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J.A. Aarntzen

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The Golden Orb
By J.A. Aarntzen
Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rated "G" by the Author.

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"The Golden Orb" is my very first story. It was written in 1978 shortly after I finished reading "The Lord of the Rings". I created my own Middle Earth which I named Taraharmonia. I have written two long novels regarding the history of Taraharmonia and a collection of short stories that are set here.

The Golden Orb

Diego’s smile stretched across her face. She was certain that her translation from the old Ehandrovian manuscript was exact. Many before had tried to crack the code of the ancient, archaic runes.
She mused over her accomplishment. It was no simple task. She had gone over the text thousands of times without being successful. But this time she had keyed on a seldom-used linguistic trick. This stratagem opened up the lost world of the Old Empire.
Diego decided that she would present her translation to the Ael Master in the city of Eegen. So the next day she journeyed to the distant holy city where she was given audience to the aged master.
The old master of lore had a brief conversation with Diego and then he was left alone to read yet another version of the manuscript of an age gone by. The text’s original author drifted into anonymity with the passing of the eras.
Diego’s translation went thus:
Since time immemorial, Taraharmonia had undergone long periods of darkness. There was only one source of light. That was the heavenly body of Villa whose amber light bathed the lands. But Villa’s glow would only last one fifth as long as the nether void that always ensued afterwards.
This caused much despair among the people of the lands. Dorrians, Ehandrovians and all those of the lesser territories spent more than half of their waking lives having to cope with utter blackness. Trust and amicability among the peoples were minimal. In the darkness, promises of the light held little meaning.
Constant feuding was rampant among the lands and within each land. Many pondered how humanity had survived for as long as it did. Insecure kings and rulers felt that they had to attack other lands first before their lands were smitten. Terrible wars would result where many perished because of the paranoia of the monarchs.
Among the common people life was not much more sane. When not forced to fight the kings’ battles, they would engage in their own petty spats.
Families were torn asunder by the bickering that would constantly occur between individual members. The darkness of Taraharmonia did little in causing people to draw closer and lament each other’s fears.
When the sun, Villa, spent her few hours hoisted above the lands, a disquieting calm would appease the nerves of the peoples. During these periods humanity could stand humanity. There were signs that friendliness could be achieved both among the peoples and among the lands. But when Villa’s loft would ebb, paranoia and spitefulness would once again reign.
This was the way of the lands since the dawn of the people’s collective memory. But a young sage came into being and clasped existence and forever changed it. This young sage happened to be a prince of one of the small kingdoms. His name was Tyra.
Tyra at first was no different than any of the hundreds of princes that populated Taraharmonia. His father, the King, was grooming him to be another suspicious, malingering belligerent tyrant. However, there was another influence over young Tyra and that was one of his father’s minions. This happened to be Argoh the Mystic.
Argoh was one of the few mystics of that period whose wizardry stemmed from the lights of Villa. The majority of the sorcerers claimed their mystic powers were rooted deeply in the all-pervading darkness.
Most monarchs winced upon Wizards of the Light because their source of power was so fleeting. However for some unexplained quirk, Tyra’s father allowed Argoh to be in his court.
While Tyra was yet a child, Argoh would tell him about the powers and energies that emanated from Villa. Tyra was told that if he had a total conviction and total concentration on the heavenly body, its amber light would remain with him long past the fading of the sun. Argoh claimed that if one had a mental image of Villa, once could traverse in the darkness with ease. Fear and distrust could be erased.
Tyra tried to follow the wizard’s instructions but no matter what he did in trying to picture Villa, he was still blind in the darkness. Luckily, the Wizard of Light was persistent in keeping the young Tyra practicing the mental exercise and would not allow him to lapse into frustration.
Each day Argoh was able to spend some time with the prince teaching him how to increase his meditative skills. Yet, for all their effort, there was nothing to show. This was due to the King’s meddling in his son’s life. Tyra had to learn military strategy that was distinctly analytical in nature. The skills that Argoh was trying to instill were holistic in nature and thus diametrically opposed to what the King was teaching.
A fortunate incident for Argoh caused Tyra to have a falling out with his father. This placed Tyra wholly under Argoh’s influence. The fear and mistrust that the King tried to inculcate into his son came into the fore in his own relationship with his now adolescent child. The King had a delusion that Tyra was determined to usurp his throne. With this idea entrenched within his mind, the King banished Tyra and Argoh from his kingdom.
In exile, Tyra learned much more from the Wizard of Light. With the passing of each day Argoh would relate to the prince many of the secrets of light. These dealt with among other things, the intricacies of keeping an enhanced image of light in one’s mind. More importantly, Argoh taught Tyra how to maintain a single thought through all distractions.
After several sessions he was convinced that the prince had an unusual mental gift. He had never before witnessed such a rapid mastery of the sorcery arts.
Tyra maintained the image of Villa within his mind throughout the long Taraharmonia night. With the amber sun fixed in his mind, he managed to follow a twisting, treacherous path along a mountainside in utter darkness.
Argoh watched his student in total amazement. Even he was not able to complete such a feat in such a short period. Tyra’s training was continued into other realms of wizardry. The arts of conjuring were the next skills Argoh wanted to impress upon the banished prince.
He began by demonstrating his own abilities. He set his mind into concentration. His eyes took on the amber flames of Villa. Tyra was able to feel the intensity generating from his mentor. Sweat droplets formed upon Argoh’s brow. His skin began to redden. Then, out of nowhere, in his extended hands appeared small blue flames that sputtered with the breezy air. Gradually in the center of the flames there formed a miniature icon of the golden orb, Villa.
Tyra was fascinated by the Wizard of Light’s display of magic. He watched in awe as the blue flames grew in size and swallowed the golden orb.
Argoh claimed that the source of this feat was a profound trust in the heavenly lights that descend upon the lands. Once this trust has been established, one would develop a naturalness within one’s self. Any feat is within grasp once one becomes natural.
Over the next few weeks the two banished men engaged in the mastering of the sorcery arts. Tyra showed tremendous expertise in these transcendental exercises. This left Argoh aghast.
The prince was able to reproduce the Wizard of Light’s golden orb feat within a month. It had taken Argoh half his long life to accomplish the same. Tyra showed that he would far exceed in potential any of the other sorcerers that roamed the lands. Argoh delighted over the fact that Tyra was in league with Villa rather than being a sorcerer of darkness.
After two years of exile both fugitives decided that the time had come to return to their homeland. Once back they discovered that a terrible war was ravished leaving many of the countrymen killed. The King was kidnapped and some feared that he might have been murdered. But a message had been sent claiming that the King’s life would be excused if the peoples would accept the regent from the neighboring land as their sovereign.
The people of the land did not love their King. It mattered little to them if the old sod was put to the chopping block. They preferred to have Tyra as their king. But Tyra, himself, felt remorse for his father and decided to accept the ransom conditions.
With a small entourage of men Tyra journeyed to the Regent’s palace. He carried with him the Silver Sable that was the symbol of the monarchy of his land. He arrived at the castle and was granted an audience with the Regent.
He entered the grand chamber and was astonished to see his father seated, unbound, next to the Regent. There was nothing there to indicate that the old king was a prisoner. There was not even a guard posted. The sight of this left Tyra perplexed. He asked his father why and discovered that this was a fiendish plot by his father to destroy him. The King in his insane jealousy over Tyra’s popularity had joined forces with the Regent. They staged a mock war in which many of the peoples in both lands were killed. All of this was done in order to lure Tyra to the throne. Once the prince assumed the sovereignty of the land the Regent’s army along with the King’s Secret Guard would invade the land and slay the new monarch.
By Tyra accepting the ransom conditions, it made the King’s quest all the simpler. He and the Regent would have Tyra charged with treason. Upon hearing this, Tyra became infuriated by its diabolical scheming. Extreme rage raced through his veins and with the Silver Sable, Tyra slew the Regent. He took his father captive and proceeded back to their homeland.
The war-weary people showed little emotion in the return of their royal family. Tyra left them unclear on the treachery of his father. They were led to believe that Tyra performed a heroic deed in saving the King from the evil Regent. However the peoples were not impressed about the political affairs and intrigues of their ruling class. They were all too busy fighting among each other.
Tyra restored his father to the throne in name only. He now held the real authority in the land. He had a heavy heart because of the inability of the peoples to get along with one another. There was bickering between his servants, feuding between families, everywhere there was nothing but a static irritation that hung over the peoples. All the faces continuously carried an angry scowl. All the faces that is except for that of the Wizard of Light. In Argoh’s eyes, Tyra saw peace and internal bliss.
Argoh’s soul was rooted in light, in Villa. The others’ hearts were grounded in the darkness that abounded. Tyra realized that it was this bleakness in attitude that was destroying his people. If there was more light, fighting and hate might give way to friendship and understanding. An idea came to the prince’s mind.
He left the palace in the middle of a particularly black night. With the image of Villa illuminating his mind, his route through the hills and dales to the seashore was crystal clear. 
Argoh was the only witness to his departure. He followed the prince at a distance all the way to the seashore. Awe filled the Wizard of Light’s heart as he watched the prince walk upon the waves that pounded the shoreline. Once he was about half a mile out from shore, Tyra suddenly stopped.
A few moments passed and then Argoh was able to discern a small blue flame fluttering in the prince’s palms. The flames grew gradually in size and intensity. A small golden orb formed in the center of the tongues.
The fires now had spread to other parts of Tyra’s body. The prince’s eyes were now glowing in a bright golden hue. The orb was growing and it began to encompass Tyra’s body. It appeared to Argoh that Tyra’s body was evaporating into the sphere. Soon all that the wizard was able to see was the golden orb engulfed in blue flames. Tyra’s corporeal self had entirely vanished.
The wind picked up suddenly and blew toward shore. Argoh had to shield his eyes from the gale and also from the increasing brightness of the ever-expanding orb. The blue flames were now being drawn into the orb and it began to rise into the sky. It still grew and grew.
The light that Tyra’s orb generated was powerful enough to penetrate the blackness, shadows gave way to form. It was like the rising of Villa except this orb was much more powerful. Tyra’s sun was now standing at a magnificent height in the sky. From this point it spread its light over the lands like a caring mother’s hands toward her children.
Villa had now also taken to the sky but it could not achieve the height that Tyra had attained. Light was now more abundant than Argoh had ever believed possible. Tears swelled in his eyes as he realized what the prince had done. Tyra had become a heavenly body.
Proud did he beam in the sky. He took a long, slow course across the heavens spreading his light to all those beneath. At first when the people witnessed the new orb in the sky a great fear overcame them. In this fear, they grabbed hold of each other in the seeking of alleviation. This they found.
As time wore on their fears could not be substantiated by the new heavenly presence. Fear gave way to an affection toward the golden orb.
Villa had descended from the sky but Tyra continued to sail through the ether. Finally the new sun began to tire and he drifted slowly downward. Hearts became heavy, as the peoples all feared that the new sun would never return. Darkness had come upon the lands once again. There was some evidence that edginess returned to the tempers of the peoples.
But the darkness was short-lived. In only half the period of a normal night, Tyra sprang into the sky and shone proudly. He was bringing hope, love and peace to the lands. The rulers of all the kingdoms put down their arms. Many borders were dissolved.
The King lost his jealousy for his son. He felt a great remorse for the loss of his child whom he imagined was slain by assassins on the eve of the miracle of the orb. In honor of his son, he appointed Argoh as his chief advisor. He ridded his court of all the sorcerers of darkness. All kings, save a few, did likewise with their conjurors of blackness.
Each day Tyra would rise and take to the sky and guard over those who lived below. A long period of peace came upon Taraharmonia.
The Old Master finished Diego’s version of the ancient Ehandrovian text. He shook his head. He summoned the young translator the next day. An angry frown dominated his face as he hurled the translated text at the puzzled student.
“Such blasphemy will not be tolerated! Revise this translation! Everyone knows that the sun Tyra was hatched from a Chryberd’s egg!”
Diego’s head sunk low into her chest as she left the room. She wished that there could have been a prince named Tyra to spread his enlightenment upon a world that kept to the shadows.


       Web Site: Storyteller On The Lake

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