Unholy Empire: Chronicles of the Host, Vol 2: Chronicles of the Host, Book 2, page 3
“The war, the war. Always the war,” snorted Kara, who had been absent from council meetings lately. “What can these pitiful human beasts possibly do to us? I think we overestimate them.”
Pellecus could only shake his head in disbelief at Kara’s colossal stupidity. “If you would attend council you would be briefed on the latest developments,” he snarled.
“Don’t presume to lecture me, teacher,” returned Kara. “I am not one of your empty-headed angels. Besides I bring news from Heaven—that is why I have been absent!”
“What possible news could you bring to us?” asked Pellecus. “The holy angels are forbidden informal contact with any of us.”
“True, the angels don’t communicate with us anymore. But if one has a mind for gathering intelligence, one finds ways,” Kara said, smug with his resourcefulness. “I thought that perhaps it would be prudent to send an embassy to the Kingdom from earth. To demonstrate our desire for some sort of understanding.”
“I’m gratified to see that you haven’t changed, Kara,” said Lucifer sarcastically. “I would be disappointed if you weren’t trying to cut your own deal.”
“No, lord,” said Kara. “As an elder I simply thought…”
“You are no longer an elder, Kara!” snapped Lucifer. “Neither on earth nor in Heaven. You are now one of us, the outlaws, remember? Whether that is helpful to us or to the holy angels I am not sure. I only know that you will never go near the Kingdom again.”
“Of course, my prince,” said Kara, glancing at a smirking Pellecus. “I never spoke to any angel. I merely was curious. And though the angels don’t communicate with us, they do talk among themselves. I simple positioned myself on the outer edges of the Kingdom and picked up some information.”
“In the future it will not be necessary for you to attend Heaven,” said Lucifer. “As it turns out, since the humans fell from grace I have a legal right to accuse them before the Throne itself. Henceforth your intelligence gathering will take place on earth. I will represent us at court.”
“As you wish,” said Kara, shooting hate-filled eyes at Pellecus. “I must say that I am quite proud of the devils working under my authority. I will build for you the greatest intelligence-gathering network ever!”
Lucifer looked around at several of Kara’s agents, who were listening from a distance to the conversation. “Very well, Kara. Our ability to ascertain the movement and thinking of humans will be a key to the war. Just keep your spies to the task at hand. I need information, not the ramblings of gossipy angels on the outer edges of Heaven.”
“Of course,” said Kara.
“You have piqued my curiosity, however,” said Lucifer, motioning for Kara to follow him down the path used by A’dam and Eve. Pellecus followed behind. “And what do the angels say about it all? How do they feel about the anointed cherub who led them in glorious worship of the Most High God?” He smiled at the thought of the large administrative hole that the rebel vacancy had left.”
“Of course they have aligned themselves with fierce showings of loyalty around the Great Throne,” Kara began. “Hmph! Falling all over themselves to prove their loyalty for the Lord. Some of these very angels who now demonstrate their love for the Most High at one time considered throwing in with us! Hypocrites!”
“Yes, and chief among the hypocrites is Serus,” said Lucifer, remembering how his steward in the end had betrayed him and remained loyal to the Lord. “There will be accounts to pay some day. This I vow!”
Kara continued. “The holy angels, as they now call themselves, have reorganized into new legions under new commanders. This of course was a necessity, since so many commanders came to our side. Nevertheless, they are equipped for war and only await the Lord’s command to come against the demons.”
“The demons?” asked Lucifer. “And who are they?”
Kara snickered. “We are the demons, my lord. And you are chief among us.”
“Well, that is interesting,” said Pellecus. “Often at the Academy we spoke of fallen angels, or demonized and devilish spirits. It was all conjecture of course, because nobody ever considered that an angel might actually…that is to say…at any rate, a demon was simply a spirit that turned evil. I suppose to them it makes sense to call us that. To the loyalists we are the evil ones.”
“If one can be a demon and a liberator, then I shall enjoy the title of chief demon,” Lucifer said, causing his two leaders to laugh aloud. “They are, however, quite brilliant in recasting us. To find themselves suddenly at war with former brothers is much more acceptable when your brothers have been demonized. Kills the sympathy, you know.”
“Not unlike our recasting of our own legions,” remarked Pellecus.
“Yes,” agreed Lucifer. “Rugio actually devised the strategy. He reasoned that our angels would be better equipped for the war if their names reflected their particular…specialty. Make better fighters of them. So the legions, the warriors, those who have human assignment, shall be known by their influence: lust, anger, malice, lies, perversion, rebellion—whatever the assignment calls for.”
“One of Rugio’s more intelligent tactical decisions,” admitted Kara. “Eve is already being hounded by spirits of accusation. Hopefully she’ll succumb to their suggestions and destroy herself. A victory of sorts, hmm?”
“Possibly. But this war will not be won through the renaming of spirits. It will be won through subtlety and influence over humans,” said Lucifer. “Let Heaven castigate us and call us all manner of names. It is the victor who writes the final chronicles. And the victor will be the one who controls the destiny of the Seed.”
“Ah yes,” said Kara. “The Seed. That is the other subject in Heaven. The Seed.” He scoffed. “Stupid angels don’t even know what they are so excited about. They only know that the Seed is what will ultimately destroy you…” Kara looked at Pellecus, who shifted his eyes downward upon Kara’s remark. “Or so the prophecy goes…”
“You are quite correct, Kara, to be wary of the Seed,” said Lucifer. “For in its fruition is my destruction—yours as well.” Lucifer’s sharp blue-grey eyes became dreamy and distant as he murmured the lines that he had rehearsed in his tortured mind ten thousand times since that day in Eden: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (RSV).
He looked at Pellecus and Kara. “He will bruise my head. You see? I will bruise His heel. I may injure the Seed, but the Seed shall ultimately defeat me—bruise my head.” He pointed toward Eve and the children. “You asked a moment ago what these beasts could possibly do to us. As for A’dam and Eve—they can do nothing to harm us. You see the children there? They are far more dangerous to us than A’dam and Eve.”
“Those weak pups?” queried Kara, inviting some snickers from other of his agents, who were observing from the shadows.
“It is not the adult generation with which we must contend,” remarked Lucifer, whose silent glare quickly stopped the snickering. “It is always the next generation of humans that poses the greatest threat to us. The children. The potential for the Seed to emerge.” Lucifer looked intently at Abel and Cain as they followed their weeping mother down the path. “Always the next generation,” he repeated, [quelling] the hatred he felt for all things human.
Crispin, the scholarly angel whose new appointment as head of the Academy of Hosts gave him an important voice in Heaven, sat across from Michael and Gabriel. They were discussing recent events and their impact on the Kingdom. Crispin was certainly correct in his assessment of the renewed fear of God among the loyal angels. All of Heaven was bathed with a refreshing sense of duty and obligation to the Most High. Since the horrible rebellion that saw Lucifer and many other highly placed angels expelled from the Kingdom, a newfound holiness had overcome the Host.
“The fear of the Almighty Lord is a quick counter to foolish notions of rebellion,” continued Crispin, leaning back in his peculiar way. “It has a way of helping crea
“I must say that the Academy is a different place,” agreed Michael. “The vile attitude and poison of Lucifer’s influence has vanished.”
“Yes, the Academy is clean once more,” said Crispin. “But all has changed, Michael. No longer simply a place for angels to grow in knowledge of the Most High, it has now has become a school of war—preparing the Host for the battle of the ages. Astonishing!”
“Perhaps this was the school’s destiny,” said Gabriel. “To train angels in warfare and carry out the will of the Most High in Heaven and on earth.”
“They certainly are in readiness,” agreed Michael. “The Host is eager to get into the fight. The only question is how to conduct a war that is so closely tied in with the hearts and minds of men. Our task is that of…what was it again, Gabriel?”
“Ministering spirits,” reminded Gabriel. “We are to minister to the humans in the name and authority of the Most High on those occasions necessary when our intervention is necessary.”
“Yes, and to keep Lucifer and his angels off their game,” added Crispin. “Or should I say ‘the fallen ones’?”
“Ah yes,” mused Michael. “Demons, devils…”
“Fallen angels…” continued Gabriel.
“Evil spirits,” threw in Serus, who had just arrived.
Everyone was amused at the new terminology that was creeping into the culture of Heaven. Crispin took exception to the attitude.
“It’s not simply that the creatures fell and became demonized!” He stood up and gestured wildly. “There is more to it than that. Their new titles reflect the darkness of their hearts. They chose evil and therefore have become evil. I for one prefer the name ‘demon,’ or ‘fallen’ for these criminal angels, in order to distinguish them from the holy angels of the Most High! For the sake of the Chronicles and all that speaks true there must be a distinction.”
“The Most High has declared them excommunicate and anathema to us—that is what really matters, Crispin,” said Gabriel.
“Pardon us, teacher,” said Michael, realizing that Crispin’s academic sensibilities were upset. “We meant no offense. I realize for the sake of truth and teaching that such things are important. For me, whatever they are to be called, they are the enemies of the Most High and therefore my enemies.”
“Amen,” said Crispin. “I quite agree. Nevertheless I shall henceforth refer to them as ‘demons’ for that is what they have become.”
The others smiled at Crispin’s pure view of things. As they continued chatting, an angel came into the room and stood before Michael. It was one of Michael’s sentries, stationed on the outer edges of the Kingdom.
“What is it, Darus?” asked Michael.
“Lord Michael, the elder Kara…”
“Former elder, Darus,” corrected Michael. “We must be precise about these things for the sake of the Chronicles.”
Crispin shifted with a grunt in his chair.
“Yes, the former elder Kara,” continued Darus, “was observed encroaching upon the Kingdom near the Lion’s Gate.”
“Are you certain it was he?” asked Michael.
“Yes, my lord,” said Darus. “He had positioned himself at the gate with a couple of other angels…”
“Demons, Darus, demons,” said Michael, looking at Crispin, amused at the scholar’s countenance. “We must be accurate.” “Yes…um…demons were with him,” said a puzzled Darus. “At any rate, they positioned themselves near a group of…angels…?”
“Quite right,” said Michael. “Our side! Go on.”
Darus was completely bemused but continued. “They were just inside the gate and when they were approached they vanished. We gave chase but to no avail.”
“Thank you, Darus,” said Michael. “Excellent work.”
After Darus left Michael finally said, “Poor angel. I’ll have to explain to him later.” He then spoke to the group in a more serious tone. “That was certainly bold of Kara to eavesdrop on Heaven. Didn’t even greet his old friends! That scoundrel!”
“They must be desperate for information,” remarked Gabriel. “I would certainly like to know what Lucifer is thinking right about now.”
“Well, it isn’t as if we are not present on earth,” said Crispin. “In fact, the humans have been assigned holy angels to comfort them and lend encouragement. We will carry the war back to Lucifer and keep his mongrel angels at bay through the authority given us by the Most High.”
“Remarkable,” said Serus. “What a ministry for an angel of the Lord—to protect His most precious creation! I suppose that in time, as more humans are present, our own influence on that planet might increase as well.”
“Of course,” said Crispin. “But the difference between our influence and Lucifer’s is that we are under authority of the Lord, whereas the rebels are under no real authority except that which Lucifer can manage.”
“Rebels managing rebels,” mused Serus, who knew Lucifer better than any of them. “That could prove interesting.”
“It certainly proved interesting once before,” said Crispin, grinning.
“Yes, Father,” came the response from the field of barley below.
A’dam watched his son bounding through the grain toward him. How his son loved the earth. He would make a great farmer. His eyes drifted to the side of the hill where Abel sat, watching over a group of sheep.
A’dam often wondered at the difference between his two sons. Cain was a natural fieldsman—he could grow wheat out of a rock, he and Eve would say. A bit of a temper, but that was to be expected from one who wrestled with the ground itself and won. Abel was much more at home among the flocks. The sheep came to him as if he were their parent. It was quite amusing.
Eve had recognized something else about Abel—he had a rather strange, melancholy attitude at times. He often preferred the solitude of the hills where he watched over the flocks or sometimes slept under the stars. A’dam thought that he was simply being obstinate. But Eve knew differently. She knew that Abel heard from God.
“What is it, Father?” said Cain, finally reaching A’dam.
“My son, it is time for eating,” said A’dam. “Your mother has prepared the meal.”
“What about Abel?” asked Cain, looking at his brother on the distant hill.
“He will be along shortly,” said A’dam, also looking at Abel. “As soon as he finishes with the flocks.”
The family sat down to eat. A’dam offered thanks to the Lord for the meal and Eve served some robust stew made from some of Cain’s produce and one of Abel’s lambs that had been trampled by its mother. The family enjoyed the food and fellowship at the entrance to the cave where they lived. A’dam had secured a natural opening in a cavern wall that also allowed smoke from a fire to be pulled up so they could have warmth inside the cave at night. It wasn’t Eden, but it was home.
“Another lamb was born,” said Abel, as he sat down to eat. Eve handed some of the rich stew to her son. “That makes five this month!”
“Wonderful, son,” said A’dam. “The Lord is good to us.”
“He’s even better to Abel’s sheep,” said Cain, snickering. Abel laughed.
“God is very good to us,” continued A’dam. “He has watched over us all these years, fed us, kept us, provided a place that is safe and warm…”
“Tell us about Eden again,” said Cain. The boys loved to hear stories told and retold of life in Eden before the banishment. Abel settled himself next to Eve, his head in her lap as he slurped up the remainder of the stew.
A’dam looked at his little family, their faces dancing in the reflection of the evening fire. They all looked forward to these moments in the stillness of the night, with all the day’s work done. Stories helped break up the long, hard day before another one just like it
“It is very important that you know that we might still be in Eden today, had we honored God rather than ourselves. Always remember this. We were without excuse, and neither do you have an excuse to fail Him. In fact, it’s time you began to worship Him.”
A’dam looked tenderly at Eve, who took her cue and went inside the cave. The two boys looked at their father, not knowing exactly what he meant. A’dam seemed to be trying to find the words. His sons sat quietly before him, waiting on their father. Finally A’dam spoke.
“When I was in Eden, even before your mother was around, the Lord had fellowship with me, just as we are sitting by this fire together,” he began. “It was a wonderful time when I walked with God.” He looked at his boys. “I walked with God. You understand?” They nodded. “I sat next to Him, as we are seated. I knew Him…and I betrayed Him. I want you to understand this, because you must make your own way with the Lord. You must seek to please Him and obey Him always.”
“Yes, Father,” the boys said in unison.
“You don’t understand, I know,” said A’dam. “But your mother and I have brought you into a world that is not simply a place of shepherding and raising crops. It is a beautiful world but a dangerous one…”
A’dam looked around as if he were being watched by an unseen observer. He motioned to his sons, who leaned in to hear him whisper. “There is a promise. A promise that will avenge the damage your mother and I caused by our disobedience in Eden. One will be born who will overcome the evil that the serpent brings to this world.”
The two boys looked at their father solemnly. They had never seen him in such a serious frame of mind before. “Your mother and I live for the day that you will undo the horrible damage we have done. The Lord told us and the serpent that one of our children would accomplish this.” A’dam looked at Cain and put a hand on his shoulder. “You are our firstborn. We believe this to be your task.” Cain swallowed hard, eyes wide. “And that is why you must both begin to worship the Lord in ways that demonstrate your loyalty to Him. To give back to Him of those things that you love most. To offer Him of your very best.”
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