A prince seeks a tree that gives a special affect to those who eat its fruit.
| word count: 1,757
“I don’t care if none have found it! I know I’ll discover where it is!” yelled Prince Niethos to his father the king.
“It could be myth! You could die like almost all the rest in the realm of Ethereal who have sought it! The forest is vast.”
“The tree exists. I know it,” said Prince Niethos as he turned his back to King Thanon.
The king sighed and neared his son then put a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Think of what you’re after. Surely a tree that gives immortality must be a legend. I don’t want to lose you in that forest.”
Niethos faced him and talked. “I know you care but, I just have this…feeling.”
King Thanon looked down. “I can’t stop you.”
“No…you can’t.” Niethos walked off with moonlight coming through a window to his right. He went to his chambers and slept. That night he had a dream. Yet it felt like more than a dream. He was in a meadow and could feel the cool wind and smell the fragrance of pine cones. He walked forward. All around him were birds on branches, butterflies were dotting about bushes and squirrels going up and down large oaks. Then Niethos saw movement through a bunch of high bushes several paces away from him. Then a tall man in an azure robe emerged. He stopped. The prince approached him slowly. The robed man called out to the bewildered explorer. “Greetings Niethos.”
The prince’s mouth gaped and he stepped back from the strange man. Niethos rubbed his eyes and shook his head but could not rouse himself like in dream. The person in front of him smiled with such warmth, it dispelled Niethos’ fear and shock. “Who are you and what is happening to me?”
“I am a Nethinim, beings which have eaten from the Tree of Life. You are having a night vision. I’m Cureness.”
“Why are you here?”
“To show you the way to the Tree of Life.”
“I can be made immortal?”
“Alas, no. In your imperfect flawed state and inherent evil, living forever in corruption would be eternal torment. You must have questions but rather than tell them, I will show you in a vision of the past. It began in a realm called earth:
In a Flash of light he Niethos was in a lush garden filled with the sweetest fragrance and above him was the most breath taking sky. A thin mist lighted around his calves. All about him were sights that dazzled his vision. Rich full colors that were crystal clear filled him with effervescent nostalgia. It was a true paradise. It almost made him weep with joy and peace. Then he saw unusually large fig tree.
Suddenly in the sky, a thunder clasped resounded. A bright light shone over him. It descended until Niethos made out a being in bright white shining robe. He had stork’s wings. A golden hue like the sun glowed from his face. The shining entity took one of the figs from the tree and returned skyward and disappeared the same way he came, in a flash of light.
Next the prince appeared in a meadow with an open canopy. The same shining individual appeared and dug a shallow hole in the grassy ground. He put the fruit from the garden into it. Next, it was as though time was speeding up. The sun began to rise and set rapidly. And there where the fruit was buried, a sapling quickly sprouted and continued to grow in the same accelerated manner. Then, time returned to normal. The fig tree, like the original, was tall and full grown.
A bright light shone in the sky and the winged being appeared. This time, he was accompanied with over a dozen little children that floated around him. They and the shining being descended slowly onto the ground. The children flocked to the tree and picked off figs and ate.
Again time warped forward and Niethos saw the children age rapidly into teenagers. The shining creature spoke. “I am Areth, the angel of this tree. I brought you perfection with a bold hand. In return I ask you serve and reverence me as your creator and admonish my commands in all I tell you.”
The teenagers were not fearful or skeptical. It was like they were void of all human frailties and inhibiting emotions. They promptly obeyed.
Then the vison vanished and he was alone with Cureness.
“What did that mean?” asked Niethos.
“That garden you saw is known as the Garden of Eden that exists on earth. The shining being is called an angel as Areth stated. I was once one of those children you saw. He needed pure souls that would live forever to worship him. Then one day Areth disappeared and never returned.”
“Why have you shown me all this?”
“Because, many people like you, still seek the Tree of Life. And it is impossible for anyone to find it. Those who seek it inevitably parish unless they are shown the way.” Cureness raised his hand and touched Niethos’ forehead. A rushing force like a hot wind washed through his mind. In moments the path to the tree was revealed to him.
“I…I…know where the tree is,” said the prince.
“Follow the path. And when you find it, I will be waiting for you and tell you why you have been summoned.”
Niethos awoke. It was early dawn and the purple-orange sunrise shone through his stain glass window at his left wall. He rose and quickly dressed in his tunic and silk mantle. His heart was beating as he thought of Cureness’ words and the idea that he would soon see the Tree of Life. What amazing thing awaited him in the meadow?
He went to the royal stable and chose a light brown horse named Relic. He had a golden mane and defined muscles. Niethos set out at once. The wind whipped past his face and hair. He smiled broadly as he rode into the wilderness outside of his kingdom Corinth. He flicked the reins.
“Come on Relic, we don’t want to keep our peculiar friend Cureness waiting!”
A mere thirty minutes passed when the prince met the border to the Forest of Wind. He closed his eyes and pictured the path to the meadow of the Tree of Life. He barged into the forest at full speed. Niethos momentarily shut his eyes at times to visualize the path. He swiftly ventured through the labyrinth-like forest. The prince did not realize how much time and distance he was making. He was too entranced on his goal. After it seemed a mere thirty minutes, he stopped. This was where his mental path ended.
No sooner had he pondered what would happen next, when Cureness the Nethinim spoke from behind Niethos. “Welcome.”
The prince turned his mount about and bowed. “It’s an honor to meet you. “
“Indeed. No mortal has ever seen the Tree of Life.”
“Then, you’ll show it to me?” Niethos spoke with wide eyes and a glowing face.
“If you wish. But now I will tell you why I summoned you here. Follow me.”
Niethos dismounted and trailed after Cureness between two large trees.
“I have a question for you: how were you able to give me that vision and instantly give me the path to this place?”
“We Nethinims believe it came from the angel Areth. We also can speak to each other through thought.”
“Amazing!” exclaimed Niethos with wide eyes.
A few minutes later, they came to a large meadow. There in the center was a fig tree exactly like the one Niethos saw in his vision. “The Tree of Life!” Surrounding the tree were people dressed like Cureness.
“Now to the point: you’ve been brought here to put a stop to all who seek the Tree.” The Nethinim took out a glowing emerald and held it out.”
“A magical talisman!”
“You may call it that. You are to return to your kingdom. Declare that none can find the Tree of Life. And tell your people you have been instructed by me not to seek the Tree. This glowing jewel will prove you have been sent by me.”
Niethos took the jewel. He looked upon the Tree. It was beautiful. Dew dripped off the figs and a light gale moved its branches.
“Now you must leave. May you live in peace and prosperity.”
Niethos was sad. He longed to eat the fruit and become immortal. Than he had a thought a shared it with Cureness. “What if I were to being some of the fruit to a few children so they may live forever?”
“That can’t be. The children in your kingdom are born in sin. What makes Nethinims different is that the wombs of our mothers were changed and purified by Areth the angel. “
The prince looked down. “Very well. I should be on my way.” Niethos walked back to his horse and mounted. “Although I don’t know why, I thank you for choosing me for the task.”
Niethos pictured the trail with his eyes shut then opened them and dashed forward. The ride out of the forest seemed to take longer in the prince’s dejection. But he understood, why he could not be immortal.
When he broke out of the border of the Forest of Wind, it took thirty minutes to reach his kingdom. He went to the banquet hall where his father King Thanon was having breakfast. Niethos shoed the jewel to him and he gasped. “A magical stone!”
“It was given to me by those who live where the Tree of Life. It proves I went t to the meadow where it is.”
“So you are immortal? You ate of the fruit?”
“Unfortunately not. But that isn’t important.”
“How did you find it?”
“I was given a vison by one who keeps the tree.”
“The meadow of the tree is inhabited?”
Neithos nodded. “Take this talisman as proof that my claim is true and declare it is impossible to find the Tree of Life.”
“Of course. I will put it on a pedestal next to my throne. It will be an everlasting remind of the fact.” King Thanon smiled and patted his son on the back. “I’m proud of you.”
That very day the king set up the stone in its place next to his throne. It shone like a star and none from that day never dared to go after the Tree of Life.