The Strong One of Adonai
Asher stared at Evren in stunned, horrified silence, his stomach lurching as he suddenly understood exactly why Kyren had come here.
“What’s the matter?” Yildiz asked, appearing from the other room and seeing Asher’s disturbed expression.
“I – ” He didn’t get a chance to finish.
The door to the house suddenly burst open. “Evren! Yildiz! Have you heard the news?!” an enthusiastic twenty-something young man stuck his head into the house and yelled triumphantly. “The Konsey says that the one they’ve been waiting for all these years has finally come!”
“Thank you, Tivon.” Evren nodded to the young man who grinned back at him before turning and running further down the street, yelling out his message to the neighborhood and not bothering to close the door upon his hasty departure.
Yildiz went over to the house door and shut it quietly while Evren pulled out something that looked a lot like one of the holographic projectors from Asher’s ship.
Evren made some odd gesture over it as he held it out so that Asher and Yildiz could also see it clearly.
“- has come to us, people of Guardiana.” the broadcast materialized before them.
“They think that everyone watches their propaganda channel day and night.” Evren commented. “The one speaking is the head of the Konsey.”
“A direct descendant of the one for whom our world is named has come to us this very day to reclaim the throne of the great queen. We have been without her for many hundreds of years – since the first great falling away from the truths of our benefactress, Dijana.
“This day marks the triumph of our people and our faith over the falsehoods that the Isa’nın would spread among us. Today the prophecy that Dijana has given to us becomes reality.
“I now present to you, my people, our new ruler – Queen Kyren Guardiana and her daughter, the crown princess Alena. And to show our appreciation to Dijana for sending us our true queen, I will present, on behalf of the Dijana’nın Veli Konseyi, the treasured Dijana tılsım.*” The councilman finally stopped talking and stepped to one side as the newly crowned Queen of Guardiana stepped into view, holding her daughter in her arms.
The woman bowed her head to the shorter councilman as he slipped the silver amulet over her head.
The queen smiled sweetly at the councilman, then turned to look at the audience.
“Citizens of Guardiana,” a robust cheer arose from whatever crowd was watching this live from the broadcast area. “I have come at long last. It was a long and arduous journey for me and for my daughter. I thank you for the wonderful welcome you have given us.” Kyren nodded to the crowd and then to the councilman who had introduced her. “I have come at the bidding of Dijana to lead you into a new age of prosperity – to make the name of Dijana great in the universe!” the crowd roared their rising enthusiasm.
“In order to fulfill the wishes of our goddess, we must first do as your ancestors have tried and failed to do many times. We must cleanse our world of the poison of the Isa’nın and their sacred Books!”
The crowd wholeheartedly agreed.
“I must confess to you that even I have fallen prey to the infectious influence of the Isa’nın...” Kyren said, putting on a downcast face. “My own husband has betrayed me and turned his back on the goddess... he has become one of them.”
The appropriately horrified whisper spread through the people.
“We must begin the purge immediately. And if anyone finds this man,” a picture of Asher appeared, “they will be rewarded handsomely for bringing him to me alive so that I may exercise justice on him myself.”
The crowd approved.
Evren shut off the broadcast and he and Yildiz turned to stare at the Jew.
“You’re her husband...?” Evren said, disbelievingly. “But how can that be?”
“Yes, I am... I am ashamed to say... And that little girl – that poor helpless pawn – is my daughter. My father warned me not to marry outside what was then my faith, but I didn’t listen to him... And now I and my children are paying dearly for it.”
“And Tivon has seen you.” Yildiz breathed, suddenly realizing the danger their guest was in. “We must get you out of here; Evren and I must leave as well or risk being killed.”
“What about others that also share our beliefs?” Asher interjected.
“They will be fine.” said Asher, “There is one man – we call him Yilmaz* – who will gather us all together so that we may escape from here with our lives and with the Books of Isa which we must guard faithfully. The Konsey know about him but have never been able to find him.
“You are a marked man, so you must not travel dressed as you are. Before we leave we must adjust your appearance enough so that even we would not recognize you if we saw you.”
“Yilmaz you say...” Kyren said thoughtfully “Have you put out word for his arrest?”
“We have, my Queen. He has been a significant factor in the Isa’nın’s... exploits... for many years. But despite all the talk about him, we are not completely sure that he even exists. Truthfully.... none of us have ever even seen him.” The head of the Konsey said, a bit ashamed at the last admission.
“No matter.” Kyren dismissed the fault. “I believe Dijana can lead us to him – if he exists.”
The head of the Konsey nodded, looking relieved. “You have our best wishes, Majesty.”
“I go to consult Dijana on this matter. I will summon you all when I have received an answer as to their whereabouts.”
A murmur of approval rippled through the council as the six members rose in tandem and filed out of the room.
Once they had gone, Kyren looked at little Alena, sitting quietly in the corner, playing a game on the device she held in her almost-three-year-old hands.
“We’re going to talk with Diana now, Alena.” she said to the little girl.
Knowing what was meant by the statement, the child slipped the paused game into the pocket of her little dark red dress and walked over to her mother, taking the offered hand.
The two stepped through a tall, narrow set of beautifully decorated doors. The route took them out of the main council room and into a less-frequented area of the monarch’s residence.
The rooms and corridors smelled a bit musty, as they had not been regularly in use for many hundreds of years. The corridor was lit by a series of small windows high up along the walls. The minuscule light that they let in was barely enough to see by.
Kyren and Alena came to the end of the hall. The queen lifted the amulet from around her neck and held it up to the circular indention in the center of the door. When the silver talisman and the lock were lined up, the circle in the door began to glow.
The door disappeared from sight.
It was just as Diana had said it would be – albeit a bit dusty. The room was large. Its domed ceiling stretched up to a point at the center of the room. On the walls to the right and left of the now-closed door there were two narrow, arching windows. On the far side of the room there was another door with a similar circular key indention. In the center of the space there stood a darkened platform. No lights illuminated the space – not even an old-fashioned torch hung on any of the walls.
From the windows one could see a far distance in each direction. The tall, thin, pyramid-like buildings that characterized the old city were gold-topped. Statues of past rulers and well-known or loved individuals adorned the area around the bottoms of the strange buildings.
“Stay right here.” Kyren instructed her daughter.
The little girl obeyed and stood stock still, staring into the foreign place as her mother walked away from her and went to stand on the platform.
As soon as Kyren came to stand in the center of the raised area a single beam of light shot through the ceiling and spilled over Kyren.
“I see you have found this place without difficulty.” said the familiar voice of Diana, “Good. You will be using this room often. Become familiar with the tools I have provided
you with here.”
Kyren looked up into the light beam, trying to determine the source.
“Teach your daughter to use this room as well.” Diana continued. “She will carry on when you have finished the work I have for you to do.”
“Yes, Diana.” said Kyren.
“There is now something that I shall show you – something that you will need to do.”
The beam of light widened until it totally encompassed Kyren in a cylinder of light that went up through the ceiling and down through the floor.
Alena watched in fascination as her mother began to sink through the floor, seeming to float straight down through the cylinder of light.
Evren, Yildiz, and a suitably disguised Asher cautiously left the brother and sister’s house, slipping as quietly through the streets as they could. They had dismissed the idea of taking their vehicle – that would have been much too conspicuous. Instead they had decided to leave on foot.
Several hours after their departure, the three found themselves at the mouth of an ominous-looking cave.
“Please don’t tell me this is where Yilmaz lives...” Asher said.
“Of course not.” Yildiz said, “It isn’t safe here. This is just one of the entrances to a tunnel system running all through these mountains. If you don’t know your way, you’ll get hopelessly lost. Yilmaz lives in the heart of the mountain.”
“Ah.” Asher said, looking into the yawning cave uneasily.
Evren and Yildiz started into the cave and Asher had no other choice but to follow them.
He shrugged his shoulders and stepped into the dark expanse, glancing back up at the sky. Dark storm clouds began to gather as the blackness of the cave swallowed him up.
Sometime that night – at least Asher thought it was night – after many grueling hours of disoriented twists and turns, the three refugees came to the center of the great mountain.
Evren and Yildiz entered the central cavern without hesitation – obviously they had done this before. Asher, on the other hand, stepped slowly through the opening that served as a doorway to the area. He glanced around suspiciously, still unsure of how safe this whole venture was.
As he looked around, he noticed a tall man standing in the center of the room with his back turned to the three.
“You’re here.” the man – presumable Yilmaz – said.
“Where are the others?” Evren asked.
“They are safe. They’ve gathered in the meeting hall.” Yilmaz replied. “I wanted to greet you three personally before you went in with everyone else to discuss our options.”
“Who are you exactly...?” Asher ventured carefully.
Yilmaz turned to face the Jew.
Asher stood dumbfounded, looking into eyes that held echoes of another place – not merely another planet, but another world all together – a heavenly one.
“You’re – You’re - ” Asher stuttered.
“I am.” said Yilmaz. “Asher, son of the Father, joint-heir with the One, Yeshua HaMashiach, your Lord has seen your faith. He welcomes you as one of His own and He would have you to know that all will be well.”
Asher stared back into those eyes – those reflections of eternity. Thoughts of his treacherous wife and Trelaina and Ilya and Alena ran through his mind. Then a strong assurance began to flood his soul.
“Your name is not really ‘Yilmaz,’ is it...” Asher said in a low voice.
The stranger continued to look at Asher, his steady gaze never faltering.
The room was silent for a long, excitement-charged moment. A drip of water persistently echoed in some far off room. Evren and Yildiz remained silent, feeling as though they had just walked into a private conversation.
An exultant smile slowly spread across the stranger’s face. Then he said, “You would know me as Gavri’el – the strong one of Adonai.”