An Angel's Mark

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Better The Devil We Know

All the furniture had been pressed up against the walls of the living room. Only a circular rug lay on the floor and that is where the young Nephilim directed the girls to sit, so they did. The girls sat in a semi-circle on the edge of the carpet with their legs crossed whilst Michael, Nathaniel, Micah and Ramiel sat in a line in front of them.

They had not been told anything about the next lesson they would be receiving so they didn’t know quite what to expect.

“Close your eyes and empty your minds, focus only on our voices” Ramiel calmly stated. They followed suit and listened to the haunting silence awaiting their next instructions.

“To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy. Who said this?” Ramiel continued.

“Sun Tzu in his War manual – The Art of War” Lillian replied in a serious tone her knowledge of History providing her with an advantage.

“Exactly and who is your enemy?” Ramiel replied his tone becoming more harsh.

“Satan goes by many names. The accuser, Beelzebub, the Devil, the Deceiver, the Evil One, the lawless one, the Father of lies and the first fallen star” Celeste responded solemnly.

“Correct, he is all those things. However, Lucifer is not just your enemy but the adversary of all men. Once an Angel of Light, he still appears to be righteous to those who wish to live comfortably in the shadows of the darkness and sin. Once one of God’s brightest of angels he was the first to fall. Do you know why?” Ramiel questioned.

“Due to his immense pride” Mae quickly replied.

“Pride indeed. In many ways pride is the most deadliest of sins not just for humanity but angels themselves fall victim to its charms. More powerful than even the greatest wrath, envy or greed and more shameful than the deepest forms of lust or gluttony. It can be so dangerous because when it comes to Pride, there is one thing that all God’s creatures have in common. We all find it very easy to not see it as a sin at all.” Micah explained.

“It was pride that convinced an angel who could want for nothing that he knew better than the Lord of all creation, his own father. It was pride that gave him the audacity to declare that humanity wasn’t worth Jesus’s sacrifice to save them.” Micah continued. Whilst the girls all shuffled uncomfortably at the thought of the immense confidence a being could have in order to think that they knew more than the one omniscient God.

“Millennia later his pride still fuels his twisted philosophies. He goes as far as to kill his fellow generals, using their blood to weaken the boundary between Heaven and Hell. He has been fine tuning his ruthless and self-serving nature for as long as humanity has been on this Earth. All of his plans have lead up to this and will we have to stop him in a final stand 3 months from now.” Micah said as the girls winced in response. It was obvious that Micah wasn’t holding back any punches in his preparation of them for the adversary the would soon face.

“As you all know this means that we will have to travel to London, specifically Chelsea at the beginning of the Summer in order to face him. His unending arrogance will mean that he won’t expect you and may even go as far as to laugh right in your faces. However, you must not be deterred for we will make sure that you all have one thing the he does not – a true understanding of yourselves.” Micah concluded.

Faye mentally sighed at the thought, while all their peers would be celebrating the end of their last school examinations before University. She and her six best friends would be travelling across the globe to save the living world as they knew it. For a moment she felt rather ashamed of her selfishness but she also acknowledged that it couldn’t be helped. A year ago, what was now happening to them wouldn’t have even entered her wildest of dreams.

Cora on the other hand was more concerned with how to establish a heightened sense of self and how it could help them defeat the greatest enemy known to mankind, but Michael was quick to answer her question.

“Sun Tzu also said that if you know yourself, you will win all battles” Michael stated assumedly taking over the session.

“No truer words have ever been spoken. In a way it can be helpful to think of this as a battle not against Lucifer but against yourself and your true nature. Human beings are sinful by nature and that is why we angels exist. To help you acknowledge your lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride whilst helping you work to improve it. You will never absolve it but you can own it ridding yourself of the shame and guilt that comes with it. That is not to say you must give up on trying to do everything right the first time but you must admit when you are wrong or fail to do so. Whilst having the courage to apologise and start again. Jesus’s sacrifice gives you the chance to have that clean slate each and every time you sin. Even as angels we were not made perfect and though Lucifer could acknowledge this there was still one thing he couldn’t see. All of God’s creatures are equal with none being better than the other and that means that everyone has an equal right to live on it. That is what you are standing up for, people’s chance to live” Michael continued

“Even Sun Tzu himself had insurmountable flaws but I believe he was a great general because he was unapologetically himself. He may not have known the limitations of his wisdom but his greatest words have been immortalised in history as a consequence. Two more of his greatest lessons warned that you must always consider the cost before starting a fight and that the best war strategies hope to subdue the enemy without fighting” Nathaniel added pausing for dramatic effect before continuing.

“In an ideal world Lucifer could be talked down from his treachery but we all know this not to be the case. This is a mission to put him back in his rightful place as Leader in the pits of Hell not to kill him.” Ramiel clarified.

“Was it not John F. Kennedy who said mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. This is a war you have to finish before it even has the chance to begin.” Nathaniel continued.

“Lucifer’s time will one day come to an end but it is only by God’s hands that he will meet this timely end, all you must do is send he and his generals back from whence they came, whilst fixing the gate so he many never again enter through it.” Nathaniel concluded trying to make his tone sympathetic, as he realised this was much easier said than done. In fact he even made an effort to say so.

“This is much easier said than done I know but God will provide you with the powers necessary to carry out such a task in good time. For now we must just prepare you mentally and physically for what is to come” Ramiel stated

“It is therefore important that we know each and every aspect of one another. Our most intimate secrets, doubts and disappointments in order for your bodies to be overwhelmed by the light of the Lord. His power will become yours and you can only embrace it when you are wholly free of doubt and guilt. Which is why I will now ask you to open your eyes and look at one another. This is a time for us to open up to each other in a place free of judgement and humiliation” Ramiel concluded.

The girls quickly opened their eyes but their mouths could not seem to follow suit. It was easy to think of your darkest thoughts but it was extremely difficult to say them out loud. As hard as they tried none of them seemed able to put themselves in such a vulnerable place. Luckily there were others who were able to lead by example.

“I think I joke around so much because I worry that my humour is all I have, secretly I am terrified that I just won’t good enough for anyone or anything and I will just end up letting myself down.” Sablo revealed as he entered the room followed by Archon and Daniel. His timing was impeccable and the tension that had been slowly suffocating the room rapidly dissipated. The others were quick to reassure him and a visible change in him could be seen immediately.

“I feel angry with God sometimes because I worry he didn’t give us enough time to be prepared for this or to prepare you for this” Daniel vented. It was a shocking revelation to the others as he always seemed so sure of himself and the mission in its entirety but it was also very good to hear. They had to be honest about their emotions and it helped the girls feel better knowing that they were all in this together. Their guardians didn’t have all the answers and they never pretended to which meant that they really felt like they could trust them.

The feeling of anger resonated with one woman in particular and she soon made it obvious why.

“My Aunt has cancer and I am terrified of living life without her.” Mae exclaimed and after she had finally said it out loud she felt herself finally accepting what she already knew to be true.

“I finally put two and two together, her tiredness, the dizzy spells and the hair loss. I even found some of her medication and looked it up online. I am angry at myself for not noticing sooner since she has been going through all of this alone. I know she hid this from me to protect me but I am so angry at her for making that decision for me and all the time that I have wasted that I could have been spending with her. More than that I am angry at a God who can ask for so much from me but can’t even manage to find it in his supposedly loving heart to save her” Mae cried out honestly.

Expressions of shock were shared by all those around her all except Archon. His face was contorted into a much more even mixture of guilt and shock if you paid close enough attention to it. He had known from the day they had revealed their powers in order to save Constance Lee that something wasn’t right with her. He couldn’t help but feel guilty for not trying to get to the bottom of her illness sooner. However, it was Micah who rushed over in order to carefully hold her delicate long frame, in his much larger and more muscular one. Her head resting on his chest as she cried angry tears into it. He soothed her as she let out all the salty liquid her body could hold. Once she had settled the others gathered around her offering her their support. Not wanting to overwhelm her and feeling inspired by her courage the other girls drew some attention away from her by revealing their own worries and concerns.

By the end of the evening they all felt much better. Simply talking and owning their deepest fears had eased everybody’s minds. For some their revelations had no easy fixes but each new confession they presented was met with immense support and that was all they needed. Mae didn’t feel much better about her Aunt’s situation but that didn’t stop her from accepting all the sweet comforts Micah whispered into her ear throughout the night, as he drew circles on her arms and rubbed her back. He kept her safe in his strong arms and in that moment it had felt like nothing could hurt her. Even though she knew that her Aunt’s situation couldn’t be changed, she also knew that she had to confront her and explain her awareness of it so that they could spend whatever time they had left together.

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