Chapter Seven: The Security Breach
From high above, the land looked peaceful. At a glance, there would seem to be nothing wrong at all. The people of the glimmering Greek city went about their work and daily activities as though nothing were amiss. Tancreida watched carefully for any signs of the cherubs. Though she knew better than to become personally attached to any tribe, she had watched over the Greeks so long, she couldn't help but feel for them as though they were her children. Her heart longed to protect the quiet and peaceful people of Thule. She sighed as she thought of Yaweh's apparent disregard of the fate of the people. Yaweh seemed to be more interested in watching the enemy these days. She tried to remind herself that Yaweh is able to see more and has a more well-developed plan to help Thule, but she also couldn't help worry that Yaweh did not care for the Greeks as much as she did.
Her thoughts were disrupted by a sudden realization – the Aztecs were not attacking the city walls. One would expect this to be a good thing, but in this case it was highly suspicious. The Aztecs had formed the habit of attacking the city wall every day. Some days they were closer to success than other days, though they had not been able to penetrate the city's defenses since the war began many years ago. This time, they formed ranks quite a distance from the city's walls, and there were more troops stationed outside Thule than usual.
Tancreida wondered why the Aztecs had begun to form their ranks so far from where the walls were, and why there were so many troops this time. Something was up, that much was obvious. She turned around, hoping to find answers from Yaweh and hoping that she could assist in some way. "Yaweh, are you watching this? What's going on here?" she asked with a tone of concern. No answer. "Yaweh?" Still nothing. She became immediately worried that Yaweh had gone off on some other business. She suddenly became frightened that something awful would happen and the Greeks would have no defense against it. She held her head and tried to think quickly of something she could do. She could not command any of Yaweh's wonders, which would guarantee safety from any Aztec assault, but she could cast miracles of a greater potency than the cherubs could. Those wouldn't be enough to prevent any kind of catastrophe. Just then, she heard a voice. Yaweh. She was unimaginably relieved. "Yaweh! Where have you been? The Aztecs are forming ra-"
"Yes. I know. I have been watching carefully. I had to reprimand five cherubs who performed a healing miracle without my permission. That is why I was absent." The voice spoke calmly.
"What shall we do about the Aztecs? What are they preparing?" Tancreida asked worriedly.
"They are standing back as their God tries to cast a wonder. Camaxtli seeks to force a volcano from the ground right beneath where our southern defenses are."
Tancreida gasped, covering her mouth with her hand. "You know this, so what is your plan?"
"Hm? Plan? My dear, I have no 'plan' to speak of."
Her eyes widened in horror."But if you know what Camaxtli is up to, why not stop it?" Tancreida pleaded desperately.
"I can't stop it." the voice chuckled, "we just have to sit back and wait for now."
"And allow the people of Thule to perish?! You know what the Aztecs did to your last settlement! Why let it happen again?" Tancreida screeched in horror, holding her quivering hands in fists.
"Oh, they won't succumb to that fate. Our city is much too big for that to happen again. Don't you worry. Everything is under control." The voice said confidently.
The sky blackened. Tancreida watched in horror as the ground began to rumble and shake. Just as Yaweh said, the southern defenses began to groan and twist wildly as the ground beneath it shook ferociously. The people of the city stopped where they were and frantically looked around for the cause of the sudden quaking. Many of them dropped to the ground and began screaming in terror. Mothers grabbed children and held them protectively. Workers dropped their materials and held it close to the ground. All those inside buildings crawled under tables and desks and held their heads in sheer fright. The ground beneath the southern walls began to swell with a bright red heat as the walls collapsed in on themselves and the ground tore open. The earth suddenly began convulsing more violently. The people of the city let out a scream and a few began to pray desperately.
Just then, the earth ripped wide open, the crack moving rapidly along a jagged line away from the city walls. The Aztec troops were shocked to see the jagged line headed straight for them. Those in the front screamed to the others and the platoons began to run, but the sticky sand wouldn't allow their escape. Their heavily clad bodies forced their feet to sink into the hot, coarse sand, slowing them down as the jagged line came upon them. The crevice tore the ground from beneath the Aztecs. The sand began pouring into the chasm, snatching the remaining troops by their armored feet, pulling the screaming men down into the abyss. Sand continued to pour into the rift, burying the Aztec platoons under a suffocatingly thick layer of scorching hot sand. The tremors began to calm to a mild purring. The Greeks, too afraid to get up from their spots, checked on those near them, making sure no one had been hurt during the ruckus.
"I believe... you've managed to save the city... somehow..." Tancreida declared in surprise and relief.
"Don't be so sure..."
The black clouds accumulated, suffocating the sky. Thunder growled and roared bitterly. Lightning crackled evilly, pounding the earth with a furious heat. The ground shook painfully as each bolt of lightning beat a crater into the surface, driving the Greek citizens off the ground in fright.
"What's going on? What are they up to now?" Tancreida questioned fearfully.
There was a long pause between the two as the lightning continued to whip the earth and the thunder snarled violently. "I don't know"
The black clouds coiled abruptly as a venomous snake preparing to strike. The solid black clouds were penetrated by fiery meteors plummeting dangerously from the sky, smashing into buildings and streets, causing panic among the citizens. Buildings collapsed into a black smoldering fog. Meteors sent rocks, sand, and trees airborne as they made impact. The Greeks screamed as they ran in terror, covering their heads as debris struck many.
"Do something, Yaweh!" Tancreida screeched desperately.
A bright light ruptured the sky, engulfing the city in a resplendent glow. Meteors continued to be hurled toward the smoldering city, but instead smashed against the barrier of light. They snapped and crumbled in a flaming determination against the dome of luminescence. Meteor after meteor fell from the sky, though none could bust through the shield around the city. The sounds coming from the shield and the meteors were frightfully noisy. Crashing, grinding, whirring, and growling. The people were dazed by fear and confusion. None dared to look out from their shelters. The noises began to slow. The sounds of explosions gradually drifted further apart as the black clouds slowly dissipated. The thunder became quieter and the lightning ceased to touch the ground. The last of the meteors crumbled apart in a rough cracking and booming against the barrier and all went quiet. The clouds moved further away from the city, allowing beams of light to touch down, revealing the devastation left behind.
One of the taverns and the high temple was completely destroyed; nothing was left of the buildings beside black smoldering rubble. Many homes had been damaged by huge chunks of debris from the temple. Dozens of Greeks now lay dead in the impact zones. The people cautiously emerged from their hiding places and silently gawked at the damage done to their beautiful city. They all looked at it in total disbelief. A crowd formed around the ruins of the former high temple, none daring to speak at such a grim time.
A young man hesitantly stepped forward, into the debris and looked down at a small snatch of fabric. He picked it up to examine it. A small ring fell from the fabric and landed with a dull clink onto the charred ground. He picked it up and looked at it curiously. Tears welled in his eyes. He blinked hard, clutching the small ring to his chest. "My wife! My dearest wife! She is dead!" The crowd looked at the man in a devastated sympathy as they tried to come to terms with what had just happened to their city. "My wife! She devoted her life to God and this is how our God repays her! What kind of God allows this to happen!" the man screamed in agony as he broke down into bawls. No one could console the man, nor could they find a faith within themselves to share with him. They all stood in morbid silence, eyes pointed to the ground.
A woman from the crowd spoke up, "I agree with him! I say we don't rebuild this temple and instead build something of use to us! Prayer won't help us fight this war."
The people of the town looked gray with shock and sorrow, each one quietly looking at the one standing beside them. The crowd mumbled their hesitant agreement with the woman. Prayer would certainly not aid them in this battle. They were truly and completely alone.
The builder squad leader walked up to the destroyed tavern, and studied it. He abruptly slammed his fist into the ground and yelled for his workers, "Builders. It looks like we have a lot to fix here! Gather materials and meet me at the southern walls! Pronto!"
The builders looked at him in frustration, not verbalizing their discouragement.
"Look here. We are in the war. Our army is working damn hard to keep this city safe, and the least we can do is back them up by keeping the enemy out! So go get materials now!" The squad leader marched off with proud determination as his builders quickly assembled their carts. The rest of the citizens watched the builders make their ways to start reconstruction and followed suite. They went back to their jobs with a somber realization that they were alone in this war and that they had to work even harder to keep their city out of the hands of the Aztecs.