PROLOGUE - THE ROOT
The Crystal Palace, The Highest Realm of the Ancient One.
The crystal palace, resplendent with incandescent stones and metals of unknown origin, surrounded by a mass of bright light emanating from the Main Throne, stood upright over a majestic immeasurable cloud of light and vaporous mass in the far end of the Unnamed Galaxy. From the center of the palace, avalanches of energy continued gushing across the universe, burning up stars, lighting up suns and feeding the planets in its unfathomable womb.
Inside the courtroom on either side of the Main Throne, was arranged in order, twenty-four smaller thrones of gold. Despite their size and immaculate beauty, they paled in comparison to the sheer magnificence emanating from the Main Throne, on which sat the Spirit of the Ancient One. Behind each throne, stood a being that physically resembled a man, but with the delicate face of a woman and bodies that held no matter except overflowing shimmer and glory.
The courtroom that had since creation echoed with booming choirs of worshippers remained unusually calm that hour, and the beings that broke through all eternity with joy, looked like they were all in mourning.
One of the beings blew a long trumpet the size of a tree, from the corner of the courtroom.
Almost immediately, the doors on the sides of the courtroom opened and in walked twenty-four elders, men and women that were ripe with age, with snow-like hair that could be mistaken for clouds, into the throne room, each bearing a sad countenance.
They marched forward, bowed before the Main Throne and then stood in front of their respective thrones, refusing to be seated.
With the second trumpet, the main doors of the courtroom were thrown open, with millions of spirit beings allowed to occupy every inch of space available. There were so many of them, that eventually the crowd poured out of the courtroom into the crystal streets around the palace.
And then there was a trumpet sound like no other, a sound that reverberated throughout the created worlds. The entire courtroom fell silent, even as the Main Throne began to glow, the glory of it sending wisps of energy and youth into every being in the room. As the Main Throne glowed in golden hues, the Spirit of the Ancient One that until then was a vapor, turned physical, with His legs vaguely visible through the storm of light encircling Him. The Ancient One had arrived!
The moment He appeared on the Throne, winged-creatures more beautiful than any creation, surrounded Him with trumpets in their hands, raising to play them in unison. Just then, the Ancient One lifted his hand in objection and the beings brought their trumpets down.
This was not an hour for rejoicing.
Outside the courtroom the crowd continued to swell. The Ancient One turned to the beings at His left, with His breath conveying a message that they received with partly shut ears, to prevent damage from a power that no one could fully experience and live to tell.
The moment they had understood what He wanted, the beings flew to the far corners of the courtroom and pushed at the walls.
Suddenly the walls of the courtroom drew out and extended into the streets until all of the crowd was accommodated inside. The beings then rose higher to survey the assembly, to see if all of them were in. The courtroom had become the size of an entire planet. Yet, it was small enough for each person to know and feel that they were the only ones in the room; just them, the twenty-four elders and the Ancient One.
The beings went back to their positions around the Ancient One, careful not to get too close to the burning glory which could extinguish them in a flash.
The wait lasted a few minutes, while far across the universe, situated in a time plane that spanned billions of years, a frozen planet that had succumbed to many deaths, waited patiently for its first signs of light.
Just then the doors of the court room opened again and in walked a tall, handsome man who bore a dark countenance that made every person he walked past, weak in the knees and cry out in pain. One after the other, the beings in the front row on either side held their chest in acute pain, with golden tears flowing down their cheeks. Such was the profound effect the man had on them. He walked brazenly forward, looked at the twenty-four elders, smirked at them arrogantly and then turned his attention to the Ancient One.
‘Forgive me for the delay, Lord of the Universe…’
Before he could complete, a ray of light went forth from the Ancient One and struck him down. He quickly got up from the corner of the room where he had been thrown and returned to the center.
The man composed himself and then spoke up, ‘I, the Prince of Edomin, ask for the right to battle Your Chosen One, for the right to exercise my power over Your planned creation on Ehretz and for the right to prove my name. Bring him forth!’
There was absolute silence from the Main Throne. The silence was so deafening, the sadness was so telling, the entire courtroom suffered the agony in their hearts.
The Prince took a knife out from his robe and raised it high.
The Ancient One’s hand extended forth and His palm opened up, revealing a small white lamb hidden inside.
The Prince looked at the lamb unexpectedly; his surprise prominently visible on his face. He had expected a battle, not just here but also at the new planet. But one look at the feeble lamb and he knew he had already won. His physical battle on the frozen planet would be as easy as this one. Unable to believe his luck, he smiled at the lamb avariciously. The darkness of his heart began cascading out on to the atmosphere around and his dark matter proceeded forth across the universe, running parallel to the light from the Ancient One.
The lamb began descending from the Ancient One’s palm to the altar that was in front of the Throne. Just when the lamb was about to take a step on to the altar, the Ancient One’s finger moved, hesitating to let it out of His hand. The lamb turned around, looked up at the Ancient One whose face was visible only to its eyes. And then with its forelegs, the lamb gently pushed His finger back down, walked over it and jumped on to the altar.
The Prince stepped forward, radiating a confidence that reeked of insolence.
‘So, finally, it has come to this?’
The lamb replied gently, ‘Do what you have come to do, brother.’
‘Brother? I am no brother,’ the Prince growled, ‘a castaway is no brother.’
The lamb replied, ‘You are not a castaway, my brother. You are fallen.’
‘Fallen? Me? I am not the one who is fallen. You are. Look at your condition, now. This is no battle and you can hardly fight. He promised you the world and now He has relegated you to this?’ the Prince, pointing his knife at the altar, taunted the lamb.
‘You think I am here because I am fallen?’ the lamb asked.
‘Then why are you here, little lamb?’ the Prince asked, mockingly.
‘It’s called obedience, brother. It’s called humbleness.’
‘Obedience! Humbleness! To what end? To be as powerless as you are right now?’
‘No,’ the lamb smiled, ’to be as well-loved by the Ancient One as I am right now!’
The Prince laughed, haughtily.
‘You are ready to give your life to be loved by the One that has blatantly enabled your death?’
‘Dear brother,’ the lamb replied, ‘the fallen have never understood unconditional love. The fallen have never seen the future beyond their greed…’
The moment the Prince heard that, his face went cold and an all-consuming rage flooded his body. He lifted his hand and struck the lamb on its head. The lamb fell to the ground, groaning in pain.
The elders gasped in shock, while the beings roared in helpless agony. The Ancient One remained silent.
The Prince came forward to the lamb and began taunting it by pushing it around and pulling at its hair even as the lamb, mindful of the pain the congregation was in, tried hard to muffle its own. The Prince looked up at the Ancient One and his heart filled with delight knowing the heart where all the worlds had originated, was being torn apart. He took the lamb by its leg and dragged it to the center of the altar, while the beings shut their eyes to avoid looking at the humiliation being meted out on their beloved.
The Prince looked around at them viciously and without warning, in one snap, broke the hind leg of the lamb. The muffled bleating suddenly became a wail, and the lamb’s leg shook violently in fits while it lay on the ground. The Prince looked at the Ancient One and saw His legs tremble in response and then blood began flowing out from under His robe, towards the altar.
The Prince turned around to another creature with a head like a fox that had accompanied him when he had entered the courtroom.
Detrius, the fox cautiously ran up to the altar and bowed to the Prince.
The Prince commanded the fox to hold the lamb down. As he held the lamb steady, the Prince began carving on the body of the lamb, with his knife. When he was done, he lifted the lamb with both his hands and showed it around the courtroom to the heartbroken assembly.
On the lamb’s body was written: ‘CURSED’
Then he threw the lamb back down at the altar and slashed across its body like a blood-thirsty beast. As he continued his brutal assault and as the lamb continued wailing, the blood kept flowing from the body of the Ancient One. All of the courtroom stood weeping and the twenty-four elders held each other’s hands, some of them leaning on the next shoulder, wailing along with the lamb.
Just then the lamb lying broken at the altar with blood pouring out of its mouth, looked towards the Ancient One and shouted, ‘Talitha, cumi!’
The courtroom fell silent, abruptly. Every cry, every wail instantly shut down at the words that had come out of the lamb’s mouth.
The moment the Prince heard it, he screamed, ‘What? No!’
The Ancient One’s hand gripped the Throne while the lamb called out to Him, ‘Abba, Talitha!’
And then it turned back to the altar, unable to lift its head and repeated faintly, ‘Talitha, cumi!’
The Prince moved past the altar and screamed, ‘That was not part of the plan! It was just one…’
The Ancient One stuck the Prince down again and then communicated His decision to the being weeping at His right hand.
The being came forward and announced with a breaking voice, ‘If the lamb says so, then it is so!’
The Prince gritted his teeth, while the entire courtroom murmured in shock.
Angry at the turn of events, the Prince kicked the lamb to the center, raised his knife and struck its tender heart.
The lamb was slain.
The moment the life had left the lamb, the Prince and the fox were thrown out of the courtroom far out into the universe, back on to the exile planet of Edomin.
The twenty-four elders carried the lamb to the Ancient One. He stretched out His hand, grabbed the dead lamb and brought it closer to His body and it disappeared into the glory surrounding Him; permanently hidden from view.
The Ancient One, then raised His hand and spoke the word. Instantly, in the Milky Way, the frozen planet of Ehretz began receiving her first trace of light.
Unbeknownst to her, at that very moment, ten galaxies away in the Karian, the dead planet of Talitha, suddenly jumped back to life in response to the last words of the slain lamb.