Unholy empire chronicles.., p.8

Unholy Empire: Chronicles of the Host, Vol 2: Chronicles of the Host, Book 2, page 8

 

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



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  “And worthy to be spared?” asked Michael.

  “Some of them, perhaps,” Archias answered guardedly. “At least this one is deemed worthy enough by the Lord that you have set two warring angels over him.”

  “Exactly,” said Michael. “The Lord has determined a great course that involves this man Noah. I suspect that the enemy will be aware of this very soon. He will seek to destroy or stop Noah in the task God has given him. It falls to the Host to protect him.”

  “Seems simple enough,” piped in Serus.

  At that moment a man stumbled nearby, very drunk. The man had matted hair and a vacant blackness in his eyes. Muttering to himself, he sat down on a large rock near where the angels stood. Behind him, two raucous devils appeared, laughing and sneering at the sight of Serus and Archias. When they saw Michael they sobered up for just a moment and became more cautious in their approach. They stood next to the drunken man, who was their assigned charge.

  The man yawned a smelly, drunkish yawn, completely unaware that he was sitting among five invisible beings. The angels stared at each other. Suddenly the devils burst out in a shriek of laughter that would have unnerved Archias had not Michael been there.

  “Well are you now called devils,” said Michael. “For you are indeed slandering spirits who demean all that is created of the Most High God.”

  “What, this wonderful creature?” said Errus, one of the devils. He pointed to the man, who was leaning heavily to one side in the warmth of the sun. “Image of God, indeed! We are merely expediters of something already in the man’s heart. Give way, archangel. You have no authority here!”

  The other devil growled under his breath and looked at Archias. “What are you staring at?” he demanded. “Your God is responsible for this, not us. He made these detestable animals.”

  Archias didn’t answer.

  “True,” admitted Michael. “Our authority is limited to the scope of the will of men for now. But that sword cuts both ways. And should this man ever call upon the Lord, we shall respond in his defense at your peril.” Michael’s sword began to shimmer slightly as he finished.

  The devils glanced at the sword in Michael’s belt, remembering his deft usage of it when they were forced from Heaven. He certainly had had authority that day!

  “No doubt, no doubt,” said Errus. “But on the day that this one calls upon the Lord I will carry your sword for you!” They burst out laughing again as the man slumped to the ground, very much passed out. “He doesn’t even know his own name, much less the Lord’s! Isn’t that true, Jimerel?”

  “When will you angels learn that the will of men is broken?” Jimerel demanded of Michael. “You are finished. Earth is ours and men are no longer interested in God.”

  “Yes, men’s wills are weak,” admitted Michael. “But there will come a day, and your master fears it, when a man shall be born whose will is not the will of men but of the Most High God.”

  “That myth?” came a voice.

  Michael turned to see Lucifer and Kara making their way toward them. Errus and Jimerel almost leaped with joy at the sight of their leader. He would make short work of these arrogant angels!

  “A myth. Is that what you call it now?” asked Michael. Archias noticed Serus turning away from his former master.

  “No, Michael,” said Lucifer. “That is what they are calling it

  “What a dreadful miscalculation on the part of the Most High,” said Kara. “Within such a short period of time the hope of Seth has become a legend.” He looked directly into Michael’s eyes. “No human believes that prophecy anymore.”

  “This man, for example, is a direct descendant of Seth,” said Lucifer. He began walking around the man, as if lecturing in a classroom. “At one time this man had a godly heritage, and he called upon the name of the Lord. Look at him, Michael. He’s finished.”

  The drunken man suddenly stirred and stood up. Bleary eyed, he ambled off toward the settlement down the road. Lucifer looked at Errus and Jimerel and indicated that they should be off with him.

  “Try to finish the job before the sun sets,” said Lucifer. “The man is desperate. Perhaps he is ready to end it all—after he sobers up a bit I mean.”

  The pair of devils took off after their subject, steering him towards the town and the next drink. The man stumbled on, unaware of their presence.

  “So you think that by preying on these wretches you will stop the prophecy?” asked Michael after they had gone.

  “Well Michael, I don’t like to take chances,” reasoned Lucifer. “I have no idea where the Seed might try to emerge or through whom. So up until now my strategy has been the wholesale destruction of humans.” He smiled. “Of course, the humans are doing most of the destroying themselves!”

  “You said ‘up until now,’” replied Michael. “You have a new strategy? Perhaps you will start more in on the children of humans?”

  “Actually, Michael, I am more interested in Noah,” Lucifer said. “It seems the Lord has taken quite an interest in him.”

  Noah called his family together to tell them what God had spoken to him. Shem and Japheth sat next to their wives. Shem stirred the fire where large yams wrapped in leaves lay cooking in the coals. Noah’s wife looked at her husband with curiosity and a bit of nervousness—she had never before seen him so intense. Finally, Ham showed up with his wife and sat down. Noah was now ready to begin.

  “Father, this isn’t another one of your talks to encourage us to stay pure in this corrupt world, is it?” asked Shem woefully.

  “You mean corrupt and vile world,” corrected Ham. The young men laughed, but Noah spoke as if he didn’t even hear them.

  “For a long time I have told you how God has been patient with men,” he began. “I know, I know. You have accused me of harping on the subject; maybe I have done that. I also realize that this idea has made us outcasts in our community. That is fine with me. At least those people know where we stand.”

  Noah stood up. “But something happened to me today that changes everything.”

  As he spoke, his words took on an authority that his family had never before witnessed. This wasn’t just their father railing about the wickedness of the world; this was an oracle of God Almighty.

  “Know this: the Lord will bring a flood upon this world that will destroy every living creature. He shall do this because He knows that men are continually plotting and doing evil. He is doing this because men no longer call on the name of the Lord but worship dark spirits in the guise of heavenly messengers. He will bring the flood because he made a promise that One would come to make all things right.”

  The family looked at each other, not knowing how to respond. Had he gone mad or had he truly heard from the Lord? God was going to destroy all living things in a flood? For a moment the group sat in silence, with the sound of the crackling fire the only noise. Finally Shem spoke up.

  “You say that the Lord Himself told you these things?” he asked.

  “Yes,” said Noah. “Right over there.” He pointed toward the meadow where the Lord had encountered him earlier.

  “Well, if the Lord is going to destroy the earth, what is to become of us?” Shem asked.”

  “God has provided a way out for us,” Noah said, scanning the horizon as if imagining in his mind where the best place might be to begin construction of the ark.

  He explained to the family that they were to build a massive boat for themselves and two of every creature that lived on land. The boat would preserve them in the midst of the flood and would carry them until an appointed time when they would begin the world all over. “Once more men will call upon the name of God!” Noah exclaimed.

  “And when do we begin the building of this boat on dry land?” asked Japheth. “The crops are just coming in. Are we to let them go in order to build this…this…”

  “This ark,” interrupted Noah. “This haven. This only hope!” He almost shouted it. Noah surmised the meaning of the looks he was getting from the b
ewildered family. “I know. It sounds insane,” he admitted. “But one day—as death swirls around us—you will thank the Lord for the safety of this boat. The women will see to the crops. As for us, we begin work tomorrow!”

  Unseen by anything human, two pairs of reddish eyes were watching the family from the side. Their owners had been listening to the conversation with great interest. The demons looked at the two large warrior angels at Noah’s side with a bit of trepidation. They mocked and cursed the two holy angels, who ignored them and remained passive and dutiful.

  “This will be interesting news for Kara,” said one of the devils. “They begin work tomorrow.”

  “And so shall we,” said the other, grinning.

  Lucifer was scanning the group of assembled angels. He could read the anxiety in many of the faces. Some had been with him from the very beginning; others had thrown in with him at the very end—but all were hoping that somehow he would have a plan…a direction…a newfound inspiration. Lucifer always seems to come up with something.

  This particular group, which had become the core of Lucifer’s leadership, had convened at his request in response to the Lord’s recent visitation to earth. It included most of the members of the former Council of Worship who had assisted his efforts in Heaven. Stripped of their heavenly offices, they looked to Lucifer for earthly authority—the promised reward for their loyalty.

  No longer the Council of Worship, they were now called the Council of War in the Heavenlies, or the War Council. The group was dedicated to forcing a peace that would leave them to conduct affairs on earth however they deemed proper, while recognizing the Most High’s authority in Heaven. Lucifer thought it an “equitable and face-saving compromise,” but he realized that it could only be achieved through a long and bitter contest.

  “It will require much blood before this war is over,” Lucifer had cautioned. He warned that the earth must be drenched with the blood of humans before the Most High would finally see the futility and waste of it all. “Blood will be the deciding factor in this war,” he said. “Mark me!”

  At this particular meeting, Kara began by reporting on the developments with Noah. Lucifer had issued a standing command that whenever and wherever the Most High made an appearance on earth it was to be investigated immediately. Kara delighted in the role of chief informant for the cause and related Noah’s discussion with his family.

  “Noah?” said Lucifer, pausing in thought.

  “Yes, my lord,” answered Kara with not a little pride in the efficiency of his network of spying angels. “That simpering vine grower who will have nothing to do with his fellow creatures.” He made sure he had everyone’s attention and then continued. “As you know I cast a rather wide net when it comes to gathering information.” Looking about the room, he added with a hint of menace: “On everyone.”

  “Interesting,” mused Lucifer, ignoring Kara’s veiled threat to the others. “I sensed that the Most High was about to choose. He could so easily let it all go, what with the world so out of His control. How like Him to continue the game.”

  “So what does that mean, lord?” asked Tinius. “Would God truly destroy the work of His creation? The very men in whom He has vested so much love?”

  “It is for love of men that His love is twisted all about,” Pellecus offered. “Having made a commitment to bring about a resolution through Eve’s seed, He now is faced with continuing even if it means destroying everything. He’s trapped Himself!”

  “This was the love we all trusted in,” added Lucifer, “until it became destructive and wrathful. That is why we wage this war. The Most High is driven by love—it is an unhealthy obsession with Him. Now He finds that He can only express it in terms of wrath. What a perverse notion.”

  As the War Council meeting continued, Kara reported on the details he had learned of Noah’s assignment, and how the Lord intended to re-populate the world with Noah’s seed. He agreed with Pellecus’s assessment that God had decided to preserve Eve’s seed against a future date and thus carry forward the hope of all humanity in the coming one.

  “So what now, Master?” asked Tinius with a twinge of sarcasm.

  “Don’t try me, Tinius,” Lucifer responded, looking sharply at the angel who had offended him. Then he turned to the others with hopeful eyes. “Hear me all. I once said that our Lord always seems to leave an opening for us. He did so in Eden. He did so again with Cain. By naming Noah the Lord has exposed His plan.”

  As he spoke, Lucifer began to get caught up in the possibility of it all. “He has made it much easier for us. Until now we have had to be watchful of every family for signs of the coming one. Now we can concentrate our efforts on one man—Noah!”

  “And what of the other humans?” asked Pellecus. “Shall we not continue to harass them? They are, after all, also made in God’s image.”

  “If we destroy Noah they have no hope,” said Lucifer. “We’ll continue to foster the destructive habits of humans.” He snickered. “They have become quite adept at bringing destruction upon themselves with our help!”

  Rugio spoke up. “Where do we begin?”

  Lucifer smiled at Rugio, supreme commander of all the warring angels under his control. Of all the angels he commanded, Rugio was the most blindly loyal. What the other angels found menacing in his attitude, Lucifer found quite useful. He turned to the warrior, and placing a hand on his shoulder, continued speaking. “Noah’s name means ‘comfort,’” he said, almost whispering. “I suggest we make things extremely uncomfortable for the man and his family.”

  Rugio nodded. “I’ll see to it personally,” he said, and vanished with his two aides.

  CHAPTER 7

  “Father, you really believe these people are worth saving?”

  Chronicles of the Host

  Noah’s Progress

  True to their plan, the angels under Lucifer’s domination began to attack Noah from every possible avenue. The holy angels guarding Noah and his family violently fought back the dark angels who tried with all their might to assault Noah’s body or to bring about a mishap of some sort that might result in his death.

  With the protection the Lord had placed over Noah being too strong to penetrate, attacks on his person were out of the question. Thereafter, Lucifer decided on another tactic—one that had proven very successful among humans thus far. He unleashed his angels among the populace, inflaming their base passions of mockery and discouragement, so that they daily hurled insults at Noah and his family, castigating them as freakish outsiders and fanatics.

  As all of this continued, Kara worked hard among the members of Noah’s own family, his sons and their wives, creating a subtle discord until they too began to murmur and grumble among themselves. Lucifer reasoned that whatever could be done to discourage progress on the ark must be attempted.

  As for the Host of Heaven, ever watchful, they awaited instruction from the Most High as to how to contest the darkness opposing mankind. From time to time they were allowed to intervene when one of their fallen brothers transgressed his domain of influence. However, the greatest show of strength demonstrated by the holy angels occurred whenever Noah cried out to the Lord in faith-filled prayer. On those occasions, the Host appeared in greater numbers and, with effort, forced back the dark veil of evil spirits who were at the moment encroaching upon him…

  “Noah! You crazy old man!”

  “Better hurry—looks like a lot of water coming in!”

  Noah ignored the laughter and jeering that had become routine after so many years. He didn’t even look down from the scaffolding that hugged the huge ship. Instead he continued on, as he had been doing now for…could it be nearly one hundred years? He wiped his sweaty brow as he looked at Shem on the other end of the structure, squinting because of the distance.

  Shem, however, did look down. He also had become used to the daily ridicule of the locals. But whereas Noah had hardened himself, Shem allowed the constant harassment to disturb him from time to time. He lo
ved his father and would never speak a word against him. But this ceaseless work amidst unruly neighbors and the complaints of his wife sometimes drove Shem to the brink. All of his friends had deserted him years ago, and he was utterly committed to finishing the project out of respect for his father. But he had decided that when it was all over, he would settle a few scores.

  Looking down this day, he noticed that one of the usual ringleaders, Kerz, was almost directly under him. Looking at the container of tar, Shem grinned a bit and then slowly eased the bucket to the side, spilling the black gooey substance out and over the scaffold. A large portion of the mess hit Kerz on the shoulder. Kerz yelped in surprise, then glared upward at Shem amidst the noise of the now laughing crowd.

  “You! Shem!” he screamed. “You’re just as crazy as your father!” He picked up a rock and threw it at Shem. It bounced off a massive beam and fell harmlessly to the earth. “You can’t stay up there forever!” he yelled. “And I’ll be waiting for you!”

  Shem watched as Kerz walked away, most of the crowd following him. He heard the steps of Noah coming his way and prepared himself for his dad’s disapproving lecture. Noah picked up the bucket that dangled halfway off the crude, wooden walkway encircling the final few feet of the ark to be completed.

  “Shem,” he began, looking at his son more with understanding than anger. “You mustn’t fight with these people. We must be examples to them…”

  “Father, you really believe that these people are worth saving?” demanded Shem. He stood up and faced Noah, a little taller than the old man. “You waste your breath preaching at them to return to the Lord. They curse you and the Lord every day. Why do you do it?”

  “Because it is the Lord’s will,” said Noah. He patted the side of the ship. “Just like the building of this holy ark. It is God’s will that I preach to these people. And it is God’s will that we build—and so we build!”

  “But how much longer?” wailed Shem. He looked down at his brothers.

 
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