SOMEWHERE IN TIME
(by António L. Santos)
Through a merchant of the Orient, a man has come in contact with an ancient manuscript written in Tibetan. This manuscript held information about life on this planet. According to the document, everything exists in cycles, as a never-ending wheel of experiences. This information contradicted the existing Eastern beliefs. To keep these beliefs alive and the information from the document out of reach, the King issued a law, condemning to death all those coming upon such information.
“…Please Arthur! I must see him one last time.” Said Marian storming into the castle jail.
“Milady, you know I would do anything for you, but what you’re asking me is impossible. It will get us both killed. I have orders from Cyrus not to let anyone near him. You know my life depends on it, please Milady, try to understand and leave!”
“There has to be a way Arthur. I’m willing to risk death for it, execution does not scare me, I prefer to die than to live in fear. Edward my brother has chosen that path with integrity. Please Arthur! I know you are on our side, why are you so afraid to take the risk of dying for the good?”
Arthur shook his head. He knew of the consequences, doing what she asked him to do, would not be good. His love for her, although untold, was bigger than life. He never really had the courage to tell her, but his heart spoke through his eyes.
“Milady, you must promise you will be quick, one is never sure of when Cyrus will be making his rounds again. He has passed four times already today. Here put this on and if needs be, you are one of the prisoners we keep. Cover your head. I still beg you to reconsider Milady!”
“Thank-you Arthur, bless your goodness.”
“Yes milady may the Lord be with us should Cyrus appear here. Go now! Go be quick. You’ll find him on the left wing at the end of the tunnel.”
Using his keys, Arthur opened the gate and let Marian pass through. On her way through the tunnel to her brother, Marian saw suffering and misery. Cyrus was one who made up his own laws, laws that served his interests first, therefore most of the prisoners did not know why they were imprisoned. Stench was unbearable. She was unable to decipher the dead from those who seemed to sleep. Marian reached the end of the tunnel to an horrifying sight. Edward chained to the cold stonewall, bleeding from several opened fresh wounds. It was obvious Cyrus had been by to torture him.
“Edward, what have they done to you?” With tears in her eyes, she reached out to touch him.
“Marian! Why are you here? This is unwise you should not have come. They already have me; must you risk them taking you? Leave this place at once. Cyrus may suspect you… sister he will come for you too, and only God knows what he will do. Go! Please, go while you can.”
“But you are hurt and bleeding.” Reaching into her pocket, she removes a small white piece of cloth and begins cleaning his wounds.
“Marian, I’ll be all right, just go now, get out of here.”
“No! I do not care if I get caught; I refuse to live life in the dark. With our parents departed and you here, there is nothing left for me to lose. I too am involved in this Edward and I won’t be deterred from doing all I can to pass the knowledge we have come upon. People must know the truth! Edward, where is the manuscript?”
“My sister, you impress me, born a woman, but with the courage of a man warrior, even I am proud. The manuscript is hidden by the creek, in the cave behind the waterfalls. Look for a big rock, dig behind it and you will find it. You must be very careful as the King has declared even sight of the manuscript punishable by death. Once you have it, leave the village at once. The manuscript must be protected. You must be vigilant, Cyrus has spies everywhere.”
“I am certain William is behind this.”
“Who but our high Priest would be threatened by it? The manuscript will jeopardize his preaching of religion.”
“A question of power and control, as the manuscript states, William knows that if this information gets to the people, religion as we know it, will be no more.”
“True, but do not set your hopes for change too high. Fear has been very well cultivated in these parts. Just look around you my sister and you’ll see.”
“This information will eliminate the fear. Part the clouds and give way to the Light…”
“Oh, but it will not!” said a voice coming from behind them “I will make certain it does not. Guards take her away… fools! You actually thought you could get away with this? I knew Marian would come here; it was just a matter of time. Why do you think I placed Arthur as the gatekeeper everyday this week? I knew that somehow he was involved in your plan. With him as the gatekeeper, Marian would surely try to make her way in here. As usual, I was right. Edward, you need be tortured anymore. Does this not bring you joy? I assure that now that I know where the manuscript is, I will take good care of it. This is not the only manuscript I have collected. We have many, and all well guarded. Edward, though you may not believe it, I do care about the people. We translate the manuscripts for them. What do you think Sundays at church are for?”
“You mean alter them… don’t you Cyrus? What you do on Sundays is tell the people what you want them to believe… lies! Truth scares you!”
“Enough!” Yelled Cyrus slapping Edward across the face with his gloves. “Fools! I must seek fresh air from the stench of this place and your useless rhetoric. You two guards come with me and bring her. The rest of you stay and guard him. Make sure no one reaches him again! Your lives depend on it! Until noon tomorrow Edward, the event of your death promises to be great.”
“What are you going to do with Marian?”
“Worry about your own fate Edward, not hers. Such beauty however, should be savored, not wasted. Don’t you agree?” As Cyrus walks away, he turns to look back at Edward and sarcastically says. “Enjoy the evening, for it will be your last!”
Edward was left with the knowledge that his time was almost over. Who would come to his salvation? He prayed.
‘God our celestial father, Creator of all things, from You I came and to You I shall return. I now beg You for courage Father. Courage to go through what is to come. I forgive them for they do not know what they do. Another time will come where things will be different. Please Father look after my sister, I beg of you. I Thank-You.’
After prayer, Edward fell into a deep meditation state. The night went by quickly for him. The clanging of metal brought him back, a familiar sound coming. The old man who now brought him his last meal, a piece of bread and a cup of water.
“Here, have your last meal!” Said the old man cruelly unchaining one of his hands.
“Thank-you.” Edward humbly replied.
Taking a bite of bread he glanced at the nearby prisoners, and thought to himself ‘Death can not be worst!’
The morning went by quickly, too quickly it seemed. Before he was ready guards were coming. Shivering in his dark filthy cell, the sound of their heavy boots got louder as they got closer to him. His time had come. His hands were chained behind his back connected to his feet with a chain wide enough to allow him to walk. He was instantly blinded by the outside sun, having not set eyes on it for days. He could hear the crowd gathered. His eyes adjusted to the light. His sister came to mind. Where was she? He moved his head around nervously. He could not locate her.
“Foreword!” Shouted a guard, pushing him roughly up the stairs.
Father John approached him, opened his bible and prayed. The prayer did not impress Edward, for his own prayers had already been made. A hooded man approached him holding a rope and a piece of cloth. In an abrupt manner his head was covered and he was pushed towards the huge log standing at the center of the platform. Edward was forced to bend down his head placed on top of it. The king’s spokesman approached the platform and read aloud the reasons for Edward’s beheading.
This man has been proven guilty of high treason to the Empire!
This man has spoken against the King!
This man has spoken against our Clergy!
This man has denied God!
This man brought shame to our people!
This man must be punished with death!
The crowd cheered in ignorance, raising their arms and shaking their fists not knowing anything but what the King proclaimed as truth. Holding an enormous ax the hooded man waited for his signal. A signal from Cyrus, who was standing besides the King at the tower window. All eyes were on the tower. Cyrus lifted his right hand and the ax came down swiftly. Edward’s last earthly sound was the whistle of the ax blade ………………… ………………… …………………… …. ……… …………………………………………………… ……………………………………………….. ………………………………… ………………………………………………………….. There was a pause, silence and then peace. A strange feeling not known, or peculiar to Edward. His hands were free from chains. He was far from the platform and the ax, the cheering crowd below him. Sound was not sound, wind was not wind and sun was not sun. Edward felt liberated, yet confused. He looked up to the sky above him and spin in circles, but there was no sky. “But, did I not die? What is this place? Where is it I am?” He looked below him again to take in the sight of his body without a head. The question came again. “I am dead, yet I am here…” he felt a voice coming from a distance. “Arthur?”
“I know what you feel Edward, I felt the same way too when I got here. Soon you will see how you can travel in this state of existence, but I must warn you, it is a little confusing at first. Here we travel at the speed of thought. We can go anywhere and do anything. Yes Edward, it is I, Arthur. Now, give me your hand.”
Still a little confused, Edward slowly moved his hand towards Arthur. As their fingers touched, he felt a gentle caressing breeze.
“What happened? Where did everything go? Where are we?”
“Nothing else matters anymore Edward, we are going home.”
“Home?… If we can see and speak to each other, it means you are dead too.”
“Yes Edward! My physical body has returned to the earth, therefore no longer my responsibility.”
“How did you die?”
“After I let Marian see you, Cyrus stabbed me. It was as though he had the whole thing planned. Somehow he knew Marian would try to enter the jail to see you. Knowing my feelings for her, he assumed I would let her in… he assumed right.”
“What is this place?”
“The astral world, Edward.”
“The astral world?… That’s it!… Just as it is mentioned in the manuscript. What do we do now?”
“What are we waiting for?”
“For someone else to join us.”
“Marian, my sister, thank God you’re safe.”
“I guess you can say that my brother.”
“What has happened to you?… Are you dead too?”
“Yes Edward, after your execution Cyrus came to see me. He wanted me, I refused. I fought, I took his dagger and used it, but he caught my arm, we struggled and then I saw myself lying down on the floor. I realized as I got here that the life as I knew it had come to an end.”
“Arthur, how did you know Marian was coming to join us?” Asked Edward confused.
“I did not Edward, I felt it. You too can feel these feelings, you’ll see, it just takes a little while… it is time to go. Let us hold hands now.”
“What about the manuscript?” Asked Marian concerned. “Why did we have to die before we could let everyone know about it, what was such purpose?”
“Do not upset yourself Marian, for nothing is lost. Nothing is ever lost, dear sister. The manuscript lives within the universe, within each of us. Evolution will take its course. You and I, Marian, played our part in its process.”
“Brother, before we go I ask that while here we promise each other that we return someday and finish our goal of putting knowledge into writing.”
“I am with you, as long as we are not killed again sister.”
“How can we be sure of this not happening again brother?”
“I can be sure!…” Said a voice.
The familiarity of the voice made both, Edward and Marian turn and float towards it.
“Could that be?…” Yes it was sir Alexander, their father. “…Father! We have missed you so!”
“Daughter, son, I am here to bring you home. Although your mission is over, the battle has but begun. Come children, mother and family await us to celebrate your return. Hold my hand, in a circle, we shall spiral there.” A spiral of Light opened before them, and they vanished in the infinity of the universe…
…heading back home.
It was a gloomy and cloudy day, not only did it look that way, but it felt that way as well. Edward and Marian have just lost their mother to a long battle with unknown diseases. Sir Alexander, their father, seemed to have been the hardest hit by this event. Lady Lorraine was only fifty-five, and her departure has left a huge hole in Sir Alexander’s life. His silence worried Marian. The fact that his life revolved around his wife had Marian concerned. She was now afraid that he too, would soon depart.
Edward was more of a rebel, not really stopping at anything. The death of his mother did not go unnoticed to him, but expected. To most he projected a sense of a cold-hearted individual. But, just like his father, Edward suffered in silence.
After a short sermon from Brother John, Sir Alexander was given the shovel to do the honors. With tears running down his face, he tossed the shovel aside and fell down to his knees.
“Why?… Why?…” He cried out to the sky. At this same instant Marian and Edward got down on their knees and tried to comfort him. Sir Alexander looked at them and stared for a few moments, then, pulled and squeezed them both against his chest. The gesture was mutual, and they cried together. To those present, it was indeed a touching moment, and many shared their tears.
Sir Alexander was a tall and handsome fifty seven year old man. One that did not expressed power, but love and understanding. He has been a warrior of peace for most of his life, something that did not sit too well with the hierarchy at the time.
Still on their knees they stood looking at the coffin. Then with a slow but firm movement, sir Alexander out of grief and deception drove his hands into the soil, squeezing so hard his knuckles cracked. Then, with his hands closed, he got up and walked to the edge of the fresh dig hole. Stretching his arms foreword, he looked up, opened his hands and let go the earth. With his shoulders down he stepped back, as a sign of… ‘Go ahead and do what you have to do!’
Lady Lorraine was buried in the back left wing of their residence, a place that had become the families’ burial ground for some generations now. The view was breath taking. On one side we could hear the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, on the other a stretch of trees and fresh meadows.
Slowly and gradually, everyone left the premises living behind the last three of one generation. Side by side, Marian and Edward walked their father inside. Edward rushed to feed the fire, to warm up this cold and damp day of September. Marian helped her father sit by the fire and soon brought him a blanket.
“Father, would you like a cup of tea?” She gently asked.
He did not answer, but knotted yes. As she walked towards the kitchen, Edward followed her.
“What do you think is going to happen to him?” He asked concerned and confused.
“I don’t know, but I am worried. He hasn’t eaten much lately. Now with mother gone, I’m afraid it is only going to get worst.”
“He could not accept her illness, how will he accept her death? Marian, he has not talked for weeks.”
“I know, perhaps the death of our mother will change things – we just have to wait and see.”
“I hope you’re right. I have to leave now. I will see you here tonight.” He suddenly said.
“Where are you going?” She asked surprised.
“I don’t know I just need some time alone. Besides, it is better that I go, dad needs time to reflect.”
“It sounds more like an excuse, tell me the truth, where are you going?”
“No… It is nothing of that. Perhaps it does sound like an excuse, but it is not, I need to think. I am very confused Marian, I need some clarity on what I should or should not do with my life. I am not making any of our lives easier. I know I have to change, and God knows I want to, but I hate what is going on around me. It’s hard for me to accept Cyrus and his gluttony peasants are being cheated out of their hard labor…”
“I know Edward,” Marian interrupted “but you are not making things any better by acting this way. Look at you. You are not accomplishing anything, at least nothing that I can call positive. I am not saying that I don’t agree with your cause – I do. But you have to lay back for a while neither father nor I have the energy to face the kings’ men at this time. Be patient and realistic – trouble is the last thing we need at this time. Please Edward?”
“Rest assured, I have no intentions to create anymore problems for us, besides, I think I have done enough of that.” He replied picking up his hat and heading for the door.
“Come back for supper… Please Edward?”
“Don’t worry sister; I will not leave this house any time soon. We need each other now, more than ever – I will be back before dark.”
After saddling his horse, Edward left. While riding he plunged into deep thought, trying to make sense of life in general. With his mother gone, and his father weak, Edward saw the last of his family in his sister.
Once wealthy, money was now a concern, this in great part because of him. He has been somewhat a rebel and troublemaker – someone who talked too much for the time and place. He was often arrested because of his words, and several times thrown in jail. Sir Alexander had to come to the rescue and bail him out. However, things have changed now. Edward knew that would not happen anymore, for the money had come to an end.
Edward hates the injustices that surround him, yet, can’t do anything to change it. Cyrus, the sheriff and right arm to the king, is believed to have tremendous influence on the king’s decisions, a man without scruples, one with power over others, and not afraid to use it for benefit and power. It was obvious that Edward was fighting the wrong man – there was nothing he could do against him. He had to learn to swallow his pride and accept his surroundings. At the same time, he needed to find something to do in order to create an income, but what and who would help him. Being friends with Edward was being on the wrong side of Cyrus – no one wanted that.
From the top of the hill he could see the village and the imposing castle standing on the higher ground behind it. He stopped, and contemplated for a moment, not only the view but also the activity that was taking place. There was nothing new or different about it, rather an extraordinary sight to inhale. To Edward, seeing the line of people going in and out, was simply fascinating – a replica of ants daily routine. An endless cycle that seemed to go nowhere, and sadly, it would all begin again tomorrow.
Upon entering the village, something unusual happened, however brief, people actually saluted him. He knew it was not personal it simply had to do with his mother’s death. Through the tip of his hat, he returned the gesture. Suddenly he recognized Arthur’s horse, which meant he could only be in one place – the tavern. Arthur was a gatekeeper at the castle, but also a good friend of Edward and his family. Arthur was a good man, maybe too good for the job he held. Is love for Marian was unmistakable but forbidden. Expressing it would mean a loss of his job and who knows, perhaps more than that. He was under Cyrus orders, and Cyrus could and would do anything to anyone he pleased. Marian was a teacher at the monastery and it was believed that Cyrus had feelings for her – something Edward preferred not knowing.
Inside, Arthur was sitting at the far end of the tavern, just as he always did. Arthur was a rather quiet fellow, but one who projected, not only strength, but wisdom as well. The sound of Edward’s boots attracted Arthur’s attention.
“Good day to you Arthur.” Said Edward pulling a stool.
“Good day to you Edward. I’m sorry about your mother, I really am!” He said in a sincere tone of voice. “How is Marian taking this tragedy?”
“She’s alright Arthur. My mother’s death did not come to us as surprise we were all expecting it. And to tell you the truth – it is better that she is gone.”
“I know. She was suffering too much. Your mother was an angel you know? It is sad to say, but the good die young. Life is not fair.”
“That is right, life stinks. Those who deserve to die, live, those who deserve to live, die.”
“Edward, you have to watch yourself, Cyrus has this thing against you, and he will not rest until he puts you in jail for good. You are constantly criticizing the way he rules, and if that was not enough, you also criticize the clergy. That is not wise, for you know they all eat at the same table. Even I should not be seen with you anymore – I overheard things. Edward, you should leave this place as soon as possible. Your destiny here does not look very promising. And from where I am standing, it will not be long before I have you as a guest.”
Taking the last sip of his drink, he got up grabbed his hat and saluted Edward. Staring, he followed Arthur with his eyes until the door and then looked down. He knew Arthur was right, and also knew that he had to do something about his situation. Leaving would probably ease things up on his father and sister. Then again, he did not want to leave them behind – they were the only family he had left.
The afternoon was still young. The ocean being his favorite place for reflection had him head in its direction. The day had not changed – it was still gray and damp. On his horseback, he left the village. This village was indeed one with beauty. In earlier days, there was no village only the castle. As the population grew, and of course, being the kings’ residence and located right by the ocean, made this a popular place where much of the trades were done. A port had been built which opened the way to foreigner trades for all kinds of merchandise, especially spices and tissue. Traveling through water those days was indeed a much safer way for transportation. Although the danger of sea pirates was present, it was nothing compared with the frequent assaults done on ground expeditions.
Although wonderful and beautiful to look at, this village was not ruled by its qualities, there was a darker side that controlled it. It had become a center for profit and exploitation, and this is where it all began for Edward, which rebelled against that kind of thing. He saw people working so hard everyday, to then sell their hard work for nothing more than a couple of coins, this, not because they wished to, but rather forced to.
With a gentle touch of his boot, he signaled his horse to go. To get to the ocean he had to cross the forest, a forest that was initially planted to break the winds that ravage the crops. He galloped for a few minutes, and as he entered the forest…
“Wohoooo!… Take it easy my faithful friend!” Said Edward calming his horse. “You have chosen quite a place to stop old one!”
“As you can see sir, it is not of my choice. When I saw that rock it was too late, I ran over it and the wheel came off. It’s an old carriage, and I come a long way.”
“You have a strange accent. Where are you from?”
“I am from Tibet sir, but I have been traveling away for the past five years.”
“Tibet. Where is that?”
“Far… faraway sir.”
Edward got off his horse and took a look at the damaged carriage.
“It looks worse than it is old one. Since you are, or look like a merchant, you should have a piece of strong of rope, do you not?”
“Yes sir, I do.” He answered as he walked towards his carriage. This fellow was an older fellow yet walked like a fifteen year old – a funny quick kind of walk. His cloths were just as strange, and his boots were more like fancy rags tied with crossed strips of leather. Surprising to Edward, everything about this man was in order. Everything was old but everything seemed to be at its place, even the rope was gracefully rolled together as he handed it to Edward.
“Here, tight this end to the rod.” Said Edward “I’ll take care of the rest.” Throwing the other end over a thick brunch of a near by tree, Edward tied it to his saddle. With the help of his horse he lifted the carriage and placed the wheel back in its place.
“Here old one, this time it will not come off.”
“How can I thank-you for your much needed help? Sir, you must be a very good person.”
“What do you mean, people should help each other don’t you think?”
“Yes sir I do. But help can be quite rare in these areas. What can I do to express my gratitude to you sir?”
“Nothing old one. I helped you because you needed help, not because I needed anything in return. Do you have a name old one?”
“Kaivalya is my name sir.”
“That is a very interesting name, then again, it goes with the rest of you. It was nice to meet you, but now I have to go. Happy trails to you friend.” Said Edward walking towards his horse. “My name is Edward, in case you would like to know.”
“Sir!… It would be an honor for me, if you stayed for tea. I have the best tea you can find sir.”
Edward stopped and looked at Kaivalya. He felt a strange and mysterious force pushing him to stay. He looked at his horse and then glanced up into the sky to see what time it was.
“Yes. I guess I can stay for a cup of tea.” He replied thinking of his sister. He sure didn’t want to disappoint her, as he promised to be back for supper. After gathering a few dry branches Kaivalya started a small fire and soon prepared some tea. Gracefully holding his cup with both hands, Kaivalya looked at Edward and said. “I sense that something is bothering you sir?” His tone of voice and strange mystical look in his eyes, brought shivers to Edward.
“Please call me Edward. You sense right Kaivalya my life is not a path of roses at this time…” And went on telling him his life story including this very day.
“You know Edward, death is nothing but an illusion. Your mother has just left she never died. Nothing is the way it seems in this world – beware of that. You live in a world of impermanence and transformation, everything is in constant movement and everything exists to serve a cause and a purpose. See. We come and go out of this place, without ever really wanting to stay. We are spirits living in a material world of deception and suffering.”
“You speak strange words Kaivalya. Why do I get the strange feeling that I know you and these words have been spoken to me before?”
“And you do know me, but you don’t remember. As for the words I speak they echo in your Soul.” Replied Kaivalya lighting his pipe.
“What do you mean I do but I don’t remember? If I had seen you before I would surely remember your face. And I don’t!”
“Forgive me Edward, I was just answering your question.”
“It’s nothing, you don’t have to apologize. Tell me, why do you say I do, but I don’t remember? What do you mean echo in my Soul, I’m afraid I don’t understand?” Asked Edward taking a sip from a cup, which was just as strange as Kaivalyas’ surroundings.
“I don’t have any rational explanation to give you Edward, but I can show you how to feel these things. Beware of what your eyes can see, for they will mislead you. You have to learn to see through the feelings of your heart – they will never lie to you. You are more than you think you are Edward, and yes we have met before in one previous life. What I meant by echo in your Soul is a sound, which has been heard by you before. Again, in another life.”
“Previous life? Another life? I’m afraid I don’t understand.”
“Yes you do, Edward. The mysteries of Avalon have always fascinated you, to the point of getting you in trouble with the Clergy. Much of the mysteries have been erased since. But the foundation, which is reincarnation, still, lives in many hearts – including yours. Everything revolves in cycles Edward. The days are composed of mornings, after-afternoons, evenings and nights. The same thing applies to the years – spring, summer, fall and winter. Everything in this material world revolves around those same principles – even us, human beings. We are not this body, nor are we this mind. We are just using it for the journey we have chosen to take. We are Spirit, we are Light, we are a Soul that is eternal and immortal – we are simply forever and ever. It is important for us to understand our emotions. Take what they have to offer and then drop them. Learn to disconnect from this illusion that keeps us in stagnation and suffering. Sooner or later we all have to transcend and move on…”
Kaivalya talked and talked. Edward was fascinated. Everything made so much sense, it was what he always believed but had no words or knowledge to explain. Kaivalyas’ words were cutting through his heart, mind and Soul. Very important imprints were now being forged in his sub-conscious. And the conversation brought them well into the evening.
“Edward, I think you should go now, someone is waiting worried for you.” He spoke like a soothsayer.
“Marian!” Cried Edward “You are right, I have to go.”
“Before you go friend, I have something that I want you to have.”
“Kaivalya, how can you possibly know about my passion for Avalon and that someone was waiting for me… who are you?”
“Just a merchant on a mission.”
“A merchant on a mission, and what may that be?”
“The same as yours Edward – to bring Light to the people.”
“I wish it was that simple. Bring Light to the people got me locked in the dark several times.”
“The Light should be carried gently, Edward. Don’t make waves. Understand that the Light, although wished, is not accepted by all. Also, don’t force it or fight for it that is not at all part of the mission. Look at me, I have been carrying IT for many years, yet, no one knows me. If you had not asked me about IT, I would never have told you.”
“But I don’t recall asking you for anything, come to think of it, you were the one asking for help.”
“Just as I told before, things are not always what they seem to be – remember that. This is what I meant by carrying it gently. When someone speaks, don’t listen to their words but to their heart. You seemed quite sincere when you said that people should always help each other. Your spontaneity and affirmation asked me for Light. Be sensitive Edward, answer to those who ask and you will have better chances at succeeding. Forcing or rebelling will only create confusion, hostility and pain. Negative result, something you don’t want. Often times you wish to give the Light, but you deliver dark. Do you understand?”
“How can I achieve that?”
“Focus Edward. Put your energy on the right place. Often times your rebelling, is nothing but personal resentment not necessarily helpful to you or anybody else. You have mentioned earlier that the Light got you often in dark places. I apologize to you Edward, but the Light never got you in the dark – you did. Your desire for fairness often turns to hostile dialogues. You get blind in emotions, and blind people cannot see. Do what you have to do gracefully and at ease. Stop trying to save those who do not wish to be saved. What you see and feel is often beyond most people understanding or desires. Control your impulses and simply survive life.”
The poor and modest merchant Edward had encountered, turned out to be some kind of sage – a teacher. Appearances can fool. The fellow Kaivalya had called sir, has suddenly turned into a humble pupil.
“Kaivalya, there is so much that I can learn from you – please teach me.”
Strangely and silently, Kaivalya began to remove the seat off his carriage. Then, out of a false bottom, he removed something wrapped in leather. It was heavy, dusty and tied with rope. After blowing off the dust, he handed it over to Edward.
“What is this?…” He asked looking at what seemed to be a heavy and enormous book.
“That my friend, is everything that I spoke to you about and more… The teachings you seek.”
“The teachings I seek… how am I supposed to learn from this?”
“Read it, practice it and master it. Beware that this teaching does not become fatal to you. The ‘Light’ is desired but not necessarily welcome.” Raising his hand he touched Edward’s shoulder in a cordial gesture and then continued. “Go now, you are needed at home, your sister needs you. Farewell my friend, and may the Light be with you.”
“Thank-you… I will never forget you Kaivalya.” Replied Edward with sincerity, appreciation and sadness. Kaivalya was not going to stay, Edward understood that, therefore did not insist. After placing the heavy book on his saddle, Edward mounted his horse, looked at Kaivalya in the eye one last time, saluted him and headed back home.
Strange turn of events. A broken carriage, leading to tea, an incredible lecture and finally – a manuscript. It was as though everything was laid out and planned ahead for Edward. But why? Kaivalya spoke of a mission, a mission he totally ignored, yet, brought warmth and inspiration to his heart – the transformation of a rebel into a sage. He knew Kaivalya was right, all his rebellion brought him nothing but grief and complications, not at all the result he desired.
Out of the forest and through the fields, Edward rode his horse and trusted his instincts to get him home. He was physically present, but mentally and spiritually gone. What he had experienced with Kaivalya came to reinforce what he believed – the freedom of being and freedom of speech. In his mind, he had to get home fast and show the manuscript to Marian.
With sight of his home, Edward came back to the present. A home once filled with light at night was now dark and gloomy. The only light he could see was the moonlight through the clouds throwing scary shadows at the walls.
After leaving his horse at the stable, Edward rushed inside. He was so excited, that he had forgotten what had happen that morning. The hall was dark. He noticed Marian had not renewed the burned candles. After coming back to his senses, Edward realized that his mother had been buried that morning. With this thought, all his excitement about his encounter vanished. He let go of his cape, hat and sword, took a deep breath, picked up the manuscript and headed to the dinning hall. The candles were weak and the fire fading. Something was definitely wrong. Marian was on her knees with her head leaning down on Sir Alexander’s lap. Edward dropped the manuscript and rushed to them.
“Marian!… What happened?” He hopelessly asked dropping down on his knees.
“Father is dead… he died in his sleep.” Replied Marian stuttering.
“No!… this cannot be!… father! Father! Oh God, why? Why us?…” He cried squeezing his father’s head against his chest.
“Edward… don’t daft on me now… please! I need you to stay sane – you are all that I have…” Edward looked at his sister, stared for a moment; they hugged and shared their tears.
Earlier today they had buried their mother, now their father passed away. Life as they knew it, had come to an abrupt shift.
“Marian, together we’ll make it through this, I promise you. Let us show our parents that we can stand the test of life. Let us make them proud… I will make them proud, for I think I owe them that. I need you Marian, now more than ever…”
“I need you too, my brother. Please stand by me. Don’t leave.”
“I wont…” Replied Edward, holding her strong.
The morning after, under a rainy day, Edward dug a grave besides his mother’s. It was a sad moment, but, according to Kaivalya, very much part of life and a relief for the Soul. Still, Edward could not contain his tears. Losing both parents at the same time goes beyond any rational explanation. An experience that only time could heal.
After digging the grave under those terrible conditions, Edward dropped the shovel and went in to get his fathers body. In tears, they both spoke their last words to their departed father. No one was told of this, thus no one was present but them. Everything was kept confidential, just as Sir Alexander had wished it to be. They wrapped the body in cloth and then cover it with sir Alexander’s cape. Slowly, under his sister’s eyes, Edward began to cover the grave. Little by little what was dug was now covered. Standing and facing, both their mother’s and father’s grave, they held hands and shared a last thought for the great parents they once had. Many memories surfaced, memories of a life lived between two worlds. Their parents, although part of the hierarchy, were very close to the needs of the people. They had a heart of gold and many lost souls had found their way to their doorstep for food and shelter. Marian and Edward could be very proud for the humanitarian traits their parents shared, for these were rare qualities found in the hierarchy. Soaked and heartbroken, they looked at each other and returned back to the house.
Marian made some tea while Edward fed the fire. Thoughtful and silent, they both sat in front of the warmth of the fire – two young Souls with a broken heart sharing their misfortune and solitude.
“What are we going to do now?” Asked Marian staring at the fire.
“I don’t know I was going to ask you the same question, Marian.” He sadly replied.
“I guess we have to wait and see,” Marian continued “there isn’t much else that we can do at this time.”
Suddenly, Edward thought about Kaivalya’s encounter, and quickly turned his head to the place he had dropped the manuscript.
“Marian, before coming home yesterday I came across a very strange man. At first he seemed to be in trouble with his carriage, then, he started to talk strange words that sounded so right. The wisdom in which he spoke sparkled my heart – my Soul. So much so, it felt to me the whole encounter was planned. I know what you may be thinking Marian, but I am not insane or hallucinating. Kaivalya is real and he offered me tea and asked me to stay a while – I accepted the offer. We made a fire and sat down. Incredible as it may seem, he talked about how we are ruled and controlled because of our fears and desires. He spoke about powers we all have but ignore and the freedom we have inherited but refuse to acknowledge. Strange man indeed, but he seemed to live by those very rules. He was calm, happy and moved gracefully. He told me that we are all Souls in growth and forever evolving. Physical death, as we experienced through our parents, is nothing but a relief for the Spirit – nothing but an illusion – we are eternal and forever evolving.”
“Who is this man? Have you seen him before?” Asked Marian intrigued.
“All I know is his name and that he is a merchant from a place he called Tibet. I never saw him before. Do you know what or where Tibet is?”
“No, but the name is familiar.”
“Well, if everyone there talks like him, it must indeed be a country full of wisdom.”
On top of the table Edward began to unwrap the manuscript. Marian intrigued approached him bringing closer the chandelier. She was astonished to see its cover.
“Edward, do you have any idea what this is?” She asked. “The symbols on the cover are forbidden by the king. They’re part of an ancient method of astrological study… what do you know about this?”
“Marian, I’m not a teacher, you are. Never before have I seen these symbols. I don’t know what they mean or stand for. How did you get to know them?”
“Edward, there is much going on underneath the ceilings of the monastery. Often times I overhear things. I play deaf by not paying attention, but I know they have information they want to keep confidential for themselves. They know things, and use this knowledge to better fulfill their appetites.”
“What is, astrological study?”
“I’m not really sure. I believe it has something to do with influences of some sort…”
“Influences… what are you talking about?”
“I wish I knew, but by the look of this manuscript, I will soon find out.”
“Do you understand any of the writings?”
“I am trying…” She replied while carefully turning the pages. “Edward, bring more candles please. What else did this man say when he handed you this manuscript?”
“I asked him what was I supposed to do with it, he said I would know when the time came. That was it.”
“Strange. It is as though he is giving you some sort of a mission, and from where I’m standing, a dangerous one to. Edward, it would be wise for us to hide this manuscript, especially now that you, or should I say, we are under surveillance. With both of our parents gone Cyrus will try anything to get his hands on this property. All he needs is a good excuse to trick you with. We have to be careful and make sure we don’t give him a reason for that to happen.”
“I may be impulsive at times, but I do know how delicate this moment is in our lives.”
“I know you do Edward, I’m just afraid that’s all. Everything is going so fast and not exactly in the direction I would like. I’ve missed mother and father…” She couldn’t contain her emotions and began to cry. Edward took her in his arms and tried to comfort her. He couldn’t help it. Tears began to roll down his face.
Two weeks had past. Edward, with Marian’s help and accessibility to books and information in the monastery, began to study the manuscript. Late one afternoon, while going over some of the notes, something unusual attracted their attention.
“What in hell was that?” Asked Marian jumping off her chair.
“I don’t know.” Replied Edward “Stay here while I go take a look.”
On his way to his sword, the sound of a horse galloping away and picking up speed was heard. Edward ran as fast as he could but it was too late to recognize who the person might have been. Discouraged and confused he returned.
“Did you see who that was?” Asked Marian.
“I can’t really tell, but he didn’t look like a soldier.”
“Perhaps not, but I’m certain he is one of Cyrus dogs. Edward, it would be wise to take the manuscript out of the house before anything else happens. Whoever that was, may have heard us talk.”
Edward took a moment to think. He knew Cyrus had spies but never thought they would come this close to the house.
“I will take the manuscript to a safe place Marian, just stay put, I’ll be back before night fall.”
Before living, Edward went around and made sure there were no more surprises. Whoever that horseman may have been was all alone – no sign of anyone else. Edward was aware how well rewarded this information could be, and the only thing left for him to do, was hide the manuscript. Failure to prove of its existence, it would be his word against whoever was trying to profit from this situation.
Marian began to prepare supper. However physically present she was spiritually absent. Her thoughts were intense but not clear. Confusion and fear invaded her. She was incapable of foreseeing the future that was waiting for her and her brother. Although not hungry, she went on preparing the meal just the same. After lighting up the stove she heard the sound of a horse approaching. Her first thought, ‘Edward is back so soon?’ but that thought was short lived for the sound revealed several horses approaching. Through the window she saw three of the Kings men heading to the house. She dropped everything and went out to attend them.
“Good day, milady.” Said George, a high ranked soldier she knew well.
“Good day to you George. What brings you to my home?” Asked Marian calmly.
“I need to see Edward.”
“I’m sorry he’s not home at this moment, but I’m expecting him anytime. May I ask why do you want to see him?”
Before he could answer the question, they all turned their eyes to an incoming horse. Edward was coming back.
“George, is anything wrong?” Marian insisted. “Has he done anything that I don’t know about?” Again there was no answer. They all seemed to play deaf as they watched Edward approach.
“Good day to you gentlemen.” Said Edward bringing his horse to a stop.
“Good day to you Edward. I’m sorry to cut this conversation short, but you must follow us at once.”
“Why is that George? What have I done now?”
“I don’t know I am just following my orders.”
“Whose orders might these be, George?”
“Cyrus. Now, give me your sword and follow us, and please no more questions.” Edward yields for he was expecting this to happen at anytime. It became obvious to him that whoever the spy was, had something to do with Cyrus.
“Marian don’t worry, I will return before night fall.” Said Edward trying to comfort Marian.
They all saluted her and quickly left to the castle. Even though Edward tried to comfort her, she knew the absence of their father would make things far more complicated. In the past, it was Sir Alexander who bailed Edward out. This time it was going to be different. Whatever the outcome, it had to be done on their own.
She stood and looked at them as they vanishing in the distance. Once out of sight, Marian returned inside. She was confused, hurt and worried. Helpless and tired, she sat down at the table, occupying the once Sir. Alexander’s chair. Unable to sustain her emotions and began to cry.
Beautiful, gentle and very close to the needy, she was known to be a brave and direct lady, as well as determined and confident. However, the events of these past weeks were indeed very hard on her. She did not trust Cyrus. He was capable of many horrifying doings and that for her, was a concern. The more she thought about it, the more she amplified her feelings. She knew what the king and clergy practiced. All they were seeking was power and control at any cost. They manipulated religion to serve their appetite. They used God to scare people and the Devil to terrify them. Poor peasants, it was for them, either way a losing situation. They were forced to pay for services they never had and compelled to give their best crops to fatten their so-called priests and superiors. Anyone who dares opposing would be beaten on sight and if he survived he would simply be taken and thrown in prison – radical treatments that led to efficient control.
According to what they had seen written in the first pages of the manuscript, everything seemed to exist and revolve in cycles – linking the course of life to a sort of reincarnation process. Where we all have the chance to create and face our creations. Experience the freedom of life and the duty of responsibility. Ultimately, evolve physically, mentally and spiritually.
This information led them to believe that there is always another chance – another tomorrow. To anyone seeking power and control, this is obviously tampering information.
The darkness of the night soon covered the land. Nervous and weak Marian waited still. She suspected Edward would not come back that night, but kept hopping anyway. From where she was sitting she could see the whole hall, quite big and very much empty. Weak and tired, she fell asleep.
“…What?… Edward… Father?” She exclaimed confused. It was Sir Alexander, but the way he dressed and the glowing light that surrounded him, gave him a different and heavenly look. His appearance brought a sense of inner peace to Marian. She felt a warm and divine energy present. She could not explain it, yet, that was the last thing in her mind. She attempted to get up, but to her surprise could not go anywhere. She looked at him and said…
“But… father… Have you not died?…”
“No my love, I just left this world to go back home – our true home. I came to tell you, that everything is alright. Mother and I are now very happy together again. We just want you to know that whatever happens to you and your brother, we will always be by your side. We love you and always will. Be courageous my child – tell your brother this. Also, tell him that we love him very much and I am sorry I had to leave you so soon. There is something else you should remember, we are only temporarily apart – we shall be back together again. Farewell my angel. Bless be, you and your brother.”
“No father!… Don’t leave me now! We need you… father!… father!… father!” Suddenly she felt a beam of light gently caressing her face, when… “what?… the sun!…” She sadly exclaimed. The sun was shinning through the window announcing the birth of new day. ‘It was a dream… A wonderful dream.’ she thought to herself ‘It seemed so real, my father spoke to me…’ In a sudden and quick move she got up a yelled, “Edward!… Edward!… are you home?” There was no answer, only echo. Deep down inside, she did not expect one. The only thing left for her to do, was to get herself together and head to the castle.
It was a beautiful day, sunny and practically no clouds insight. Compared to the weather they’ve been having, a sunny day could be quite uplifting for the spirit. Outside, a perfect chorus lead by magnificent birds was showing off their melodies. The sun was shinning and that was enough to make them happy. As for Marian, her thoughts were far from the present moment.
Once in the castle she began to ask questions. At first no one seemed to know anything, eventually all her questioning lead her to Cyrus.
“Marian. What a lovely surprise. Such a beautiful day could not be complete without your presence milady. What brings you to me?” Asked Cyrus acting innocent.
“My brother. I am sure that you know where he is.”
“Your brother?…” He turned around, looked out through the window and then continued. “…You know Marian, Edward could be living a wonderful life if he could keep his nose out of my affairs. I don’t know what he has against me all I know is that I try to do my best to respect you. What does he do? He muddles with everything that does not concern him. The king wants answers – I simply have to get them. It came to my knowledge that he had in his possession a certain ancient manuscript…. you wouldn’t happen to know anything about this, would you?” He said as he turned to her.
“I don’t know what you are trying to insinuate, but I can guarantee you, this is not going to take you anywhere. I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“Really?… I wish I could believe you, but I’m afraid I don’t…”
“Are you calling me a liar?”
“What if I am, what are you going to do about it?”
“You have the power, and you sure know how to abuse it.”
“Marian, Marian, I never quite figured out why you resist me. You know my feelings for you. Why do you choose to be on the wrong side, that I will never understand? Everything could be so perfect and joyful if you wanted it to be, but no, you have to be stubborn. Just look where it’s taking you…”
Not wanting to continue in that direction, she insisted…
“Cyrus, Where is my brother? What have you done to him?”
“Nothing! We are just holding him for questioning. As soon as he tell us what we want to know, he will be free to go.”
“Can I see him… please?”
“No! I’m afraid not…” He replied abruptly turning his back at her “…and as for you, I have enough of this conversation, please leave at once.”
Marian knew she was not in a position to argue. It was better for her to leave at this point. Her only hope was now lying with Arthur, the gatekeeper…