Greater love hath no man than this – that a man lays down his life for his friends.
Prologue The Creator smiled to himself and slowly began to mold and shape the ball he held in his hands. With one small breath of air, he sent the ball swirling off into the void, now becoming a small dot on the horizon. It shone brightly, flickering its light in glory to its Creator. Then He reached out and took in his hand another stretch of darkness. At His touch, it immediately turned to light. He pushed and pulled the orb, digging valleys and raising up mountains with his gentle touch. As He tenderly ran his fingers through the valleys, water followed behind Him, and greenery sprouted up everywhere. Holding the sphere at a distance, the Creator looked lovingly at His creation. Yes, He had created other things before this. But this! This was the best He had done. This globe far surpassed them all. The others had been good. This, however, was very good. The Creator watched his handiwork move and grow. He made animals and set them in jungles, rivers, and forests. Gently 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 hair. Gryphons leapt from cliffs, spreading their wings and swooping over the beautiful land. Yet in all of this, His world was still incomplete. Something was most assuredly 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 gently. 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. Now He had someone made in His image, to be with Him, to work alongside Him, to understand and love Him. The Creator called His creation Edaled. He had set it in an infinite universe, filled with stars and planets and other unknown things 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 children, and so the Creator established nine kingdoms. Whenever one of Man’s children reached manhood or womanhood, they would take their place at the head of a kingdom of their choosing and rule it wisely and justly, honoring their father and their Creator. The first of man’s children was a daughter. He called her Enya. As the oldest, Enya grew up looking out and caring for those younger and more helpless than herself, and so when she chose Stargonia for her kingdom, her fair hand cared for her people and produced much fruit from the earth, supplying all of her peoples’ needs. Enya’s closest brother, Jacob was next to come of age. He chose Ladylan for his kingdom, taking advantage of the warm weather there to plant vineyards and export their produce as wine and other products. Donovan, Jacob’s younger brother by two years, was attracted to Cathonys because of its beautiful greenery and rolling hills. Ahearn, the animal lover of the family, chose to rule Byshan, which later became known for its beautiful and tough horses. Kelta, man’s second and final daughter, loved the arts of music and metalworking, thus her kingdom, Aquis, attracts many artisans. Over the years, history combined with music and Aquis became the birthplace of traditional ballads and storytelling in Edaled. Marek wanted Olandern for his kingdom, for he longed to be near his sister Enya and learn from her wisdom. Man’s final three sons, triplets, Nathan, Christoph, and Elidor, divided the remaining kingdoms of Sealyn, Minarea, and Panatea 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 go in the wrong direction. Thus, the Creator gave man two basic laws. The first, to pursue excellence. The Creator loved excellence and perfection, and wanted His creation to love what He loved. This was the other law that He gave - a deeper and more serious law – to do only what they would know the Creator would love, to long for and hate what the Creator longed for and hated, to walk side by side with their Maker. Man’s children readily accepted these rules, knowing the Creator had given the rules to them out of love and in his purpose and plan. However, the Creator wanted to test the children of man, and so He allowed a great evil to lurk in Sealyn. This evil was sly and seductive. Nathan welcomed it to his kingdom, not realizing that this creature named Daron was not in line with the Creator’s laws until it was too late. That was at least Nathan’s claim, but the Creator knows the hearts of man, and he knew that Nathan had been questioning the Creator’s laws. When Daron entered Nathan’s kingdom, he sent out more evil to the other kingdoms. Thus, Nathan’s disobedience affected all of his brothers and sisters. So the Creator called Nathan to Him, for disobedience calls for punishment. “Aye, Creator?” “Nathan, when I set you up as a ruler of a kingdom, I trusted you to follow my laws.” Nathan looked away. “You know I cannot look upon that which is not excellent, so now I can no longer dwell among you.” “No!” “Nathan, you must reap what you sow. Your disobedience has brought this on all of Edaled.” “But what is it? This evil, it appeared so good, so excellent, at first, but then…” “As you know, his name is Daron. But what you do not know is what he is. Daron is a dragon, like to a serpent – 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 like what they are not. Be wary of him, for though I now leave, he will be the prince of this world.” The Creator turned away, and Nathan fell to his knees. “No! Is there any way to turn back what I have done?” Nathan no longer saw the Creator, but when He spoke, he heard His 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 he will bruise the heel of the son of man, I will crush his head.” Nathan fell face-first onto the ground and sobbed. Somewhere in Edaled, the first death occurred. May 100, Cathonys A baby’s cry pierced the darkness. The labored breathing of his mother followed. “Is it a boy?” She asked weakly. “Aye,” the midwife replied, starting to bathe the baby. When she finished, she gently laid him in his mother’s arms. The door opened and through the light behind him, the mother’s husband entered the room like a shadow. He sat beside her on the edge of the bed, hand on his wife’s leg. “He’s beautiful, Mairin.” She only breathed softly, gazing at her son. “He’s a miracle,” she then whispered. She was still weak, but her eyes glowed as she looked down. “Aye, most assuredly our little miracle. Our little Adan,” he said, slipping into the tongue of his father, which they spoke in Byshan. (Mairin’s husband, Tomas, was from Byshan, and they spoke a language that differed from the trade language spoken in Cathonys and most of the other kingdoms). Tomas kissed the baby’s wrinkled forehead. “Our little Adan. What a precious blessing from the creator,” Mairin replied. “Mayhap he will live to see the Creator’s promise of redemption fulfilled.” “Oh, that we would live to see that day,” Mairin sighed. She and her husband knew all too well the results of Nathan’s disobedience. Edaled had become a place filled with repugnant things since evil entered the world. And death. Things now came and went. Before everything had lived on, but now there was death. Some viewed it as a blessing, a way that they would not have to live in an awful world forever. But it had brought such sorrow into the world. Yet it made life so much more precious. A man in his late forties entered the room. “My daughter tells me you have had your child, Mairin.” “Aye.” “What a blessing,” the man said. “We feel very blessed, Bardan,” Tomas said. “And it is not often the bundle of blessing received by parents is a miracle child.” “No, ‘tis not.” Bardan held Adan in his arms, staring down into the baby’s eyes. “May the Creator use this child to fulfill His promises,” Bardan whispered. “Aye, may He indeed,” Mairin murmured.
Yes, I know I'm strange. This is the prequel to Hope Victorious. It's the most allegorical of anything I've written so far, but I don't want it to be so obviously so that nonChristian readers would put it down because of that. Tell me if you ever think I'm getting too paralleled or my theology is off in some way.
Anyway... I'm really excited about letting y'all read it. I love the way it turned out. :)
In this I want to portray life as a Christian with a Christian worldview and Biblical foundation well. I want my characters to seem down-to-earth, I want my readers to get attached to the characters and mourn with those who mourn, and rejoice with those who rejoice. If you see ways I can do that better, please tell me!