Unholy empire chronicles.., p.7

Unholy Empire: Chronicles of the Host, Vol 2: Chronicles of the Host, Book 2, page 7

 

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



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  He looked at one angel in particular. “Pellecus?” said Lucifer.

  “Yes, lord,” answered Pellecus, lulled out of an almost trance-like fixation on the body of Abel. “What is it?”

  “You are always one to learn something new,” continued Lucifer. “If you are going to administer the academy here on earth, you must acquaint yourself with death.” He looked hard at Pellecus. “For I assure you this is only the first of many crimes among men, and we must have a fellowship with death if we are to exploit it.”

  Pellecus hesitated for a bit, then walked over to Abel and bent down close to the body. After looking it over he knew what Lucifer wanted, and he suddenly entered into the corpse. Kara and the others stood back as if they were expecting something frightening to happen, but were unsure exactly what it might be. In a moment Pellecus emerged from Abel’s body.

  “Well?” purred Lucifer. “What did you learn, teacher?”

  “Death is cold and dark,” said Pellecus, a bit shaken but exhilarated at the same time. “It is void and empty. And it transforms quickly.” He indicated Abel’s body and assumed the role of a teacher giving a lesson in class. “Notice how quickly these humans begin returning to dust. Already Abel is changing in appearance. While inside his form, I could sense the decay already beginning. His physical makeup was breaking down rapidly. And there was nothing of the spirit in him at all. What inferior creatures are these humans!” Pellecus looked back at Lucifer and said in a matter-of-fact way, “Well, back to the dust with him!”

  “And with all humans!” agreed Lucifer. “But let me demonstrate something even more remarkable—and useful to us in the future, I believe.”

  Lucifer vanished and left the others wondering at his behavior. They continued in quiet chatter, commenting upon Abel’s murder and drawing a variety of conclusions as to its ultimate effect on the war. Kara was about to make further comment when an astonished look overcame him. He pointed across the field at a figure ambling toward them—the figure of Abel.

  The angels looked at the body on the ground. It had not moved. The figure continued toward them and came to stop just at the edge of the meadow where they stood. The figure was semitransparent, a spirit-like replica of the real Abel but with a bluish-white aura streaking about him. Pellecus smiled, realizing what was happening. The puzzled angels looked at each other in amazement as the pseudo-Abel transformed before their eyes back into Lucifer.

  “Ah Kara,” Lucifer said. “The look on your face betrayed your surprise.”

  “Naturally,” admitted Kara. “I was not expecting to see Abel again—not alive anyway.”

  “And you didn’t see him alive,” said Lucifer. “You saw him dead…so to speak.”

  “I don’t really understand,” said Kara, feeling flustered for having been taken in by the specter of Abel. “Why should we encourage humans after such a loss by creating an illusion of a visitation from death?”

  “Really Kara, you disappoint me,” said Pellecus, exasperated. “We shall use anything to get the human mind off the Most High. That is the point!”

  “Precisely,” said Lucifer, who noticed the other angels listening to their conversation. He led Kara and Pellecus away from them and continued talking. “It occurs to me that despite the material nature of the battlefield, the war itself will be fought and won on a spiritual plane. Thus whatever spiritual deceptions we devise will ultimately be decisive.”

  “Why so?” asked Kara. “These creatures are incited through material passion. I should think that we would exploit their material tendencies.”

  “Humans are spiritual creatures, Kara,” said Lucifer. He casually plucked a ripened piece of fruit that hung low on a branch. “They are spiritual creatures with a weakness for a good argument.” He held the fruit in front of them and smiled. “Just as in Eden.” He smirked and tossed it away.

  “Remember that,” he continued. “Of course we shall exploit every carnal desire that we can arouse in these filthy creatures. And though we can inflame human passion through physical senses, as you and Berenius did with Cain, nevertheless it is through the godlike freedom to choose that the battle shall be won. Choosing is a very spiritual discipline born out of the image of God given to men. A very tarnished image indeed.”

  Pellecus continued the dialogue. “Therefore, whatever we can do to distract humans from looking to the Most High will be useful. We shall have them looking everywhere but upward for their deliverance!” He laughed at the thought of it.

  “Imagine,” Pellecus continued, “the confusion we will be able to create by having humans believe they can be comforted from their fallen dead; or to have them make contact with benevolent spirits who appear to them in a friendly light of instruction, only to deceive them. Think of the potential in having humans worship our appearances because of a few simple manipulations of earthly elements.”

  “I promised all of you that you would be as gods on this world,” said Lucifer. “The weakness of the human mind is ripe for deception!”

  As they spoke, Rugio, the unquestioned commander of the warrior angels loyal to Lucifer, suddenly appeared before the group. Lucifer nodded at his commander as the group exchanged greetings.

  “So Rugio, my valiant commander, how is the bloodstained brother?” Lucifer asked, placing a hand on Rugio’s broad shoulder.

  “He is in hiding, my lord,” said Rugio. “Near the old encampment that he and his family once frequented.”

  “It seems that we can always count on humans trying to hide after they commit an indiscretion,” mused Lucifer. “Of course he comes by it quite naturally, what with his parents trying to hide in Eden under the very face of God.” The group burst out laughing. “I’m sure Eve will be quite astonished that it came to murder.”

  “She searches for him now,” said Rugio. “Abel’s flocks are scattered and she is afraid for her sons. A’dam too.”

  Lucifer looked solidly at the group. “She will fear much more than this in due course. There is far more at stake here than a dead son—and that is a dead dream. With Abel dies the only possible hope of this generation for the Seed to emerge.”

  “Until or unless Eve bears another child,” agreed Pellecus. “They were commanded to fill the earth with their vermin, you know.”

  “Nevertheless Cain is useless to the prophecy,” said Lucifer.

  Before he could finish his thought, the very air around them became violent, and the earth itself seemed to wrench, throwing the group of rebel angels into confusion and forcing them to the ground. Lucifer tried to regain himself and determine what was happening. Rugio assumed they were under attack by Michael and his angels. Kara sat up stupefied. Pellecus simply waited until it was all over.

  When the incident abated, Lucifer observed something very peculiar. He realized that though he and the others were greatly affected by the sudden outbreak of activity, the world around them was completely unscathed—even to the point that a fawn and her mother nearby continued nibbling on the same tender grass on which they had been nibbling immediately before the shakeup.

  “Something extraordinary is happening,” he finally said in a whispered tone.

  As he began to make more comment, a long, low, horrible groaning sound pierced the air around them, paralyzing them with fear and wonder. The sound came from everywhere and yet from nowhere: a wailing, passionate sound as if the earth itself was groaning a horrible outcry heard only in the invisible, angelic world. Once more the physical world remained oblivious. When it was over Lucifer stood up in deep thought, attempting an understanding of what had just happened. Then he smiled at the others.

  “Even the earth itself speaks to the crimes of men and angels,” he said in a sullen tone. “Nature itself is a player in this little drama of ours.”

  “What was it?” asked Kara nervously.

  “That was the blood of Abel,” said Lucifer, “crying out for justice.”

  The sun wore on Cain as he walked through the land. He had long ago departed
any familiar territory and had strayed deeply into lands that he and his family had never before traversed. He was hungry and very thirsty. But he continued eastward, away from his home, away from his parents. He was very alone.

  The sound of a distant babbling creek buoyed his spirits, and with a newfound energy he bounded down a gently sloping hill to a small stream at the bottom. He half fell in, lapping the cool water greedily. After filling himself he sat up on the bank, reflecting on his prospects.

  He was tired of running, to be sure. But he really had no place to go. He couldn’t possibly return to his grieving parents. Neither did he wish to face the world alone. But he was a fugitive—running from God just like A’dam and Eve had done so many years before in Eden. How often he had heard the shameful story told by his parents when he was growing up. And just as often, he and Abel had agreed that they should never be in a position of running away from God.

  He had traveled several days’ journey from the place where he had killed his brother. The farther away he was from that horrible spot, the better he felt. But he knew in his heart that no matter how far he ran, the confrontation he had had with the Lord would forever be with him…

  “Where is your brother Abel?”

  Why must He play with me like that, Cain thought. Why doesn’t He simply kill me and be done with it? Every night since the killing, Cain had not been able to sleep. He dreamed horrible dreams recounting the murder; he heard his brother’s voice crying out to him. In a dreamy state he saw himself standing before the Lord, asking him, “How would I know that? Am I responsible for Abel?”

  “What have you done?”

  “Leave me alone!” Cain screamed.

  In an instant his mind was flooded with the very words that his father said the Lord had spoken to him on that dark day in Eden, “A’dam, where are you? What have you done?” Now it was the son’s turn to face a God whose will he had transgressed…

  Cain looked at his reflection in the brook. He could not see the faces of Sangius, Serus, and Archias, a newly arrived angel from Heaven, looking down on him from the other side of the stream. What he did see was the mark of a fugitive, placed upon him by the Lord, that branded him a murderer and warned others not to kill him. Cain looked upon the mark and began to weep bitterly.

  Serus looked at Archias, who had been sent to begin training in the ways of men on earth. Sangius shook his head in pity.

  “One son murdered, one son branded a criminal,” Sangius finally remarked as they watched Cain sobbing. “You are certainly getting an education in the manner of men, Archias.”

  “Yes,” admitted Archias. “What an inglorious beginning.”

  Serus watched the sun disappearing over the high bluff to the west. “I just hope it isn’t the end,” he said somberly.

  CHAPTER 6

  “How disappointed Eve must be!”

  Chronicles of the Host

  Darkness and Light

  True to the Lord’s command, the children of A’dam and Eve multiplied into a very healthy human population. They grew remarkably in numbers, speaking the same language, forming one large, loosely-aligned society of tribes. Some founded cities or became herdsmen, while others reached inside themselves and became inventors or musicians. Thus did human culture wax stronger and stronger.

  But as is the way with men, even as their culture flourished, so did their corruption. Even Seth’s promising heritage was tainted over time. Men and women, who carried in them the image of God, who once called upon the name of the Lord, now cursed it. All of humanity had degraded itself to the point that day and night evil and vile thoughts were all that men contemplated.

  For their part, Lucifer’s angels had not been inactive all these years. They had sharpened their skills in tempting men, and in arousing unnatural passions within them. They had become experts in enticements that opened carnal possibilities among humans. Anger, lust, greed, idolatry, sorcery—all of these were encouraged among men, who then used their freedom to choose as a license to indulge their base natures.

  So, a bloody trail marked the progress of humans, until now, as the council came together, it seemed that any chances of the Seed emerging in this sin-ravaged world was remote indeed. Some of those closest to Lucifer dared privately to believe that they would soon be positioned to force a compromise upon the Lord.

  “How disappointed Eve must be that her hope in Seth was so wasted,” Kara said, announcing his arrival at the council. He took his place around the large, black obsidian table that served as Lucifer’s war room. “I hear that they are so compromised that one can hardly tell them from Cain’s wretched line. Delightful!”

  “Sons of God indeed,” echoed Berenius.

  “Truly it is remarkable how quickly these righteous ones have turned,” agreed Pellecus, who continued his thought that had been interrupted by Kara’s entrance. “As I was saying, these proud Sethites who presumed to call themselves the ‘sons of God’ failed to take into consideration the rather damaging qualities of the daughters of men. I’m afraid they have poisoned themselves utterly!” He smiled.

  Kara sneered. “What Seed of prophecy could we possibly fear coming from these carnal freaks?” he asked, looking at the others in the room. “Surely the war is nearing an end. Man has failed the Lord dismally. He must be able to see it.”

  “It does appear that corruption begets only corruption where men are concerned,” mused Pellecus.

  “My agents have failed to find any sign of the coming one,” Kara continued. “All they have witnessed is our seducing spirits at work among them. Sons of God indeed! I pity the deliverer who comes from this race. We need not fear any man!”

  “Except one,” said Lucifer, entering the cavern that served as his council place. The others rose to greet their leader and hail him as an impending conqueror.

  “You are all fools to believe that this war is nearing an end,” Lucifer said, as he seated himself at the rock table. “Mark me. Somewhere among these perverse and fallen creatures the prophecy lives. We must remain alert.”

  “Perhaps,” admitted Pellecus. “But you must admit, my lord, that as humankind continues to be degraded the likelihood of something holy being born from something so rotten is diminished.”

  “Pellecus, you disappoint me,” said Lucifer with a smug tone. “Humans lost their holiness in Eden. Wherever and whenever the Seed emerges, it shall come from something that is human and therefore unholy.” He looked squarely at the faces of the council. “But I must admit that I am a bit puzzled. While it is true that humanity is finished morally, it is also true that the Seed lives somewhere among them.”

  “So you believe that God will choose among these men, in spite of their rebellion?” asked Kara.

  “No, Kara,” replied Lucifer. “I believe He has already chosen.”

  “Noah.”

  Noah looked up from mending the leg of one of his flock that had been attacked by some wild dogs. There was nobody near. He shook his head and went back to tending the lamb. He released it with an “off you go now,” and it took ginger steps toward the sound of its mother’s bleating. Noah smiled as he watched.

  “Noah.”

  This time the Voice came with more authority. Noah was certain that he heard it this time. He stood up and looked about. Nobody.

  “Hello?” he asked very softly, feeling a bit foolish. “Shem? Is that you? Who is it?” He turned a circle as he spoke. “What do you want?”

  The angels watched in amazement as Creator and creature spoke together about the grim reality of what God intended to do. They watched as Noah’s face, almost glowing in the light of the Presence, belied his shock and fear. He was listening as one who was trying to determine if it was all a dream, but coming to the dreadful conclusion that it was all very real. Then as quickly as it came, the light vanished and Noah was once more alone.

  He looked around as if he was glad nobody else saw his encounter, and then hurried off to call his family together. Two angels immediately
appeared at Noah’s side—powerful looking warriors—who took up guardian stances around the man whose mission it was to save himself and his family from the coming judgment.

  Serus and Archias were trying to determine who these new angels were. Their belts indicated that they were attached to Michael’s command. Serus surmised that they had been assigned to Noah to protect him. The cold, steely eyes of these newly arrived sentinels spoke volumes to any who dared to interfere with Noah’s mission.

  They watched as Noah disappeared toward the bit of land he farmed, his angelic companions staying right with him. Serus was about to comment when Michael appeared next to them. Archias bowed his head in respect for the archangel. Serus nodded as well, but in a more familiar way.

  “Well, it’s begun,” said Michael, hands on his hips, his brilliant sword sheathed in the golden belt about him. “It’s begun.”

  “I noticed two of your angels are assigned to the man,” said Serus. “Quinron, was one of them, I believe…”

  “Yes,” said Michael. “And Tassius. Those two are charged with keeping watch over Noah and protecting him.”

  “You think he is in danger?” asked Archias. Serus smirked, but Michael answered the rather naïve question with great tact.

  “Archias, I set you with Serus so you might observe the ways of men,” he began. “What have you learned about them?”

  Archias thought about it for a few moments. He searched Serus’s face for an answer. Serus simply looked back, stone-faced, and not a little relieved that Michael had not asked him the same question. Finally Archias spoke up.

  “Well, I have learned that most men are driven by their passions. They seem insatiable and incredibly carnal. Yet I know they are made in the image of the Most High. So I have learned that men are unpredictable creatures, capricious and vain and…”

 
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