Unholy empire chronicles.., p.25

Unholy Empire: Chronicles of the Host, Vol 2: Chronicles of the Host, Book 2, page 25

 

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



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  Michael paused for a moment.

  “Never fear, Kara. Things shall become more dramatic,” said Michael grimly. “And indeed death is about to enter the house of Pharaoh.”

  Every firstborn son in Egypt will die,

  from the firstborn son of Pharaoh,

  who sits on the throne,

  to the firstborn son of the slave girl,

  who is at her hand mill.

  There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—

  worse than there has ever been

  or ever will be again.”

  (Exodus 11:5-6, NIV)

  Chronicles of the Host

  The Death Angel

  A terrible punishment, unimaginable among the Host, was to be the final judgment rendered against the pride of Egypt. The Death Angel, a being we had never before seen or contemplated in Heaven, went through the land and visited every house in Egypt. Death came to all the firstborn sons in the land, and indeed a great wailing went up into the night.

  But in Goshen, the children of Israel had been instructed to paint the blood of a lamb on the sides and tops of the door-frames. When the Death Angel saw this act of obedience on their part, he passed over that house, for the blood of the lamb meant safety for all who dwelt within that house.

  Pharaoh’s own son was killed that night. Kephti, high priest of Amen-Ra, a firstborn himself, also died, pleading with Pharaoh to set the Hebrews free. Finally humbled, Rameses, the god-king, summoned Moses in the middle of the night. Bereaved of his own son, and at the insistence of his council, he ordered Moses out of the land with all his people and their livestock.

  Thus did Moses lead Israel out of bondage, just as had been foretold to Abraham some 430 years earlier. With great celebration did the people leave Goshen, taking with them the spoils of Egypt and all of their possessions.

  Ahead of them was a bright future in a land long promised to them.

  Behind them a dark cloud was gathering…

  CHAPTER 19

  “How quickly these people disintegrate into madness.”

  Rameses looked over his balcony at the reflection staring back at him in the garden pool below. He could only stand to look at himself for a second, because of the shame he felt since the Hebrews had left several days earlier. His firstborn son, the heir to the crown, was dead; the land had been ravaged; the priesthood had been profaned; and the gods of Egypt had been humbled. He had lost face with his wife, his council, his people, and himself.

  Unseen by him was another figure on the balcony—another who had lost face. It was Lucifer. He stood over Rameses, looking at the once proud king. He knew what must be going on inside the broken man’s mind—because the same things were going on inside of his own mind—anger for having underestimated the enemy.

  How could the situation have changed so quickly? Kara was a fool, but who could have withstood so powerful a combination of Michael’s angels in such great numbers? Who could have anticipated the Lord’s powerful intervention? Still, had they made a mistake in how they had waged the war? Should they have been more subtle?

  Perhaps they had been too subtle. Perhaps they should have taken an aggressive stand from the beginning and waged war with chariots and not with words. Perhaps it was not too late to execute vengeance upon the Hebrews, who were nearing the frontiers of Egypt. As Kara had pointed out, the one great Egyptian institution that remained intact and at full strength was the army—the envy of the world.

  Yes! That was it! The Hebrews would never expect an attack now. They thought Egypt was finished. One more strike. One more blow for Egypt. One more chance to draw the blood of Moses on the end of a charioteer’s pike!

  Lucifer liked the idea. It would take a powerful voice to convince Pharaoh to pursue the Hebrews, a voice that would fan the flames of his anger into a white-hot rage that could only be cooled by the blood of Israelites—and one Israelite in particular. They were only a few days’ march out. That many people could be overtaken in a matter of hours! But it would not be Neferteri or Maret-men who would convince Rameses. Not even General On, who had been urging military action all along, could convince Rameses to overtake the Hebrews.

  No, this would take the voice of a god…the voice of Amen-Ra himself!

  “Rameses!”

  Rameses turned to see who was calling him.

  “Rameses!”

  “Amen-Ra!” said the pharaoh, who dropped to his knees and began weeping. “Why did you abandon your people?”

  “Why do you sit here while the Hebrews escape?”

  “Great Amen-Ra, I was compelled to let them go. You saw what they did to the land. It is ruined!”

  “I did not raise you to be Pharaoh over Egypt to witness its destruction. Egypt shall enter a new golden age…but not until the Hebrews have been destroyed and the gods of Egypt avenged for the wrongs done to them.”

  “But what can I do?” asked the pharaoh. “They have left the country by now!”

  “The Hebrews are reaching the sea and will soon be strewn along the beach with the water at their backs and the desert in front of them.”

  “But their God goes with them, and he is a desert god!” pleaded Rameses. “How can I face them in the desert?”

  “The Hebrew god is a trick of Moses. He is a sorcerer and must die for profaning the gods. His magic and tricks cannot stand in the face of the might of Egypt.”

  “The army?” said Rameses.

  “You will cut them down in the desert and their bones shall be bleached there and will serve as a reminder to all who would defy the gods of Egypt and the pharaoh of that land. They have yet to face a trained army—especially one that has never tasted defeat!”

  “But it is all I have left,” said Rameses.

  “Do you realize that the Israelites are at this moment going through the plunder they have taken from the homes of Egyptians? That they are sharing food in their families and that their firstborn sons are with them? That the noise of livestock goes with them? That they speak of humbling the great pharaoh and his gods?”

  Rameses could feel the anger welling up inside of him.

  “The firstborn Hebrews,” he muttered under his breath.

  “How is it that the firstborn of Pharaoh should die, while the firstborn of slaves are still alive?”

  “Great Amen-Ra—are you sure that I shall be victorious?”

  “I promise you that if you pursue the Hebrews, you shall overtake them. It will be as a day never before in the history of Egypt—and the world shall speak of the terrible day forever!”

  “So be it!” said Rameses.

  “Your majesty, we have deployed the men into four great chariot divisions: Amon, Ptah, Ra, and Sutekh. We also have deployed the royal guard of Pharaoh. We have amassed six hundred chariots besides cavalry! My king, we shall overtake the Hebrews and cut them to pieces.”

  Rameses was looking at a map with General On and other military leaders. They were in a camp that overlooked the last few miles between them and the Israelites. Following the Hebrews had been easy, as evidence of their trek was strewn throughout the desert. But as Amen-Ra had promised, they had placed themselves between the Egyptians and the sea. It boded well.

  “They have left quite a trail leading to their destruction,” Rameses noted.

  “Majesty, the cloud!” came a cry from the camp. A messenger had just received news from a scouting party. “The cloud that guides the Hebrews!”

  “What a foolish display of their god,” said Rameses, looking at the smoky white billows in the sky. “The very cloud he uses to guide them through the desert is a beacon for us! Finally the gods are with us! General On! Prepare to overtake the Hebrews. Kill them all if necessary. But I want Moses and Aaron alive.”

  “So be it, great one,” said General On.

  Rameses looked at Maret-men, who was easing himself out of Pharaoh’s presence. He had fallen into royal disfavor ever since the contest with Moses had gone poorly. Rameses called aloud, “And just to ensure
that the gods remain with us, Maret-men will ride with you.”

  “But great one,” pleaded Maret-men. “I am a seer, a holy man. I am not worthy of so bloody a sport. I beg you to let me stay with you, great one, and call upon the gods to give us a tremendous victory!”

  “No, I want you with the troops,” said Rameses. “To assure them that the gods are with them…as they have been with you.”

  “Yes, my pharaoh,” Maret-men said reluctantly.

  “Call assembly!” Rameses commanded. “I will address the army. And remember, General—bring me Moses and Aaron alive!”

  “It shall be done as you speak,” said General On. He looked at Maret-men, who was visibly shaken by Rameses’ order. “Come, Maret-men, be of good courage! Call upon the gods for us. Call on them for a great victory!”

  “I shall, General On,” said Maret-men, climbing into the war chariot and putting a helmet on his head resignedly. “Though as for calling upon the gods, General, I think we shall all be speaking with them soon enough.”

  Lucifer stood next to Rameses in his war chariot. The driver was at attention, awaiting his sovereign’s next command. For the first time in days, the pharaoh was feeling like a king. His troops looked splendid and would soon avenge the honor of his gods and the death of his son. He would return to Egypt a different king!

  “There they go, Kara,” said Lucifer.

  Kara had just arrived with the rest of the more important angels who helped him administer Egypt. All of them wanted to be in on the finish of Moses, and were encouraging the troops. Many devils swooped in and out of the chariots, shrieking wildly and screaming bloody oaths against the Hebrews.

  “They are magnificent, are they not?” said Lucifer proudly. “The Israelites have never faced such a formidable enemy!”

  “But what if the Most High fights for them? Will they be willing to engage?” asked Kara hesitatingly. “They saw the judgments in Egypt.”

  “You forget, Kara, that many of these men have lost a firstborn son,” Lucifer answered. “They would war against Sheol itself, if needs be. Nothing will stop them from pursuing the Israelites, even should it cost them all their lives!”

  Rameses stood proudly on his chariot, inspecting the divisions that had assembled in colorful array. The proudest and most powerful divisions of Egypt, Amon, Ptah, Ra, and Sutekh, veterans of the Battle of Kadesh, hailed Rameses as their lord. Pharaoh’s personal guard, the Rameses Division, stood nearest the king. Jannes and Jambres had been made honorary commanders of the Horus Division, and nervously took their places at the head of their troops. All eyes were on Rameses.

  “Sons of Egypt! Today you shall avenge the blood that has been shed throughout our land. Many of you have lost sons, brothers, and friends because of the sorcery of Moses and these wicked slaves. As you kill today, remember your dead. As you butcher today, recall the tears of your wives and mothers. As you destroy the enemy on the shore, you shall avenge the honor of the gods who go with you! Hail Amen-Ra!”

  “Hail Amen-Ra!” returned the soldiers enthusiastically.

  “And hail Rameses!” said another whose words were taken up by all.

  Rameses lifted his hands to silence the army.

  “Go now. And may the gods of Egypt smile on you today as you are drenched with the blood of Hebrews!”

  One by one the divisions pulled out in succession as a trumpet sounded each division’s signal. Rameses watched as the dust cloud rose high into the sky—a sign that was sure to strike terror into the hearts of the Israelites. Under his breath Rameses said, “Let not one of you come back alive if you do not bring back Moses!”

  Michael was standing with Serus as Moses stood on some rocks near the sea. The people were pressing in, wondering where they were to go from here. Some of them even began complaining that perhaps this was a trap set by Rameses to have them backed up against the sea. The people, young and old, male and female, the heritage of Abraham, clinging to all of their belongings, looked to Moses for answers. And he had none to give.

  “Michael, where shall the Lord take them?” asked Serus. “His cloud that separated them from the Egyptians is gone. They’ll be here soon.”

  Michael looked to the west. A black cloud, thick with dust and demons, was beginning to bleed into the desert horizon.

  “They are already here,” Michael said. The noise of raucous, hate-filled devils could be heard over the dull roar of horses and chariots. “I had better stand near Moses,” said Michael. “These people might turn on him.”

  Michael moved down near Moses just as the Hebrews spotted the first elements of Pharaoh’s army. The women began screaming and rushing to the shore with their children. Panic began to fill the camp as Rugio and a troop of his commanders swept in and out of the crowd, spreading fear. Just as Michael had anticipated, many people began cursing Moses for his betrayal of them. Some were even organizing themselves as an embassy to beg Rameses’ forgiveness.

  The divisions could be seen in a line all along the top of the slope that looked down upon the Israelites. Above them, swirling about in delight, were thousands of devils urging the slaughter on. The divisions stopped and looked down upon their prey, awaiting the trumpet for the final charge.

  Suddenly, out of the midst of the raucous darkness, Lucifer and Kara flew out and appeared in front of Michael. With relish, they surveyed the panic and growing disorder within the Israelite camp. Lucifer looked at Michael and smiled an unkind smile at him.

  “How quickly these people disintegrate into madness, Michael,” said Lucifer, as a woman screamed at Moses for endangering her child. “There will be much blood on the sand today!”

  “Yes,” agreed Kara. “Beginning with Moses, if these people have their way!”

  “You proud spirit!” replied Michael. “Do you believe that the Most High has delivered these people to die in the desert?”

  “It is of no consequence what I believe about these creatures,” said Lucifer. “It is what he believes that matters!” He pointed toward Rameses’ chariot just arriving on the hillside overlooking the Israelites. “He believes that Moses killed his son. And now he will avenge himself upon Moses.”

  Serus arrived and stood near Michael, eyeing Lucifer, Kara, and their aides with contempt. They returned his contempt with icy stares of their own. Serus told Michael that the buildup of enemy angels over the Egyptians was considerably larger than their own numbers.

  “There is nothing more we can do here, Serus,” said Michael, watching the encroaching devils. “Our forces are hampered by the fear of these people. If only they would pray in faith!”

  “Ah, faith,” sneered Lucifer. “Such a dilemma that you must play by such rules.” He glared at Michael. “This is why you shall ultimately lose this war, Michael. You are dependent upon the prayers and faith of people whose very nature is neither prayerful nor faithful!”

  “First they cried for Moses’ help,” said Kara. “Now they call for his head!”

  Michael ignored Kara and moved in support of Moses, who was making his way to a large rock. He intended to say something to the people. Michael deflected a rock thrown at Moses by an angry father who wanted to return to Egypt with his family. The rock fell harmlessly to the ground—much to the surprise of the man who threw it.

  “One last speech by the deliverer,” said Kara. “This should be amusing.”

  “Perhaps,” said Lucifer, who noticed the wind picking up. “Perhaps…”

  Moses stood upon the rock, Michael on one side of him and Serus on the other. He raised his hands to get the people to be quiet. Aaron swallowed hard and prayed to the Lord that Moses would be able to get through to them—and that he had an answer as to what they were to do.

  “Rugio!” cried Lucifer. “Get some legions in here at once!”

  “Yes, my lord,” said Rugio, who immediately organized some warriors to agitate the people further.

  Lucifer had decided to continue enraging the people so that they might tear Moses to pie
ces. Rugio’s angels were met with great resistance by holy angels under Sangius, who held them at bay, keeping them from diving into the mass of people gathering around Moses.

  Rugio brought his sword down hard across the chest of Sangius, who was buffeted, but held his place.

  “Give way, traitor!” said Rugio.

  “The Lord resists you, rebel,” said Sangius, who recovered his balance and swung hard with his own sword, just missing Rugio. Beside them one of Rugio’s demons yelped in pain and disappeared as an angel’s weapon found its mark.

  “They cannot get through,” said Kara. “They are being resisted by the Host!”

  “Something greater than the Host is here,” said Lucifer. “We were able only a short time ago to penetrate these lines with ease. Now even Rugio cannot get through! I suggest we move back to Rameses.”

  “Agreed,” said Kara, looking about nervously.

  “Brothers! Do not be afraid!”

  The wind made it difficult for Moses to speak. Sand was being kicked up in great clouds over the camp. He squinted through the dusty air at the sea of faces looking to him for some word of hope, some sort of consolation.

  “Stand with me! I promise you that these Egyptians who harass today will never harass us again. They will be no more after today!”

  “How are we to fight Pharaoh’s army?” said a man. “Our wives and children are here with us and we have no weapons!”

  “Listen to me,” said Moses. “The Lord Himself shall fight for you!”

  Rugio and his warriors had tried everything they could to penetrate the line of holy angels, but they were unable to break the ranks. This was indeed something extraordinary. But no matter—General On had given the order to sound the trumpet. Lucifer and Kara joined Rugio above the Egyptians.

  “Bit of trouble getting through the enemy?” Lucifer asked Rugio.

  “Yes, lord,” admitted Rugio. “They fought with a force that was not their own.”

 

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