Prologue: The Prophesied Birth

As Christmas approaches, we begin to post our Christmas-y stories. This is the beginning of a novel I want to complete, a re-write of the story of Christ. Beginning now, through next year, I’ll post a chapter every so often from the novel as it comes along. Hopefully, I’ll end it around Easter 2017. Enjoy!


My friend and companion Verris,

As you know, I have recently come into contact with one of the greatest men of our time. But many of the reports have been confused, and with this letter, I hope to bring forth plainly what the man called Yesu did and taught.
But first, a history lesson. As you are not Beacon, I highly doubt you know where we come from. Many centuries ago, there lived a man named Horis. He was a man of faith, who trusted completely in Ayos. (As you know, Ayos is Beacon for your word God)
Horis, whose name meant ‘doused fire’, grew so close to Ayos that his name was changed, and he became Beacon, the one who shone brightly. Beacon’s descendants were not as close to Ayos as he was, and as punishment, Ayos sent them into slavery into Thrig. There in Thrig, in their darkest hour, Ayos sent a savior, a man by the name of Moken, who led the people out of slavery and to Beacon, as they had begun to call the promised land.
The generations went by, Ayos giving something special to Beacon: Fireswords, which, like their name, were sword that flared with a holy fire. Not much to say after that. However, they would only work if the country still followed Ayos. (Hold on, Verris. I’m going to put a lot of names out there. It might be confusing, but you’ll get it.)
Kings rose up, names that even an Outlander, as some would call you, would know: Orrid, who killed the giant, Calthous, the wisest man alive, and Berrin, the child king. During King Hed (a descendant of Orrid by many generations)’s reign, the country of Beacon was overrun, taken by the Nerrets. We later returned to our own land, but only after much hardship did we become our own country once again. And then the next threat came, the Reargens coming through and putting us under their power. Their leader, Coasir Agarst, made a man, evil to the extreme, ruler over a small area of the country, in which our story takes place. This man’s name was Harog. Now, you probably know this, but I’ll go over it once again. Coasir is the title of Agarst, like you or I would say ‘King’ or ‘Lord’.
In this small, fiercely ruled state of Galilede, there are three points of interest: The first, the former capital city of Beacon, Jarloth, the next, a day’s journey away from Jarloth, a small town that King Orrid was born in, Compolth. The place our story begins, however, is much farther away, to the north, a town called Carrell.
Now, you must understand, Carrell has a bad history. Most people coming from there either tried to start revolutions, or ended up making life worse for everyone in Beacon. That’s the reason for the saying, “As bad as Carrell!”
These two people you are about to meet, however, do not live up to the horrid reputation. The first, Josen, was a direct descendant of King Orrid himself, although he didn’t often make that fact publicly known. The second, his fiancee, was Mara, who, just before their wedding, was found to be pregnant.
(Note: I only have the bare facts of this story, I have scraped together what I believe was to be said. However, do not use the words coming out of their mouths as set in stone, as I’m not sure.)
When Josen heard, he rushed over to Mara’s house, tears streaming down his face. “Please tell me that it’s not true,” he said, his voice shaking as he spoke. His love for Mara overwhelmed his anger at her betrayal, and the strange mixture came out as pure sorrow.
“Josen, it’s not what it looks like,” Mara said. They were alone, Mara’s parents respectfully leaving the house to talk in the courtyard.
“It looks like you found another man, Mara. Like you betrayed me.”
“It was Ayos, Josen. He sent me one of his messengers. I can hardly believe it myself, but it’s true. I’m carrying the savior of the world. I swear to you, I didn’t commit adultery. I don’t even know how it happened, I just found myself pregnant one day.”
Josen scoffed outwardly, but inwardly, his mind churned. He believed in Ayos, and his faith was more like Beacon’s than King Hed’s. But still, a messenger coming to his future wife? Not exactly something that could be proven.
“Mara,” he said finally, shaking his head. “You know the law. I’m going to have to divorce you. But for your sake, I’ll do it quietly. I’m not going to make a spectacle out of you.”
“Josen,” Mara said, but he had already turned and left, his heart feeling heavier than it should have.
You need to understand, Verris, that Mara was telling the truth. She was, in fact, pregnant with who the messenger claimed to be the savior of the world. Josen, however, didn’t know that she was speaking truth. And he had to follow the law.
That night, as he lay in bed, thinking about how much he didn’t want to divorce the love of his life, but how he needed to, he found himself having a vision.
He was walking down a road, and at the end of the road, a man stood, robed in white. “Josen, descendant of Orrid,” the man said, and Josen grew confused. How did this man know his name, and that he was progeny of Orrid. “Do not be afraid to take Mara home as your wife, for what is in her is not of man, but of Ayos. Go, and when her son is born, give him the name Yesu, for he will save the people from their sins.”
Then the man vanished, and Josen was left alone on the street. Apparently, he saw things after that, but no one has ever told me what.
The next day, Josen went and told Mara what he had seen, and the two were wed. It would have been the end of the story, if not for Coasir Vellos. He ordered that a census be taken, which makes sense, as he had just conquered the country and needed to know how many slaves he had retrieved. So Josen and Mara set off for Compolth, from which Josen came.
Like I mentioned earlier, Carrell is much farther away from Jarloth than Compolth, about a week’s journey. But with the people coming to and from the different cities, the going was much slower than usual.
Finally, they arrived, but because of how slow the going was, they found all the inns full, and the ones that weren’t were being used as census centers. Finally, one innkeeper took comfort on Josen and Mara, who was now obviously pregnant. “It’s not much,” he said, leading them behind the inn proper and to a shack that barely allowed Josen to stand upright. “Usually, I have carts and such in here, but one of my friends is using it right now.”
“Thank you for your kindness,” Josen said, shaking the man’s hand. He pulled the door open, letting Mara walk in before him. As he lit a lantern, he studied their temporary home. It was low, but long, with junk thrown together at one end. “Here, let me make you a bed,” he said, helping Mara sit, then leaving and finding some old hay. He clumped it together in corner, then spread his cloak across it, moving Mara so she could lay down.
“Thank you,” she whispered, closing her eyes. Then they shot open once again. “Josen, I think he’s coming,” she said, and Josen flipped out.
“Right, you’re giving birth. Okay, your mother wrote list on what to do. Where’d I put that?” Josen scrambled around, searching his bags, finally pulling out a disintegrating piece of paper. He recalled how, several days earlier, while crossing a stream, he had dropped it. Now Josen was desperate. He ran a hand through his hair, muttering to himself. “Arg, I’m a woodsman, not a farmer. I don’t know anything about birth.” He rushed out of the shack, then stuck his head back in. “I’ll find help. Just keep breathing, okay? I think that helps.”
Mara smiled, thinking about all her mother had told her. She was calm, for now. But the contractions were just starting, she knew. And they were sure to get worse.
Inside the inn, Josen was rushing around, asking for help. Except that because he was a man, he didn’t actually ask any women. “Sir, do you know anything about helping someone give birth? Please, my wife-”
The one sided conversations continued for several minutes until a woman approached him. “You said your wife is giving birth?” Josen nodded, and she shook her head. “Men. Don’t know a thing, do they? Nana, fetch the midwife. Ladies, please come help me.” The woman turned back to Josen. “Where is she?”
“In the shack behind the inn,”Josen told her, and she hurried away with a retinue of women following. Josen sunk to the floor, suddenly overcome. ‘My wife’s going to give birth,’ he thought, feeling as if he was once again having a vision.
My tale now turns to another occurrence, out in the fields near Compolth. As Mara continued in her labor pains, several farm hands were bedding down for the night. Abnock, the oldest, was watching the setting sun, his face screwed in a picture of intense concentration. “Red sky, come on. I don’t want to be taking these animals back tomorrow. Come on, come on, red sky.”
“Your caterwauling ain’t gonna bring good weather, Abnock,” his brother, Bellock, laughed. He ruffled his nephew’s hair. “Ain’t that right, Zeck? Your ole’ man’s gone batty, finally.”
Carrock, the third brother, released a sharp bark of amusement. “That happened a long time ago, Bellock. Remember, Abnock fell out of the tree when he was ten.”
“Oh, yeah, I kinda remember that,” Bellock replied, rolling out his blanket and sitting on it. “Now, Zeck, get a fire going willya?”
“Uncle, you can make fire so much better than me,” Zeck said, twisting uncomfortably.
“Do what he says, Zeck,” his father rebuked him sharply.
As Zeck did what he was told, hurrying to make a fire, the three brothers got comfortable around the place he knelt over the kindling. “I’ll tell you,” Carrock said, shaking his head, “those blasted Reargen’s taking this blasted census. It’s horrible. There’s hardly enough room on the inns as it is, but now? Pff. There’s nothing.”
“I feel sorry for anyone trying to get a room tonight,” Abnock agreed. They sat in silence, until a spurt of orange flame elicited an excited squeal from Zeck.
“Finally,” Bellock said, filling a pot with water and beginning to warm it up. He grinned at his nephew. “I told ya. Ya can do it even better than your ole’ man.”
“That’s not saying that much,” Carrock said, punching his brother good naturedly the shoulder.
Abnock, the object of their jokes, shook his head resignedly. “Should’ve never taught you how to tease people, Carrock.”
The teasing continued for several minutes, until Carrock noticed Zeck watching something in the distance. “What is it?” he asked, scrambling over to where the boy stood watching.
“There’s a man coming towards us,” Zeck replied, pointing.
Carrock grimaced. “Not a good thing, let me tell you. Get the goads, Zeck. And make sure everyone’s wearing their knives.”
The goads, long, hard pieces of wood, pointed at one end, were used to urge livestock along. One of our favorite stories to tell is of one of Ayos’ judges for Beacon, who used an ox goad to kill hundreds of the invaders. But that’s another story.
The man drew closer, the small band of farm hands huddling together in preparation. The strange thing was that his man didn’t walk in a beam of light, for the sun had long since set, and no stars lit the sky. The moon was only just beginning to peak above the horizon, and cast hardly any light at all. Instead, this man was his own light, putting forth a radiance that hurt to look at.
“Stop there,” Abnock said, holding his goad threateningly.
“Do not be afraid,” the man said, his deep voice echoing in the empty field. Instantly, the farmhands felt their terror die down, Carrock even putting his goad point first in the ground. “I bring you news,” the man continued, “news of great joy, that will be for everyone. The Savior – the promised Mejin – has been born tonight in Compolth, the city of Orrid. And this is how you’ll know him. He will be wrapped in a sheet and laying in pig trough.”
Suddenly, the entire sky erupted with light, as if the stars had sneaked close to Beacon, then spun, shining their light on this one little field. An entire army of Ayos’ messenger stood there, voices rising in song. “Glory to Ayos in heaven, and on Terran, peace to those who He favors.”
They sang for several minutes, chanting the same thing over and over. Then they were gone, returning to the presence of the one who they praised.
“Well, what are waiting for?” Bellock asked, rising from his knees. Like the rest, he had fallen in awe, not of the angels, but of Ayos, who all creatures should worship.
“Nothing,” Carrock said, rising as well and running towards Compolth, about a mile away. “I’m going to see the King!”
Zeck shot off after him, shouting as well. “The Mejin! He’s arrived!”
No one, not even the tired travelers, could sleep as seven (the original four had picked up three more) excited farmhands burst in Compolth, shouting out that the Mejin had been born. But being awake didn’t mean they listened, and many just rolled over in bed, complaining about parties. But a few listened and heard, coming into the street with the farmhands, shouting as well.
They found the family just as the messenger had described, laying in an empty pig trough the couple had found in the junk in the back of the shack. The four farmhands explained what they had seen, the big, rough men cradling the tiny baby in their callused hands.
All who stood there were amazed, their mouths open, but no words coming forth. Instead, the youngest farmhand, Zeck, began to sing, a song that all knew, one that their mothers had sung to them when they were children. “Come down to us, blessed one, come down to us, Ayos’ son. Break us free from these chains, bring about a change, we are ready to see the sun.” Then, in a whisper, he added, “The night is over because of you, beautiful child.”
He handed the baby back, then turned away. “I don’t know about you, but I’ve got to tell someone,” he said, the other farmhands grinning in reply.
“What else can we do?” Carrock asked. “It is our duty to spread the word.”
And so they left, singing the song in four part disharmony and telling everyone that the Mejin, the Savior, was born.
The story should have ended there, with the Mejin coming to the world. But it doesn’t.
Only a year later, visitors from the East came, bringing gives of fragrant spices, and gold. They told of how they had traveled to find the one who was born King of Beacon. They had stopped in Jarloth, hoping to find him there, but had only discovered that the Mejin was prophesied to be born in Compolth, the City of Orrid.
That night, a messenger appeared to them, warning them not to return to Lord Harog, who was planning to kill the child. The same night, Josen was warned in a dream to leave Compolth, to move to Thrig, in order to keep his wife’s son safe.
Soon after they left, Harog unleashed his fury, sending soldiers into Compolth and killing all the male children under two years old. The Mejin had come, but already had brought a knife to those who he was sent to save.

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