The Ark of Apocalypse

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

March to Germany

After over a week’s stay at the castle, Philip was depressed. His call for help to follow him into Germany had only brought in a few thousand more citizens of France. His army had swollen to about one and a quarter million. Some were from the dismantled French army and had some good weapons.

But Philip expected two million Frenchmen to answer his call. He couldn’t wait any longer. He had to move fast since these people could only last a few more days on the food and water that they had.  He did not expect Germany to welcome him with open arms as France did, since Germany was mostly Protestant. Although Catholics and Protestants in Germany get along better than in any other country, it is not the same as out and out support. Information was that a German General formed an army and was trying to bring some peace. 

He looked at the Holy Grail. “If ever anyone put all his trust in you, this has got to be it.” He called the twelve men in. “Let’s march!”

Merlin went before the cart and the ass that pulled it. Philip followed behind him with the Twelve As they marched, they sang songs and prayed the Rosary. Through Lorraine, citizens came forward bringing food and water for his men. When they crossed from Lorraine into Alsace, even Germans were coming into France and siding with him. Germany and France had fought many times over the Alsace Valley, and it had gone back and forth. But now, since the French had no government, Germany claimed it again. Then Germany lost its government. The people of Alsace, however, are mostly French and the language is French. Philip figured that they would have no problem.

As they went on through the country, crowds cheered them on and gave whatever they had in food, wine, water and fuel. Through Strasburg they went, and again the citizens cheered and helped.

“Your Majesty, we have good news.”

“Please get up. That makes me nervous. My name is Philip, just Philip, and kneeling is for God only. What is it?”

“The German General and his army is waiting for us in the valley of Alsace.

“How many are there?”

“Not many, Your Majesty, since they think you’re crazy, they laugh at you. They don’t consider you a threat, but they are well-armed. There are about three thousand men.  The German mob also sent out spies to see what you are doing. We are those spies.”

Philip laughed. “Go tell them we are coming. We shall go right at them.”

“What about aircraft?”

 “Sir! There hasn’t been any aircraft over Germany in a year except American. The American army has been so afraid of this civil war that they gave orders to shoot down any airplane that flew over German soil no matter who it was. They shot a lot down before all flights stopped. This German General is trying to take over Germany now that there is no government.”

“So we don’t have to worry about air power?”

“No sir!”

“What do you know about this German General?” questioned Philip.

“Nothing yet, he seems to be a good man who just wants what is best for Germany but is forced to use dictatorial methods to bring back order and peace to his country.”

“Is there any way of talking with him and showing him that we want the same thing for Germany as he does?”

“We have tried but he does not trust anyone.  You will have to confront him first. Sorry, but he does not trust you.”

“Philip looked over at the Grail and gained his courage again. “This is probably your doing also.” He gathered his generals around him to discuss strategy. The best thing to do would be to retreat to the mountains and fight Rambo style, but Philip couldn’t bring himself to allowing the Holy Grail to be seen retreating. There wasn’t time to work around the sides of the oncoming army.

“What about the American army? Will they help?”

“No sir! Word has it that they are afraid to stop you because of the American Catholics, but even many of the American Catholics think you might be the Antichrist.”

As they marched towards the German army the silence became deafening.  Philip could hear a bird singing. Merlin and the priests pulled up the cart. He took off the leather cover. The Holy Grail shot out reflections of light. The Cardinal began to sing: “Holy God, we praise your name. …” Everyone followed in a low voice, but the sounds echoed across the valley.

Philip pulled out his sword and stuck it in the ground twenty feet ahead of the Grail. “That’s as far as they are going.” He said.

When the Germans came and when Philip saw them, he knew he couldn’t even slow them down. There were just too many of them. Philip began to worry about the Holy Grail and the priests. He began to consider how he would save them. He walked over to the cart and opened the leather box. The sun caught the gold, the stones, and the brown crystal cup, and put off such rays of light that Philip had to turn his eyes away before he would be blinded. He moved around to the opposite side and looked at the chalice. Merlin stood behind him. The blood had become liquid again, but seemed fuller.

“OK, my Lord! What a poor choice you have made in picking me to do your work. In less than an hour, all will be lost, including this chalice.”

Merlin put his hand on Philip’s shoulder. “Man of little faith. God does not depend on your brains or your power, only your desire to do His Will. He will do the rest. Look!”

Philip turned around to see what Merlin was pointing at. Over the hills from the West was an army of men as far as the eye could see. It seemed to be millions and they were mostly plain clothed civilians, armed with hunting rifles or axes or whatever they had.

Before he had a chance to rejoice over the sight, someone shouted, “Look, look to the south.” And up the valley from the south was another army of civilians. This time they were Austrians. From the north came another army of Germans. The German army dropped their weapons, and the German general walked forward towards Philip:  “It seems my people want you over me. So shall it be.”