The Acts of Taxiarch Nergal
The Acts of Taxiarch Nergal by Jonas Kyratzes
Transcript of a pamphlet found in a Disciples of Anu haven.
1. There was in the days before the Flood a certain man whose name has now been effaced from the pages of history; and this man was a loyal soldier of a great empire of that time. In his loyalty he was as pure as men of that corrupted age could be, but the powers and principalities to which he had sworn allegiance were riddled with sin, as is written in the Book of Follies, and thus all the acts he committed in their name became acts of sin.
2. Now it came to pass that this man was sent unto a foreign land at the head of an army, to persecute its people for the profit of his empire. Great was his knowledge of the ways of war, and his army made havoc of that land, burning the houses with fire cast down from the heavens and scattering its people across the Earth. Even when the people surrendered, he rained fire upon them, knowing that many would fight his masters upon another day. For this he was praised by all the lords of the empire, and his glory was great. Yet the war continued for many years, for the land was harsh and its people would not bow down.
3. Then it became necessary for the man to travel across the breadth of the land, to seek out the rulers of the people, so they might ensure the submission of their subjects; and on this journey, his vehicle was ripped from the sky by a storm. Now the man was forced to travel the land by foot, until his soldiers could come to his aid.
4. On this journey he was confronted with his sins: for now he saw the burned homes, and the bodies of the slain, and the marks of shame on the bodies of the living. And a great horror overcame his soul, for now he knew that in seeking to do good he had done nothing but evil, and from his crimes other evils would spring; for how could the people of this land not hate him and his soldiers? He felt the sickness of hatred within himself, and within all those around him, and he wept.
5. So the man began to seek salvation; but in those days, the hope of the world had not revealed itself, and few had dreamed of Anu. Yet there were many false prophets, and to these the man fell victim. For years he surrendered his mind to sorcerers and charlatans promising salvation of the soul.
6. But it was not his soul that needed saving; for had he not committed all his sins in the service of goodness and loyalty? The false prophets dared not speak the truth: that the true corruption was not within the soul, which is perfect and eternal, but within the flesh, which is convulsed by desires until it withers and dies. So all the deceivers and hypocrites the man sought out could not help him, for they could not understand where the healing of the world must begin.
7. Now the star Wormwood fell from the sky, as is written in the Book of Tribulations, and the time of the Flood and the Mist began. The kings and princes of the Earth were gripped with madness, and the nations went to war.
8. The man, being loyal, did not abandon the position he had accepted within the empire; but as the years passed, his crimes became too many for his soul to bear, and he despaired. Finally, unable to commit another sin, he climbed upon a high building in a flooded city and cast himself into the sea.
9. Then he would have perished, but he was found by the Exalted; for the Dead God had sent her a sign in her dreams, that this man was chosen to lead her soldiers in the battles to come. And she led him to the Waters of Life, and there he was purified, and born anew. And the name he was given in his second birth was Nergal, and he was raised to the rank of Taxiarch.
10. For seven days, he was blind, and it is said that he had the likeness of the fish of the sea, breathing only water; but upon the seventh day, the scales fell from his eyes, and he joined the other disciples in the secret place the Exalted had set aside for them.
11. The Church was then young, and weak; it was by the acts of its first children that it would live or die. Nergal's faith burned bright, for he had seen the face of the Exalted and been filled with its beauty; and through her he had perceived the greatness of Anu, the Dead God, the Lord of the Constellations and the Planets, and he rejoiced at the promise of Resurrection. And now all his knowledge, which had before been corrupted, could be put to its proper use, for as is written in the Book of Hope, all that is done in the name of the Dead God is protected from corruption.
12. Forthwith, where there had been chaos, Taxiarch Nergal brought order. He divided the faithful by their skills, and trained those he selected in the ways of the soldier. He sought out forts and safe havens, and taught the faithful to defend them against men and locusts alike. He rained fire down upon the enemies of Anu, but now his heart was glad; for he knew his cause was just, and the salvation of the world at hand.
13. He did not need blind faith, for he knew the purity of his own body, purged of sin by the miracle of Communion; and he beheld the power of the Vessels, and the Divine Apparatus, and the Hallowed Machines; and so he persecuted all false prophets with great vigour, for harshness in the pursuit of truth is no sin. He would allow no others to be deceived as he had once been; for only the Waters of Life promised a true change in the substance of Man, that both mind and eye could perceive.
14. As the years passed, others were raised above Taxiarch Nergal; there came to be the Shadowed Hierarch, and the Blind Legate; and many other taxiarchs, and exarchs, and other leaders besides. To this he never objected; and some say he asked of the Exalted only one thing, namely that he not be raised above his position. For Taxiarch Nergal knows neither greed nor ambition; he knows only the beauty of the Sacred Mysteries, and the hope that is embodied by the Exalted. It is through her, and through the blessing of Anu, that he has become that which he has always wished to be, free from corruption and sin: a soldier. May it be likewise with you.