Chapter 1

Author's Note: This "story" serves as a brief background on the Order featured in Enter the Darkness. The short stories that make up Chapters I and V show the Order's origins (Chapter I) and how the Order learns of and prepares for the arrival of the Warrior of God that Alexandra McKiernan becomes as the protagonist of Enter the Darkness. Reading this is not required to read Enter the Darkness nor vice versa. It was simply something I began compiling for my own use in writing Enter the Darkness and thought others might enjoy a look behind the scenes as well.

The Beginning

In antiquity, when the heathens of Rome still dominated the world and Christians huddled in the catacombs of the great cities to perform the appropriate rites and ceremonies, those remaining amongst the aging disciples of the long-departed Messiah gathered in secret to discuss a problem of urgency and danger to all. In their travels did the Apostles encounter the demons and other fell beings of the world. Through their writings, left to us down through the ages, did they warn of the evil of these creatures and the threat they posed to both body and soul of the faithful. Virtue and piety did they recommend in combating their wicked influence, for the Apostles did observe that these sinister beings did gather unto themselves the base and vile sloughings of humanity to serve them on the earthly plane.

An evening came during their gathering that they ate and drank, talking of the days past and the times when the Lord walked amongst them. Early in their carouse they began dropping into a most unnatural sleep, scarce after the sun fell below the horizon. Suddenly these aged men of Jesus were startled awake by blinding light and a heavenly chorus. Out of that light stepped the Archangel Michael and Christ the Lord. Several of the aged disciples wept with joy at seeing their friend, gone these many years. Once more Jesus walked amongst them, watched by the stern visage of the Archangel.

"I have come to warn you of that which you have done here these past few days. While you have done well to leave stern warning against the creatures you have encountered in your long travels, I did not cause you to come together like this for warnings alone," Jesus told his followers grimly. "Men are transitory and oft find ways by which they may forget or ignore the wisdom of the generations gone before them. The time will come when the writings you shall leave behind shall be added to the wisdom of the Torah, Nevi'im, and K'tuvim and it shall be spread throughout the world by missionaries and priests. That time, however, shall not be for some centuries and in that span shall your writings, and the writings of those who come after you, be altered and edited. Not always with purpose or even by intent, but the words you leave shall not fall to future generations exactly as you wish them to. So I have come to you with Michael to instruct you on how you may fight the influence of these beings you have encountered in your travels."

With this, Michael came forward to stand with Jesus. "Know that the teachings of thy master were true and good, but they cannot always sustain the faithful in their struggle against evil. Thou, as Apostles, were able to easily defeat such demons as thou hast come across, but thy followers and those who shall come after shall not find these beings so easily vanquished," the archangel advised them sternly. "As such, thou must and shall gather unto thyselves such young warriors as thou hast amongst thy followers. From amongst these few shalt thou find a master warrior, one who hath traveled far to find a peace from those acts such as he hath performed without satisfaction or pleasure in his soul. In this man's hands shalt thou place these men and instruct him in the formation of an order of warriors to guard the faithful against demons of all types."

"And to these warriors shall come, from time to time, seers and sorcerers, wizards and witches, warlocks and necromancers to aid in the fight. Those of the order are not to strike them down nor burn them, for they have been sent by my Father," Jesus added warningly. "Without such as they, the order would be most helpless against some few of the demons which they shall encounter. These magi shall help guide the order in that which they who feel the calling to the order must do. None outside of the order but the heads of the Church shall know of them, or of this visit, for they do a work which must be kept secret. And all leaders of the church must give to them whatever aid they should ask for, without question from any but the head of the Church himself. Know, my friends, that this shall be the most important thing you shall do in my name and in the name of God, my Father. And know, also, that I do sorely miss our companionship. I look forward with great anticipation for that day when you shall join with me and those of your brethren already gone from this world. Until that day, however, go forth with the great work you have embarked upon with the knowledge that you have done well and you have my confidence and my love."

The Apostles awoke the next morning from their carouse filled with an overwhelming urgency. They prepared to leave and go amongst their followers, looking for such warriors who had not taken well to the peaceful message they carried but had felt the calling of God nonetheless. They agreed to send such men as they found to Rome and Peter.

It was not long after the Apostles went apart that word came that Paul found amongst his congregation in Greece a towering Pictish gladiator who had escaped his Roman owners. About the man did Paul perceive an aura of competent violence barely held in check by the man's overwhelming faith in the preaching of the priests whom he guarded. Through interpreters, for the man spoke only Celtic and Germanic tongues, Paul was able to find that the man was the son of a clan chief captured in a raid upon Roman towns in far-off Britannia. After talking to the man for some time, Paul was able to convince the man to go to Rome and speak with Peter.

Over the years since the Apostles gathered, many had begun streaming toward Rome and Peter and his priests hid them in the catacombs and in the countryside. The Pict was greeted on the outskirts of Rome and brought into Peter's presence. Peter questioned the man regarding his faith and found a conundrum. Peter, as had Paul, saw the aura of invincibility and determination and holiness about the man, but he learned that the man had vowed to never strike another blow against any being in offense. Peter knew that this man was the master warrior about whom the Archangel Michael had spoke. He saw to the Pict's comfort and left to ponder the problem. The answer came as he walked about the countryside and saw a Roman legion drilling with their weapons. The legionaries were drilling under the sharp tongue of their centurion. Every once in a while he would stop the drilling to pull an errant soldier to the fore and use him to show the various deficiencies of the legionaries' skills.

Happy to have found an answer to the problem, he returned to the Pict and told him of what he would be doing for the faithful. After hearing what Peter said, a beatific smile came over the face of the brawny man.

"I knew I had been called to God for a reason," he told Peter, his voice relieved and content, "but I had begun to grow strained under the pressure of restraining myself. I cannot, however, spill a single drop of blood in this endeavor. I forswore my past life and have given myself over to God. Train your holy warriors I will, but lead them I shall not."

Thusly had Peter founded the Order which he had been commanded. When Linus was invested as Bishop of Rome in 67 A. D., he found the Order well established with chapterhouses in the Christian undergrounds in the other four patriarchal sees of Alexandria, Antioch, Byzantium, and Jerusalem.

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