In Rise of the Fallen, there are angels assigned as guardians to children, until they come to the age of reason (I'm not sure what age that is, though). And, while I played with the little Cubbie kiddos I would count them to figure out how many guardians would be there, if there are angels in that role in real life (I understand it may not be, I was indulging my imagination). Some weeks we would have 20 kids, give or take.
So then this story came to be. I had finished Rise of the Fallen, and I really wanted more of that story. So I wrote fanfiction to satisfy the craving, because book three wouldn't be released for months. It satisfied, and I had a lot of fun writing it. :3 So I today I will show it to you all, and I hope you enjoy! ^_^
Also, has anybody else read this trilogy? o.o Does anybody want to flail and ramble about it with me? :3 ;)
|(Image found via Pinterest.)|
Ahian knew flying was risky, but he didn't want to be late. He couldn't be late. He wouldn't mess this one up. Not again.
The building and church itself were both very new. The church only a decade or so and the building about half that. Many victories had been won here, Ahian knew, and though he hadn't had any role in it until now his heart swelled at all the lives that had come to know Elohim here. And this year alone, he had been told, had been witness to many godly marriages, and many couple there had been blessed with children.
It excited Ahian to be a part of this place now. He had been a guardian ever since the second wave of angels had been sent down to the Middle Realm by Elohim HaAv, and while hit had taken him a little while to be content with it, he now loved his work. All those years ago, he had wanted to be among the number of angels who became warriors. He was a fierce fighter, he knew. Everyone said so. But his heart was not for the battlefield, like the archangel Michael, or even the warrior Validus. No, Ahian had realized that his heart was for Elohim's littlest of children. Over all the years, they never ceased to make him smile, to make his heart sing the praises of his great God.
Of course, there were tragedies that came with being a guardian. Ahian sometimes felt that his heart was too big for is job. He grew too attached. But another part of him didn't care. Elohim HaAv must have known what He was doing by creating him this way, so he used it. Ahian directed his affections for the little children to become the passion that drove him, his strength to fight and protect.
But that only made his failures sting even more. He had lost charges to the Fallen. He had lost one in Egypt, when the Pharoah ordered the baby boys to be slaughtered, and he had lost a charge to the exact order given by King Harod when he had hunted for Ben Elohim when He was only a child. Those had been days of darkness, and Ahian still today felt the losses strongly. Not even when Validus himself had come to him and offered comfort had he been able to forgive himself the loss. The only comfort he gave himself was the privilege of carrying the children to Abraham's Bosom.
Ahian tried to forget, to move on. His mornings with Elohim HaAv gave him increased comfort and strength to keep going. He knew his God was not upset with him, and that was enough.
Even so, he worked all the harder to protect his charges.
The large church building came into view, and Ahian quickly descended and demorphed his wings. Cars and vans were already in the front parking lot, and families were filing in, nearly all of them accompanied by guardians. No Fallen in sight. Maybe tonight would be a peaceful one. Ahian headed inside to find the captain that presided over the church there.
He explored the halls to find the pastor's office, which also doubled as the office of the presiding angel. He knocked and waited until he heard his permission to enter before going in, translating through the door.
The captain had his back to him, but turned when he entered. Ahian's heart lurched in surprise and joy.
“Tellan!” He grinned.
“There you are.” Tellan smiled broadly, clapping Ahian on the back. “I wondered if you had lost your way again.”
Ahian gave a playful glare. “I haven't been lost in years. When did you start working here?”
“A few months ago,” Captain Tellan replied. “Surely you'd have known that.”
Ahian felt his face redden. While the guardian had the heart of a warrior, he could be as forgetful as mankind. Tellan laughed and clapped his back again. “It's good to see you again, Ahian.”
“It's good to see you.” Ahian accepted the embrace of the angel who had been his mentor before they had been called down for their separate tasks in the Middle Realm. “I just came in to let you know I'm here.”
Tellan nodded. “Well, go on. You know what the boy looks like, or have you forgotten that too?”
“That is one thing I never forget.” Ahian smiled. “Surely you'd have known that.”
Tellan watched him and nodded. “You never forget the faces of your charges.” He waved him off. “Now off with you. I have work to do, and so do you. Just because the Fallen aren't here right now doesn't mean they won't be any other time.”
Ahian nodded and left. He paused for a moment, smiling and watching a couple children in blue vests chasing each other around the narthex of the church building. Their guardians stood nearby with watchful eyes. They gave Ahian friendly smiles when they saw him. Ahian smiled again. Already his spirit was lifted. Everyone here seemed so carefree.
Ahian found his charge in the midst of several other children. He was a wild-spirited boy of four, tall for his age and rather lanky already. His shock of strawberry-blond hair becoming disordered in his play, and his brown eyes glinted with mischief. Ahian had to smile at the wild energy the boy exhibited. So full of life, as if he had seen the love of Elohim HaAv himself and reveled in it.
A nearby guardian chuckled. “You're going to have your hands full with this one.”
“I enjoy a challenge.” Ahian grinned. He watched the boy, Cooper, play for a moment before his mother collected him and took him to the nursery, where he and several other blue-vested children gathered. The AWANA Cubbies, aged three to five, sat at the three tables and were given colored clay to play with. The guardians stood nearby along the walls, but the room began to be crowded. Guardian laughed as still more children came in, followed by their guardians. Ahian grinned at the feigned exasperation on the newly-arrived guardians’ faces at the sight of so many others. Twenty-two in all, the guardians were nearly a company of themselves. Ahian praised Elohim HaAv again for all of the young lives in that room tonight, there to sing and learn about the God Ahian loved more than anything else.
Ahian wondered why he ever desired to be a warrior. What better way to live than this?
Cooper, while resigned to remain in a chair, refused to be any less wild. His silly antics were contagious among his fellow table-mates, and their guardians were soon laughing too. Ahian smiled. He hadn't been in this kind of environment in years. Even guardians felt free enough here to relax and laugh. Too many times Ahian had denied himself those pleasures. But he loved to smile as much as Cooper, and here it was safe enough to do so.
With so many guardians here, and warriors nearby, what could go wrong?
“What happened to Cooper's previous guardian?” Ahian asked after a while.
“He was ambushed,” one of the guardians replied. “The child was very nearly kidnapped, but a company of warriors defeated the Fallen responsible.”
Ahian nodded thoughtfully. He watched Cooper. Even after that experience, this child was still so cheerful and never far from a smile. What life. It made Ahian smile.
After playing with the clay, the leaders gathered the children and shepherded them outside to the back of the building, across the second parking lot to a small playground, where the children were set loose under the careful watch of the leaders and the guardians. Ahian watched Cooper run and scamper, a broad smile on the boy's face, even as he tested his boundaries with the leaders.
His eyes strayed to the leaders. They came as close to being guardians like him. Ahian could sense their belief, and he could see their affection for the children. It almost seemed to rival his own. It was no wonder this place felt so relaxed and safe for the guardians. This church had plenty of men and women who would gladly watch over the children, even if they weren’t the parents.
Ahian whirled, drawing his sword. There were maybe a dozen of them, and targeting the children. Ahian scanned the playground, searching for Cooper.
There! A Fallen had coaxed the child toward the lake! Ahian scolded himself for being neglectful and rushed to them. The Fallen drew his sword and met Ahian's fierce blow. Ahian pushed him back and blocked Cooper's way. A leader called Cooper back and ran over to bring him back. Ahian felt relief sink in, but the Fallen attacked again. Ahian stepped back to follow his charge. Glancing behind, he saw the other guardians defending their charges against the Fallen, who were being more like pesky flies than doing any real harm.
Where were the warriors? Ahian slashed at a Fallen, keeping close to Cooper as he ran and played. Ahian forced himself to focus and ignore the children's play around him. Defending them was all that mattered.
Finally the warriors rushed out. The Fallen withdrew a ways immediately, but kept darting around to try mischief with the children. Ahian thrust at one, sending him skittering away. He frowned as the Fallen retreated, drawing the warriors with them. The Fallen all had smirks on their faces.
“Keep close to the children!” A guardian ordered. Ahian took up his place by Cooper, who was on a swing and hollering at the top of his lungs. Ahian frowned as another sound met his ears. What was it?
Ahian spun around just as a huge Fallen crashed his sword down on him. More Fallen had arrived, targeting the children. Ahian yelled and swung his sword, never leaving his post next to Cooper. The first group of Fallen attacked the warriors, and some broke through and returned to the playground. More warriors rushed from the church building just as the main Cubbies leaders called for the children to gather around to return to the building. Ahian blocked a Fallen's sword, but out of the corner of his eye he saw another one dart in and bring Cooper's swing to a sudden stop. Cooper fell out of his seat, crashing to the ground.
Ahian roared and slashed across the Fallen's chest and neck. The demon sank down into the earth in the green vapor of dissolution. A leader had hurried to Cooper and was comforting him, drying his tears. Ahian smiled. The Warriors made a circle around the children as they walked back across the parking lot. The Fallen prowled around the perimeter, and occasion a Fallen would break through. But with such a tight concentration of warriors and guardians all the harm he could do was make a child pause in the line of children, stretching the line of warriors, before he became green vapor.
The circle of warriors began to be stretched too thin, so they broke off to surround the smaller groups of children caused by the breaks in the line. Ahian was in the back, sword at the ready. Every muscle in his body felt tight, ready to spring, but he kept himself next to Cooper. He would let the warriors deal with the Fallen. Cooper was his primary objective, and he wouldn’t neglect him again.
A Fallen suddenly broke away from the fight and ran into the midst of the parked cars. Ahian frowned, then cried out in alarm as a minivan began to back up toward a line of children that didn't have a leader nearby. The guardians tried to urge their charges faster, even just to break their line and run around, but the Fallen blocked the way, making it hard for the Warriors to open up a path. A warrior rushed to the driver's side of the car and cut down the Fallen responsible. The driver, realizing their mistake, braked hard just as a younger Cubbies leader ran to the children. Ahian sighed with relief, but the children and leaders alike had stopped their progress during the commotion.
Keep moving. Keep moving. Ahian frowned anxiously. Who know what the Fallen would try next?
A cry from his group made Ahian turn. Fallen had attacked the rear while everyone's attention had been ahead. Two Warriors had been defeated before the Fallen were discovered, and Ahian sprang forward to meet a Fallen angel before he could get to Cooper. The Warriors regained their positions and routed the Fallen out of the circle of children and guardians. Ahian glared at the Fallen, gasping and praising Elohim HaAv for His protection thus far.
Fallen rushed through each group of children and scattered them in every direction. The Fallen were cut down, but the children were everywhere, despite the reprimands of leaders. Ahian's heart lurched as Cooper rushed away, toward the lake, and he ran to keep up, but a Fallen jumped in his path. Ahian snarled and lunged, his sword clashing against the sword of the Fallen.
“I know you,” The Fallen hissed with a malicious sneer. “You were in Bethlehem.”
“What if I was?” Ahian growled, pushing him back. Cooper was close to the lake, without protection. Fallen were tempting him to the water's edge. Ahian tried to duck around his adversary, but the demon forced him back.
“I remember when you failed,” the Fallen sneered. “You couldn't save the little one, could you? How old was he? Only a few months?”
Ahian roared and charged, slamming his sword into the Fallen's. He felt his anger boil, and the pain of the failure stung. The Fallen smirked, sensing his hurt.
“What did it feel like?” The Fallen hissed. “Failing? It's a wonder your God hasn't cast you out.”
“Elohim HaAv will never cast me out,” Ahian countered. “He is my God, and I will serve Him to my last breath.”
“Well, perhaps this day will be your last!” The Fallen shoved him back. Cooper was ankle-deep in the lake now, and was picking at pebbles. The leaders were too busy rounding up the playful children, purposely avoiding the leaders as the Fallen influenced them to keep the leaders distracted. Ahian's chest constricted. They wanted Cooper to drown.
Elohim HaAv, my God, help me. Ahian pressed an attack. Do not let me fail again!
“Ahian!” Tellan's voice came closeby. Ahian glanced to his right to see the warrior cut down a Fallen before rushing to his aid.
“Get to Cooper!” Ahian yelled.
“What about you?”
“Just protect him until I get there!” Ahian roared. He slashed at the Fallen, but the demon deflected it and slashed at him, throwing him off balance. Ahian felt the pain rip across his chest. He cried out, staggering back. It wasn't enough to kill him, but it made his vision flicker.
“Elohi-im H-HaAv,” Ahian gasped, sinking to his knees despite his struggles to stay up. The Fallen sneered over him. “My Father. Forgi-ive me–”
The Fallen disappeared into green vapor. Ahian stared, seeing Tellan standing before him.
“The other Warriors have him safe.” Tellan gripped Ahian's arm. “Stay with me.”
Ahian pulled away. He saw Cooper being led from the water by a frightened leader. Ahian looked around to see that the children had all been gathered, and were receiving a solid scolding before being herded inside. The Warriors chased off the last of the Fallen or helped the wounded. The guardians followed their charges, swords still drawn and muscles tense.
“Ahian, wait.” Tellan grabbed his arm as Ahian tried to walk to Cooper. “He's fine. I've set the Warriors to watch over him while you heal.”
“He is my responsibility,” Ahian said. He felt lightheaded. “I will be fine. I cannot fail–”
“Hey.” Tellan held him by his shoulders. “You have not failed. You are one of the fiercest guardians I know, but you must rest.”
Ahian shook his head, ignoring his common sense to listen, and started for Cooper. The Warriors following the boy made way for him, expressions of worry mingled with sympathy. “I can't. I won't fail–” Ahian stumbled, falling. Tellan waved the warrior away who started forward to help.
“You will not fail.” Tellan knelt by him. “I swear it. But in order to do that you need to heal quickly. The lake is just ahead– easy, easy!”
Ahian grimaced, pain taking over. He crumpled, groaning. He heard Tellan give orders, and he was rolled onto his back. Ahian blinked hard. He needed to focus. He needed to get to Cooper.
“Tellan,” Ahian gasped. The warrior gripped his hand.
“Easy,” Tellan said. “You're going to be alright. Stay with me.”
“The boy is just fine. He's inside the church now. No Fallen will hurt him there. He is safe.”
“I need to be there.”
“Not yet you don't.” Tellan pushed him back down. “You can't very well do your job looking like this. I won't have you die because you were stupid.”
Ahian tried to relax. He blinked fast as the pain of the past surfaced again, rubbed raw by the Fallen. He had failed, but that wouldn't make Elohim HaAv cast him out, would it?
“I can't fail,” Ahian murmured. “I did before…”
“Hush,” Tellan said. “You won't fail.”
“I almost did.” Ahian felt his throat tighten, making it even harder to breathe. “I did. I couldn't get there-”
“They had you surrounded,” Tellan said. “They were targeting the boy specifically. You did not fail, Ahian. You did not fail.” Tellan frowned. “You did not fail here, nor in Bethlehem or Egypt.”
Ahian's unfocused eyes managed to find his old friend's face. Tellan looked back at him knowingly. “Elohim knows you tried, but it was not His will for those boys to live to the age of reason. It was His will instead to give you the honor of carrying them to eternal comfort.”
Ahian looked away. Tellan turned his face back to him.
“Elohim decides who will live and who will die, and when they will die. He knows when the ends of our own days are. But today, you live to continue your work for Elohim. These are not failures, Ahian, they were the will of Elohim. He has a plan for all He decides, and for His glory. There is always a reason for what Elohim does.” Tellan gripped Ahian's hand hard. “And that includes the times when we think we have failed Him. When we think we have disappointed our Father, He knows. We have not failed Him, but we have done according to His will.”
Ahian felt tears prick the corners of his eyes. Tellan smiled gently. “You have not failed, Ahian. You are not a failure. Elohim knows you have a warrior's heart. He knows your concerns. He will help you.”
Ahian nodded, closing his eyes. Elohim HaAv, give me strength. Help me to always remember that I am no failure. That I have not failed You, but that it is always Your will whatever happens.
“Ahian.” Tellan's voice came again. “We're going to help along the Healing. We have some water here. Are you ready?”
Ahian grimaced and nodded. Give me strength for this too.
The water poured. Ahian had serious wounds healed by water before, but it had been hundreds of years since then. The pain tore through him more fiercely than the Fallen's blade had. Hands held him down when he tried to escape the water. He screamed, but another cleansing wave washed over the wounds. Ahian screamed and begged for it to stop.
“Stay with me,” Tellan urged. “Stay awake, Ahian! Ahian!”
Ahian moaned, consciousness fleeing him. A weak cry escaped him as the water poured once more, but he had no strength to struggle. He fought against the blackness that encroached upon his vision.
A beam of blue light came down over the church building. Ahian forced himself to look at it, to focus on it. He blinked when Elohim HaAv's Fire reached out from the building and touched him. Crushing strength and soothing comfort enveloped him. Ahian gasped, clutching Tellan's hand as the pain ebbed away. He was bathed in his Father's Fire, from the prayers of someone within the building. He smiled, letting his body relax. His work was not yet done. Failure or not in his own eyes, he was no failure in the eyes of Elohim HaAv. That was enough.
Tellan and another warrior helped Ahian into the safety of the church building. Ahian refused to rest in the quiet of Tellan's office and instead resumed his post. In the nursery, the Cubbies were seated on the floor, surrounding one of the Cubbies leaders as she began their lesson. Ahian stood with the other guardians along the wall, watching attentively. Many had hardened expressions, but everyone smiled and greeted Ahian with relief when he entered. They welcomed him back warmly and with relief. The Warrior watching over Cooper stepped aside.
“Are you alright?” A guardian asked. “When we heard what happened–”
Ahian nodded and raised his hand, requesting silence. He watched silently, listening to the story the leader told and letting it soothe his nerves. He smiled as the leader explained to the children how Ben Elohim died for their sins. He hadn't been there that day, but he remembered. He remembered feeling something when it happened. The loss, the anxiousness. But he also remembered learning to trust that Elohim HaAv, as always, knew what He was doing. His Plan was still in motion, and He would triumph, even when Apollyon thought he won. On that day Apollyon roared in triumph. Ahian smiled as he remembered that, three days later, Elohim HaAv held the victory and Apollyon’s triumph was short lived. It comforted Ahian still, knowing his God would always win.
Cooper started whispering to the girl next to him, distracting her and other children nearby. Ahian stepped forward and laid his hand on Cooper's strawberry-blond hair. Cooper wiggled, but he settled down as a leader directed his attention back to the leader telling the story.
Later, the children were shepherded back to the tables and given coloring pages and crayons, and pretzel sticks to snack on until their families came for them. Fatigue made him lightheaded, and a fellow guardian helped him into a chair, ignoring Ahian’s protests until he gave him trying to argue.
Ahian watched Cooper silently, his eyes a little unfocused, as the child colored with a blue crayon, a pretzel stick halfway in his mouth.
“Cooper prayed before they sang songs,” the guardian said to Ahian after a moment. “Elohim's hand was upon him, and it went elsewhere too.”
Ahian smiled. “It touched me.” He closed his eyes. “Elohim HaAv was with me.”
And He always would be.