Lore of the Angels Ch. 09byAlecrire©
Noor had thrice the military force of North America and half of it was Angels.
"Are you authorizing... all of these?" asked Anthony in surprise.
Anthony's lips thinned into a grim line as he saw that while all the land troops were mobilized, the air forces were limited to just one squadron and there were no naval forces even on standby for them.
"This is... not enough."
Ehren shook his head. "Our air assets have been severely depleted in the last battle."
Anthony kept silent. Even though Julia's own aircraft and Angels were hit, most of the damages were suffered by Noor's troops. Still, it was very generous of Noor to provide a dozen fighter jets --a seemingly small number but extremely lethal. On pylons --external storage structures --beneath each wing, the jets were equipped to carry a mixed load of laser and GPS-guided ordnance. . Noor's ability to manipulate Light also meant that the planes were constantly under stealth mode as they reflect radio waves. But Anthony wasn't sure if it was enough...
"Do you have any intel on Yuki's navy?"
Another file appeared and Ehren passed it to Anthony.
The Fire Ordinal examined the data gathered by Noor's reconnaissance team and what he saw made his gut wrench in fear.
It wasn't just the size of the fleet --a number he was sure paralleled that of Noor's air, land and sea forces combined --but the fact that not all those ships were battle cruisers that worried him.
"Do you know what this is?" asked Anthony, pointing to a particular cluster on the recon photographs.
Ehren moved closer; squinting. "Yes."
Tapping his finger on a few smaller ships, "This is a Carrier Battle Group," he pointed to the largest ship in the center of the formation. "Those smaller ships are just the escorts."
The Dark Ordinal nodded. "That's why we're providing you with our elite air squadron."
Anthony continued to study the sheet of data. "Let me see your full naval task force."
Ehren looked around then reached out for something; pulling out a white folder, he passed it to Anthony.
"Noor believes in aerial superiority," he said almost apologetically. Anthony couldn't blame him. Light Angels avoided small enclosed spaces as much as possible and the confines of a submarine or a warship would stifle them.
Flipping through the folder, Anthony noted that Noor's fleet focused mainly on coastal defense with limited projection capabilities. Apart from its fifteen major surface combatants --cruisers and destroyers -- and two hundred fast attack craft --such as guided missile warships --the fleet had no submarine force or aircraft carriers and relied on its large shore-based air wing for striking power.
In other words, Noor's navy was not fully equipped to survive in deep water.
Anthony knew that the recon photographs would not show submarines --he had no doubt that Yuki, as a Snow-Water Cardinal could manipulate currents; bypassing the sonar detectors or at least fooling it by carrying different densities to deflect sonar waves. She might not successfully sink all of Noor's fleet but could inflict substantial damage. "I'll authorize our own navy to make its way here."
"You are bringing war to our lands?" The question had no intonation.
"Our combined fleet can meet her halfway across the Atlantic Ocean. I will not allow those ships to reach our lands."
"You have those?" Ehren pointed to the aircraft carriers.
"Yes...our carrier air wing can carry up to seventy aircraft and should be here within six days. Archangel Zilarrezko wishes to cripple Yuki's fleet before they can reach North America --stopping them if possible."
"We will need to discuss this with Noor..." For the first time that morning, Ehren's voice actually faltered.
"Let her enjoy the morning sun first."
Anthony knew that the sun rose early in Cairo, sometimes before five and it was already closing to six in the morning.
"I don't see any sun."
"It's not my room."
Anthony looked at the Dark Ordinal warily. "Perhaps we should step out and meet her."
For a moment, he was sure that he hadn't walked out the door for the darkness surrounding them hadn't lessened. It was still dark --not because the sun hadn't risen...
"She's upset," whispered Ehren.
"Sometimes there's lighting and thunder."
"It's not the same?" Ehren's face was full of shock --or was that fear in his eyes?
"Err..." Anthony wasn't sure either. "Will she be able to discuss the situation?"
The emotion in Ehren's eyes faded immediately. "Yes she will. She's a good Archangel."
"Alright, we should go then." Anthony was already walking when he noticed that Ehren had stayed rooted in his spot. "You're not coming?"
"It's better if you go alone."
"Why?" Anthony swore the Dark Ordinal was blushing.
"She might not be too... rational if I am around."
Anthony knew it wasn't his place to nose around the domestic issues of other Archangels but he needed the Archangel to be focused when he discussed such important matters.
"You made her angry."
At first Ehren looked hesitant to admit it but then he nodded --very slowly. "She asked me a question and I said no."
Anthony frowned. Noor wasn't the kind to be petty. That must have been a really important question.
"You disobeyed your Cardinal's direct order?"
Anthony didn't think so either. "You can either tell me or not. It doesn't matter."
Ehren stared at Anthony silently for one, long hard minute. "She asked if I love her."
Now it was Anthony's turn to stare. This was what made the Light Cardinal upset? "And you said no."
Even Anthony knew that was a grave mistake to make. "Did you mean it?"
The solemn face turned angry. "She walked out after I said no."
Anthony arched an eyebrow. This Ordinal avoided personal questions like the plague.
"If you don't mean it, you should tell her... maybe after my meeting." Anthony forced a smile.
Noor was still at the welcome courtyard of her Sky Bridge when Anthony came to look for her.
"I take it the meeting went well?"
"We have some things to discuss Cardinal."
She turned, surprise etched on her face. "Ehren hasn't been helpful?"
"He has been exceptional but there are certain things that only you can decide upon."
Noor nodded and gestured to some chairs and tables at the edge of the courtyard. "We shall talk then."
When they've seated, she looked at Anthony and sighed. "This is a second time that Zilarrezko's sent his Ordinal in his place."
"He means no disrespect Cardinal..."
"I know. You've raised him better." Noor watched him lower his gaze at her praise. "What is it that you wish to speak to me about?
"Cardinal, Zilarrezko would like to stop Yuki's troops before they can pass the Cape."
If she was surprised, she didn't show it. Instead Noor leaned back in her seat and flicked her wrists.
The stormy exterior of the Sky Bridge faded; bathing the entire space with the warming rays of the morning sun.
"Let's not add gloom to the news," she smiled. "Has Zilarrezko considered that I might say no?"
The both knew the answer to that. Instead, Anthony raised his eyes to look at her. "Alone, he wouldn't just be overwhelmed... his entire clan could be wiped out."
"What does Ehren think of your suggestion?"
Anthony blinked. "This is Archangel Zilarrezko's wishes, Cardinal."
Noor let out a soft laugh; her eyes twinkling perceptively. "Ehren wouldn't disobey a Cardinal's wishes... but you suggested something didn't you? He wouldn't send you to me otherwise."
"My apologies Cardinal... It's just that Zilarrezko is extremely occupied at the moment and has authorized me to make any necessary plans. After reviewing the reconnaissance data, I realize that Yuki isn't just transporting her naval task force but possible half --if not all of her air forces. It is pertinent that we also consider a maritime alliance."
"Impossible! My Angels did not see any incoming flights... oh! They're on the ships?"
Noor's flawless face was marred by a slight frown as she began thinking. After a few minutes of silence, she got to her feet and angled her head up.
Anthony mimicked her movement and wasn't surprised to see an Angel descending towards the courtyard. What surprised him was that this Light Ordinal had wings that could rival Lucian's. It was hard to describe its exact color for it was iridescent; reflecting different hues depending on which angle you were looking at.
As the Ordinal landed, Anthony couldn't help but stare. Next to Noor, the Light Angel looked like a rainbow.
"Anthony, this is Vlinder. He is in charge of all my fleet. Let me know how you plan to stop Yuki's naval advances." When Anthony nodded, she continued, "But I have to cut my land support by half. If you wish to fight so close to my territory, then you have to let me defend it."
Noor's smile was reflected in her eyes; the creases at the corners showing that she was genuine pleased.
"Stay as long as you need. Vlinder will show you to your room if you wish to rest. I'm afraid I have to leave you now Anthony... Ehren is looking for me."
Anthony was about to leave when he caught sight of the Dark Ordinal at the door. It seemed that he was looking for her too but there was no tenderness in his eyes but something else.
"Cardinal... Archangel Yuki is here..."