One year from today. Let’s start the week with a treat! In anticipation of the release of my angel-themed devotional on Monday, September 7, 2015, I’ll be sharing occasional pieces of a story I’m calling Herald Angels. New installments will crop up every now and again. I’ll index them on the new Realms of Glory page here on this site. I hope you’ll enjoy these periodic peeks into Harken’s early years. Quick summary: In the Realms of Glory devotional, you’ll meet a young angel named Harken. Before this little boy could become the wise soul you know from the Threshold Series, he needed a mentor and a Teacher. But in the beginning, all Harken really needed was to be found.
Part One: Gabriel of the Golden Sash
Gabriel’s bare feet touched moss and stone, and he paused to listen to the stillness of a woodland not yet awake. With a casual lift and flick, he furled his wings and made himself comfortable on a ledge tucked away in a place of perpetual dawning. Pink light and peace, mist and morning. Bending one knee, he draped his wrist over it, turned his attention inward, and smiled.
Thoughts flew swifter than arrows, touching those of his pursuers with cheerful encouragement. This way, young ones. I am here. If the clamor of young voices in the forefront of his mind was any indication, the newfoundlings would catch up soon.
“They’re a bright lot.” But then … weren’t they all?
Whenever God added newfoundlings to the malakim, Gabriel knew it; the entire order was under his wings. He cherished each and every one of these little chatterboxes, and they looked up to him. Gabriel was their prince, chosen to lead the Messengers since before the Beginning. But from that moment to this, he’d never been paired with a newfoundling. It wasn’t that God refused to give him an apprentice; ultimately, they were all given into Gabriel’s care.
Staring into empty hands, the archangel reasoned away a fleeting pang. Such a thing would be impossible, now more than ever. One more decade like the last three would surely change his golden hair to silver, for the Redeemer walked upon the earth. Gabriel was often Sent into Time, where the enemies of God waged a bitter war. Who would carry a child into such peril?
Gabriel sighed his way to a smile and tuned his ears to happier voices. Is that giggling I hear? You must be getting closer!
Colors flashed. Mist swirled. Gabriel offered a casual wave.
“There he is!”
Jubilant youngsters swarmed around Gabriel’s perch. Lively and laughing. Bursting with energy. “So you have,” he said. “Well done!”
These children’s games had their practical side. In due course, young Messengers would join the ranks of heaven, lending their support to Flights and Legions. Before then, Gabriel needed to know their voices, just as they needed to know his.
Unfurling his wings, the archangel leapt into the morning sky to welcome in the stragglers. He indulged in a lazy, looping flight, so different than the speeds required to cut through enemy thickets. But these fringes of heaven were safe havens, perfect for training. And for play.
“Did you see that?”
They showed him their latest maneuvers, and he taught them a few tricks and a song before escorting them back to their middling minders. Already, Gabriel could feel the insistent tug of his responsibilities. The watches are turning. I will be missed.
Humming a grateful melody, he soared low over the crystal sea, then climbed through the complex network of arches and alleyways, finally touching down in a small courtyard ringed by candle trees. His allotment was along the next passage. A few moments were all he needed to jot down notes and names. Then he’d return to his customary place.
Wrapped up in composing lines, Gabriel strolled into a room that might have belonged to one of heaven’s archivists … except it was vastly less organized. Maps and charts spilled from shelves onto tables. There were stacks of bound books on the rug. Older scrolls poked out from behind tapestry-draped niches. Lists, lyrics, lexicons—the accumulation of milennia.
Gabriel was rummaging for ink when a sneeze took him by surprise.
He stopped and turned, ears alert, mind automatically reaching. Who is here? Are you lost?
Another muffled sneeze lured the archangel over to one of the oldest and heaviest tapestries in the room, a Weavers’ masterpiece on which various animals waited two-by-two to board Noah’s ark. Pulling back the lower corner, Gabriel peered into a half-forgotten nook and was met by a third sneeze.
“What are you doing here, young one?”
A boy in unadorned raiment rubbed at lashes that were thick with stardust.
Clearly, the child was newly formed, but … was that even possible? Youngsters of every order were found among the stars, not in nooks and crannies. What’s more, the One whose hands who’d formed them was presently occupied on earth. Surely this boy hasn’t been sleeping here since his Maker left heaven.
Gabriel bent closer and touched the dark fuzz of wiry curls standing out around the child’s head. Big brown eyes blinked up at him, hazy and innocent. Gabriel tried again. “Hello, sleepyhead. How long have you been here?”
“A while.” His nose twitched. His toes wriggled. And then his eyes locked onto Gabriel’s double sash and widened. Small fingers tangled in the golden cloth that marked Gabriel as one of heaven’s princes, and the boy said, “I have a message.”
And Gabriel knew. Shouldn’t he know better than anyone that all things are possible with God? Heart racing, hand shaking, head spinning, he whispered, “How can this be?”
The boy—his boy—blinked up at him in a puzzled way.
Simplifying matters, Gabriel changed the shape of his question. “Do you have good news for me, young one?”
“Yes.” He scooted up onto his knees in the hidey-hole. “Can I say it now?”
Flinging his arms wide, Gabriel’s newfound apprentice giggled, then delivered his first message. “Surprise!”
Realms of Glory, a 90-day Devotional by Christa Kinde
releases Monday, September 7, 2015
Looking forward to more?