“When did you know, I mean REALLY know, that you were called to be a spiritual leader?” Sa’nah’s eyes sparkled as she asked Ka’diysh the question.
“Humph, that’s a loaded question my young friend, are you sure you have the time for an accurate response,” he replied, in his characteristically cultured manner.
Sa’nah knew how long-winded her instructor could be, especially when discussing the topic he enjoyed most, himself!
It’s not that he was self-absorbed but rather that he had lived a truly wealthy life, rich in experience and took pleasure in sharing the benefit of his experience and recounting his experiences with others. And Sa’nah liked nothing more than to bask in the glory of the tales he told.
“I’m all ears,” she encouraged him.
Ka’diysh reposed, hands resting on his chest, fingers entwined. His flowing silver-white locks contrasted sharply with his chocolate skin.
A full but neat moustache flowed across his lips then down the sides of his mouth merging into a well kept beard as white as his mane. The moustache and beard framed full attractive lips, which with his light-gray eyes loaned a singular distinction to his face that projected a transcendent beauty.
Sa’nah considered him a truly beautiful specimen of manhood; too bad he was old enough to be her grandfather, she silently mused.
“Two significant things happened that steered me into my destiny, the first at age eleven and the second at twenty-one.”
Sa’nah leaned forward as the aged Prophet began recounting his experience.
“The day was sunny with just enough cloud cover to make the outdoors fun.” He began. “I was with my father at Lake Lorianda and after exploring for a while I discovered a secluded spot and immediately dove in and began frolicking.”
“The water was deep, just the way I liked it. I grew up next to a river, so depth was not a problem but a welcomed feature for me.”
“I was totally enjoying my swim when without warning I was suddenly two feet underwater sucked down by the strongest current I had ever felt in my life!”
“Drinking copious amounts of water I desperately struggled for the surface and the chance at a lung full of air.
How I appreciated the simple privilege of just breathing in and out at this point.
Somehow I fought my way to the surface and thankfully thought, ‘Thank Dh…’ Back under water again this time fear washed like acid through my soul eroding my calm as a deadly panic erupted within. I clawed my way frantically through the water but I was being sucked back down. The current seemed just as desperate to keep me under as I was to break the surface!”
“When I got my head out the water the second time I contemplated calling for help but something refrained me, later I found out it was my stupid pride. However, I was instantly cured of this when I found myself sucked under for the third time!”
“I came up screaming, HELLLPPPP! HELLLPPPP!”
“All I could think of while submerged was the old wives tale that went, ‘once you go under the third time… YOU’RE DEAD!'”
“Thank Dhios somebody heard me and responded. I discovered later it was a youth of sixteen named of Ta’erry who became my lifeguard that day.”
“At 11 years old however, the spiritual significance of that experience was lost on me. It was exactly ten years later that a similar experience brought it all home.”
Ka’diysh paused, as he often did when sharing such personal experiences. It was as though he was gathering enough emotional strength to actually live through the experience one more time.
Sa’nah knew enough to be patient and not ‘disturb the Emperor’s groove’ as he jokingly said whenever someone interrupted his verbal flow.
“My father had died four years before and my mother was still missing thirteen years after her mysterious disappearance.
I was living (barely) on my own eking out a meager existence and suffering much mental torment. Of course I had no idea that The Nameless One had targeted me for psychic assassination then just as he had targeted me for physical death 10 years before in the lake.”
“Like that day also, I had reached a point in my life where I felt like I was going under for the last time, drowning in mental and emotional despair. The psychological anguish I was enduring led me to believe that suicide was my only reprieve.”
“I was about to commit the act, when one day my cousin asked me a question that stopped me cold… and saved my life.”
Sa’nah’s eyes dilated as she felt the rate of her heartbeat increase. She didn’t let a single word fall to the ground.
Another pregnant pause before resuming his narrative and Ka’diysh said:
“Things were particularly distressful that day when I went to visit my aunt. I was out of a job for months, had no income and hadn’t eaten in days.
My cousin asked me, ‘How are you doing these days, Ka’diysh?’ To which I glibly responded, ‘By the grace of Jzhan Christell’ and was about to turn away when she pressed me again. ‘No, seriously, how is it REALLY going for you?’
This time, her words struck a chord within me and I had to cogitate for a second or two. ‘BY THE GRACE OF JZHAN CHRISTELL’ I replied, this time when I said those words a spark ignited within me and I received a new revelation of who He was.
Just like that young man who saved me from the lake years before, I saw Jzhan Christell now stretching out His hand to save me and to give me a hope that I never had before.”
It took me several more years and amazing encounters to completely surrender my life to Him and commit myself to The Path but these two experiences were instrumental in me recognizing my life had specific purpose and meaning and that I had a divine destiny to fulfill.
She felt cold. Not the external type that afflicted the skin but the one that chilled the soul.
Earlier that evening, they had sought shelter from the elements in an abandoned cave.
Now, as she sat up, her senses coming alive, the wisdom of that decision seemed dubious. She was sure she heard something stir from within the cave depths.
Sa’nah got up, carefully laying aside the blanket and crept from where she was so as not to disturb Ka’diysh and ventured into the darkness.
It’s not as if she wasn’t aware of the danger, she was, but it’s as though there was this compelling force that wrestled her common sense to the ground holding it captive as she proceeded.
As she stole away she glanced back at her aged Mentor; the warmth of the Glow-Stones kept him toasty and comfortable so that his sleep seemed both satisfying and deep.
Sa’nah melted into the ebony shroud of the cave and continued until the only sound was that of her faint footsteps furtively falling on the frigid floor.
What had she heard? Was it real?
She began questioning herself… until she saw them.
They appeared to be hybrid Human and Black-Hound.
She could, by the small light of the Moon-Stone necklace she wore, discern that there were two of them.
These beasts lacked the menacing demeanor of the former minions of The Nameless One and exhibited uncannily human characteristics. For one thing, they walked uprightly and secondly, they spoke.
“Hello, Youngling,” crooned the first Were-Beast as it came within talking distance.
“You can speak?” Sa’nah asked, more a statement than a question.
“Of course we do young Princess, after all, we wouldn’t make good negotiators if we lacked speech would we?” The second Man-Hound replied.
“A proposal!” He declared. “Our Master has decided to offer you and the Priest safe passage to Ellendale for one small token.”
“What’s that?” Sa’nah asked, still not completely trusting her senses to the unfolding scenario.
“Have you ever heard of The Elmerydian?” Inquired the first of the two creatures.
“Of course.” Sa’nah said, some pride spilling over the edges of her words.
“I am an Adept-in-Training. It is mine to know such things.
What is it to you, creature? I’ve dealt with your kind before and I’m not afraid of you!”
“Of course not, Princess.” Chimed the second beast. “You have Andalyon blood in your veins. You know no fear, right?”
Just then Sa’nah felt her chest beginning to constrict and became aware of the difficulty in breathing.
“Wha..? What’s h-h-hap…?” She gasped, sinking to her knees.
Why Princess, whatever is the matter? Beast two asked, a sly smirk spreading all over his face.
“Sa’nah?” The voice sounded strange, as though coming from some unfathomable depth. “Sa’nah!” It began growing stronger. “Listen to my voice, Princess! Listen to ME!”
The Man-Hounds pressed in and Sa’nah felt like a vise was slowly crushing her ribcage.
“No weapon of fear shall afflict my soul, in Jzhan Christell I’m fearless and bold.” The words ascended from her spirit as though on wings. “I have overcome and conquered all, by the power of Jzhan mine enemies fall.”
The Were-Beasts began dissolving into thin air right before her eyes. Sa’nah recognized the divine presence of The Light of Ki’ Shara releasing the healing balm of His words into her soul.
“Sa’nah!” The voice was insistent but reassuring.
Slowly, she opened her eyes to the pastoral face of her Mentor, Ka’diysh. “You suffered another residual psychic attack, this time during sleep.”
“So, I did.” Sa’nah responded. There were two of them, some kind of Man-Beasts but He delivered me just like He promised to. I can still sense His presence with me!”
“The Light of Ki’ Shara is faithful to His word, Sa’nah. He will ALWAYS perform it!”
Ka’diysh had that far away look in his eyes as though remembering some past personal promise procured.
“How long will the attacks continue, Ka’diysh?” Sa’nah’s eyes were hopeful.
“You’ve passed the worst, Princess; I sense his power has weakened. The Nameless One can only bully the ignorant and you, my young friend, are anything but.
Keep meditating on the words of The Scrolls, in them is healing for the spirit and soul.”
“As I think on Him all strife must cease, for He will keep my mind in peace.” Sa’nah quoted from the Veo-Code as they bowed their heads in prayer.
Progress was arduous while peril mounted by the minute!
The swamp was humid and musty and the moon played hide and go seek through the tree tops as the couple moved furtively through the brush.
“Ka’diysh, do you really think we’ll get through this?” Sa’nah asked nervously.
“I’ve told you before, where Jzhan Chris’tell guides He provides.”
“But how can we be sure this is the right path?” She questioned.
The older man stopped and looked at his young charge. Taking her by the shoulder, his words were comforting and reassuring.
“He’s not called The Light of Ki’ Shara for nothing you know, He promised to show the way. He said that His Spirit would teach us and guide us in ALL things and I trust Him. This is what He said to do.”
She knew why her father trusted Ka’diysh. He was the most outstanding of all The Rab Ma’ghi and when offered the Office of High Ma’ghus he respectfully declined so that he could continue serving her family. This so impressed her mother that she asked him to become Sa’nah’s personal Mentor…
The howling snapped Sa’nah out of her thoughts!
Legend had it that the mere howling of a Baewolf was enough to stop a man’s heart!
She understood why!
The sound of each howl released a fear that seemed alive, a liquid terror that seeped through the skin, paralyzing the organs within. As the howling drew closer panic stampeded through her soul!
She became rooted with fright.
The first beast leapt into view and Ka’diysh spun, eyes blazing, “FOUL TERROR! I SAY THEE NAY! STOP AND BE STILL!!” His hand outstretched and index finger pointing to a spot directly between the beast’s eyes.
It slowed and began stalking. Two more creatures joined and formed a semi-circle around the Adept and the girl.
Ka’diysh had encountered the beasts before; He pulled Sa’nah close, wrapped his cloak around her and squared off with the Black-Hounds of Shi’ades!
The closeness of Ka’diyshs’ body alleviated her fright somewhat so that Sa’nah recovered her motility and peeked from under the cloak.
The beasts all looked the same, pure black with blood-red slits for eyes, saliva dripping off their razor-sharp fangs, with claws that could dismember a man in seconds.
The term “Baewolf” was actually a misnomer, as these creatures had almost nothing in common with traditional wolves.
Their names were given on account of their legendary howling but if anything they more resembled the mythical black panther of folklore, although much larger and infinitely more ferocious.
They were growling as they circled now, so deep and low that it sounded like distant thunder.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything distant about the smell. The animals reeked of morbid fear and rotting flesh, a stench so putrid and thick that Sa’nah felt as though it was clinging to her, clogging her nostrils and suffocating her so that mere breathing became an unbearable exercise.
“What are we to do?” She whispered hoarsely.
Her Mentor did not speak. His entire body was tense, lips drawn back showing his clenched teeth, with eyes focused like a laser beam on the lead creature.
“These are no ordinary Baewolves!” Ka’diysh thought to himself. “They’re different, stronger somehow.” His first command should have disabled the leader but it was still moving, stalking… Thinking!
He knew that Baewolves were once humans in the service of The Nameless One, who through sorcery had their forms changed.
There were supposed to be six in all, but now three of them were after his protégé and Ka’diysh had to act decisively.
“Ka’diysh, can you defeat them?”
“No, I cannot. Not alone! But WE can, TOGETHER.”
“WE?” She sputtered, “But I…”
“Remember your training, Sa’nah.”
“In times of peril one might do, but none can resist the power of two!” She quoted from The Fifth Scroll of the VeoCode without thinking.
Ka’diysh had insisted she memorized the Scrolls. “It’s the ONLY weapon The Nameless cannot defeat,” He instructed her.
“Know them or know death!”
Now, all she ever learnt would be put to test.
The Black-Hounds closed in and Sa’nah felt their thoughts.
Because they were once human they still had the ability to think and through the black arts of The Nameless One had mastered psychic manipulation.
This was a battle of minds!
In unison the beasts began to roar with a deafening din while intensifying their psychic attack. Sa’nah resisted with every ounce of resolve but the beasts prevailed in their mental onslaught.
The psychic attack felt like millions of tiny ants crawling around the inside of her brain. She desperately cried! “Ka’diysh, help me! I can’t…”
“Fight them, Princess, you can do this!”
Now it felt like the ants were feeding, chewing on her gray matter. “I don’t… they’re too…”
“Be strong, Sa’nah, remember your training.” He commanded!
“I am with you always and My Spirit will teach you ALL things, follow My Spirit.” The words of Jzhan Chris’tell from The Fourth Scroll of the NeoCode flooded her mind as Sa’nah felt a surge of power within.
Ka’diysh was praying aloud in the Ancient Tongues as she heard The Spirit saying to her, “Sa’nah, thoughts CANNOT defeat thoughts, only your WORDS can prevail.” And she understood what she must do.
Sa’nah cast aside the cloak and stepped forward. She felt her spirit take wings as a holy boldness rose within her, “By the power of the Light of Ki’ Shara! In the name of Jzhan Chris’tell, I COMMAND YOU FOUL BEASTS… CEASE AND DESIST!!!
The animals faltered, backed away and bowed.
“IT IS WRITTEN,” she continued, “when two shall agree it must be done, to bind the power of The Nameless One! NOW BEGONE!!!”
The beasts scattered in terror as Sa’nah and Ka’diysh both breathed a sigh of relief.