Ανγελιкцϛ1And there was war in heaven.Michael and his angels fought against the dragon,and the dragon and his angels fought back.Apocalypse 12:7
45ThemaThe wet cobblestones glittered under the street lamps of thevia Tunica that late winter night at the Vatican City.The persistent drizzle and wind bending his hat brim,prevented the priest from looking straight forward as hewalked the deserted alley. “April showers may come yourway…, like clockwork!” the priest thought walking in therain and trying to secure his hat with one hand whilegrasping his raincoat lapels closed with the other, in a not-too-successful attempt to guard his chest from the nippydroplets. Inconvenient as it may have seemed, he didn’tmind the downpour at all; actually, he was amused lookingat the reflection of the lamplights and the waves of distortioncaused on every step he took through the countless tinypuddles as he crossed the passageway communicating thePiazza of the Roman Protomartyrs with the Piazza of theSanto Uffizio.Halfway along the narrow street, he noticed a long stretchingshadow emerging at the corner of the Teutonic College andCemetery. Reverend Paoletti instinctively raised his headand saw a tall individual standing by the entrance to thepiazza on which opposite site stood its namesake building,the Palace of the Holy Office. He couldn’t distinguish anyfeatures on the figure, obscured as it was by the gleamingbackdrop combination of misty rain and street illumination,but his unique aura stood out, radiating him with a sense ofpeace and confidence, as well as the certainty that no harmwas forthcoming. Without stopping or even slowing hispace, he approached the aural individual trying to discern hisfacial characteristics and what seemed, for a brief moment,the tips of feathered wings behind his shoulders. It was untilhe was within a few feet from him that Joseph finallyrecognized the stranger, when the figure wearing a heavytrail duster, spread it half open to block the light emanatingfrom behind and that up to that point had kept the priest
46dazzled. It was Patriel, the angel that saved both his life andJohn’s less than two months before in Israel.“Hello , out for a breath of fresh air?” the angel asked with abroad and warm smile on his face.“Patriel! Is it really you? Boy am I glad to see you! I wasbeginning to wonder if you were just an object of myimagination cooked under Megiddo’s sun. What are youdoing here?” The priest embraced his savior and in anafterthought, added, “On second thought, who cares whatyou are doing here. After all, this is the Vatican; youprobably frequent this city a lot, eh?”“No, not that much Joseph, though I must confess, last yearwas five hundred years since my last visit to the city. I cameon that occasion to witness the inauguration of somefrescoes.”“1512? You mean Michelangelo’s work at the Sistine?”Joseph questioned, truly interested.Patriel nodded and said, “You know? Let’s walk to youroffice, we need to confer and I would appreciate a mug ofhot Italian chocolate from your prelacy.”“Great idea, let’s walk and on our way allow me to ask you afew questions.”With the angel nodding, Joseph fired away “How is it thatyou appeared just in the nick of time that day atop MountMegiddo? Were you tailing us or the demon? Did youbecome visible or teleport at will? How is it possible that…”The angel warmly patted the priest on the back and holdinghis index finger close to his mouth, silenced Joseph toanswer, “We will have more than enough time to talk aboutthe things you need to know and are able to understand.Enough to say, as I told you on that occasion, I was assignedto you by the Archangel Barachiel. I am your guardianangel. I have always been at your side, but we are allinvisible and inaudible to you and mankind in general, onaccount of your own free will, as you well know.”
47The priest nodded in agreement and asked “So you havenever advised me or comforted me in my times of need?”“No direct counseling, but gently reminding you with subtlesigns of your true nature, so you could follow your heart. Asfor comforting you, can you really say that you never feltcomforted or accompanied in your times of need?”“I guess I have, but always attributed it to my faith.”“Faith is what we are left with, when everything else seemslost,” Patriel said and added “But rest assured that more thanonce I have embraced you in my wings.”The priest smiled and pointed to the lighted window on thethird floor of the palace and cheerfully announced, “That’sme up there, let’s get those hot chocolates.”After they entered the premise and ascended the stairs,Patriel continued “In answer to your second question, no, Iwas not tailing the demon, I was accompanying you as I domost of the time, but particularly when you embark on yourfrequent investigations, so luckily enough for you and John,I happened to be by your side at that time, so I only had totransubstantiate to lend you guys a hand. And just beforeyou ask, given the way you are looking at me, let me assureyou. We are substance in this realm and ours, and while wecan transubstantiate, we cannot teleport within this realm atwill, though we can use doors between our kingdoms.”“Worm holes?” Joseph asked.“Yes, you could call them that. They are everywhere, onlytoo tiny to be seen or used by mankind. Nevertheless, someof our elders and we as guardian angels can and do. Wetravel within kingdoms increasing their vortexes.”“Can you use them for time travel too or only to movebetween dimensions or kingdoms as you described?”“Mostly dimensions; time travel is only to the future and thatis rarely allowed. I think that is all you need to know fornow, Joseph,” Patriel said and waited for the priest to finishunlocking the heavy ancient door in front of them.
48“All I need to know? Well I guess it is okay for our firstround only. Anyway, thank you and please, be welcome,”Joseph invited the angel to enter and extending his armopened the door to his guest.Once inside the priest’s studio-office in the old palace, longbefore used as the seat of the Holy Inquisition, Patriel stoodfor some time gazing at the inner courtyard while thereverend having the chocolates almost ready, was sprinklingcinnamon on the steaming beverages. “I discovered thiscinnamon in Veracruz — it’s the best in the world they say. Iwas in Mexico doing some research on apocalyptic signs,when on my return from the Yucatan; I came across it at LosArcos Café. Remarkable delicate flavor!”“Yes, I remember that trip, the Maya calendar no-show.Actually, this is partly why I am visiting here with youtonight. Have you drawn any other conclusions from it? Anynew lines of investigation?” the angel bluntly asked withoutturning away from his window sight.The priest suddenly made the connection. The longhairedarchaeologist was actually Patriel. Less tanned, thinner,clean-shaven and styling shorter hair, but the same personnonetheless.“Holy mother! You are Patricio, the INAH scientist who waswith us in Chichén-Itzá. I remember now; you were using avery peculiar last name, something having to do with heavenor angels or something along those lines, what was it?”The angel responded rather indifferent “Angeles,” and askedJoseph again “So what else do you know about the end oftimes, padre?”Smiling happily for the new found memories but sensing noother reaction over their past encounter was forthcoming, thepriest extended a steaming mug to the angel, warning, “Becareful, is boiling hot, Patriel,” but to the man’s surprise, bythe end of his warning, the angel had already half emptiedhis drink on a single gulp, and without any visible reactionto its scorching content. “Or not,” Joseph whispered as he
49sat and extended his arm, inviting Patriel to do the same andjoin him on the second leather sofa chair, also nicely facingthe wrought iron chimney. “The end of times, eh? Let mesee,” the priest sighed and attempted a coherent response“There are several interpretations ranging from scripture toscientific theories.”Radio Vatican began to play softly in the background thefirst strings —violins and violoncellos— of Tchaikovsky’s1812 overture, filling with sound the book-crammed space,while the two friends listened and stared momentarily at thefire and its wobbling flames, licking the wood with cracklinggusto only to vanish once separated from their wooden birth,leaving behind but the red-hot glowing niches carving thelogs piled inside the old fire place, standing as old as theoverture itself and modestly cornered in the studio office.“Go on, please,” Patriel requested the priest to continue,noticing he seemed absorbed trying to order his thoughts toanswer the question properly.“The end of times is different from the end of the world, youknow, eh?” Joseph asked to an approving angel, andconfident with this initial reaction, started unfolding hisresponse.“Okay. In any case, there is still a long time to go before itactually happens. Though there is no agreement as to theorder of events. In the Christian tradition, after the time oftribulation which I reckon is now, there is still a thousandyears of peace and enlightenment before Judgment Day,” thepriest academically said reaching into his coat pocket for hiswrinkled pack of cigarettes. Pulling a twisted one, he lit itup, smoked and continued. “On the other hand, and as far asI know, even though there are multiple theories ranging froma single universe to a multitude of serial or parallel universesor multiverse, the scientific community seems to agree inthe acceleration of our ever-expanding universe.” WhenJoseph paused to exhale another long, thin, yet widening lineof smoke, Patriel extended his arm casually capturing it, and
50turned it into a globe of grayish fumes with the simple twistof his hand. To the priest’s amazement, and solely twirlinghis finger, the angel soon had the ghostly orb revolving onits own axis over the coffee table and slowly beginning todisplay, an ethereal image of a spherical universe teemingwith galaxies, nebulae and all the proper celestial bodies onemight imagine. Impressed by the angel’s handling of theethereal smoke and staring at the miraculous spectacle, thereverend continued with his assertion, “Whether thisacceleration is still inertia from the original Big Bang orblack matter pulling it apart until it ruptures the wholecontraption apart, it will certainly mark the end not only ofspace, but time itself.” The smoked universe subtly outburstits boundaries, and broke apart at the simple finger-snappingcommand from Patriel.“We don’t know just when yet, but it’ll certainly take longer,much longer to occur than a mere millennia.”“Well, you know? Don’t worry padre, your sun surely won’tsurvive that long either,” Patriel said with a smirk on hisface and fanning his hand to disperse what was left of thesmoky representation.The reverend smiled back at the angel’s smart but somberhumor, which was pretty much his own, and added “Or ourplanet, at the rate we are consuming it.”Soft laughter shared by the man and angel attested to a nowflourishing friendship between the two kindred spirits.Looking at Joseph reaching for the pot to refill his mug withthe aromatic hot beverage, Patriel suddenly remembered hisown mug sitting on the coffee table, and seeing that it wasalready half empty, decided to gulp the rest of its contentbefore readdressing the question. “Okay, professor, did youfinally sort out what really happened in the year 2012?”“Once again, I suppose you are referring to our adventureregarding the Mayan long count calendar, eh?” Josephfinished filling his mug and offered with a pouring gesture todo the same for Patriel, who having devoured his own was
51now extending his mug in acceptance. The priest, smiling athis friend childish likings, but somehow disappointed by thememories of that seemingly unremarkable night, answeredthe question after he finished serving his guest.“Another superstitious story, I guess.”“Not all of it is baseless superstition padre,” the angelresponded. “I am glad you know your ABCs on the subjectat hand and approach it scientifically; nevertheless, you willhave to remember some of your theological training in orderto understand what has been happening since that night andconceptualize it from a holistic point of view. After all mymere existence proves…”“Wait! Please,” the priest paused Patriel, gently touching hisarm and using a few seconds to place the empty pot on thetable. He then took a long look at the angel and said, “Provesthat having you here…in front of me…a real, hot-chocolate-drinking, tangible, interacting angel and asking me suchquestions, it does means that it may all well be for real. DearGod! Just to contemplate the possibility of its veracity makesme shiver.”Patriel patted twice Joseph’s hand and said, “The futurehasn’t been written yet, padre.”“Ufff!” exhaled Joseph authentically relieved.“But…” Patriel interrupted, “we are approaching a time oftrial and sacrifice and you people will have to rise up to thechallenge. That is of course, if all of you, as creation, are upto it.”The reverend sank in his sofa and took another cigarette,while the angel commenced his diatribe. “We are facing atwo-tier challenge. The first one pretty much your own, isthat your world as you know it is about to reach its tippingpoint. Earth can no longer sustain your staggeringlyexcessive ways and once it tips over, well, I won’t botheryou with the details of the ensuing cataclysmic shift —wecan go see a dozen movies about that. In the long run the
52planet will heal itself but not before dealing with the maincause of its ailment.”“Mankind,” the reverend interrupted as Patriel assented.“Fortunately, this still can be avoided and in a minor part hasalready been pushed further into the future as a result of anew terrestrial awareness and agreement to act upon it.”“I didn’t think angels were worried about climate changeand were here to help,” Joseph interrupted, but was cut shortby Patriel.“We are not. The way you treat the realm under your care isand always will be the result of your own free will. That’spart of your purpose in life: care for others and reach for thestars, so to speak.”“Then why are you here, eh? Why are you telling me this?Shouldn’t you openly manifest to the masses and speak toour world leaders?” the priest asked. “I mean, you’llcertainly get more believers and followers that way than youcould through an established religion; that is by meredefinition divisive and subject to detractors.”“I concur. Established religions…please don’t get me startedon that subject and as for openly addressing the masses, wellthat poses the problem of interfering with free will. Can youimagine what people will do if a celestial being just startedgiving personal opinions on terrestrial matters?” Patrielretorted and continued, “As I was saying, it’s a matter of freewill and no foreign interference much less that of a celestialnature would be allowed, or so it seemed until recently. Thereason why I am confiding all of this with you, is that alienparticipation going beyond influence has already interferedand it is tipping the balance against you —and us.”The angel pushed closer the charred wood with an iron blowpoke and continued, “Humankind has risen from thebestiality of early times to sublime creation in a never-ending struggle of give and take. One, in which I might add,in general terms and despite many stumbles, has had good
53prevailing over evil.” Pausing his poking for a second, theangel looked at the priest and continued.“The stage is so that a new generation, known to you as‘Indigo,’ is ready to take over and by means of reasoningand spiritual advancement they could guide humankindthrough the final steps of your evolutionary journey.”“The Indigo children?” the priest asked.“Indigo men by now, Joseph,” Patriel replied and carried on“Amongst them, the Crystals, who as their most enlightenedand freer individuals can effect change, are in grave danger.”“What kind of danger?” interrupted the priest.“The only kind there is. Real!” Patriel responded a bitannoyed by the incessant interruptions and after giving thepriest a cold look for a couple seconds, kept on, “Theseindividuals are a threat to the dark forces trying to stopchange from happening and want to keep the status-quo onits relentless march toward Armageddon.”Glancing at the mortified priest, the angel reached for thecigarette resting on his lips and lit it up in a conciliatorygesture. “Therefore no effort will be spared in trying to killthem as they cannot be converted to their cause norcorrupted to their benefit. Unfortunately for us, some ofthese individuals have already been unequivocally murderedby these dark spirits.”On cue with his own words, Patriel produced from the insidepocket of his trail duster the day’s edition of La Repubblicanewspaper, whose headline referred to the assassination ofArash Hoseini, the Iranian presidential candidate identifiedwith secularism, the separation between church and state andwho up to his death, reached increasing popularity levelsamong the electorate, despite his very recent incursion in thepolitical scene.The priest grabbed the paper and said, “Yes, it was a realtragedy, more so considering the election is just around thecorner. Please, go on.”
54“Look Joseph, in the past, evil has tried to go beyondinfluencing humankind and actively played a role in yourbusinesses. It has not been able to do it so directly, or at leastwas not, up to the last winter solstice. Human suppressionwas off limits to all sides and demonic possession is at best,temporal, evident and too messy. For lack of a better word,one could say that the human body is allergic to it. Thesubject of infestation or host in the long run will invariablybe killed if the spirit is not evicted.”Joseph instinctively placed his hand over the crucifix underhis shirt and muttered, “Exorcism.”The angel hummed affirmatively and continued, “This iswhy it was been done by proxy. Let me explain. It is not theactive player, leader or history maker the mischievous devilper se; rather, these demons will serve as teachers orfacilitators for all those too-human evil doers.”“So, does this mean that all demons and angels can justmaterialize and act in our world at will?”“Well no, not precisely. Transubstantiation is a trulyexceptional thing to accomplish by both bands. Not all of ushave this gift. On our side, it is only the archangels, guardianangels and few respected elders, the ones that can self-materialize and enter into your domain. As for our foe, wesuspect is quite the same, and if I may add, fortunately so.You don’t want material demons running wild and by thehorde into your world, enough trouble exists as it is already.Nevertheless, some can and they had caused extraordinaryharm already, and not that long ago either; just look back atwhat you people call your Second World War.“So what are you saying here, if I am inferring it correctly, isthat for example, Hitler was human, but many of his topNazi nuts were demons?”“Well, round about right, padre. Indeed, Hitler was human,but Dietrich Eckard, his teacher in occultism, knownmagician and some other members from the Thule Society’sinner circle, were not. You see Joseph, in this case, the
55facilitator Eckard and a few of the most abominable ofHitler’s henchmen, such as Heinrich Himmler, weredeliberately planted there for the explicit benefit of thehuman executioner, in this case the Führer. Thus, having ahuman being as the ultimate provocateur of true evil was,and still is, men’s free will. Man is the one and only culpritof all your sorrows. Never mind manipulation, the last wordwas always yours.”“I agree there is no excuse, everybody is responsible fortheir own actions,” Joseph declared, exhaling one lasttobacco puff and asked “Free will is the single simpleconstant of this equation, right? What about Stalin, eh?”“If you don’t mind, let’s leave the ‘who-is-who’ game forsome other occasion. Now, as I was saying, regarding theone constant in the equation allegory, yes it is true. It is auniversal canon, and not even Satan or his hordes couldrefrain from it.” Patriel let his words sink for a coupleseconds, then he stood up from his chair and slowly walkedtoward the window, where he unpretentiously rested his armagainst one of the book-shelves placed beside the windows’wooden frame. After a brief moment of meditation, whenJoseph pulled him out of his thoughts to ask if everythingwas alright, the angel turned, and with a sad look on his face,closed his argument. “But after this past winter’s solstice,with these direct assassinations, among some other newtactics recently shown to us, things, rules if you will, arechanging and therefore the time for us to form an allianceagainst this threat has come. This battle has been ragingintermittently on each of our own dominions from theconception of humankind and must now be jointly broughtto an end.”The last canon blasts from Tchaikovsky’s traditionaloverture blasted out of the radio speakers, providing theaudible backdrop for the quivering flames reflecting on theangel’s face, as the one true silent witness to the veracity ofhis words.
56The priest, deep in thoughtful meditation, soberly nodded hisagreement.PlacitumThe suspicions over Heathiane’s murder were confirmedwhen she failed to appear at the roll call summoned byrecommendation of Patriel the same morning he and Josephinspected the scorched patch on Rose Hill.The Greene Street loft in the SoHo district of Manhattan wasused as quarters by the Novus Urbis, a newly formed legionassigned to the Opus et Edictum Division of the 2ndAngelicMyriad, and on this eventful night, was teeming with thehigher-ranking angels commanding the sixty-two cohortsstationed in the city and its surrounding boroughs as well aswith their human counterparts.“This cannot go unpunished!” Reneelah, the local legatus orgeneral in charge demanded slamming her fist on the table.A multitude of “ayes” supporting the reprisal echoed insidethe crowded loft.“I don’t see Heathiane’s protégé, Mullah Abdul-Haqq,”Ambassador Gina Oliver, an unattached Chargé d’affairesfrom the State Department, and associated with Briathos,one of the most experienced military tribunus, interruptedand asked, “Do we know if he is safe at the present time?”“He’s being guarded in the meantime by the Secret Service,”responded Francis Peart, Tribunus Ecanus’ associate andprotégé, and Senior OO/NCS or Senior Operations Officerfrom the National Clandestine Service of the CIA, as well asMiddle East expert.The legatus exchanged looks with both tribunus and afternodding in tacit agreement, raised her arms to quiet theboisterous crowd and called for their attention, “Brethren,comrades, please listen to me!” As the clamor extinguished,the angel lowered her arms and said, “What happened todayis a turning point in the war we’ve been waging against the