The Angelic Mission
Gabriel’s Task (1)
As the brilliant horizontal blue line to the rear of Gabriel’s forces snapped shut with a barely audible pop, the angels, invisible to the humans around them, took in the scene that surrounded their numbers. At first it appeared that chaos ruled, but as Gabriel took a longer look at the spectacle which lay before him, it quickly became apparent that all this movement and activity was indeed being ruled by a very firm hand; a hand that was in turn governed by a very sharp mind. Turning his attention to his own forces for a moment, Gabriel divided the angels into four or five smaller groups, and giving each group a set of specific instructions, he sent them on their way before turning his attention back to studying the larger picture that lay before him. He had a tremendous amount to consider if things were going to be successfully handled with the delicacy required.
If humans, as angels do, could see all the years of physical history spread out before them, then they might understand the concept that there are times when one single year is representative of an entire spread of years. They would see that whatever happened in that one year greatly influenced every other action that occurred in any of the other years surrounding it. The other years are still individual, and very much stand on their own at many levels, but without the events of that one “crisis” year, the periods of time flanking it on either side would lose a great deal of their meaning. 1799 A.D. was a crisis year. But this part of our story actually began in 1779.
Taught the art of war when he was 10,
He practised day and night and then,
Four hours sleep, a bite to eat,
Then Napoleon practised again.
Politically a Jacobin,
A famously-held abdomen,
He saw the rise of de Robespierre,
And for two years the Terror Reigned,
Until Robespierre, he met his fate,
Leaving Bonaparte to fight another day.
It had been in seventeen hundred and ninety-five,
The revolutionary government was under attack,
To their rescue came Napoleon, brought them out mostly alive,
They made him Commander, there was no looking back.
First Commander of the Army of Interior Forces,
And trusted advisor on matters of war,
He knew all the methods, he had all the sources,
The Army of Italy, they said it is yours.
In the face of his strategy the Austrians fell,
Expanding the French Empire, and his reputation as well,
One or two home-grown threats that he handled just fine,
But the French coffers were low, it was one, seven, nine, nine.
And up till now Bonaparte had been the premier mapmaker,
But all that would change at the city called Acre.
A port city much needed by the stretched-out French force,
And containing the second part of today’s story of course.
As the French troops land-side to the city gathered their forces once again in preparation to storm the walls, Gabriel raised a trumpet to his lips and sounded a high shrill note that only the spiritual beings could hear. Upon receiving the signal, one of the smaller groups of angels that Gabriel had made up out of the main body, positioned themselves between the city walls and the advancing French troops. Forming themselves into a single semicircular line and leaving approximately 10 feet of open space both to their left and their right, the angels began to flap their wings back and forth, first slowly, then gradually picking up more and more speed. At first just a little dust got kicked up, and then a few pebbles were being snatched up with the dust. But before long, the wind had picked up so dramatically that the soldiers couldn’t see where they were going, and the dust and the pebbles were flying so fast that they were stinging any exposed skin like thousands of tiny little bees. The troops had to keep their eyes closed for danger of going blind, and those who didn’t stop moving altogether were tripping all over each other.
While the defenders on the walls saw all the confusion in the enemy ranks, their cannon fire boomed incessantly,with the French forces further back being ripped apart, and the younger city defenders even dropping rocks on the one or two soldiers who had managed to stagger that close to the fortifications in their confusion. Finally the French completely broke ranks, and retreated helter-skelter away from the city out of range of the artillery, and the defenders who had so rapidly become the attackers. A large cheer rose up from among the city-dwellers upon the walls, and though they still had no real idea what had happened to cause the French troops to panic like that, they knew this first minor skirmish was theirs, and a good number of them were busy thanking Allah for the mighty blessing that He had bestowed upon them. When news reached Bonaparte that his forces had been repelled at the walls yet again, he was less than pleased. Too good a general to waste any time moping, however, he immediately turned his thoughts to the harbor that he knew his Navy was even now approaching.
(To be continued…)