At 6am, Jada pushed her long dark hair back from her face and wandered downstairs. When she saw the entire Council standing in the dining room she stopped abruptly and stared.
“It’s okay child,” Lucius told her. “Go and wake your sisters. We have much to do.”
When everyone had gathered downstairs, Lucius addressed the room. “We have an enormous task ahead of us, one that will affect the entire world. Should we fail tomorrow the human race will cease to exist and every form of life on this planet will be exterminated.”
“Right, so no pressure,” Harrison whispered beneath his breath.
“Do you think this is a joke?” Lucius snapped. “I assure you, should we fail you will not take pleasure in the means of your death.”
Harrison nodded and considered himself sufficiently chastised. “Sorry.”
“Please, go on,” Aurora urged. “We need to know as much as we can. Tell us, when will they rise?”
“Lucifer and the Reaper Army will rise at day break, 24 hours from now at the site of Chris Stone’s death. Melloch still believes that is the site of the fallen saviour. We can use that against them.”
A knot formed in Gabriel’s stomach. Daybreak. How would he fight beneath the burning sun? Sensing his concern Aurora leaned in close. “I can take care of it,” she whispered. “You will fight.”
“But what can we do?” Amelia was asking. “We are not trained in the art of warfare. We were so young when we lost our parents. We didn’t learn their skills on the battlefield. How can we be of assistance?”
“Amelia, you and your sisters are the descendants of the Earth’s most powerful women,” Armain began. “Today we will train and when the battle begins your natural instincts will take over. You will become the warriors of your bloodline. All you need to do is provide Gabriel with clear passage to Lucifer.”
“So we need to block and cover him,” Harrison replied. “Make sure he reaches the goal line.”
“If that helps you, then yes,” Lucius managed. “Gabriel must not be taken down before he reaches Lucifer. If he is lost, so is the Earth.”
“And the Reapers?” Aurora asked. “How do we kill them and give Gabriel the space he needs to reach Lucifer?”
“You cannot Aurora, only a demon can.”
“But we don’t have a demon,” Aria snapped. “It’s hopeless.”
“Aria, listen to me child. What defines a demon is the blood that courses through its veins. We have been preparing for this day for a very long time. When vampires walked the Earth they were rebellious and unruly. Many had to be punished for their misdeeds. I will spare you the details, but suffice to say their blood has gone to good use.”
“Their blood?” Aurora asked.
“The arrows you use will be coated in the blood of the wicked. Their sacrifice will help us save the world. When the arrows pierce the skin of the Reapers they will become infected, killed by a demon so to speak.”
Gabriel reached out and took Aurora’s hand. “I have a question. When I, well, when the end comes, where will I go? I mean, I’m a demon, kind of, so it makes sense I would go to Hell but that doesn’t seem like such a great idea after I just killed Satan’s favorite son.”
“Rest assured Gabriel, God will take mercy on your soul. He will reward you’re sacrifice with entry into the Garden of Eden.”
Gabriel tried to take comfort in the fact he would not spend eternity being tortured in Hell, but it did little to ease his fears. In the less than a day he would be dead. The idea wasn’t sitting well.
“I don’t understand,” Harrison said, his voice heavy with frustration. “If God knows about all of this then why doesn’t he send us some help? An archangel. Michael or…”
“Or Gabriel perhaps?” Lucius quipped.
“What are you saying? That Gabriel is an archangel?”
“Now hold on,” Gabriel managed. “Before all of this I was just a man. I’m not…”
“It is not until we are faced with our greatest fear that we discover who we really are,” Lucius told them. “If we are never bound in darkness, there is never any need to shine.”
The room fell quiet as everyone thought about the enormity of the task ahead of them.
“Well that’s all very inspirational,” Harrison said, breaking the silence. “And even if Aurora and her sisters somehow become great warriors in the next 24 hours, how are the eight of us supposed to hold off an army? It just all seems a little, oh I don’t know, impossible?”
“How indeed?” Lucius replied. “Harrison, did you not once command an army of your own?”
“I wouldn’t call it an army and that was a long time ago. It’s been nearly ten years since I left the service.”
“And yet you remain in contact with those who serve. You train soldiers don’t you, at a base just a few kilometres from here?”
“Part time,” Harrison replied. “But those kinds of men do not believe in demons and the devil Lucius. They’re soldiers not clergymen.”
“That is not the question you need to ask. The question you need to ask, is do they believe in you?”
Gabriel knew the answer to that. Harrison had been an incredible leader and that would not have changed. An expert tracker and sniper, he had led by example and was promoted to Sergeant after only his first tour.
“And Aurora, can you not command Earth’s army? The animals and elements are at your service are they not? Together you have more than enough resources to defeat the army and kill Lucifer. But you must believe that you can.”
“And just say we do, what do I tell the men?” Harrison asked. “I mean, how do I debrief them after something like that?”
“Why you tell them they saved the world of course. What greater service could there be?”
They all fell quiet, lost in their own thoughts. Eventually it was Gabriel who spoke. “How do I use it? The dagger I mean. Is there a specific place on Lucifer’s body that I need to penetrate? Do I need to decapitate him? What?”
“Nothing as fancy as that child. Once the sword penetrates Lucifer’s flesh the power of God’s seal will take care of the rest. Now enough questions. There is much to do and I suggest we get to work.”