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The mighty Angel stood seven feet tall. His muscles rippled under the white ankle length robe bordered with gold at the collar, sleeve cuff and the hem. He swung his crystal blade and two more Demons fell to their fate puffing out of existence; sent back to their Master for punishment, torture and to once again begin the task of clawing their way up the ladder of success at the expense of their fellow demons. They would do anything for the hope of serving in Satan’s army just to be defeated once again, and start the heartbreaking, endless process over and over again.

When at rest the giant sword appeared transparent as crystal ice, yet stronger than hardened steel. Now, however, it was filled with the mighty presence of God; a fierce light shining forth in all directions, reflecting off of the blond hair of the Angel and filling the hideous den of General Detestation, chasing the quivering demons who unsuccessfully sought the darkness that was no more. It was all they could do to blindly slither out of Logos' way.

The count was already at one hundred and climbing as General Detestation threw one soldier after another to their deaths as he tried to flee from the wrath of the Nostrum. There were only twelve angels in the mighty organization known as the Nostrum. The very name brought fear to demons and reverence to angels. Each of the twelve served God directly, working on His most pressing business. They were mightier than any other angel or demon and they were, so far, unbeatable in battle, as General Detestation was finding out first hand.

The two ethereal beings had been fighting fiercely but each had now fallen to one knee not two feet from one another. Those evil red eyes of General Detestation stared deep into the ever victorious, piercing blue eyes of Logos. Detestation panted acidic, sulfurous breath into the face of Logos as they knelt nose to nose, both trying to rest enough to finish this contest. The battle had been a long one, and the two were evenly matched in size and ability, but Logos saw the move coming before Detestation even raised his sword to faint to the right then bringing it sideways, trying to slice Logos in half. Logos blocked with the clang of blade against blade. Sparks flew and the cowering demons watching from a short distance had to run for their lives as the two mighty Captains fought their last battle together. Tonight one of them had to die! Logos slid his blade along the blood red blade of Detestation and as they pushed against each other and rose slowly to their feet; Logos kicked out with his right foot causing Detestation to stumble taking two steps backward trying to recover. To Detestation’s surprise and horror, suddenly Logos screamed his battle cry, "For My Lord GOD Almighty!" as his bright, pure white blade sliced effortlessly through Detestation directly to his heart. He stood frozen for what seemed an eternity, years of effort flashed before his eyes. He knew what horrors awaited his failure and tears formed in his eyes. The mighty demon of Satan, Detestation, cried one last desperate, "Nooo!" as he puffed out of existence, losing everything he had fought so hard to gain. His long reign of terror was over, as was disease; a cure had been found at last. The earth year 2099 was just passing as the large and final puff of reddish brown smoke filled the now empty chamber, all other demons having wisely fled the premises.

Logos, dropped his sword, collapsed to his knees in exhaustion, and ignored the blood oozing from the open wound in his chest. Never had he fought so hard, or found it so difficult to defeat a foe. He decided that he was badly in need of a vacation, perhaps even retirement. 'The cabin', the thought brought a smile to his face and he ignored his wounds while he prayed his prayer of thanksgiving.


As I sit here in this cabin, nestled in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, I have time to appreciate all that God has given me. At the completion of my last assignment, at that moment when Detestation puffed out of existence, I knew! I went to the Lord Jesus and asked that I be reassigned, "After all!" I said, "I've been in the Nostrum for over two thousand years! I believe I'm ready for lighter duty!"

Jesus smiled at me. He stood six feet, two inches tall, looking mightier than ever. His body was large but all muscle, His facial features that of a rugged outdoorsman, skin tanned by the sun and absent of wrinkles. I had seen him in his weaker state when he had walked the earth as a man. He looked much the same except that the wounds on his hands, side and feet had healed, leaving pale white scars on each. The hair of His head came half way to His shoulders, while his beard was neatly trimmed. Both were white with a slightly golden sheen to it and his face as well as his deep brown eyes emitted His true Nature.

Jesus said, "I understand! Your fatigue is great and not just from your wounds." When Jesus touched me immediately my wounds healed and the pain was gone. He continued, "It's your very being that is fatigued, Logos! Go to the cabin and write down for me what has happened to you over the last ninety-nine years. Tell me what happened to bring this battle to its violent conclusion. Also in your report to me, please include the reasons you think this angel, you have named, should be allowed the distinction of becoming a member of, The Nostrum! There are more experienced and worthy angels around than Kapre! He's only had one charge and he'll be losing him tonight."

The Lord paused, smiled, and then finished, "I see by your expression that you are impressed with Kapre. All right! Write down his story! Convince me as you've obviously convinced yourself that Kapre has what it takes to be Nostrum and I'll consider your request. Now go Logos, with my blessing. You've been very faithful to me over the years and I do have much more for you to do!" Jesus vanished to handle some other pressing matter and I retired to the peaceful mountain cabin to carry out my new assignment.

* * *

Later that night at a not-so-secret research facility in the desert called The Antidote Research Facility, the defensive gates were opened for the first time to the public. A crowd of one million people was expected to assemble around the facility to hear from a man who the world had grown to love. A man who had lived a public life that was second to none and a private life that would have shocked the world, had it become known, which it had not, nor would it ever. The five-mile area immediately surrounding the research facility was filling up with dignitaries from around the world, including the current president of the United States, Jennifer Saxon. She had been asked to MC the festivities and had happily accepted. Further out the beloved citizens of the world gathered in the vast desert, which went on for miles and could easily accommodate a million people and even more. Security was a nightmare; port-a-potties lined the sand streets every so many yards. Mobile diners and venders of all types were feeding the multitudes and selling their wares.

The atmosphere was festive and electric with possibilities. The news media was out in force and the speech would be carried live via satellite throughout the world. Never had an item of this magnitude been presented cooperatively to the human race. Many had tried to stop it but had been unsuccessful. Many had tried to buy it but it was not for sale. Justin Schaefer Johnson had insisted on giving it freely to the human race and had arranged that no one government could monopolize it, hide it, or abuse it in any way. In the end he had won the agreement of the United Nations and calmed the fears of the medical professionals around the world. This was too big to keep hidden from suffering humanity, too important to squabble over lost wages or jobs, too fantastic not to give all the credit to the God who made it possible.

A hush came over the large crowd, starting closest to the facility and moving outward throughout the entire crowd till all that could be heard was the wind blowing by the microphones on the stage. The stage was about four foot off the ground and at the end closest to the facility a ramp ran from the stage floor down to the double doors of the facility. Large outdoor movie screens had been erected throughout the area so the crowd would be able to see the man when he came out to address them.

It had been rumored that he had not been out of the facility for fifty-three years, ever since he left the White House after two prosperous terms in office as President of the United States. President Johnson was ninety-nine years old and reportedly just as alert as when he was a young Senator conquering the Middle East. No one human had grown in reputation as a hero and now as an almost mythical creature of divine proportions since Jesus Christ.

Suddenly the dark stage was smothered in light as one set of flood lights after another were switched on. President Saxon walked onto the platform at a slow dignified pace. Her long chestnut hair, streaked throughout with gray, was tousled by the cool evening breeze as she stood center stage before the podium. She had been in office for a year now and her citizens loved her as the grandmother that she was and as their leader. At sixty-two she was still a beautiful woman and she had already proven that she could handle the reins of a government in flux. The United States stood at the gates of a new world order and would soon throw open those gates and share its treasures with the rest of humanity. President Saxon would more than likely have a leading role in this new government and the world trusted her. She had run for office as a Christian but had proven that she could live in harmony with the other religions of the world. Peace would soon follow in light of the discovery that they were unveiling this evening, of this she was sure.

It was, therefore, with confidence and pride that she began her introduction of this evening’s star, "Good evening fellow citizens of the world. It is my pleasure to introduce to you this evening, a man who has undoubtedly accomplished more in one lifetime than many people could even hope to lay claim to in their collective lives. I, of course, speak of President Justin Schaefer Johnson."

The audience exploded in applause that lasted for several minutes before it slowly fell silent once again. She continued with a smile, "President Johnson would of course make no such boast so I make it for him." Laughter rippled through the crowd. President Johnson is up for the Nobel Peace Prize, which should come as no surprise after it is disclosed, what he has accomplished through his research.

"President Johnson was a genius from birth, a Senator at thirty and President of the United States by thirty-eight. Since then he has devoted his life to research which brings us to our purpose for being here this evening. Let me present to you - President Justin Schaefer Johnson!" this last she yelled out and waved a hand toward the double doors of the facility to her right, the crowds left. There was thunderous applause, but after several minutes, when nothing happened, silence once again fell upon the desert evening.

Just as President Saxon was deciding that perhaps she should speak again, the double doors whined open and the crowd could hear the buzz of the small motor that powered the wheelchair that carried President Justin Schaefer Johnson. His head was uncovered and bald except for one patch of thin white hair, which stood straight up on top of his head. He leaned forward in the chair as if concentrating all of his effort and energy on the ramp in front of him. He maneuvered the chair quickly up the ramp and drove right to the microphone. He was dressed in a tuxedo which seemed to shock many people who must have expected a doctor's white lab coat and small spectacles balanced precariously on the tip of his nose. He raised his head for the first time and turned his deep green eyes on the crowd before him.

When he spoke, his voice was deeper and steadier than the technicians had expected and they hurriedly turned the volume down a notch, "Hello, my name is President Justin Johnson. . ." thunderous applause ensued and a standing ovation.

When it was quiet again he continued, "I'm sorry I'm late but I had to change the batteries in my chair, my watch, my radio, and my pacemaker. . ." (The crowd roared at his good humor). "You think I jest, but when you get to be my age, if it wasn't for electricity to jump start me and batteries to maintain me, well I'd just be an old man imprisoned in his bed." more laughter and applause.

The old man smiled and said, "Jennifer here told me that she and I were going on a date, so I dressed up. What she failed to tell me. . ." Here he stopped and stared at the crowd, then continued in a whispered, conspiratorial tone, ". . .was that you all were invited." (The crowd went wild with love for this man.)

He slapped his hand on the microphone and laughed as technicians threw off their headphones, "Enough of this nonsense! You didn't come to listen to an old fool tell bad jokes." Over the protests from the crowd he said, "Oh, yes, I know they're bad because I was just a boy when they were brought out of storage. That means they're older than I am and that's old. Now you youngsters listen up! I only have the strength to tell this to you one time. I've been tinkering in my lab for over fifty years now and I've come across a little discovery that I like to call 'The Antidote.'

"I won't try to explain how it works except to say that it perfects your own body's immune system in such a way that it speeds healing from both injuries and illness. It won't make you immortal by any means, so be careful when you bungee jump or orbital skydive, but it will help you live longer, happier lives." standing ovation and long applause, again.

"Without giving too much away just yet, it will take only one injection of this technology into your brain and one simple surgical procedure and within minutes your body's immune system will clean your entire body of any illness that might be present and it will keep all others away in the future." (A gasp from the crowd.)

"I have sent this technology to scientists all over the world and they concur that it works and have agreed to help me distribute it with the agreed cooperation of the leading world governments. For that we have Jennifer to thank." He made a sweeping movement toward President Jennifer Saxon. (More applause, whistles, and cheers.)

"As many of you know, I, like President Saxon, am a Christian and I must give all the glory and praise for this discovery to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He gave me the brains, the determination, the forgiveness from the cross which made this discovery possible." Justin raised his old, shaky hands to the sky and yelled, "Praise and honor be to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. . ."

On the backside of one of the large screens, to the far side and not visible to the platform, a man was strapped into position. He raised the high-powered rifle and looked through the scope. Indicators pointed from all directions to the center of the scope’s sight and centered in that sight was President Justin Schaefer Johnson. The sniper’s breathing was smooth and even. The ever-increasing pressure that he now applied to the trigger was patient and ever so smooth. The sniper whispered to himself, “Good night Mr. President.”

The silenced explosion released the hollow-point bullet at super high velocity and it raced toward its intended target; the heart of President Justin Schaefer Johnson.


As he proceeded with his assigned task Logos wrote: I must warn you, Lord, that I'm much better with my sword than I am with the pen, but I'll do my best to convey to you what has happened.

I was given this assignment just over ninety-nine years ago. Capt. Detestation was beginning to spread his terror upon the earth. He used natural disasters, wars, and even disease, to bring pain, suffering, and death to the humans of the earth! I was assigned to watch him closely and to stop him from going too far. It was shortly after being handed this assignment that I first met Kapre. I'll admit, Lord, that I was very impressed with Kapre from our very first meeting, ninety-nine years ago, today! I barely knew him or his charge at that time. It was the earth year 2000 and Kapre's charge was about to be born...

Kapre was finally being promoted from search and rescue, to Guardian Angel! That is if he could pass The TEST! Capt. Tutor stood before him with a look of pride as he handed Kapre his new sword. It was in an ornate sheath, which was covered with jewels, and intricate carvings of many famous battles. As Kapre pulled the sword from the sheath, he heard the mighty ring of the special material, which sounded like God's voice ringing through Heaven. A ripple of excitement dripped down Kapre's spine as the sword cleared the sheath. The engravings on the blade told of courageous battles that he himself had fought while in search and rescue. He turned the blade over, and though this side was shiny, and reflected heaven's light, it was free from any engravings. He looked questioningly at his instructor.

Capt. Tutor laughed, slapped Kapre on the back and said, "That side is reserved for the engravings of your new battles boy! Eventually the entire sword will be covered with your own battles and there will be many!"

That statement brought both excitement and a moment of doubt.

Tutor was short for an angel, only five foot six inches tall, but stout and strong. His white robe was trimmed in red and fluttered in the breeze as he watched his student with interest. He saw the doubt and in an inflated voice said, "None of that boy! You're about to become the guardian of the most precious of God's possessions, a human soul! There's no room for questioning or doubt, only loving and courageous service to our Lord!"

Kapre bowed low and whispered, "My apologies mighty teacher!" Kapre was six feet tall and thin. His strength wasn't apparent just to look at him but he used what he had wisely and his skill had improved satisfactorily over his years of training.

Tutor smiled and said, "No harm boy, now prepare yourself for the final test! He approaches!"

Kapre strapped on his new sheath but kept the sword in his right hand, at the ready. He began to tremble as the streets of heaven shook with the presence of the Nostrum. Michael the Archangel stepped toward Kapre and it was all Kapre could do not to faint dead away. He had heard the stories of the mighty Nostrum! He knew, as all angels knew, that Michael was the General of the Nostrum and the mightiest warrior in all creation! Michael, like Logos, was every bit of seven feet tall, of large frame and his muscles rippled as he walked. He put forth such energy at his approach that the air before him became charged with God's powerful presence. Kapre hadn't realized when Tutor told him of The TEST for promotion that it was to be administered by the mighty Michael, himself!

Kapre, not knowing the nature of The TEST, and fearing Michael's approach began to back up.

"Hold your ground boy!Tutor yelled, "You can't be a Guardian if you run, no matter what the odds!"

Kapre took a deep breath, took up his warrior stance and surprised himself by not waiting on Michael; motivated by sheer terror he flew with all his might at the surprised if undaunted Michael.

At the instant Kapre reached Michael there was a great flash of blinding light. Kapre looked around and found himself in what seemed to be a mountain cabin somewhere on Earth. Kapre also felt very different than his usual pain-free self and upon further examination found he was in a human body with its usual aches and pains.

Kapre had heard of The TEST during various exchanges with other angels, but no one seemed to know the details of the actual process or at least they wouldn't say. Since he was being promoted to Guardian angel and would be involved in many battle situations, Kapre was sure he would be involved in a spiritual battle of some type. Now here he was in a human body and not quite sure if it was still The TEST or if something else had occurred.

Kapre took inventory of himself and his surroundings to gauge his situation. He was dressed in winter mountain climbing attire and was disappointed to find that the new sword he had been presented was missing. The survey of the cabin had revealed food, extra clothing, plenty of firewood and running water.

Kapre was sitting in a large rocker by a big picture window and was struck by the beauty of the forest outside. Evergreens as far as the eye could see. He could see the green of their needles through the snow that was beginning to accumulate on their branches. Snow! It was falling heavily now and he was in awe at the beauty of God's nature. His thoughts were dimming as he thought about The TEST to see if he had the necessary attributes for a Guardian angel. Kapre knew he was presented a sword as a gift to accompany his advancement to Guardian angel, but now here in human form he was wondering if it was real or had it just been a dream. Kapre was in that dreamy state between dreams and wakefulness. His thoughts were clearing and his numb right hand reminded him to move it and to massage it back to life. He suddenly remembered he was in a mountain cabin with two friends on a late fall hunting trip. Of course, if he told the friends about the angel dream, he would never hear the end of it, so he decided to keep it to himself. It had been so real . . ."Oh well, back to reality, what was I doing?"

Yes, this was the annual trip that he, his best friend in college Phillip and Michael, his boss from work, had taken for the past eleven years. “What was that smell, bacon?”

* * *

“You know, he almost caught me off guard,” Michael said as he winked at Capt. Tutor, “I don’t think I remember one ever coming that close before”.

Capt. Tutor nodded, “Kapre has been a challenge from the start, but those same traits make him the right one for the job of Guardian angel, especially for this charge.”

Michael said, “Well I better get down there, he still has to pass The TEST to make the rank, remember he must make these decisions on his own, and since that is not the nature of an angel, it could be the REAL test”. With that Michael vanished leaving Capt. Tutor and the rest of Nostrum to watch from above. They all knew what Michael meant by 'on his own'; angels always knew God's will and acted to fulfill His will without question. Kapre, however was now human, really human, and would have to act from instinct, from the center of his own being. This was the true test of all God's creations.

* * *

As Kapre was about to get up from the rocker to discover where the bacon smell was coming from, he heard a voice from the loft saying, “Is that coffee ready yet? I always get extra hungry on these trips; almost as hungry as I was every day in college. Kapre, you seem to always have things going before anyone else is even up”.

It was then Kapre noticed eggs and bacon in the big iron skillet on the old wood stove and smelled the distinct odor of biscuits baking. Then he remembered he always drew the cooking duty on these trips and Phil and Michael took on the cleanup chores. Kapre checked the clock on the far wall now showing 5:30 a.m., the trio was about to take on a grand breakfast and then head out for a full day of elk hunting. Among the three of them they had only brought home two trophies in the past eleven years, but of course, that wasn’t the real reason for the trip anyway. They all returned to their daily lives refreshed in mind and spirit ready for new challenges. Kapre was embarrassed that he fallen asleep while cooking. He yelled back, "It's almost finished better get down here." He whispered under his breath, "And give thanks nothing burnt while I snoozed."

Phil, climbed down the short ladder from the loft, as he said, “Michael up yet?”

Kapre said, "Yes, he went out to feed the horses, said he'd be back in about 10 minutes."

Just then the door opened and Michael entered the cabin letting in a blast of cold air along with some fresh snow.

He stomped his feet, and joyfully yelled, "First snow of the season! What a glorious day!"

Michael was a tall man of 6' 5", muscular, but lean. He was a man of about 55 years, his hair was already white, and his features rugged, yet intelligent. His dark green eyes sparkled with boyish glee at the new snow.

Kapre rekindled the stove fire that had been disturbed by the gust of wind let in by Michael’s entrance. The dream forgotten, Kapre tended to the breakfast while Phillip poured himself and Michael a cup of coffee, noticing that Kapre already had one. Phillip was a younger man of about 35 years, was shorter than Michael, a mere 5' 11". He was on the plumper side, but not really what is thought of as fat. He had a rounded face with red cheeks, a salt and pepper beard, and was teased a lot about being Santa Claus in disguise. Phillip was a happy man and looked it. He was fun to be around and it was no accident that he sold toys for a living. He owned a 'Toys R Us' franchise and he couldn't be happier or richer. He is lucky enough to have a beautiful and loving wife, complete with a newborn baby boy. To prove it he had brought a box of cigars and a chest full of pictures. He had attempted to stay home from the trip this year but his wife would not hear of it, "My mother will help out here, you get out of here and enjoy yourself" she had said when the annual call came. "I'm smart enough to remember that you always come back from these trips a new man and I do not plan to break a healthy tradition, baby or no baby." Philip smiled as he thought of his wife and son then was abruptly brought back to reality when a cold, wet, snowball was shoved down the back of his shirt.

"Yeow!” he yelled as he jumped up and pulled his shirt out of his pants in an attempt to get rid of the frozen fluid. All he managed to do, however, was get about half the snowball down his pants as well, which brought more laughter from Michael and Kapre.

Kapre laughed, "If you boys are done horsing around we can eat." He walked over to the table and lifted perfect 'over easy' eggs onto each plate. He then placed bacon, hash brown potatoes, and fluffy biscuits on each plate. He had already set the table complete with butter and homemade strawberry jam and fresh honey, Michael's favorite.

Phillip poured more coffee into each cup and the three men ate, laughed, and had a grand morning in preparation for their hunt. They talked about the elk that had gotten away, and there were many such stories, but today they would bag the biggest rack in history; this was a claim that they always made, but it wasn’t an obsession with them.

With breakfast eaten, cleaned up and lunch packed, they saddled their horses and headed deeper into the mountains. The smell of pine was in the air and the snowfall had covered everything just enough to make pure heaven of an already holy place. Just ahead a deer jumped and ran for cover, white tail bobbing into a thicket. A distant wolf howled his triumph at killing the day’s meal for his family. It was into this rugged wilderness that these fun loving men were about to travel; a place where the law of nature, survival of the fittest, rules.

Michael spoke, his breath visible in the cold air, "We better split up here. We'll ride to our usual spots and check back here just before dark. Remember, if you run into any trouble its three quick shots in the air as an S.O.S."

"Yes daddy!" Kapre and Phillip answered simultaneously as they rode off in opposite directions while Michael rode straight ahead.

* * *

Phillip was barely out of site of the others when he saw a blur to his right. Suddenly, a large grizzly bear stood before him growling. Without warning the bear's claws ripped through his horse’s neck causing a spout of blood to splash the bear's fur. Phillip's horse dropped in its tracks, taking Phillip down as well. The bear’s attention was focused on devouring the horse allowing Phillip to get up and back away slowly. He kept glancing back at a distant tree line, his only cover. What he didn't notice because of the disorienting snow cover and his own blinding fear was the ravine between him and the tree line.

When his foot stepped into thin air Phillip turned and lost his footing and half fell, half slid down the wall. He knew he would die in this fall but before this could fully register on his shocked mind, the collar of his coat caught on a bare branch that literally grabbed the material and hung him there, about seven feet down from the rim of the ravine. Despite the freezing cold he broke out in a sweat and started giving thanks to his maker for this reprieve. It was then that the life-saving branch gave a sickening crack and Phillip dropped a few inches more toward certain death.

Kapre reached his hunting grounds fairly quickly and started looking for tracks immediately. He had just dismounted from his horse to investigate the possibility of a fresh trail when he heard the shots. He couldn't be sure but they sounded as if they came from Phillip's .22 cal. pistol. Michael carried a .38 cal., which would have been louder and more urgent sounding. Kapre got back on his horse and headed off in Phillip’s direction hoping this wasn't Phillip goofing off again.

Phillip's heart was beating at an alarming rate. He had managed to reach his .22 cal. Pistol and had fired the three alarm shots. At the same time the limb cracked again causing Phillip to scream hysterically and lose his grip on the pistol, which fell for and awfully long time before Phillip heard it hit rock. Phillip had tried to keep his eyes on the gun as it made its decent but dizziness overcame him then fear made him clamp his eyes tightly shut. Phillip whispered, "Oh, Lord help me now or meet me at the bottom."

Kapre galloped across the mountain range as quickly as possible. Within five minutes he spotted what was left of Phillip's horse. He saw the Bear dragging part of the horse off to his den. Fear gripped his heart. Where was Phillip? Was he crushed under the horse; before he could stop himself Kapre yelled, "Phillip! Phillip where are you!"

He heard a faint cry for help just as he saw the footprints in the snow heading off backward toward that distant tree line. Kapre walked his horse slowly in that direction and soon came to the ravine. He dismounted and laid flat on his stomach and looked over the edge. He saw Phillip some eleven feet below dangling over the ravine, with nothing between him and death but the collar of his coat and a very unstable branch.

"Phillip, hold still I'll get you out somehow. Try to reach up toward me."

Kapre reached as far as he could but lacked a good five feet of reaching Phillip's up-stretched hand. 'What a time not to have any rope', he thought. Kapre heard the crack just a split second before Phillip's ear piercing scream.

* * *

Michael and Tutor watched from a distant hill. Tutor said, "He's never going to figure it out in time." Michael just said, "Shush! Give him time and watch."

* * *

Kapre quickly surveyed the area for something to use as rope but to no avail; then in a split second; wait his clothing! Despite the cold Kapre stripped off his coat. Then his shirt, his pants and even tied his scarf into the makeshift rope. It wasn't pretty but it might just give him the distance he needed.

Kapre lowered that makeshift rope to Phillip and told him to grab hold and he would pull him up, but even with Kapre lying in the cold snow and reaching as far as he could Phillip could barely touch the leading edge of the cloth, it wasn't enough.

Quickly Kapre scanned the area and saw a possible solution. Daring but this situation called for extreme measures. There was a fairly strong bare bush at the edge of the ravine and Kapre tied one end of the cloth rope to the bush and the other to his right ankle. Then he crawled up to the edge and headfirst slid over the ravine’s edge easing his way down the makeshift rope. A sharp rock tore at his cold flesh but in short order he was face to face with Phillip.

Phillip yelled, in surprise and shock, "What are you doing you fool?"

Kapre yelled back, "Do this quick or I'll get too cold to help you." He grabbed Phillips coat just as the branch it was hung on finally snapped completely. Phillip fell and screamed. He stopped screaming when he noticed he hadn't fallen. Kapre was straining to hold on. The knots he had tied pulled tight and one started to pull through.

Kapre yelled, "Phillip! Turn around and start climbing the rope."

Phillip turned and with Kapre giving his foot a boost, he was able to grab the material at Kapre's ankle and then get a handhold on the makeshift rope itself. He started climbing.

Kapre yelled up to him, "When you get up there, pull me up."

Phillip nodded his head but didn't have the breath left to speak. He climbed over the last of the ledge and collapsed exhausted and almost passed out. He was still lying there when he heard Kapre yell to pull. Phillip got to his knees and pulled on the clothing rope and started to move Kapre's dead weight as the slipping knot silently pulled through. Phillip was thrown onto his back, still holding the empty rope. Kapre for his part fell toward the earth and rock floor of the canyon at an alarming rate. As he was falling, head first to a certain death, Kapre found his thoughts, his mind, his whole being focused on one scripture. . . “The Lord is my shepherd. . .” Just before he hit bottom a flash of light brought him back to reality and he was at the feet of Michael, Tutor and Logos.

Kapre looked up and panted, "Was that The TEST?" They nodded, but none gave a clue as to the result.

Kapre said, "I failed didn't I?"

Michael asked, "Why do you think that?"

Kapre answered, "Because I got killed in The TEST. What good is an angel that saves his charge but gets killed in the process?"

Michael smiled and helped Kapre to his feet, "You did well my friend. You didn't panic, you used the materials at hand for the rescue, and most importantly you put the life of your friend before your own. Those are the qualities that you will need in great abundance in order to guard your charge on earth. This will be a very hard assignment, make no mistake of that. There are many who argue that we should give this charge to a more experienced guardian angel. I want you for the job. Will you accept your assignment without question or reservation?"

Kapre immediately said, "Yes, of course and thank you."

Logos spoke for the first time, "Don't thank us just yet Kapre. I'll take you to your charge and get you started on what is to be a very long and challenging assignment.

Kapre noticed that his sword once again rested against his leg and when he pulled it out of its sheath the shiny side wasn't empty any more but showed a man hanging from a cliff and Kapre in his shorts flying head first over the edge with terror etched onto his face.

Michael smiled and said, "Just a reminder that our dignity must sometimes suffer so we can serve others effectively, while keeping our sense of humor."

With Michael, Tutor and Logos all laughing, a stunned Kapre had taken his first step as a Guardian Angel.

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