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(C) Copyright SNOWbear Productions. T h a n k Y o u F o r V i s i t i n g

THE FIRST DEGREE


Ruben

   After the great oaken doors of Varlendur opened, the small boy stood there still holding the gold coin in his hand.

   A very tall man stood before Ruben.  A tall [fair skinned man] stood there silent in front of the boy.  The voice of an unseen speaker called out asking, “Who enters this house of light from the outer darkness?”

   Before the boy could speak, the tall fair-man spoke in his stead, “It is I a Seeker.”  The tall man spoke directly to the newcomer, whispering, “I am Finomal, your guide.  Until you have a voice of your own, you are unworthy to speak on your own behalf, for you do not yet have a tongue beyond these doors.  Do you understand my meaning?”

   “I am Ruben, and I understand.”

   “You are a Seeker, with no name,” Finomal said.  He added, “From this point onward you are forbidden to speak of that which you see and experience here.  Liars are not tolerated and shall be banished.  Being refused, on my word, you will be shunned from all conversation by those on this path.

   “I ask you now, Ruben firstborn son of Randa’los of Kathos; do you desire to remain a Seeker of this Path, if not you may depart as just another boy beyond the walls? You may speak this once.”

   The ten year old boy knew only that those who lived beyond the walls of Mithar must first be educated in this manner to remain in the city, so he answered, “Yes.”

   With that, the tall man stomped his feet twice and the great oaken doors closed loudly behind the boy, called Seeker.   The entire chamber was as dark as night.  The only light came from three small candles: one to his left, one ahead of him, and one on his right.  The shadowy figure of Finomal said, “When you give up something, something will always fill its place.”  He said this while extending his hand, then added, “Be eager to give away what you were freely given.”

   It came to Ruben’s mind to place the gold coin in the palm of his guide’s hand.  Having done so the shadowy guide instructed the boy, “There, beside you, are sandals, they shall be yours until death from this path or you are found worthy of more.  They shall ever be as a reminder for you, of your chosen path into the light.”  At this, another candle was lit next to those already aflame.  Beside a seated scribe were a pair of sandals, of which the barefooted Ruben eagerly put upon his feet.

   Now, with his feet shod and again standing before his guide, Finomal instructed, “Turnabout, Seeker.”  Placing a blindfold over the boy’s eyes, he added in a whisper, “Until otherwise told, you must walk backward in the darkness trusting only upon my voice alone, and heed my direction on the path.”  The boy nodded that he would comply.



   Another voice called out of the black, “The unknown is darkness, and in it have we always walked without God in our hearts.”

   As the boy began walking backward his guide lead him.  He was pushed to the left and then pushed to the right, but still he walked backward into the black.  As this happen, he heard Finomal’s voice nearby, “This way and that way have my steps ever swayed me in the dark unknown without God in my life.”

   A third, unknown voice spoke from the black beyond, “The darkness stops the Seeker’s sureness without the Light.”

   The one hand on Ruben’s right shoulder firmly made his feet stop.  Again his guide’s voice answered, “Without the Light of true understanding is the Seeker stopped in the blackness.”

   Seeing nothing, the boy heard two and then a third and fourth knock upon a door.  He knew now the door was directly behind him.  A covered voice beyond the closed door shouted, “Who comes searching for Light?”

   Beside him, in answer, the boy heard his guide reply, “A Seeker from the Black.”

   Again the fourth voice beyond the closed door called out, “Begin your journey into the Light of truth, building upon the steps that lead you here.  Enter of your own free will.”

   The sound and air told the boy he was beginning to enter a new chamber.  Still walking backward with his guide, Finomal’s voice accepted, “Upon my chosen path I will continue toward the light of truth.”

   At the sound of the closing door a new voice called out, “From this day forward you cannot unlearn what is revealed.”

   His guide replied, “In searching and finding I can never return to the unknowing of darkness.  From this day onward, I would ony be turning aside from the light instead of embracing it.”

   At this point the boy felt himself being turned about in the black.  His steps now went straight ahead.  Being thusly lead forward, still wearing the blindfold his silent guide lead him about, it seemed in the expanse of a huge chamber’s wide circle.  Every so often they would stop, and the boy felt another hand upon his shoulder and a voice, then his guide’s reply.

   “Will you heed my voice?”

   “I am always seeking you my Lord.”  

   “Will you follow me?”

   “I am always seeking you my Lord.”  

   “Will you do my will?”

   “I am always seeking you my Lord.”  

   “Will you share my truth?”

   “I am always seeking you my Lord.”  

   With that they stopped.  The boy complied with the whispered command, “Kneel.”

   The boy’s two hands were place upon a small box in front of him atop a table.

   On both sides of him, Ruben heard the sound of swords being unsheathed.  A moment later the sound of blades crossing and their cold edge touched his throat.    Another voice spoke, this time it was a most familiar voice, firm and strong; it came from directly in front of him, “If one such as you truly desires the truth it would be death to you to disavow that light.  Of your own free will do you ‘accept’ the Light or ‘retreat’ back into the darkness; what say you?”

   The room was silent.  In that silence the boy realized that it was his choice alone to make.  He answered, “I accept.”

   With the blindfold removed the room flooded with sunlight.


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VENTURE INTO MY WORLD

VENTURE INTO MY WORLD
The Watcher's Book of Books