“How was your break?”
Father John–our new teacher, apparently–had taken us to a secluded spot in the woods surrounding the Academy. Three chairs were set up in the clearing. I wondered whether they’d always been there, or had been dragged all the way out here just for us.
“Um, good.” Lilly sat down in a chair. “Very… eventful. Learned a lot of new things.”
“Good.” Father John smiled. “Though I hope you didn’t spend all your time studying and preparing. Even prophets need some time to relax.”
I pushed my chair next to Lilly’s. “So, are all our lessons going to be outdoors?”
“We can do them wherever you want,” Father John said, “but it’s a nice day, and I thought this would give us more privacy.”
“I like it.” I stretched out my wings to let them soak up the sun. “It’s peaceful.”
“Yes, it is.” Father John sighed. “I fear peace has become quite rare these days.”
The war with the ‘cubi. Right. I recalled the incident with Luke. His attack was likely more due to being a mortal god than an incubus, but I knew it wasn’t at all rare for the angel military to hunt down civilian ‘cubi.
“It’s getting worse.” Lilly broke the silence. “I–I heard they’re withdrawing peacekeepers…”
Like most countries, our government is divided by species. Angels, ‘cubi, humans, even werecats, have their own government. Mostly because they’ve got different ideas about how things should work. They evolved to live with different social structures (packs, flocks, etc). Some species demand a strict hierarchy where everyone has a clear purpose, while others believe in equality and individual choice. Forcing people to live under a social order they’re not mentally equipped for just causes issues, so each species gets their own.
In addition to the species-specific governments, there’s a Common Government to handle issues that affect multiple species (homicide, inter-species marriage, etc). It’s their job to ensure the species all get along. The Common Government makes it possible to have mixed communities, where people of all species can live together in peace. But they have no military power. The peacekeepers they send to stop the angels and ‘cubi from killing each other are either law enforcement, or troops volunteered by a species-specific government.
“Angels and ‘cubi have been fighting for centuries,” I said, “I think a lot of the other species have just given up on it ever ending peacefully. And honestly…” I sighed. “I think they might be right. The angels think they’re fulfilling a divine command. And the ‘cubi… they’re fighting for survival. To stop themselves from… from suffering the same fate as the dragons.”
“That won’t happen,” Father John insisted, “For the Lord has sent you to end this ancient feud, has He not?”
“Uh… right.” I pulled my wings back in. “That… yeah, that must be why he gave us our message.”
“Do you really think we can do that?” Lilly asked. “Stop a war just by preaching peace and love?”
“Especially considering that Jack’s preaching the exact opposite,” I added. “What makes you so sure people will believe us over him?”
“Have faith.” Father John smiled. “For the Lord is on your side. He will not abandon you.”
Yeah, I thought, too bad we’re not really prophets. And our message isn’t coming from any divine being except ourselves.
“It is a difficult task, but the Lord would not have bestowed it upon you if you were not capable of fulfilling it.”
I wanted to ask him about Jack. Does the Academy really think both our messages are from their deity? They clearly conflict with each other.
But if the Academy hasn’t considered the contradiction yet, I didn’t want to tip them off. They’d likely realize we’re the fakes.
“Father John…” Lilly looked down. “I… there’s something you should know…”
“Lilly.” I put my hand on her shoulder to stop her from telling Father John the truth.
“Alex…” She looked at me, her eyes silently pleading.
I shook my head. I knew she felt guilty for accidentally controlling Father John’s mind, but we had to keep it secret.
“You need not tell me everything,” Father John said, “Some things must remain between you and God. I understand that.”
Lilly nodded solemnly. “Okay. You’re–you’re probably right, I suppose.”
“I’m sorry,” I whispered. The only reason she’d used her powers was because we needed people to believe the explanation for my ressurection. We were in this mess because of me.
And I had no idea how to get us out.