The supreme king of a land seeks an answer to life beyond riches and honor.
|The man sat upon an ivory throne with gold dragons on both armrests. His eight-foot frame sat on his royal seat as he brooded with a scowl. He tapped his left hand on its armrests impatiently.
“Thaddeus! Come at once!” the enthroned king said.
The servant responded to his lord’s call and ran around the corner of the vast network of halls to bow before him. “Yes, King Cerdius?”
“I grow ill with the pace at which the miners are going at. I demand the monthly quota to double.”
“My lord, with all due respect, I do not think it is feasible for the miners to go any faster. And, as your advisor, it is my duty to speak honestly and to your advantage.”
King Cerdius rolled his eyes and tossed his head to the side. “So you say.”
“My liege, if I may, the past few months you have been wrestles, and idol. If there is a matter that troubles you, please divulge. I may be able help.”
The king’s expression softened and he looked down with raised eyebrows. “As always you a perceptive my dear Thaddeus. It’s true, something vex’s me.”
Thaddeus clasped his hands and put them to his chin. “I am at your service lord.”
“Very well. My trouble is with anything and nothing. I have thought of my state among my subjects. I am the wealthiest of all men in the land, I have conquered all known kingdoms and my name is legendary.”
The king stood and paced around his throne with a lowered head. He stroked his jeweled, golden crown as if grasping the power he held. “Nevertheless, I feel empty and desolate. Something needs changing, but I don’t know what.”
“My king, your dilemma is common among men but especially of wealth. What you seek is the meaning of life. It is a problem of the soul and sprit. However, I think there is a solution.”
Cerdius reeled back then sprinted towards Thaddeus like a desperate child with wide glistening eyes. “Truly?”
“Indeed. I have read in some of my scrolls of a place called the Caves of Nethaal, eastward. They speak of a being from a world beyond the boundaries of mortality with the answer. The being’s name is Gabriel.
“What must I do to achieve this answer,”
“Defeat him in a sword battle and he will grant your desire,” answered the advisor.
“Is such a being able to be overcome?”
“Perhaps, I don’t know.”
“I’ll do it! Ready a horse! You’re a wise indeed advisor!” Cerdius praised.
King Cerdius set out that hour, eastward. A few hours in the saddle, a storm with lightning and thunder he felt in his bones appeared. He was soon drenched and miserable, barely seeing ahead of him through the downpour.
The tempest grew worse. He could barely see two yards in front of him. Cerdius’ mount ran into a rough object and he saw stars as bot hit the wet, cold grass with a dull thud.
With a drumming heartbeat and stinging eyes, he looked for his mount. He gasped, covering his mouth; its neck was bent and broken. Cerdius would have to brave the storm alone.
Cerdius gnashed his teeth and cursed the storm like it was a living foe. Suddenly a hailstone hit his shoulder with a piercing pain. He pushed on stubbornly.
“I will prevail!” he shouted defiantly.
With pain and perseverance, he cleared the storm. He was now in a broad valley full of cherry trees, sunflowers and long grass.
Cerdius smiled and inhaled the rich fragrance. Then he heard singing-the most beautiful melody in the world. He followed it to an orange grove. Before him was woman in a white gown. Nevertheless, he felt a clear, present danger-like a burning in his mind.
“Come, traveler sit with me under this orange tree,” she said.
Her voice was enthralling. Cerdius was enticed and neared the woman. Then he felt a dire, inner warning forbidding him. Closer he got until something within him screamed. He shook himself and blinked his eyes. In the place of the woman was a large serpent with long fangs.
Cerdius took out his sword, and held it above him as the beast lunged forward. The serpent bit the blade and the king struggled as the creature pushed him. Next, it wrenched the weapon from the king’s hand and spewed it out of its mouth as it hit the ground.
Cerdius barged at the monster and grasped it in a head lock. The king was lifted as he held the beast’s neck. He swayed back and forth clinging for his life. Then it pressed him against a tree, squeezing the air out of his lungs. But he held on. When he was ready to faint, the giant snake let up and a few seconds later-it collapsed.
Ever an overcomer and a hardened man, Cerdius forgot the battle and continued.
He passed through the valley to a rocky, landscape. A few more paces onward and he saw writing over the cave mouth: Cave of Nethaal.
He entered. A flash of light filled the cave. Before him was a shining, robed man. “I am Gabriel. Take your sword and face me,” he said.
The king took his sword and slashed at the man. The two swords clashed. The king pushed him away. The being was smiling, not mockingly but with love. Cerdius was baffled. Nevertheless, he continued his assault.
On and on the two went, clashing, dodging and parrying.
“Give up,” said Gabriel. “It’s been hours.”
Gabriel sheathed his sword. “I commend you. Your valor has won you the day. You sought meaning and change. I give you this:” Gabriel took out a little book. “This book is called the Word of God. It tells the secret and meaning of life and the way to everlasting existence.”
So, Cerdius read the book and became a changed man and returned to his kingdom endowed with wisdom and love.