Unholy Empire: Chronicles of the Host, Vol 2: Chronicles of the Host, Book 2, page 6
Gabriel looked at the Great Mountain of the North, the Most Holy Place where the Lord’s Presence resided. “Who would have thought an angel capable of rebellion in this place? Yet it has happened. Who would have thought a human capable of rebelling in a place like Eden? Again, it happened. Short of God Himself, nothing is true, sure, or right.” He smiled at his friend, Michael. “And that is why I am happy here in Heaven. In the end Lucifer must know that he cannot win. At least I believe that to be so.”
They arrived at the Hall of Elders, where Michael and Gabriel seated themselves among the other high-ranking angels of Heaven. Many of these were recently appointed, having assumed the positions vacated by the angels who sided with Lucifer. Michael nodded at Crispin, who sat across the vast room with the other wisdom angels from the Academy of the Host. Crispin returned the nod cordially. Both Michael and Gabriel noted that the normally animated chatter among the angels was subdued.
The Chief Elder appeared on the dais with the full Council of Twenty-four and called the assembly to order. He then addressed the assembly.
“Most holy angels, greetings,” the Chief Elder began. “I wish this were a different setting and that happy tidings brought us together here. But, as is evident by the new faces among you, there are some who have abandoned their sacred places in Heaven, thinking they might achieve some measure of glory on the earth. I assure you all that the only glory in Heaven and on earth is the that of the Lord Most High, holy be His name!”
“Most holy is His name,” the angels said in unison.
“Nevertheless, the Lord Most High, in His infinite foresight and care for His creation, has instructed us as to our new disposition, and particularly how we are to respond to our former brothers, as well as to the fallen humans. I realize that there have been instances wherein some of those who have departed have actually approached the very gates of Heaven, some cajoling and mocking, others begging forgiveness and asking to return to their former duties. I must remind you that no unwarranted contact is to be made with any of these disgraced creatures.”
He looked down among the crowd at a few angels in particular, who had had conversation with some of the outlaw angels across the gulf of the heavenlies. “I too am deeply moved by the loss of so many who once walked freely among us—who chose unwisely and profanely. Some of these very angels sat with me on the Council.” He indicated the elders stationed behind him.
“They are no longer our brothers,” he continued. “They are the enemies of our Lord, therefore the enemies of this Kingdom, and are to be despised.”
The Chief Elder watched the effect of his words and then continued. “I shall now give instruction to the entire Host from the Most Holy Throne regarding these matters. It is our sworn and holy duty to disseminate this throughout the kingdom to our charges, so that all the Host will be in one voice and mind in the matter of how we are now disposed to our former brothers…”
Chronicles of the Host
A New Order in Heaven
A strange melancholy came over the hall as the Chief Elder spoke. It was a morose feeling, born of an understanding among the Host of how things had changed in Heaven. Indeed, those angels who remained loyal to the Most High now found themselves in a most unimaginable position—at war with a third of the Host!
The war was to be conducted on earth as well as in the heavenlies. On earth, the battle for the minds and hearts of men was to be waged through men’s prayers and their willingness to call upon the Lord. In the heavenlies, a far more brual and violent conflict was in store as angel fought against angel in a grueling struggle that pitted the faith of men against the doctrines of demons.
And so it was that through the disgrace of A’dam, a second unholy age was unleashed upon creation. And for all the battles waged, and for all the angels cast down, and for all the power that Heaven could muster, the progress of the war was not to be determined by angels, but by men whose freedom to choose had already borne a horrible price…
“How odd it is in Heaven these days.”
Serus observed the Host as they left the assembly. Many of the angels who held positions of authority were grouped together in the hall, discussing the day’s events and strategizing how best to deploy their legions when the war became more active. Others left the great hall, nodding encouragement to one another, speaking kind words that might deaden the sting of war.
“We need a recording of this for the Chronicles,” came the familiar voice of Crispin from behind. Serus turned to see the scholarly angel, who had recently been appointed head of the Academy of the Host, giving orders to his new apprentices. “And please be careful with the text—I want this verbatim. This is war, after all!”
“Yes, my lord,” said the exasperated angel whose duties to Crispin kept him busy indeed. “I have it all down in detail.”
“Very good, Sarbus,” said Crispin. “You are learning well!” Crispin smiled and looked over toward Serus. “Ah Serus,” he said, waving. “Such extraordinary times, hmm? Sarbus, I’ll see you at the Academy. Remember, one of these goes in the Hall of Records, one in the Great Library, and one in my study.”
“Sarbus nodded in servile agreement and hurried away. Serus grinned at the angel’s plight.
“Your apprentice reminds me of my time as Lucifer’s apprentice,” said Serus, baiting Crispin for one of his typically understated reactions.
“What? Are you comparing me to Lucifer?” blustered Crispin. “When I think of how shamelessly he ordered you about I am still appalled. That dark angel had you in chains that blinded you to his true nature. Besides all of that…” Crispin caught himself and smiled. “Don’t you know it is improper to make a wisdom angel appear unwise?”
“You shall never appear unwise, Crispin,” called out a voice from above.
Serus and Crispin looked up to see Sangius descending upon them. He embraced both of the angels, and they walked together through the magnificent doorway to the outside. They descended the stairs that opened onto the great square and then stopped suddenly as Crispin began talking.
“How odd it is in Heaven these days,” he said as he surveyed the sea of angels pouring out of the hall. Serus understood exactly what Crispin was feeling at that precise moment. How very different this departure from the great hall was compared to that glorious day when the Creation was announced and the angels were dancing and singing throughout the Kingdom.
“It was certainly a different occasion when we met here last,” agreed Sangius.
“I was at the Academy at the time,” remembered Crispin. “I was talking to Michael.” He smiled. “He was concerned that there was something afoot with Lucifer. How right he was.” Serus and Sangius looked at Crispin in solemn agreement.
They continued through the square, down a wide pavilion that led through an ever-flowering garden and into a meadow where Crispin often found solitude from his duties at the Academy. They sat alongside a still pool of crystal water. After a few moments of silence, Sangius broke the reverie.
“Crispin,” he began, “what does it all mean. I mean…what does this war mean to us angels?” Crispin thought about his answer for a bit and then looked at Sangius in a tender, almost fatherly way.
“What does it mean?” he repeated. “It means that our Lord shall lead us into a great conflict and will prevail. War means that you and I and every other angel loyal to the Most High will be engaged in some measure to ensure that His plans are carried out to the fullest extent. Every angel shall be called upon, to be sure. War means we have a responsibility unlike any other, all the time that angels have been in existence. It also means that we shall engage humans in a new responsibility as well.”
As Crispin spoke, more and more angels gathered around him. Being one of the greatest teachers in the Kingdom, he was accustomed to this sort of behavior among the Host. Many of his students had become great teachers at the Academy in their own right, instructing the angels on the knowledge and ministry of the Most High
“I could not help but notice that as I spoke the word ‘humans’ many of you grimaced,” he said, surveying the many faces surrounding him.
“Well, they did complicate things a bit,” said an angel from the back of the crowd. Others joined in with affirming remarks.
“A’dam’s transgression certainly did complicate things,” agreed Crispin. “But that is not our concern. Our concern is the conveyance of this war to the enemy. Our foes are well organized and motivated. They are also cunning and ruthless and, as we all know too well, led by a very capable angel who has surrounded himself with strong leadership. Lucifer understands, as we do, that their only hope lies in destroying or deceiving the humans and preventing the Seed of the woman from ever bringing forth the One who will crush the serpent’s head.”
“But the humans know that God has promised their deliverance through Eve,” said Kamas, an assistant to one of the Elders. “Why should they believe anything that Lucifer’s angels would tell them?”
“Because humans are in essence spirits and therefore susceptible to spiritual persuasions,” said Crispin. “Oh, I know they are cloaked in flesh and blood and that the judgment of death is upon them. But in the end, they are spirit.”
“So we as angels must deal with them as spirits?” asked Sangius with a puzzled look upon his face. “How can that be? If they are judged and shall die, how can we help them? Can a spirit die?”
Crispin smiled. “If I understand correctly, they have doomed the physical natures that the Lord created. This is quite clear since the Lord said they should return to the dust from which they came.” The gentle teacher had a quizzical expression as if he was still sorting it out himself. He turned to Sangius with a hopeful look. “But somehow their spirits must survive. They are immortal. So what shall become of A’dam—the true A’dam, which is his spiritual nature made in God’s image? This is something better left to the Lord’s wisdom.”
As the impromptu meeting continued, the subject changed to the more practical and yet tricky subject of the conduct of the war itself. All agreed that they would serve the Lord in whatever capacity they were called—even if it meant open strife with their fallen brothers. Word had spread throughout the Kingdom of the power of human prayer and how such prayer would be an important factor in angelic involvement. It was evident that when prayer was born out of a true acknowledgment of the Most High and belief in His ability and desire to provide such help, that the Lord responded.
But as to the nature of prayer, the angels wondered what limits the Lord might set upon human supplication. The humans had blatantly violated the trust of the Most High and willfully disobeyed Him. Were the angels now to help them out of the catastrophe they had created? Still, the mysterious connection between the Lord Most High and these creatures made in His image was astounding. It was not the duty of angels to question the Lord in such matters but to obey Him. And so spoke Crispin.
“From here on the concern of the Host is serving the Lord in this matter,” he admonished. “If that means ministry to humans then that shall be our sacred calling. Our rather difficult challenge is that in their rebellion they have relinquished spiritual sensibilities to base and earthly impulses.”
“Poor choices often lead to worse ones, hmm,” came Michael’s voice over the crowd. The angels dispersed and made a pathway for the archangel as he glided in to greet Crispin. Michael loved his former teacher and was not at all surprised to see him in the familiar role of interpreting events to others. He embraced Crispin warmly.
“To be sure, poor choices often escalate as we have seen here in the Kingdom,” Crispin responded. “Lucifer might have stopped himself at any moment had he wanted to. A’dam might never have disobeyed had he truly not wanted to. In either case, both choices proved prideful and disastrous.”
Just as he finished speaking the sound of trumpets blasted through Heaven, calling every angel to his designated commander. Michael watched as the angels around Crispin dispersed, each to his own legion in readiness for the same briefing that Crispin had been alluding to all along: a call to war. It was with satisfaction that Michael observed his angels in action—dedicated, loyal, and dutiful. Crispin caught the pleasure on Michael’s countenance.
“You have trained them well, Michael,” said Crispin. “They are an efficient organization to wage war in the name of the Most High.”
“Perhaps,” agreed Michael. “I am honored by their obedience. But I wish that the need for such a mobilization had never occurred.”
“The war will be won by our Lord,” said Crispin. “This we all know.”
“Yes,” said Serus, who had been silently observing the dialogue between Michael and Crispin. “But when will Eve’s child rise up? At what point will the prophecy be fulfilled?”
“That is a puzzle, Serus,” said Crispin, smiling at Serus’s recently discovered knack for asking pointed questions.”Let’s take it up in my quarters.”
They began walking toward the Academy. Since Serus was attached to Michael personally, he did not need to attend a commander elsewhere as did the other angels. Sangius bade the group farewell and departed for his duties at the Temple. The three angels made their way down the now deserted pathway and into the Academy. They didn’t speak until they found themselves in Crispin’s study deep in the heart of the complex. This was always a favorite spot for discussions and Crispin looked forward to such moments.
“Now Serus, you had a question about the prophecy,” said Crispin. “But rather than give you my opinion I would like to hear yours.” He sat up in his chair and continued. “What do you think will be the outcome of the prophecy? When will Eve’s child ‘rise up,’ as you put it earlier?” Crispin settled back in his chair and awaited the response. He always enjoyed getting his students to think through things for themselves. Michael smiled at Serus’s quandary.
“Well, obviously the Most High knows when and where the Seed should come,” Serus began. “And He is in control of the prophecy. So at His time and choosing the one who shall crush the serpent will arrive!”
“I could not have reasoned it out any better myself,” applauded Crispin.
“But I didn’t answer the question,” said Serus with a bemused look.
“But you did,” said Crispin. “The time and fulfillment of prophecy is a matter too lofty for mere angels. Ours is to help the humans expedite the prophecy in a way and manner of our Lord’s choosing.”
“Humans!” said an exasperated Serus. “That we should be allied with such capricious spirits! If we must depend upon the will of men to win this war we are defeated already—prophecy or not!”
Crispin smiled. “True, Serus. If we were to depend on men for anything as to the successful conclusion of this war we would be beaten already. Fortunately, we are dependent upon neither men nor angels.”
“Either way, it seems quite obvious that of Eve’s two children Abel shows some promise,” interjected Michael. “Perhaps Abel will end this nonsense once and for all.”
Before the others could respond, a figure appeared in the entryway. It was Gabriel. He stood there silently.
“Ah Gabriel, come in” said Crispin. “We were just discussing which of Eve’s children might be the vanquisher of Lucifer.”
“Abel seems a distinct possibility,” said Michael. “At least he seems to have a true devotion to the Lord.” He looked hopefully at Gabriel. “Don’t you think Abel might be the one foretold?”
“I’m afraid not, my brother,” said Gabriel sullenly. “Abel has been murdered.”
Kara and some of his angels stood around Abel’s cold body lying face down in the field. The back of Abel’s head was encrusted with dirt, blood, brown straws of grass, and grains of wheat, evidence of the brutal attack he had suffered at the hands of Cain. Berenius congratulated Kara on the subtlety and success of the effort. Kara acknowledge the praise and remar
“I would even say that the prophecy has been reduced to a shadow,” Kara said smugly. “If the Seed must come through humans such as this, we have already won!”
More and more wicked angels gathered around the carnage. A few holy angels scouted out the situation, but they remained largely away from the area, sorrowful at man’s ability to kill one of his own so readily. As the demons chattered among themselves, feeling better and better about their prospects now that Abel had been killed, Lucifer arrived with Pellecus to survey the scene.
“Well done, Cain,” Lucifer finally said. “I knew that your brutal side could be exploited. It was only a matter of time.”
“My lord,” interrupted Kara. “I would like to add that Berenius and even I had a part to play in this victory. We were constantly speaking into Cain’s mind thoughts of murder.”
“Ah Kara,” said Lucifer. “Ever desirous of glory. Yes, you and Berenius played a role in this matter. But it was Cain who chose. Remember that! If there is one thing we have learned in this war thus far, it is that humans ultimately will choose of their own free will. We can provide encouragement; we can inflame passions; but the choice to act is their own. We only have them when they surrender their complete will.”
“The Lord made that quite clear when he tossed Berenius at Cain’s feet like a pitiful newborn calf,” said Pellecus, smirking. Berenius looked at Kara, who could manage only a scowl.
“Sin was indeed crouching at Cain’s door…but the sin mastered him,” Lucifer said, as everyone laughed aloud. He looked at Abel’s remains. “And now Abel is dead.”
Lucifer knelt down and touched Abel’s cold face. He sat in this position for a moment and then looked up at the bewildered expressions around him. Finally he said, “You really should feel death. As I felt it in Eden when the serpent died. Death, brothers, is our ultimate weapon in this war. Death is what we are waging for. By defeating the Lord’s plan at Eden we have become the caretakers of death. Each of you must learn of death…how it feels…how it comes. Whatever carnality we can evoke in men, it means nothing if it does not ultimately result in death.”
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