Grace Victorious

Fiction By Kyleigh // 2/1/2012

 {the final installment of the Victorious series!} 

 

The Creator smiled and began to mold and shape the ball he held in his hands. With one small breath of air, he sent the orb into the void. It became a small dot on the dark horizon, shining its light in glory to its Creator.

            He reached out and took in his hand another stretch of darkness. At His touch, it turned to light. He pushed and pulled the orb, digging valleys and raising mountains with his gentle touch. As He ran his fingers through the valleys, water followed behind Him, and greenery sprouted up.

            Holding the sphere at a distance, the Creator looked at His creation. Yes, He had created other things before this. But this was the best He had done. This globe far surpassed them all. The others had been good. This was very good. The Creator watched his handiwork move and grow. He made animals and set them in jungles, rivers, and forests. He stroked tigers’ fur and ran his hands through the manes of horses and donkeys. He listened to the songs of the birds and watched the wolves run, the wind running through their soft coats. Gryphons leapt from cliffs, spreading their wings and swooping over the beautiful land. All this was created for His praise and glory.

            Yet in all of this, His world was still incomplete. Something was missing. These animals showed His skill, but they could not appreciate what He had done for them. They had not the ability to converse with Him, to keep Him company, for Him to love and cherish, to care for. He wanted something that could understand depth and beauty, comprehend love and sacrifice, and live as He had made them to live.

            The Creator stooped and picked up a handful of dust from the ground. He opened his hand to look at the dust, and then He blew it. The dust whirled off His palm, and when He spoke, it became a man. Shaping the figure just how He wanted it, He breathed into the man, and the man came alive. Man moved, breathed, and opened his eyes. Then he turned to look at his Creator. 

            The Creator smiled. Now His creation was complete. He had someone made in His image, to be with Him, to work alongside Him, to understand and love Him.

 

            The Creator called this final globe Edaled. He had set it in an infinite universe, filled with stars and planets and things yet unknown, placed there to reveal His glory, wisdom, and power. He made a helper for the Man, a Woman that could share in the work the Creator planned to give the man. Together they had nine sons and nine daughters. The Creator divided the land into nine kingdoms, one for each son to rule. Whenever son of the Man reached manhood, they took their place at the head of a kingdom of their choosing and rule it with wisdom and justice, honoring their father and their Creator.

            The first of man’s children was a son. He and the woman called him Jacob. As the oldest, Jacob grew up caring for those younger and more helpless than himself. When he came of age, he chose Stargonia for her kingdom. His strong hand cared for his people and produced much fruit from the earth, supplying all of his peoples’ needs. His sister, Enya, aided Jacob’s rule, and Stargonia became a prosperous kingdom.

            Paul was next to come of age. He chose Ladylan for his kingdom. As the years of his rule went by, he took advantage of the warm weather there to plant vineyards and export their produce as wine and other products. His sister Juliana blessed the land of Ladylan with her wisdom and love of hard work.

            Donovan, Paul’s younger brother by two years, was attracted to Cathonys because of its beautiful greenery and rolling hills. He filled his land with joy and laughter, and his people became peaceful and trusting under the rule of Donovan and his sister Rachelle.

            Ahearn, the animal lover of the family, chose to rule Byshan, which later became known for its beautiful yet sturdy horses. Together, he and his younger sister Candace trained many animals and honed the skills of the talking beasts.

            Kelta aided her brother, Kevin, in developing the land of Aquis. They loved the arts of music and metalworking, thus their kingdom, Aquis, attracts many artisans. Over the years, history combined with music and Aquis became the birthplace of traditional ballads and storytelling in Edaled. Their lands being the closest together, Ahearn and Kevin made an alliance together and Aquis and Byshan became sister kingdoms and shared together in need and in plenty.

            Marek wanted Olandern for his kingdom. He was drawn to the large islands that made up half of the kingdom. Soon the land of Olandern was filled with men and women who loved to travel and build, and Olandern’s shores became great trading posts. Together, he and his sister Kalea oversaw the imports and exports of their kingdom.

            Man’s final sons, triplets, Nathan, Christoph, and Elidor, and their younger sisters, divided the remaining kingdoms of Sealyn, Panatea, and Minarea amongst themselves.  

           

            Edaled was still young, and the Creator knew that if He did not set up rules, His world would end up a broken and perverse place before the next generation was born. He had not made mistakes when he created, but in man, He had placed a strong desire for more power. If not controlled, this desire would lead men astray.

            Thus, the Creator gave man two basic laws. The first, to pursue excellence. The Creator was excellence and perfection, and wanted His creation to be like Him. This was the other law that He gave - a deeper and more serious law – to do what they would know the Creator would love, to long for and hate what the Creator longed for and hated, and to walk side by side with their Maker. Man’s children accepted these rules, knowing the Creator had given the rules to them out of love and in his purpose and plan. They also knew that the Laws of the Creator would make them like Him, and they longed to be like the One who created them.

 

            Man spent his days walking with the Creator. As he did so, he learned more and more about the Creator. His name was Ad, which meant “supernatural one, most powerful.” Yet Man called Ad “Creator,” because their first relationship to Him was as their Creator.

            “You are the one who has made us,” Man said. “And yet there is so much more about You than just that. Is there any name we could call You that would encompass all You are?”

            “No,” the Creator said. “No man can wholly understand or know me, even though he has eternity to do it.”

            Has eternity. Man smiled. As long as they followed the Creator’s two laws, they would live forever with Him, always growing closer to and more like Him.

            Many years went by. Man lived in peace with the Creator, and so did Man’s children. Their lands were fruitful. They were healthy and well-fed. Man’s children would often travel to visit one another, using the land bridges that joined the kingdoms together. The kingdoms were separated by a few feet of water in those days; they were not oceans apart, as they have been since the Great Division.

 

            Fifty years passed in this way. No one grew old, for they would live forever. Life was filled with joy and happiness. There were flights on gryphons, month-long feasts, and boat races, to name a few of their pleasures. But the most important for Man, the Woman, and each of their children was pursuing knowledge of the Creator.

            The Creator would visit the kingdoms often, spending time with the Kings and Queens.

            Everyone was happy and content. The Creator loved His creation, and the men and women were fulfilled in knowing their Maker.

            Yet the Creator had ordained that this blissful state would not last forever.

 

            The Kingdoms of land were ruled by men, but there were also kingdoms of the sky. These were ruled by gryphons and dragons, which were known as the Creator’s messengers. They enjoyed more knowledge and had deeper friendships with the Creator than even Man himself.

            The dragons had a leader, and his name was Daron. His name meant ‘divider,’ and he had been thus named because the Creator had planned Daron would divide the people from Himself.

            Daron’s whisperings began among the dragons and gryphons.

            “Let us take Edaled for ourselves,” he said. “The Creator made us, but since then He has done nothing.”

            “He created us,” a gryphon said, “and so He has authority to rule us. The Creator owns the creation.”

            “He keeps it all to Himself,” Daron said. “I want some of it. Why shouldn’t I rule all of Edaled? He gave me some authority; He knows my ability. I’d be a much better ruler than Him. Setting up men to be the kings?” Daron laughed. “Men are weak. I’d set up my fellow dragons. We’re much stronger, and -”

            “Daron –” a dragon interrupted.

            “What?” Daron asked.

            “You said You’d be a better ruler than the Creator. You’ve broken His laws!” The dragon said.

            “I know, but it’s true. I don’t have to strive to be like Him, because I’m already better than Him. The Creator is not strong enough to rule over us.”

            “Death is the punishment for disobedience,” a gryphon said.

            “Those penalties apply to men. Besides, I think the Creator has set up laws to keep us from ruling all of Edaled,” Daron said. “He’s a petty sovereign who wants to keep what He made instead of being generous and giving it to others.”

            A gryphon spread his wings to fly. “It’s His by right, and we are happy under His rule. We will not be party to such talk.”

            And with that, the gryphons left.

            “Let them go,” Daron said as they flew away. “They’ll want to join us later. Who’s with me?”

            All the dragons cheered.

            “Come; let us go to the Creator. Soon we will be the emperors of Edaled!”

            If a man had looked to the sky at that point, he would have seen gryphons flying away to the east, while the dragons departed to the west. The sun was covered for a few moments as they filled the sky.

            Daron landed in Sealyn. “Let us wait here for the Creator to come,” he said.

            The other dragons landed around their leader.

            Within the hour, they heard the Creator approaching.

            “See, He comes to meet us on our terms,” Daron said.

            “I come to meet you on my own terms,” the Creator said. “I am Ad, the Most High, and I do nothing except of my own will. I knew you would be here, and I wished to speak to you. Thus I am here.”

            “We wish to speak to you, too,” Daron said. “We’re tired of Your rule, and have decided to take Edaled for ourselves, unless You will give it to us.”

            “Such will the world change,” the Creator said. “No one will be content with what I have given to him, but will always seek after what belongs to another. No, Daron. You shall not rule except what I give.”

            “Strong words, but I doubt you have the power to fulfill them,” Daron said.

            The Creator’s voice grew stronger. “Daron, I cast you down from the skies. You shall have no home there any longer, but shall be forced to live in valleys and caves. Your flight shall be limited, and you will have no share in the kingdoms of the sky or of the earth. Your rule will be restricted to the hearts of few men, and one day you shall be destroyed for your treason.”

            And with that, the Creator left the group of dragons.

 

            That night, the dragon’s scales glistened as the moon’s clear light shone on Edaled. Daron spread his green wings wide and soared into the cool night air. He flew over the young world, delighting in its beauty and longing to rule it. As the night wore on, the dragon continued to fly. His dragons flew behind him, their wings covering the stars. Soon he saw a stream below him and landed. There he drank, and fell into sleep.

            Noon-day light fought its way into Daron’s closed eyes. He woke and rose to drink again. He flew all day long, always searching the ground below him. I must find the weakest kingdom, he thought. And there enter and begin my rule. He thought of the Creator, who had made Edaled and placed the nine sons of man to govern the nine kingdoms. Daron remembered the Laws the Creator had established. Daron’s eyes gleamed as he recalled that it had been he who had spoken against the rules and had led the other dragons from the presence of the Creator.

            “We will be the emperors of Edaled,” Daron had told them. “The Creator is not strong enough to rule over us.” Those had been his words, but after their encounter with the Creator the day before, Daron feared they might not be true. The Creator had made the dragons – was he not able also to destroy them?

            Daron pushed that thought aside as he sighted a castle in the distance. They were back in Sealyn, where they had begun their search. It was here the Creator had condemned them to live without a kingdom. And so perhaps it is here we begin our rule over men, Daron thought.

 

Nathan surveyed the land of Sealyn from the highest tower in his castle. Flat plains rolled out for miles, and beyond them lay the highlands, filled with cliffs and caves. The lowlands were filled with orchards and fields ripe for the harvest.

 It had been six years since the Creator had given him charge of a kingdom. They had been wonderful years. In them, Nathan had turned Sealyn into a fruitful land. He had grown to love the Creator more. The Creator often visited Sealyn, counseling Nathan and increasing the king’s wisdom. He had brought Nathan a wife, and given Nathan tasks to accomplish. All was well in Sealyn, and throughout Edaled.

            The voice of his wife called Nathan from his thoughts.

            “Nathan, there’s a dragon waiting in the courtyard. He wants to speak with you.”

            Nathan walked with his wife down to the courtyard. “Did he say what about?” Nathan asked. His wife did not reply, for they were now standing near the dragon. The dragon’s green scales shimmered as the sun danced across them, casting rainbows on the courtyard’s cobblestoned floor. His golden eyes squinted at the sun.
            “Greetings,” Nathan said to the dragon.

            The dragon bowed. “My name is Daron,” he said. “I am seeking a place to settle and rest, and many said you would give me lodging.”

            “Of course,” Nathan said. “There is always room in the castle, and even strangers are always welcome.”

            The dragon stayed at the castle for many days. He and Nathan were often together, speaking much about the kingdom. But they did not always agree.

            “Did the Creator say that you must trade the best fruit and keep the lesser for yourself? You deserve the best!” Daron said one day.

            “The Creator never said we had to give the best of our produce,” Nathan said. “But it I know it pleases Him when we share our bounty with others, and so I desire to do it.”

            “Why should you care about making Him happy?” Daron asked. “He has all that He needs without you.”

            “He has helped me so much that I want to honor Him with what I do,” said Nathan. “And he has commanded us to be like Him and do what pleases Him, that we may know Him.”

            “I’ve known Him well,” said Daron. “In the days before He said I could no longer be with Him. He cast me out of His presence.”

            Nathan turned from the fruit he was inspecting and looked at Daron. “He cast you from His presence? Whatever for?”

            “Nothing.” Daron shook his massive head.

            “You must be mistaken; the Creator wouldn’t do such a thing.”

            “No, I’m not mistaken. I can no longer be near Him.” Tendrils of smoke escaped his nostrils.
            “Aren’t you unhappy?”

            Daron growled. “I don’t want to serve a Ruler who punishes His subjects for no reason.”

            A small hint of pity rose within Nathan, but he pushed it aside. “I think you misunderstand Him.” Nathan left Daron and attended to other duties, but Daron’s words remained in his mind. I don’t want to serve a Ruler who punishes His subjects for no reason. Why should you care about making Him happy? You deserve the best! Did the Creator say…?

            Nathan looked at the fruit trees behind the castle. They represented a small portion of Sealyn’s exports. What if-? Nathan began to wonder. Why not? He attempted to quell his questioning by reminding himself of the Creator’s laws. But if the Creator has done what Daron said, then is He worthy of my obedience?

            The next day, Daron was gone.

A year passed. Nathan kept some of the best fruits for the castle. Then he began to cheat his buyers by putting fewer apples in each crate. He no longer cared for the Law of the Creator, but instead for what made Sealyn great. Every so often, a dragon would swoop overhead. But there was no sign of Daron, though Nathan longed to see him. He realized that the Creator had not come to visit for some time, and wondered why. But no matter. I don’t wish to see Him, even if He did come.

He thought of the great profit he had made from his exports in the past two years. The Creator doesn’t know what He’s talking about. I’ve found a better way. Sealyn is now the richest kingdom, and it was I who made it great. Even my brothers have agreed that my tactics have worked, and some have even joined me in them.

            He leaned back into his throne.

            I never want to return to the Creator’s Laws. Life is good my way.

 

One night, bright light filled the castle. Nathan hid himself, but the light followed him even to the darkest parts of the castle. Nathan covered his head with his arms and closed his eyes. He did not know there was anyone there until the Creator spoke.

            “Nathan, when I set you up as a ruler of a kingdom, I trusted you to follow my laws.”

            Nathan looked away.

            “Your disobedience requires punishment. You know I cannot look upon that which is not excellent, so now I can no longer dwell among you.”

            “Creator, it was Daron’s fault! He tricked me; he twisted Your words!”

            “Nathan, you must reap what you sow. Your disobedience has brought this on all of Edaled.”

            “But he appeared so good!”

            “His name is Daron, of that you are aware. But what you do not know is what he is. Daron is a dragon, like a serpent, he is crafty and wily. Daron is wiser than the serpents, and tries to find ways around my laws through which he may cause you to stumble. He twists my words and makes them seem hateful and dangerous. Be wary of him, for he is the prince of this world; you have chosen his rule over mine.”

            “But Creator, look at the good it brought! Sealyn is now the richest kingdom! We have lots of produce, and the amount of fruit our trees bear doubles each year! Look at how much better Daron’s way is!”

            “By walking in his ways, you have deserted mine, Nathan, and that deserves judgment. The consequences for the sins of mankind will be great,” the Creator said. “I had forewarned you. They will come to pass.” Ad showed Nathan still more of His glory.

Nathan fell to his knees. “You must leave me,” he cried, “for I shall die if I see you as I once did!”

The Creator turned away. The room was dark once more, and it felt colder than anything Nathan had ever known. In the absence of His Maker, Nathan shivered. Moments before, he had hated the glory of Ad. Yet in that instant, he felt himself longing for it. His soul seemed to be breaking.

“Is there any way to turn back what I have done? Any way for forgiveness and restitution?” Nathan no longer saw the Creator, but when He spoke, he heard Ad’s voice.

            “I will provide a way. While men dwell in Edaled, things will never return to the way they once were, but I will provide a way of escape from Daron’s traps, for now complete resistance of him will be futile. But although Daron will bruise my heel, I will crush his head.”

            Nathan fell face-first onto the ground and sobbed.

 

            Somewhere in Edaled, the first death occurred.

 

            Daron met the Creator as He left Edaled.

            “See, I have begun my rule of Edaled,” Daron said. “You are leaving in defeat!”
            “Not defeat, Daron. One day you will be cast into eternal fire along with all those who do not return to me. All the rest will live with me forever in a new heavens and new earth.”

            “Again, strong words – but where is the action?”

            “If you are so great, perhaps you heard my words to Nathan,” the Creator said.

            Daron laughed. “To Nathan? You spoke to that weakling?”

            “Aye,” the Creator said. “He worshiped you for a time, but he belongs to me.”

            “Belongs to you? All rebels and traitors belong to me!” Daron cried.

            “They would, if not for one thing. I will send one who is man yet greater than all men, and he will bear the punishment for their treason. Those who accept my forgiveness shall be saved. Those who continue in your ways shall be yours. But they are yours because I give them over to you, not because of your power.”

            “They’ll all continue in my ways,” Daron said. “For mine are much better than Yours.”

            “That is what you think, but you have been blinded. In the last day, the traitors will be yours. Until then, the blood of traitors is my work, not yours. I restore some of your power – try to wrest from my hands what is mine, try to convince all men that you are greater. You shall not succeed.”

            Daron laughed again. “I will bruise Your heel,” he said.

            “And I will crush your head,” the Creator said, and then departed.

 

            Jacob woke in the middle of the night. There was something wrong. A stillness had settled over the room that he had not felt before. He sat up in bed and looked around him. Nothing had changed, but he could sense that something was amiss.

            “Enya,” he said to his wife, who lay beside him.

            She did not reply, nor did she stir in her sleep.

            “Enya,” he said again, and put a hand on her shoulder.

            Still, his wife did not move.

            “Enya, wake up!” He shook her. She felt cold and stiff. “What is wrong? You must wake up,” Jacob cried.

            He heard footsteps in the doorway.

            “Papa, what’s the matter? Why are you shouting?” It was his oldest son.

            “There’s something wrong with your mother. Come, we must call Ad.”

            His son joined him near the bed.

            “Ad, we need Your help,” Jacob said. “Please, explain this, and help my wife!”

            A gryphon appeared in the window.

            “Quick, open it,” Jacob said to his son.

            The gryphon entered the room. “I have been sent to you by Ad,” he said.

            “Praise Him for His swiftness in answering! But why has He Himself not come?” Jacob asked.

            “I have been sent with many messages to you, explaining everything. Your brother, Nathan, has broken the Creator’s Law, and because you all knew of his disobedience and did not tell him, you, too shall suffer.”

            Jacob put his head in his hands. “It’s true; we were as blind as he.”

            “The Creator can no longer dwell with men; that was the consequence you knew would come. And with that has come death.”

            “Death?” Jacob asked.

            “The absence of life. Your wife has died, Jacob. You will not walk with her on this earth again, and one day you, too, will die.”

            Jacob lifted his wife’s body to his lap and bent over it. “It isn’t supposed to be this way!”  

            “No, it isn’t,” the gryphon said. “One day, life will be restored, through Ad Himself. He will conquer death. But dust you are, and to dust you shall return, until the Creator Himself returns.”

            Jacob looked up at the gryphon. His face was streaked with tears.

            “Life on Edaled will never be the same again. But the Creator, although just, is merciful and gracious. Turn to Him, and healing will begin.”

 

            As Man slept that night, he tossed and turned. He had heard of the death of Enya, his firstborn daughter. He could not imagine the grief Jacob and his children were even now suffering.

            Shall Edaled be like this forever, now that we have rebelled? We all knew what Daron was doing, the gryphons had told us. And yet we did not stop Nathan. We are all as guilty as him, and all our offspring shall suffer from this day forth.

            He stared up at the roof above his head. What have we done?

            “Man!” A voice called from outside.

            Man stood and looked out the window. A gryphon stood nearby.

            “Man!” It said when he saw the man.

            “Greetings,” Man said to the gryphon. “Why do you come at such an hour?”

            “The Creator has sent me to carry you to a place of meeting.”

            The Man mounted the gryphon, and they flew off into the night. An hour later, the gryphon landed. The Man climbed off.

            “Hide in the cleft of the rock,” the gryphon said. “The Creator will come soon.” He turned to leave, but paused. “Do not leave the cleft. If you see the Creator’s face, you shall die.”

            “But I used to see it every day!” Man protested.

            “Aye, you did. That was before you committed treason. Now if you see Him, you shall die, because His glory is too great for sinners.”

            Man hid himself in the cleft of the rock and waited. The cleft was cold and dark, but Man knew he must remain there. Soon the Creator came. Even in the cleft, the Creator’s glory was so bright that the man shielded his face with his hands.

            “Why have You called me tonight?” Man asked.

            “I wished to speak with you, and give you new laws.”

            For a moment, Man dropped his hands from his face. “New laws? We could not keep the old! How can we keep others?”

            “It will be a way of salvation if you can keep them,” the Creator said.

            “Then we are all doomed!” Man cried.

            The Creator began to write on parchment.

            Man watched through his fingers. What can He mean by this?

            “If anyone keeps the Law, he shall be saved,” the Creator said. “But there will only ever be One who keeps it. He shall be your Savior.”

            “What do you mean?” Man asked.

            “Since you will not be able to keep the Law, I will not require strict adherence to it in order for your salvation. Rather, the Law will be a guide. It is a standard for you to compare yourselves to. It will show even the most virtuous person that he falls short of my glory and cannot live with me forever.”

            “But how shall we be saved?” Man wondered. “It has been just a few days, and already I have longed to see You face to face once again.”

            “Your salvation shall come from me. I will acquit the treasonous, but there must be punishment. You could not bear my wrath, and so I have determined since before the beginning of time that someone else will.”

            “Who?”

            “He shall be a miracle, the answer to all your prayers, strong yet gentle, and He will keep my Law. He will be like me in every way, but in human form. My glory in Him shall be cloaked. All who are saved will be saved through trusting in His work.”

            “How can I ever remember this?” Man asked.

            “It is written in the Law. The Law is for showing you your rebellion, but also to bring you hope. Do not keep it to yourself, but share it with everyone. Now, behold!”

            The ground all around the Man shook. The light of the Creator’s glory vanished, and the man looked around. He was atop a high mountain. Around him, springs burst up from the ground, and in the distance, ash and fire spewed from mountains.

            The land was being divided. From then onwards, that day was the day of the Great Division. The kingdoms were pushed apart into four sections. Dealings with the Creator were divided, and so were many relationships between the sons and daughters of Man.

           

            And thus, all of life changed for Man and his children. Instead of spending time with the Creator, they studied the Law. With the Law, the Creator had given His people specific ways and helpful tools to live better in pursuit of excellence. Now His followers studied His Words to help them live in a way more pleasing to Him as they waited for the Creator’s Promised One. As they read the Law, they understood more and more about the Creator and the things He had made. Man and his wife and children found that the Laws taught them to love one another, and most of all, the Creator.

 

            Nathan stood outside in the orchard, surveying their crop of fruit. Since he had begun studying the Creator’s Law, Nathan had repented of his cheating and returned to honesty in trading.

            He plucked an orange from a tree and inspected it. As he turned the fruit over in his hands, Nathan discovered that it was full of worms. He threw it on the ground.

            This never happened before, he thought.

            He walked to the next tree, but on the way over, his bare foot brushed something poky.

            “Ouch!” Nathan cried out. He bent over to look at his foot, and then pulled a small thorn from it. Nathan looked at the ground around him. His eyes came to rest on a small green plant.

            “What’s this?” he wondered aloud. He bent to pick it up, but recoiled in pain.

            First worms and now thorns! He thought. Are these all consequences of my rebellion?

            Watching the ground to avoid more thistles, Nathan leaned against a tree.

            What have I done?

            He fell to his knees.

            Oh Creator, I’m so sorry! I wish I hadn’t agreed to Daron’s ideas. I’ve been such a fool! How I long to see Your face again, and walk with You forever!

            In that moment, Nathan realized all that the Creator had done for him and the other children of Man.

            He could’ve destroyed me right then and there, Nathan thought. He could’ve let us live our lives without hope, without promise of salvation.

            Nathan shook his head. How did I ever think His Laws were unjust and that Daron was right?

            He remembered the thorns and the worms. I deserve so much worse than that! And yet, Ad has chosen to give me life. He hasn’t left us to live and then die, but He’s offered a way back to Himself. After all I’ve done, He’s taking me back.

            Disregarding the thistles that hindered his feet, Nathan began to run. I must tell my wife, he thought.

            “Oh, how much I owe the Creator!” He cried aloud. “How much grace He’s given me! That I, a traitor and rebel such as myself might live, and not just live, but have blessings such as oranges and a wife and the beauty of the stars and creation, and my loving children!”

            As he reached the castle, Nathan fell to his knees once more. He lifted his hands heavenward.

            “Thank you, Creator, for Your grace! Without it, I would have nothing, and would suffer forever. Thank you for all You have given me. Thank you most of all, that Your Promised One will bear the punishment for treason – my treason, oh how awful it is! – that I might go free to be with You forever.

            “Let it be soon! Tarry not long in sending Your Promise! Give us more grace that we might again see You face to face!

            “Please, Ad, the Most High and Creator of all Edaled: let Your Promise come soon, to free us from this body of death!”

 

            Trade between the Kingdoms continued. More ports and trading posts opened as the kings and their wives bore children and the Kingdoms grew. For a short while, life seemed to continue almost as normal. Man’s children felt the Creator’s absence and this changed everything, but there was still peace between brothers.

            As they were soon to find, their innate animosity to the Creator soon led to enmity between their own siblings.

 

            Elidor’s kingdom of Minarea was filled with orchards and beaches. His people were even-tempered and loved going where they pleased and doing as they willed. Their next-door neighbors in the kingdom of Ladylan were quite the opposite. Paul and his wife Juliana had led their people to pay close attention to the Creator’s Laws.

            One day, Paul and Elidor met on the border between their Kingdoms. They often met to talk and study the Creator’s Laws. This day, as they sat beneath the shade of an olive tree, Paul spoke to his brother.

            “Elidor, you speak not of worshiping the Creator. Your days are filled with many things, and though you read the Law, you seek to apply them as you see fit and not as Ad has instructed us.”

            “I can’t do it His way yet. There’s so much trouble in Minarea because the last harvest failed – curse the worms – that we aren’t in a position to do as He’s asked.”

            “I think it is a vicious cycle, my brother,” Paul said.

            “What do you mean?”

            “The blight may have come upon your orchards the first year because of the many curses our sin brought. But in His Law the Creator says that there is blessing for obeying Him, while all that awaits those who disobey are laying up curses.”

            “I’m not disobeying,” Elidor said, “just doing it a little differently.”

            Paul shook his head. “It’s the same thing.”

            Elidor said nothing.

            “If you do well, you will be accepted. Trust the Creator.”

            “Are you saying I don't trust the Creator?” Elidor asked.

            “I’m challeng-” Paul began.

            Elidor stood. “It’s easy for you to trust the Creator because He has blessed you!” Elidor turned and ran. He fled to his castle, where he locked himself in the smithy for many days. In the forge, he labored without rest as he fashioned metal. He worked in anger as he pounded, heated, and formed the first weapon Edaled had known. As the metal hardened, so did Elidor’s heart.

            On the second day of his labors, Elidor was interrupted by Paul.

            “My brother, I and our siblings are going to worship the Creator and take Him the first fruits of the harvest. Will you not come?”

            Inside the warm, dark smithy, Elidor did not reply. The sounds of metal on metal were the only answer Paul received.

            “Curse my brother,” Elidor thought. “He is self-righteous and would push his beliefs on me.”

            There was a faint thought at the back of Elidor’s mind that told him Paul was not self-righteous, only faithful and obedient. Deep inside, Elidor knew Paul was living the way he did because of his faith in the Creator’s promise. But as he pounded the metal time and time again, Elidor’s only thought was to harm his brother.

 

            At the end of the sixth day, Elidor held up his handiwork. The blade felt heavy in his hand, but he smiled.

            “Yes, this is good,” he said. “And it will serve its purpose well.”

            He took the sword and set out to find his brother, Paul. He found Paul hard at work in his orchards.

            “I have come to you to speak to you again about what we talked about last week,” Elidor said.

            “I have been speaking on your behalf to Ad,” Paul said, “that He might forgive you.”

            Elidor drew his sword. “It is not forgiveness I want, but blessing. And if I can’t have it, then neither shall you!”

            Before Paul could say another word, Elidor ran his sword through his brother.

            Then Elidor fled. He fled that his murder might not be found out, but Elidor forgot the eyes that see all.

            “Elidor,” the Creator called.

            Elidor fell down, face to the ground.

            “Elidor!” the Creator said again. “Where is your brother?”

            “I have many brothers, Creator,” Elidor whispered. “Which one do you mean?”

            “The one you were with not an hour ago, your brother Paul, the King of Ladylan.”

            “Oh – that brother!” Elidor let out a small laugh. “I left him under the tree. Where he is now, I cannot say. I’m not like You to keep an eye on everything.”

            “Elidor!” the Creator roared.

            Elidor hid his face in the grass.

            “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. You complained of a curse; you knew little of curses. Now you are cursed from the earth, which has received Paul’s blood from your hand.  The ground shall no longer yield its strength to you, but worms will infest your crops.”

            “Ad, my punishment is so great I cannot bear it!” Elidor cried.

            “Yet you must suffer for your sin,” the Creator said.

            “We shall die without our crops! Is there no way around it?”

            “In the same way that any life is restored in Edaled, your crops will one day be restored – but not while you live. But fear not – the Promise shall come.”

            Elidor lifted his face.

            “Go now,” the Creator said. “Your toil awaits you.”

 

            A gryphon brought Juliana the news of her husband’s death.

            “What shall we do?” she asked the gryphon.

            “As with anything, you have two choices,” the gryphon replied. “You can choose death, and repay Elidor’s evil with evil, or you can choose life, and the Creator’s ways.”

            “My heart desires to repay Elidor with evil,” Juliana began, “but I know it would not please Ad, nor would it solve the problem.” Her eyes became wet with tears. “I will forgive Elidor, as the Creator has provided a way for my sin to be forgiven.”

            Juliana’s youngest son drew near and wrapped his small hand around her arm. “What’s wrong, mama?”

            Juliana called her five children to herself. “Your uncle Elidor has killed your father,” she said.

            “We must avenge papa!” Kyler, the oldest boy, cried.

            Juliana shook her head. “We must forgive your uncle. What he did was wrong, but that does not make it right for us to do wrong to him. The Creator will punish him in time if He has not already.” The Queen wiped tears from her eyes and looked to the skies, from whence the gryphon had come.

            “Oh Creator,” she prayed aloud, “give us more of Your grace! Bring Your Promised One soon, that our suffering may be relieved and we may return to You!”

 

            Juliana’s cries to the Creator were the first of many. As the years went by, kings and their children were born, ruled, and died. Generations passed, and still the wait continued. Many men, women, and children repented of their treason against the Creator and walked with Him. Still others continued in Daron’s ways.

            The followers of the Creator longed for the consummation of His Promise, and prayed it would be fulfilled soon. Until then, they continued to wait and trust His faithfulness.

           

 

Comments:  

I tried to write this more like history/legend than story - how do you think it worked? Do you think the allegory falls flat or could use tweaking? how? 
:)

 

Comments

Hm

Well, the story was okay, but there were so many characters it was hard to keep track of it all. And I think it could use some more descriptions.

Julie | Thu, 02/02/2012

Formerly Kestrel

A better understanding

This has helped me understand the history of Edaled more fully, and filled in some of the gaps in my knowledge.  This was great!
The only thing is, it seemed Elidor got angry and slew his brother Paul rather quickly; I would expect more interaction between them before it came to that.

James | Fri, 02/03/2012

<><~~~~~~~~~~~~><>
"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

crit

I felt a little surprise that Nathan immediately realized he had done evil. I know his conscience would accuse him, so in his heart he would know, but I thought you had set up for more of a struggle, with his new loathing for the Creator. But He didn't need to drive it into his head before he repented and begged for mercy. Just a thought.

I love the simplicity of the line, "Somewhere in Edaled, the first death occurred." But it struck me that I wanted to hear more reactions and fear of the people besides Nathan. Later you say they did know what had come to pass, and you do a good job of showing the curse taking over... so I guess that cancels out whatever suggestion I was going to make. The paragraph got away from me.

I love the last lines between Daron and Ad, but you should change "heal" to "heel." Ppphbbtt homophones. :)

When Elidor killed Paul, I couldn't help thinking, "Who the heck gave him a sword?!" I read one series where the forging of weapons, instead of tools, was one of the first acts of sin... That could be something to put more emphasis on. It could also be cool to show how men begin to invent words such as murder and avenge, but I don't think you're planning that much detail.

Other than those things, I think the legend/history format really works. I love the allegory.

Anna | Fri, 02/03/2012

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

:)

 Thanks, y'all for your comments! I'll get on editing it... eventually. I'm going full steam on editing some other things and I'm rather sick of it at the moment - but on the other side of the hill is new stories to write. 

Kyleigh | Sat, 02/04/2012

:)

I spent some time this evening tweaking it here and there let me know (reallytrulybrutallyhonestly) what you think. 

Kyleigh | Wed, 03/07/2012

 You answered my other

 You answered my other realtruebrutalhonest crit, and I wholeheartedly believe the revised bits add to the story. That's all I have to say.

Anna | Fri, 03/09/2012

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

I've looked at all but the

I've looked at all but the first two of your Victorious series, and I actually think this is my favorite. I LOVE the allegory, and the 'legend' feel to it. I love the way it flows. I also liked getting the full history behind Edaled, after just hearing about it in the other adventures.

Hannah D. | Wed, 07/10/2013

"Reason itself is a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all." - G. K. Chesterton

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