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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10.  TTER

Several days had past, and Fighter wished to
speak to the Lion.  He reached out with his hands
to create the portal, but then stopped.  He put
both hands down slowly.

“Come now, brave Fighter,” he said to himself,
“You brag that you fear nothing… but now, you
fear telling the Lion the truth….”

Fighter swallowed hard.  And then, with resolve,
he motioned with his hands for the portal – waving
his right hand down, and then his left hand across.  
Some men said the symbol made by the hands
stood for death; others said it stood for peace.  
Fighter knew it as the only way to the throne
room.  A silver portal appeared, and Fighter
stepped through it.

Now in the throne room, Fighter looked at the Lion
– a golden creature larger than the base of the
silver throne that stretched into the cloud; a
creature revered by the moving flames upon the
wall; a creature served by the living stones of the
room.  Fighter felt two strong feelings:  a sudden
awareness of the Lion’s humble purity and a deep
desire to avoid disappointing the Lion.  

Fighter wanted to say something…but the words
choked his throat…and he moved his lips as if in
pain… but no words came out.  He hung his head in
shame, almost ready to leave.

The Lion watched.  “Speak the words of your
heart, good Fighter.  As my book of
ForeverPromises says, I will never leave you or
forsake you.  I will never condemn you.”

Somehow those words gave Fighter the strength
to speak.

“Lion,” said Fighter slowly, struggling to say his
words, “I… hurt.”

“I understand,” replied the Lion, still sitting to the
side of the throne.

“The craving….  It has started… again,” said
Fighter.  “I…hurt.”

“When a man has deep pain, he will crave
release,” said the Lion.  And then he added softly,
“If a man craves deeply enough, all battle lines
drawn in his mind may vanish.”

“I know,” moaned Fighter; “I know.  Tell me, what
causes my pain?”  He stood before the Lion.

The Lion paused.  “Not always is a man ready to
hear the truth.”

“Lion,” said Fighter, “I have been fighting for you
for many years.  I have always fought for you
alone -- none have ever stood beside me except a
few, and that was many years ago.  Even the
woman you gave me releases the DreamKiller --
she does not fight with me.  Of all my children, only
one even walks with you, the others are Nons.  I
am alone.  Tell me the truth -- I must know it.”

“You have already said it, my fighter,” replied the
Lion.  “The pain you have is because you have
been alone for too long.”

Fighter stared at the ground and said, “The
woman you gave me is Elfin -- she cannot join me.  
She cannot heal this level of loneliness.”

“That is true,” replied the Lion.  “She will change
on the day of her choosing or she may never
change.  I have called her, but she has refused to
hear.  I will not force the issue, even on your
behalf.”

“My one son that walks with you is just now
becoming a fighter.  He is too young and tender to
help me.”

“He is not as ‘young’ as you imply, Fighter,” replied
the Lion.  “Already he has won several battles and
has refused to resign from the Hills of the
Gauntlet.  But you are right – he cannot cure your
loneliness.”

“And the woman that drank DarkFire with me?”
asked Fighter, slowly lowering himself in obvious
pain to his knees.

“Fighter,” replied the Lion, “As I have told you
before, if you tell her of your hopes, she will
forever become your ally.  And then the Snake that
is the tongue of the Serpent will race over to you,
to bind you with cords that can scarcely be
broken.  You, good Fighter, are a citizen of my city;
the woman is a citizen of the other city -- much
disaster would happen if you were bound by the
Serpent to her.”

“I hear you... but I hurt,” said Fighter, now curled
into a lump on the ground.  “I … simply... hurt.”

“I know,” replied the Lion, “I know.”  And the
throne room was silent except for the moaning of
Fighter.  And the Lion watched the body of Fighter
collapse, then shake, then collapse again.

“Will you leave my presence?” asked the Lion
gently.

“No,” moaned Fighter, “Though I long for the pain
to stop, I will not leave your presence.  I am sorry
for the many times when I hurt and ran from your
presence.  I will stay here by your throne.”  And
then the pain increased, and Fighter lay upon the
throne room’s floor, looking like a crumpled piece
of body left upon the battlefield.

“I will not leave you, Lion,” Fighter whispered.  “I
will not leave you....”

And then Fighter fell into a deep and fitful sleep.  
He lost all consciousness.

“Enough!” said the Lion.  “Enough!” he shouted,
and his roar shook the pillars of the throne room.  
“Shadow, show yourself!”  And from the side of
the crumpled Fighter – who was still within his
deep unconscious sleep -- appeared a slender and
weak shadow, moving as it were, under its own
choices.

“Enough!” shouted the Lion, rising from the side of
the throne.  “Enough!”  And the slender shadow
began to shake in fear.  “No more shall you blind
him!  He has no strength, but this time he did not
leave my presence!  He is still within my throne
room!”

But out of the ether from a corner of the room, a
voice suddenly interrupted like the strike of a
snake that had been coiled for the kill.  “If he had
the strength, he would have left your throne!  I say
that the shadow stays!”

“No!” replied the Lion, snarling at the voice, “This
fighter is mine!”  

But the voice, coming from a large and heavy
shadow that crept along the wall, shot back,
“Plead your case!  I demand my right before the
throne!”

And then the Lion turned to the cloud that was
above the throne.  “Father!” shouted the Lion,
“This one is mine!  I purchased him and have
carved his name upon the Final Stone!”

“Again you plead for such as these!?” lashed out
the voice from the heavy shadow on the wall. “Am
I not the Snake!  Do I not also have rights to
accuse before the throne!”  And then the Snake’s
voice shouted from the heavy shadow, “Give the
fighter to me!  I can make him curse your face!”

But the cloud above the throne did not answer
either petitioner.  Instead, light came out from the
center of the cloud and descended upon the Lion.  
And the Lion shrank down in size, blurred in color,
and became a small white lamb.

“No!” shouted the Snake.  “Not even the Law of
the Lamb shall save him!  He shall be mine in this
life, though he shall be yours in the life to come!”

But the words of the Snake made no difference.  
The Lion, now in the form of a Lamb, walked over
to the collapsed fighter and stood next to him.  And
on the neck of the lamb a butcher’s slash slowly
appeared, and from the slash dropped a tear of
crimson blood.  And the blood fell upon the
collapsed fighter.

From the mouth of the sleeping fighter came no
words, but white smoke rising, which formed into a
glowing purple gemstone that floated above his
head.  And then the gemstone shrank down and
slipped into the eye of the Lamb.

“I will not leave!” screamed out the Snake.  “The
shadow that I have assigned to plague this fighter
will not go!  The Law of Choice is greater than even
the Law of the Lamb!”

The lamb said nothing, but turned and looked at
the slender shadow with one eye filled with the
innocence of the lamb, and the other filled with the
royal gemstone made from Fighter’s smoke.  
Lightening flashed between the eyes and a sword
of pure light formed in the center of the lightning,
and then cut through the air and struck deeply into
the shadow.  

“Do not flee!” shouted the Snake, “The Lamb
cannot overcome you!”  But the slender shadow
screamed as he saw himself being erased by the
sword of light -- stroke by stroke.  “Stay!  Stay on!”
shouted the Snake.  

And then the Snake shouted, “Fighter! ... Fighter!  
Hear me within your fitful sleep!  Do you not hate
the woman for never joining you?  Do you not hate
your children for refusing to follow the Lion?  Do
you not hate the Lion himself – for he refuses to be
silent and allow you to have the other woman in
peace!”

“Hate!” shouted the voice of the Snake, “Hate that
fills your heart and life!  Feel it!  Rejoice in it!  It is
yours to choose!”

Fighter moved upon the floor.  The living stones
moved about him somewhat shield his body from
the large shadow of the snake.   The living flames
that crawled the walls amassed near the edge of
the large shadow, and began to strike at the dark
edges.

“The Law of Choice is greater than all of you!”
shouted the voice of the Snake.  The living stones
still continued to move about Fighter, still trying to
protect him, but the stones were somehow slowed
down by the words of the Snake.  The flames upon
the wall upon the wall continued to attack the
edges of the Snake’s shadow, but were pushed
back as the Snake began to chant, “Law … of…
Choice!...  Law … of… Choice!”

“I hear you,” moaned the delirious Fighter, “I hear
you.  But I … no longer … choose hate.”  And then,
for a moment, Fighter awoke and came to his
senses, “Lion within the lamb, save me from
myself!”

“No!” screamed the Snake, but the last of the
slender shadow erupted into flame.  Black smoke
curled up towards the ceiling of the throne room,
and then was scattered by a gentle wind coming
from the cloud above the throne.  

The sword of light vanished.  The voice of the
Snake became but an echo, and the form of the
lamb grew, changed color, and became the Lion
once again.

And Fighter fell back asleep, exhausted, between
the paws of the Lion.

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11.  N~OF

“Is not the day good?” said the Lion.

“It is,” replied Fighter, walking beside the Lion.  
Fighter enjoyed such walks -- in the cool of the
evening, the dusty road they trod upon seemed
more welcoming.

“Are you recuperated from the battle?” asked the
Lion.


“What you are saying,” said the Lion; “Is that your
loneliness remains?”

“Yes,” replied Fighter.  “It remains.  Though now,
no shadow’s voice feeds my loneliness and makes
it grow.  Indeed, I have let go of my hate.”

“Fighter,” said the Lion, “Your loneliness shall
always remain, until you take a friend -- a
BloodFriend.”

“And who shall that be?” asked Fighter, raising his
right hand and wrist-guard in mock questioning:  
“the woman you gave me?”

Lion.  “But as often happens among the tribesmen,
some stumble and fall.”

Fighter continued walking, and then softly said, “I
have often stumbled and fallen.”

“That is most certainly true,” said the Lion with a
smile.  “But because you accepted the name and
marking of the Fighter, when I made you to stand
again, you continued to fight.  The woman, even
when I make her to stand, does not wish to fight
for what is right.  She is Elfin.”

“And you still love her?” asked Fighter.

“Yes, Fighter.  Of course I love her.  The Elfin are
beautiful people -- they watch over their own, they
weep with those that weep and rejoice with those
that rejoice.  You Fighters normally forget how to
do such a thing.”

“Ho!” said Fighter, “It’s plain to see that you still
love her.”  And then he added with a slight grin, “I
am impressed.”

“Indeed, Fighter,” replied the Lion.  “Sometimes it
is more difficult to love you Fighters than to love
the Elfin.”

And then the Lion continued, “Your kind, dear
Fighter, are often hot or cold.  You see the world
as right or wrong, black or white.  This is good
when dealing with truth.  But then you treat the
wounded Elfin and Nons as if they are truths, and
not as if they are human.  Indeed, you often forget
that they are fellow tribesmen.”

Fighter paused.  “What you have said is true.  I
apologize for the remark.  I admit that I am often
jealous of the love and tenderness which is in my
Elfin wife.”

“Good,” replied the Lion.  “Now then, back to the
question at hand, you are in need of a BloodFriend
-- whom shall it be?”

“It will be no one, then,” replied Fighter.  “What is
most right?  It is for me to wait for the woman you
gave me.  One day, she will join me.”

“Spoken like a true fighter,” said the Lion.  “And in
the meantime?”

“In the meantime, I will fight the loneliness,”
replied Fighter.  “I have my wrist guard, my
breastplate, and my sword.”

“You will not always win such battles,” replied the
Lion.  “Some of them you will lose.  And when you
loose, you become depressed.  And when you are
depressed, you are prone to drink the DarkFire --
and that one day may kill you.”

“All true,” replied Fighter, “all true.”  And then
Fighter turned toward the Lion.  “Lion,” said
Fighter.  “You can be my BloodFriend!”

“Fighter,” said the Lion, “I can be your friend.  And
I will gladly sit at the Table of Hope with you.  But I
can only be a BloodFriend to those who belong to
the fourth tribe.”

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12.  THIS

Fighter and the Lion continued walking for some
time – sandals and paws leaving indentations in the
dust.  The road was known as Choker’sDust Lane,
and ran westward from the Lion’s city called
DwellingStreet, to the city known as NewHope --
although the Lion always called it “FalseHope”.

“Lion,” said Fighter as the two walked beside an
orchard.  “I have let go of my hatred.  But I am still
grieved on occasion.”

“It is good to know grief,” replied the Lion, “It is
one of the windows that let you share in my
suffering.  All who share in my suffering have right
to my power.”

“That is good news,” said Fighter.  “But can you
explain to me my grief?”

“Over which battle, good Fighter, are you so
grieved?” asked the Lion.

“Over the battle that never was,” laughed back
Fighter.  “Seriously, do you recall when you spoke
to me to do battle for the Hurting Ones?”

“Yes,” replied the Lion.  “I love them, and want all
of them to hear of me.”

“And do you recall how you gave me the order of
battle:  first, to go to the gathering in
DwellingStreet and obtain other fighters to join
me, then to establish the battlefield, and then to
fight?  Do you recall that order of battle?”

“Indeed, I do,” replied the Lion.

“But when I went to the gathering and begged
them for simply the permission to recruit other
fighters, suddenly, they withdrew all support from
me.”

“That is true, Fighter,” replied the Lion.  “And then
with their lips they asked you to study other battles
and to entertain their children.  But with their
hearts, they spoke the words:  ‘to the ones that
are like us, we will become like them; but to those
that are not, we will not become like them -- they
must first become like us.”

“And the Hurting Ones,” said Fighter, “they will
never become first like them -- they are a rouge
tribe of another place.  Their clothing, their
markings, their songs, all these are not like the
elders of the Gathering.”

“And,” asked the Lion, “do you hate them for
letting so many be in danger of the death that is
truly death?”

“No,” replied Fighter.  “I no longer hate them.  But
while hate has lost its grip upon me, I am still
grieved over their actions.”

“And you should be grieved, Fighter, for they
grieve me,” replied the Lion.  “Yet allow me to give
you understanding, so that although you grieve,
the Serpent will have difficulty deceiving you into
hating them again.”

The Lion stopped walking and turned toward the
orchard.  The branches of each ancient short tree
were heavy with almonds, even though the
summer’s sun had made the ground dry.  

“This field is known as The Planter’s Orchard,” said
the Lion softly, as if recalling memories deep and
strong.  Fighter nodded his head.  He had heard
the stories as a youth, how a young man named
Angel replanted it 150 years before.

Then the Lion smiled, and added, “But that name is
of a time gone past.  What I wish to teach does not
require such history now.”

And then the Lion spoke:  “From the heartwood
come three branches.  In the past, there were
other branches, but now the living tree has three:  
the family, the power, and the knowledge.  All
three branches are loved because they are living
and connected to the heartwood -- none are
wrong.  But as every branch grows further from
the heartwood, they are less right.”

Fighter listened, and the Lion continued, “The
Gatherings have tended to emphasize either family
or power or knowledge.  Those that live within the
family-branch meet, and love, and pray in groups
that are small.  Those that live within the power-
branch meet, and pray to encounter me at any
cost -- they come in groups of all sizes.  Those that
live within the knowledge-branch meet and teach.  
Of what branch was your gathering?”

Fighter thought and then replied, “They are of the
family-branch, always meeting in small groups.  
Knowledge is not that important to them and
power is seldom discussed.  But love and prayer
within the small groups is revered.  Indeed, we
almost create idols to the family.”

“You are right, Fighter,” replied the Lion.  “And
how does each branch reach out to those that do
not know my name?”

“I would suppose,” replied Fighter, “the family-
branch would reach out through small groups; the
power branch through any method that
encountered your power; and the knowledge-
branch always through the preaching of your
words.”

“You are right once again Fighter,” replied the
Lion.  “And so, when you proposed to recruit
fighters, they did not oppose you.  But when you
proposed that the battleground be their sanctuary,
then all was lost.”

“What was I to do?” said Fighter, “Should I have
proposed that their small groups be the
battleground?  The Hurting Ones do not even
speak their language.”

“That is also true,” replied the Lion.

“And if you knew that my Gathering would never
agree to reach the Hurting Ones within their
accursed sanctuary, why did you even ask me to
propose such a thing?” asked Fighter.  “Do you
know that they even allow the Exercisers and
those that train dogs to use their property?  Their
reasoning is as accursed as is their sanctuary!”  
Fighter crossed his arms across his breastplate and
stared at the orchard trees in anger.

“Their sanctuary is not accursed, Fighter, it is
blessed,” replied the Lion.  “Indeed, it is blessed by
my presence.  And I shall bless that gathering --
not because they are right in refusing to reach out
to the Hurting Ones, but because of my great love
and forgiveness towards them.”

Fighter paused, uncrossed his arms, and asked,
“Will the Hurting Ones now suffer because the
Gathering refused to open to them?”

“No,” replied the Lion.  “They will not suffer.  For I
will raise up more fellow fighters, even if I must
breathe life into bones to do so.”

The Lion stopped walking, and raised his right paw
and moved it as Fighters did:  as if tracing one
vertical line, and then one horizontal line that
crossed it.  A portal appeared.  Fighter was
intrigued, for always before he had seen the Lion
simply desire a portal, and it instantly appeared.  
But now?  Why did the Lion act as if he were man?  
But Fighter had no time to ask the question, for a
small table and two goblets with liquid appeared,
carried through the portal by seven small flames.

The Lion spoke, “I wanted the Hurting Ones to
come in and to be healed by my presence.  The
Gathering of my own city has denied them.  Do not
grow angry, good Fighter, instead, join me in my
grief.”

Fighter looked at the Lion.  “I am sorry that I grew
angry,” he said.  “I will join you in drinking from the
cups.”

And both sat silently for a time.  Then Fighter
reached out to the table and took one of the
goblets, while the flames carried another to the
Lion and placed it before his huge head.  And then
each drank slowly from the cup of grief – the man
tilting his head back, but the Lion slowly lapping
from the silver goblet.  The taste was comforting
like honey, sour to the belly, and yet healing to the
mind.  The drink caused each – Lion and Fighter –
to softly and quietly feel tears form in their eyes.  

Finally, the Lion turned and spoke as if to the
orchard of trees, “O branches, you turn deaf ears
to those who would reach the ones I died for.  
How many times I would have given you the gift of
revival -- and you pray for it -- but you are not
willing to pay its price.  You have forgotten that the
purpose of all branches is to exalt the
heartwood.”  And then the Lion was silent.

“Come,” said the Lion, “Let us leave this place.”  
And the two arose and walked on, leaving the
table, the flames, and the empty goblets behind.

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

Chapters 10 through 12