Unholy empire chronicles.., p.16

Unholy Empire: Chronicles of the Host, Vol 2: Chronicles of the Host, Book 2, page 16

 

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



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  “Yes, but ultimately he arrived and in so doing was obedient to the Lord,” said Pellecus. “And God blessed him mightily.”

  “And when the famine hit Canaan he fled into Egypt rather than trust in the Lord,” Lucifer continued. “As a result of that little episode he almost lost his wife Sarai out of fear of the king, and he picked up the troublesome Hagar!”

  “Still the Lord has seen his heart and declared him righteous,” said Pellecus.

  “Most recently he listened to the desperate pleadings of his wife and conceived through Hagar a false heir, and we were all hopeful. Nevertheless, he has created a nation that will one day plague him!”

  “And still the Lord allowed Hagar back into the camp,” said Pellecus. “And still, and still, and still! My lord, I admit that the pattern of failure we see in Abram is encouraging. But the prophecy is alive and well. It seems pointless to continue!”

  For a moment, Lucifer looked at the members of the council, who were completely silent.

  “And still we must,” he said, almost whispering.

  “What are we to do, lord?” asked Rugio. “We are your servants.”

  “We wait for another test, Rugio…and another. If we can depend on one thing about humans, my brothers, it is that they have a propensity for failure. I predict that someday Abram will face a test that will strike at his very core—and then we shall see how righteous this man really is.”

  Chronicles of the Host

  Abraham

  Hagar indeed returned to Sarai and humbled herself, and in due time gave birth to a son, whom she named Ishmael, as the Lord had instructed her. The boy grew up, and Abram was very fond of him; but there remained the vacancy of an unfulfilled promise, as he and Sarai did not hear from the Lord for many years. The promise, it seemed, had been silenced.

  None of the Host knew when or if the Lord would deliver the promise. Some speculated that perhaps the Most High was punishing Abram for his rashness in the incident with Hagar; others thought that Ishmael might turn out to be the one foretold.

  Crispin often said that the foolishness of angels in speculation is almost as foolish as the speculations of men, and so he was proven correct. For when Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him, encouraging him that the promise was indeed alive—and that Sarai would give birth to a son!

  The Lord also established a covenant of circumcision, by which all the future male children were set apart to the Lord in a symbolic act of the sacred and the profane. Most significant of all, as far as the prophecy was concerned, was that the Lord changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning “father of nations”; He also changed the name of Sarai to Sarah, meaning “princess of nations.”

  At Mamre, the Lord appeared again to Abraham, in the company of two angels. They prophesied not only the birth of Isaac, but also the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities whose wickedness cried out to the Lord in Heaven. A promise of life and a promise of death were thus spoken by the Lord. Now this was a terrifying prospect for Abraham, whose nephew had taken residence in those vile cities.

  Abraham pleaded, for the sake of those few righteous who might live within the cities, for the Lord to stay his wrath. And so it was that God Most High, out of love for Abraham, sent the two angels who had accompanied him at Mamre, to warn Abraham’s nephew Lot of the soon-coming judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah…

  CHAPTER 12

  “This is the freedom Lucifer promised.”

  Michael and Gabriel resolutely made their way toward the great plateau on which the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were situated. They took no pleasure in carrying out the Lord’s judgment. Still in the guise of the men who had met with Abraham earlier, they walked the dusty road eastward down the plain that began sloping lazily toward Jordan. Word of their approach had already preceded them; jeering devils reproached them nearly every step of the way.

  “Who is the principal of this city?” Michael demanded of one of the demons who harassed him from the roadside. “Who is the strongman in Sodom?”

  “Ah, Lord Michael,” came a hissing voice. “You shall see when you are overcome. Two great princes of the Canaanites rule these cities.”

  “Not Bera and Birsha, the earthly kings of Sodom and Gomorrah,” retorted Gabriel. “What dark spirit holds sway here?”

  “Know that the god Milicom rules these cities,” came the hissing voice, barely audible among so many spirits. “He is very powerful and is worshiped by these and many others who live in and around the two great cities.”

  “Milicom!” said Michael in disgust to Gabriel. “Just another lust-filled devil who incites depravity and bloody appetites among the humans. Playing at God! If only humans would see through the nonsense that these hateful creatures conjure up.”

  “Milicom is a great god,” said another voice from the roadside. “And he will destroy you, archangel—you and any other creature who profanes his cities with its presence!” The devils broke out in laughter all around.

  The number of fallen angels was increasing as they neared the wicked cities, creating a veil of sorts that Michael and Gabriel had to wade through, like a dank fog that was becoming darker and darker. Michael wondered if he should not call in some more angels to scatter these harassing spirits, but decided to wait until they reached the city gates, which were now in their sight. Gabriel also kept a weary eye on the spirits, who were closing in but not really touching them.

  The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were situated a few miles apart in a great plain to the east of Beersheba. Bera, king of Sodom, and Birsha, king of Gomorrah, ruled the wicked cities in vile contempt of all that was righteous. The people of those cities had given themselves over completely to their passions, and in doing so, had so far removed themselves from the Most High’s holiness that He had decided to destroy them before their wickedness became like a plague unchecked.

  “Make way for the archangels!” a voice cried out.

  Unseen to the humans who were passing through the city gate, devils created a pathway for Michael and Gabriel, jeering them but never daring to touch them. This was easily one of the most vile spots on earth. Everywhere the carnage of sin was evident. Humans engaging in every aspect of unchecked passion filled the streets. Laughter, screaming, and cursing filled the air. Sometimes it was difficult for the archangels to distinguish between the voices of humans and those of the fallen angels—both chattered and carried on in the most disgraceful manner.

  “This is the freedom Lucifer promised,” said Michael with disgust.

  “He certainly delivered,” Gabriel responded, looking at the grim consequences of rebellion all around him. “The angels who went with him are no better. Sin is sin in the eyes of the Most High—whether of men or of angels.”

  “Michael! Gabriel! Welcome!”

  The two angels looked up in the direction of the voice.

  “Welcome to my little principality!”

  Up on a balcony the once-holy angel who was now worshiped as Milicom, the Devourer, smirked at the two angels. He was surrounded by large warriors who took on his own appearance, that of a human body with the head resembling a locust. Michael was repulsed by the hideous creature.

  “Come now, Michael,” said Milicom. “I know that my form has changed. But it is a small price to pay for being a god. In Heaven I was merely one of millions who served in the Temple sanctuary, bowing and scraping to a God who never listened.” He indicated the recently constructed temple that had been dedicated to him. “Now it is I who am listened to…worshiped by men! Just listen to them.”

  “Worshiped? You have merely captured the hearts of men already deceived, Milicom,” said Gabriel. “Nothing more. You are no god, but a disgraced angel who, like thousands of your brothers, has established himself as a local god to harass and deceive. Nothing more.”

  “Enough!” Milicom roared, startling some of his guard. “I have sworn to serve my master, and he has established me as prince here!” He looked at Michael with suspicion. “Why d
o you disturb the peace of this city? We have done nothing to you.”

  Michael indicated to Gabriel that enough discussion with the proud Milicom had occurred, and they continued on their way. Milicom’s threats continued roaring in the background, even over the din of the city. “These come to bring dishonor to this place. Watch them!” he said.

  Michael and Gabriel stopped for a moment and then turned away from the would-be god. They ignored the chatter of other demons, who demanded respect and warned of the danger that would befall Michael and Gabriel should they cross Lucifer in any matter. The angels were amazed at the sheer number of fallen spirits who roamed these streets at will, inciting men and women to every sordid behavior imaginable.

  The presence of the two strangers in Sodom drew many stares, as men and women looked upon them with growing curiosity. Aroused by the swirling dark spirits around them, and emboldened by the increasing cover of darkness as the sun set, many of the men, both young and old, began calling after the pair with lewd and suggestive remarks. Michael and Gabriel ignored the debauched comments and continued toward the place where Lot lived. Hopefully they could remove Lot before the judgment began.

  “There he is. Sitting in the gate we passed earlier.”

  Michael and Gabriel came upon Lot, seated at the entrance to the city. They looked upon his countenance, which suggested a weary and divided heart. Lot’s decision to settle in Sodom had become more and more burdensome, and he knew in his heart that he did not belong with these people. But where was he to go? Though vile by any standard, Sodom afforded Lot the commerce for his livestock that he needed to support his family’s expensive tastes. And so he sat at the gate—neither in nor out, neither hot nor cold.

  “Lot!”

  Lot looked up vacantly at the two strangers. Suddenly he gathered his robes and, getting on his knees, bowed low before the angels, recognizing them as an embassy from the Lord. He lay with his face to the ground until Michael urged him onto his feet. The few people who had stopped to watch the spectacle of Lot throwing himself on the ground continued on their way.

  Many of the dark spirits of the city had begun to envelop the area, and with their arrival a crowd of the men of Sodom began to gather. The jeering devils defiled the name of the Lord and demanded that Michael and Gabriel leave the city at once.

  “They all favor their prince in this city, don’t they?” mused Michael, looking upon the locust-headed spirit creatures that were swarming them.

  “They have taken on the appearance of that which moves them,” agreed Gabriel in a grim tone. “And so have the men! “

  He indicated the men of Sodom, who were beginning to close in around them. As more and more of the devils arrived, the crowd of men grew and became more and more emboldened in their lewdness. Lot became increasingly nervous and urged that they come to his house at once.

  “Lot, we are afraid of nothing in this city,” said Michael. “We are here in the name of the Lord Most High. We shall spend the night here, in the square of this town.”

  “The town square,” mused Gabriel, looking about. “Perfect, Michael…the seat of Milicom’s authority in Sodom. What better place to rest?” Michael smiled at his brother’s ingenuity.

  Lot responded nervously, “Nevertheless I beg you to enjoy the hospitality of my home. In the morning you may leave as early as you wish. Only, for my sake, do not stay in the city tonight.”

  Milicom had just arrived on the scene, stirring up his charges, who in turn were inflaming the people through their debased minds. The men began to shout loudly now, demanding that Lot mind his own business. Michael looked up at Milicom, whose smirk belied his enjoyment of the disturbance. It wasn’t often that he could demonstrate his authority over men and spirits in the presence of an archangel!

  “Very well, Lot,” said Michael. “We shall come to your house. But I think you are inviting trouble upon yourself in your eagerness to serve us.”

  The group hurried down a narrow street just off the square, where Lot lived. The men in the town followed from a distance, egged on by Milicom’s lust-filled devils. Milicom smiled and said aloud, “Yes, Michael. Lot is inviting much more trouble than you realize.”

  Throughout the meal that was set before them Michael and Gabriel remained aloof from Lot’s inquiries. He understood them to be somehow connected to the Lord, perhaps through his uncle Abraham. He tried in subtle ways to coax information out of the mysterious strangers who shared his food. But they remained silent.

  “Lot!” came a drunken voice from outside.

  “Let us in!” came another.

  “We will have those two men who are in with you,” said yet another man. “You have shown them your hospitality. Now let us show them ours!”

  A roar of approving laughter followed the last words, as a crowd pressed in on Lot’s house. Lot looked up at his guests, who seemed indifferent to the disturbance and continued eating. He went outside, quickly shutting the door to his house, to talk to the men in hopes of turning them away from their carnal intent.

  “Please don’t do these things. These men are my guests,” he pleaded.

  “Out of our way, Lot,” said an old man with wine on his breath. “We will have those men. And if you don’t step back we’ll have you, too!”

  “Look,” said Lot. “I have two daughters that you may use for your purposes. Only don’t touch these men.”

  The crowd growled in anger, demanding that Lot move out of the way or suffer the consequences. Someone threw a stone, which glanced off Lot’s shoulder. Another grabbed Lot and began to pull him out of the way. Others reached up to pull Lot into the street, despite his protests.

  Milicom was watching from the rooftop across the street. He ordered the spirits under his command to cause the men of Sodom to charge the house and tear Lot apart in the process. Hysterical, shrieking spirits moved in and out of the crowd, attaching themselves to the minds of men and fueling a lust and anger that could only be satisfied in the most foul ways.

  The commotion was attracting other Sodomites, including some of the king’s soldiers, who joined in the effort to bring Lot down and break in the door. If only Lucifer were here to see this, Milicom thought to himself proudly. He would give me even greater territory!

  Lot suddenly felt a strong arm pulling him back into the house. He was thrown onto the floor in the middle of the room and looked up to see the two men standing in the open doorway!

  From his perch, Milicom saw Michael and Gabriel in the doorway. “There they are!” he shrieked. “Take those two now!” The demon-inspired men of the town charged Michael and Gabriel.

  “There they are!” said a man, who led the charge to Lot’s door. Others followed him as they rushed Lot’s house.

  The men stopped for a second as Michael suddenly swung his arm out in a cutting motion. The humans saw only his hand coming down—the demons saw in his hand a great sword. Then a brilliant flash of light pulsed from Lot’s front door, blinding the men of Sodom and sending them scurrying about in a hopeless rage. They staggered in confusion as they left Lot’s house. The sword of the archangel sent the demons scattering, too. Even Milicom was knocked off balance for a moment as Michael cut a mighty, gaping hole in the air.

  In the meantime, Gabriel was inside the house talking to Lot. “Gather your family and whoever else is with you and take them out of this city. For we have been sent to destroy it and all who live here.”

  Lot quickly rallied his family. His sons-in-law thought he was joking. But the angels seized the family and led them out of the city personally, for they understood that Lot had the compassion of the Lord upon him.

  Milicom, however, watched helplessly as Lot and his family made their way through the city, easily avoiding the many blinded men who staggered about. He quickly went to his temple and entered into the heart of Kazak, the high priest whose cult worshiped the demon. Taking control of this man, who had given himself completely to darkness, Milicom caused him to speed to the home of Bera,
king of Sodom.

  The priest stirred up in Bera’s heart murderous thoughts against Lot.

  “How dare Lot invite strange men into his house?” raged Kazak. “These men were undoubtedly spies sent by Abraham to scout out Sodom for conquest on behalf of his nephew. They have defiled the gods of Sodom, and Milicom, our great god, has been profaned! His wrath will be upon you, O king, if it is not appeased.”

  “I should have killed Lot when he first came,” said Bera, barely containing his hatred. “Abraham, he now calls himself. The father of nations! Bah! His ambition has become a threat to us all in this valley!”

  He quickly arose, with great anger, and ordered the captain of his personal troop to assemble a squad of men to find Lot at any cost. As he put on his garments of war he spoke to the captain of the troop.

  “Kill them on sight, do you understand?” said Bera. “All of them!”

  Kazak smiled as the soldiers left. So did Milicom.

  When the fugitive party reached the gate of Sodom the angels stopped. They ordered Lot and his family into the mountains for their own protection. Lot looked at the distant mountains.

  “Please, sirs,” he begged. “We will never make it to the mountains in time. Let me take my family to a nearby town called Zoar.”

  “Very well,” said Michael. “We will spare Zoar, though the rest of this valley will perish. Only go—and do not look back, lest evil befall you!”

  Lot and his family scurried away, hurrying up from the valley toward the little city of Zoar. Michael and Gabriel turned to see the high priest, Kazak, sword in hand, leading a mob of citizens. With them were the soldiers sent by Bera.

  “There are the profaners!” shouted Kazak. “Destroy them! Soldiers—hunt down Lot and his family who have escaped the city!” The soldiers ran through the gate and gave chase.

  The crowd suddenly stopped and got quiet as Michael and Gabriel began to transform before their very eyes. The human disguises gave way to their angelic appearance! Seeing the archangels in all their authority, Milicom’s devils scattered. The men of Sodom were awestruck. Even Kazak was taken aback for a moment.

 
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