“Do you see him out there? Look. Just beyond the fog; you can see his mighty spear”, A pale finger juts out from beneath bloodied bandages at a massive crimson spire swaying in the fog. Jonas has lost two fingers in the last skirmish. “He commands us from the front lines. See, even now he acts as our call to action. We must fight on!” Jonas lowers his hand and his eyes level on the muddy faces of his tribesmen. Their weary eyes look back to their leader, troubled and tired.
“I know you’re tired. I know much has been lost”, the pain of that loss is deep in Jonas’ eyes, “My son…” his voice trails and in that moment the tribe is united in mourning. “My son, did not give up. He fought until the very end.” Jonas clenches his remaining strong hand around his spear; a paltry mockery of the great Spear of Gadreel, the chipped red paint comes away in his palm.
The mud walls of their foxhole is loose with last night’s rain and this morning’s blood; they’re no longer even or upright, sagging into the bottom, making their shelter less secure. But they know this war is almost over, so they squat there in the mud, waiting. There is only one question left to answer in the riddle of this conflict, and both sides hold that question on their lips this night.
Beyond the battlefield, in another hole dug out of another land, more men ponder the outcome of this battle. They make hushed prayers to their General, the magnificent Gadreel, Spear of the Heavens.
“They will not strike tonight. No, we both buried our dead and lit the fires that light their way. May Gadreel clear the path with his Spear” Rehenal says into his hands, trying to recognize them. Their red sashes, once prominently displayed, are tattered and hastily wrapped around wounds. The blood stains are barely visible in the dim candlelight they huddle around.
“I was a thatcher. I would have been content to die a thatcher. Until, that is, Gadreel beckoned me to follow.” Nods spread from man to man, each having had a similar experience. Rehenal presses his dirty hands to his eyes, as if he could blot out the horror he’s seen. When he removes them, his gaze moves toward the distant horizon. “He is out there. Sometimes you can see him striding out there on the battlefield. He is waiting for us. He comes to lead us.” Rehenal’s tribesmen shoulders sag further as they follow his gaze. “But Rehenal, it is death if we return the battlefield, the Angel Azazel came to us, to warn us!” a bandaged soldier pleads.
“No”, Rehenal rises, “It is duty and salvation that waits for us out there.” His soldiers eyes rest on him now. “Come. We must prepare for what comes.”
Out in the fog Gadreel rises above the tattered men; his spear whistling in the atmosphere as it sways. He grips the shaft in one hand while he traces a sigil in the air with the other. The sign of faith.