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“What do we do?  We must do something!”

“Wait.  Be patient, Solis.  We have no authority here.”

“But you know that he is important.  We were told to keep an eye on him.”  Solis was not a subtle warrior, much less a patient one.

“Do you really want to tackle that bunch alone?” Melanchor nodded toward the swirling cauldron of activity below them.

Dark shapes swirled and flitted between the tents, mingling with the shadows of the soldiers thrown against the canvas by the firelight.  The sound of marching feet came out of the darkness, then the expected hail as the small group stopped in front of a large tent where the general kept court.  Sentries were posted on each side of the entry and the centurion saluted them with a clenched fist upon his breast.  He ducked his head to enter.  A moment later he returned and, with a gesture, commanded the guards holding the prisoner to enter the general’s tent.

The darkness swept in toward the tent in a great wave of evil as the word went out that Onkelos had been brought before General Vespasian.  They bit and cursed and fought for a chance to see and hear what Vespasian would say to the spy they had caught.

He was important but nobody seemed to know why.  Only that he was the start of something that their evil Master had planned for many years.  Vespasian would be the instrument of his revenge and Onkelos the messenger.  And so the demons covered the tent like black army ants ravenous and insatiable in their appetite for evil and violence.

It was enough to make even the head-strong Solis hesitate before he answered.  “We could call for reinforcements,” he said.

Melanchor was straight-faced.  “What?  I would have thought the two of us could match that rabble any day.  Come, you attack from here and I will circle around behind and we will bloody our swords in battle as never before.”  He made as if to rise but Solis stayed him with a hand on his shoulder.

“No, my friend, once again you are wiser than I.  But still it rankles to see our charge treated so.”

Melanchor smiled and then looked down and scowled.

“True, but our time will come.  For now Onkelos must be left in the hands of God Himself.  We can only wait and watch.”

“Perhaps we can get closer at least.”  Solis had seen something and flew off to investigate.

“Be careful,” Melanchor said.  “Don’t do anything!”  That was like telling a lion not to hunt.  Solis was a fine warrior, even if a bit zealous. Wisdom and Zeal.  The combination had served them well over the years.

Still, he had a sense of expectation, almost of dread, that he could not shake.  Something was going to happen.

Something bad.


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The Temptations of the Cross by Bert A. Amsing
Copyright © 2012 by vanKregten Publishers. All rights reserved.
http://www.desertwarrior.net     info@desertwarrior.net

Footnotes and references included in original manuscript.