The Books of Isa
“Get away from her!” Kyren shrieked at Asher.
Startled by his wife’s outburst, Asher quickly backed away from Alena.
“I was only going to - ”
“Get away!” his wife screamed at him again.
“What’s wrong, Kyren?”
“You’re a traitor!” his wife shoved a finger in his face aggressively, coming to stand between her husband and her daughter.
“A traitor to who?” he asked, still confused at his wife’s reaction to him.
“To Diana.” came the hissed answer.
“I don’t understand. I never followed that goddess of yours to begin with.” he tried to sate her wrath unsuccessfully.
“It doesn’t matter! You’ve brought Him here!”
“Who is ‘he’?”
“The Enemy.” his wife snarled back. “You have brought Him here; He would destroy my goddess!”
“Kyren, please tell me who you’re talking about. I don’t understand.”
There was a moment of charged silence before she replied, “He is the One your people make sacrifices to.”
“Adonai?” he asked.
“And you have even brought the entire Trinity here, you ludicrous simpleton! You could not simply leave it at bringing your Divine taskmaster in the form of your Torah,” she spat out the book’s name, “but you had to bring the accursed Mashiach and His Spirit with you too!”
Kyren let out a terrible cry and fell to her knees, covering her face with her hands. Alena added her unhappiness to the din as well and Asher suddenly felt as though the world were about to close in around him.
“But Kyren, Yeshua -”
“Do not speak His Name to me, you detractor!” Kyren’s voice was beginning to get a bit hoarse from her continuous yelling at him, but she still persisted. “Get away from us! Go!” she wailed.
Asher, deeply troubled by what had just happened, left the room.
“I don’t understand...” he thought. “I didn’t do anything... And what did she mean by Mashiach’s Spirit? Or the ‘Trinity’?” Then he remembered that the Book from Iscandar taught that once a person accepted Yeshua as his true Saviour that something called the ‘Holy Spirit’ was given to him almost like a down-payment on the eternal life he was to realize upon his death, but that Spirit also did many other things as well – things that Asher had only just begun to realize.
“Oh, Diana!” Kyren wept when her husband was gone. “He has left me entirely!”
“Do you really need him?” the answer came.
Kyren thought about what her possessor had said for a moment, “No...” she replied with a bitter smirk, “I don’t suppose I do.” Then she turned and picked up her daughter. “We don’t need him, Alena – or his God. They will only hinder us from doing what we are destined to do.” she comforted her screaming toddler and the little girl began to settle down.
“This is a lovely world they chose to settle...” Kyren said softly as she gazed out the nearby window of their ship. From here she could see out of the ship docks and into the nearby countryside. “I am surprised it was so easy to find them. I thought you said you didn’t know where they had gone.”
“I told you that for your own good.” Diana retorted. “It got you here quickly, did it not.”
Kyren nodded, “I suppose it did.”
“Now you only have to find the amulet, and my power is yours.” the smug little voice echoed in Kyren’s mind.
“Easier said than done...”
“Perhaps. Then again, you’ve made it this far.” came the reply.
“True...” Kyren admitted. “Is there anything else I need to know before I go hunting for it?”
“Well... now that you mention it...” the demon’s voice lilted mischievously, “Perhaps there were one or two other factors involved that I forgot to mention.”
During the next few weeks, Asher, now banished from his wife’s presence, made his home in another part of the ship again, making sure not to let her see him as he moved about the vessel or traveled around the area near the docks.
As he explored the area, including the city that was a few miles away, he kept thinking about his wife, wondering what could be wrong with her and how she could have known what he had come to believe about Yeshua only the night before. He wondered what she would have done if he had not fallen asleep on the bridge that night in lieu of coming to bed... The thought was unsettling.
He decided then and there that he would find out if there was anyone on this world that – against all the odds – believed what he now did.
A year passed this way, with neither Asher nor Kyren finding what they – each unbeknownst to the other – sought. They moved from port to port all across the planet. Sometimes they stayed near large cities, sometimes in nearly uninhabited regions of the world, but finally they docked near a city that looked to be over fifteen hundred years old.
Portions of the place were run down and crumbling, but there was still a good portion of the city that people were actively living in.
Kyren took Alena and traveled into the city, searching once more for the elusive artifact that Diana wanted her to find.
Asher, still carefully staying out of his wife’s way – did she even know he was still on board? - went out into the city as well to seek out those who shared his Faith.
Asher trekked through the ancient city, looking around and wondering why these people chose to live here, in the shadow of the gigantic mountain towering over them instead of farther inland in one of the more modern cities, or farther to the south in the advanced port city that he and Kyren had just come from. What made this place so special?
Asher came to an old-fashioned open-air market where peddlers and merchants marketed their wares. He was surprised to see not only handmade goods and local foods, but also cutting edge technology and parts for space vessels neatly laid out in several stalls. There were even a couple of merchants advertising genetically enhanced cattle or botanical marvels brought about through interbreeding of plant species. But the most astonishing thing that he saw was a vendor who was selling custom-built ships. He didn’t have any in the tiny space he had rented, obviously, but he had amazing pictures and videos displayed holographically around the small area that showed off his craftsmanship. Another testament to his prowess was the line that was forming in front of his rented area.
All in all, the market was a remarkable sight to behold and the Jew was so wrapped up in the sensory overload he was experiencing that he nearly walked by the stall he was searching for. In fact, he had just passed it when his brain finally registered that he needed to stop and look at it.
Asher took several steps back and peered into a medium-sized stall run by two people, one man and one woman, presumably related somehow, re-stacking a pile of their wares that a passing child had mischievously knocked over.
“Afedersiniz... [Excuse me...]” Asher said cautiously, getting the pair’s attention.
“Ah! Efendim, sabah iyi [Good morning, sir]!” replied the man enthusiastically before gesturing to his merchandise. “Kitaplar [Books]! Biz kitap var [We have books]! Her taraftan [From everywhere].”
“Just what I am looking for.” Asher replied, switching to a more universal language, hoping that the merchant would be able to follow suit.
“That is very fortunate.” the merchant grinned. “What kind of book are you searching for?”
“Actually, I’m looking for someone who’s familiar with one book in particular.” he fished through the bag he had brought with him and withdrew the reader he had been using to go through the Book from Iscandar. “This book.” he said as he turned the device on and held it up for the merchant to look at, hoping that the man could read one of the two languages displayed.
The merchant’s assistant peered over his shoulder curiously and reached out to scroll to the beginning of the displayed section, holding another device up in front of the screen – a translator of some sort.
The woman’s eyes widened and she passed the translated version of the text over to the man.
“Where did you get this?” the merchant whispered, taking hold of Asher’s hand and lowering it quickly so that the Book was out of sight.
“A friend.” he replied.
“This Book is forbidden here.” the woman said in the same hushed tone.
“But why?” Asher asked, using the same voice as the vendors.
The man and woman looked at each other, then back at Asher, then at each other once more before the merchant man looked at Asher and said, “Put this away quickly and stay here with us today. We will talk with you when the market closes this evening. You will be our guest for the evening meal.”
The day seemed to crawl by as Asher sat in the back of the merchants’ stall, watching the customers go by and browsing through the books they had brought with them today.
When it was finally time to close up, the man and woman had sold about half of what they had brought – a remarkable feat to Asher, who had not seen so many printed books available for sale anywhere before. Much of the literature he was familiar with was made widely available digitally instead of via the printed page. Physical books would never become entirely extinct though, he was sure. There were still too many people in the universe who treasured the well-loved medium too much to watch it disappear.
Asher helped the two people pack up their remaining stock and head back to their home in a strange vehicle that he had not seen the like of before. It was a bit like the shuttle that he and Kyren had aboard their ship, but it was more streamlined than that. It also had a descently sized storage compartment in the back which the merchants used to pack away their books.
Then the three of them piled into the vehicle and made the trip into the ancient-looking city.
They stopped at a home that looked much like all the others in the area and the man beckoned Asher to go on into the house while he and the woman unloaded the vehicle.
Asher stepped into the house. The first thing he noticed was the number of books that were carefully arranged in every open space of the house. Everything was surrounded by volume after volume of literature – fiction and non-fiction alike. Whoever these people were, they either loved to collect books... or maybe they too were searching for something.
“Please, sit.” the voice of the male member of the merchant pair said. “The food will only be a few minutes in preparation. I am Evren, and this,” he gestured to the woman, “is my sister Yildiz.”
“My name is Asher.”
Evren bowed politely to his guest. “There is much we need to discuss concerning that... ‘item’ of yours.”
“Indeed.” added Yildiz before disappearing into another part of the house – presumably to prepare the evening meal.
“What is so terrible about this particular Book that it is illegel here? Does this world even have a name? I haven’t heard anyone call it anything since I’ve been here...” Asher said, trying to understand what was going on here.
“Well,” Evren began a bit awkwardly, ignoring the second inquiry, “This... Book,” he whispered the word, “that you possess, the, uh, ‘powers that be’ here forbade anyone to possess, propagate or discuss it. Before I tell you any more about our situation here, I must ask you one question.”
“Why did you ask about ... It?”
“Why did I ask about the Book?” Asher clarified.
“Yes.” Evren confirmed.
“I don’t know how insane this will all sound, but I was given this book by the queen of a planet known as Iscandar. She... helped me when I needed it most and then she gave this to me,” he indicated the reader hidden in his bag. “I was reading through it and... it was like the things I had been taught all my life became real – they actually made sense to me. Through it I found my Saviour.”
There was silence for a moment between the two men, then Evren said, eyes wide, “You were taught these things all of your life...? How can that be so?”
Asher was confused, “Surely the reason this Book” he pointed to his bag, “is banned because it threatens the hold of whatever rabbinical or other religious order that rules here. Is that correct?”
“Well, yes, but it is not the only one that is banned.”
“There are more?” Asher asked.
“There is... one more.”
“One more? Is it like the Book that I have?”
Evren took a deep breath, then continued in a careful whisper, “There are two forbidden Books here on this world, we call them the Books of Isa. The one you possess is the second One. I have not seen a completed copy of this Book since I was a very young boy... The first Book, the Book that tells of Yaratılıs Tanrısı and His great Law, has been forbidden here since people settled this world. There have been periodic purges throughout our history, because, no matter how hard they try, the powers that be cannot wipe out these two Books.”
“Who is this Isa?” Asher asked “And why are we speaking like this?”
Evren smiled sadly and answered the second question first. “We never know when they might be listening to us, or when they might be hiding outside our doors ready to come and kill us or drag us away for speaking of such... sacreligious things as the True Word of Yaratılıs Tanrısı. The state of this world is... to be wept over. We are ruled by those who hate Isa and all He and His Father Yaratılıs Tanrısı taught... In fact, I am surprised that you were not arrested before now if you have asked others about the Book you carry.” Evren sighed, then allowed himself another small smile, “But you asked of Isa. What world are you from?”
“Neptoah.” said Asher.
“Neptoah...” Evren carefully repeated the strange-sounding name, “I have not heard of it. It isn’t in this system is it?”
Asher laughed, “It isn’t even in this galaxy.”
“Ah. What religious background are you from then?”
“I am a Jew.”
“Ah!” Evren’s eyes lit up, “Then you would know Him as ‘Yeshua.’”
Asher nodded, now understanding a bit more of what was going on, “And Adonai is His Father.”
“So that is the name you have given Yaratılıs Tanrısı. It is certainly different.” Evren smiled more brightly now.
“So is ‘Yaratılıs Tanrısı’, if you don’t mind me saying so.”
“A fair point.” Evren said amiably. “So, are you familiar with the first of the Books of Isa - the Book of Law?”
Something clicked in Asher’s head, “You speak of the Torah...” he said, amazed, “It is forbidden here?! How can your rulers do this to your people?”
Evren shushed Asher as the other man was getting a bit too loud for safety’s sake. “The powers that be forbid it because it teaches of their Enemy. They are afraid that if the people learn of this Enemy, that they will forsake them and follow Him instead.”
“Your rulers are enemies of Adonai?” Asher looked horrified.
“Who are your rulers?” came the logical question.
“We call them Dijana’nın Veli Konseyi.”
“Dijana’s Guardian Council?”
“Yes... They are a group who follow a demon that calls itself Dijana. For the past twenty or thirty years the Konsey has been announcing that the return of someone very important is imminent. They will not tell us who this person is or why they are supposedly important. The only thing they will tell us for certain is that they will come to us from another galaxy and that they will ‘bring hope with them.’ I do not understand it, but I pray to Isa every day that whatever the Konsey are planning will be stopped...” Evren looked over at Asher, “What is wrong, my friend? You look odd.”
“The Council follows Dijana...?”
“What is the name of this world, Evren?” Asher whispered earnestly.
“It is called ‘Guardiana’...” came the chilling answer.