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Leaving Morning Star

(Realm of Elysia)

In the morning, Brenzel stood waiting uncomfortably before they departed, hoping Darren would simply shake her hand. However, the Breadmaker’s Apprentice appeared not bothered at all by the night before last, being all smiles and congeniality, giving her a big hug, holding her tightly, saying how much he’d enjoyed her company. James thanked Darren for his hospitality and helped Bren mount Sapphire. Riding away, Bren happily put Morning Star Village behind her, even though the bread had, honestly, been the best she’d ever tasted.

sea

Over the next few days, James led the young hunter down from the hill country through forests of ancient trees, some whose girth was wider than a house. Bren, fascinated, often stopped to walk among the woods on carpets of thick, green moss, touching different trunks as she went, exclaiming, “I feel them!’ Laying her hands on a ancient looking one, leaning in, she said as she closed her eyes, “I feel peace, serenity. I sense the strength of it’s roots anchored deep in the earth. There are nests up there, too, young ones, waiting for their mother.” James, standing near their mounts, studied her from afar.

Butterspoon

Stopping for the night at a village called Butterspoon, they lodged at a rustic inn, dining that evening on something resembling shepherd’s pie. It was stuffed with delicious vegetables and topped with a semisweet sauce, which complimented it delightfully. Bren, excusing herself to find a privy, remarked, “James, I’m not going to get lost finding a bathroom, you don’t need to accompany me.” Half out of his chair, he sat again, uneasy.

The following day, both trekked steadily downwards, winding their way between tall cliffs and through narrow canyons. Brenzel, warming up to the Hatmaster a little, asked about Elysia, inquiring, “How big is Elysia?”

Riding beside her, James said, “I reckon it is about as big as Earth.”

Later on, “Why do so many things look the same, like trees, animals, and plants?”

“Well,” James said, “from what I’m told, once God makes something He likes, He just kept on making it.”

Then, again, after a little while she asked, “Why different realms, there’s seven right?”

“Actually,” James corrected, “there’s eight if you count Earth.”

“Why so many?” Bren queried as they splashed through a shallow stream. Sapphire bent her lovely neck low, drinking some gurgling water as Bren leaned forward to rub her mane.

The beauty of Hades

ocean

“I’m no bard, mind you, but God made the first realm, Hades, then -”

“You mean hell?” Bren interrupted him, surprised.

“No…well yes, kind of. It wasn’t a bad place in the beginning.”

“What do you mean?” she said, looking at him.

“Hades was the most beautiful and complete creation God ever made. Legend says it was beautiful beyond compare. After that, he made the others.”

More beautiful than Elysia? Bren thought, How’s that even possible? as she listened to his explanation.

An ocean of fresh water

Falling quiet for awhile, Bren became occupied by the ocean, which appeared as a vast portrait as they rounded the bend.

“I love oceans,” Bren said, sniffing the air for the salty breeze. “I don’t smell salt! Is it a lake? But it looks like an ocean. . .” she said, noting large waves rolling in, cresting in white foam near the shore.

seashore

James commented, “There’s no salt water on Elysia.”

“Why?” But James didn’t hear her as he galloped away down the beach, Bren’s mare in quick pursuit. Hair flowing everywhere in the wind, Brenzel laughed out loud, letting her arms stretch wide, like a seagull in the breeze.

When they slowed, after trotting out for some time, Gambit and Sapphire walked together again, side by side.

“What happened to Hades?” Bren asked James again as the surf gently lapped Sapphire’s hooves.

She chose evil

James answered, “Beauty, the greatest of all seraphs, rebelled against YHWH. She chose evil and committed original sin. She hated that God was about to create another seraph, the first of her kind: Eve.”

“You mean the story of creation? Adam and Eve?”

“Yes.”

“That’s just a myth, a story they tell children.”

“Why?” James said. “You ate of the Tree of Life!”

“Well, I guess. I never thought about it,” Bren admitted. “But why would she turn against God who made her?”

“Jealousy. Eve was as beautiful, and she could do something Beauty could not.”

“What’s that?”

The children of the Most High

“Bring forth after God’s kind.”

“You mean children?” Bren said, astonished. “That’s impossible, how can God have children?”

As James explained in detail, Brenzel felt more and more uneasy. Something just below her surface seemed trying to break through her psyche into her consciousness mind. What James told her made a certain kind of sense, but the thought of God being in her that way, made Bren feel exposed, naked, and vulnerable.

“God has children through us?” she repeated.

“Yes.”

“How could a woman be worthy to bear a child of God?”

“It’s not that far fetched, Brenzel, remember Mary, the mother of Jesus? God showed us through His son’s birth what He wanted to do with all mankind. That is the point of creation.”

waves

Dismounting, Bren walked in the warm, fresh water. She fell silent, bare feet sinking slightly into the sand. The sun, just after midday, hung in the broad horizon. A breeze, gently tossing her hair, caressed her face as she suddenly realized the truth.

Where are the children?

Stunned by the revelation, she exclaimed, “Children, where are they!?”

In a rush, Bren’s mind flowed over everything she’d experienced while in Dove’s fair land. It was the spectacle of it all, she realized, which blinded her to the truth right in front of her.

“My girls – Felicity, Grace, Hope, Manu, and Faith – I thought…they were young women.”

James said nothing.

“But people have sex, don’t they?”

James smiled, saying, “Oh yes, all the time.”

“But they don’t have children. . .”

“No.”

nymph

“My girls, they’re not young women after all then, they’re…Dove! I knew it!”

As the sand of the sea

“Oh, my God,” Bren exclaimed again, remembering something Darren said while she was getting drunk.

Stopping, she looked at James in wide eyed disbelief, raising her hand to her mouth.

After awhile, she said slowly, “Darren told me he’d been the breadmaker’s apprentice for almost 500 years. I thought nothing of it, he said it so matter-of-factly.”

James studied her.

Putting her hand back to her forehead, half covering it, fingers pressing into her temples, Bren said, “Agh, he wasn’t kidding, was he?”

Then suddenly, Brenzel demanded, “How old are you?”

“Sixty-two.”

“Then. . . How old is Darren?”

“I’m not exactly sure, around three or four eons. About 25,000 earth years.”

“What the – and Desere?”

“Much older than that, Brenzel She’s…ancient.”

“How old?!” Bren demanded.

Hesitating, James said slowly, “Probably about 35,000.” ” The truth is, God creates a new creation about ever 7000 years.” he finished.

“But they look…”

Immortals

“Brenzel, everyone from the seven realms is immortal. Mortality is the the curse of Eden alone. Time has little meaning here. A day is as a grain of sand from the sea. There’s so much of it, people don’t really pay attention to it.”

Bren just stood there motionless as tumblers began falling into place, unlocking her understanding, throwing wide a door to a very different world. Everything began to make an odd kind of sense now. No funerals, no mention of death, everyone was young and beautiful, and nary a flaw among them.

“I’ve been so blind,” she whispered, shaking her head.

“No,” James said, “just earth-bound.”

Bren’s mind was working so fast, many things became clear at once, causing her head to spin. Breathing rapidly, she put her hand on her chest.

James, coming beside her, held her arm asking, “Brenzel, are you alright? Then, “Try to breath slowly – relax.”

Regaining some composure, shaking from too much oxygen, Bren managed, “Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

Choosing his words carefully, James said, “Joshua felt it better to show rather than tell you. He wanted to let you to discover the truth for yourself.”

Older than the Sphinx!

sand dunes

Suddenly, Elysia was a totally different place, her whole perspective changing in a moment. The girls were not girls, the woman that had held her so close was older than the hills! In fact, everyone was ancient, even though they all looked about her age. And no children? What was that all about?

Bren said, hands up and palms out, “I want to be alone now,” and turning, she walked slowly away.

James, falling back with Gambit and Sapphire, said to his horse as he nudged him, “She’s alright, let’s give her some space.”

Why didn’t they tell me? Bren wondered as the incoming tide kissed her feet, I could have handled it.

Then a little further down the beach, But they seemed so real, all my girls.

Bren’s heart swung back to Desere, thinking, Ugh! I kissed someone older than the Sphinx!

It’s… too perfect

carbon

Suddenly she felt tired, deep in her heart, if not in her body. Was nothing in Elysia as it seemed to be? Everything was…too perfect. In fact, James, the man with that ridiculous hat, seemed to be the only normal person she knew.

Allowing her escort and the horses to catch up, Bren said in an epiphany, a sudden leap of intuition, “It’s wrong…”

“What’s wrong?” James asked, caught off guard.

Leveling her gaze at him, frowning, Brenzel said, “There’s a problem with perfection, isn’t there?”

Amazing, James thought.

After a moment’s reflection, James nodded knowingly, saying, “Yes… And you are the cure.”

SEOIB.