Solis bellowed with pain, his back arched, his head thrown back.
This was too good to resist.
Others stole forward, stepping in quickly from behind, or darting in from the side to pluck out the white, glistening feathers while Solis bellowed and struggled uselessly until he was shorn of his glory and lay limp and exhausted in the arms of his captors.
The demonic prince grabbed his golden hair matted with sweat and yanked his head back to glare into his eyes, wisps of sulfuric smoke curling from his nostrils, his smell, the stench of death. There was no escape. This was the end.
Only it was not the end. There was one thing more and Solis had to witness it. The demonic prince twisted his head painfully around so that Solis had to look at Onkelos.
Great, gentle Onkelos. The Seeker after Truth, the Scholar, the God-fearer.
As General Vespasian brought his sword down upon the arm of Onkelos, Solis became still with grief and began a song in the depths of his soul that was also a prayer.
“O Lord, hear my cry. Let me bring glory to your Most Holy Name this night. Even as I must now depart, grant me one last thing. Give me the strength of your Spirit to bring judgment upon your enemies, O Lord.”
Even as his prayer took flight, he felt the answer in his soul and he slowly looked up at the powerful demonic spirit before him and smiled.
The demon narrowed his eyes and glared at him, yanking his head back upon his shoulders once again. He pressed his sword against Solis’ neck.
“What have you to smile about?”
“You can do nothing to me that Adonai Elohim cannot undo.”
“Perhaps not, but I can make the passage as painful as possible and that is reward enough for now.” The demonic prince smiled. “We have not captured an angelic warrior for some time and your torture and death will be a source of great delight to us this very night.”
The demons surrounding the tent cackled and shouted their agreement. With a gesture the demonic prince commanded them to silence.
“Take him away,” he said. “I will come shortly.”
It was the moment to act.
Solis stamped hard on the instep of the guard on his right, pivoting on his left foot and heaving with all of his might to throw the guard off balance. His grip loosened sufficiently for Solis to yank his arm free and with the same fluid motion strike the other guard in the throat with rigid fingers. Then he smashed his elbow back into the face of the first guard as he stumbled forward. They both fell to the ground in agony.
It was so unexpected and executed so smoothly and quickly that there was no time to react. Solis dropped forward to the ground, tucking his head to roll in a tight somersault, the bony vertebrae of his wings flapping painfully and uselessly behind him as he reached for his sword.
The only one close enough was the demonic prince himself and he reacted with terrible swiftness, leaping upon Solis and stabbing downward with his sword, probing for a killing stroke.
Solis could feel the dark shadow of the evil sword penetrate his spirit but his hand was already grasping the hilt of his own sword and he swung it up with all of his dying strength to lodge it deep into the side of his enemy.
Snarling and grunting and cursing, the demonic prince used his enormous weight to push his sword deeper into Solis until the angelic sword fell to the ground and the struggling finally stopped. Then he sat back upon his heels and lifted his arm high to check his own wound. He was already dizzy with pain and realized that the wound was too deep.
“The sniveling upstart has done me in,” he said, his eyes wide and he slowly fell forward on top of his enemy.
In a moment both were gone in a swirl of smoke and light, one into the abyss and one into the arms of his Master and Lord.
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Footnotes and references included in original manuscript.