Unholy empire chronicles.., p.2

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

 

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



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  Lucifer looked directly at Tinius. “Trust is something you must win, Tinius—it is rarely offered. Will they ever trust a serpent again? I doubt it. They are acutely sensitive to their predicament right now. They still live in the shadow and sting of their disobedience. They have a very healthy fear of the Most High because they know they are guilty. That is why I said the battle is in the minds of men.” He now addressed the group. “So long as the humans remain vigilant and closed to our purposes they are reasonably safe. We can only suggest, tempt, and compel. Even harass and frighten. But we cannot actually touch them without their consent—whether that consent is through ignorance or invitation.”

  “Then how can we possibly win?” Tinius blustered. “They are on their guard. If they know that we can be kept at a distance, then how can they be destroyed?”

  “You just gave the answer, Tinius,” said Lucifer. “If they know. They don’t know. That is the key. Again I say that the only reason A’dam and Eve are resistant to our ability to completely destroy them is that they are still living in the wake of the catastrophe in Eden. They are guilt-ridden and ashamed. Guilt and shame are wonderful weapons. But while the wounds they inflict are fresh they can cause a human to remain alert, even remorseful. A’dam and Eve’s wounds are fresh and so is their wariness of disregarding the Lord.”

  Lucifer rubbed his hands along the moist cavern wall. “You see the water dripping constantly along this wall? It will continue to be moist long after A’dam and Eve are dust.” He smiled at the group. “Never fear. Time is on our side. And just as A’dam has already forgotten the covenant he made with the Lord and with his wife, so will the humans ultimately grow lax in their fear of God. And we’ll settle the score with their children.”

  “What our prince is trying to tell you,” continued Pellecus from the opposite side of the circle, “is that ignorance of the Most High is our greatest resource. As humans lose their interest in the living God, or seek to worship Him in misdirected ways, they can be managed and destroyed.”

  “So then our task is to keep their eyes off the Most High?” offered Tinius.

  “No, my dear Tinius,” responded Lucifer. “Our task is to keep their eyes on something else. The Most High will always be a presence in their hearts. He willed it so when He created them in His image. But that image has been tainted since Eden. Our task is to compromise the intuitive hunger for relationship with the Father through earthly, carnal, sensual means.”

  He walked around the circle, his eyes boring into each face. “A’dam and Eve are lost to us. The death sentence is already upon them—so be it. Let them return to the foul dust from which they were created. They pose no real threat to us themselves. It is the children who pose the threat. And their children afterwards. And on and on, until one day the Seed becomes a reality.” A chill went through the room at the thought of the prophecy coming alive. “Pellecus?”

  “And so brothers,” continued Pellecus, “our task is to taint the Seed, just as everything else in this fallen world has been tainted. We will confuse the promise with carnal teachings and imaginations and fear. One thing about humans is very apparent. They have an insatiable need to make things right. To feel that all is not lost. They live on hope.

  “Witness poor Eve in her guilt, which we are fanning most successfully with relentless accusation. But her grief teaches us a very important human attitude: the need for community—to be a part of something that makes sense, something greater than oneself; to be made whole again, as it were. And so we shall provide the means for humans to connect with something greater than themselves.” He grinned and made a sweeping gesture to all present. “We shall provide them something god-like.” He glanced at Lucifer, who spoke up.

  “Think of it,” Lucifer said, purring his vision to the room. “All of you will become like gods to the humans! They will one day bow to you, sing praises to you, build temples to you. You will manipulate simple elements like fire and create the illusion of power, making these beasts believe that the power resides from within. Vel, you always saw yourself as a warrior god! Tinius, imagine great images built in your honor! You will all speak through these human cattle as oracles and guide the destiny of nations through the prophets of the earthly gods that you shall become!”

  The room filled with a charge of excitement as the disgraced angels saw themselves exalted to the rank of an earthly deity. Lucifer continued. “Why should generations of humans hence worship an invisible God in the stars when the gods of earth are readily accessible and responsive to their needs? When they ask, ‘Where is God?’ we shall provide the answer.”

  Lucifer took the scroll from one of the angels. “Mark me,” he said, pointing the scroll at the angels. “The humans will need a God who has not turned His back on them. We will exploit that human need for the Most High. We shall supply to the humans ample gods who will fill that void.” He looked up toward the cavernous ceiling, almost whispering now, “And we shall so thoroughly corrupt the children of A’dam and Eve that nothing holy will ever come of it.”

  He unrolled the scroll. “And the Seed of the woman will die in the unholy and unnatural ground in which it will find itself.” Snickering at the delicious thought of it all, he said, “Can you imagine something holy being born in a world so profane?”

  A rumbling from deep within the earth echoed again through the room, adding to the drama of the occasion. Lucifer lay the scroll in the center of the circle. A bright light emanated from his person, casting an incredible light in the room as he read:

  Our place and position in the Kingdom has been subverted by those who would perpetuate an ancient and rotting system;

  And we, who hold to the True Way, have been evacuated from the Kingdom unless or until the day of our restoration;

  And we recognize that our Enemy is subtle and determined in His resolve to deny us our place in the universe;

  And our Enemy is determined to destroy us by the Seed of His creation through prophetic appointment;

  And we are likewise determined not to succumb to anything that smacks of humans and their Seed.

  Be it resolved henceforth and forevermore

  That we, the true loyalists and upholders of the Way, covenant together that we shall never cease from our labors in warring with the flesh, the Seed, and the spirit; the Flesh being all that is derived from A’dam and his kind; and the spirit being all that holds to Him to whom we once held allegiance.

  We further agree together on this most holy occasion, that we shall henceforth and forevermore swear lawful obligation to Lucifer, the Morning Star, and his kingship and authority; and that in him we shall find our ultimate deliverance, or in lieu of, our ultimate damnation.

  “All of you are in agreement with this covenant and its fundamental declarations. This text shall go down in our own earthly chronicles as witness to the justice of our cause. Tinius, I appoint you as the Chronicler of the Morning Star, with the duties of recording the teachings, my prophecies, inspirations, and history throughout the remainder of this great struggle. Since you raise so many questions, perhaps your talents will be better suited to answering them. We must preserve an accurate rendering of this conflict for posterity.”

  “Brothers! We shall shortly convene again as to the further conduct of the war. Until then—farewell.”

  “So be it,” they said in unison.

  Chronicles of the Host

  Creation’s Grief

  The holy angels grieved with the Father as the children made in His image were cast into the darkness of a fallen world, never again to return to the near-perfection of Eden. Thus were the lines drawn quite neatly between the Kingdoms of Light and darkness. The battle, begun in Heaven, would be played out on earth, which seemed a grim place now, as creation itself reeled from the disaster that the sin of rebellion had brought to the universe.

  For his part, Lucifer, despite all of his presumed powers, realized that his only ability to wage an effective war lay in the willingness of the human
s to be deceived. Thus the war would be waged by both sides for the hearts and minds of future generations of humans. But the Father, in His grace and love, gave a measure of hope to the humans through the promise of a coming one, from the seed of the woman, who would crush Lucifer once and for all. The holy angels would aid men in the delivery of this Seed; the fallen rebels would seek to delay or destroy the Seed.

  It was a great mystery to the angels of Heaven, as they watched Lucifer’s rebels take authority on earth. Why didn’t the Lord simply assume control? Why did He delay the end in favor of the Seed of the woman? What no creature, angel or human, anticipated was that the conflict would be fought not in the pride of war, but in the humility of love—not by the taking up of arms, but by the laying down of them.

  CHAPTER 2

  “How can these weak and disgraced creatures live like this?”

  A’dam looked across the flatness that stretched before him, endless and uninviting. The sun, as always, bled through the heavenly canopy that was suspended between the greater heavens and the earth. Heavy with moisture, the air that once kept Eden vibrant now sustained life apart from Eden.

  The man observed with a sigh that the bit of garden he tended was badly overrun with weeds—again. He cursed under his breath as a thorny plant scratched his leg. Bending down, he began tugging gingerly at the offensive plant, trying not to upset the melon sprig next to it. Other weeds flourished nearby. The man shook his head in disgust at the losing battle he waged as Eve walked up, their two sons behind her.

  “The only thing this ground is good for is weeds and thorns,” A’dam said, pulling violently now at the large thorny plant that had scratched him, not caring for the tender young shoots around it. “These thorns seem to grow overnight. And all these choking vines. And the mist doesn’t nourish the earth as it once did.” He finally pulled the thorny plant out of the ground and tossed it aside. “How I miss Eden,” he said, wiping his dirty brow. “If only…”

  He stopped and looked at Eve with the look of one who had blurted out an unmentionable. Since the catastrophe at Eden, the subject of their disobedience to God was a sore one—particularly since A’dam still held Eve largely responsible.

  “I’m sorry, love,” he said. “I only meant…”

  “I know,” Eve replied. She looked at the desolate wilderness that surrounded them, encompassing the whole of the land of Havilah. “I also long for Eden’s comforts.” Her gaze shifted to her sons, Cain and Abel, playing in the dirt. “How nice it would have been to raise our children in such a place.”

  Since being forced out of Eden, the two humans had wandered about in a strange state of exile; their once perfect home no longer welcomed them. The thought of the two very serious angels guarding the entrance into Eden was more than enough to overcome any delusions of a return. Eden was finished and that was that—and nothing caused greater heartache than living in one’s loss, especially when the loss might have been avoided.

  The lush forests of Eden with their gentle breezes and fragrances had given way to the ugliness brought on by sin. The earth, which one time yielded an abundance of fruit, now was stingy with its produce, cursed forever to all men. The joy that could have been childbirth had given way to a bloody and painful entrance of children into a fallen world. All of these realities were consequences of that dreadful day in the garden so long ago. But there was one consequence that far outweighed the loss of home in paradise—and that was the loss of heart with the Father.

  A’dam longed for those days of fellowship and closeness with his Creator. He ached for them. Sometimes when the wind was just right and the wilderness quiet, or at night when the heavens blazed God’s glory, A’dam remembered how things once were—how he had walked hand-in-hand with his Father; how he had shared great dreams of destiny; how he had ruled in his Father’s authority. What sweet fellowship that was! Now A’dam’s Father’s ears seemed deaf and His Presence was as distant as the evening star.

  It was in these moments of thought that A’dam most hurt. He would have given up everything now—all that God had given him—if only he could feel the love of God as he had once felt it. Sometimes his heart trembled with a violent pain as he contemplated his life. “If only” had become a pitiful lament that haunted him daily. And always the lament led to the same refrain: What if Eve had not disobeyed his instruction to her? What if he had been with her that day before the serpent had sunk the venom of his persuasion deep into her heart? If only…

  A’dam looked with gentle compassion at his wife, who was tending Abel. He had long since healed of the anger he felt toward Eve. For many months after the expulsion he had said scarcely a word to her. He brooded. He seethed. He sulked. He put off her constant begging of forgiveness and let her stew in her guilt.

  In time, however, he realized that whatever their plight, she was still “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.” The Father Himself had created her out of A’dam’s very substance. They were forever united by that connection. More importantly, he had finally given voice to the galling feeling that had plagued his mind since that horrible day—the inescapable truth that ultimately the verdict of guilt rested squarely upon him. It was easy to pass the guilt on to Eve. Even now he felt the old anger stirring. After all, she was the one who…

  A’dam caught himself, the questions begging to be asked but never voiced by Eve: What if he had held up his responsibility as law-keeper in Eden? Should he not have rebuked the serpent and with his obedience possibly atoned for the sin of his wife? Instead, to his utter shame and the ruin of all humans, he had himself transgressed God’s sacred law. Thus they both scratched about on an unyielding, unfriendly, unholy world.

  Eve noticed her husband’s melancholy demeanor as he stood over the thorny garden that helped feed their little family. She watched A’dam, knowing that at times like this it was best to remain quiet. The mood would pass; it always did. She understood that it wasn’t simply the thorns that were causing his current mood. He was missing his Father.

  Eve didn’t really understand the depth of A’dam’s loss. She sometimes longed to know how he felt, but she could never get at the heart of it. Perhaps if she understood his pain, she could somehow draw closer to him. The few times when she had tried to talk to him about it, he was reluctant, distant, and sometimes angry.

  But just how did she feel? She felt badly for her husband, whose world forever changed in one decisive moment. She hurt for her children, who would never know the beauty and security of Eden. She missed the affection of the animals; the strolls with her husband in the beauty of fellowship, the sound of A’dam calling for her by the waterfall.

  But above it all was the guilt. She would forever regret that she had given in to the serpent’s subtle urgings. Now she was paying the price of a cursed world and a profound judgment. Eve accepted her punishment and could even live with it. But nothing seemed to appease the unshakable guilt that stalked her day and night. A’dam was hurting because he had lost relationship with the Father. Eve hurt because she had lost her relationship with A’dam.

  Didn’t she love God? Of course she did. She certainly missed the fellowship and protection that she once felt when the Father was present. She loved the Father. But she also loved her husband and her family. They were her world now. The intensity of the loss of God suffered by A’dam was very peculiar to her in light of the new world in which they lived.

  “Ah well,” said A’dam, breaking the silence. “See to the fire. I’m going to gather some more wood for the evening.”

  “Alright, my love,” said Eve, as her husband walked away from her. She watched him disappear into the woods toward the river. She held her children close, tears welling up in her eyes, barely whispering the words, “My poor A’dam.”

  “My poor A’dam! My poor A’dam!”

  The shrill voices were unheard by Eve as a raucous company of unholy angels fell over themselves with hysterical laughter. One who stood near her even imitated her crying in mock desp
eration, finally throwing himself down on the ground. The others howled in enjoyment.

  “Poor A’dam indeed,” said one of the angels. “Accuser! She’s off again. Remind her once more whose fault it is that A’dam is now so poor!”

  An angel known as Accuser followed after her. He streaked to her side and sidled up to her ear, whispering a droning, persistent message. Eve had recently become his charge, and his task was to hassle her, speaking death into her mind through accusation that it was all her fault…that her children would suffer…that her husband no longer cared for her. Eve began weeping bitterly. Abel and Cain looked at her with puzzled expressions. “Oh God, forgive me,” she finally said. “Please…” She fell to her knees.

  “Forgive me, Lord! Forgive me, Lord!” came the familiar mockery. Some of the rebel angels crowed from perches in the trees around them. Others watched from the trunk of a fallen tree to see what Accuser would leave of her. All eyes were on Eve—watchful, hateful, profane eyes. They watched as she stood to leave.

  “Stay with her!” cried an unseen voice. “We must keep these creatures in constant touch with their failings.”

  Accuser took off again, waiting for Eve down the path. The others looked in the direction of the voice and became immediately silent. Many of the troop scattered as Lucifer emerged from the darkness of the woods; others snapped to nervous attention. Kara and Pellecus accompanied Lucifer into the clearing.

  “What a pitiful life,” said Kara, indicating the meager garden that sustained A’dam and Eve. “How can these weak and disgraced creatures live like this?”

  “Because, Kara, like us they have a will to survive,” said Lucifer. “That is the Creator’s little gift, and His curse, to them—the will to survive. Their world has radically changed, but they cling to hope. Our task is to rob them of that hope and put an end to this war once and for all!”

 

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