I remembered finding faith under a tree in a snowstorm.  A time I should have died.  I knew then, and remembered now, that the world was chaotic.  Not because God was unjust, but because only in the unfairness of chaos could we be free.  Bad things had to happen to good people, good things happen to bad, or else we would never have to make real decisions.  We would not have doubts or fears, because we would have certainty instead.  Do ‘A’ and get ‘B,’ like a hamster pushing a button for food.  There would be no moral choices, because we would know from experience and results that the same thing would always happen.  Our thoughts, our intentions, could be evil or good, but so long as our behaviour was proper, we’d get our pay-off.

            With certainty, even the worst people could behave well instead of making choices, because they would have no doubt of the outcome.  But in a world of chaos, where consequences were not so clear-cut, they could get away with cruelty.

            For there to be good, there had to be evil.  For freedom, there had to be choices and chaos.  But for there to be freedom in chaos, it meant that there had to be some order as well.  Some things that were always true.  If God had planned for chaos, there had to be a way to find what was real and good, even when surrounded by darkness and evil.  Even the darkness served God’s purpose.

            “I can do all things by Him who strengthens me,” I whispered.

            “What?” Azazel demanded, knowing that I had spoken, yet not hearing me.

            I began to speak, letting my faith flow through me, fed by the Holy Spirit. 

            “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Words from scripture came to my lips, and I saw Mara’s eyes, blind a moment before, restore themselves to their deep violet hues.  She locked eyes with me and smiled.

Love was the answer.  Love was constant.  I cried out in victory, and lunged for Azazel even as Mara’s sword manifested itself and she went for Astarte.  Simultaneously, the two demons drew their own blades in the nick of time, their obsidian blades clashing with our white swords.

The four of us circled each other, our swords on guard, and then there was a flurry of activity.  Mara and Astarte went for each other at the same time, their swords colliding in a fast and fierce duel.  Azazel feinted for my head, and then stabbed for my guts.  I bounced out of reach, and then rolled behind a pillar.  His blade bit into the stone just above my head, black and menacing.  I sprung away from my hiding place as his second blow sliced through it, toppling a brazier.  Its coals struck a tapestry, setting it ablaze.

Just over Azazel’s  shoulder, I could see Mara and Astarte strike, counter, block and slice in the dangerous ballet of sword-fighting.  I smiled with pride to see my beloved handle herself admirably, and then I had my own problems to worry about.  Azazel was growing black armour out of his skin, sharp and deadly looking.  I grimaced, and prayed for God’s help.

I was unsurprised when white armour manifested itself around me, soft white fire outlining its grooves and edges.  I stood, bowing to my opponent, and then uttering a battle cry as I charged him.

We exchanged sword blows, our blades clanging again and again.  He was faster than words can describe, yet somehow I held my own.  I could feel the strength of his demonic hatred in every devastating attack, and knew my faith was a shield.  In fact, one appeared in my hand as I thought that.

Azazel roared in anger as my opposition continued.  He kept growing bigger, his armour becoming more spiky and dangerous, his helmet becoming a fanged mask.  His sword, now twisted and sharp on multiple edges, was knocking down pillars and scoring the walls.  Yet my shield blocked his every blow, my sword countered his thrusts.

He bellowed and screamed, chasing me around the room, stepping through the flames that burned everywhere.  I simply fought back, but saw that smoke was coming from his nostrils, and his eyes were glowing an angry yellow.  His face seemed to be merging with his helmet, his hands with his gauntlets, which became increasingly like claws.

Before my very eyes, the pieces of Azazel’s armour became scales, and he grew to an enormous size.  Within moments, a fierce red dragon was before me, bristling with fangs and black claws, his wings stretching above him, as wide as the room itself.  With a flick of his tail, the walls tumbled down, forcing Mara and Astarte to run for cover before continuing their duel.

I could see them leaping over fallen columns, slashing and parrying, an acrobatic light-sabre duel if I ever saw one.  Astarte tried to lift into the air on her dark, mottled wings, but Mara leapt from a pillar to tackle her to the ground.  But by then, I had my own problems.

The Dragon growled and went for me with its mouth, its teeth like daggers.  I gulped and then, sustained by my faith, I simply charged forward.  The Dragon snapped at me with its mighty jaws, but I rolled under him.  The monster flapped its wings and rose into the air, and blew fire down on me in a plume.  I ducked behind my shield and stood up unharmed when the Dragon stopped.

He screamed in frustration, his snarls deafening in volume.  I tensed my legs and then sprang into the air, soaring like a bullet straight for his chest, propelled by faith.  I held my sword out in front of me, knowing that I was God’s archer, and it was my arrow.  I, the Hawk, soared and collided with the Dragon.

“LET THERE BE LIGHT!” I roared in righteous fury, the Tiger, as I struck his heart with my sword.

The universe was filled with the brightness of Christ as the Gates opened and He descended from above to lift us home.

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