New Dawn

<1>

The city flourished. Its towering buildings and large winding stairways were evidence alone that something supernatural had visited our well-refined home. That something not like ourselves had played some role in the creation of our marvelous city.

Only a few of our Order knew the true birthing of Atlanta and its marvels that flourished within its walls. My father once told me that the Dark Clothed Ones were responsible for our well being. For our lives that were envied by all that sailed past from the seas.

I, Teo Lan, was not witness to our city’s creation, but was witness to our destruction; and these are assuredly my final words.

<2>

“It is not our way! You cannot possibly think that we would accept . . . this!” Liuwh was angry. His words spewed from his mouth like hot ash from fiery coals. The small enclave was crowded with those who were most interested in the greatest debate ever known in our life times.

“It is the will of the Ancient that all men such as yourselves live under the laws of Hanoism.” The dark-clothed one, Thomas, carefully replied.

“What is this Hanoism? Truly? What can it bring us that we do not already have? For a century our ancestors have lived here in peace behind these walls. The covenant shared with Legiferum ab Hanum will see that we live for centuries more!”

Thomas turned to look at his leader, but Arlis was paying him no mind. From the back of the room, Arlis stood and quietly stared at my father. It was my father’s duty to hold the peace, and yet it seemed that he could not still the anger that loomed within Liuwh, and what was rapidly growing within the hearts of many of our people who choose to partake in the debate.

“Such a young culture,” Arlis quietly spoke. All turned to look at him as his body softly lied against a column. His eyes gazed downward and his head was low. He was thinking. Manipulating. And it was working.

“We may be a young people,” the silence finally broken by Liuwh, “but we still have achieved much in our life time. This is the truth of our people. It is our foundation.”

Arlis silently stared at Liuwh, and we watched expectantly. Anticipating some eloquent rebuttal. But there was none.

Moments passed before the silence was broken.

“They need time. We all do.” My father quietly responded. “You cannot expect us to make such a great decision on a whim.”

Arlis slowly pushed himself from the wall, and stepped forward. Children and women were forbidden in the Enclave of the Elder Kings. Our voices were not required to be heard, and therefore our presence was not needed. But my curiosity had overcome me. I was less than a summer short of being allowed within the sacred walls, and yet I carefully had hidden myself behind a column while giving a watchful eye to my surroundings.

Arlis approached the people, and Thomas quietly backed away. My father did not move a muscle and his eyes were set on Arlis’ stern expression, but in the deepest regions of his eyes, behind the shades of grey and color of hazel that inhabited and marked our kind, I saw something that I had never seen before in my father; and prayed to never see again. I saw fear.

“Legiferum ab Hanum is a lie.” The grumbles began. The quiet murmurs had rapidly risen and my people’s faces had said enough. They were offended by Arlis’ words, and I quietly watched as Thomas glared at his leader with disdain.

Arlis walked past my father and centered himself among the people. He was different than the others. His face was stern and his glare unyielding. His very nature revealed his power among his group. I never understood why they were allowed within the city walls. They had never ruled within its walls. Never had any say on the Elder’s council; but there influence was still evident.

It was not just Arlis that was of outcast within our city walls. All of those who we dubbed the Dark Clothed Ones were different. Their skins were of varying degrees of shades of color, their hair was dark, and their eyes represented many colors and not that of just one. For the exception of one they called Simon, they all inhabited the same mysterious glare. Quiet, yet powerful. Yes . . . they were different, and remarkably so. They were a society within themselves, and yet they lived among our own.

<3>

“Who are you?” Arlis said, as his deepened stare scanned the crowd. The people looked among themselves, unsure of how to answer.

“Who are you?” Arlis asked again. After a long silence, he smiled, as if satisfied with the seemingly ignorance of our own people. “You are nothing… nor are that of your so called beliefs.”

“Blasphemy!” Someone cried out, but Arlis continued.

“This city is nothing without those whose hands built it! Do you truly believe your ancestors just stumbled upon its city gates? Its walls? Did you truly believe that they just claimed it for their own, abandoned and lost to its original builders?” The crowd was hushed. Silenced. Arlis’ words provoked our minds, and we were left to momentarily wonder in our stead. Was it there for a reason? Were we brought here in some way, in some form of time, and these walls erected for our stead?

“You ask who we were, but who are you?” Nyi, an outspoken woman within the city, stepped forward.

Arlis curiously looked at her. “Remove your shroud.”

Nyi did so, and my father quickly grabbed her arm. “Forgive her. Her shortcomings are due to her generation and their ignorance. She does not willingly speak out of defiance.”

“I say and do as I please. It is not through my father that I am possessed to do as such. But a mind that sees more than a table of men seated where the concerns of our people are made.”

Gasps and the resuming of loud murmurs filtered through the enclave. I could see Nyi’s skin turn white, from where my father forcibly squeezed her arm in a bid for silence.

“Release her.” Arlis quietly commanded.

My father removed his grip, and Nyi said nothing as Arlis glanced around at the dazed faces.

“All peoples within this city’s walls have a right to speak.” He turned to Nyi with a subtle smile. “So tell me of your thoughts.”

“You speak of Hanoism, and yet you tell us not of its origin. You expect us to turn our backs on the only beliefs we have ever known. You speak to us as if you are our keeper.”

“Nyi!” Liuwh shouted with anger.

Arlis placed his hand in the air, and Liuwh angrily stepped back, his lips pursed, as if trying to will his anger to silence.

“We are not your keeper. We cannot promise you anything, but this . . . ” Arlis turned to Thomas, who removed a small leather book from his inner coat. It was dark, and I could tell even from where I was standing that the rigid linings of the book were that of old parchment. Arlis took the book, and raised it in the air for all to see. “Hanoism is your path. An ancient path, established long ago. Before time was time. Before you were ever a glimmer in the eyes of a destined future.”

Nyi’s eyes intensely stared into the face of Arlis, trying to see the truth within his own eyes.

“What can it save us from that the Legiferum ab Hanum already spares us of?” Arlis momentarily stared at Nyi. A smile formed across his face, as if satisfied with her boldness and curiosity.

“Destruction,” he finally proclaimed. “There was once a city like yours. You know this from the tales of Legiferum ab Hanum. It tells you the city was destroyed. That Sion was swallowed up, for possessing the same natural powers that you yourselves possess. But what it does not tell you is that you can be saved. You can be spared.”

“And the answers exist there?” Nyi quietly spoke, pointing at the book.

“Within this book contains all the answers you so desperately had hoped to receive but feared to ask.”

The enclave was once again quiet, and all looked at the mysterious, dark clothed ones before us. “Why trust . . . why follow a belief that declares your destruction? That states you were never to exist? That you were nothing but a mistake?” Arlis continued without waiting for a response. “What man chooses death over life?”

I did not understand Arlis’ reasoning nor his suspect glare that was directed towards my father who stood before him in utter silence.

Arlis turned to Thomas and without the utterance of a single word, Thomas removed the rigid leather book from his leader’s hand.

“You have to the rising of the sun to choose your path.” Arlis turned to walk away.

“Our path?” Liuwh curiously spoke.

Arlis turned back towards Liuwh, his eyes were like stone and fire all at once. “Choose wisely,” Arlis spoke before Thomas bowed his eyes in submission, and followed Arlis from our sanctuary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


− two = 7