at me the other day, I’m sure of it!”

  “They’ll not eat you, Ham,” Noah answered reassuringly. “The Lord has given them an appetite
for grass, not people. Don’t worry, I’ll take a look at the crack.” Noah paused for a few seconds and then continued, “My sons, you should realize something. If you’ve been counting on our skill to keep us afloat, know that we should have drowned a long time ago. It isn’t the tar, nor the pitch, nor our workmanship that keeps us alive. It’s not even your plugging up the leaks that allows us another day’s journey, Ham. No, it’s the Almighty who keeps us safe, and no other. Leaks and all.”

  The angels watching from a position in the rafters where the birds roosted smiled at Noah’s faith. Here truly was a man who was well chosen of the Lord. Finally one of them spoke:

  “Would that all men were like Noah in their faith,” he said.

  “Yes,” agreed the other. “And as Crispin might say, would that all angels were also of such faith.”

  “Noah is a man of prayer, and that makes all the difference. And there he goes again!”

  Noah turned and headed toward the one spot in the ark that was arguably the most private area available—the extreme front just under the upper deck. The three sons watched their father disappear into the darkness. Noah liked to usher in the nights alone from this haven. It seemed that from this place he could most clearly hear the voice of God. Noah could hear the animals settling in for the evening as the last glimmer of sunlight melted into the horizon.

  A winsome sound echoed from below where water met wood and the stresses of the ship were most tense. Noah thought to himself how grateful he was that their lives were in the hands of God and not dependent upon their skill in building the ark. Even so, he could not help but echo the same concern that his sons had voiced: When will this journey be over?

  His thoughts raced back over a hundred years in time. A hundred years? Had it been so long? It seemed like just the day before when God had appeared to him and told him to begin building the ark. A hundred years toiling. And now seven months on the ark. And no land. At times like this, the hundred years’ construction seemed like an instant compared to the last few months on the water.

  Surely, this will be over soon, thought Noah. But who could tell when the waters would finally abate? Sometimes while peering through a small hole that he had bored in the tar, Noah thought he saw the tip of a mountain, or an island, or even the outline of another ark on the horizon, only to discover that he was seeing only what his mind wanted desperately to see. He had long ago stopped alarming the family when he thought he saw land. Dashed hopes were not good for morale—especially on a crowded, stinking ship.

  Noah prayed: “Oh Lord, God of all strength and mercy, I thank You that You in Your infinite grace have determined to allow us another day’s journey in this, Your ark. Grant us the strength to continue. Keep us in Your eyes, O God, that we may be Your servants forever. Help me to lead my family in true recognition of Your purpose for us; to be an example unto them, and to be strong before them, for I am weak. And keep us, O God, until that day when You will deliver us onto dry land. Grant that our days upon this vessel may be shortened, and that Your answer might be forthcoming in Your own great wisdom and providence.”

  In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat.

  The terrifying noise reverberated through the bowels of the ark, accompanied simultaneously by a tremendous lurching. Animals were jolted from their sleep, some floored by the impact. Feathers filled the air as birds, knocked off their perches, frantically struggled for a foothold. A crescendo of calls, screeches, howls, and just about every other sound imaginable came together in an ensemble of fear.

  Then everything was still.

  The angels assigned to Noah and the ark immediately redoubled their watch and formed a shield around the ark, now resting on top of a mountain. Within a short time all manner of devils began to encroach upon the atmosphere, but well outside the parameter set up by the holy angels.

  Inside the ark, feathers and dust lingered in the air, and the noise of frightened animals subsided. Noah’s family began emerging from what they had suspected was their last refuge. They gathered together, surveyed the situation, and wondered how long it would be before water began rushing in somewhere.

  “I knew it, I knew it,” Ham’s wife cried out. “I told him to get in with those cats and fix that crack. Now we’re done for!”

  “No, I think we’re resting on ground,” Noah answered, tears in his eyes. “We have landed!”

  Noah and his family gave thanks to the Lord for allowing them to feel earth for the first time in months—albeit through the bottom of the ark. As the first light of dawn began glimmering, Noah and his sons searched the horizon for the tops of mountains, trees, or any other sign of earth. They looked down below as far as they could see under the enormous wooden boat. Everywhere they looked they saw…

  Water.

  In fact, apart from the ark remaining stationary now, everything seemed quite as it had for the previous seven months. No apparent change! Still…at least they were on land.

  Chronicles of the Host

  Second Chance

  True as always to His most holy word, the Lord brought forth a Great Flood upon all of the earth. Every living thing that inhabited land was destroyed, as the wrath of the Most High fell for 40 days and nights. But the Lord did not forget Noah and his family, nor the promise He had made to Eve, for the ark carried more than a man and his family; it carried the only hope that men might have to be free again.

  But Noah and his family were fruitful, and did according to the word of the Lord, and the earth began to replenish itself. Thus did mankind start life anew on earth. We of the heavenly Host were hopeful that men would call upon the Lord once more, but it became apparent early on that our hopes were in vain. At Babel, human pride once more affronted the Lord by men’s building a great tower, and making boasts of the accomplishments of mere men in comparison with the Almighty. And so the Lord destroyed the tower and confounded the language of men, so that from that day on, a great many languages were spoken on the earth.

  Our fallen brethren continued their efforts against humanity. Not content with seeking out the promised one, they sought to imprison all of mankind in every manner of idolatry. Nations of people began to emerge, dedicating their newly founded cities and their prosperity to demon gods—fallen angels who took names such as Azazel and Belial, Shahar and Belphegor, Baal and Asmodeus. Encouraged by Lucifer, these vile spirits and many others began to incite men to worship them in great temples, sacrificing to their names in bloody spectacles, drenching their altars with innocent blood and their unholy names in disgraceful behavior. They perverted the idea of worship, performing deceptive tricks that made men think the gods were responsive to their wicked conjuring, only to find themselves dragged to perdition upon their deaths.

  The holy angels could only watch as the world once more disintegrated into the rebellion that brought its previous destruction. How could the Seed come from this sinful people, bent on rebellion? But with confidence in the Holy One, and despite the haranguing of our enemy, we continued our vigilant watch—for we did not know that the Lord had already chosen, out of the land of the Chaldees, a man who would begin the greatest journey for the hope of all men that was ever to be taken.

  The Lord had said to Abram,

  “Leave your country, your people

  and your father’s household and

  go to the land I will show you.

  “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;

  I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

  I will bless those who bless you,

  and whoever curses you I will curse;

  and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

  (Genesis 12:1-3 NIV)

  “Are you certain that we have not misunderstood the Lord’s intentions regarding Abram?” asked Serus.

  Gabriel and Michael looked at Serus and each other. The question was a good one, although there was clearly no misunderstandi
ng. Abram was the man whom God had designated that they should keep. But because of the nature of men, the angels were a bit confused by what they considered Abram’s often erratic behavior.

  Here was a man—called by the Most High Himself into a wonderful relationship—who had panicked when a famine hit; lied about his wife to the ruler of Egypt, passing her off as his sister to protect his own life; and given his nephew Lot a portion of the land that God had given to him. This same nephew had caused quite an uproar when he had gotten himself caught up in a local war. Abram had rushed to his rescue, much to the dismay of his angel protectors, and was only now returning home.

  Crispin remarked at the time on how foolish men were to always devise their own plans in light of God’s unending ability to deliver from any circumstance. Still, Abram was something of a mystery.

  The angels watched Abram leading his rescued nephew and all his servants with their war spoils. Abram was a vibrant-looking man, in spite of his age. His salt-and-pepper hair blew carelessly across his brow as he looked back at the column of men following him. Lot was close behind, walking next to a camel that was laden with silver taken from the camp of one of the kings they had defeated.

  Lot called to Abram, “Uncle, who are they?”

  Abram turned to greet the strangers who had caught up with his party. One he recognized immediately, much to his disappointment. But the other…the other was new to him and commanded an immediate respect that Abram didn’t quite understand but knew was appropriate. Both these men were men of importance, and both had come to speak with Abram. But how different they were!

  Bera, king of Sodom, was the first to greet Abram. Proud and petty, Bera all but drooled at the prospect of the spoils of conflict and of prisoners who would bring a good price at the market. Abram had never really trusted the king of Sodom, and the fact that a common enemy had thrust them together didn’t set well with him. It was an alliance of circumstance.

  Bera approached Abram’s victorious returning party in the Valley of Shaveh. Stationing himself and some of his nobles at a point where he could see everybody pass, he scanned the faces of the captured, hoping to recognize important prisoners who would add to his prestige. Most of the people were familiar to him. Many of them were part of Lot’s house, or were allies of Abram, such as Mamre the Amorite and his two brothers. Then came Abram.

 

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