Chapter Twenty-six

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. Revelation 19:11

“You’ve done an excellent job teaching them, Wisdom. Music, art, literature; understanding my ways and what choices will give them long life—everlasting life; using their hands to create and build things. I am proud of you.”

A faint blush heightened Wisdom’s color.

The King took a deep breath.

“But this is it. My time has come.”

Wisdom’s heart stilled. She knew what He would say before she asked it.

“Your time, my Lord?”

“Wisdom, the time for My judgment has come. Warn all you can, please, but know this. My Spirit will not strive with mankind forever. It is time for the faithful to be brought home—time for a new Heaven and a new Earth. Now, go.”

Wisdom fell on her face before the Creator.

“Please, Lord! Give them one more chance! Give me one more chance. I can make them listen, I can! I—”

Love reached out and lifted Wisdom’s face until their eyes met.

“Go to them. Speak once more. Their time is up.”

Fire and joy leapt to Wisdom’s eyes.

“Oh! Thank you, Lord.”

He regarded her sadly.

“They will not listen; they have already turned their hearts away.”

“Just one.” Her eyes burned into his. “Just give me one.”

She barreled toward the earth at His nod.

She had her promise. At least one would listen. And she would do all in her power to make sure that one would not miss her message.

 

Folly felt sick. This was it. Where they would all be defeated.

She stared around the cavernous room. She was the only one not celebrating.

Cheers and cries and taunts bounced off the walls around her, filling her head with pain. She lifted torture-filled eyes to her brothers and sisters. Did none of them understand? Did none of them believe her?

Their celebration would be turned to howls of torment. Soon. Very soon.

Lucifer stood, his arms raised.

“This is the final battle! We have worked hard for thousands of years, readying ourselves for this very moment. Today—today we take back our kingdom! We kick out that ruthless ruler and make his kingdom ours. Heaven will be your home once again!”

If Folly thought the roar was deafening before, she found out how wrong she was. She clamped her hands over her ears.

Death caught her eye and grinned. Moving close to Lucifer, he whispered in the master’s ear.

Folly clenched her teeth. What was he doing?

Lucifer’s eyes shot to Folly. Folly quickly dropped her hands.

“Folly. Come here.”

She couldn’t hear him, but she knew exactly what he said. She made her way to the front. Death’s smile grew. She paused at the base of the stairs. Lucifer waved her up on the raised dais. She trudged onstage, dreading this final assignment above all else.

Lucifer lifted a jagged sword from a black cushion Death had retrieved from somewhere. He offered it to Folly.

The room quieted to see what was about to happen.

“This sword—perfection itself—”

Folly eyed the twisted metal in disdain. She remembered the blades the king’s warriors carried.

“For my most faithful servant. Folly, for your service to me, for your faithfulness, you will help lead the charge. At my side.”

Those in the room cheered.

Folly’s brow scrunched. She eyed Lucifer questioningly. He nodded and her heart sank. The challenge in his eyes was unmistakable. This wasn’t the honor he was making it to be. This was payback for every time she had longed for another kingdom. A kingdom that wasn’t his. For her flagrant words to him. For her disrespect.

She slowly took the sword. He didn’t release it right away. Their eyes met. He leaned even closer.

“And I will be watching. Every second.”

Folly clenched her jaw and jerked the sword away.

“And you won’t be disappointed,” she gritted through her teeth.

Lucifer nodded, satisfaction in his gaze.

He turned back to the room, and Folly plastered a false smile on her face.

 

Lucifer stood at the mouth of hell and laughed as the blood congealed around his ankles and flowed with loud glups into the mouth of the cavern. The blood was so thick, it reached the horse’s bridles in some places.

Souls flew past him at an exhilarating rate.

Folly felt sick to her stomach.

How much longer did she have to endure this?

All the killing, the fighting? The agony, the torture, the beatings? Fighting for a cause that was lost, a master who was never satisfied, a love that was never returned.

Her sword dipped to the ground.

An angel came barreling toward her, eyes fierce, sword upraised. She stepped aside, half-heartedly deflecting the blow. Two fallen angels pounced on him, leaving her surprisingly untouched on the field of clashing swords.

Swift as lightning, angels grabbed their unrecognizable, warped, twisted brethren and shoved them toward the middle of the battlefield. The mighty warriors looked behind them. Wisdom followed their gazes.

He was there, seated on a white stallion, muscle straining its shimmering coat. His clothing matched the stallion’s brilliance. He surveyed the battlefield, a crown on His head and a sash draped over His robes. Folly could read what it said from where she stood. King of kings and Lord of lords.

Folly trembled. There was no doubt. What she had seen would come to pass. The fight drained from her shoulders.

A loud grinding noise reached her ears. The ground trembled.

Folly tore her gaze away from the One she longed and dreaded to see. In the center of the battlefield—where the few creatures still living could not see it—the ground tore away, and a swirling vortex of lava churned into a vast pit.

Angels started hurling their fallen brothers and sisters into the chasm. Folly watched in horror. The lake of fire held them captive, not allowing escape. It was so much worse seeing with her own eyes how right she had been.

This is the crux. This is where we stand or fall. For good.

Lucifer’s final words rang in Folly’s mind as she stared between the angels being cast into the Lake of fire and her Maker. Her sword tip drooped even more. How long had it been since she had felt safe, protected—loved? She glanced down at her sword. She deserved whatever she got. She was done fighting. She slowly raised her eyes and gazed around the battlefield.

Lucifer fought with teeth bared, Death and Fear flanking him. His beauty was completely gone, fading into poison the longer he stayed out of the Lord’s presence. Revulsion overwhelmed Folly.

What had she seen in him? He was selfish, cruel; his jealousy twisted him into an unnatural being. Why had she followed him blindly? Her eyes drifted to her Maker’s Son. Bronzed arms rippling with muscle, he held His horse’s reins, waiting for Folly knew not what. He was so beautiful Folly ached. Why had she given up such exquisite beauty?

She felt his presence before she saw him. Raising her eyes, she stared at Káel, fierce and powerful. Their eyes met and held, the righteous indignation in his gaze searing Folly’s soul. He was so handsome—why had she found him annoying before?

A tear trickled down her cheek. He did not move, just pierced her with his gaze.

Folly dropped her weapon on the ground and bowed her head, peeking one last time at her Lord’s Son. How she missed Him. She held out her hands, ready to be cast into eternal punishment—whatever awaited her in the fiery pit. She deserved what she got.

Seconds passed with the clash of steel ringing in her ears and the acrid heat singeing her nose, yet still Káel did not move.

Peeking up at him, she frowned while tears traced more trails down her cheeks. What was he waiting for?

“Come with me.”

Turning sharply on his heel, he stalked away.

Folly’s brows drew together in puzzlement. What, did he need a better spot to pitch her over the edge? Remorse flooded her instantly. Folly marveled at the sensation. How long had it been since her actions had caused contrition of any kind?

Taking a deep breath, she plunged after Káel, dodging silver blades and massive bodies.

She stumbled back when she lifted her eyes to see the Maker’s Son. Inches from her. Staring. Right. At. Her.

“Who am I?”

His voice was bliss and agony. She soaked it in, never wanting it to fade from her ears.

Folly glanced on either side of her, but no one else seemed to hear Him. His words were for her alone.

“Who am I?”

His voice held authority. She could not wait to give her answer.

She met his gaze and lifted her chin.

“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

“And how do you account for your actions of the day of the Great Rebellion?”

His eyes held her like a vice, but she smarted and tore her gaze away. She had been wrong to hope. Famine was right. Her actions could never be forgiven.

“I was wrong, and I would give anything to change that day,” she choked out.

“Vengeance, take her to the King.”

Folly’s head shot up, and she stared at him open-mouthed. She wasn’t going to be thrown into the lake?

She turned to follow Vengeance, who was waiting for her, four other decrepit angels clustered tightly behind her.

I’m not getting thrown into the fire?

“Are there any more?”

Jesus’ quiet words pinned her to the spot.

“No, sir. None.” Folly cringed away from Michael’s commanding voice. The enormous angel was three times her height, and he scared her each time they met. This time—surrounded by angels gazing at her with somberness, not hostility—was no different.

“Very well.”

Jesus urged His white horse forward.

“Enough!” The angels fighting on His side immediately returned to Him and stood behind Him. His gaze pierced those evil ones standing before Him. Even in the midst of certain destruction, their eyes were filled with hate and they snarled at Him. “I command all of you to be cast into the lake of fire, never to escape, into eternal damnation and torment. Be gone!”

Thunder crashed, lightning followed, and the twisted, warped angels, including Lucifer, flew into the pit, defeated only by His words. The lake of fire began to swirl. Fire bubbled and spit lava as it churned. Folly gazed in amazement, trying to understand what had just happened. Why was she still here?

The liquid fire tumbled together, becoming a red and orange blur. Black crept along the edges, bleeding into the red fireball. The screams of torment from both the fallen angels and those creatures Lucifer had turned away from Jesus faded as the black overtook the fiery orange.

The black enveloped the bright colors and froze, cracks appearing on the hard surface. The pit creaked and groaned and closed into itself, the rock fusing together fast. Solid flooring rested and settled where the lake had once been. Screams could still be heard below the crusted surface.

Vengeance voice was close, meant for her.

“Come, forgiven one.”

Folly stared between the solid floor and the angel, mouth wide.

“But where is…? How…? What happened to…? Forgiven one?”

Folly heart ached with the weight of the first kind smile directed at her since, well, since Wisdom. Long ago.

“Yes. But I’ll let the Master explain. Come.”

Folly stared at the four angels standing behind Vengeance.

“So few…”

“Yes. It is unfortunate. Come.”

Vengeance gestured, careful not to touch Folly. Folly frowned and looked down at herself, then at the beautiful angel. She flushed in embarrassment. She wouldn’t touch her either if she were Vengeance.

“It is just until you are cleansed. Fret not, dear one.”

Vengeance turned and floated away, her graceful movements completely foreign to Folly. Yet, she vaguely remembered such loveliness in a dream once.

 

Wisdom and Folly: Sisters by Michele Israel Harper, Chapter Twenty-six copyright © 2015. All rights reserved.

Cold by Sara Helwe on deviantart.com copyright ©2012-2015. sara-helwe.com

Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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