“The barrier is only temporary, Agabus.” Chesed gave him a hand, helping Andre to his feet. He swayed where he stood, but remained upright, nodding and accepting Jora’s supportive arm. The host of Panoplia had returned from leading Abaddon back to his cell, and Malachi spoke to the Voice of Heaven at a distance. Andre turned to the altar, walking slowly with pained steps to kneel before it.
Jora joined him with her head bowed. Her face was marred by contusions from piercing shards of stone blasted from the cave. She was covered in a layer of dirt and blood just as he was, but she was beautiful. She could not keep her stunning eyes off of the awesome sight of the Panoplia Hupsoma keeping the Daimons in their place overhead, and the fact that she could see them was even more cause to love her. Kneeling beside him, with one hand in his and the other holding tight to the sword, she was strength. She was fearless.
The Agabus turned his face to the weeping sky and closed his eyes. Speaking a prayer of thanksgiving with a hoarse voice, he struggled to remain upright. His gratitude ran deep, but his body was failing, and he gladly allowed Jora to take over and finish the prayer for him. They thanked Theos for His Power and Protection, asking on behalf of their people to restore the Hupsoma and keep them from the further harm of the Daimons. “Give us Your peace,” Jora prayed, “and restore our island to what it was.”
Andre spoke up for the final word, “Make it better.”
“Amen,” Jora agreed, and they opened their eyes and joined gazes, holding them without speaking as the covering of Panoplia slipped out of sight behind the renewed protective Hupsoma surrounding the island.
In time, Lavi appeared behind them and got Andre’s attention. “Can you walk? Your mortal companions are waiting.”
“Svana!” Jora jumped to her feet as she recalled her sister.
Andre stumbled up behind her with the aid of the altar to support him.
“Are you alright, Agabus?” Lavi looked concerned, grabbing his arm when the prophet’s face lost all its color.
Andre nodded, “I’m fine.”
“I could give you a lift.” Lavi grinned at the dark expression Andre passed him in response to the suggestion.
“I’ll walk, thanks.”
“The healers will meet you.” Chesed stepped up and informed them. “They are on their way to where your friends lay by the cave.”
“Min søster?” Jora reverted to her native tongue under her stress.
“She is fine,” Chesed assured her. “She tends to your young friend.”
“He’s not young,” Andre muttered, following Jora toward the cliff-side path. “He’s just small.”
“Dre,” Lavi stopped him, holding tight to the prophet’s arm. Andre looked back and met the Warrior’s eye, waiting for the usual snide comment and sarcastic humor. Lavi merely passed him a scrutinizing look before pulling him in for a fierce, but brief, hug.
Andre winced as his broken arm was crushed against the Panoplia’s stiff armor, but he was grateful nonetheless.
“Well done, Agabus.” Lavi let him go with a look of pride on his strong features. “Well done.”
“Praise Theos,” Andre responded wearily.
They found Declan as he was strapped to a stretcher below the mouth of the cave. It was growing dark as the sun began to set behind an overcast sky dripping with light rain. Jora ran to Svana and hugged her fiercely, making sure her sister was okay before rattling off everything that she had seen in rapid Norwegian.
“You saw the spirits?” Svana’s eyes opened wide, flabbergasted and a little jealous that she had remained behind and missed out.
“How you doing, Dec?” Andre stood over his friend getting cared for by emergency healers drawn to the cave by the influence of the Panoplia.
Declan’s eyelids fluttered open where he lay on the hard, board stretcher. “Alive, Agabus. I am alive.”
Andre grinned. “Thank Theos for that.”
“You are hurt, Agabus,” one of the healers observed the way Andre favored his right arm. “Is it broken?”
Andre looked down, having forgotten about it for the moment. “Yeah, I think so.”
He turned as the frantic face of Komer Costa erupted through the trees along the path back to the village. Costa ran to the side of the Agabus and prepared to embrace him before he realized the healer was caring for his arm and stopped himself. He had no words, only wet eyes brimming with gratitude.
“It’s done,” Andre told him with a shrug.
Costa nodded in full agreement. “It is done.”