This is the latest installment of my web serial: A Man Called Truth. You can read the other episodes here: Stories.
In the realm of things unseen…known as the Ether, there dwell the Etherkind. They are the Powers of the Ether and the guardians of the denizens of the terrestrial plane, who know them by other names.
Each Etherkind who was a Guardian of Power was charged with the care of one terrestrial family, for all of eternity. Lesser guardians helped in this task, placed to watch over individual members of a clan.
Mazarel was a lesser guardian of the family Rosshen. He was placed as the helper of several sons and daughters in that Life Line. They were a tragic family, always caught up in sorrow and calamity. Of all the trials placed on the Chosen Ones, the Rosshen family seemed particularly afflicted, and therefore loved all the more.
Of course, the Etherkind Guardians were limited in the ways and means by which they could intervene. Every possible outcome to every action had to be weighed, measured and decided upon. No action was ever taken lightly, and at times this proved most difficult for the lesser guardians to bear, as often they were forbidden to prevent the occurrence of some dismal event.
Mazarel loved and cherished his home within the Ether, with it’s dazzling brightness…beyond the most brilliant light imaginable. Daylight on the terrestrial plane paled in insignificance compared to that radiance!
Despite this, Mazarel loved the Earthly realm. The smell of flowers, the taste of salt from the sea on his lips, the way the sunlight slanted through the branches of bold cypresses. He would find himself lingering on, long past the completion of some little task he’d been on while aiding one of his charges…reluctant even to return to the Greatness that was within the Ether.
Mazarel also loved his charges with the fullness of his exceedingly powerful being. His love was such that he was often incapable of the detachment required in making clear, unbiased decisions when it came to what was truly best for his persons. Their grievances and trials tore at his compassionate heart. If one of his charges committed an evil, his anger raged like furious fire.
One individual, a beautiful young woman who was a slave, was whipped most cruelly by her taskmaster, beaten until she had fallen unconscious to the ground, warm blood gushing from the gashes and scourges…for no other reason than the taskmaster’s own venomous lust…the poison of his heart. Because the woman had dared to cast a favorable glance on a fellow slave while spurning his own vulgar advances.
Mazarel had looked helplessly on, his action held in check by the Power whom he served.
He wept bitter tears.
When it was over he went to the woman’s side and placed his comforting arms around her, whispering words of tender courage in her ear. She never knew he was there, but she felt…something, like a flutter of wings.
Later, after the girl had healed and gone back to the torturous labor that was her lot in life, the taskmaster…moving amongst other slaves on a high scaffold built for the purpose of erecting another of the triangular buildings his people were fond of, lost his footing and plummeted to his death. One slave testified that it seemed like a strong gust of wind had blown, causing the slave-driver to lose his balance.
Mazarel had made sure he was with the slave girl when she learned of the accident. She sang, such a sweet song of rejoicing that Mazarel sank to his knees, folded his wings around his body and bowed his head. Tears streamed from his large, dark eyes. His curly black hair, iridescent with traces of the Ether, fell about his broad shoulders and sparkled like the wings of a raven in the dim light of the hovel. He completely forgot himself in the rapture of the woman’s outpouring of emotion. When the girl stopped suddenly in the middle of her song, Mazarel knew she was seeing him.
He rose from the floor and looked into her solemn brown eyes. He took her face in his hands and spoke to her, his voice like a clear, sweet bell:
“Beautiful one…never stop singing to the Power of Love. I will listen for your song always..and come to help you and yours for all of eternity. Anything that is in my power to do, I will do for you. Anything.”
Rebekkah Rosshen closed her eyes and whispered her many thanks to the guardian who watched over her. When she opened them again, he was gone.
He made a promise. Protection for all eternity.
When he returned to the Ether, Mazarel reflected on the vow he’d made. It was made in a moment of haste, of pure bliss…and he knew he’d have to hold to it.
Music had always been his weakness.