All content is (c) copyright 2006 Caryn LeMur

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THE LAST DAYS
OF A MAN
NAMED FIGHTER

A Chronicle
Of FadingEarth


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7.  ER~T

“Let us continue the lesson,” spoke the Lion.  
“After the Elfin, are the Fighters.  They live for
what is right and true; they weigh the words of
many upon the scales; they fight to expand the
TrueKingdom within FadingEarth.”

At this, Fighter smiled.  He was glad that the
subject of the lesson had changed.  “You see, it is
good that I am a Fighter!  It is good that you gave
me that name, and that I accepted it.  I and my
brothers will bleed and die for you!  Your kingdom
will grow because of us!”

“Perhaps,” said the Lion, “perhaps.”

Then the Lion continued, “There are four tribes
within the FadingEarth.  Do you know the fourth?”

“No,” replied Fighter.  “I do not.”

“Do you wish to know the fourth tribe?” asked the
Lion.

“To know, yes; but to pay, perhaps not,” replied
Fighter.

“Well spoken,” replied the Lion.  “For with
knowledge there is always a price.”

“And what price do you, Lion, attach to this piece
of knowledge?” asked Fighter, flashing a smile with
his blond short hair glistening.

The Lion paused for a moment, and then looked
straight at Fighter.  “I require,” said the Lion, “only
the mirror.”

“Only the mirror!” shouted Fighter, standing up.  
“You think me mad!”  Fighter began to pace in
front of the sitting Lion.  He shook his fists.  “Once,
you showed me my true shape in the mirror, and I
hated you for many days!”

“Days?” said the Lion,  also rising up.  “You hated
me for nearly one year!  But I had to show you the
image of your true self -- or you would have been
tempted to break the clay bowl.”

At that statement, Fighter paused.  He looked at
the ground.  “That is true.  I admit it.  To see
myself for what I truly was, hurt more than just
words.”

“Indeed,” said the Lion.  “The hardest thing for
any of the three tribesmen to do, whether Non or
Elfin or Fighter, is to look upon the mirror.”

Fighter turned his back toward the great cat-like
Lion, and crossed his copper-clad wrists over his
breastplate.  “You offer knowledge with a price?”
he said with a slight mocking voice.  And then he
spit out the words, “I choose to not pay it at all.”

“I understand,” replied the Lion.  “I understand.  
‘No one spends gold on that which they cannot
see’.”

Fighter sighed.  “That proverb is true.  What of it?”

“In the coming days, good Fighter,” said the Lion,
“I will let you ‘see’ what is being offered.”

Fighter did not reply.  Somehow the prospect of
truly ‘seeing’ bothered him.  But before he could
form the words for a polite refusal, the Lion
spoke:  “I must now go to another of my worlds.”  
And with that, the Lion turned his muscular frame
away from Fighter, and a silver portal instantly
appeared.  In one fluid movement he leaped
through the portal into his throne room.  

But before the portal closed, Fighter was able to
catch a glimpse of the Lion leaving the throne
room, rapidly, through a blackened archway.

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8.  O~TH

A few hours later, Fighter summoned a portal, and
entered into the throne room.  There, he saw the
Lion, looking upward towards the cloud that
encircled the highest part of the throne room,
above the throne itself.

Fighter paused and watched.  Not a single flame
was moving on the walls – they all seemed to be
pointing at the cloud as if they were men raising
hands in praise.  The living stones supported his
weight as always – but they too seem to be ever-
so-slightly slanted also towards the cloud.  

Fighter, by habit, did not look directly at the cloud –
it had the same effect on him that staring at the
noon-day sun did – it hurt his eyes.  The fact that
the light coming from the cloud was soft and
welcoming did not matter – the light of the cloud
still hurt his eyes.

Finally, the Lion’s lips ceased moving, and he
lowered his head.  The Lion turned his large cat-
like body away from the throne.  The flames began
to move about the walls and the stones upon the
floor flattened.

Fighter approached the Lion.  “Lion,” said Fighter,
“you look disturbed.”

“I am,” replied the Lion.  “The needs of the other
world disturb me.”

“How can anything disturb the Lion?  Can you not
do anything?” asked Fighter.

“No, my fighting friend, I cannot do everything that
I wish to do,” replied the Lion.  “I am forever
bound by words that I spoke years ago, ‘The Lion
for the open door; the tribesmen for the people.’  
These words have bound me.”

The Lion looked at the darkened archway.  His
eyes watered, and a tear slipped down his cheeks.

“Lion,” said Fighter.  “Do not cry; send the
tribesmen!”

“I called for them,’ replied the Lion, “but the Nons
were too consumed by their own lusts to hear.”

Fighter noticed another tear slipping out from the
golden eyes of the Lion.  

“Do not cry!” said Fighter, almost shouting.  
Somehow, seeing the Lion cry was more disturbing
than Fighter cared to admit.

The Lion hung his huge head down.  “I called out to
the Elfin, ‘You must love me more than dirt’ and
‘You cannot serve me and mud’ -- but they are too
frightened to loose their burrows.”

“Then send me!” said Fighter, “I will go anywhere
for you!  I will die for you!”

“Fighter,” said the Lion, still looking downcast,
“Though I love you, I cannot send you.”

“But I have armor!” said Fighter.  “I have wrist
guards, breastplate, and sword!  I have scars!  I
can fight!  Send me!”

The Lion looked at Fighter.  “Good Fighter,” said
the Lion, “All that you have said is true.  But you
have only the least side of power.  And this
blackened archway requires greater power -- I
cannot send you.”

The Lion paused, and looked out from the throne
room.  “Fighter, I have called for someone else to
come.  This archway belongs to the one that I have
called.”

A shimmering silver portal began to appear, and
then grew in size.  The air in the portal parted, and
into the throne room stepped a woman.

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9.  E~PA

“A woman!” shouted Fighter to the Lion shaking his
fist.  The copper wrist-guard seemed to reflect his
anger as much as the light of the flames.  “Lion!”
continued Fighter still shouting, “You swore that
the men were to lead in battle!  What madness is
this?”

“I swore that husbands were to lead their wives,”
replied the Lion calmly, “But in my presence, there
is no difference between male and female.”

But the woman who entered the throne room only
smiled at Fighter.  “I understand,” she said, “I too,
was once a Fighter, and my hair was once blond.”

Fighter winced at the comment.  “Only Fighters
that dedicate themselves to the Altar of the Pure
dye their hair blond!”  He spitted the words.

“Indeed,” the woman smiled back, “We called it
the Altar of the Pure – but I came to realize that it
was an altar of exclusion.  I am no longer afraid to
let others know that I am not pure.”

Fighter stopped and looked at the woman’s hair.  
She had long hair that flowed past her shoulders,
and it was brown in color -- simple, human, and
brown.  And she wore no armor – only a soft robe
of simple white cloth.

“I wear armor!”  Shouted Fighter.  “And I still make
my hair blond!”

But the woman simply smiled – as if she
understood something that Fighter did not.  “I
understand,” she simply replied, “I was once of
your tribe.”

Fighter stared at her, and then he saw it – a raised
mark of two lines – one vertical and one horizontal
crossing over the first – it was like a tattoo on her
forehead.

And then the woman turned toward the Lion and
stretched out her arms to greet him – and that was
when Fighter realized that her right arm was
withered.  It was almost a child’s arm attached to a
woman’s body – an obvious defect of birth.

And Fighter stared.  His eyes could not move from
the sight of the arm.  “She is a cripple!” he
thought.  “And yet, she said that once she was a
Fighter?”  Fighter glanced at the darkened
archway – the one that would require great power
to enter!  The disparity between the powerless
arm and the darkness of the archway was so
great, that Fighter became silent – his mouth
hanging open with no words.

And the woman began to speak to the Lion, and
though Fighter heard their words, he could not
understand them:

“Is your heart undivided?” asked the Lion.  “And
have you filled your mind with things of good
report?  Are your tears and laughter available for
my suffering and joy?  Is your knowledge and
understanding deep?  Have you been pouring your
strength into my living waters?  Can you live by the
highest Law – the law of bearing one another’s
burdens?  Can you live in mercy and share it with
others?”

To each question the woman answered yes, and
smiled.

And then the Lion’s lips moved, and Fighter knew
that he had uttered her name, but he could not
hear it.  Fighter stood speechless, his arms hanging
limp by the side of his armor.  And out of the mouth
of the Lion came fire that descended upon the
woman.

And the woman smiled as the fire bathed her -- her
robe began to glow and glisten and turn white.  
Her face began to glow with light, and her eyes
became like flames.  Her skin turned to bronze,
pure bronze glowing as if fresh from the furnace.  
But her power -- her power radiated like heat --
her power filled the throne room.  The raised mark
upon her forehead glowed with red light.

“Lion!” yelled out Fighter, “Tell me her name!  Of
what tribe is she?”

But the Lion did not answer, for he was still
speaking fire to the woman.

Finally, the fire ceased, and the Lion and the
woman walked towards the darkened archway.  
The Lion looked at the walls of the throne room,
and growled slowly and deeply – part of Fighter’s
mind told him that the Lion had spoken, but part of
his mind told him it was only a growl.  Then, from
the wall flew seven flames.  

“You are to protect her from the Serpent,” the
Lion said to the flames, “for she is highly
esteemed.”  The flames arranged themselves
about the woman: one near her head, one near
her heart, and one near her mouth -- and the
other four: one behind, one before, and one to
each side.

“Precious woman,” said the Lion, “do not forget
that my words will protect you from the words of
the Snake that lives within the mouth of the
Serpent.  And when you call for me, I shall be your
comforter and your shield.”

And through the darkened archway she walked.  
The Lion stood still, staring at the archway, as if he
knew what was on the other side.  And the throne
room became silent.  

Finally, Fighter softly whispered, “Lion, her power
was so great, I could feel it.  Please, Lion, please
tell me her name and tribe.”

“She bears the name of her tribe; there is no
difference between her name and the name of the
tribe.”

“Then tell me, Lion, the name of the tribe,” replied
Fighter.

“I cannot, good Fighter.  For she is of the fourth
tribe, and you are not willing to pay the price for
that knowledge.”


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(c) copyright 2006 Caryn LeMur
The Last Days of a Man Named Fighter

Chapters 7 through 9