70 AD – Jerusalem
The Temple Mount was enveloped in flames.
Blood covered the floor and poured down the steps. The number of the slain was inconceivable. There were so many grotesquely butchered bodies littered about that the attacking soldiers had to climb over them as they chased the few locals who still desperately tried to flee, their flickering hopes of survival brutally extinguished at the points of Roman swords and pikes. The sickening-sweet smell of burning flesh and acrid smoke filled the air as the hellish fires engulfed the temple. It seemed as if the whole city was ablaze.
Cloaked on the astral plane, Ezekiel stood in the Atlas, his one-man golden craft, as it circled the ruined city of Jerusalem. The messenger of God gazed through the Crystal Lux Portal, a doorway that opened to the inner dimensions of light. While Judea was in a battle for its life against Rome, the Traveler of Light and Wisdom was on a mission to keep the contents of the Ark of the Covenant safe. Resolute, he tightened his grasp on the controls of the Atlas, knowing he must secure the Ark before it was too late.
Ezekiel had drawn the plans for the Temple of Solomon. He knew in which secret tunnels lay the Ark of the Covenant, the chest Moses had been instructed to construct in a dream. The Holy of Holies had been forty cubits square and lined with gorgeous cedar panels. Now the wood had been reduced to char. There were exquisitely carved figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers overlaid with gold in the chamber, the metal becoming too hot to touch. Chains and bracelets of gold closer to the flames were already melting into puddles of molten metal that leaked through the ruined floor of the Holy of Holies. Beyond the gaping, charred remnants of the olive-wood door sat the Ark of the Covenant. On the alabaster altar, it lay untouched.
Hidden within the gold-plated acacia chest rested the Shamir Stone. Next to the supernatural God Stone lay the tablets with the Ten Commandments Moses had received from God. The blue cloth covering the twin-winged cherubim was somehow still intact as if protected by a benevolent hand.
Before the Ark stood a living Draco Reptoid, a lean, towering Angel of Darkness. Twelve feet tall, his thin, bony wings furled midway up his back. Between his brow and the top of his skull were two chitinous horns. His burning, red eyes were riveted on the Ark, and an ichorous liquid escaped his lips as he salivated in anticipation. In one swift movement, the dark angel grasped and effortlessly lifted the Ark.
Before the creature could escape, Ezekiel uncloaked the Atlas, exposing its Light from the Holy of Holies. The demonic angel of darkness sneered as he turned, cringing from the Light, as Ezekiel uttered his prayer: “I ask for God’s Light of the Holy Spirit to surround, fill, and protect this Ark of the Covenant and all its contents.” As if stung, the angel of darkness dropped the Ark, but a beam of light from the Atlas caught it and held it suspended in midair. Raka raised his clawed fist in anger, spitting fire in contempt. His crimson wings unfurling, the dark angel cursed, “I will have the Ark. What I did with Atlantis will be nothing compared to what I can do once I possess it!”
Ezekiel touched the screen activating the Crystal Lux Portal. The holographic Portal opened, and the illumination beam pulled the Ark through the astral door. Distracted, neither Ezekiel nor the dragon saw a small, round brass object with twelve gems tumble from where it had been fastened to the cloth cover of the Ark.
The golden ship vanished as the tiny brass treasure tumbled below the floor into the dark abyss as the temple burned, then collapsed into itself.
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