The Prophet, in stores, Summer 2017.
Aegeus strolled toward the meeting spot. He walked slowly as one who had eternity on his side. He let his hands drop to his side and brush across the stalks in the wheat field he was ambling through. The grain heads felt soft on his fingers. And for just a moment, he continued to walk forward with his eyes closed as he savored the delicate brush of the plants across his hands. He had the hands of a warrior, solid and sure, rough from thousands of years of battle. The gentle touch of the wheat against his hands was made all the sweeter because of it.
His senses soaked in the glory that was heaven. Light warmed his olive skin; the sweet smell of lilac filled the air; it was one of his favorite smells. He breathed in deeply, letting it penetrate through him. He turned his face toward the throne room, the light and power of the King washing over him, beckoning to him.
Standing in the middle of the field, he closed his eyes and listened to the voices of a thousand angels singing the praise of the King. He stood straighter, taller, reaching his full height of seven feet two inches. His wings were tucked into the compartments on his back where they fit when he did not need them. His chestnut-colored hair was loose and blew gently in the breeze. His brown eyes, the color of toasted almonds, reflected the peacefulness he felt. Aegeus savored the rush of love and overwhelming joy that could only come from the King. He felt the light brush of power caress his skin as if every particle of his being was getting charged.
In the distance, he could see the glimmer of the city. Reluctantly, he headed in the opposite direction, toward a large tree in the center of the field. As he walked, he took in every scent, every color, and every texture along the way. Savoring each precious one for the gift it was.
The tree stood tall and proud where it had stood for all time. The bark of the tree was rough and cracked in a way that was beautiful. If you took the time to look closely, you could see subtle carvings in the bark just below the surface. It whispered secrets of the past and the beauty of the future. It spoke of redemption and hope to all who would listen. Its limbs extended in every direction, long strong branches. The leaves fluttered in the breeze sounding like ocean waves. They called out their praise to the King.
As he reached the tree, he was pleased to see the others were not yet there. He enjoyed the quiet stillness of the tree, the peace it brought as you rested near it. He had heard it would provide other feelings as well, but Aegeus had never experienced anything but peace when he was near it. Perhaps because peace was what he most valued.
Warriors tended to be more stoic than other angels. Although there were certainly exceptions to that, Aegeus was not among them. In fact, he was more stoic than most. But he had not always been that way. There had been a time when Aegeus invested in those he was sent to fight for—when he had fought with his heart, not just his strength. But that was long ago and mostly forgotten, at least by Aegeus.
The battle of Pas-Dammim had changed everything for him. He had returned to the tree after the battle, collapsing beneath its limbs and pouring out his anguish. The tree had absorbed it all, replacing it with the peace he so craved. Aegeus’s grief was so great that the very fruit on the tree had turned gray and dull. The King had heard the call of despair and had come to attend to Aegeus and to the tree. All of heaven had grieved under that tree with Aegeus, but most especially the King.
Aegeus learned the wrong lesson from Pas-Dammim. He had decided he could not afford to care too deeply. He knew that allowing himself to feel too strongly for any but the King could prove perilous. Humans were unpredictable. Warriors had to be willing to fight both for and against them. He believed that caring about them could cause clouded judgment, something a warrior could not afford. He had spent thousands of years constructing the wall around his heart.
He was not unkind. To the contrary, underneath, Aegeus’s heart was tender. But he was a warrior through and through. He stood tall with broad shoulders and strong, solid muscles. He fought with a ferocity that had moved him quickly through the ranks. The other angels trusted him; if you were going into battle, Aegeus was the warrior you wanted with you.
He did not allow his detachment from the humans to interfere with his duty. He showed them compassion and kindness, but he did so in a clinical manner that got the job done without risking attachment. For centuries, this had worked wonderfully. After all, warriors were not on the earth for long stretches of time. He had little opportunity to interact with humans.
Aegeus walked lazily about the tree, exploring the type of fruit that was on it today. He took his time admiring each option and then opted for a yellow one with small purple dots. This one was new. He smelled the fruit; it smelled sweet, like angelo—one of his favorites. Around the tree was a soft grassy knoll greeting all who came to sit beneath its shade and lean against its trunk. Aegeus sank into the lush green grass and leaned back against the tree listening to it whisper.
Sweet nectar burst from the fruit and flowed down his chin when he bit into it. He wiped the juice from his closely cropped beard with the back of his hand. There was no end to the King’s creativity; Aegeus reveled in the joy of being able to experience it. He retrieved his wineskin and took a swallow of wine that perfectly complemented the fruit. It was nice to be home.
Check This Out