Unholy empire chronicles.., p.24

Unholy Empire: Chronicles of the Host, Vol 2: Chronicles of the Host, Book 2, page 24

 

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



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  Lucifer, Kara, and Pellecus moved over to Sobek, who was still cringing in fear at the bank of the now red river of which he was lord. He looked up, still reeling from the power that had shot forth from Moses’ staff.

  “You have failed, Sobek,” said Lucifer. “If Kara had not duplicated this with the sorcerers, Rameses might even now be freeing the Hebrews. And the Seed would flourish at another time and place.”

  “My lord,” said Sobek. “It was not a trick. It was the power of Almighty God!”

  “Enough!” screamed Lucifer. “You are not worthy of a great god in Egypt. Be gone! I’ll deal with you at another time!”

  Sobek looked at Kara, who was muttering curses at him, and Pellecus, who smirked at his plight. Sobek then spoke one more time.

  “I leave humbled. The great god of the Nile has been vanquished. But mark this, Kara! You who sit at the seat of Amen-Ra. All the gods of Egypt will be called upon to face the God if Israel. And if I can be so easily overcome, so shall all the gods of Egypt be…including Amen-Ra!”

  He then vanished with an angry shriek.

  “He’s right about one thing,” mused Lucifer, looking over the red river, where dead fish were already piling up on the shore. “The gods of Egypt will have to face Moses. How long you can keep up the farce through Maret-men is questionable.”

  “I suspect that the judgments will come in ever-increasing complexity,” said Pellecus. “This seems to be the pattern of the Most High. Sobek proved quite disappointing in his collapse.”

  “Sobek was a fool,” said Kara. “I will see to Moses’ defeat personally.”

  “Yes, Sobek was a fool,” admitted Lucifer. “Nevertheless, I agree with Pellecus. The Most High will increase the pressure upon Rameses and his priests. We need more power here to deal with Moses. If he should prove successful in gaining access to Pharaoh’s heart, we are finished!”

  “Moses will never get Pharaoh to change his mind,” said Kara.

  “See that he doesn’t,” said Lucifer threateningly. He then vanished.

  Pellecus smiled at Kara.

  “How convenient that we are in a temple setting,” he said with a bit of menace. “You had better pray to Amen-Ra for wisdom!”

  He then vanished also.

  Chronicles of the Host

  Judgment

  Just as Pellecus had surmised, the plagues against Egypt intensified, each event aimed at a particular god of Egypt. For the Host, it was a wonderful time of watching the Lord dismantle the proud gods of Egypt in great terror and judgment.

  Judgment Two: Heka, fertility goddess

  Following the humbling of Sobek, god of the Nile, the Lord caused a great multitude of frogs to come upon the land. Since these were sacred to the fertility goddess Heka, the Egyptians would not touch them. But Jannes and Jambres duplicated this judgment as well; thus Pharaoh was not impressed, although he later begged Moses to pray to God and get rid of the frogs.

  Judgment Three: Geb, god of the earth

  Moses then stretched out his staff and struck the ground. Millions and millions of gnats came from the dust of the earth. Geb, maddened by his inability to counter Moses, begged Kara for assistance. This time the magicians Jannes and Jambres could not duplicate the miracle; they called upon Pharaoh to make peace with Moses.

  Judgment Four: Khepara, the scarab

  Next Moses commanded that great swarms of flies, sacred to Khepara, the scarab-headed god, to swarm the Egyptians. They poured into all the houses of the Egyptians, including the palaces and temples of Rameses and the priests of Thebes. And to demonstrate that God was indeed in control, no flies plagued Goshen, where the Hebrews lived. Still Rameses would not relent. He refused to let the people go.

  Judgment Five: Apis, the sacred bull

  The Lord then caused a pestilence to sweep the land so that the livestock of the Egyptians began to die—cows, horses, goats, sheep. Even the sacred bulls of Apis at Heliopolis died in the plague. Pharaoh sent to Anipur in Goshen, who confirmed that indeed not one Hebrew animal had died in the plague. All of Egypt cried for relief. But still Rameses remained hard to Moses’ demands. But at the insistence of the priests, he convened a meeting to discuss further the strategy against Moses…

  CHAPTER 18

  “Is there nothing the gods can do to help us?”

  “Great one, every district is reporting that their animals are either dead or near death,” said On, governor-general of Egypt. “The army stands ready to move into Goshen and crush this rebellion in a final bloody battle!”

  “That would be utter folly,” countered Kephti. “It would be exactly what Moses wants us to do. If we go in forcibly against the Hebrews they will certainly defeat us with their sorcery.”

  “Lord Pharaoh,” insisted On. “I command the greatest and best trained army in the world. Give me the word and I will take the great divisions, including the veterans of Kadesh, and the chariots, and destroy every Hebrew in Egypt!”

  “That would be defeating the purpose of keeping them,” said Anipur. “We need the slaves to build our cities!”

  “You need them, you mean,” said On. “If you had a better handle on the situation in Goshen, we would not be facing such a catastrophe.”

  “Enough of this nonsense,” said Rameses. “If my own council fights itself, how can we possibly overcome the Hebrews?”

  Rameses stood up from his place at the council of war in his palace at Thebes. As he walked the sound of dead flies crunching under his feet could be heard throughout the room. Most of the live flies had dissipated, but the millions of dead ones created a horrible stench throughout Egypt. Pharaoh looked down at his feet.

  “Look at my beautiful palace,” he said. “And the sacred sites. They are covered with dead frogs and gnats and flies. The country reeks of dead animals. The river is still rotten, so that we dig for water like desert scoundrels. And Moses demands that we release the people. But how can we? If we give up the Hebrews, we will lose the ability to recover from the disasters that have befallen us”

  He looked the council over.

  “I am open to suggestions as to how to deal with Moses,” he said. “I cannot, as much as I would like to, resort to the military option just yet, Commander On. But be patient, for I promise that one day you will be in hot pursuit of Hebrew blood.”

  The council was silent for a moment.

  “Majesty, may I speak?”

  It was Maret-men.

  “Of course Maret-men,” said Rameses. “I have hardly heard from you since you last were able to duplicate Moses’ crimes against us—some three plagues ago.”

  “Great one, it is true that the arts of Egypt have fallen short in duplicating the works of the demon god of the Hebrews,” said Maret-men. “But I propose something new. Rather than duplicate a work against us, pray allow me, majesty, to create a work of evil against Moses. I shall use all of my powers to conjure up an evil spirit that shall harass Moses, so that he will beg to work in the brick pits of Goshen!”

  “Interesting,” said Rameses. “The black arts of Egypt, the secret knowledge and dark wisdom of centuries against a simple desert spirit—a demon, as you have proposed. What do you think, Kephti?”

  “I believe the gods of Egypt are crying out for revenge, majesty,” said Kephti. “What better way to destroy the wisdom of Moses’ god than with the wisdom of our own gods? It seems quite fitting.”

  “Agreed,” said Rameses. “See to it!”

  Kephti, Maret-men, Jannes, and Jambres met together to discuss the strategy against Moses. It was decided that all the priests in the land must enter into a time of ceremonial cleansing and fasting in preparation for the great that would be raised from Thebes. Once the period of cleansing was complete, they would bring upon the Hebrews and upon their prophet a plague worse than any in Egypt’s history.

  “Then it is settled,” said Kephti. “I shall proclaim a time of cleansing and fasting among the priests throughout the land, and then we shall conjure up s
uch a fierce wrath against Israel that they will kill Moses because of their affliction!”

  “But Lord Kephti, you cannot enter into a temple for the cleansing,” said his aide, pointing to a reddish outbreak on his arm. “Sir, forgive me, but you are unclean!”

  “What?” said Kephti, looking at the spot. “When did this happen?”

  “And there! And there, another one!” said another priest, pointing to Kephti’s neck. The high priest recoiled. “Bring me a mirror at once!”

  In the meantime the others began noticing similar outbreaks upon their own skins. Jannes and Jambres lifted each other’s tunics and found spots all over each other’s backs. Maret-men also was breaking out with unclean, festering boils.

  “This is another offense by Moses’ god!” said Maret-men.

  “We must leave this place before we offend the gods!” said Jambres, who left the room in the temple of Seti where they had met.

  Jannes was soon behind Jambres, declaring before he left,” This is the work of God! We have offended Him! My lords, we cannot fight against this!”

  Kephti looked at Maret-men, who had developed an ugly boil on his right cheek. They could hear the voices of other priests and temple workers discovering the boils upon their bodies and vacating the building.

  “My lord,” said Maret-men finally, “we also risk offending the gods if we stay any longer in the temple.”

  “Is there nothing the gods can do to help us?” Kephti pleaded in a whisper.

  “Moses!”

  “Yes, Aaron,” said Moses.

  “The plague on the priests has shut them out of their own shrines,” said Aaron. “They can’t approach their temples or perform their duties.”

  “I only wonder how much longer Rameses will persist in his stubbornness,” said Moses. “He is destroying his people because of his pride.”

  “When are we to confront him next?” asked Aaron.

  “Today, Aaron,” said Moses, looking at the sky. “Today.”

  Chronicles of the Host

  Pharaoh’s Hardness

  Boils—a judgment against Thoth, god of sacred and mystical knowledge and the priesthood of Amen-Ra;

  Hail—a judgment on the goddess of the sky, Nut

  Locusts—humbling of the harvest god, Hapy

  Three more terrible judgments fell upon Egypt and her gods, but Rameses refused to hear even his advisors, who begged that he send the people away before there was nothing left of the nation.

  Kara was steadily losing face with Lucifer, as he saw his vaunted gods being cast down one by one in succession. He vowed to make his stand with Amen-Ra, where he himself would lead the fight against Moses. He vowed that the light of Amen-Ra, god of the sun, would shine upon the deeds of the evildoer Moses, and would destroy him. The Lord God answered Amen-Ra, god of the sun, with…

  “Darkness…three days now, mighty Pharaoh!”

  Rameses arose from his bed and went to a window, where his body servant stood with the linen drapes drawn. For the third day Thebes woke up to a world as black as the previous two days. Darkness had fallen upon Thebes, the great city of Amen-Ra!

  “Where is my council?”

  “They are awaiting your decision, Majesty,” said the chamberlain.

  “Very well,” said Rameses grimly. “Send for Moses.”

  “Finally we will get some satisfaction,” said Kara. “Rameses has sent for Moses.”

  Kara and Pellecus were walking the darkened hallway of Rameses’ palace. The country had crawled to a virtual standstill, except in Goshen, where the light of God miraculously shined. The distinction between Egypt and Goshen had never before been so obvious. Kara was infuriated—and embarrassed.

  “I certainly hope we have some satisfaction,” said Pellecus. “We have paid a terrible price for this contest. Egypt is already hard-pressed to recover.”

  “Amen-Ra shall avenge this day,” muttered Kara.

  “Amen-Ra?” said a voice in the darkness. “The temple of the great sun god has never been so dark!”

  It was Lucifer.

  “My lord,” said Kara. “Rameses has sent for Moses. Perhaps there shall now be an accounting!”

  “Or a release,” said Lucifer gloomily. “Rameses’ council has grown weak of late. He is liable to begin listening to them and their demands that the Hebrews be driven out.”

  “Not all of the council is vacillating,” said Kara. “Despite it all, the army is still intact. I feel that it will still come to blood!”

  “Perhaps,” said Lucifer. “I only wish we could get to Moses himself. I sent several of Rugio’s greatest warriors to destroy him. One of them even assumed control of an asp and struck at his heel but the venom was useless.”

  “So how can we defeat Moses?” asked Pellecus. “He is too well protected.”

  “Yes, Moses is too well protected,” said Lucifer. “The only way to get to Moses is through the people. The very people he seeks to deliver will ultimately be the weapon we shall use against him!”

  “But what about now?” said Kara.

  “Egypt is your charge,” said Lucifer. “I suggest that you make things very uncomfortable for Moses this time!”

  Moses stood before Pharaoh, accompanied by Michael and several other angels. The council was silent, watching Rameses as he paced back and forth in front of the prophet. Michael glanced at Lucifer and Kara and the crowd of fallen angels that were attached to Amen-Ra and his priesthood.

  “A bit dark in here…again,” said Michael. The angels with him smiled.

  “Not as black as the end of this little episode shall be for Israel,” retorted Kara.

  “Ah, Kara,” said Michael. “You who took the name and guise of Amen-Ra, greatest god of Egypt, whose glory is the sun! How difficult it must be for such a god to be imprisoned in darkness!”

  “Gloating is not becoming to an archangel,” said Lucifer. “Besides, Michael, the game is not yet over.”

  “I am not gloating, Lucifer,” said Michael. “I am feeling compassion for the people of this land who are deceived by fallen gods and led by prideful humans. I even feel compassion for these who advise Rameses.”

  “Humans are naturally contrary,” said Pellecus. “The fact that they have fallen into rebellion and are susceptible to other voices besides the Most High is their own choice—not ours.”

  “Yes, but you compel them,” said Michael.

  “Ah, but they choose, Michael,” said Pellecus. “And that is all the difference. I suspect that, should Rameses allow the Hebrews their freedom to return to the land of their fathers, they will eventually fall into the same pattern of rebellion. If we don’t catch them on this side of the Red Sea, we shall catch them on the next!”

  “The Most High shall decide that,” said Michael.

  “Why don’t we let Pharaoh decide?” said Lucifer.

  “Moses. You have been a vexation to me ever since you returned to my country,” Rameses began. “You have been an offense to me since you threw away the generosity of my father and fled to the desert. And now you and your witchcraft have devastated my country. I must admit that your magic is greater than ours. You have not been idle these years in the desert. You truly must have studied under a master of the black arts.”

  “It is not by magic that you are vexed,” said Moses. “It is not witchcraft that blots out the sun. It is not black arts that disgraced your priests. It will not be something devilish that will secure the release of my people.” Moses held out his staff, causing several of Pharaoh’s entourage to jump back in fear lest something terrible come forth. “It is by the mighty hand of the living God that these things happen!”

  Rameses was burning with anger. Kara sidled up to him as he paced. Rameses pointed to his council.

  “These my royal council have urged me to give in to your demands,” said Rameses. “It is not for love of your people, nor is it with my consent that we do what we are about to do. Nevertheless, I am compelled by the wisdom of this council to
agree to your demands.”

  “What?!” said Lucifer. “Is he releasing the people?”

  Kara smiled at Lucifer and said. “Have no fear, my lord. There is more.”

  “But you must make a concession to me,” continued Rameses. “You have destroyed my land. You have ruined my crops. We are laid waste. I will let your people go, but they must leave behind the livestock of Goshen in payment for the damage you have done to my country. That is my demand!”

  “Rameses, not one hoof is to be left behind in Egypt,” said Moses. “Every animal is to leave with us. We shall need them to worship our God.”

  Rameses could not believe his ears. He looked at his council with complete shock. He threw down the wine cup he was holding.

  “Not one hoof?” he said.

  “Great king,” said Kephti, “let us consider our position…”

  “Pharaoh, let me kill this devil here and now,” said General On.

  Michael quickly became alert to the situation, and the angels protecting Moses closed in around him. Rameses turned and looked at the prophet.

  “He should not leave here alive,” Kara spoke into Rameses’ mind. “He has already robbed your children of their heritage. Shall he also…”

  “Moses! Get out of my sight. Your people shall rot in Egypt. They shall never leave here! You understand?!”

  Moses turned to leave.

  “One more thing, my one time brother,” Rameses continued. “Never come before me again! If I ever see your face again, you shall die!”

  Michael could just make out the pleased look upon the faces of Lucifer, Pellecus, and Kara. So that’s their game, he thought. Rameses has finally threatened Moses personally.

  “You think in threatening Moses personally you can stop him?” said Michael as he watched Moses leave with his angels.

  “We decided to make things a bit more dramatic,” said Kara. “We’ve decided it is time to unleash death in the house of Pharaoh!”

 

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