Cason stared into the beady, black eyes of the elder angel that was holding a sword to his throat.
“You’re a tenacious one, aren’t you?” Kushiel asked.
“Just wondering why I wasn’t brought in on this deal.” Cason quickly responded. “I spent a decade in special forces. I’m a better soldier than any of the fools back there.”
“Oh?” Kushiel responded, intrigued at the potential offer.
“I have no loyalties to this place or its leaders. The only thing I care about is getting back to Earth to protect my family. You make that happen, and I’ll kill whoever you need.”
A smile crept across Kushiel’s wrinkled face. “I know who you are, Cason Phillips. I’ve reviewed the records of every warrior that’s come through. You may know how to kill, but you lack a certain…zealotry that we look for in this cause.”
“I don’t care about you or your cause. I only care for my family. Allow me to work with you…as a mercenary. Your payment will be getting me back to Earth.”
Kushiel lowered his weapon. It was true that this soldier was far more experienced than the mortal recruits they were pulling into their ranks. The offer was indeed intriguing, and the mortal did not display the typical tells of a liar.
“I’m afraid I cannot send a matured mortal soul back into the realm of Earth. An angel versed in corrupted magic can possess a mortal body that already inhabits the realm, though. Aid our cause, and I will ensure help is sent to your family once we assume control of the Kingdom.”
“You have yourself a deal.” Cason said extending his arm for a handshake.
“Indeed…” Kushiel responded reciprocating the gesture.
The two warriors locked hands in an oath sealing handshake.
“One warning to you, Mr. Phillips, betray our cause, and your family’s suffering will extend far beyond the realm of Earth. Do we have an understanding?” Kushiel threatened.
“Of course. Just point out who needs to die. I’ll take care of the rest.” Cason reaffirmed.
Kushiel’s grin widened. He already had the perfect assignment lined up. “Most of our mortals will be out in the streets sowing chaos when the time comes. I have a difficult task perfectly suited for someone of your skill-set, though. You will join a handful of my loyalist soldiers to take out the leader of this place.”
“The woman?” Cason asked.
“Bethrael, yes. She’s an idealistic thorn in my side. Without her leadership, this New Eden will collapse in a matter of hours.”
“Consider her dead.” Cason responded.
“Good. Head inside the chamber of the Celestial Bridge. My men will get you fitted with armor. We’re moving on her tonight.”
The two of them moved back to the room Cason emerged from. The other mortal recruits were busy changing into robes. A few of them stared down Cason, confused as to why he was being outfitted with a set of armor, while they only received some raggedy, beige robes.
“You would be wise to mind your business.” Kushiel threatened them.
They darted their eyes down and hurriedly changed out of their blood-stained clothes into the fresh ones. Cason watched as they slid daggers into an inner pocket of the robe, and quickly scurried out of the massive room towards the banquet hall. “Morons” Cason thought to himself. They were sacrificial pawns, meant to draw the guards off the true target of this attack. The fools truly believed they were going to survive this. “At least they will get what they deserve.” The thought of working for the same cause that NWO soldiers were being recruited for sickened Cason.
“My Lord?” one of the angel guards said to Kushiel.
“We received word that Zeus arrived within these walls earlier this evening. He is meeting with Bethrael. Perhaps we should hold off the attack until he leaves.”
“This is an opportunity, not an obstacle. We can eliminate two problems on this day. Without Zeus to rile up Bethrael’s allies, they will no longer be a significant threat. Tyr is a coward and will retreat to the shadows the moment he feels threatened.”
“As always, you are wise, My Lord. I would request more men for the task.” Raphael asked.
I’ve brought you some back-up. Mr. Phillips here is quite the accomplished warrior. He will join you and is under your charge.”
“My Lord…is a mortal going to be up to the task?” Raphael questioned as if Cason was not standing right there.
“You would dare to question me?” Kushiel responded in a calm but threatening manner.
“No, my Lord. My apologies.” Raphael said, quickly backing down. “You, mortal…grab that body, drag it to the bridge and toss it in.” Raphael ordered , pointing to the bloodied corpse of the brown, curly haired man.
“Bridge?” Cason asked, confused by the lack of any traditional bridge in the room.
“The Celestial Bridge mortal! The mirror in the middle. Throw the body through it.”
Cason nodded, accepting his order. He grabbed the dead man by his legs and dragged the body along the cold, stone ground painting a trail of blood as he moved. He listened in on the conversation between Kushiel and the others.
“Are all of our men ready?” Kushiel asked.
“They are in position, my Lord.” Raphael responded.
“And the mortal recruits?”
“All armed and ready to cause chaos in the streets.”
“Good. Gather your order, Raphael. Move in on Bethrael. She dies this night.”
“Yes, my Lord.” Raphael said placing his right arm over his chest, which appeared to be some form of a salute to Cason.
He could feel an energy emanating from the strange mirror-like surface of the bridge. He reached out to touch it but found the surface burned his skin immediately. This Celestial bridge was apparently the pathway back to Earth. If the warnings of the angels were true, he would not be able to pass. Cason contemplated tempting fate and diving through. Alas, if he died here, there would be no one left to fight for his family. It was not a risk worth taking.
“Michelle…Cassie…I’m sending help. I promise.” he whispered as his eyes began to water at the thought of them being tormented on Earth.
MORTAL?!” Raphael shouted. “Throw the body through and get down back down here!”
Cason snapped out of his trance and focused on the task at hand. He threw the bloodied body over his shoulder and tossed it with all his might through the mirror. The corpse disintegrated in a matter of seconds. The only trace that was left was the trail of blood on the floor. The embattled soldier hopped down and rejoined Raphael in the center of the room.
“Have you handled a sword before, mortal?” he asked.
“I dabbled in fencing.” Cason answered.
“That will have to do. Do you know how to run a stealth operation?”
“I ran fifty-three operations during my time in MARSOC. I am capable if that is what you are asking.” Cason bluntly answered.
“You will follow my lead, then. Do as you are commanded. Attack when you are ordered. Bethrael is a dangerous foe. She wields a powerful weapon, and Zeus is a master of an elemental magic. We must take them by surprise.”
Zeus, magic…all of this intrigued Cason. It couldn’t be the Greek God, could it? Had he not been focused on saving his family, he would have probably inquired further. It was of no matter. The task at hand was the only thing of importance to him now. “Yes sir.” was all he said in response.
“Come. We must move through the banquet hall. Stay in formation with us. Draw no attention to yourself. Our target is on the other side of this building. The fool has no guards posted at her door. We will enter under the ruse of an imminent attack on New Eden. I will proclaim that Kushiel has sent us for their protection. Once we get close enough, wait for their backs to turn, and send your blade through them.”
“Understood.” Cason answered.
“Good. We are moving out now. Conceal your weapon.”
Cason slid his sword into the sheath on his waist, determined to do what was necessary to save his family. The unit of angels, with Cason in tow, marched through the banquet hall as if the evening were business as usual. The crowd of mortals was dwindling as the meal was winding down. Cason looked over to the corner to see the drunken Australian man passed out on the floor. An embarrassment to be sure, but for some reason, he found himself relieved knowing the drunkard would probably sleep through the chaos of the next few hours. He marched onward looking into the eyes of his mortal companions as he passed them. Some were elated, though most were still fearful of the unknown. He found himself focusing on the fearful ones. It was yet another reminder of the family he failed. He wondered if they had the same looks about them as they awaited their fates in an NWO holding facility. The NWO prisons were about as forgiving as the Gulags. The men that were not murdered on site were generally forced to work to death. Unruly and post-menopausal women were also forced to work until they dropped dead from exhaustion. The women that were fertile and obedient were assigned to a much worse fate. The steep drop in pregnancies over the past five years led to mandatory in vitro fertilization of all able-bodied women living in an NWO territory. Age was not a factor in what women were assigned. If a woman was of child-bearing potential, she was sent to one of these facilities. What made matters even worse were the stories of rampant abuse towards the women by NWO leadership. His daughter, Cassie was fortunately still too young for such an assignment. She would most likely be separated from her mother and sent to an education center where they would brainwash her into accepting this fate without a fight. The thought of Michelle undergoing such torment sickened him. The thought of Cassie eventually dealing with it was unbearable.
He wondered how he would save his girls. Would it be wise to try and engineer an escape, or could he simply request they be killed quickly so their souls could join him in this new land. Perhaps death would be a mercy. More and more governments were giving into the NWO’s brand of leadership. It may simply be a matter of time before all of Earth was under their thumb.
They passed by a troop of the bronze armored warriors who paid them no mind.
“Amazon bitches.” one of the angels muttered under his breath.
“Quiet angel!” Raphael demanded, silencing the outburst.
“Amazons?” Cason thought to himself. He studied all types of warriors during his training with the Marines, even mythological ones. Perhaps there was more to this world then he initially believed. Perhaps this Zeus was indeed the Zeus of legend.
The four angels and Cason moved through a long hallway that was bookmarked with large platinum double doors at the end.
“Our target is ahead” Raphael stated.
Cason’s heart began to uncharacteristically race as they approached the large doors.
A chance to save his family was approaching, and it was all hinging on the decision he was about to make.