By Adam Lynch
Everyone in the land of Afra knew what the voice was referring to—they could feel the truth of it buried deep within their hearts—but because this “evil” was not visually disturbing, physically harmful, or had not threatened anyone’s wellbeing, no one had any incentive or even desire to remove it. In fact this “evil” was actually quite pleasant in many ways: it brought with it appealing visuals for the eyes to see, it offered to grant their heart’s most fond desires, and it gave the people of Afra promises of security and happiness. There was no threat apparent of any kind, so why would there be any need to rid of it? In fact, was it really even evil at all? How could evil possibly offer so many wondrous pleasures?
Despite what may have been visually apparent, the voice in the sky tried to warn the people of Afra of its deception. No one had listened, however. They wanted to believe that the promises of security and happiness were true and not that their land was in impending danger. Because if their land was in danger, what could they do to stop it? Sure, there were certain individuals of the land that had trained skills and attributes, but what could one man or woman do? What if someone stood up to the plate but no one else stood up with him or her? They couldn’t take that risk. It was better to just lie low and let someone else take care of the danger—that’s if there was any danger to begin with.
Because there was so much fear and uncertainty over the land, no one had heeded the command of the voice over the entire four months it’d called out to them. However, once the three young warriors, Eydis Virtue: six-year-old summoner of three heavenly beasts, Tait Astron: twelve-year-old manipulator of astronomy, and Asmund Cranite: fifteen-year-old knight, had heard the voice’s command by the fourth month of the eighteenth day, they went to follow it. They knew that the voice was of God’s, and because it was of God’s, they had to follow it no matter what. And that’s pretty much all there was to that. What else could be said after all? God was always right.
The three young warriors had no idea what they were getting themselves into or why they had to do it, but they did it anyway. They had to. Because God was the most powerful being in the universe. Furthermore, like all the quests he’d asked them to take on in the past, this one would have probably been a ton of fun.
After all, there was nothing that the three warriors enjoyed more than an epic adventure. That was like the best thing ever.
“Whoo hoo!” shouted Eydis, riding on a star Tait had called down from the sky. “Look guys, I’m flying. Isn’t this epic?”
“I told you it was fun,” said Tait as he manipulated the star’s course in various ways, exploiting the thrill with quick turns, intense spins, and fast loops. The whole time Eydis laughed and cheered.
Tait loved using his astronomical gifts to entertain others. Very often he’d summon a star for his friends to ride on, or he’d produce a firework show of flamboyant comets and vibrant stars. He was always great at putting on a dramatic show.
“Watch this,” said Eydis suddenly, leaping off the star, biting her finger until it bled, drawing a symbol of a horse in the air with her blood, and then clapping her hands together with the symbol in between.
Sprang! A bright light was summoned that instant, towering its way up into the heavens and breaking the skies for it to shift though. A second later, a white seven-horned-horse with wings of the rainbow descended from the heaven’s gates and soared right under Eydis’s weight just before she’d hit the ground. The catch was as graceful as the horse’s stature and stylistic as his beauty.
“Amazing!” said Tait as he and Asmund applauded. “I never tire of seeing this exquisite creature.”
“Did you remember to bring it?” Eydis asked the horse as she held out her hand, tapping her toe and raising her eyebrows. Eager to please, the horse whinnied cheerfully and turned to his back where the treats were packed. “Yes! Good work, Cheesecake.” She praised the horse that was named after the pastry she was preparing to extract.
“Alright, now we talked about this, Eydis…” said Asmund as he walked up to her with his hand extended, glancing down at her bubbly eyes with his condescending stare. “If you’re going to stuff your face with cake every time you summon the horse—then you need to bring some for us too.”
“I’m so sorry.” She spoke with an overstuffed mouth. “I forgot again. But don’t worry. I can dismiss him and re-summon him with the treats. You want me to do that?”
He rolled his eyes and moved on. “Forget it. We’re almost there anyway.”
“Ooh. Where are we going again?”
“We’re going to the temple of light to see Jesus Christ.”
Eydis gasped after hearing this astounding news. She couldn’t believe her ears. It was like the greatest thing she’d ever heard. “You mean we’re actually going to meet the son of God in person?!”
“Yup. Are you excited?”
“Yes! Yes! Yes!” She jumped up and down, grinning as widely as she physically could. “This is the greatest day of my life. This is so awesome.”
“What do you think he’s going to be like?” asked Tait.
“I bet he’s going to be super serious and epically powerful.”
“No, actually I heard he was more like us.” said Asmund.
“Huh?” she asked. “You mean he’s a child?”
“No, silly, I mean he acts as we do. He’s kind, playful, sensitive and excitable.”
“Yup. That’s what I heard.”
“Do you think he’s going to like us?” asked Tait.
“Of course he’s going to like us. Why wouldn’t he?”
“But what if he’s disappointed that we’re not grown-ups? Do you really think he’ll anoint children to carry out his plan?”
“He measures us by the strength of our hearts, Tait, not by the strength of our appearance. No matter how big the challenge may seem, everything is always possible with God.”
“That’s right,” seconded Eydis, saluting proudly. “We may be small, but God is humungous.” she stretched out her hands as widely as they could extend.
Tait smiled in relief. He was relieved to hear that he wouldn’t be dismissed from the quest due to some lack of qualification—because deep down inside he was more excited about this journey than anyone else.
Nearing the edge of the beautiful land of Afra now, the three young warriors encountered an ancient gate just a few yards forward of the temple that they were preparing to enter—the temple of light. All seemed well at first, and with their destination within visible sight, it appeared as if nothing could stop them from beginning their destiny—that was—until that blasted guard showed up out of nowhere…
“Hey,” said the guard just before the three warriors could walk past the gate. “This area’s off limits. Go find somewhere else to play.” Tait, Eydis, and Asmund glared up at the tall bloated man who grimaced down on them, saliva drooling down from his large under-bite. His hands bended against his hips and his eye-brows rose like he was expecting a response from them. “Huh? Well off you go now. Nothin’ to see here but an abandoned temple anyhow.”
“Yeah? Then why are you guarding it?” Asmund asked.
“That’s nothin’ for any youngsters to be concerned with.”
“But we’re here to see Jesus Christ,” said Eydis, her eyes bubbling up.
“Jesus-who? There ain’t no one livin’ here, ya turds. There hasn’t been for over a hundred years. Now off with ya.”
“But that’s impossible. The voice said that he’d be here.”
“The voice?” The guard scratched his head when he heard this. “You talkin’ about that noise in the sky that we’ve been hearin’ every day for the past few months?”
“Yeah. That’s the one. It’s the voice of God, you know. After we talk to Jesus, we’re going on an epic quest to defeat the evil that’s coming to our kingdom.”
“Evil? What evil? There’s no evil here.”
“There is too. It’s a sneaky evil.”
“Sneaky evil you say?”
Eydis nodded her head eagerly, blinking her bubbly eyes. The guard took a moment to think it over as he scratched his head again.
“Somethin’ about all this does feel rather peculiar. I can’t quite place my finger on it, but I’ve always felt somethin’ strange about it.”
“Well, evil is usually portrayed as dark, scary, and life threatening.” Tait clarified. “However, this form of evil is masked with pleasurable things.”
“Yes, and that’s what makes it so dangerous.” Asmund added. “It’s using man’s innermost pleasures to prevent resistance and to distract their minds long enough for it to establish full possession over the land.”
The guard ignored everything Asmund had just said and focused on what Tait had said instead—because Tait’s response was much easier for him to understand. “Hmm, well I never cared for much of anything in life. I just like guarding this here temple. And that’s what I’m gonna continue doin’.”
“Please could you let us in?” begged Eydis. “Please? We’ll just be two seconds. Then you’ll never have to see us again. We promise.”
“I don’t know…”
“Oh come on now.” said Asmund. “It’s not like you’re guarding anything. Nobody’s going to scold you for letting three harmless kids tour an abandoned temple.”
“Well… I suppose when you put it that way…” The guard took a moment to reconsider. “I suppose I’ll make this one-time exception and let you three pass—seeing as how you’re going to save the world and all.”
“Thank you very much, sir,” said Tait as they passed the guard—who’d suddenly felt proud of his own kindness and generosity.
“Thank you, Mr. Guard.” said Eydis. “We love you.”
“Try not to strain yourself on the job,” said Asmund who was the last to pass by.
“You’re welcome, kids,” he said, waving as they neared the temple’s door. “I hope you find everything that you’re searchin’ for.”
“We will!” shouted Eydis just before they entered the temple’s entrance.