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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22.  NEWI

Fighter walked slowly forward in the hidden room.  
He walked over to the Table of Hope, and then sat
upon the chair next to it.  He stared at the two
dream-doves.

“They were the only two I had left,” said Fighter.

“Yes,” replied the Lion, “they were the last of your
dreams.”

“And now I have no dreams,” said Fighter.  And
then he slowly added, “And my own bitterness is
what killed them.”

“What you say is true, good Fighter,” replied the
Lion, entering the room.  “What you say is very
true -- a root of bitterness can spring up, and it will
always destroy much.”

“And I came so close to breakdown,” said Fighter.  
He slumped forward against the edge of the table;
his breastplate was heavily scratched and even
dented from the constriction of the Serpent.  

“You came close to breakdown because these
dream-doves were your treasure,” said the Lion.  
And then, the golden one continued, “You filled
your most treasured world with bitterness, and for
a moment, you believed the lies of the Serpent that
there was ‘no hope’.  Where your treasure is,”
continued the Lion, “there lives your heart.  You
would be wiser to place your treasures in me,
where nothing can kill them.”

But Fighter did not really hear the Lion’s words, he
looked at the doves, and simply said, “There was
no hope…

There is,” replied the Lion, “always hope.  For I
have set this law in place:  ‘Forever shall abide
faith, hope, and love.’”

But again Fighter did not really hear the Lion’s
words.  The Lion looked at him, hung down his
huge head, and sighed.  And the Lion sat down by
the side of Fighter and waited patiently, as Fighter
gently touched the bodies of the doves with his
blood-stained hands.

Finally, Fighter spoke, “Lion,” he said, “It is difficult
for me to breathe.  Why?”

The Lion turned his head and spoke softly into the
air, and his words became a warm cloud that
floated over to Fighter.  The cloud formed two
arms and gently touched Fighter’s chest and back.  
And then, the front cloud lifted off Fighter’s
breastplate.

“Look, good Fighter,” said the Lion, “Look upon
your scar.  That is why you are having trouble
breathing.”

And Fighter looked down upon his chest and saw
the scar -- once it was a long white line that
slanted across his chest, but now it was red and
swollen, torn open and weeping clear white plasma
with blood.

The Lion spoke again, “You need the Healer.  You
need him desperately – your encounter with the
spider-leech, and now your fight against
bitterness, has opened old wounds.  Shall I call him
for you?”

“Lion,” replied Fighter.  “I have no choice.  The
pain of the scar is becoming unbearable.”

“It is painful,” replied the Lion, “because it was
touched by the acid-venom of the spider-leech
days ago -- and then you continued to serve me
without taking care of your own wounds.  Wounds
that are not attended to become weeping scars
that can kill.  And now the bitterness… it has done
you much damage.”

Neither said a word for a time.  Both simply sat as
Fighter weighed out the words of the Lion.  Finally,
Fighter spoke, “I am willing to resign my right to
own this scar -- it has brought me nothing but
pain.”

“Indeed,” said the Lion softly, “the truth is that you
kept your ownership of the scar all this time hoping
that your wife would see the pain, and upon seeing
it, that she would be affected by it.”

Fighter weighed out the words of the Lion.

“I confess,” replied Fighter, “that what you say is
true.  But my scar has not hurt the woman as I
hoped -- and it is killing me.”

“Well said, good Fighter,” replied the Lion, “well
said.”

“And,” added the Lion, “You are learning to accept
that you need mercy.”

The Fighter swallowed hard and then said, “Tis a
very difficult lesson.”

“And,” continued the Lion, “You are learning to
give mercy.”

Fighter nodded.

And then the Lion looked upward and roared,
“Healer!  I send you!  Come!”  

And within the hidden room , a gentle breeze
began to blow.  The happy laughter of a child
echoed within the room, and the Healer appeared
-- he was the height and shape of a small child and
wore a simple robe of white cloth.  His sash was of
gold cloth and his shoes of simple leather.  His head
was covered with curly locks of hair and he clapped
his fat little hands together with absolute delight --
his smile was like that of a two-year-old
celebrating some simple gift with a joy that could
not be easily articulated.

“Healer,” spoke the Lion, “anoint his scar with
salve.  Take of mine, and give to him.”

And the healer squealed with delight!  And then
raced forward towards Fighter as if to hug him
with a child’s pure love -- but as the body of the
Healer touched Fighter, the Healer vanished.

But Fighter suddenly straightened up.  He began to
smile.  “What is this?” he said, to no one in
particular.  And then Fighter, despite himself,
began to chuckle, and then to chuckle with smiles,
and then chuckles became laughter.

“It would appear,” said the Lion watching, “that
the Healer has first chosen to restore the joy of
your salvation.”

Fighter laughed back, “You are right!”  And then,
he regained control of himself.  “Lion,” said Fighter,
“It has been a long time since I simply enjoyed a
moment.”

“Indeed,” replied the Lion, “You are just learning
to give mercy to yourself and others.  So, of
course, one cannot laugh unless they receive and
give mercy.”

Fighter laughed all the more.

“Good,” replied the Lion.  And then the Lion called
out, “Healer, now open his eyes!”

The laughter of a child sounded out again though
the Healer himself remained unseen, but suddenly
the face of Fighter went slack as if intrigued by
some deep and strange thought.

The Lion waited, and then said, “What did you
see?”

“I saw three things,” replied Fighter, shaking his
head, as if amazed he could imagine something so
clearly.

“Three things, indeed?”  Queried the Lion.

“Yes,” continued Fighter.  “In my mind there
appeared a ship upon ocean water that was so
deep no one could measure it.  And then appeared
a single mountain against the night’s sky -- and
above the mountain were thousands of stars,
again so high that no man could measure it.  Those
two visions were wondrous!”

But then, Fighter paused, and then he added, “But
the third thing I saw was a woman:  stripped,
beaten and covered with many wounds, and she
was abandoned in the desert.”

“You have seen well, good Fighter,” replied the
Lion.  “The ship and mountain are you.  Carrying
the ship is an ocean of forgiveness that can never
be measured; and above the mountain is the
vastness of love that can never be limited by the
mind of man.”

The Lion paused and said no more.

“But what of the woman?” asked Fighter.

“I must go,” replied the Lion, and he turned
toward the door that led one out of the hidden
room.

“Lion,” said Fighter, “what of the woman?”

“Good Fighter,” replied the Lion, “Some
interpretations are difficult to hear.”

“Lion,” replied Fighter, “who was the woman?  and
who inflicted upon her so much pain?”  Fighter
slammed his wrist-guarded fist down upon the
table.  “I demand to know these things!”

The Lion stopped walking towards the door.  “Do
you really wish to know?” he asked.

“Yes,” replied Fighter.  “I must know!  And I must
know now!”

“Good Fighter,” replied the Lion, “The woman is
your wife and you are the one that inflicted those
wounds upon her.”

And instantly the scar upon Fighter’s chest stopped
bleeding.

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23.  NG~O

Two days had passed since Fighter and the Lion
had last spoke.

Fighter stood out in the garden by his home.  His
wife was inside the house cooking.

Fighter thought of his scar – still red and swollen
lying across his chest.  “You have stopped
bleeding,” he said, as if speaking to the scar.  “But
you are still a part of my life.”   Fighter sighed,
“How can I ever be rid of you?”

Fighter walked among his roses.

And then, he understood.

He began to pick roses -- one after another, until
his arms were filled with the traditional three-sets-
of-seven.  And then he walked into the house.

“These, my wife,” said Fighter, “are for you.”

His wife smiled and took the roses.  She laughed
and smiled again.  “What, good husband,” she said,
“is the special day?”

Fighter hesitated -- he was not quite sure what to
say.  And so, he said, “Perhaps I saw a picture of
forgiveness and love.  Enough to lift ships or caress
a mountain.  And perhaps, I realized that you
should see a glimpse of the same.  I confess that I
have neglected you far too long.”

“Husband,” replied his wife, “your words are
beautiful!”  And she kissed him upon his lips.

Later that night, as he lay upon the love-bed with
his wife sleeping next to him, Fighter thought he
heard a noise -- that of a small child laughing in
delight.

“Thank you, Healer,” thought Fighter.  He looked
at his sleeping wife -- her shape covered with a
thin blanket of cloth, and spoke softly, “I must
always support you with forgiveness and love -- so
much that you are forever carried and caressed by
them.”

And Fighter looked up towards the heavens, and
softly prayed,

“May the Lion bless this woman – no… my woman,
all the days of her life.  

May she always reverence the Lion deeply and
work for the coming of his kingdom.  

May she do the will of the Lion forever, even as his
flames obey him with joy and thanksgiving.  

May she support the Lion’s people, even as the
living stones serve the Lion.

May the Lion supply her every need, and may she
find the strength to forgive every person that does
her wrong.

May the Lion not lead her into times of testing, but
and if they occur, may the Lion deliver her from the
Serpent and the Snake.

May the Lion forgive her of any wrongs.  I forgive
her of any wrongs.  I thank the one that hears and
heals.

May I give her – my woman – mercy.”

Fighter sighed and looked down upon his chest.

The scar was gone.

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24.  F~YO

The next day, Fighter sat in the hidden room and
the Lion was beside him.  Both looked at the
feathered object before them that laid upon the
table.

“I had thought they were all dead,” said Fighter.

“No, good Fighter,” replied the lion, “This one last
dream-dove lives.  But its wings are infected
badly.  Unless you act soon, it will also die.”

“I had thought that the bitterness had killed them
both,” said Fighter.

“The Serpent lied to you.  One dream-dove was
indeed dead.  But the other,” replied the Lion, “this
other was impaled upon thorns.  So, it still lives.”

“But you just said…”

“That you must act soon,” replied the Lion.  “Good
Fighter, you know what you must do….”

“Indeed,” said Fighter.  “I do know what must be
done.  But what if…?” his voice trailed off.

“It is a question of trust,” replied the Lion.  “If you
give the Healer your dream-dove, you have
committed to him the last of your treasures.  If you
trust the Healer, then you will survive the turning
over of your dream to him.  If you do not trust him,
you will survive, but not nearly as well.  It is always
difficult for a Fighter to loose the last of his
treasures.”

The dove before them lay like a dead animal,
except that its black eyes were opened and
occasionally the small eyelids blinked.  Its wings
were spread to each side – unmoving dusty brown
feathers with splotches of rust-red from dried
blood.  Both wings had lumps of swelling from the
infections.

“What if,” continued Fighter, “What if the Healer
chooses to not return the dream-dove to me?”

“You know, good Fighter, it is very possible that
the dream-dove will never be returned to you.  
That is reality…my reality.  Yet the Healer and I will
do as my Father commands – it is possible that my
Father will give to you the same again, it is equally
possible that my Father will not give to you that
particular dream-dove ever again.”

Fighter swallowed hard.  “So then, some dreams
can be lost forever?”

“Come, good Fighter,” said the Lion.  “Let us
reason together.  If you do not give the last of
your dreams – the last of your glorious plans – to
the Healer, it will die.  And then, you will have no
probability of enjoying your dream-dove again.”

The Lion continued, “But if you do give, then the
Healer will one day give back to you.  There is no
guarantee that the Healer will return to you the
same dream-dove at all, but the Healer will always
give back much more than you dare to give to him.”

Fighter bit his lip.  He thought for a moment.  He
opened his mouth as if to say something, but then
closed his lips in silence.  The Lion sat quietly by his
side.  The dove ceased moving and closed her eyes.

“The dream-dove, good Fighter,” said the Lion,
“nears death.”

Fighter looked at the limp dove, and then turned
his gaze down upon his own scratched and
damaged breastplate.  For a moment, he thought
about the un-scarred chest that now lived under
that metal.

“Then call him,” said Fighter placing his face into his
hands, “call the Healer.”

The Lion spoke into the air, the space above the
table top glistened, the air shimmered, and the
Healer appeared standing on the table.

The Healer clapped his chubby hands and smiled.  
With the innocent laugh of a child, he lifted up the
dying dream-dove and held it near his chest.  He
then touched two fingers of his right hand to his
lips, and then graced the same two fingers upon
the dream-dove – the dove’s head immediately
lifted up, its wings tucked in next to its body, and
the traces of swelling and blood shrank down until
they disappeared.  The dove’s eyes looked about
the room and blinked.

Fighter looked up at the dove and the childlike form
of the Healer.  “Good-bye my treasure,” he said.  
“Good-bye my dream….”

And the Healer and dove vanished.

“Come,” said the Lion, “We can go on from here….”

But Fighter, for a very long minute, said nothing in
return.  And then he rose from the table, and softly
said, “I have nothing to live for…”

“Good Fighter!” said the Lion, “That is not true!  
This lie does not come from the Snake or the
Serpent, it does not come from the shadows that
they assigned to plague you – this thought comes
from your own despair.  Do not listen to it!”

“Did you not hear me, Lion?” said Fighter, “I have
nothing…. Nothing at all now!”  Fighter glared at
the Lion, and then shook his wrist-guarded fist, “I
have … nothing … to live for!”

“Do not listen to this voice!” shouted the Lion.  
“Fighters live for their dreams!  Their dreams are
their treasure!  You are now called to the eighth
mountain!”

And with that, Fighter turned his back on the Lion,
and spoke ancient words into the air:  “Dry
places…”

“Stop!” shouted the Lion, “you must not go there!”

“Seeking rest…” continued Fighter.

“Fighter, hear me!” said the Lion, “Many go there
and few return!”

“And finding none!” Fighter’s words echoed in the
hidden room, his body glistened, and a dull and
cracked portal appeared in the space before him –
the portal engulfed his body as if sucking up a small
piece of dirt, and then both the fighter and portal
vanished.

“He was, oh my Father,” wept the Lion, “so close
to reaching the eighth mountain of the Gauntlet.  
So close….  I would have become his dream, I
would have become his dove.  He would have lived
a life of showing mercy to himself and others….”

And the Lion turned his face towards the heavens,
“Father, grant for this man called Fighter… grant
for him the Deputy of the Rock.  In this manner, if
he is overcome by his depression, it will be solely
his choice.  Let no one interfere.”

And a voice spoke, a sound like rushing water of a
river, “I have heard you, my son, and it is done.”

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

Chapters 22 through 24