Book III: Chapter 25
“I just don’t understand.” Alan lamented. “Tomorrow is the big day, yet we are powerless to stop The Beast. Would the Lord really have brought us all this way, only to leave us at the very end?”
Alan, Miriam, and I were sitting under the shade of an olive tree, within one of the many interior courtyards of Chairman Ma’bus’ palace – despite the earthquake that had occurred here in Baghdad after the death of Elijah and Enoch, amazingly Ma’bus’ stronghold was still in good condition – and ever since our capture at Whitby Abbey this locale had served as our prison.
There was no longer any question in my mind about who was The Beast – it was Ghaz al-Ridwan Ma’bus. As for Pope Benedict, given his involvement in our recent rather unfortunate events, it seemed we had no choice but to conclude that he was The Second Helper.
As you can imagine, this was not a happy time for us.
And yet there was nothing we could do but wait for our fate to unfold.
And while we knew that guards watched our every move, on the whole we’d been left to ourselves – we could venture most anywhere we pleased within our section of the palace and our every needs were met.
We simply could not leave.
On most days, we usually ended up in this little garden, debating our fate – there wasn’t much else to do and the garden was lush and beautiful. That said, none of us could truly take solace in these confines, as the beauty of the place only made Ma’bus’ fast approaching victory all the more wretched.
For we three knew that when The Beast rose to power at last, all that was good and beautiful in this world would vanish forever.
“The Lord helps those who help themselves, Laz.” Miriam replied, her next words cutting like a knife into my heart. “In the end, it was WE who failed – not Him. Had we just been patient and stuck to His plan, everything would have worked out. It’s just like Gabriel always told me – we were given a choice. Unfortunately we made the wrong decision. As a result, Ma’bus not only has all three of our Nails, but he also now possesses my Book of Life, and John’s sacred scrolls.”
“We’ll see.” I muttered, my anger having returned in the last few weeks – especially after Ma’bus robbed me of the priceless Scroll of the Illuminated Angels – one of the keys he would eventually need to complete his Armageddon Rite. “Damn shame if you ask me. What a waste.”
“But is that really it?” Alan asked again. “Are we just going to give up and accept fate? Are we done fighting?”
“Our Moment of Truth has passed.” Miriam replied. “We failed in our mission. If the world is to be saved, it will not be from our actions.”
“She’s correct.” I agreed, feeling small in my faith. “All we three can do now is wait it out. We’ve been reduced to mere bystanders. If there is still anyone left to help, the task of saving the world will become their job now.”
“But who could it be?” Alan wondered. “Is there anyone left who has the power to oppose The B—“
He was interrupted by some activity off to our right – the guards parted to allow one of the interior gates to open, but just then the haze of the sun’s rays beamed suddenly brighter, obscuring the doorway…
As if Nature herself was contending the way.