The Angels Saga
CHRONICLES OF THE
CHILDREN OF DESTINY
Lucy Smith: Choices of the Heart
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
Copyright Daniel Daly
Lucy Smith and the Dark Lords of Evil
Lucy Smith: Choices of the Heart
Lucy Smith and the Children of Haven
Jonathon and Lucinda
Lucy Smith - The Dark Lords of Evil
She sat by the Cooma creek, down from the pool, in the little park. It was 'Her' place. She had been here a hundred times, literally, in the last few months. A hundred times, or more, searching the soul, searching the heart, searching for the infinite.
She lived, now, next to the pool. The very first house on Mittagong Road, right next to the pool. She had paid a fairly large sum to purchase the place, yet the people happily sold it in the end, and then she had dreams of a lady working with children in a theatre type of setting, and somehow it seemed connected to the house. Funny that. Houses carried memory. A lot like people. Real people. Human people.
She sat in her little park, looking at the traffic as it ocasionally worked its way along Massie street, headed for Cooma North, or the inner east of the town. Perhaps even Cooma East, but there were other ways to get there. Perhaps even right out to the Murumbidgee, or beyond, a road she had not yet dared on her pushbike. Perhaps one day. If she would dare it. The traffic was suitable for a Saturday. Busy, people enjoying the weekend, which Cooma people, in her opinion, particularly did. Lawnmowers. The sound of them, perhaps like nowhere else she had been, she had gotten used to in Cooma in her abode. Afternoons, mornings, the crank of the mower sounded, and happilly trimmed its grass, a constant in the life of Lucy Smith which reminded her what she had chosen life in Cooma for anyway. Normalisation. She looked over at Centennial park and, ironically, the witches faire was again on this year, and, in normal circumstances, it would have been the biggest event possible for the life of Lucy Smith. In normal circumstances. But things, now, had changed. Things were no longer the same. The gay abandon of youth in the pursuit of a 'Magical World' were fairies ruled your heart, and goblins and orcs were the foe, and things like Tax Accountants and Dentists were trivial Muggle concerns had - in reality - gone. Gone, not by lack of power in the heart and ability of Lucy Smith, for if it were some strange genetic code which empowered this witch of renown, those traits had not lapsed and, perhaps even more so than ever, ready to be used to the utmost if necessary. No, they were not gone for lack of ability. Nothing as such. Nothing at all as such. It was the starkest of things which defined so many lives of those who looked back in days gone by of agedness, thinking, what did I do with it all, in the lives of those who, when faced with the endless doing what you have always done to get what you had always got, did that one simple thing which changed things, and often changed things dramatically. It was choice. As cold and stark and basic and as simple as that. She was no longer a witch, not by any contest with the dark lords, or a spell from a hostile competitor, or a romantic and tragic curse of ill repute, but by the most simple and basic decision of all. To obey the rules of the Infinite One upon High - the God of Creation - and forego witchcraft through the act of obedience to his holy Torah. Which, in the end, was simply a decision. A choice. To obey or not to obey. Her own will.
And becuase Lucy Smith was a devoted Noahide, and because Lucy Smith enjoyed reading the Tanakh, and because she liked both of those Daniel's who were involved in the Haven Fellowship for Noahides, and because, in the search for the infinite, in the search for the truth, in the search for love, in the search for glory, in the search for ultimate meaning - in the search to be moral and holy in accordance with what God says - she had foregone witchcraft, and was now, beyond all doubt, apart from the abilities which had not yet left, simply and humbly, a muggle. A non-magic user, who lived an ordinary life, who did ordinary things, who made ordinary choices, and was anything other than extraordinary. That was the stark, basic, simple and true choice, Lucy Smith, daughter of David, cousin of Jonathon, had made.
And she was sticking with it.
* * * * *
Enrique Lopes looked at the old car. It would do. So much for his faithful dragon.
When he got home he showed it off to Lucy.
'You call that a car?' she asked him.
'What's wrong with it?' he asked her, looking defensively at the old Holden.
'Its a wreck,' she said. 'I wouldn't put my grandmother in that old thing.'
'Who's your grandmother?'
She considered the point. 'Well, I don't precisely know, Enrique Lopes. But if I knew who my grandmother was, I certainly wouldn't be putting her in that beast. The rust is enough to sink the Titanic - again.'
'I think I can grind it down,' he said. 'And repaint it. I like the car.'
She thought on her wealth, but remembered one of their cardinal rules together. Normality.
'Ok,' she said. 'It will do.'
'Good. I'll get to work on it right now. I have most of the tools I need in the shed. I'll paint it later on today.'
'Do as you will,' she said.
For the rest of the afternoon a grinding sound came from the carport as he filed away the rust, and when she looked at it when he had come in for a drink, it seemed in a bit better shape. Later, when he had painted it, which took a while, she looked it over when it had dried. Actually, it seemed alright now. A decent looking car. Wonders what a paint job could do.
'And beats riding a broomstick,' said Enrique. She punched him in the arm for that comment.
Daniel Daly - the angel Callodyn - came around that night. He had been invited over for dinner. There was the other member of Haven from Canberra with him, Aaron Goodsell. Daniel Rothchild was away. Daniel had been the one to get her questioning her witchcraft. He and Mandy had been together for a while, and he had been soft on them to start with, but eventually left Mandy because he didn't agree with messing around with the powers of the Dark Magic. And Mandy, while she was a White Witch, had questionable ethics at times. But she was schizo-effective or schizophrenic or something, and it was not always the heart of Mandy leading her to do what she was doing. But Daniel didn't really have the patience to endure that. And, in the end, he let Lucy Smith know that witchcraft, in whatever form it took, was not what he wanted to involve himself in in life. There was a dark power, and that power gave out of itself not for the purposes of goodness, ultimately. And while white witchcraft came from within, the knowledge of good and evil were ever inextricably linked, and sometimes, even the best of hearts, strayed. Even the best of them.
'Witchcraft, Lucy, is no big deal. Not to me. Most witches, as I have told you a number of times, simply do what they do for their own thrills and reasons, for they love the spell casting, but it is not for a regular person who loves God's bible in the way I love it. It is about proper human beingness. Proper human living. That is how I understand Karaite Noahide faith.'
'We have liberties available to us, Daniel,' said Shelandragh. 'I have started looking more into this faith. This section you quote, genesis 1 to 11:9. It doesn't, really, in the end say much on witchcraft.'
'You remember the Deueteronomy passage and its comment on the nations?' responded Daniel.
'It doesn't come accross as law upon the nations. As specific commands. No matter what you claim.'
Aaron spoke up. 'No, Shelandragh. It doesn't. God is not doing that. He wants to be subtle about it but, if you really want to get things right with him, you are supposed to get the point. He judges Israel and says don't do what the heathens do on these issues. He doesn't specifically judge the gentiles, but he tells his own not to practice those things. It is subtle. It is not commandments upon us. He has his own special community, but if you are non-jewish and want to connect a bit more closely to him, he asks you this much. Get the point. Argue, if you want to. He doesn't care. Its your life. He will still love you somewhat anyway. But, if you want his will. IF you CHOOSE his ways, becausde you WANT to. If then. Well, magic, for a Noahide, is one of the first things we are supposed to consider letting go of if we have it in our life.'
'Oh,' said Lucy. 'I see. I see what you mean. He isn't insisting. It's up to us.'
'I think he wants us to get the point,' said Daniel, 'but, yes. He is not being so Overlording that he will make absolute commands towards yourself. His son, Israel, cops that. The worldly flock of Noah, well. Well we cop it if we choose to. And me and Aaron pretty much choose to. Ok.'
Shelandragh conceded the point. The interpretation had been expressed. The obligation was her own, if she chose to act upon it. It was her choice. And, for Lucy sitting there, it was clearer now also.
And she loved God.'
And she wanted to please him.
And she liked holiness concepts.
And while she really, really, really liked being a witch.
She wanted to obey the creator, even more than that.
* * * * *
'You and Daniel Rothchild. Your brothers. I can tell. You look practically identical.'
'A freak of nature,' responded Daniel Daly. 'But, one of the things I sometimes think I see in nature, is in how people with the same name often at times have similar features. As if there is an archtype representative of our names, perhaps the first bearer, or the most famous one, and when the kid comes out the suitable name is chosen. By no means infallibly so, but sometimes I reckon there is a higher power at work.'
'Interesting,' said Lucy. 'But I don't think so. You and him. Your brothers. Your mother must have played around.'
'Mary Daly is the last kind of lady who would play around,' responded Daniel laughing. 'She is a strict old Catholic nun, in reality. She wouldn't do that kind of thing.'
'How much older is Daniel than you? Or Matthew?'
'Uh, can't remember exactly. Just a few years older than Matt I think.'
'So maybe it is possible,' said Lucy.
'Or, more likely, that there is a Baker or a Daly somewhere back in the family tree of the Rothchild clan. That is probably all it is. Just a freak of nature. Of genetics. These things happen all the time, Lucy. Ok Don't get your knickers in a knot.'
'Mmmm,' she said, but she wasn't convinced.
That afternoon Daniel was looking at a picture of Daniel Rothchild. Really, they were brothers. In the most important way. Building Haven Noahide Fellowship and Haven Outreach, which young David, Daniel Rothchild's younger brother, valued greatly. But that was just like David. To care for the disaffected in society. To show them love. To show them concern. To show them the grace of God. To give a damn.
The Rothchild's were now an important part of Daniel's life. Alexander, David and Daniel's father, was also a good friend of Daniel's, and his words of wisdom often shaped Daniel's views on life, especially his devotion to God, which was intense. And, it was strange. It was like he had known him before. And Daniel and David as well. Like, in another life, they had been the best of friends, and they had all lived a similar destiny before. Untrue, of course. This was life - their first time around - it could never really have been any other way. Could it?
He smiled at the picture of Daniel holding a fish he had caught in Tathra. He was a competitive soul, Daniel Rothchild, and while his sarcasm was strong, somewhat like his own funnily enough, there was a strong caring heart in him which he admired. And saw much in him that he valued himself.
Yes, they were brothers. If not in name, then definitely in spirit. Definitely in spirit.
He sat down at the table, Lucy in the other room, preparing the nightly meal. She had invited him to stay for a while, just to chat. Just to talk. He put the picture back into his satchel, back in the little pocketbook of photographs he carried around with him, and picked up the glass of wine. He sipped on it. It was semi sweet, and red. Almost perfect to his preferred taste, a taste he was still looking for. Perhaps he would end up having to grow his own grapes and make his own wine to eventually get the perfect taste. Or bother to get around to trying them all. Lucy came in the room, as he sipped the final drop and sat down opposite him on the old, familiar table. It was one his family had had for generations, but when his mother had passed it had come to him. He had given it to Lucy as a recent birthday present, and it was like an old friend, familiar. Part of him in many ways, a spark from his childhood.
'Your looking at the table,' she said.
'Oh. Yeh. Just thinking. Old memories. Old, deep, memories.'
'You can have it back if you want to,' said the girl anxioiusly.
'No. No, its ok. You can make memories with it as well.' She smiled, comforted by that.
'What was your childhood like? Here in Cooma?'
Daniel sighed. 'That was a long time ago, now. We're old, you know. Longer lived than most people.'
'Like Shelandragh,' said Lucy. 'She claims to be ancient.'
'She possibly is,' responded Daniel. 'But at 154 I really am starting to feel it as well. The length of days. They say, all the time, genetic wonders about those of us who keep on going. Hardly aging. Living so long. A good 1 to 2 percent of the world population, living extremely long lives. Many say good diets, are good attitudes on life, or lots of other things. So much speculation on us.'
'And I can still have children,' she said, smiling. 'Replenishment. This is the third time as well.'
'But you haven't had any yet,' he commented, looking at her seriously.
'Not yet. Oh, Enrique has often hinted that one day. One day, when he has ridden his dragon for the final time, we will finally settle down. But, before, when I passed 45 and the last of my bloodings came and went, he said he would love me forever anyway. And when it started happening for the second time we got serious for a while. But it was only a few years and they were gone again. But now - its been 17, and the doctor says I have about 25 more years worth of them.'
'You had it checked?' he asked her.
'Yes,' she replied. 'I had to. This time, I think. For sure. I don't want to risk it again. Even if we don't really appear to be aging much.'
'Oh. I'm getting older,' he responded. 'I feel it. In the mornings, the creaking bones. Even if I don't look it.'
'That is just life. We are ready, normally, for the grave at our ages. Heck, well before our ages I suppose. Its a strange long life. So strange.'
He nodded, and reached for the wine bottle and poured himself another glass. 'Join me?' he asked her.
She nodded, and he poured her a glass.
Lucy stood and put on a Mozart piano concerto CD on the player, and as Elvira Madigan played in the background, the two of them sat there, in silence, reflecting. On long years, of years of happiness and joy, and a seemingly endless future before them, still full of mystery, still full of wonder, still full of life.
The following morning Enrique was gone in the car, off on some adventure or another, and Daniel sat in the back room, watching the scenery towards Crisp Street, lost in memories. Cooma was such an entrenched part of his heart. So much of his life lived her and in this region.
Lucy Came in again. Well,' she said.'
'Your youth? Your younger years? Here in Cooma? What were they like?'
Daniel smiled. 'I was not the holiest boy in youth, you know. Not exactly. I was Catholic, like the whole family, but at 16 I ventured into my own faith in nothing really at all. Just didn't care. Didn't really believe in God. Didn't really disbelieve. Just had no time for church. There were friends back there, and I remember the old pinball arcade, were I played games like Gauntlet 2 and Space Ace and Hyper Olympics and others. They were good times. Fun times. Full of life and vitality. We were bad boys, in a way, but never mean boys. Pinching things from shops, and playing cricket. We even won an indoor cricket b grade competition in my final year in Cooma before the family moved to Canberra. I got a trophy, but that is long gone.'
'Were there any. You know. Girlfriends.'
He looked up at her. 'Oh. Yes, you might want to know about such things. Well, sort of. Louise. There was Louise. But I liked Jenny Cheetham. The first girl I really loved. She was English, like me, smart and pretty. She was a pentecostal, and I met her again later on in life.'
'You never married,' said Lucy.
'No. Not yet. Haven't found the right girl yet. Karaite Noahide faith hasn't done anything, yet. Apart from me and Aaron. And you, I guess. You say that Karaite Noahidism is, in the end, were it is for you.'
'Yes. Yes, I'm a Noahide. Not the 7 laws. I agree with you on the problems with the Talmud. Really, mainly just a Noahide rather than specifically a Karaite one, but, yes, I do honour the scriptures, and I don't follow the 7 laws. Its were I fit in in the end. But just me. Just Lucy. Just Noah's covenant. Its what makes me me.'
'Right,' he said nodding. 'I get that from some people. Just being themselves. Just being who you are. But for me the Tanakh is the main book, as well as the Haven literature. And while I hated religion once, it is what grabs me. It is what propels me. It is the information - the knowledge - which I thrive on.'
'Yes. Yes, that is what you are like,' she said, smiling.
'And do you like what you see?' he asked softly.
'I wouldn't have you any other way, Daniel Daly.' And he smiled at that.
'And what about your youth, Lucy Smith.'
'You know most of it.'
'You travelled, though. Before coming to Chakola.'
'That was so long ago. I can't even remember were, really.' But that wasn't completely true. She did remember snippets, but nothing firm. She was so young. But there was glimpse from very young, back in England. A glimpse. Of' a room, with a photograph on the wall. A photograph of her father David. She'd seen others her mother had shown her of him, but David was gone to the family now. Gone forever. Lost to the power of Zoldarius. Gone before she had ever really known her father.
She thought on her father, and suddenly started sobbing. 'Oh, excuse me,' she said, and sat there, in her house on Mittagong road, sobbing into a hankie, thinking of the father she had never really known, with Daniel sitting opposite her, trying to look comforting, but nothing could comfort a hole in her heart that had never, ever, really been filled. Nothing.
After a while she sobered up, stopped crying, and looked at Daniel. 'Sorry.'
'What was the problem?'
'Daddy,' she said softly.
'You never met him.'
'No. That, that, man. Zoldarius. He took my father.'
'And you hate him, right.'
She nodded. Then thought better of it. 'No. No, I don't really hate Zoldarius. He is just - evil. It's just the way he is. The way he chooses to be. I am not sure if he can really help the way he is. Now.'
'We all make choices, Lucy Smith. Even Zoldarius made choices once, I suppose. From all that I have heard of him.'
'Then your right. I hate him,' she said bitterly, standing and going into the kitchen. Daniel followed her in.
He looked at her with mercy, and thought on something he felt he wanted to say. 'All the hating in the world won't bring David back.'
'No,' she said. 'It might make me feel better,' she said, slicing at a tomato to make a cheese and tomato sandwich.
'It probably won't. Evil takes the life of the possessor in the end. The scripture teaches us not to bear grudges. No matter how evil the person has been. We are certainly sure to administer justice, and taking the life of a wicked man is often condoned by Torah. And Zoldarius is no exception to that. But, in his eternal destiny, even Zoldarius's, there may, at some point, come that silliest of things. That silliest of things which makes him human in the end, as well.'
'And what is that?' she asked defiantly.
'Love,' he said simply.
'I don't think he is capable of it,' she said, feeling as if some sort of blasphemy had been spoken.
'He had a mother, right.'
'Don't you think there was a time, when he was young, that he loved his mother. His father. That he cared. That he had - a soul.'
'I don't want to talk about it,' she responded.
'Ok,' he said, and left the room.
But she sat there, making her snack, and as she poured out her orange juice, she called Daniel in for their little meal and looked at him.
'But how could he choose to be so evil? If love could ever permeat that heart, how could he ever choose such wickedness as he has done.'
'Lust. Lust for power. Lust for wealth. Lust for fame. Lust for his own glory. He has made choices, and doesn't care to go back on them.
She nodded. That sounded right.
'But why should I ever care about a cretin like Zoldarius?'
'I'm not asking you to. But grudges, in the end, hurt us more than the ones we hold the grudge against. Pity him. Just pity him, lost in his wickedness. And one day you won't hate him. You'll just understand he is a defiant soul, who has made his own choices, and is lost in a world of evil. And that, like all of us, he needs redemption.'
'I could wish him in hell,' she said.
'So could I, Lucy Smith. So could I.'
'You can't say he doesn't deserve it.'
'I wouldn't,' he responded softly.
'Good,' she finished.
Yet, that afternoon, a part of her understood that so many souls really didn't care that much in the end, and even chose darkness as a way of life. So many souls who hadn't worked it all out, or just had been hurt. Hurt, and didn't care anymore. Just didn't give a damn. And chose evil because of it. And, in seeing that Zoldarius might just be one of these lost souls, who the heart of love had yet to touch, she did have pity. She had pity and she forgave him from her heart. For bearing a grudge would only make her miserable, and life was too good to afford that.
* * * * *
Satan sailed on the sea of ecstasy, high on Hype, Fuck and Wank, his three favourite new wave drugs of choice, practically overloaded on them. But it took a lot to get Satan stoned - he was the Devil after all. Hallucinations of Sodomisic demons floated in front of him, tempting even the Devil, yet he said 'Go to hell faggots,' but, for a moment, almost tempted by their absolute uncaring behaviour. But he was a bad boy. And bad boys fucked hot chicks. Even the Devil had scruples. 'Well, if you are not going to join us, at least kill that Lucy Smith bitch.' And the Devil grinned sadistically. That much he could do.
He floated away all afternoon on his sea of ecstacy and, when the high started wearing off, tempted to reload, he thought better of it and wandered out to the main hall. Zoldarius was there, sitting on his throne, lost in his pathetic thoughts. Minor thoughts of power. Not the real thing.
Zoldarius stood. 'Yes, Lord Bradlock.'
'The Lucy Smith agenda. It is soon time to respond to her - once and for all.'
'Yes, my master,' said Zoldarius. 'What is your bidding.'
'Voices have spoken to me. The girl is soon to fall pregnant. A child - a kidnapped child - would be an excellent bargaining chip for us to win our agenda. The Dark One's agenda.'
'But are you not the Dark One?' queried Zoldarius confused.
'There is an even darker spirit,' said Satan. 'The heart of the Dark Magic. And its will is sovereign.'
'As you say,' said Zoldarius.
'We will wait for now. Yet, when she falls pregnant, watch. Assign that Grimlock fool, and at the right time, we will strike.'
'It is my pleasure to serve you, dark master.'
'Remember that,' said Bradlock, and disappeared back to his abode, ready to get high once again, and fight off some more of those alluring sodomistic temptations.
* * * * *
'Let's go to Lambie Gorge,' said Daniel. 'Its not too far a walk from here.'
'Where's Lambie Gorge?' asked Lucy Smith innocently.
'You've never been?' he asked surprised.
'Never even heard of it,' she responded.
'Hum. Funny,' he said. 'But why would you. Unless you had ever actually been shown the place. Some people might not normally think about looking there.'
'Where is it?' she asked.
'Down behind the showground. Behind the horse stables.'
'Oh. Right. Well, I've been there heaps. To the showground. That is where the nursing home is, behind the stables. I've been there once or twice.'
'Its behind that,' he said. 'Its part of the town walk.'
'Ok,' she said. 'I'll put some track pants on. We'll go shortly.'
Enrique had still not returned and, while Lucy Smith missed him, she still wanted to continue on with her latest fervour - normalisation of her life. Doing the things normal or regular people did. And a bush walk sounded ideal.
'We'll go at midday, if that is alright,' said Daniel. 'I fancy a Yummy Burger from the cafe. Still haven't changed the recipe. After all these years.'
'You do like those yummy burgers,' said Lucy smiling.
'Isn't that obvious,' said Daniel, patting his belly, which was just a little tiny bit overweight. Lucy laughed at that.
When she had changed they played Uno for about an hour, a card game favourite of Daniel's which they had been playing together for the last few days. It filled in time, and with a classical CD on in the background she was happy, in a way. Almost as if living a childhood she had not gotten to live, so caught up in the ways of magic and mystery. So caught up in the ways of fairey and fantasy.
When 11:30 ticked over Daniel said he was hungry enough anyway, so they locked the front door, Daniel armed with his carrybag he took everywhere, and Lucy, in her pink tshirt and trendy trackies, fancy sneakers on, which she had rarely worn, and they took off for the centre of town were Daniel got his Yummy burgers.
As they walked down past the pool and crossed into Centennial park, Lucy reminded herself again, normal life now. 'Well, I have never eaten a Yummy burger, but I'll give it a go.'
'Ooh,' said Daniel. 'Are you sure the amazing Lucy Smith can afford the weight gain?'
She smiled. A typical wisecrack from Mr Daly.
'Yes. I am not watching my weight. I never have been.'
'That's not what Madalene says.'
'Oh, shutup,' said Lucy.
'I mean, face it,' said Daniel. 'Women are vain. They are well known for it.'
'Witches are not vain.'
'But your not a witch,' said Daniel. 'Are you?'
She looked at him. Didn't really know what to say, so said nothing.
As he started hooking into his Yummy burger, she looked at her own. Indeed, it did look yummy. She was normally a 'Salad' girl, and rarely ate meat these days, but it didn't have any meat in it anyway.
She bit into it. 'Ooh, yum,' she said instantly.
'Exactly,' responded Daniel.
They ate contentedly, the traffic on Sharp street going about its typical busines, another normal day in another normal country town.
When they got to the showground and down to the stables, Lucy was somewhat excited. It would be interesting to see what this Lambie gorge actually was.
'We'll go to the lookout first,' said Daniel. 'And then we may as well go down to the water.'
'Ok,' said Lucy.
They continued on, past the nursing home, and the trail went up to a climb. She noticed a tributary of Cooma Creek was winding along beside the trail, and as they climbed up the ridge, steadily working upwards over rocks and outcroppings, they came to the lookout and looked down into the gorge. It was typical Cooma countryside, but she was surprised to see the gorge with the creek, like a little country river.
'Its a great view,' she said.
'Lets go down,' said Daniel.
They climbed down, into the gorge, down rocks and, getting to the water, Lucy looked at it.
'Can we drink it?'
'Oh, you probably could, I guess. It is running at the moment. Its probably fresh enough. Watch out for stagnant pools, though.'
'No, I won't drink any. Just curious.'
They sat there, Daniel having dunked his feet into the water after their walk, and Lucy got out some oranges.
'Want one?' she asked him.
'Thanks,' he responded.
They sat there, in silence, the sun beating down on them, enjoying the country like atmosphere so close to town.
'I would never have known this was here,' she said.
'Few do. Even those who have lived in Cooma for a long time don't often know about it. Sort of hidden away, behind the nursing home. I mean, you might never know about it unless someone showed it to you.'
'When did you first come here?' she asked him.
Daniel looked at the water, lost in thought. It was so long ago now, as a little kid, him and his adventures, especially with his brother Greg.
'I think a neighbour first showed us the place. But we came as kids. As you could imagine, I trawled all over Cooma in my youth. Yabbying in Cooma creek near the pool, riding bikes, getting into trouble. I have been all over this town. Its part of me. In so many ways right at the centre of my heart. Like Berridale, still.'
'And Canberra?' she asked him.
'Almost. It takes a lot to conquer that city. You have to get to know a lot of people and live there a long time.'
'I could imagine,' she responded.
He ate more of his orange. 'I remember, coming with Peter and Greg and Fabio, possibly. Misty, the dog, came along with us. We found old things lying about, just over there,' he said pointing. 'Once, coming back home from the place, Greg had a little accident and I had to be a doctor. It was nothing major, but it always stuck in my memory. I thought I was made out to be a doctor, possibly.'
'What are you made out for Daniel? I mean, what exactly do you do?'
He smiled. 'Not much, really Lucy. I write books. They don't really sell much, but are getting popular online. I am still on a Disability Suport Pension from the Government for my Schizophrenia. Have been for years. And I now have a few shares in my portfolio. I'm building that investment slowly.'
'Right,' she said.
'Oh, I get by with what I earn. Its ok.'
'You seem to have a lot of valuable things. Old things, I've noticed.'
'I collect a lot of stuff. Have done since my younger years. Comics especially.'
'I've noticed,' she said.
'Yep. Well, when I reached 60 I had a lot of money from superannuation. I had worked for a bit in my 20s, plus I made personal contributions. I bought a place, not far from here, actually, up in Cooma North. I guess I have never really mentioned that to you. It is where I keep my most prized possessions.'
'You own a home in Cooma?' she asked, surprised.
'Yeh. I stay there occasionally. But normally I am at my place in Mawson. A friend of mine from younger years. Marcus. When he died he left it to me in my will. We had lived together as friends for quite a while. Nothing gay or anything like that, even though sometimes I wondered about Marcus. No, we were just good and close firends, and had similar values and understandings on life. He was a great companion for a while. A good house mate, and very generous. He never had any kids and reamined a virgin till he died, and didn't really have anybody else close to leave the place to, so left it to me.'
'That was lucky,' she said.
'Very,' he responded. 'Plus I had money from mum when 29 Merriman sold. When mum died. I invested that well, also.'
'So you get by,' she said.
'I get by,' he responded.
They sat there for a while, and Lucy offered him some strawberries as well. He was deep thinker, quite obviously, was Daniel. But he was old, like Lucy. So old, now, yet so young as well. In many ways much of the trappings of older age had eluded her, because of her physical youth. Perhaps it was psychology, or even simply physical laws of nature, but she still had a lifestyle and mannerism more akin to the 30 year old she looked like. Daniel looked a bit older, but not that much. Ageless, as they had discussed. But, no, she noticed it each decade. Even a few grey hairs in the last 30 years. She was aging, albeit slowly, but definitely aging. One day she would meet the grave, presumably like her mentor, Shelandragh, who was so much older than both of them. She wondered if she would live to 1000. A full millennium. What a milestone. It would be weird, in many ways, living so long. All those memories, your latter years, it seemed, all lost in thought. Thinking back. Remembering. It was even like that now, somewhat, although her years had been full of excitement and adventure, with rarely an opportunity to reflect. But there were times, especially in this growing Cooma dynasty, were she sat in her house, especially in the back room, looking out towards Nijong Oval direction, often looking at the setting sun, just sitting there, a Mozart CD playing, relaxing. Reflecting. Wondering - what to do with her life. What to do with her soul.
Witchcraft had been central for so long, caught up in adventures with Shelandragh May, always, it seemed, fighting that bloody Grimlock and Lucifer and those other dark lords of evil. And Zoldarius. Her cousin Jonathon's long term nemesis. He never, really, left her alone for long either. Even though it had been a while now. And that Damien Bradlock. Him she hated, even though she didn't like to hate anyone. But he was so dark, in some ways making Zoldarius look tame. Him she could really do without. But, it seemed, destiny had chosen her - a special child of destiny, perhaps - and the dark lords of evil, for now, were part of that. Perhaps, some day, some fateful event would happen, some fateful choice, and they would leave her alone then. Satisfied in all their mean cruelty. Satisfied that they had done enough harm. And then she could live a normal life. A happy life. Living with Enrique, hopefully, God willing, having family. Having all the things so many others, witch and muggle, took for granted. But, it seemed, not yet. Not quite yet. There was a sense of foreboding, especially in her dreams, that a day of reckoning was soon approaching. A day in which penultimate dark encounters would take place and the life of Lucy Smith would reach a pinnacle, and then? Then a more calming and soothing existence would finally be her reward. But not yet. Not for now. For now the dark lords of evil still had an interest in her and Alexander Darvanius himself, one she really worried about in his growing fame and power, would also, likewise have his day of reckoning with Lucy Smith. Perhaps, in his own way, the darkest of the lords of evil. Perhaps, in his own way, the one to be feared most of all in the end. Perhaps.
She bit into her apple, noticed that Daniel had lied down and was snoozing in the afternoon sun so, finding a place to likewise lie down, she finished her apple, drank a little juice, and put on her iPod, mellowing out to old Evanescence songs, drifting away in the warm summer afternoon, happy, content and at peace with life for the most part. And, perhaps, just that little bit more normal. Just that little bit.
* * * * *
She was again at the little park, just betwen the pool and Centennial Park, Daniel had gone up to his house in Cooma North,and Enrique was still away. She didn't have her iPod with her today, instead she was down here to contemplate her situation again. In so many ways witches and wizards lived similar experiences to muggles, but it was still a different world as well. But Lucy had always known Madalene and her family, and she had lived in the real world and the world of magic, a dichotomy of competing ideologies, for so long that she was both of them in so many ways - witch and muggle. But now, with the last number of years in Canberra, talking with Daniel and Aaron, the children of Haven as they called themselves, learning about Noahide ways more so, finally connecting with what she had committed to in days of youth at Chakola, finally seeking out her faith and questioning her witchcraft, it was indeed the witchcraft which was questioned, and the muggle world which was ruling her heart. But could she ever deny the strange powers within her? Could she ever deny her father, or her cousin, or the power in the Smith name? Could she?
But she had. What was she saying. She had. Hadn't she?
She knew the passages in the Torah about witchcraft well now, looking at them more so in recent years, and sometimes she wondered what the witches of old really believed in about how it all came to be? So many answers in so many questions. Shamans and witch doctors and buddhist priests and scientists all said so many things about how it all came to be, and in so many of the cultures she had learned about there were ancient creation stories, all of strange origins, as much a flight of fantasy as a secular scientist might propose, but for the one from the Canaanite culture, were the bull god Elohim surfaced in the faith of the Hebrews as the supreme creator power of the universe, it became so much more than just legend with so many. It became fact. And if the witches knew this power, as it grew, why had they never really acknoweldged it? Why had they continued on in their witchcraft, if it was so wrong, if they had no other real answer to the power of life apart from magic itself? For that religion, the one she adhered to, the one so much of the muggle world revolved around, hated witches. Why? Why? What problem did God have with his devoted daughter Lucy Smith?
And then, in recent years, Shelandragh had been speaking to her about the source of magic, and the spiritual powers. And while she was an animistic witch, and the power mostly came from within, the world of witches used, often, powers from a different source. A - darker - source. The dark magic, as Shelandragh called it. The dark power of the dark lords. The sovereign will of evil itself.
But this was not the power of Lucy Smith, and she believed, in her heart, that what lay within her, her own spiritual magic, was good magic. White magic. She had never used it for evil. Never.
And was this white magic ok with God? Did God actually give her this gift? Was this a power from him? Like the gifts of the Holy Spirit for Christians, was this a good thing? Was it, as the lightworkers maintained, a source of goodness and healing in the world? Or was it the devil, robed in garments of light, speaking false words of goodness and love, a hidden power which had claimed her ancestors, the first of the Smiths to succumb, and had made arrangements for the powers he offered, camoflagued in goodness, yet with a horrible and hidden contract, a contract in which her very own soul might be claimed one day. These were her fears. That Smiths and other families in the craft were victims, sold to the dark powers in ancient agreements, and the magic they loved so much had cost them their very salvation. Lucy would not allow that. Lucy would never allow that.
She thought on the Hover spell, and how it controlled atoms, somehow affecting gravity around the item, so Shelandragh told her. And that how the formation of the spells, their intricate components, was done in the spirit world, were other powers worked and granted the spellcaster their will, and that some were chosen and the lucky ones to inherit these powers, more special than the mere muggle who was nothing to be considered to some. Nothing. And even Lucy had suffered from some of that pride, a halfblood, never really considered a proper witch by some of the elite in the magical community, never really considered one of them. And, in the end, perhaps they were right. Perhaps she just wasn't one of them. Perhaps she was Carolines daughter, and not David's, really. Perhaps she was a muggle in the end, even chosen for this strange salvation which Torah spoke of, learning the rules of God, and living a holy life. Perhaps, in the end, that was the better choice anyway. The sensible choice. The holy choice. Her choice.
She sighed. It had been a whle now, a decade or so, since her last spell. Since the time she put down her old copy of the JPS Tanakh, down into the bottom of her bookcase, and got down on her knees and prayed to God and said she would not practice it any more, and that, if he would, that he would forgive her. And that had been a decade ago, and the normality she was seeking had become the new issue for her life focus, and that witchcraft, as she promised God, was gone forever. No more to be practiced. She felt, perhaps, that she was in better moods these days, and a little happier in life. Perhaps. But not that much had changed. Just normal life. And, because of that, she questioned wether it had really been that big a deal anyway, and that maybe she was over-reacting, and that her white witchcraft was holy witchcraft and that, really, God didn't mind. Did he? No he didn't. Did he? Or, did he actually mind? Did he actually want her to choose her new life, to choose her new world of normal, to choose him? Did he?
Yet, whatever witchcraft was, whatever the source of its power, whatever its origin, even wether there was good magic and bad magic, no longer did it matter. No longer. The choice for Lucy Smith was, in the end, a choice of the heart. A choice to cleave to a power greater than even that of magic itself. The power which, she guessed, even created the magic for whatever purposes he had. And that power was that of Yahweh, God Most High, maker of Heaven and Earth. Yahweh's spiritual power was, in the faith she had been born into, Almighty. His name El Shaddai suggested that truth. It was a power greater than that of other powers on earth or heaven. Greater than all the gods of the ancient world, which Yah counted as nothing. Nothing but mere idols. Greater than electricity, or fire, or plasma, or gravity or nuclear power or anything really. And, most importantly, and most fundamentally of all divine truths - greater than the power of magic. Magic couldn't save her, in the end. There was no great bible on the salvation of the soul in the tomes of witchcraft which Torah offered. No great point to life, rather than to use magic to advance ones own life and ones own concerns. No, it was not the same. Never the same.
She chose God and Karaism, she guessed, because it was not a trivial thing for personal advancement, but a whole way of life, a whole halakah of the soul, which taught her moral and decent rules for getting along in the world with everyone, for respecting the life of neighbour, for respecting their property, for respecting their spouse, and, more importantly, for respecting and honouring God himself. It was holiness - the divine calling - which gave an answer to her hearts search for truth, the higher principles, higher than a witches code of honour, higher than an eastern mantra, higher than a new age gurus chit chat about past lives. It was the highest truth to the mind of Lucy Smith, the decency and concern of heart to be a proper, true and moral person. And in that truth the convenience of spellcasting to get ahead was sacrificed on the altar of genuine works, genuine faith, genuine love.
It was sacrificed on the altar of the natural world. The natural law.
Oh, witchcraft had those things too, in its own way, things of morality, things of decency, and love was not the divine stranglehold of one religion - it was universal. It always had been. No, iIt was not devoid of morality, and a white witch always chose good over evil. But the bible was the source which defined those very truths. The bible was the ultimate book which taught you to reject the knowledge of evil and choose the knowledge of good only. And in the faith of Karaism the morality of choosing what, in the end, were shortcuts on the natural life of creation, shortcuts on living the regular way God had made his humans to function, which appealed to the growing and expanding moral heart of Lucy Smith - the morality of choosing shortcuts in life which magic offered every day with every spell and ever incantaion - were replaced by that Karaism which didn't, in the end, putting it bluntly, cheat.
The natural world was the design of Yah. It followed natural rules and functioned in a natural way. And the sign of her covenant with God was the rainbow - a remarkably beautiful, but totally natural sign. In all the ways of nature, the sheep following in a line, bees buzzing after honey, the spider spinning its web, the rain falling at its natural time, the sun shining according to its natural rules, the waves flowing in order from the moon - all these things which made her world work the way it worked - all of them happened in a natural way. According to the physical laws and rules designed by God Almighty for earth to function upon. And witchcraft, the whole purpose of which was to obviate the natural order and find shortcuts to advance oneself - well - well for Lucy Smith, in the higher sense of morality she had always aspired to, such shortcuts, in her good conscience, could no longer be taken. Such shorcuts, for the mind and heart of Lucy Smith, in the end, no matter what source the spiritual powers of magic came from, wether good or evil, such shortcuts were cheating on the regular life. And Lucy Smith wouldn't do that any more. Lucy Smith would be holy. Whatever else she would be holy.
She thought on Bewitched and Darren. Always saying to Samantha to do things the proper way. To not use witchcraft. To get along with the world, and not upset that nosey neighbour, and be a regular family. And she thought on Samantha, who listened to Darren, but still did witchcraft anyway. Lucy had her Enrique, but he never minded. In fact, she really couldn't think of anyone who did mind. Of anyone who was bothered by her practicing witchcraft. It was like that, now, in the world. People didn't mind so much anymore. The real power of the church age had waned a while ago, two or three centuries ago, and in the 20th century a more secular world emerged, fuelled by the vision of science, fueled by a more rationale approach to religion. A more humanistic viewpoint. And, because of that, serious respect, serious intellectual respect diminished, and the slur term 'Fundie' got used to keep the extremists embarassed,not objecting, in their place. Oh, right wing conservatism responded at times, she remembered their power, but the freedoms which had been bought with the dismissiveness of religion actually impelled freedom of religion itself, amongst all the other liberalities it had gained. And with that freedom old fashioned witchcraft had resurfaced, with a new vigour, a new strength, unleashed from the power of the Church to keep it in check like it had long done.
Really, she should have been offended. She should have been gravely offended at this biblical God, this Yahweh, and his presumptiveness to think he could tell her what she could and could not do. She should have been offended. Witchcraft was her right, wasn't it? She was free, wasn't she? But as much as she might wanted to have been, there was also a fateful yearning towards the very power which condemned her practices, a yearning for a strength which, so it claimed, knew better. A strength, so it claimed, which knew more.
It was like that. People often needed someone to look up to. To have an example for them. And God was a frighteningly awesome power to look up to. Someone who held her life and death - her very salvation - in the palms of his eternal hands.
In the end it was simply just that. A father figure. She needed a father figure, which had long been absent from her life. Someone to watch over her, to teach her right from wrong, to guide her on the way, to be the strengh in her weakness, and the protector of her soul. And because David had never really been there, she had turned to the one sovereign father over all creation, and found her happiness in pleasing him.
What else could she really do now anyway?
She straightened up, cleaned the grass off the bottom of her skirt, and started the short trek up the hill, back home. But she reached the pool gate doors, looked at them and, thinking she may as well relax the rest of the day, walked in, paid the admittance fee, and changed into her swimming bikini and went to the big pool, which was empty on this fine summer day, all the Cooma kids still at school, and just past lunch time when some regulars came. She had it all to herself.
She floated, on her back, in the water, looking up at the clouds. Then she closed her eyes. Her ears were under water and the calm silence made her feel like she was in a world of her own, her own private liitle universe. Perhaps, in the end, that might be what she needed anyway. For in as much as the elite heart of the community of magic often mocked the halfblood, the elite heart of the muggle world could hardly be said to be any better. For a priest or an Imam or a rabbi, who ruled that world, might also be all to eager to shun her, to ridicule her, to cast her aside as a witch, a spiritual fornicator, something no respectable person should be known with. She'd had that occasionally, throughout life. Rejection for what she was. Not often, mind you, but it was there. A sarcastic comment. A nasty word. An unfriendly look. Even in this day and age were respect was taught strongly, there were still people who looked down on her kind. And, in the elite power of this world, could there really be a place for a girl who might have ambitions one day, ambitions for great things, ambitions for glory? She suspected, just the way a halfblood could be despised in her own magical world, so in the world of a muggle she too could suffer the same taunts. The same rejections. She knew this oh too well.
What she needed was her own place, with people of understanding, with people of real concern - with people who cared. With her own little community, her own little fellowship, were people understood Lucy Smith and accepted her on her own terms. Accepted her as who she was.
And then she opened her eyes, and stood upright and, looking to the side of the pool she saw Daniel, sitting there, in board shorts and a t-shirt, smiling at her.
* * * * *
'Daniel. What are you doing here.'
'I had an intuition,' he responded.
'Witches are the ones who have intuitions,' she replied, drying her hair. 'Anyway. What type of intuition?'
'That you wanted to talk to me,'
She sat down next to him. 'It's a great pool, you know.'
'It hasn't changed in years. It was different when I was a kid. Didn't have a roof. But it's remained the same, now, for a long time.'
'What do I want to talk to you about?' she asked him, looking at him.
'I don't know. Something is on your mind.'
'Mmm,' she said, suspiciously. Something was.
'You know, I have left witchcraft, in the end. I don't think I will return to it. Ever. Oh, I don't know. Something strange might happen, like God saying it was ok, or something like that. Or something unexplainable.'
'Some mystery,' he said.
'Mmm. I'm looking for a home, Daniel.'
'You have one,' he said.
'Not what I mean.'
They were silent for a while, and he sensed she wanted to say something important.
'I'm looking for a family, a home, a community. Something to belong to. I don't know, a group or something. As bizarre as it might sound, a fellowship.'
'You want to join Haven?' he asked her.
'I don't know. Do I?'
He looked at her, and looked out at the pool. The schoolkids had just started showing up after school, and some lessons were about to begin.
'Do you want to come back to my place?' he asked her. 'We can perhaps talk better there. There is something I could show you.'
'Ok,' she said.
She changed, drying herself, and taking off her bikini and putting her clothes back on. He had driven down from his house and as they took the short trip up to Cooma North she was pleasantly surprised by the house they pulled up in. It was quite impressive.
When they got inside a cat instantly jumped at her.
'Don't mind her. Mushroom 14 is very affectionate.'
'You are kidding, aren't you?' she laughed.
'One of Shelandragh's Mushrooms came to us, once,' he replied. 'I have continued the numbering. Out of tradition.'
She stroked the cat, smiling at it and playing with it. It was the traditional dilute american calico, something most of the Mushroom's she had known had been. It seemed to be taken for granted, and it looked a lot like its predecessors, and extremely friendly to boot.
Daniel went to the bookshelf and shortly returned with a book. He handed it to her.
'What's this?' she asked him.
'A book. On witchcraft. Written by one of the rare Karaite Noahides in the world. It came out near the beginning of this century. Its qutie rare. Quite valuable now, as well.'
She leafed through its paces. 'What's it say?' she asked him curiously.
'Its an objective look at what witchcraft is all about and how the Torah treats it. But its more than that. It is written with a philosophy. A philosophy on religion in general, about how we should treat others who are different from us. In how mercy prevails over judgement and that getting along, in the end, and tolerating people, were they are at, in the things they enjoy in life, even in awkward things for other people, builds patience in us and helps us to be even more loving people. Its about acceptance,' he said.
'Acceptance?' she asked him.
'Acceptance,' he confirmed.
She opened the book, and turned to the introduction. It read.
'Before I even begin to address our subject, there is something I feel I need to say. Something important I need to say. Its about life, and about what, in the way I see it, is the heart of the Torah. The heart of God. Its not that this is right and that is wrong. Its not that she is lawful and she is liberal. Its not that they are holy and they are worldly. Its not that at all. Its that us - we - humans - people. Are family. Are one, big, family of Noah. And families are meant to care for each other. In all the pogroms against Israel throughout the generations, in all the racisms against negroes and all the bigotries against Kurds and all the slurs and all the prides and all the prejudices, there has been one thing that was absent. Love. And while the most venomous of serpents might kill in the name of his caste, even he loves his mother. Even Adolph had a mum. When we really know what it means to be a Noahide - when it goes beyond just the formal title of our religious observation - when it goes beyond being affiliated with this or that congregation, or joining this or that synagogue or fellowship - when it gets to the point when our faith is true, and we really do believe that ALL mankind are children of Noah, one big, giant, family, we start to realize that the person we want to hate, or the person we want to be at war with, or the Jew we want to kill or the Adulteress we want to stone or the Faggot we want to bash - or the witch we want to dunk - we start to realize that they, like us, have a mother. And that, going right back, their mother was the wife of Noah, presumably Titea or Naamah or some other name, and that, in the end, it is our own family that we are discriminating agaginst. And when we know, as sure as the Rainbow appears everlastingly so, that it is our own flesh and blood we want to hate in the name of religious zealotry, that we might, we just might, stop and think and ask ourselves, do we really, really want to hurt this person. Do I really want to kill this person who might just be a few generations away from being my very own blood kin. Witchcraft, in the end, is supposed to be a sin. And as Torah says, tolerate not a sorceress. But when that sorceress is your own child, your own flesh and blood, your very own offspring, I ask you this question: Will you be the first person to cast the first stone? Will you? In our discussion on witchcraft I want to remind the reader of the most important lesson of all. That Law, simply for its own sake, not tempered by all the relevant facts of the situation, not tempered by due concerns for the persons affected, not tempered by mercy, not tempered by love,only leaves a cold hard shell were the self righteous soul can say 'At least I obey', but in which the joys of mercy and forgiveness are things not really known or understood. Without love there is not much joy in life, and the heart of God's justice is to forgive and accept. And that judgement, which, in the end must come if absolutely necessary, ever be tempered by a firm resolve that the person is such that he, or she, is truly guilty of evil, and that the dark choices which have lead them astray into the darkest kinds of magic or of serious enough intent that, to the heart of a caring person, who loves his family, who loves God, and who has mercy, the resolute actions which follow are done, in the end, for due concern for the wellbeing, health - and LIFE - of those whose lives would otherwise be put at peril.'
'Gosh,' she said.
'Do you like?' he asked her.
'Oh, very much Daniel. Very, very much.'
'It's yours,' he said.
'Oh, know. I couldn't possibly.'
'Don't worry. I have another copy in Canberra.'
She looked at the volume. A rare copy of a book, of a rare enough world Karaite Noahide library of books, anyway. On Witchcraft! How blessed.
'I'll treasure it forever, Daniel.'
She was so happy, she came next to him, and kissed him on the cheek.
'I didn't expect that,' he said.
'You deserve it.'
And so, for the next few weeks, Lucy read, and while it talked of similar ideas she had already known, it gave her understanding, it gave her insight, it gave her knowledge and wisdom on the subject so very dear to her own heart, and, more than that, it gave her mercy, that she never quite forgot Daniel's beautiful gift. And she was forever grateful because of it.
Shelandragh was sitting with Lucy. She had something to get off her chest. An old secret. An old betrayal of Lucy, in a sense, but something she had never been ashamed of anyway. But with what Lucy had now chosen, to forego magic anyway, it was time to confess her old, hidden, secret.
'Lucy,' said Shelandragh.
'Yes,' said Lucy, not looking up from the book Daniel had given her.
'Do you think you are still a witch?'
Lucy looked at her. 'The power. The power within me, Shelandragh. Its still there. I feel it. It hasn't gone anywhere. Yes, I'm still a witch. But no, I won't use it anymore. You know why.'
'That's good Lucy. But really, with what is in YOU, you don't really need to worry. Oh, dear, dear Lucy. You never really did.'
Lucy looked at her, slightly perplexed, and asked her. 'What do you mean?'
'You know I have the magic in me, don't you Lucy?'
'So did you, once. But that was a long, long time ago. Just when I first met you. You had it then, but it is long gone, my child.'
'But I have practiced magic for years.'
'But what type of magic?
'Oh. Oh, well we use Animism now, but, um, well, um.' She left off. 'What are you driving at, Shelandragh?'
'When you were very young magic was in you. Like I said. But, do you remember when you stayed at my place. It was about the seventh or eighth visit that first year, and you were very sick. You had a fever for days and vomited.'
'Oh God, do I. It was awful. I felt as if I had died.'
'You did. Or at least your magic did?'
'I rebirthed you Lucy. You didn't know, but one night, while you were sleeping, I put you into a trance, and I killed it in you. The ancient gift of your Smith heritage. I killed it and only rebirthed animism into you. It is similar, and works with exactly the same spells, the ones I arranged for you to cast, but it is a different type of energy. Purely natural. Purely animistic. Oh, Lucy. You have not been a witch most of your life. I hate to say it, but you are only an extraordinarily gifted, well. Well muggle Lucy. The power of magic has long died in you.'
Lucy looked at her, not knowing what to say. And then she looked very cross, and went to her room, returned with a wand, and almost swore at Shelandragh. She pointed her wand at the bookcase and, using what memory she had of magic, tried. Tried to make the spell work, but nothing. The bookcase just stayed firm. Nothing moved.
'Now try animism,' said Shelandragh.
She yelled 'Hover', and the bookcase lifted. She returned it to the ground, and looked again at Shelandragh, hotly. 'You killed me? You killed my magic?'
'Oh, Lucy. Whatever could I do. Like yourself, long ago I knew, in the end. I knew. The magic, it is not goodness in the end. It only leads you astray, in the end. Inevitably, inexorably, astray. I had to save you. To rebirth you. To start you anew, with something which is good. Which is acceptable to the ultimate power. I did it for your own good, Lucy Smith, but please understand. I had no choice.'
Lucy glared at her, and wanted to use the same Hover spell on her teacher, but instead calmed down, went to her bedroom, and did not come out again that day.
The following morning Lucy was in the kitchen, frying bacon. When Shelandragh came in, Lucy served them breakfast.
'Do you want to talk about it?' asked Shelandragh softly.
Lucy said nothing. Then she started. 'Its not that you have lied. I understand why. You had your reasons. And in the end, now, when all is said and done. I guess, yes, you did the right thing. Its just so, so.'
'So what?' asked Shelandragh.
'So disappointing. To think I was something I never really was. That I was never one of them. Never, really, a witch. That it was a lie. All the time a lie.'
'So many Shamans were just animists in the end, Lucy. Its nothing to be ashamed of. Really, it is the other. It is something to be proud of. I wanted to save you the heartache of what things you would one day experience. The kind of touches from darkness you have never known. They hate you especially because of it. Because you are more than a white witch, Lucy Smith. You are a saint.'
'I wish,' said Lucy, grinning a little.
'No. You are,' said Shelandragh. 'Believe me Lucy Smith. You are.'
A few days later Lucy was still reading Daniel's book and then, late one afternoon, she simply said,'well, whatever then. And then she put the book on her shelf and didn't worry after that. And then David Rothchild showed up that night.
'They were in the back room, chatting, when David said. 'Anyway. I have a reason for my visit.'
'Oh. Oh, yes?' asked Lucy.
'Your power. Your animistic power. Have you been enjoying it?'
Lucy was almost embarassed, but nodded.
'That is good,' said David. 'Now, he who is doesn't normally share his gifts with humans, whatever their kind, at that kind of level, dear Lucy Smith. But you have a long ling of responsible enough Smith's behind you who have not abused the dark magic, evil as it may be, and God wanted to wean you off of that so gave you, well, his own stuff. Alright, it is God's own energy which he uses in creation, and it is sacred and holy and you are very, very lucky.'
'Your kidding, aren't you?' said Lucy, amazed.
'No I am not, Lucy. But don't get used to it. Your destiny, in the end, is indeed a muggle. A regular, normal, down to earth, muggle. But that is a long, way away. You see, our heavenly father has a great commission for you.'
'Are you serious?' asked Lucy.
'Very. God likes his witches who repent. Very much. Witchcraft, as you know, has long been a naughty naughty naughty.'
Lucy smirked at that. And David continued, in his very loving tone.
'So you have a task from God. One which your teacher has gradually been doing as well. In the end, I can't have a world full of wizards, cutting corners as some might say, but in the end trafficking in witchcraft, which just brings down the neighbourhood becuase it runs amok after a while, and doesn't know when to call it a day. The dark magic has always been a passionate beast, and Samael never knows when to give it a rest.'
'Who is Samael?' asked Lucy confused.
'A child of heaven who is a very naughty boy,' responded David. 'Thus, you have permission to use God's special energy for a while, but it has a responsibility, which will ultimately lead to its own downfall as well. For you to use anyway. I need someone, Lucy, who the witches trust. Who the witches like. You must do, unfortunately, from time to time, the exact thing Shelandragh did to you. You must get your magical community away from the dark power. And because I must wean someone off its mothers milk, you will be allowed to birth Animism in them to replace that. And that will be the new power of magic for the time being.'
'But that will go as well, won't it?' asked Lucy. 'One day.'
'Lucy Smith. We all need to grow up, in the end, don't we. We all need to not cut corners, and do things the right way, in the end. Don't we.'
Lucy soberly nodded. 'Yes, David. I know. I know. I know. A hundred times over, I know.'
'So, saint of God,' he said in a soft tone. 'Have some fun while you are still young. The animism is available you again, for you are responsible enough. But do remember your commission, and may God be with you, Lucy the Witch. Lovely child of heaven, Lucy the Witch?'
'Huh?' she asked on the last point.
'Nothing,' said David, and smiled even more so.
* * * * *
Enrique and Lucy were schmoozing. Or, to put it in another way, they were being quite randy with each other. Enrique was an amorous lover, and Lucy, a litte while later, vomiting in the morning, came to herself and swore. 'Shit. I must be.....' She did the test and it came back positive. Lucy Smith was, at long last, going to have a baby.
'If its a boy?' she asked him.
'Enrique. Like his daddy.' responded Enrique. 'But you can choose the girl's name.
'How about Jenny,' said Daniel. 'I had a friend who suggested the name once.'
Lucy thought that over. 'Jenny Lopes. That has never been used before, has it?'
Enrique almost smiled.
For three months they did the things expecting couples do, and then Enrique, down on one knee, took out the ring and said 'If you would do me the most amazing of honours, my beloved Lucy.'
Lucy shrieked at the size of the rock, kissed him wildly, and showed it to all and sundry for the next 3 weeks solid.
* * * * *
'There are three types of people in the world. Observers, entertainers, and those who pay money for girls.'
'And let me guess,' said Lucy to Daniel's sarcastic comment, 'you're all three, aren't you?'
Daniel looked guilty, so she said nothing more.
When they had finished moving the new bookcase into the back room Daniel spoke up. 'Why on earth do you need another bookcase, Lucy? You have seven already.'
Lucy smiled. 'Ok. I love books. I guess you had noticed.'
'I mean, sure. I do to. But I read only sporadically, and while I do have heaps of bookcases, the books are sort of being put aside.'
'For what?' she asked, curiously.
'Oh, nothing,' he said.
'Out with it,' said Lucy, demanding an answer.
'Rights,' he responded.
She was stumped on that one.
'What the hell do you mean, Daniel?'
Daniel lookeed at her as if it was something he didn't really want to speak on but with her inquiring look he eventually succumbed. He sat down at the table and began.
'Rights. Rights of earthly interaction. Rights established through getting to know someone, through sleeping with someone, through eating a type of food for the first time, through obtaining a book or comic or CD or some other item. Through going to a new place for the first time, or engaging in some other fun activity or type of event. Rights. For the next world. For they do not necessarily come, earth rights, unless you obtain them on earth. I have to keep the books I want for a time period to absolutely ensure I have access rights to purchase them in the next life. Without the access rights, if the book is not released, I have no absolute rights to obtain it. If I obtain the book on earth I have legal rights to obtain the book in the heavenlies. Yet, it must be kept for a minimum of one year, or have been destroyed before that time in my ownership through an accident of some kind. Merely thrown out as useless, and not appreciated before the year is out, usually leads to it being questioned wether you appreciated the book or not in the first place.'
'How the hell do you know all this?' she asked, quizzically.
'The Holy Spirit teaches me these things. It is about what you acquire on earth. What you acquire on earth is what you acquire on earth. Summing it up. So that, ultimately, what you acquire on earth is what you are entitled to acquire in heaven - of the earthly products released there. There are lots more heavenly products, of course, and that is the real reward for getting to heaven. But for your favourite earth products. Well, well that is somewhat what our sojourn here in Terra is all about.'
'Oh. Ok,' she said. He nodded, and didn't speak again on the subject.
After a while she spoke. 'Can David confirm this idea?' she asked him.
'Probably. The messiah knows most things.'
She looked at him funnily. 'Why do you call him the messiah?' she asked him.
'Nothing,' he said, looking guilty. 'Do you want to go out for some yummy burgers again?'
She looked at him seriously, but let the 'Messiah' issue drop. 'Ok. We'll get your blessed yummy burgers.'
'Yum,' he said.
* * * * *
'I guess, Lord, I'm supposed to be holy in the end. Aren't I? Holy. Doing Godly things. I have been reading Torah, you know. Recently especially. Mainly on Noah. My father. My ancient father. I treat Daniel like close family now, because of it. Daniel is a Noahide. And that is what I have chosen for myself. And I don't like the Talmuds, having read some of them. But I do like the bible. So, if it is ok with you, I will now join the 'Haven' Fellowship. I'll join it forever. If that is ok with you, God.'
The wind suddenly picked up, rustling in the leaves of the little park. And she felt a sense of peace. A true sense of peace. And then, the Most High God, on the throne of Zaphon, was satisifed with some ancient prayer requests of Daniel Daly, and a little part of his spirit came down from heaven, and lodged in both Lucy Smith's heart and that of Daniel Daly's heart, and the official spirit of Haven Noahide Fellowship was born.
* * * * *
She sat with Daniel, and the plastic rainbow up against the wall of the main lecture hall in which they were seated seemed so very comforting. Like old school memories, of younger years in Cooma, at St Pats, a little young girl in a scary muggle world. But the room she was in, with bookcases along the walls with Daniel's angel novels and other Karaite Noahide books, the worldwide Karaite Noahide community's entire effort, apparently, and posters of Noah's Ark, and other Noahide paraphernalia, especially the big plastic rainbow, made her feel like she was in a special place. A place she could truly call home.
Daniel finished reading fron the Karaite Noahide Prayerbook, and they sat in silence for a while. Finally Lucy soke. 'I have noticed this place for years, The sign says 'Temple of Elohim.' I didn't know it was the official Haven Noahide Fellowship meeting hall.'
'We have never had an official service yet. Daniel Rothchild is a co-founder, but has no interest in meetings anymore. He sticks with his brother. Aaron Goodsell was almost a member of Haven at times, but has never really joined. I think his destiny is to eventually be a Karaite Jew. He was circumcis'ed as a child. Not for Judaism, but to me that is where it ultimately leads. It has really only ever been me as the official member of Haven Noahide Fellowship. There are over 100 over Karaite Noahides alive in the world today, and in the last century about 12 Karaite Noahide books were written by various people, not including my own, and I have written heaps of them. Mainly the Rainbow Bible series and the Chronicles of the Children of Destiny stories.'
'You have written about me,' she said.
'Sorry about that Lucy.'
'Its ok. Why did you choose Cooma North to build this place.'
'I had thoughts about it when I was young. Living in Cooma for a while. I liked the location. It seemed right. Cooma was not very big then, and it was affordable, but I never really changed my mind when other possibilities presented themselves. Cooma north was always the destiny in the end.'
'Are you trying to grow the fellowship?' she asked.
'I prayed once. Only those who God thinks are right for the 7 Divine Fellowships.'
'7!' she exclaimed.
'Oh, yes. I forgot. There are 7 planned Karaite Noahide fellowships by myself. It has long been the plan. They have been named and each has particular doctrinal positions as in opposition to the others. Slightly differing approaches.'
'Oh,' she responded.
'But the first one is Haven Noahide Fellowship.'
'Right,' she responded.
After a while they went into the lunch room, and eating some cold chicken and drinking ice tea Daniel smiled. 'I am not trying to rush the growth of Haven. All in God's good time. I have plenty of patience for the project. It needs it as well. Always has been a competitive spiritual marketplace, to put it bluntly.'
'Marketplace?' she queried.
'Every Tom, Dick and Jonathon started a church once. They were called Protestants.'
She smirked at that one, and Daniel grinned madly.
'But serioulsy, there are an abundance of soul savers. Each trying to win their flocks glory. Very competitive spiritual world.'
'And you are part of it,' she said.
'A Haven in the maelstrom,' he said smiling.
'A Haven in the maelstrom,' she repeated.
She sat there for a while and the day slowly passed. Daniel put on a Missy Higgins CD, and after the 'Cooling of the embers', Lucy turned to him.
'So I have joined Haven. Am I saved now?'
'If you go the distance,' he responded.
'Which is?' she asked.
'Till death,' he replied.
She took a sip of her juice, and looked squarely at him. 'Ok. Daniel Daly. I will remain till death. But what then?'
'You are qualified then. Built on God's rock. The Noahide family. We are on an official covenant. Not a false one.'
'What do you mean?' she asked.
'Catholics. There is only one true church, in the end. For the purposes of Salvation in Christianity. The others will inherit. They'll join her, later on in eternity. Or a Noahide movement. Or not.'
'And if they don't?' she asked.
'They won't. Last, I mean. They are not on the rock. Not on God's people. Noahidism and Judaism can function with branches. They must respect the foundation for God to respect us. It doesn't work in Christianity. There is only one church, the Catholic one. And protestants don't respect her. They are searching for a freedom away from the authority of the Priesthood never allowed to them. They are trying to do it their own way. Even when they have a doctrine which is more biblical than the Catholic doctrine it really doesn't matter. That's not the point with God. It is about fidelity to the foundational church. Jesus, the apostles, and the early Christian world. Those in Catholicism have never left the foundations of their church, yet Protestants have. It doesn't actually matter if they are right on this particular doctrine, or that particular biblical interpretation, or whatever issue of supposed morality they maintain. That never mattered. The Catholics still represent Christianity and the foundations of the faith. They have never left their foundations. And those foundations are built on Israel and Israel built on Abraham and then on Noah and then on Adam and Eve. The Catholics are built on the foundation, but the Protestants try to do their own things. It doesn't matter how many times they claim supposed bibical accuracy. They are just not built on God's rock. And later on in eternity they will know, when they are embroiled in their sins, why they were never really saved in the first place.'
'Oh,' said Lucy. 'I see. Its about God's people.'
'Yes,' said Daniel. 'And he never moves from those who he chooses to save. He has one rock, ok. Not several. And if you are on the rock and acknowledge his foundation, and those who he has called as his own, then he accepts you. Protestantism, in the end, is choose your own church. It is not choose the church. It is choose your own church. It doesn't work like that. Not in the real world. You go to God's official assembly. Or you don't go to God.'
Lucy, later on in the prayer room, submitted to God's authority then. In quiet prayer, with respect to Hashem, she accepted Daniel as her pastor, and repented of any straying towards a false temple of salvation. She wouldn't again look for her own thing. She would trust in Yahweh, and walk in his peoples community. Forever, now. Forever.
* * * * *
Grimlock was happy. He was back at his western Tasmanian abode, lost in the mountains, away from everyone, away from mankind, listening to his melancholic symphonic metal music, contemplative of his last hundred years of life, happy. Above all other things, he was happy. But there were issues in the mind of Grimlock. Issues of sin. Issues of old fashioned sin.
Grimlock was a wizard, that much probably would never change, and he had chosen the dark magic from a young age and probably would never look back. Probably. But then, once, he had killed in the name of his religion. And then he had provided virgins for sacrificial rites. And other things he had done since which had claimed lives, and Grimlock had known then that he was evil. And that he was damned.
And then, later on in life, he remembered he had been baptised in the Anglican church as an infant, and then, later on in life, he thought about his soul. Did he want to spend forever in hell, serving his own platitudes? Did he want to always do as he would, the witches motto, and not give a damn? Did he want to forever bind his will to the darl lords of evil and reject, forever, that other sovereign power, which supposedly offered forgiveness? Did he give a damn about salvation? Of course not, of course not, of course not, he told himself, time and time again. And then, one day, he did. It happened one afternoon, in a Hobart library, were he was looking in the witchcraft section, when a bible fell off a shelf nearby. He seemed to pick it up, just out of hospitality, and he read the page it opened at. It was Psalm One, and it was highlighted in yellow. He read it, and learned what he already knew. The fate of the wicked. And then, later that year, he dreamed of being plunged by an angry looking father figure into a vat of acid, with the father figure saying 'Do you really think you deserve anything less, ya bloody heathen.' He got the point from the dream. God was not happy with him.
But Grimlock did not want to repent. He enjoyed being a wizard. He enjoyed being - evil. Yet he also knew the fate of the wicked, and the furious old man in his dream scared him. Really scared him. Perhaps he should just repent and have done with it. Even if he didn't want to, better to confess his sin, and be honest about it all. And try again. Could he let go of the dark magic? He doubted it. But thoughts of the old man plunging him once more into the vat of acid were enough, in the end, to change his mind. Whatever hell was he was now sure he didn't want to go there, which left repentance as the only option. The thing was, would the big kahuna take it from him? Would he be able to convince God he had amended his ways. Would he? He sure hoped so, thinking once more of that unfriendly vat, and a very pissed off looking old fella.
* * * * *
Lucy sat in the back room of her Mittagong Road abode. James Daly, Daniel's nephew, was with her. He was very old now, in a wheelchair, soon ready to depart. Daniel had doted on him for a number of years now, very concerned with his brother Gregory's firstborn son. Only Madalene had not really aged in the Daly clan, apart from Enrique and David and Madalene in an old past in many ways, elect of God, according to David and many others, waiting on something. Waiting on some grand destiny.
'Later on. Loose. Later on. When all the pretenders have had their say, people just gravitate to us. It is what we are. The truths that they respect.'
'Why us, David?' she had asked him.
'Because we were fashioned for the task. Even James there, sleeping in the corner, has a special destiny. His parents taught him way too much Catholic morality, and he remained faithful to the catholic church because of it. But he is one of the chosen as well. He always has been. There are a lot of them in Daniel's family. Those who have been before.'
'What does that mean?' she asked him.
David winked at her. 'You'll remember one day, Lucy Smith. One day.'
'Whatever,' said Lucy Smith, and David winked at her again.
* * * * *
They were out on the Cootralantra road, just a kilometere inwards from the Cooma to Berridale way, Enrique's Holden in bright red, covered in paintings of dragons and witches and wizards.
'Shall we go to that Hotel?' Enrique asked her.
Lucy considered it, but declined. 'No. The Berridale pub like we agreed.'
'Ok,' said Enrique.
They were on the side of the road, a rug set up, having lunch. A strange place to have lunch, but Lucy enjoyed this area of the Monaro.
'Lucy? Erique asked her. 'Do you love me?'
'You ask that a lot,' she said smiling.
He looked directly at her. 'Because you never give me a straight answer. I have asked that question of you forever. And you have never given me a yes, or even hinted at it.'
'Oh, don't be so dramatic, Rique.'
'You always say that as well,' he responded.
She glared at him, but let it drop.
'Is it because you like David?' he asked her.
'David? You are kidding right. God, David. I mean, don't get me wrong, David is probably the most loving person in the universe. Nobody quite like David Rothchild. But to answer your question, no. I am not in love with David Rothchild.'
'We're getting married, ok Loose. I need to know these things.'
'Enrique Lopes. I would hardly marry you if I didn't have feelings for you.'
'But not love, is that it?'
She looked at him, then looked away. She really didn't know what to say. She had been with Enrique for so long now, and taken so much for granted, that how could it ever possibly be a problem saying those 3 little words. How could it ever?
'It's because there is somebody else, right?'
She didn't answer.
'If we are to be man and wife, Loose. I need to know, ok. I need to know.'
She took out a cigarette, a rare one she occasionally smoked, and looked at him. 'How important is the answer to you?'
'Fundamental?' he said.
She considered that. 'And if I say no?'
'Then why are we getting married?'
She nodded. She should have expected that.
'Then why are we getting married. If you don't love me,' he said.
'Your putting words in my mouth, Rique. I didn't say I didn't love you.'
'But you didn't say you did,' he responded, slightly annoyed.
'No. I didn't,' she responded.
He looked at her, and wanted to continue the subject, but he could tell from her mood it would be best to let the issue drop. She hadn't committed. He knew that then. She hadn't committed to him. They were to have child, but her heart was elsewhere. Perhaps owned by another, but perhaps not. Certainly not the kind of committment that could yet say 'I love you,' unreservedly to the Terran Dragonrider.
Later on that night, when she was reading a book, she put it down and said to him in the bed beside herself. 'I can't say those words yet, Enrique. Because, oh God. I love you like a brother. For so long now it has been just that. With brotherly love and affection. But nothing more, ok. I will marry you because that is what you want. But I can't commit in the way you want me to. Ok. Its not there between us.'
Enrique, lying there, thinking over those words, finally acknowledged what he had long known was true. Lucy Smith's heart belonged elsewhere. 'Then, ok. I understand. Shall we say, the wedding is postponed for now to our friends, and we'll just put it on hold indefinitely till they get the point.'
She thought on that, and put her arm around him. 'That would be for the best, Enrique Lopes.' And that was the end of the situation.
* * * * *
The situation with Enrique had not gone exactly as she perhaps would have liked, yet him disappearing again for a while was not unexpected. Still, what could you do? It didn't, however, deter her from the most important thing to happen in the life of Lucy Smith, and she was so excited, attempting to take care of everything, she even asked for the birth certificate papers so she could have them filled out already, so anxious was she to have everything perfect. Cooma hospital provided them for her, not minding the slight change in protocols.
'Can you fill these out for me,' she asked Shelandragh.
'And the name?' asked Shelandragh?'
'Oh, God. Of course. I don't know yet. Well, if its a boy we agreed on Enrique. Like his daddy.'
'And a girl?' asked Shelandragh.
'Jenny,' said Lucy. 'We both agreed on Jenny.'
'Wonderful,' said Shelandragh. 'Jenny it is.'
'If it's a girl,' said Lucy.
'Yes. If its a girl,' said Shelandragh, a little grin on her face. A grin as if she already knew.
And so she fussed for a while, and painted the baby's room a compromising pale gold, with tranfers of zoo animals, and couldn't resist a 'Middle Earth' assortment of characters, just because. Enrique didn't show, but she didn't care, and when the baby bump became obvious, Shelandragh and her were having tea in the back room most afternoons, talking lady talk about a new child in the family. And then the issue finally came up and Shelandragh looked very serious about it.
'It might have the gifts. It might not. We really don't know. What will you do, either way?'
'Either way I will love my child, Shelandragh May. Either way I will love my child.'
And Shelandragh seemed satisfied with that answer.
Daniel brought around some ancient celtic tales books, of wonderful moral lessons written for youngsters.
'Read to the child. They grow up far more intelligent if read to them. Right away, as well. Its a fundamental for kids. And this kids a smarty pants;'
'How do you know?' Lucy asked him.
'Could it be anything but,' he said smiling.
Lucy took confidence from that and ate her greens, and other craved foods, and as the fourth month passed Lucy was looking forward, day by day, to the new birth in the family. Even without an absent father, Lucy was on top of the world.
* * * * *
Alexander Darvanius II, or ADII as he liked to be called, sat in his office in London, looking over stock reports, his mind not seriously on his job at all really, in fact far, far away. Far away in Australia. Alexander was a child of destiny, as so many were, and the 7th of the Angels of the Realm of Eternity was involved with a contract. A divine contract, between the Child of Heaven Samael, and the other Children of God. The children of Heaven, which was the divine realm birthed after 'Home' were God, Metatron, Logos and Memra resided, were special agents of destiny in key roles they undertook for the Heavenly Father in his creation. There had been a play, once, prior to which roles had been chosen, and as that play had come and gone, ramifications for it had been established - right at the foundation of creation. The child of heaven, Abraham, had taken the role of God. And in the play the forces of darkness had confronted the children of light. The child of heaven Samael had taken the role of 'The Devil', and aided by the child of Heaven, the female Aphrayel, who had chosen the role of 'Death', Sammy had battled heaven's chosen, yet failed. It had only been a play - nothing more - but the roles had been set by God to be part of an unfolding plan, an eternal plan, in which the children of heaven would function as divine forces ruling the universe.
And as Samael, afterwards, grew in his wicked pleasures, delighting in his role, the children of heaven knew, that, with the forthcoming Realms of Infinity, Eternity and Paradise to be born, and the others hinted at by God, Samael's wickedness would know no tether. And so a contract had been borne, which Samael had agreed to. And the heart of that contract hinged on an ultimate encounter between the child of heaven, Lucy, whose role had been the witch, and a future angel of the realm of Eternity, the dread Lord Saruviel. And that encounter hinged on a choice. A strange choice that Lucy, child of heaven, must make. For Samael's wickedness or Samael's repentance hinged on the outcome.
So Alexander thought on Lucy, often. She was never far from his considerations, and while, soon, very soon, he knew an encounter was coming, which would shape his eternal destiny, it still remained. One more choice, afterwards. A choice in which the eternal struggle between good and evil would be resolved for quite a while. Billions of years in fact. And, good or ill, Saruviel contemplated, many a day, just what that strange choice, should the witch child of heaven choose as such, would be.
* * * * *
'I have a poem for you Lucy.'
Lucy, who had been preoccupied with a kicking baby looked at Daniel. 'Out with it then.'
'That's what I like about you Lucy Smith. Always so direct.'
'The poem,' she insisted.
'Its about our faith. A funny perspective on things. It's called sing a song of six pence. An alternative to the classic. Here goes,' and he began reading from one of his books.
"Six Fine Pennies
Sitting in a Row
One for Peter
One for Paul
One for John & Joe
Six Fine Pennies
Mary has one too
And not forgetting Jesus Christ
Whose penny is for you
Believes he is
Messiah of God’s Glory
Believes he is
The Star of God’s great Story
I have a tale
To tell to you
Of life and death and truth
Of Jesus Christ
Who took the nails
Supposedly for you
Six Fine Pennies
Sitting in a Row
One for Peter
One for Paul
One for John & Joe
Six Fine Pennies
Mary has one too
And not forgetting Jesus Christ
Whose penny is for you
There is a lad
A shepherd King
Who slew a giant proud
The Hero of the Crowd
A boy like him
Of noble birth
The Star of this our story
With sling and stone
He will strike home
Against the false Christs Glory
Six Fine Pennies
Sitting in a Row
One for Peter
One for Paul
One for John & Joe
Six Fine Pennies
Mary has one too
And not forgetting Jesus Christ
Whose penny is for you
Have known the fact
Of Messiah since their youth
He’s of the stuff
Of Jesses boy
Of Boaz and of Ruth
Six fine pennies
We’ve known and been around
But how can pennies
When warring with a Crown
Six Fine Pennies
Sitting in a Row
One for Peter
One for Paul
One for John & Joe
Six Fine Pennies
Mary has one too
And not forgetting Jesus Christ
Whose penny is for you
The Church of God
The Glory Children
Whose faith’s in Christ their King
An Older Flock
To Another Champ they sing
200 Pennies it would take
To Conquer this one true
But the Crown of God’s Son Israel
Has Crowns for Me and You
Jesus Christ’s a Penny Man
When it comes to his great treasure
Yet in David King of Israel
You’ll find your souls true pleasure
Six Fine Pennies
Sitting in a Row
One for Peter
One for Paul
One for John & Joe
Six Fine Pennies
Mary has one too
And not forgetting Jesus Christ
Whose penny is for you."
'Oh, poor Jesus. Only one penny.'
'But just for you,' said Daniel.
'David. You think he is the Messiah. The real one.'
Daniel was silent.
'Well, is he?'
'There is a guy in the bible. An old Jewish governor. Some times I wonder.'
'Oh,' she said.
'But nothing to lose sleep over, Lucy Smith. Nothing to lose sleep over.'
'Don't worry. I won't,' she replied confidently, a confidence a younger Daniel Daly once searched diligently for.
* * * * *
Lucy was with Shelandragh, in the back room, finally putting out her last cigarette.
'You have not been wise, Lucy Smith. Smoking while pregnant.'
'Oh, shut up,' said Lucy. 'I know I'm a silly duffer, but I love the little coffin nails.'
'Mmm,' said Shelandragh disapprovingly. 'Well, better late than never.'
'It's only till I give birth. Then, God willing, I will smoke again for many a long year.'
'God willing?' she queried, eyebrow raised. 'Perhaps your health should be more of a consideration than a flakey God willing.'
'Oh, shut up,' she said again, a sarcastic look on her face.
She took her pack of Port Royal tobacco and her papers, put them up on the top of the bookcase, and looked at them longingly. She was addicted. She knew it. She didn't care, really, but wouldn't risk the child in her womb any more having any potential problems.
Shelandragh sipped on her tea and looked at Lucy. 'Now, what was so important that you wanted to talk about?'
Lucy sipped on her black coffee and eyed her mentor. 'Its something quite unique. A divine commission.'
'A divine commission?' asked Shelandragh May, eyebrow again raised.
'From David. The Messiah,' she said dramatically.
'The Messiah indeed,' said Shelandragh. 'Well. Tell me then. What precious divine commission has the Messiah,' saying the word Messiah sarcastically, 'entrusted to you.'
'To get rid of you,' said Lucy.
'Hmmm. And what do you mean by that, Lucy Smith?'
'Well, not you exactly. Sort of. But more like witches in general. And wizards. All of the magical community. He wants me, putting it bluntly, to serve God and Torah and gradually wean the magical world away from witchcraft. Put them onto Animistic spirituality first, but ultimately to rid the world of magic. That is David's commission to myself.'
Shelandragh looked at her with unbelief firstly, then shock then, when she saw Lucy's sincerity, perplexity.'
'Well, yes. I suppose. I suppose, in the end, we will have to get over it. In the end. I guess for so long now I have acknowledged that God doesn't really approve of witchcraft and while I still dabble, I would assume, in my long life yet to come, perhaps it would have to eventually respond to this God of creation.'
'Which is my task. Set me by David.'
'And did he say how long you have for this task.'
'Not really. But he hinted that it would take a very long time. And I think he meant beyond this life as well. In some sort of heavenly next world, were I must continue this work.'
'Oh,' said Shelandragh. 'In ..... Heaven?'
'Uh. Well. Well I guess so.'
'He lets witches into heaven,' said Shelandragh to herself. 'That much I wasn't sure about.'
'God loves us all,' said Lucy. 'He has great patience. Torah teaches that.'
'Yes. Yes I know. It teaches to kill the witch as well, Lucy Smith. But I suppose God might have patience.'
'Yahweh cares,' said Lucy, defending her faith.
Shelandragh looked at her pupil, mentioning the divine name. It was not something she uttered very much.
'I guess he might,' said Shelandragh. 'But if he has it in for us so much strange that he would want to save us.'
'But isn't that what salvation is all about? Getting it right with God?'
Shelandragh looked at her again. Caught offguard by these ideas. These strange ideas. 'Why, yes. I suppose so. What the Christ was supposed to represent. Salvation.'
'Whatever of Jesus,' said Lucy. 'That's not my faith anyway.'
'No I suppose it isn't. Your a Noahide, aren't you.'
'Yes. And a dedicated one. And if God has a task for me, well. Well I am willing to do it.'
Shelandragh sipped on her tea, considering Lucy's words. The redemption of the world of magic. All entrusted to little old Lucy Smith. Yet, try as she might, in all the witches she had ever known, and all the person's she had ever met in life, perhaps there could be no better choice than little Lucy anyway to engage in what would surely by the most daunting of tasks. Changing a magician into a muggle. She didn't envy her chances.
'You do realize they will be instantly offended by these ideas. Any witches you might try to persuade to forego their craft. We hold it very dear, you know. It is part of us. It is what makes us who we are.'
'We're more than that, Shelandragh. More than just magic users. We're people. With heart. With soul. With very real flesh and very real blood. We are, in the end, God's people. Made in his image. And if the God of holiness doesn't like us cutting corners, then. Then I will serve him and do his will.'
Lucy was silent and looked at her. 'Lots of reasons. Morality. The divine calling. Aspirations of holiness. But one simple one in the end. I love God. It is part of me now. His spirit, I feel it in me. Giving me strength. Giving me meaning, when other things don't satisfy. I love the peace which comes from him, the joy, the happiness. In doing his will I find what I need in life. Its what its all about.'
'I suppose you are right, Lucy Smith. I have never really considered it like that. So personal. But I suppose you are right.'
'I am,' said the Smith girl, with undeniable conviction of heart.
They sat in silence for a while, Shelandragh obviouslly mulling over those words. Soon she spoke.
'Heaven's above, Lucy Smith. I know. I know, in the end, I have not been the wisest of witches. To practice some of the things I have done in my darker days. And I know, I know what it teaches. The Torah. That it is a sin. That the dark magic is a power I should have rejected long ago. But sometimes I feel, oh. Oh, I feel as if we are witches, and that is what we are, and that some things never really change in the end. It is just the way of the world. The way things really are.'
'I know that too,' said Lucy, who, in total admission of hypocrisy had gotten out the cigarettes and was smoking what she promised herself was definitely the last one. 'And part of me agrees with you. I don't know how I can really give it up also. Forever. It is like these blasted ciggies. I love them to death. Probably literally. But in the end, we must face up to it. What we are, as people. Who we are. And the real powers that run it all. The sovereign powers which guide our lives. Guide our destinies. God has been there, all along, you know, Shelly. He wrote his book a long time ago. Right at the beginning of it all. And those rules have never changed. They never do. What, do we ignore the truth forever? Do we pretend it will go away? Do we tell ourselves everything will be alright and never really care that what we do...' she left off, almost embarassed to say what she was going to say.
'What we do?' picked up Shelandragh.
'That what we do is wrong. Ok. There, I said it. In the end we have known that all along. That it was dabbling. That it was witchcraft. That it was a sin. The church never hid that from us.'
'Quite the opposite,' said Shelandragh, thinking on past dark days for the magical community.
'Which means we eventually have to get the point. That we eventually have to toe the line. Because as we grow up and get older, well. Well we have to get over it. And admit it to ourselves.'
'Your moralizing,' said Shelandragh.
'Yes. Yes I am,' said Lucy. 'Forgive me. I get upset too, you know. About the whole thing. But it's what God wants of me, and that is just the way it is. Just the way it really is.'
'I know,' said Shelandragh softly.
Lucy smoked one more cigarette and then, swearing to herself she wouldn't touch another, put the pack away, and sat there, in silence, with a dejected looking Shelandragh May who seemed to be coming to grips with something she had long seen coming. The end of the line for the witchery and magical practices of Shelandragh May, witch extraordinaire.
'Well at least look on the bright side,' said Lucy. 'Life goes on.'
'Yes,' said Shelandragh May, with not just a slight tinge of bitterness. 'Life goes on.'
* * * * *
Life did indeed go on. Through its merry hum and strum, its gentle highways and byways. And for Lucy Smith there was a continual growing anticipation of her first child, which dominated her activities for a while but there were more adventures, still to be, before that happy event would come to be. Especially one bright event in which a gathering of friends, old friends, who had seen many a long year, took place one happy day in the little park Lucy Smith had grown so fond of and accustomed to.
'Hello, Alexander. We are glad you could make it. And is that Brax hiding behind you?'
Brax came out of the dark shadows of Alexander Darvanius II, announcing himself to the gathering, and, even a home for the Devil himself being prepared, they started their happy picnic.
'Gemma,' said David. 'It has been forever. Literally.'
'David Rothchild. I see you haven't changed. Are you still with Justine?'
'She's just getting the salad,' he said, and sure enough Justine Atkinson, wife of David Rotchild, appeared, and they nestled in for an afternoon of fun.
'So. Alexander,' began Daniel Rothchild. 'You have all the power in the universe. Your corporations run this world, practically, now. Have you chosen goodness, I do wonder?'
Alexander looked pleasant, for a change, enjoying his scotch eggs and salad, and smiled at Daniel. 'Not today, dear Mr Rothchild. Today I am off duty. A simple time to enjoy long life with dear old friends.'
'Dear old friends! Humph,' said Lucy Smith. But she had invited him anyway, for he too was some chosen vessel of destiny, and even Alexander needed to be around compatriots who had accompanied him on this long sojourn.
'I just thank God you didn't invite Lucifer,' she said.
'Oh, I think Lucifer will show his head sooner or later,' said Alexander, with a dark look. 'His thoughts are never far from you, dear Lucy Smith.'
'That would be right,' she said.
Shelandragh turned to David. 'So. You have commissioned dear old Lucy. For the extermination of our kind?'
Alexander looked curiously at David Rothchild, one of those to oppose him in many ways. 'The extermination of witches?' he asked him. 'Is the messiah taking us back to the glory of Torah obedience, I wonder?'
David smiled at Alexander, and lifted his glass of wine to him. 'To your good health, dear Alexander.' Alexander lifted his orange juice and repeated the blessing to everyone.
David spoke. 'Nay, not back to the glory days. That is not the commission heavenly father desires with young Lucy.'
'A commission?' said Alexander. 'I know much of such things.' Of course, Alexander and his father had long been a force in the uniting of the Christian Church on a global scale, perhaps, though, for not necessarily the most altruistic of reasons.
'Lucy's commission,' began David, 'is one of a great destiny for this chosen daughter of God. It is not to rid the world of witches and wizards. It is to rid life of the dark power. The dark power of magic,' he said, looking directly at Alexander.
'An interesting challenge,' said Alexander, sipping on his wine. 'Let me know, will you, if she ever succeeds.'
'I'll do that,' said David.
'You don't like magic,' Madalene Bridges said to David. 'It is against your Torah. And you love that Torah, don't you David.'
David looked at Madalene, reminded he once had a crush on the girl. 'Yes, Madalene. It is against the Torah.'
'And the Torah reigns supreme,' smirked Shelandragh.
'Apparently,' said Brax dryly, and all eyes turned to him upon that comment.
'You have no faith in the Torah?' Shelandragh asked Brax.
'I know were my faith is,' said Brax, hesitantly casting a glance at Saruviel.
'Mmm. Interesting,' said Shelandragh.
'You have never killed a man, have you Alexander. Or arranged for one to be killed. That is apparently the reputation you like to maintain,' stated Daniel Rothchild to Alex.
Alex nodded. 'Nor is their any reports or suggestions that I have ever done so. I know, as you all do, we are all caught up in this mysterious destiny, and the powers we all serve often pull no punches. But I have forsaken that. It is against the laws of life, after all. And even the blessed Rainbow Torah alone forbids such a thing.'
Lucy looked at Daniel Daly. He had coined the idea of the Rainbow Torah. She spoke. 'You obey the Rainbow Torah, Alexander?'
Alexander looked at Lucy Smith. 'It does not say much. The Torah, about non jewish people. That is correct, isn't it David?'
David looked at Alexander, smiled at him, but just took another sip of wine.
Daniel Daly spoke up. 'There are - responsibilities - in the Torah towards all mankind. Like our father Noah, we are called to walk with God in our communities. The righteousness of Noah, I presume, should be something of the calling of all our lives. Whatever that righteousness pertains to.'
'And what are these responsibilities, Mr Daly?' aske Alexander Darvanius, looking directly at Daniel.
'A law of life. As we have discussed. And a life is forfeit should you take that of another. Made in the image of God.'
'Mmm,' said Alexander. 'I have surmised as much.'
'There is more to it than that,' said Lucy, proudly.
'Then tell us,' said David, looking at Lucy. All eyes locked on her.
'There is a passage in Jeremiah,' said Lucy. 'It says if my neighbours, and it means if God's neighbours to the Kingdom of Israel. It says if my neighbours will learn the ways of my people and swear 'As Yahweh Lives', as surely as they followed the ways of Baal, they will become my people as well, if they follow my ways. Or some such words to those effect,' she said confidently.
'Indeed,' said Alexander.
'That sounds right, Lucy,' said David smiling. 'We can't escape a Torah way of life. All mankind needs the laws of God, to learn responsible ways. To be at peace with each other,' he said, saying the word 'peace' and looking directly at Alexander Darvanius.
'Yes, we need peace,' said Shelandragh, a comment echoed by all present.
'And what about Jesus Christ?' asked Madalene. 'What about what he says?'
They all looked at her. Alexander spoke. 'Dear Madalene. It would appear you are outnumbered, even by those of your own family. For it is a happy little Torah club you find yourself ensconced in.'
'But your a Christian, aren't you?' Madalene asked of Alexander. He looked at her, and it was a look as if he could say a million words on the subject, of a life long lived and considered on such words, but all he said was, 'To God be the praise, Madalene Bridges. To God be the praise.'
And David Rothchild said 'Amen.'
'I was baptized, once,' said Brax. All eyes turned upon him. He was a little nervous at that, but continued. 'It was weird. That is all I can say. But I sort of felt cleaner later. Sort of like I had been cleansed.'
'Mikveh's are like that,' said Daniel Daly. 'And I feel God honours Christian baptisms as a Mikveh.'
'What's a Mikveh?' asked Gemma.
'A ceremonial washing. Developed from the Torah,' said David.
'Oh,' said Gemma. 'And Jesus was Jewish. Wasn't he David? So that would have been a normal idea for him to do. Baptisms.'
'He was following biblical ideas,' said Daniel Rothchild. 'The prophets speak of washings and new hearts and the like. Jesus applied this theology to his new birth doctrine.'
'Born again,' said Lucy, knowingly. She had thought through those ideas in younger years, studying out the Christians doctrine.
'And what is wrong with that?' asked Madalene.
'Why, nothing,' said David, looking at Maddie. 'Nothing at all. It is a very Torahesque theology in many ways. Centred on the bible.'
'Oh. Ok,' said Madalene, who for once considered that one of the fundamentals of her faith might actually be shared by the Torah community anyway.
'We all need Jesus, don't we Madalene,' said Gemma, in a sarcastic tone.
Madalene smiled shyly, and kept quiet after that.
'Or perhaps some of us need the Devil,' said Shelandragh dryly, looking at Alexander Darvanius.
'Perhaps someone is the devil,' responded Brax, taking a sip of his wine, a comment noticed by many, though quietly spoken.
Alexander decided to change the mood. 'Why don't we go down to the creek. And look at the yabbies. I am sure there are many this time of year.'
And so the group, standing, walked down as a herd, down to the creek, and spent the rest of the afternoon splashing feet in the water, drinking wine, and having, in a very traditional sense, a gay old time.
And later that evening Lucy Smith, for once, could say she enjoyed the company of Alexander Darvanius the Second. For once.
* * * * *
Enrique finally returned. There was a ring on his finger.
'What's that?' asked Lucy.
'A wedding ring,' said Enrique.
'Oh,' said Lucy, taken aback. 'Your married.'
'I am now.'
'Oh,' she said.
Later on, Enrique now in the guest room, resting from his trip, Lucy sat there, in the back room, thinking. Thinking about what had happened recently.
Of course, getting a divine commission from God was something quite important. Quite important indeed. And the scope of the mandate would likely take up her thinking for quite a lot of the uknown and mysterious future before her. And she would not shirk her responsibilities in this commission, and take it seriously. She was that type of girl, after all. A very serious girl. And while it would not consume her whole life, it was sure to be affected and, thinking on that, potentially, her personal life might some times be put on the back burner as she pursued her calling.
Was it such an attitude, perhaps buried in her heart, that had led her to reject Enrique? Probably not, in the end. Probably not. And while she often felt she was a child of destiny, with a special calling, which indeed seemed true, she was sure it only ever embellished her life, not detracted from it. She was sure.
But, looking at that ring, and realizing she had granted Enrique his freedom, she couldn't help but question wether, just wether, she had made the right decision. Enrique had been there forever, her constant companion, looking after her, rescuing her from evil. The Terran Dragonrider, her hearts consolation in many ways. Sure he deserved her love, now? Surely, especially as she was about to give birth to their child. Surely. But, no. They had had an understanding, and he had acted on it, perhaps sooner than they had agreed, but could she really complain? Could she really deny him? He had a life to live too, didn't he. He had his own dreams, his own aspirations, and she could well conceive that, even now, after finally about to be a father for the first time, the utter frustration he might be feeling at his beloved still, in the end, saying no. How could she blame him for that? How could she? And Lucy Smith, so she prided herself in her heart, was always a girl of understanding, liberal in many ways, ready to give somebody the graces, the mercies - the freedoms - their hearts desired. How could she blame him?
But she did, a little, especially in light of the soon anticipated child. And while she would never speak of it to him, far too sensitive to his private life, she was, just a little, disappointed. She had lost her man, in a way. To another woman. And while they were not to be married anyway, and she was still unable to say those words of love he had needed to hear, she was still, just a little, disappointed. Just a little.
Never the less, life went on, and with or without a man by her side, she was soon to give birth. And for the practically minded Lucy Smith, that was the important thing. She was soon to be a mother. For the very first time. And no event, not even the marriage of the child's father, could disuade her from the happiness she was very soon to receive. No event at all.
* * * * *
She didn't normally receive phone calls so late, and let the answering service take care of them, especially on Saturday nights when she liked to stay in for the evening, curl up in bed with hot tea and honey, and a good fantasy novel, but something in Shelandragh May's heart told her she should get this call anyway. She was at home in Bunyan, and it was a very pissed off sounding bartender from one of the Cooma pub's, telling her that her pupil, the illustrious Lucy Smith, was, to put it bluntly, sloshed. Off her head.
'Heaven's above,' said Shelandragh May to herself, as she got in the car, made it into town, and found the said Lucy Smith in a highly inebriated state, hardly able to walk, muttering 'He's a bastard,' all the time.
'She's heartbroken, so she tells me,' said the Bartender. 'Something abou an Enrique leaving her.'
Shelandragh carefully dragged the tottering Lucy out to the car yet, by the side of the road she emptied her stomach, some of the ungodly mess landing right on Shelandragh May's new shoes.
She took her home to her place in Bunyan instead, wanting to keep an eye on her for the night, and as she put her to bed, Lucy came to her senses for a moment. 'I hate him.'
'Who?' asked Shelandragh May.
'Rique,' said Lucy, in a forlorn tone. 'He's married another. Another bloody bitch.'
'Mind your language, Lucy Smith.'
'Screw you Shelandragh,' said Lucy, and almost wanted to vomit again.
'Here is a bucket. Don't mess up my quilts,' said Shelandragh.
When Lucy had dozed off, Shelandragh sat up in the lounge, stoked the fireplace, and drank her tea and lemon, silently thinking. Obviously Enrique had done something. Talked about another lady. Betrayed her, or something or other. She was not sure exactly what was going on, but knew she would get her answer soon enough.
'Oh, heaven's above, Lucy Smith,' said Shelandragh May to herself, staring into the bright orange flames, the spirit of Bunyan soothing her soul as it had long done. 'Life is never boring with you, is it child of mine.'
And the spirits, that night around Bunyan, seemed to do a happy dance in response to Shelandragh May's statement, amused to have one of their favourites back in town, even for a night, as they danced and pranced and lived the life of the magical world, the faerie world, the spirit world, were Lucy Smith was one of their favourite, and most beloved, children.
'So. You have accepted your fate, Lucy Smith. A witch no more?'
Lucy, in the kitchen of Daniel's place in Cooma North, were she, Daniel, Shelandragh and David were staying for a while, cut into the cucumber after she had peeled it, sliced it up into several slices, and added it to the salad, the final touches.
'Now, do you like French dressing?' she asked David.
'Ooh, lovely,' said David.
'Then I will get the French dressing.
She went to the fridge, returned with the bottle and poured some on. After buttering the bread rolls, she served up lunch and the three of them, Daniel out for the day on some sort of personal business, sat around the lounge, eating.
'Put on a CD, Shelly, please,' said Lucy.
'Ok.' Shelandragh went to the bookcase and looked over Daniel's collection. 'Very commercial tastes,' noted Shelandragh. 'Ooh. Just for a laugh.'
As Spinal Tap started playing in the background, David unable to stop smiling at some of the lyrics, Lucy looked at him.
'Yes, David. I have accepted my fate.'
David finished off a mouthful of salad, bit into his bread roll and, taking a sip of orange juice, gazed at her.
'Then you needn't worry any more. About the commission. Not for now. Not for a long, long time, Lucy Smith.'
Shelandragh looked right at David, putting down her fork. 'And what does that mean?'
David smiled at Shelandragh. 'God knows, Shelandragh May, your heart. Better than you do. God has always known. He knows what makes you tick, and your fascination with magical things. It is how he made you, after all. The problems with magic are not insurmountable, and to the heavenly realm there is a degree of tolerance for such behaviour, depending on the type of witchery involved. It is true, in time, in the goodness of God's good time, he does want you, in your own heart, to consider the issues of magic and morality, and too contemplate things which will be said to you. But he is no rush. He has had magicians for years, and, really, they are not going anywhere.'
'Which means?' asked Lucy Smith, anxiously.
'We don't want either of you to give up your passions. At least not yet. Not while your heart is still committed to such things at least, anyway. It is later on. Later on in eternity when, having considered your craft, you will reach conclusions of sorts. On things you have learned, and things said to you. And it is then, and only then, when in your heart you are ready to reach the conclusions that we have presented to you, that the commission you have received becomes something of merit for you to follow through with. But not yet. Not yet, dear Lucy Smith. It is too soon, and your magical brethren are only now starting to enjoy themselves and their freedoms they have so long desired. And God knows this. And God does love you anyway.'
'How long?' asked Shelandragh.
'The time is not really the issue. You will need, in the end to find that answer for yourself.'
'How long?' she persisted.
'Time immemorial, dear Shelandragh. And things will come to pass, and things will have been before, and you will still be witches. But later on, when you are older, you will find some things in your heart, seeds of the divine which have borne fruit, and you will be witches no more. But aeons will come and aeons will go before such truths come to the fore. But as for time? A trillion lifetimes may still not be enough, Shelandragh May. So fret not.'
Shelandragh looked at David, and for the first time in her life she knew the meaning of the words 'The Mercy of God.'
'Thank you, David Rothchild,' said Shelandragh May, and she came and hugged him, and there were two very happy witches that afternoon in the abode of Daniel Daly, Cherubim of God. Two very happy witches indeed.
* * * * *
'Daniel. Who is Kirstie Kolby?'
'Ok. I confess. Yes, I'm married. Half a dozen kids as well. There. I've got it off my chest.'
'Mmmm,' said Lucy. 'It doesn't surprise me. Mandy was always suspicious. Said she had found the name written down a few times in questionable circumstances.'
'God. Don't tell Mandy. She'll cast a spell on me. She doesn't have your virtues, you know. Wild child that girl.'
'Do you still see Mandy?' asked Lucy.
'Do you?' responded Daniel.
'Well, no. Not really.'
'There's your answer,' responded Daniel.
'Anyway. Kirstie Kolby. What's the story?'
'She lives in New York.' He was actually lying. 'I see her occasionally. The family is all over there. Doing great, from what I hear.'
'You devil,' smiled Lucy.
'Takes one to know one,' responded Daniel, tongue in cheek.
'Are there any other secrets I should know about?'
Daniel remained silent, but she saw the concerned look on his face.
'Out with it,' said Lucy.
'Lucy Smith. The comings and goings of the pastor of Haven Noahide Fellowship are his own concern. All members have always agreed on that.'
'What do you mean all members?'
'Oops,' he responded. 'Oh, ok. Back when you were young there was a fledgling fellowship of half a dozen or so. We had some meetings. They are all still around, and they have private keys to the fellowship hall. We arrange private meetings through email. Its not an officially registered public fellowship, ok. It never has been. Members like there privacy. Eventually, when we are big enough, we will indeed go mainstream. But not yet.'
'Jesus, Daniel. Are there any other of these little secrets?'
'When you need to know you will be told. Don't worry about it for now, ok.'
But she was full of curiousity.
* * * * *
Damien Bradlock was not a virgin. Very far from it, in fact. And while in his time the Devil himself had raped a fair number of blonde virgins, his particular favourite, there had been one particular girl, in his teens, who may have redeemed the irredeemable. His Josie. The Devil did not love easily. In fact many would say the Devil did not love at all. But the girl whose virginity he had first claimed, and who had claimed his, right in his high school days in Hull, were he had been brought up, he thought of often, these days. Long after her unfortunate death on a fishing accident when they were teens. He had killed the guy, even though it had been an accident, and was never the kids fault. A fellow student in school, not one Damien really objected to, but when the news came he was a dead man. Damien had conducted his first trance, and attempted to summon the devil. And then a dark lord of evil had appeared to him, almost laughed to death, if possible for a demon, and said 'You have got to be fucking kidding me. Summoning the Devil? You? For fuck's sake.'
That had started an affair with the darkness and slowly, gradually, he learned who he was and the meaning of the demon's words. He was the devil himself, anyway. The Dark Lord of Evil. And so he had killed the youth, been sent to jail when they caught him, which began the tirade of the worst business empire the world would ever see. The most hostile of hostile takeover tycoons.
But he remembered Josie, from time to time, and the genuine love they shared, in his days of innocence. When he, the devil, was not too evil. When, by most reports, he was a regular kid, doing regular things, even listening to Abba and the Beatles, and thought by many, with his excellent grades, a real prospect for the future. He was indeed that prospect. But of the worst kind imaginable.
His early business years were a typical success story for such as his kind, but the cops were always on his tail, never quite catching him, the most elusive of the Lords of Power if ever there was one. And in all his early business years, without yet formulating his concrete plans of world domination, Damien pursued his business ambitions with malice towards competitors, twisting the legal system with his money to suit his own purposes, aware of every loophole, and earning the reputation as Wall Street's most formidable foe.
And the Darvanius' were never far from earshot, both Alexander Darvanius I and ADII, as he liked to be called, dread Saruviel of Eternity, part of his long term ambitions of power, cruelty and damn sovereignty.
He was never a pleasant devil.
So, when it was announced that the child was just about to be born, Damien contacted his pawn Zoldarius, and arranged for the despised one Grimlock to seek out Lucy Smith, monitor her, and use the kidnapped child as a bargaining chip in the agenda of the dark power even the devil served to bring despair, meaningless and misery to the children of Adam and Eve. Just for the hell of it, Damien Bradlock was oft heard repeating. Just for the hell of it. And while some might wonder, given that even Satan once knew the heart of love, and feelings for a girl, that perhaps, just perhaps, he could show some mercy and pity to Lucy in her anxious days of expectancy. The Devil stayed true to his colours.
* * * * *
One of the common events to the children of men was childbirth. And Lucy Smith was no exception. When her time came she handled it bravely, gave birth to a lovely daughter, and was received back home triumphantly the following morning, the baby in good health.
Taking care of details the following day, Lucy asked for the birth certificate from Shelandragh. Miss May went to her handbag, fished out a form and handed the certificate back to Lucy, who smiled and looked at the birth papers, finally filled in.
'Oh,' she said. 'Shelandragh. I know I never filled in the application form, and left that to you. I guess I should have,' she said, somewhat apologetically, looking at Enrique.
'Huh, what gives?' asked the Dragonrider.
'Our daughter,' said Lucy. 'She's not a Lopes.'
Enrique took the certificate, looked at the name and smiled ironically, handing it back to a quizzical Shelandragh.
'Oh, bugger,' said Shelandragh, only now realizing her gaff. 'Oh, I am so, so sorry Enrique. I never thought. I, I, I..' she left off, very embarassed.
'It's ok,' said Lucy. 'It was an honest mistake.'
Lucy turned, to look at little Jenny sleeping in the crib. 'I guess young Jenny SMITH will just have to get used to my family name. Do you really mind Enrique?'
Enrique took Lucy in his arms, kissed her, and said, 'Wether a Lopes or a Smith, she is our child. And I love her just the same.'
And, so, the much anticipated celebration for Jenny Lopes did not eventuate that morning, and, instead, Jenny Smith, with a mysterious new destiny all of her own, slept soundly, not crying once, as a furious rain storm started that afternoon, washing away the recent dust storm, the child sleeping safely, comfortably & happily through it all.
* * * * *
David Smith had spent an untold lifetime, by a small creek, eating weeds and occasional purple flowers, lonely, bored, aging oh so slowly. He presumed, in his heart, that he would one day die and leave this abode and go - where? Heaven? That might be part of his faith, now. Maybe. But, with nothing better to do in the shadow-world, he tinkered most day on the machine with manifold cogs which, he swore to himself, was a mechanical transport device of some sorts.
And then it happened, after rising, eating some flowers, he sat in the main control seat, so he had imagined it to be, tried the next number combination in current plan he was working with, and got the shock of his life when he pressed the third of the red buttons, as he pressed them all after setting the 78 dials of numbers, and the machine came alive with activity. He sat there, hoping beyond all hope this was the end, but the machine just continued whirring.
'Finally getting somewhere,' he thought to himself. 'Finally.'
So, memorising the combinations just in case, he pushed the fourth green button and, in a blink, he was gone, vanished to who knows where.
* * * * *
Grimlock, in the end, only half-heartedly repented of his evil. Only half-heartedly. But it did come to the point, one afternoon, in front of his home in the mountains, near the stream, he whispered to God that he was sorry he was a sinner, and did not bother saying anything much after that. It was all the repentance he could muster.
And then Zoldarius had contacted him again, and he was off on the devil's business, in a fit of lust, and all thoughts of repentance were laid to rest at his flat, forgotten in the victory of dark glories.
* * * * *
Lucy sat nursing her daughter, on the front porch rocker, in a state of matriarchal bliss. Enrique was tinkering with the car, and they were family.
'How about a family photo?' she yelled to Enrique, who seemed to mumble something back which, Lucy taking as agreement, put little Jenny down into the baby basket, left her on the porch, sure Jenny would be fine, and went inside to retrieve her camera. When she found it she came back outside and down to Enrique, who had thought she said it was lunchtime, and smiled at him as they came up to the porch.
'Did you put Jenny inside?' he asked Lucy, for the basket was empty.
Lucy looked at the empty basket, and then at her man, and the sudden outburst of screaming over a missing baby didn't stop that afternoon.
* * * * *
'Brat,' said Zoldarius, looking at little Jenny Smith, who had finally stopped crying. The last three days of crying, returning home, finally abating only now. He fed it, changed its nappies, and did a somewhat job in keeping it entertained, even reading from magic books to the child.
'Perhaps I should keep you? Raise you as my own?' he said to the child, who just stared back with innocent animated eyes.
'Humph,' he said to himself. Grimlock a daddy.
Still, that wouldn't likely happen. All too soon the final confrontation would come. They would wrangle Lucy's choice out of her one way or another, and the power of the dark magic would finally get the answer it had long waited upon.
* * * * *
'Well, are you coming?' Damien Bradlock asked Alexander Darvanius II, in the Alex's London skyscraper. Alexander looked at Damien and sighed. 'Its not the time, Damien. Its fruitless to even bother. You can't cheat destiny. It will make its decision when it will make its decision. And the time is not yet.'
'Fuck Destiny,' said the Devil. 'Are you coming or not.' Alexander sighed, got to his feet, and as they started the journey to Cooma, for the final confrontation of the Dark Lords of Evil with the witch-child Lucy Smith, Alexander knew it would end in no good. No good at all.
* * * * *
Grimlock stood with Jenny in his arms. Lucy wanted to rush out, but Enrique held her back. Shelandragh stood next to them, and Daniel Daly stood behind, watching nervously. This was not his fight - he was hardly armed with the power of magic.
They had goaded them just a few minutes earlier, to come out and face them, and standing on the front lawn of the Smith abode, late Sunday night, the Dark Lords of evil almost looked a comical force, attempting to twist a judgement from Lucy Smith - the ultimate choice of destiny she must make - perhaps just a little too soon.
'We are outnumbered, Lucy,' said Shelandragh.
And then Lucifer Malfoy stepped out of the shadows and Lucy said 'I think we're fucked, Shelly.'
Lucy Smith, Shelandragh May, Enrique Lopes and a very reluctant Daniel Daly stood there, facing the Dark Lords of
Evil, Alexander Darvanius, the cretin Grimlock, holding her child, the repulsive Lucifer Malfoy, Zoldarius, and the worst of the lot, Damien Bradlock.
'Alexander,' said Shelandragh. 'I didn't think it would come to this.'
Alexander seemed dismissive. 'This is not my idea, Shelandragh May. I will not interfere. Yet.... Yet if Lucy would make her choice. If now, then I would listen.'
Shelandragh looked at Lucy. 'Do you remember, Lucy. That tale I told you once. About a child. A witch. With a special choice in a contract of heaven?'
Lucy did not even look at Shelandragh, but didn't need to even answer Shelandragh. She had known those secret truths herself, for some time now. She didn't need to be told.
'Alexander. Whatever choice you think I need to make. I won't. Not now.'
Suddenly, a white glowing fireball permeated the scene and struck Alexander on the chest, who fainted back, and fell to the dirt, although it did not seem fatal.
And then a man appeared, who looked and felt strangely familiar to Lucy Smith, and confronted Damien Bradlock. Shelandragh immediately rushed down to help the man, while Lucifer jumped up to confront Enrique and Lucy.
Daniel looked at Grimlock. He had an idea.
Shelandragh, wand raised, glared at Damien, who indeed grinned like the Devil.
'Who are you?' She asked the man.
'Don't you know, Shelandragh?'
And Shelandragh turned, and slowly, recognizing his face, said, 'David. David Smith.'
David smiled, then a lightning bolt crackled between them and they returned to face their foe.
Lucifer scowled at Lucy. 'Come child. Perhaps we could have some more fun. Like the good old days.'
'Your sick Lucifer!' shouted Lucy.
Enrique did his best to stand between Lucifer and Lucy, but knew if they started hurling magic bolts at each other he was a dead man.
'I hate to say this, Enrique. And I don't doubt your manhood. But perhaps if you stand behind me,' said Lucy, raising her wand.
Enrique, albeit reluctantly agreed.
'Come now, Shelandragh May. Let the witch make her decision.'
Damien stood there, Zoldarius next to him, grinning madly. He hurled another bolt at her, but she ussed a magic shield.
Zoldarius glared at David. 'My old enemy. Did you enjoy the shadows?'
David pointed his wand and unleashed a fury of flames at Zoldarius, who just surrounded himself with a veil of blue energy.
'You suck, Lucifer,' said Lucy, and hurled a bolt of energy at her. He dodged it, but when Lucy whispered 'watch' to Enrique, the dragonrider was amused when the bolt looped back and hit Lucifer in the back of his head, whose eyes glazed over, and then fell down unconscious on to the porch.
'Is he dead?' Enrique asked.
'I wish,' said Lucy.
Damien noted that Lucifer had fallen, but was not perturbed.
'Let her choose,' said Damien to Shelandragh. 'And you can have your child returned.'
Just then Daniel yelled in triumph, 'I have Jenny.' He was standing beside a slumped to the ground Grimlock, holdind a cricket bat in his hand. A just used cricket back.
'Thank God,' yelled Lucy.
Damien glared in hatred, and threw another bolt of energy at Shelandragh, who put the shield up again.
'Its over,' said David to the Dark Lords. 'Leave, now. We don't need this to go any further. That choice, which I also know of, is for another time. It is not for now, dark nemesis. And a stronger power than even you rules over destiny.'
'Bah,' said Damien and, throwing one last bolt of energy at Shelandragh, who raised her shield again, retreated away, Zoldarius backing off with him, but who turned to David and said,
'We will meet again, David Smith. Believe me, we will meet again.'
And then they were gone, off in the night, off to their own, dark, domains.
* * * * *
Lucy looked at the three figures, tied with a rope, a spell of holding placed over them.
'You suck, Lucy Smith,' muttered Lucifer.
'I didn't think this was necessary,' said Alexander.
Grimlock didn't say anything, but just looked miserable.
'What do we do with them?' Daniel asked.
Lucy looked at Shelandragh. 'Perhaps the oldest but the best answer to the likes of Lucifer Malfoy.'
And raising her wand, she yelled 'Relocate,' and the dark lords were gone, off to who knows where, this final and terrible confrontation, at last, dealt with.
* * * * *
Well, all things worked out for good thereafter in the life of Lucy Smith. The Dark Lords bothered her not again, for there was no longer any point in tempting fate, for they had another battle to fight, in the form of other soldiers of heaven in a judgement day soon impending. The fate of Lucifer Malfoy, though, in the immediate sense, was an ironic return to Azkabahn, a familiar looking prison cell, and the mocking laughter of irony from a familiar looking prison guard.
'Life really did suck,' Lucifer scowled, eating up his crusty bread and water.
Grimlock eventually found a boat near the shore of Antarctica, where he had been relocated to, and getting back to South America first, he eventually found his way home.
Darvanius ended up deep in the Sahara desert, fortunately found water, and eventually found a tribesman to guide him out of the hottest place on earth.
Yet, as for Lucy Smith, she and her father David were finally reconciled. There were tears of joy, tears of laughter, taers of sorrow over Caroline, who had gone to the grave, but most of all, tears of love. Most definitely love.
Lucy's life, finally, once and for all, got back to normal, and while a final fateful choice yet remained, Lucy did her best, raising young Jenny, to not let the things of Destiny disturb her happiness.
Yes, in the end, Lucy Smith found happiness. And while the dark lords of evil, may, in truth, inevitably return one day, the saga of the life of Lucy Smith, child of heaven, special child of destiny, for now, is complete.
All Glory to God Most High
And Peace to his People on Earth
Lucy Smith – Choices of the Heart
Gemma Watkins was a lady of extraordinary beauty, and also one loved greatly. In fact, David Rothchild had long felt he was to be with this woman forever, but it didn’t work out in the end. It just wasn’t, apparently, meant to be. But no worry, life went on, and Gemma continued her life after David with all the courage and finesse which her beauty lent her.
One of Gemma’s close friend was Lucy Smith, the witch. Lucy had recently gone through many turmoils at the hand of the Dark Lord’s of evil, and while she had vanquished Lucifer, hopefully, for the very last time, she felt the power of evil that one had would somehow resurface. It seemed, in truth, impossible to escape this dark lord who had haunted her for so long.
Lucy, one fine Sunday morning, having tea with Shelandragh in her house in Bunyan known as Minoxxia, welcomed visiting Gemma Watkins to their home. Gemma, now, was ancient as well. And this was something she had only started to grasp, the gift of life that God had apparently blessed her with. It had all started when her new friends Jonathon and Lucinda had arrived from New Zealand and introduced her to Callodyn Bradlock and his wife Rachel. Instantly Gemma had made a deep and personal connection with Rachel Bradlock, and following that an even stronger connection with Jonathon and Lucinda. And then, for some completely unexplicable reason, she had gone off to live in England for 30 years, just upon a whim, and ended up were Callodyn said he had come from, Hull on the coast, were she had met a certain ex copper, Jack Dagger, who claimed a similar long life to Gemma, having quickly opened up to her for some strange reason. She had shared this with Lucy, that there was an order or something amongst a special group of humans, and that Rachel was the firstborn, followed by Jonathon and then Lucinda, and then herself and Jack Dagger following her. And, apparently, from what Rachel was suggesting to her, an unlimited number of human souls were to slowly and inevitably join their group. She had dreamed a number of times of these people, so she had told Gemma, and recognized Gemma very quickly from her visions. Callodyn had used a description, just the once, and not spoken of it again, calling them the ‘Ketravim of Eternity’. Gemma had queried many times what the word Ketravim was supposed to mean, but Callodyn was not any more forthcoming.
Gemma had for a long time considered that she must have just had special genes but, inevitably, the spiritual came up and she considered the God question. It seemed that God had chosen her, that the most high himself had picked her for long, if not eternal life, and that such was her reward for some apparent reason not known to her. It was a strange calling, frightening at first, but she was now enjoying her long extended life quite tremendously. She had much wealth, a great deal of assets, and a number of houses in Canberra and Sydney. In a way it really was the high life for Gemma Watkins.
Of course, she soon found out that Justine and David also partook of such a life, as well as Lucy Smith and Shelandragh May amongst others, including the other Ketravim and Callodyn and Leopold Bradlock. David said they were living towards the end of days of human society in apocalyptic terms and special things were now happening. Gemma did not really understand much of what all that was about, but trusted David nonetheless.
Yet, today, she was visiting Lucy, and on a day of days as well. The world was on tenterhooks, for the world alliance was about to invade Israel, the final nation not part of the alliance of Alexander Darvanius II. Everyone knew Alexander, many said he was a ‘Christ’ of sorts, the one preparing the way for the return of Jesus, as he had lived now for so long. Gemma had heard so much of Lucy’s encounters with Alexander, but today, a day of destiny, Gemma was to witness the most fateful choice of all in the destiny of Lucy Smith and Alexander Darvanius II.
* * * * *
Satan watched on. Alexander had knocked on the door, and Gemma had answered it. She had looked at him, let him in, and they all sat in the lounge room, Alexander not initially speaking. Eventually he spoke up.
‘Lucy. You have a choice to make, young woman. An important choice to make. It is this. Serve me, serve my kingdom, and I will offer you rewards beyond your comprehension. Simply acknowledge that I am the way of destiny the world needs most of all. Alternatively, you may choose this. You may choose to vanquish me, to have the upcoming final conflict go against me, and have me utterly defeated at the hands of the returning Jesus.
You know of the methods I often employ, you know of Lucifer Darvanius who I have utilized to achieve many ruthless ends. You know, though, that I have never had a man killed deliberately by Lucifer, and that any such wickedness he claims is by his own volition. In this sense you are aware that I have not violated the laws of life of the Rainbow Bible. I have not been perfect in morality at all, and perhaps quite detestable in what I have allowed by many people’s standards.
Yet you also know, as I have made clear to you previously, that I serve a sense of goodness which is vindicated by its defiance of the purest forms of evil and wickedness. You know I represent absolutism, extremely strict absolutism, and a sense of utter commitment. And you know I represent this to thwart the evil in mankind.
I am a paradox, Lucy Smith. I am contrary to God, yet perhaps what he needs most of all. But that is who I am, and perhaps I have been chosen for this task.
You know, if you choose against me, that I will fall into the pit of despair for aeons beyond counting. Yet you also know, that in the judgements I will place upon mankind I will judge for so very long in a way which most will complain is too restrictive and oppressive in the freedoms they take for granted. And the ends will often justify my means.
Yet, that is what I offer. That is what I, Saruviel, represent, and my fate is only in your hands Lucy Smith. Only in your hands.’
In heaven, Daniel and Ariel sitting next to Samael of the children of heaven, waited anxiously. The other children couldn’t bare to watch, and today was the day of the choosing – the day of fundamental choosing – and they watched on with baited breath.
‘No, Saruviel. No.’
‘And what does that mean?’
‘I choose neither to justify you or disgrace you. To neither condemn you or accept your ways. I choose, instead, to forgive you and allow life itself to make the ultimate choices on your destiny. It is unwritten, Alexander Darvanius. It is unwritten.’
Daniel, in heaven, looked at Ariel and grinned. Samael swore and instantly said, ‘For Christ’s sake, you must have told her,’ but Daniel and Ariel simply said nothing. And thus, the choice Samael feared the most, occurred, and the fate of Saruviel was now in the hands of God and the nature of life itself.
Alexander looked at Lucy, gave her a new, perplexed look, and left. Now, that was unexpected. That was, in truth, quite unexpected.
Lucy Smith - The Children of Haven
Lucy Smith was an extraordinary lady. In more ways than one. This was the fixed and constant opinion of Lucifer Darvanius. Vanquished, yet again. And fuck it pissed him off. He should fix the little bitch up. But, no. He couldn’t. The strange emotion, which angels talked of, which, perhaps, in days long ago, in an inifinite realm he partook of, but long ago decided that the truths of passion, the truths of aggression, the truths of the will of the dark magic, took precedence over anything so simple as that strangest of emotions. That emotion called – love.
He remembered the Celestyels of Infinity, and the passion they’d had towards him on the occasions they led him to their bedroom, and lavished rich lovings upon him. And he still enjoyed those lavishings, especially on his manhood, in the brothels of the dark places of society, where he ordered his pleasures, and paid his fee, and lay there, as she did her work, as she did his pleasure.
But with Lucy, while he desperately wanted to fuck her brains out, the strangest and most ridiculous of emotions said to him, ‘You love her too much you devil.’ And so he prattled on these days with email after endless email about his victories against this biker dude or that drug dealer, and the victories he’d won on the battlefield of the barroom floor. And he did that, not even in fact anymore, but with bravado and Majesterial brutality. But he always said, at the end of his little tirades, two simple words. Your cute.
She was, in fact, quite cute. A babe, really. And had a spirit which turned him on, gave him a hard on, and off he went to his bedroom, relieved himself, and lay there, fantasizing upon Lucy, and perhaps, letting that weird feeling fill his heart.
But, fuckit. He was a devil. He was a Darvanius. She was just another woman, just another babe, just another fuck.
Still, he couldn’t think that in that part of his heart which some greater power still controlled.
He loved her. As simple as that. He loved the dumbass little witch. He loved her.
Daniel Daly, head of Haven Noahide fellowship, sat in his Cooma north abode, Lucy sitting at the desk, with a pen, a quill in fact, writing out a portion of the Torah. Genesis chapter 1 in fact. She’d never done this before, but he had suggested to her that a faithful Karaite Noahide, if one were to take the religion seriously, would in fact, in time, get to writing out the entire Rainbow Torah. Genesis 1 – 11:9. And so, this morning, as the rays of dawn hit the front window, sitting there quietly, enjoying the peace of a beautiful Sunday Morning, the same title for such a song by the band Madasun enjoying its playing on repeat on the CD player, he was inspired, got Lucy up early, at their bacon and eggs and other things, and suggested the idea to her.
‘Sure. After lunch,’ she responded. He didn’t object.
She was slow, but handwriting was often like that, and took time, especially Lucy’s, as she was so incredibly neat. But around dinner time she produced the parchment, of all things she had chosen and purchased downtown in Cooma, and he looked at it. It was beautiful. She had completed the Rainbow Torah designation of Haven Noahide Fellowship, which was Genesis 1 to Genesis 2:4a. That was the Creation section.
‘What do you think?’ she asked him.
‘It’s a lot better than my first effort. My handwriting has never been that neat.’
She nodded, and took the parchment and placed it inside the plastic folder she had decided to keep her work in, inside a plastic sleeve.
‘I’ll read it, you know, Dan. When it’s finished. It will be my personal torah. It’s the one I’ll stick with.’
‘I usually read a JPS Tanakh myself, but fair enough,’ responded Daniel.
‘Do you ask this of all of them? Members of Haven? The Children of Haven.’
‘No. Not really. It’s not even written down in the 7 Rainbow Bibles as a requirement. Just something I suggest to those who are serious about the faith. Some have done it.’
‘Am I going to meet them, then? The Children of Haven. It’s been a few years, now, Daniel. We’ve been discussing this. Lucifer’s gone, now. Zoldarius too. I don’t think they will be back. Not any time soon, anyway. Knew they had messed with the wrong people.’
‘Pride comes before the fall, Lucy Smith. A witch of maturity should know such a truth. I am familiar with Shelandragh’s teachings upon you, you know. Quite familiar.’
‘You fancy yourself a wizard,’ she said casually. ‘You think you have any gifts?’
‘I don’t always agree with David Rothchild, you know. His judgements. His jewish religion. Noahide faith, in the end, has its own freedoms. Spiritual animism is fine to me. God made it, after all, and I have these gifts in me, just like you.’
‘But what about real magic?’ she asked him curiously.
‘Mmm. No. Not in the end. Don’t want to fuck with the ultimate source of that shit. It’s a different spirit. A different energy. It goes back to the beginning, of all things, when God was young in his dreams and plans. He created the energy field for temptation purposes, to sort out ole Samael.’
‘How do you know that?’ she asked him.
‘A little angel told me so,’ he said with a wink. ‘Heaven does that for me, occasionally. Gives me a little whisper, a little story, a little legend of what its all about. A little about you, even. And Enrique, funnily enough. Strange, you and him. Have you worked it out yet? Do you love him?’
‘We share Jenny. That will always be true. You know I love him, ok. I always will. But I like Selena Gomez’ advice. In and out of love, and that’s how I like it. Its why I’m here, of course.’
‘Huh?’ he said, turning back to what she had just said, because his head had been turned.
She just smiled at him.
‘How much of that parchment did you get?’ he asked her.
‘Enough for the whole Rainbow Torah.’
‘Job. Also Job. If you want to do that eventually. That book is ok for Noahides. He was one.’
‘I know. I thought about that already, anyway.’
‘Would you ever do it all? The whole Tanakh?’
‘Have you?’ she asked, looking directly at him.
‘No,’ he responded, after a moment. ‘Only the Rainbow Torah. 3 times. Nothing more.’
‘Then probably not,’ she replied. ‘Don’t want to usurp my leader now, do I?’ She smiled at him, and he grinned in response.
‘You’ll meet the children of Haven soon enough, ok. There are a few of them in Cooma. A lot more in Canberra where it started. You’ll like them. I’m sure of it. And you’ll get a rush in the fellowship. The spirit of our communion.’
‘Mmm?’ she queried.
‘Churches have them. Most religions do. A unique spirit. I prayed long and hard for each of the 7, that they would have really intoxicating spirits. Ones which really helped the heart in its life struggles. You only get it when we are together, though. But its bliss.’
‘I look forward to it,’ she said smiling at him. He smiled back.
Shelandragh came around that evening, and they had their meal, and Daniel stole another look at Lucy’s little rainbow torah when she was sleeping, and smiled to himself. Always nice to see the Noahide world grow. Always nice.
Jane Elegar Smith was a regular person in many ways. Bored with life at 18, suicidal, addicted to death metal, working as a prostitute in Fyshwick, living in a Trailer Park in Symonston or Narrabundah or some bloody suburb she couldn’t remember the name of, but it was on her mail and her DSP card, and addicted to cigarettes, honeycomb schnapz, and girl porno, Jane Elegar Smith was indeed a regular person. Or so she believed anyway. She fancied herself ‘Decadence’. The title or moniker she called herself by. She was a prophetess of wisdom, inspired by Pentecostal messages describing her as a chosen vessel of God, even though she had fucked off from church after only 2 visits. Now she lived on the DSP – the Disability Support Pension – for her schizophrenia, played Sega video games from the 90s which she collected, and listened to Death Metal acts such as Slayer, Morbid Angel and Metallica, but adoring Hard Rock even more than the heavy stuff. She even had tapes. A girl of her generation, even with tape cassettes. It was unheard of, but she collected them anyway, as some places still produced them. She had, in her cabin in the trailer park, a pile of tape cassette box holders, piled high to the ceiling of the cabin, alphabetized, 4 columns of them, about 25 rows, or something like that. About 100 boxes, with over 2000 cassettes so far. And about the same again on CD and record. Out the front of her Cabin was a sign which read. ‘Bon Jovi? Are you serious? Poison Forever.’ Yet, despite being the world’s biggest Brett Michael’s fan, she loved the Jovi also. Decadence was really just that – decadence. But she was also in a relationship, of about 3 months now, with a Cooma guy. Daniel. Daniel Daly. He’d met her, at the trailer park, when he was visiting a friend of his, and said hello. He’d said hi back and she invited him into her cabin for a friendly chat. And he saw her metal, and he said ‘I love you forever,’ in a cute voice. Yet, as strange as it seemed, somehow she knew he meant it. Like it was fate. Like it was destiny.
He was a religious freak, he told her, but she said that was ok. She liked religion now. She liked God. He had filled her with his spirit and, while she argued with him each morning, she loved him none the less. God was great. Even understood a girl like her. And then, just 2 weeks after friendship, he asked her to go steady with him, and she said ‘Shit yeah.’
Decadence was unemployed, naturally, and in terms of physical appearance she was slightly chubby, but in what Daniel told her was a cute way, which she knew in fact to be true. Curvy, more than anything. Not an embarrassing fatness, and he said he really liked her legs. Kind of him.
She ate ice cream, lots of it, junk food, and watched pay tv all day and all night, apart from when her and Sarah and Sarah’s man, Davo, from next door, played cards, which they did half the day.
Suicidal thoughts were impulsive, because she wanted to go to heaven now, rather than having to wait forever. Coz she didn’t hate life, and didn’t really suffer depression. Madness, sure, and killing herself would be a rush. But not now, ok. Probably not now. Daniel was on her mind. He was nice. Sweet. And he loved her and what she represented. And he meant it. He meant it.
Daniel was preaching a sermon. Haven had gathered in Cooma, and Lucy was in the front row, sitting next to Jane Smith.
‘Why don’t we fuck animals?’ he began. ‘Vd’s. Causes VD’s which make you sterile. No offspring. No future. No hope. Also, a sexual act which doesn’t make children. Pretty crude as well. Why not homosexuality? Leads to bestiality. They don’t give a fuck about standards, and end up fucking animals as well. Besides, no offspring either. The current trend of gay marriages. They don’t make babies. Oh, let us let them adopt, says society. Stupid, aren’t they. Kids could grow up gay as well. No offspring for them, either. What about wars? Oh, yeh. I went off to war, says sergeant slaughter in his heavenly abode. Got my brains blown out with a bazooka. Didn’t have kids to my girl back home yet, though. No offspring. No future. Why don’t we allow brawlings and fightings? They end up killing each other in rage. No future. No offspring. You see those, and countless other reasons why the Torah is correct, is currently ignored by politically correct society. They think they know better. Their liberal ragings on evolutionary scientific ‘Truths’. They’re idiots. They won’t inherit the land. You see, ever generation God prunes mankind. Roots out the wicked, lets the righteous prosper. It’s why we are less violent in these generations and holier than in the earlier ones. But sin is still popular, and people are still choosing it. Yet, what really survives are righteous bloodlines who have learned the truths taught from their parents, about sin and how it only kills you in the end. How it only kills you in the end. Like the dark magic. How it only kills you in the end.’
He stood down. There was a clap, and they mingled, and Lucy considered his final words. How the dark magic only kills you in the end. She got the point. She really got the point.
Lucifer looked at the picture of Lucy above his Sydney home bedroom desk. He lived in Sydney, now, for the most part. Lucius in the UK, and Lucas in the USA. That’s how they liked it, the triplets. Living apart. Living in their own universe. Ocker Aussie had won him, a long time ago, and he spoke like them, swore like them, and played AC DC on his CD Walkman time and time again. He was even a citizen, and hadn’t needed to smudge the lines. He thought on Lucy, and he thought on his sins. Lucifer had killed men. But, in the end, despite being a scumbag son of a bitch he knew himself to be, they had always been of the evil kind. Brawlers in bars, boozing madman having a go at him, who he had knocked off. Or drug dealers trying to screw him on the price. He took a particular disliking to them. But he always had a look at the man, and asked himself ‘Does he deserve it.’ He remembered, you see, an old law of life taught him in his youth. By John Darvanius. ‘Kill an innocent, Lucifer, and don’t think God will forgive you, let alone prosper you. Remember that.’
He did. He always had. And while he was scum, perhaps Lucy could even like a guy like him. Perhaps.
He went off to the TV room, switched on the TV, and watching ‘Supernatural’, his mind drifted away, and he snoozed, as the world turned, and Lucy Smith gave no sudden thoughts of inspiration towards Lucifer that day either.
Lucy Smith sat with young Jenny. 3 years old, still not talking, which was a worry. But she was no trouble. In fact, largely the opposite. When she put her down, she sat there, unmoving. Just playing with whatever toy her mother had given her, smiling, happy, innocent. But, as Lucy noticed, she just sat there. Unmoving. As if a spirit of stability and unchanginess had settled upon her, and she wasn’t really interested in doing anything else apart from the issue at hand. And in Jenny’s case it was mostly the toy her mother gave her. What a strange young child.
She had prayed for Jenny to Jehovah since her birth, and asked for a blessing in Karaite Noahide faith for the child. It was her religion, now, and she wanted the child brought up properly because of it. She wouldn’t refuse her magic, though, but had second thoughts about real magic. The magic of Shelandragh’s. The child probably didn’t have that anyway – real magic. She was probably animistic, which even Daniel didn’t object to, and he was serious on that issue. Daniel loved Shelandragh, though, and didn’t object to the magic within her. She was a good old soul, he told Lucy often, and that whatever the Dark Magic had once been to her had been conquered long ago by Shelandragh’s quiet sensibilities and general sense of goodness and courtesy. She was a fine witch, and the community was lucky to have her, Daniel once commented to her.
Jenny was an attractive enough child, good looking, like her mother, and looked like Enrique also. She ate her food, and didn’t object to her veges most of the time, but never ate the sandwich crusts, which she left. That was not good enough for the young child, so Lucy had started cutting off the crusts, amused by the child’s picky eating habits. When spoken to the girl looked up at you, eyes wide with wonder, but no other reaction. She was not deaf, or anything like that, and usually turned her head when her mother was speaking to her. But she was oh, so quiet, and there was never a peep from her. A few cries in babyhood, which had left as she started toddling around. She was something quite different than the expectations Lucy had had in her first motherhood.
Enrique came around from time to time, but claimed, now, was with another woman. Another love, and that he even had children. Good for him, she thought to herself. He had found where he probably really belonged then. And then, last week, he had sent her a postcard from Brazil, and the girl’s name was Monica Gomez. One of his own. Perhaps she should have expected that in the end. His own culture. Not that surprising in the end, really. Not that surprising.
It was a happy, content and joyous life in Cooma, living next door to the pool usually, but she spent a lot of time living with Daniel Daly also, for she had a crush on him. She hadn’t told him. She’d been subtle about that, but it was something which had bubbled up for a few years now. He was like her, so she noticed. A similar spirit, as if they were related somehow. And she understood his sarcasm and humour, and she liked his general demeanour. And he was attractive also. She had a lot of money, now, and from winnings early on in life in a special quest she had invested the money in shares in Australian companies later on in life, which now sufficed as her total income without any problems at all, the companies having still continued to grow. She was happy, quiet, content. But the Children of Haven had now come into her life, and it was a new beginning. A new spiritual adventure. And each day she found private joy from God, anxiously waiting upon what would happen next. For life was good and that was the way she liked it.
Dead. All dead. All dead. Lucy looked on at the funeral as Madalene was laid to rest, next to her sister Georgia and brother Jayden, in the Chakola cemetery. ‘The last of them,’ said Daniel. ‘All gone now. Just you and me, Lucy.’
‘Amelia, of course,’ responded Lucy.
Daniel’s eyes glazed over. Amelia was in Canada, and did not speak to him much. She was upset. Upset over old words of Daniel. Words of eternity. Words of eternal life.
‘Some others of the Children of Destiny have a different fate, Amelia. Not the same as the traditional kind. Other ones, perhaps inspired by magic and myth. A longer life. A more – eternal – one. Just the way of things, you know. Some dreams live. Some dreams die.’
He remembered those words.
‘There are a lot of people in this world,’ said Lucy. ‘And there is not much Christianity left, now. I went to church the other day. In civic. A Uniting Church. 2 members. On Sunday. The only two members. They said something to me. About 300 Christians left in Canberra now. Ironically, the Jewish community is apparently bigger, just, now anyway. Same worldwide.’
‘And Islam?’ queried Daniel.
‘Are there any? Anywhere? People hated that in the end. So violent. So extreme.’
Daniel nodded consolingly. He looked as the gravesmen piled on the dirt, prayed a soft prayer for Madalene’s soul, and turned with Lucy Smith, walked up to the car, and sombrely drove home. Sombrely drove home.
The Children of Haven. A thought had entered the mind of Lucy Smith. She was now one of the Children of Haven. And then another question.
‘Who are the 7DF, Daniel? What is that all about?’
‘Oh. Those are the other ones. Seven Divine Fellowships. Number one is Haven Noahide Fellowship and then, in order, Assembly of the Divine Creator, Universal Faith Assembly, Assembly of the Living God, Universal Truth Assembly, Assembly of the Most High and, finally, Haven Adamide Fellowship.’
‘Two Havens!’ she exclaimed.
‘For the Children of Adam. A more universal focus. But you are Haven Noahide.’
‘I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll choose another one. Maybe, Assembly of the Most High.’
He looked at her. ‘Dream on.’ But he kept the matter in mind.
‘When are we having another service?’ she asked later on in the day. ‘The spirit was amazing, as you said. When we were all together. So spiritual. So deep. So thoughtful about it all. Dense, even. Like so many issues had been considered quite deeply.’
‘Seeking the heart of God,’ he said softly. ‘Prayed into them. By myself and other members. The spirit of the Assemblies are eternal. That was the primary and chief request. So we developed our theological thinking and brought in distinct theologies for each fellowship. A unique spirit for each of them. You were very close to Madalene. She was Catholic. Haven Noahide is primarily aimed at ex-catholics.’
‘Really?’ she asked curiously.
‘The other assemblies have a different client base. Ex-anglicans go into Assembly of the Divine Creator, for example. Or English Catholics. It’s an Anglospheran assembly. Strongly promotes English culture as one of its core goals. A strong focus on that. Also focuses on the Second Quran, but not the first one. I wrote a document once called ‘The Second Quran’
‘And Universal Faith Assembly?’
‘God’s one. Specially for God. Meant to be a house of prayer and worship were everyone of all persuasions can feel at home. Even goes soft on the gays somewhat. UFA. A very ‘Accepting’ fellowship.’
‘Assembly of the Living God?’
AOTLG is catered for other religions and ex agnostics / ex atheists / ex non religios and ex deists. It also has an Anglosphere focus, but primarily on the legal structures of the 7 Sovereign Nations as I call them. The constitutions.’
‘What are the 7 Sovereign Nations?’
‘UK, US, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Guyana and Canada. The main English Speaking Nations. Just an idea I prayed about once.’
‘Oh. And Universal Truth Assembly?’
‘Has the ability of having Jewish and Muslim members. The Tanakh and the Quran are books also for this Assembly. I recognize the historical facts behind the formulation of the texts, but they are included. Also, to be very blunt Lucy, it has an African penchant about it. The Black Fella’s assembly, putting it very bluntly.’
‘Fair enough,’ she responded. ‘What about Assembly of the Most High?’
‘Protestant Christians who have left the church as well as the Evangelical Church and any ex-Pentecostals. But, with each of the Assemblies, they have their own unique identities anyway, based around the theological tenets of the Rainbow Bible for each of them.’
‘And Haven Adamide for humans in general?’
‘I am aiming towards Ex Unitarian Christians and Ex Oneness Christians in that assembly. However, various little angels have whispered to me the Assemblies exist in heaven now anyway, and they have their own memberships based on the general heavenly community people of those of whoever has taken an interest. On earth there is a bit of a focus towards people from prior spiritual backgrounds towards their own particular spiritual assembly, something just for them, and that is the way I have organized it so far. But, technically, you could join whichever of the 7DF you wanted to in the end. It comes down to your own choice, that being if you want to join it.’
‘I’ll end up in Assembly of the Most High. But I’ll stick with Haven for now.’
‘And how do you know that?’ he asked her, smiling.
‘I just do,’ she responded, and wandered off, a big smile on her face.
* * * * *
Lucifer Darvanius sat on his Harley Davidson, smoked his ciggie, took a swig of Jack Daniel’s, and looked at the fellowship hall in North Cooma. He wasn’t an idiot. He knew about this place years ago. Alexander had tipped him off on it. There were about 5 cars in the parking lot, the service going on and, flicking his ciggie to the ground, he dismounted his bike, brushed his hair back with his hands, and wandered up the path, to enter the building.
Inside there was not much going on at the moment. About 20 souls, sitting around, chatting lightly. Daniel himself was up the front, behind the dais, seated, looking through some notes. And there, in the front row, next to some other chick, Lucy. Looking beautiful. He wandered up, somewhat obnoxiously, and eyes turned to look at him. And then Lucy, whose eyes were staggered, but said nothing as he sat down next to him, snorted, and stared frontwards. She looked at him for several moments, but said nothing. Daniel stood, noticed Lucifer, but got to his sermon.
‘Evil, is not good,’ said Daniel. ‘Not good. In fact, diametrically opposed to good. But it is so stupid, doing whatever the hell it wants, sometimes it acts in goodness without realizing it. You see the heart of evil is not to choose evil, but to choose completely its own will. And sometimes, in that strange beast of freedom, even goodness can be chosen. The Dark Magic works like that as well, protecting itself, hating all who would oppose it but, in a truly capitalistic amazement, will work towards those things which will get it off as well, even if sometimes it protects, even if sometimes it loves. Damien Darvanius is the heart of so much evil on this planet, an adversary of our fellowship’s, and like Alexander and like,’ he said, looking at his guest, ‘Lucifer Darvanius,’ even evil sometimes has its days off, when it just wants to hang around, have a good time, and do whatever. And, so that we teach the lesson of God – the fundamental lesson – that we reward goodness and punish evil, on such occasions we reinforce its finally sensible decisions, and give the devils a break. Evil is as evil does but, deep down in the hearts of so many used to doing whatever the fuck they want, sometimes, just sometimes, they listen to that small and quiet voice of eternity which says ‘lighten up dude.’
And Daniel left off speaking, returned to his seat, and the congregation set to chatter.
During the barbecue that followed, Lucifer behaved himself somewhat. He spoke well of Daniel’s sermon, and agreed he was a thoroughly evil son of a bitch, but he smiled a lot, grinned madly a lot, and drinking his coca cola, which was all that was on offer apart from the juices, he attempted cuddling Lucy Smith on more than one occasion. And one occasion she didn’t even resist.
‘So where do I sign up?’ Lucifer asked, as the congregation gradually started departing for the day.
Daniel looked at him sombrely, went off to the bookcase, and returned with a Haven Noahide Fellowship Rainbow Bible.
‘Read this. All of it. We have informal membership to start with. Stick with that and you can become a full time member if that is what you want.’
‘I have sinned, pastor,’ said Lucifer, slightly mocking.
‘Don’t I know it,’ said Daniel, a wry smile on his face.
‘Jesus Christ!’ swore Lucy, looking at Lucifer holding a Rainbow Bible.
‘Maybe one day,’ said Lucifer, and again tried to pinch her butt for the fourth time that day.
* * * * *
Later on that afternoon, Lucifer having hooned off on his bike, Lucy and Daniel were still in the fellowship hall, cleaning up, busy with their duties, when Lucy, finishing, sat down, and looked frontwards. The Rainbow against the far wall looked bright and happy, and she was in a reflective mood. Daniel came into the room, looked around, and looked at her. ‘It’s pretty much done. I’ll vacuum sometime during the week.’
She nodded vaguely. He sat down next to her.
Finally she spoke. ‘Lucifer Darvanius, Daniel? Lucifer Darvanius?’
‘In the end, Lucy Smith, God has an arrangement with a man of God. Especially a Karaite one. You probably know Ezekiel 18 anyway.’
‘Humph,’ she said, for she knew it well.
‘Well that’s the point, Luce. If they really get their act together, and get the hell over being such sons of bitches all the time, God will give them a break. He does it for everyone. And if Lucifer Darvanius, the devil himself, really wants to have a go at Noahide religion, and get over some of his evil, as a Man of God I have to intercede for him and give him a chance. It’s in the contract I made with God as a Karaite.’
‘I understand,’ she responded. ‘It’s just, well. Lucifer Darvanius, Daniel?’
Daniel smirked, scruffed her shoulder, and as they walked home to Daniel’s place, even Daniel could appreciate the irony of the situation, and wondered to himself just what the next little while would hold for the people of Cooma and the members of Haven Noahide Fellowship in particular.
‘It is, the Anima,’ said Aro.
‘The Anima?’ queried Kristen.
Gladitorius Vigantes looked at the spirit in the heart of Celestevere, and turned, disinterested back to his entourage. ‘The Anima is a weak and pathetic spirit,’ he began. ‘The power of nature and nothing more. And these days all it makes is rainbows. Quite pathetic stuff.’
Kristen gazed at the coalescing spiritual energy before her and, suddenly, as if in response, a rainbow appeared in the centre of it and shone brilliantly for a few moments. Then it was gone, and the Anima shrank in size, and started to scoot around the main hall, as if finding something new for the first time.
‘What is the Anima?’ Kristen asked her husband, Kardos, a little later that day, in their Celesteveran abode, down in the heart of the Nether.
‘It doesn’t concern us much,’ began Kardos. ‘It’s, you know,’ he said, waving his hand upwards.
‘You know what?’ she asked, sitting down, suddenly very interested.
‘God stuff,’ he said, looking directly at her.
‘Oh,’ she said, and looked into the fire. ‘But, what is it?’
‘The spirits of nature, all manifesting in a central point from time to time, forming itself to understand the world, presumably, to learn new things. To acquire more knowledge. Anima is the spirit of nature, the spirit of life, in a sense. It is those things we feel spiritually, the taste of the ambience of Celestevere, for example, is its own Animistic expression. It is a living spirit, the spirit of nature, but it doesn’t really threaten anybody, doesn’t really care that much. It just wants to have fun, somebody posited once.’
‘Fascinating,’ she responded.
‘And sometimes, just sometimes, people control it. Who are gifted in this spirit. The eternal spirit.’
She looked at him to try and understand what he meant, but it was vague and indifferent, such a common face on the husband of Kristen, Prince of Celestevere.
* * * * *
Flying through the heavens, returning to herself, a spirit which had controlled the Anima – the Animus host – shot like lightning across the sky, passing over the east coast of Australia and, just as suddenly as it had travelled by instinct, it arrived back in its body, and its eyes jolted open.
‘She’s back!’ yelled Daniel, looking down at Decadence, whose eyes had quickly started flickering.
Lucy and Shelandragh came over instantly and helped Decadence to her feet.
‘Fuck! What a rush!’ said Decadence. ‘It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced.’
‘It certainly works differently in you, by the looks of it,’ commented Shelandragh May. ‘What exactly happened?’
‘It’s like I was instantly drawn to a place, to witness something or to see somebody. It felt as if there was this compulsion within me which needed to be satiated and I flew out of Australia, over the ocean, to America. And across the land and suddenly down beneath the world, in a dark and haunting world, like where a hobbit lives.’
‘It was a nether,’ said Shelandragh, knowingly. ‘There are a number around the world. Where the undead live.’
‘It was intense,’ said Decadence. ‘I spent several minutes just wandering around, and there was a woman, a beautiful woman, who I think I had been drawn to. Someone who was going through a trial of the heart, I think.’
‘Well, you’re back now,’ said Lucy.
‘I’m going to do this again,’ said Decadence. ‘Now that we know I have this power. This power, like your’s Lucy.’
‘It was obvious after a while,’ said Shelandragh. ‘That you had latent abilities in animistic awareness. This is just a way we brought your talent to the fore.’
‘Amen,’ responded the excited Decadence.
The four of them were in a field in Chakola, around Midnight, in a circle with a Septacle made by white rocks. At each corner of the 7 pointed Septacle a lantern was burning. They had invoked an Archangel’s Septacle for protection from evil, for the 7 Archangels of God would intervene should any problems occur.
‘Daniel yawned. ‘Can we go? I’m sleepy.’
The girls nodded and, as they trudged through the field back to the dirt road and got into Daniel’s van, Lucy drove them home back to Minoxxia, an exciting night’s adventure providing likely to provide animated conversation for the next few days.
* * * * *
Lucy sat down at the little park near the pool. She was happy. Perhaps, for the first time, in a very long time, she was happy. Enrique was nowhere to be seen, but she didn’t really worry about that much now. They were not married, and perhaps never would be. Things had ended between them, perhaps even amicably. No, she didn’t necessarily need Enrique around, for another long friend had captivated the heart of Lucy Smith. Danny Daly. He was a dowdy fella in many ways, old and set in his ways, conservative. But soft. A strong heart, but soft. Gentle even. He had a streak of sarcasm, but an equally strong sense of responsibility, and kind mannerisms and demeanour. Kind hearted in general. Cute, somewhat. A little fat, which he had long been, but tolerable. She remembered long ago when he had been even somewhat chubby, but had managed to finally get that under control. He was also intelligent and thoughtful with his words, unless he was arguing with God, in which case, due to his schizophrenic condition, you could hear him practically cursing Jehovah for this or that inane issue, only to hear him apologizing profusely to God later on in the week. Quite ironic.
And wealthy. Oh, she had all the resources in the world available to her, but he communed to her much of Karaite Noahide general faith in the point in life on earth and much of that was the acquisition of wealth. What you acquire in life is what you acquire in life, Daniel was wont to say, implying that your heavenly reward was what you had acquired in life, plus an extension of associated rights pertaining to these things. It was a complex theology in some ways, but she got the gist. And in his databases of items he had owned in life, and either let go of, recycled or sold, for you only had to own an item for a decent time period, he had a great many choice items which she practically coveted. Things impossible to get now. It was certainly not true that she was only interested in him for his prospects and wealth, but it was also a factor. Yet, perhaps the main reason, there were not really many of them left. On the planet. The aged ones. The elect of sorts. There were thousands once. Now a few dozen. And she knew them all, those who had revealed themselves anyway. In terms of serious relationships now, apart from Enrique, who she was never quite sure it would ever work out with or not, for anybody even approaching a contemporary there were very slim pickings. But Daniel sufficed none the less. And her heart also loved him somewhat. Eternally? Who could say? Perhaps even Lucifer might win her there. But for now she enjoyed her time with Mr Daly, and was happy, content and at peace with her simple and quiet Cooma life.
Yet Jane Smith. Decadence. The new girl. She had the spirit – the animus in her – and could control anima instinctively. That was something new, and perhaps Jane would join them for however long their sojourn on God’s Good Earth had left to them.
Decadence had known, when speaking in the presence of Lucy and Shelandragh about Magic, almost straight away. She had said that there was always something within her, but now she felt it acutely. And then Shelandragh had cast a spell of calmness over her, and felt her spirit with her intuition, noting the strong animism within her. So they had done the Septacle at Chakola, finding the white rocks, and placing Decadence within it. And she had closed her eyes, and suddenly the spirit had left the body.
What were these gifts? Where did they come from? The plan of creation, she guessed. She knew the Dark Magic, from Daniel’s sermons, was ultimately from God, but almost as a test. But animism was friendly. What purpose did it serve? Where they lightbringers, guardians of mother nature, to use their talents for the good of humanity? That seemed the most likely purpose, for which her witchcraft, theoretically, served all along anyway. She did that occasionally. Took a client. Read a fair number of fortunes now, for that was in demand a lot. But occasionally someone sought a romance spell or a good luck spell, or some other blessings. And there were those who sought curses. Those she turned away.
Was she a Primal of creation? An architect of good fortune? A benevolent servant of the common good. Supposedly, in the end, that was it. The common good. Using white witchcraft for the betterment of mankind. And then there was the dark side. Always the dark side.
Lucy Smith was a moral lady. That was her choice. She wouldn’t flinch from it either. She sought good things for others, and believed in the power of love and life. That was what it was all about. It was just a pity, though, that not everyone always felt the same way, and challenges had come because of it. Yet she would stand firm, and resist the devil as it were, and walk on, in her faith, in her gifts, and continue to find that passion and magic in life which had enlivened her soul for these many long years since her childhood. And praise God because of it.
* * * * *
‘I know she is young, Lucy. But you were once, remember.’
‘Heaven’s above, Shelandragh May! Decadence is not exactly what I was like. She is a very different kettle of fish. I’m just worried about her, ok. The kind of power which seems to be in her, how will she handle it? People often do reckless things when they are young, you know. Yes. You would know, wouldn’t you,’ she said a little guiltily to the nodding Shelandragh May whose eyebrow was raised as she poured out the tea from the kettle.
They sat down in the back kitchen of Minoxxia, at the old table, and Lucy continued. ‘She needs guidance. Someone to watch over her at the very least. A mentor. Like the way you have watched over me all this time.’
‘And who would do that?’ asked Shelandragh, sipping on her tea.
Lucy said nothing. ‘I mean, somebody. Somebody we know, at least. I don’t know. Alfric? Darren, maybe?’
‘I’m wondering, Lucy Smith, if you really already have someone very specific in mind. I can read thoughts, you know.’
Lucy glared at her. ‘Come on, Shelandragh. I’ve lived under your watchful eye long enough. I can have my own pupil, surely.’
‘I dare say young Jenny, with the things I’ve noticed in her, will be enough for you to handle soon enough, but, yes. I do hear what you are saying. But it’s a free world, remember. She is under no compulsion to submit to your tutelage.’
‘I know. It’s where I thought you could help. She respects you. Sort of looks up to you as a motherly figure. Perhaps you could say something.’
Shelandragh again raised her eyebrow, but did not comment.
‘Put in a good word for me. Tell her about how well I have studied with you and all my experiences.’
Shelandragh bit into a Tim Tam, but remained silent.
‘Unless YOU want to mentor her, that is.’
Shelandragh sipped on her tea and gazed at her student. ‘I think, for the most part, the lecturing days of Shelandragh May are mostly at an end. I feel it, you know. The ticking of the clock. I’m not going to be here forever, Lucy, and I really am starting to show my age.’
’50 at most,’ smiled Lucy.
Shelandragh yet again raised her eyebrow.
‘Well maybe 60,’ said Lucy softly.
‘Which is why I am about ready for retirement. No, if young Jane Elegar Smith is to find a place of friendship to help her understand her gifts, it is probably in someone a little younger, a little closer to her age.’
Lucy smiled, and gave Shelandragh a hug. ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you. You will speak to her then?’
‘I’ll speak to her. But I can’t promise anything. The girl is obviously quite a free spirit and will make up her own mind. But I sense she trusts us and likes what we represent. I’ll have words with her.’
Lucy hugged Shelandragh again, and wandered off to the room Shelandragh had long given her in Minoxxia, to write in her diary about all the wisdom she was just yearning to impart.
* * * * *
Lucy was looking through 'Witchcraft in Australia', one of the magazines she subscribed to. It had the Archangels Septacle in the issue she was looking at, a special from a few years back. She thought on Decadence, and how it had protected her from harm. Angels. Saving witches, of all people. How did they do it? They would apparently be alerted if complications arose. It was, in many ways, a mystery to Lucy Smith. But she was a lady well acquainted with mysteries. That had been her long life in many ways. Enigmas, contradictions, paradoxes. A long life, against the laws of nature one would normally assume, but they were elect, weren't they? Daniel assured her of that. Chosen by God. Special to God.
She put the magazine down, and picked up her Rainbow Torah, and read the 'Creation' section. 6 days work, 1 day rest. It was something she had slowly been working on. Resting for the good pleasure, she assumed, of God Almighty. But it worked. It helped her organize her life and work to deadlines when she needed to. But it was a free life, in many ways. She still had sums from ancient gold on ancient quests, well invested monies as well. She was still, financially, well off, for had not been foolish enough to squander her hard won inheritance. God, she believed, organized this in the life of Lucy Smith. Took care of her, and lead her on in her own pathway of salvation. And now? Now she found the Haven Assembly hall, in Cooma North, when they were in there and it was quiet, or Daniel had put on a soft Noahide music album, that she felt spirit. Strong, holy spirit. Beautifully enhanced from the nature around them, and the unique spirit she had grown accustomed to from Haven. Was this the love of God for his elect? This spiritual bliss. Romantically she couldn't complain. She was neither lonely either, and Shelandragh was also her salvation in many ways. An eternal friend and confidante she now believed. Special to her. The mother, in a way, which had gone from her years ago.
But God was always there. Watching her, she felt. Encouraging her heart, teaching her soul, loving her self. God. And he was good, she ultimately concluded. A kind and benevolent loving father, watching over her waking hours and guarding her sleeping dreams. God. What could she ever do without him?
She put the bible away, and laid down on her bed, and, just because, sang soft alleluias, and watched the trees blow in the breeze outside her window, and found the peace of nature and, she imagined, the peace of God. And it was bliss.
Lucy sat on the sand, and watched the sprite wander about, the little faerie as playful as ever.
'Oooh, Lucy Smith. You do like that Daniel, don't you? Have you screwed him?'
'Minxy!' exclaimed Lucy. 'What a question to ask.'
'Oh, lighten up, you old fuddy duddy. What is life without a bit of the naughty. Boring. That's what it is, I tell you. God boring.'
'God's not boring,' smiled Lucy.
'Oh, for heaven's sake. Father lectures me occasionally on Sprite divine lore. God is the most boring being in creation.'
'He created, remember,' said Lucy.
'Yes. Boredom,' smirked Minxy.
Lucy grinned, despite herself.
'You know what else he created,' sparked the sprite.
'What?' asked Lucy.
'Farmers,' stated Minxy proudly.
'Here we go,' said Lucy.
'Take that current flock up there. Bridges. Still bloody Bridges. Don't they ever leave Chakola?'
'I don't think they ever will,' responded Lucy. 'They belong here, I think.'
'They are all the same, you know. Just like all those gone before them. David was boring enough. God, shear the sheep, fix the bloody water pump, milk the cow. Boring.'
'I am not sure if there ever were cows in David's day,' responded Lucy smiling.
'No. Because the cows died of boredom,' smarted Minxy.
'Very funny,' said Lucy.
'They don't change, you know. Farmers. Same old stupid conversations about political parties, and banks, and loans, and sheep. Always bloody sheep with the Bridges brothers. Jesus. They have no bloody imagination.'
'It's what they do well,' said Lucy.
'It's all they do well,' responded Minxy.
'Your too harsh,' said Lucy.
'Well, perhaps,' smiled Minxy. 'But at least Jayden was intelligent. Didn't take after the farm like his dad. Left that to silly little Blake.'
'I remember Blake,' said Lucy fondly. 'He was kind and true.'
'There all the same though, in the end. Boring. Boring, boring, boring.'
'And your the life of the party?' inquired Lucy gently.
'Exactly,' replied the sprite, and continued on dancing around in front of her.
Later on, back up at the old schoolhouse which had been converted, and was still essentially the same building which Lucy now owned, she looked over some of her old photos of the Bridges who had come and gone and her mother. Memories. Long and old memories of past friends, good friends. She sat there, somewhat melancholic, and cried after a while. Oh, to see them again. One day, she assumed. Inevitably one day. She would eventually get old – eventually. And go off, then, to the reward in the skies. To be reunited, once again, with lost loves and old and good friends. And, to quote Minxy, even boring ones. Even boring ones as well.
* * * * *
'You guys never get old,' said Minxy to the Extreme Kings, Cooma's worldwide smash rock and roll band of several years ago. They had since retired from the limelight but, having met Lucy Smith, found themselves getting older and older and older yet Summerland never really leaving them, ever, it would seem. They were still never getting old.
'One day, though, you finally will,' said Minxy.
'I'll take that as a compliment,' said the Bass Player.
'He'll die before me,' said the guitarist.
'I'll outlive you all,' replied the drummer.
'And Minxy will probably still be here a thousand years from now, having fun with your great-great etcetera grand-children,' said Lucy.
'Ooh, I hope so. But I don't think I have that long left. I am starting to show a little, you know. There are – slight wrinkles. Daddy is very old now, and doesn't really have long left. But I don't have forever, Lucy Smith. Even Sprites go off to their reward one day.'
'And what is that reward?' asked the Bass player.
'The same as everyone who inherits life eternal. Echoes of life, forever and ever and ever. But every time through, every time we repeat, we continue to learn more and, you know what? So our lore teaches us? You enjoy it more and more every time, even when you have gone over it countless times. Everything you know and treasure becomes immeasurably dear to you. It is life eternal, and it always was the plan of God for it to be a happy one.'
'Fascinating,' said the drummer. 'Tell me more.'
And so Minxy entertained the Extreme Kings all that day with tales from her lore and their beliefs as Sprites, and the band sat listening all day, and Lucy sat there too, lost in her own world of thoughts, about the future, about life and about good friendships. Elect friendships which also had endured the test of time.
* * * * *
Aro sat in his Italian abode. The victim was blindfolded, seated on a chair, awaiting his kidnappers next move.
'What do you want with me?' he finally asked, as his gag had been removed.
'Take him to the turtle room. Undo his hands, and put him at the far end. See if he has any intellect.'
The kidnappers responded to Aro's command, and took the victim to the end of the large hall and opened a complex looking door, which opened into a blue room, with water in the bottom of it, with a spiked pole running along the centre of the room above the water. On the far end of the room was a platform. The kidnappers, thought, hooked themselves into a rail which ran along the top of the room, and pushed a button, as they three of them were hauled to the stand on the opposite side of the room. They undid the victim's hands, and left him there on the stand, returned the way they came, and closed the door.
Daniel, sensing they had gone, took off his blindfold. 'Fuck,' he swore, looking around the room. He looked down, into the water, and there seemed to be creatures at the bottom of it. There were no exits, but across the spiked pole at the other side of the room, from which they had brought him in, was a metal door with intricate looking locks on it. He stood, realized it was probably a challenge, and started carefully making his way across the pole. It wobbled a little, and turned a little, but he made it, avoiding the spikes.
He looked at the locks. There were dials which had numbers, and between each set of 7 dials was a number between them. This could take a while, he thought.
17 hours later he had gone through various ideas, and was thirsty, but the water looked too distasteful to drink. Finally he assumed the number between the dials was the total number of each lock. And, after another 7 hours of combination adjustments, thirsty as anything, he slipped the final dial into the solution, and the door suddenly cranked open.
He walked through, and was in the room he had come from. Aro was at his desk, writing, and there was a lady he didn't recognize sitting next to him.
He came in gingerly, only clothed in his T-Shirt and shorts, with no footwear, and looked at Aro, he looked at him briefly, and returned to his notes. Daniel looked at him and realized the truth – they could do what they wanted with him if they wanted to. He looked around, saw a bench against the wall, and sat down. And waited.
Kristen Stewart looked at Daniel half a dozen times over the next hour and, finally, touched Aro's shoulder gently. 'Well?' she asked him.
Aro looked at her. 'Oh, for heaven's sake. Take him then. We were only having a little fun. Pity you don't appreciate it,' he said with a smirk.
'Daly is very soft,' she replied. 'He has never threatened any of your kind, and never would. You should leave him be.'
Aro looked at Daniel briefly, considered him, and then returned to his notes.
Kristen stood and waved at Daniel to come over.
'Come with me,' she said, and led him outside.
'Its a north Italian village,' she said. 'Do you need any more info than that?'
He looked at her. He didn't know her at all, but something seemed almost familiar.
'No,' he responded and, walking down to the water spire, sipped, waved goodbye to her, and turned northward. He would walk to the UK.
A number of weeks later he was in the flat he owned in London, having a shower and, clean, came out and checked the flat safe. He found some spare ATM debit cards with what would be considerable spare cash in each account, rang Lucy at home, who finally answered later that night.
'Where the hell are you?' she asked him.
'London. It was Aro. Having fun again. He's done this twice now. His idea of a practical joke. I met a lady. She seemed familiar, but I've never met her before. She might be very old also.'
'You coming home?' Lucy asked him.
'Next week. Seeing as I am here, I'm going to Hull for a short holiday. Watch a soccer match and see some relatives.'
'Don't take forever,' said Lucy.
'I won't,' responded Daniel.
* * * * *
'Magic – is Eternal,' said Alfric, puffing on his favourite pipe.
'So our jobs are secure,' responded Darren Merryweather, sitting by the window of Alfric's office in the Canberra Ministry of Magic.
'For the time being. Yet we are in a conundrum – an eternal conundrum. The Ministry of Magic was formed long ago to regulate the affairs of wizards and witches in the old world. To, as it were, bring an aura of respectability to what had become viewed as the domain of evil, the devil of the faith.'
'We draw on Dark Magic,' responded Darren. 'We all know this, deep down. That it is far from divine, the power we use. Yet we use it for good, despite the apparent contradiction.'
'Yet not all of us,' responded Alfric. 'The world these days is beset with figures and organisations which use the power to further no good, but their own ends. And it would seem it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Magic to watch over this and fight against it. We are attempting to make life easier for people with our skills, when they seek us out for employ. Not turn them over to slavery to our will.'
'The Hellfire League. As an example,' prompted Darren.
'And those of Celestevere and the other nethers who still prey upon the children of men.'
'Yet those are fallen,' responded Darren. 'We were born with these gifts within us, inherited from our parents. The netherworld plunged headfirst into the temptations of the Dark Magic.'
'They ate the whole of the forbidden fruit,' said Alfric, and momentarily touched the bible on his desk.
Darren looked squarely at Alfric. 'What are you driving at?'
'The Circle of the Rainbow Coven,' said Alfric.
'And what is that?' asked Darren.
'An idea. An idea I have for the completion of our task. For the winning of our task.'
'Do you care to explain?'
'I have prayed,' said Alfric. 'To God. And put my request to him in writing, and burned it upon an altar in my back yard in Deakin. It had 14 names on it. 14 of the elect ones among us who have survived still to this day. Us of the Aged.'
'And they are the Circle of the Rainbow Coven?' asked Darren.
'And their task?' queried Darren.
And Alfric looked at Darren, and smiled, and touched his bible once more gently, yet spoke not one word more.
Lucy sat with Minxy on the sand of the Chakolan fjord, looking out over the countless grains of sand. She sat there, and she felt it. A spirit. An old spirit in the place, hauntingly familiar. A spirit which had been created from though, philosophy, deep contemplation of life and appreciation of God's creation.
'That's Daniel,' said Minxy softly.
'Huh?' asked Lucy.
'I know what you are thinking, Lucy. I can sense your thoughts, sort of. Your aura is making it clear what you are thinking about, and I notice certain familiar energy patterns.'
'I'm not thinking about Daniel,' she said to the sprite.
'You just don't know it. I remember. When he was here. It was before we got active with you, before you were even around hardly. I think he was younger, in his youth sort of, and when Brigid and David had been together just a while. He was down here on the farm, probably having a schizophrenic episode, and he came out here one day. Sat on the sand, and I felt him. It was just like it is around here, and he was perfectly one with the place. And then came in thoughts of God and nature and birds and creation. And spirit – deep spirit. So deep, with a dark undertone of the depression and darkness he had obviously been through. It was so intense. So real. I still feel him, that spirit, wandering around here from time to time. I sense him. And when I see him these days I can tell him still. He's changed, grown older, a lot happier and a lot cheekier. Matured as well. But its still the same Daniel. The same thinker. The same introspection. Its why I love him.'
'You love Daniel?'
'Oh, don't be silly. Not in any way like that. More as a respect for another person. He's wonderful on that deep stuff. Very polished thinker. Shy, in his heart, and nervous about tougher people, especially men. So sensitive. But so deep and thoughtful. He's great to be around.'
'Oh,' said Lucy. 'I have noticed certain things about him.'
'Talk to him sometime. Deeper. Not just superficially. There are reasons for why he is so religious and why he thinks the way he does.'
'I might do that,' said Lucy, and stretched out on the sand.
Beetles ran across her legs, but she didn't mind, as she gazed up at the clouds, and a light shower of rain ran across her. 'Life is good, you know Minx. I don't know, why I am saying this really. Perhaps I am still too young too appreciate it, and in ways I feel so young. Like I am still the witch Lucy Smith, pupil of Shelandragh May, who will one day grow up, but for now is full of spells and books and adventures. But I have grown up, you know. I'm not a little girl anymore. And while so many have gone from my life, off to the great beyond, I feel different for those experiences and different from the rush of fancy I went through growing up. Its not fancy any more. You know. Life. Its not about fancy shmancy, and this and that boyfriend, and even having cool adventures and being a most remarkable witch. Its not about that. Oh, I suppose it can be, if that is what you are looking for and if that is what you are into. I do defend my youth ok. But, I don't know......' she trailed off.
'You are growing up,' said Minxy.
Lucy looked at the sprite. 'Yes. I guess so. Growing up,' she repeated.
'It happens to all of us Lucy Smith. Even one as humble as yourself.'
'Thank you Minxy the Sprite,' she said kindly.
'But I still like the boyfriend bit,' sparkled the sprite, and flew up into the sky, and exploded a lightstorm.
'And I am sure you always will,' said Lucy Smith, and giggled and laughed and laid on her back, happy with everything, happy with Minxy the Sprite and happy with the world.
Laura Canterbury was a dedicated fan of the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs Rugby League side, but only because she was born there, she told people often. Not because of the similar names. Yet she now resided in Cooma, Cooma North to be precise, and was a happy and content 23 year old young woman, in a new town to live life again after some unfortunate encounters in Sydney with boys and their friends which were not in her best interest. Her father had died when she was younger, and her mother was full of depression and drugs and was no good to her and so her sister, who had to take her in said to her one day, 'You gotta run away. To live again. This place will kill you. Henry takes care of me, but those boys you are running with with kill you in the end, sweetie. Marco is lovely, but his mates. Jesus Christ! If they are not in fact mafia, I don't know who is.'
So Laura packed her bag, and kissed her sis, and dropped by her mothers who was too wasted to say anything, and headed for the Central network of trains, and went on a trip.
She ended up in Canberra hours later, and then decided to take a bus further south. The bus stopped at Cooma on its first stop, so she got off, liked a cafe, and decided not to reboard. And there she sat, in the cafe, $200 on her, her suitcase with a change of clothes, and not much else. Just last year.
Today she rented a small flat on Sharp Street which was not too expensive, covered by her Jobsearch allowance from Centrelink, because there never was any work in Cooma, but the rents were affordable. She filled in the form faithfully and lived in her flat and watched her TV till just two weeks ago. Then she met Daniel, who offered her a room in his Cooma North abode, because she had taken an interest in Haven Noahide Fellowship, and the two of them had chatted about this and that, Laura mostly impressed with his ancient collection of Bulldogs trading cards, which must be worth millions she thought to herself. She didn't really know his age. He never really said.
'What is Haven to you, Lucy?' asked Laura.
Lucy looked at their flatmate. 'Something different from the regular. But, these days, the only surviving religion practically anyway. So much worldliness now. So much hatred of God practically, even to mention his name.'
'Aussies don't care about that shit,' said Laura. 'Its old fable. Evolution is fact now, and sin rules.'
'Oh, God. Don't be a fundamentalist,' said Lucy. 'I know people have chosen lifestyles which aren't for the best, but use the 'S' word and its nothing but trouble.'
'The bible is clear,' said Laura. 'That is what it is.'
Lucy began a sermon. 'Life progresses. History moves on. The history of the bible is the spiritual history of that period. But there is more factual and more true history beyond that. Not every spiritual paradigm was represented in that work. There is more to life than whales and lions, dear Laura.'
'Very funny,' said Laura, but smarted a bit from her newborn zeal for the Word.
'Don't be too extreme or you will never get along. Don't compromise your faith, sure. But learn to have a bit of grease to oil the engine, and grease is dirty stuff, ok. Don't be too puritanical or everyone will hate you. That itself is a religious truth we all have come to know.'
Laura looked at Lucy quizzically. 'You seem to talk from a lot of experience.'
'I've been around,' replied Miss Smith.
'Ok. I'll level off a little. Sorry if I offended you.'
'Oh, you didn't offend me Laura Canterbury. Its just that I know many people who you just might tick off, and you wouldn't want that now would you?'
Laura thought on her friends in Sydney and nodded softly.
'Then how do you live your faith?' asked the girl to Lucy.
'By learning what works and what doesn't. By being patient and true and faithful. By being merciful and loving, yet keeping the commands of God and walking with him each day. By keeping the faith in the long walk, Laura Canterbury. By keeping the faith in the long walk.'
'Then that is what I will do,' said Laura, and Lucy looked as the girl lit a cigarette, turned to the TV, and lost interest in the conversation, but with a confidence and a knowingness which Lucy Smith found all too familiar.
Decadence was in a mood. 'I can defeat Damien,' she said to Lucy. 'I know it. The power is within me.'
Lucy, sitting in her Cooma address, smoking a cigarette, looked over at the ambitious girl. 'Sometimes, I think, while I was green once, I wasn't stupid. You don't want to mess with Damien Darvanius, Decadence.'
'She's being stupid,' said Laura, looking at her cards in the game of Whist the 4 of them were engaged in.
'She's young and ambitious, aren't you dear,' said Shelandragh, also looking at her cards.
'She's perfect for Haven, then,' said Daniel. 'New blood always means new life, and often a bit of excitement. But don't mess with Darvanius, Decadence. You will find he's a nasty piece of work.'
'Aren't you all bothered by his presence. His constant ability to be able to threaten you all? I would have that dealt with – once and for all,' said the young and ambitious Jane.'
Lucy spoke up. 'We ARE dealing with him. The elect are working him over and we are getting towards a conclusion of things in time. We have eternity ahead of us to deal with Damien,' she responded, puffed on her ciggie, drank some Coke, and looked at her cards.
'All so bloody confident. I'm gonna teach him a lesson.'
'It would be interesting to see who learns their lesson,' said Daniel, and borrowed a ciggie of Lucy's and lit up.
'Yeh, it will,' said Jane, and her idea ticked over yet one more time.
Lucy continued walking up Mittagong road. It was beautiful weather, and magpies were all around, some tempted to swoop her, but she was experienced at dealing with them. Swooping magpies happened a lot in Cooma. It had been a busy enough week and she was working at the moment in one of the cafes on Sharp Street for a few months, just to do something new for a while. Laura had been hanging around most days, as had Jane, but Jane wasn't there that morning, so she decided to walk up the road to Danny's to see if she was with him.
She walked up the road, and noticed the sign turning off to Bradley Street and Cooma North. Michael Bradley used to live at Number 6, and she could see the house just from where she was. Funnily, in the 1980s, Daniel also lived at the same address, for he grew up in Berridale and then Cooma. But it was a small town, a small world in many ways and she was used to many coincidences now. She often wondered what happened to Michael Bradley, how he ended up. She'd never really seen him after a certain point and life just drifted on. But that was what it was like – life. Drifts on. Things come in and become dreams, and so do other things and while some dreams live on, some dreams die. But that was just life. You want along with the eternal, which is why she went with Daniel now. He was eternal. She believed this. It was the Rainbow Covenant – an Eternal Covenant – and she would never shift from that truth. All other religions were forgotten now, for she was grounded on Karaite Noahide faith and the the Rainbow Bibles, and would stick with them for all eternity. All her prayers had been built on this foundation and she was happy. She would never leave it now.
She continued up the road, passed the various schools, and got to Daniel's house. The door was open, and she found Daniel in the kitchen drinking coffee.
'You seen Decadence?' she asked casually.
He shook his head.
Lucy looked at him. 'Well?' she asked him.
'I don't know. Maybe she is at her place.'
'Oh, fuck it. Ok, can you drive me. I walked.'
'Sure,' he said, sipping on his coffee. When they got to Jane's place, it was empty, with nobody home.
'Where is she?' asked a perplexed Lucy.
'Let's try the town,' said Daniel.
After a few hours of searching in vain, they agreed to go to Shelandragh's. That should have been one of the first places to check. They had tried her mobile many times, but Jane had not answered.
They got to Bunyan, and Shelandragh just looked at them with a confused look on her face.
Daniel looked at Lucy, suddenly remembering a conversation. 'She hasn't, has she? Gone off Devil hunting?'
'Oh, for Jesus' sake,' said Shelandragh. 'Come inside. I need to think.'
They called Laura first of all, who said she hadn't seen her, and then they began to worry.
After some consideration, Shelandragh suggested a Septacle be formed to locate the girl. As the afternoon wore on, Lucy was growing in concern, but tried to calm down watching the afternoon TV lying against Daniel, who seemed ever more comforting.
Shelandragh came in around 6 and said the Septacle was ready and that they would start at Midnight.
'I have a bad feeling,' said Lucy, 'that she is not in the best of places. A really bad feeling, Shellie.'
'Don't worry,' said Shelandragh May. 'Just trust, you know. Just trust.'
Midnight – they began the work of the spell – and when Shelandragh came out of it, she looked a them both. 'Hellfire League Castle!' she said, and instantly vomited on the ground.
They were all gathered in Canberra, at Alfric's place. 'I go. Alone,' said Lucy. First to Jonathon's. Then I will be back here soon. Don't do anything, ok. He wants me. He has always wanted me.'
Daniel spoke up. 'Then don't you think you should be the last person we surrender to him?'
'That's life, isn't it Danny. It has a fate to it. A destiny. We can't always escape it. We never really can, in the end. It catches us up when it needs to. We may delay things for a while, but destiny always has the last word. I'll be ok. Back before you know it.'
The gathered ones were sombre, and as Lucy went, Daniel went to the front window, and watched as she drove away. 'God be with you, Luce,' he said softly. 'God be with you.'
Yet she didn't go to Jonathon's. She went straight to the Hellfire League castle. It was open, and as she wandered in she couldn't help but believe it was a trap. Suddenly the Jester appeared.
'You again. Freak,' said Lucy.
'Lucy, Lucy, Lucy. What a fine maiden we have for our entertainment. Gosh, I'm glad you showed up sweetheart. What would we do without you?'
'Humph. I would have worried more about my own flesh and blood, but fair enough.'
Lucy ignored that statement.
'Follow me,' said the Jester, and led her on pathway into the heart of the Hellfire League castle.
When they had travelled down into the guts of the castle, they came to a room, and entered. The queen was there, with a child. And suddenly Lucy recognized it. 'JENNY!' she screamed. 'Give me my child!' she yelled at the Queen.
The King sudden was in front of her.
'Now, now, Lucy Smith. I told you we would have the final say. If you want your child back, challenge me.'
Lucy glared at the King.
'Does the maiden Challenge?' asked the Jester?'
'The maiden challenges,' responded Lucy, looking with concern towards her child.
'Read this,' said the Jester, and flicked a booklet at her with 'Rules' written on the cover. 'You can sit there. In the corner,' said the Jester. 'Your kid is fine. Read the rules, and then we have our fun.'
And as Lucy read, keeping a careful eye on Jenny, who did seem to be mostly ok, she knew that her fate depended on her understanding what she was reading, so she concentrated, and read, and tried her best to understand the complex game of life she had suddenly found herself dealing with.
Time was ticking.
‘I have you,’ said Lucy, smiling at the King of the Hellfire League. ‘You only have one move left, and then I can checkmate you. You have to make it as well.’
‘It would appear so, young Lucy. But, dare I say, did you read the rules?’
‘I read them,’ she responded.
‘And how much time do we each have per move?’
She thought about it. ‘7 minutes, as I recall.’
‘And how much time is left on the game clock?’
She looked at him, suddenly nervous, and looked at the clock.
‘Six and a half minutes,’ she responded.
‘And in the case of a draw?’ he smiled, looking at his opponent.
She didn’t know. She picked up the rule book and, coming to the passage, read:
‘In the case of a Draw, the challenger to the King acknowledges, in their own signed blood, they agree to the King retaining his prize for a period no less than 12 years. Further, the challenger may be made an example of, in the customary manner, yet not unto any pain or death.’
‘Bastard,’ she said, as the king lit his cigar, and the time ran out.
Jenny, over in the corner, being nursed by the queen, burped, and cried a little, but was subdued by the queen.
‘But, she’s my baby,’ said Lucy forlornly.
‘In 12 years,’ responded the King. ‘You will honour our agreement, won’t you?’
Lucy looked at the signed document, signed with her own blood. She glared at him, yet acquiesced. ‘I will,’ she finally said, defeated.
And, as the time ran out, the King gathered up his robes. ‘I believe you are at our good pleasure.’
Silence, as the Queen nursed Jenny, and the King smoked his cigar.
‘What?’ Lucy finally screamed, dejected.
‘Them,’ said the King, indicating with his thumb.
And there stood Damien Darvanius, Lucifer Darvanius and the Malevolent Grimlock. Lucy almost swore.
‘You have 10 minutes, and they have a spell on you,’ said the King. ‘A tracker. You can’t hide, now. So go. Get.’
Lucy glared at the King and, giving one last forlorn look at Lucy, looked at the Dark lords of evil, and skidaddled.
Out in the outer chamber she cast her relocate portal spell, and found herself at Alfric’s in Canberra, in his lounge. Shelandragh, Darren, Daniel and Alfric were all there, and Alexander Darvanius was seated, chatting pleasantly, so it seemed.
‘Heaven’s above!’ exclaimed Shelandragh. ‘Where the hell have you been, Lucy?’
‘No time to explain,’ said Lucy. ‘They have a tracking spell on me.’
‘Who else,’ she responded.
‘Mmm. We need to get to a high place. Above the general wavelengths of magic in Canberra. It’s not as old here. Hasn’t built up yet. We can void the tracking spell if we get high enough,’ said Alfric.
‘Where?’ Lucy asked.
Alfric turned his head, as all did, and they gazed, northwards from Deakin, up towards the Centre of Canberra. Towards Black Mountain. And the tower – Telstra tower – which loomed over the city.
As they drove, hurriedly, Daniel sat nervously next to Lucy in their Car.
‘Don’t worry, Luce,’ he said. ‘They won’t get you. Not again.’
‘They already have,’ she said dejectedly, thinking on Jenny. And, breaking the speed limit, Lucy drove ahead of those following, making it to the tower with Daniel first.
They stood in the carpark, near the entrance, waiting.
‘No time,’ said Lucy. ‘I think I know what to do anyway,’ and they entered the building, which was very quiet that Sunday afternoon, barely a soul in sight, and took the lift to the main deck.
And there, as they came into the large cafeteria, stood Decadence.
‘How did you get here?’ Lucy asked her.
From the side, they came into view. ‘We brought her,’ said Damien Darvanius.
Lucy glared at Lucifer Darvanius. ‘Loyal. Yeh right, Lucifer. You never gave a damn.’
He just shrugged.
Daniel stood in front of Lucy, acting bravely, but Grimlock came forward and, after a tussle, banged Daniel on the head, who went down, unconscious.
Lucy pointed her wand and cast a fireball spell, and Decadence broke loose, running out to the lookout.
‘We have something planned for you,’ said Damien. ‘Something I have been planning a long time. And, he glared at her, yet turned, and went out to the balcony, leaving Lucy with Grimlock and the rest.
‘You can’t escape, bitch,’ said Grimlock.
‘We have you at last,’ said Zoldarius, glaring at her.
Suddenly, out on the balcony, a huge explosion, and the whole barrier was blown away which guarded the edge of the lookout. Lucy ran.
Decadence stood there, and it had started raining, and the sky was getting suddenly dark.
‘Where is he?’ Lucy asked.
Decadence pointed. Damien had climbed up to an upper rampart which surrounded the tower a little higher up, and had his hands raised.
Suddenly, the wind went wild and orange and red sparks started flying wildly from Damien’s hands, towards the north. And then, you could see it. In the distance. A vortex opening up in the north, flickering red and orange.
‘I think, this is it,’ said Decadence. ‘The devil’s final move. I suppose you will have to take it from here. Animus is finished. It can’t fight Damien. It never could.’
It always came down to this in the end. Lucy versus the dark lords of evil. Always her in the end. Always.
She looked up at Damien, and started following, climbing up a ladder, and getting ready, in her heart, for the final confrontation.
For the final wrath of Darkness.
Decadence watched as Lucy climbed, and prayed a silent prayer for her.
‘You think that will work?’ asked a voice.
It was Alexander. Somehow he had gotten ahead of the others, and stood there, for his final victory perhaps. For his final gloat.
‘Go to hell, Alexander!’ she yelled at him, but he said nothing, and just lit a cigarette, taking in the view.
* * * * *
‘Finally!’ yelled Shelandragh, as they came into the carpark.
‘Where are they?’ queried Darren.
‘There,’ said Alfric, pointing upwards.
Up, above them, the wind was howling madly and the rain was getting more and more fierce, and it was turning dark. And there, up at the top of the tower, Damien Darvanius, hand’s raised, wild and dark magic spewing forth from him, summoning a great beast. A great maelstrom.
They looked northwards, and it was slowly approaching. Dark red and orange, with black from the deepest parts of hell. Slowly approaching the tower. Slowly approaching for the final wrath of Satan.
‘We have to get up there,’ yelled Darren.
‘I know,’ said Shelandragh, but in her heart she knew. This was it. Lucy’s final test. Lucy’s final challenge.
* * * * *
Lucy had climbed up and was on the other side of the rampart, looking at Damien. He glared at her from time to time, but was concentrating on his work. She turned, and looked northwards. A maelstrom. A maelstrom of cold dark hate. All the years of anger. All the years of darkness. All the years of wrath.
Damien Darvanius’s final vengeance.
She looked at it and looked at Damien and, for once, almost pitied him. Almost pitied the cold hard soul which knew nothing of love, nothing of kindness, nothing of truth.
‘Poor Damien,’ she thought to herself. ‘Poor Damien. Poor, poor, Damien.’
* * * * *
Decadence stood on the edge of the platform. The whole barrier that guarded the lookout section had been blown away by Damien’s dark magic, and he was still there, on the tower above, hands raised skywards. The wind and rain had been getting even more furious, and slowly the dark maelstrom from the north was approaching. The lightning storm was getting more and more majestic, and as the maelstrom approached, orange and dark red flickering bolts started emerging from it.
‘You die, Lucy!’ shouted the devil at his adversary.
Lucy stood her ground on the other side of the small rampart which ran around the tower, staring fiercely at her greatest nemesis.
Alexander continued to smoke his cigarette, gazing up at Damien, and looked over at Decadence. ‘The bastard was too much for you, wasn’t he? You thought you had him worked out. That you could control that Animus within you, but it’s no fucking match for the dark magic. Not if you want to get serious sweetheart.’
‘Fuck you!’ shouted Decadence, at Alexander, but he just grinned at her, enjoying the show.
Grimlock came out onto the platform, and gazed at the girl. ‘Kill her,’ he said to Alexander.
Alexander looked at him. ‘Mmm. No. Not my code. I’m here to watch Damien claim his belated victory. If he can.’
Grimlock glared evil at him, and looked at Decadence. ‘Then I’ll kill the bitch.’
Down at the entrance to the tower, Darren, Alfric and Shelandragh were doing their best, but couldn’t find any way to open the door, and magic wasn’t working.
‘It’s just too fierce,’ said Shelandragh. ‘To rise up with a broomstick won’t work. His magic is just too fierce.’
‘He’s the Lord of Evil,’ said Darren. ‘What do you expect?’
Lucifer came out onto the platform, then, and looked as Grimlock approached his girl.
‘Don’t try and stop me,’ said Grimlock. ‘I know you have feelings for her now.’
Lucifer didn’t say anything, but just watched. Daniel, still nursing the blow to the head from Grimlock, emerged also, and looked at his enemy, approaching Decadence. And he looked at Lucifer.
‘So, Darvanius. When it all comes down to it, you really are evil, aren’t you?’
Lucifer looked at him, and looked at Decadence. He loved her. He knew it. But his allegiance to Damien was ancient.
Daniel grabbed Grimlock, when a bolt from Zoldarius sent him flying through the air, as the Dark Lord emerged onto the platform.
‘You won’t win, you know,’ said Lucy, wand ready, glaring at Damien. ‘Evil never wins. In the end. It never does. You could kill me, you know. You could kill all of us.’
‘And I will,’ said Damien, glaring at her.
‘Yes. You might. But even then you won’t win. Someone will rise up. A champion. And send you to hell. It always happens. Always.’
He glared at her, and looked upwards, spending his ancient wrath of dark magic on the approaching maelstrom.
Down below Darren had grabbed a crowbar from the van and had managed to get the ground door open. The lift was no use, so they climbed the stairs.
‘Ready to die?’ Grimlock queried Decadence.
‘Not before you,’ she replied, spitting on the ground in front of her.
‘She is a feisty one,’ said Zoldarius.
Alexander watched on, amused.
‘You know. I pity you, Damien,’ said Lucy. ‘You don’t really know much love, do you? You probably never really cared much about anyone, did you?’
‘The domain of God and his angels,’ replied Damien. ‘Not my style.’
‘No. No, it wouldn’t be.’
He glared at her, as the maelstrom continued to approach, the cascading darkness and lightstorm seen all around Canberra.
‘It’s never too late, though,’ she continued. ‘To admit it. That you need somebody. That you need – love.’
Damien looked at her. ‘It’s for fools,’ he said, eventually, in a softer tone. ‘I did, once, Lucy. But she went from me. Love dies in the end. It always has. Always will.’
‘Then love again,’ she said to him.
Alexander finished his cigarette, started another one, when Shelandragh, Darren and Alfric emerged.
‘You know, at the end of it all. When you have done all your evil, and had all your wicked way, what then? Who will be your friend? Lucifer? Zoldarius? Alexander? You will only end up killing each other. There’s a better way. There always has been.’
‘Shut up,’ said Damien.
‘Just let it go. All the hate in you. All the evil. All the resentment of God. Just let it go. It only eats at you. Only eats at your heart, and all the supposed truths you believe in, that make Damien Darvanius tick.’
‘Babe. If you only knew,’ he said, and renewed his focus on the maelstrom.
‘Then tell me,’ she said.
He looked at her.
‘Drop it,’ said Darren, aiming his wand at Zoldarius.
‘You can’t take both of us,’ said Alfric.
Zoldarius considered his foes, and lowered his wand.
Decadence managed to get to her feet, and glared at Grimlock, as Shelandragh slowly came and stood next to her. ‘It’s over, Grimlock,’ she said, looking at him.
He growled at her, but made no move.
Alexander looked on amused.
‘Evil is all I know,’ said Damien. ‘It’s all I serve. And I gave up caring a long time ago, Lucy Smith. There is no point, in the end. It’s an idiots game, and I may as well get my kicks before the Most High one finally gets sick of me once and for all.’
‘Then get over it,’ she said. ‘And try again. Try letting that light in, that you have pushed away for so long.’
He looked at her, long and hard he looked at her, and then lowered his arms.
The maelstrom continued whirling, fiercely, but gradually, as Damien sank to his knees, it started receeding.
‘What’s his problem?’ queried Zoldarius, looking up at the display.
‘She’s got to him,’ said Shelandragh.
‘Nonsense,’ said Zoldarius, but looked cautiously at Shelandragh.
In the mind of Damien Darvanius a decision had been made. It wasn’t about what Lucy had said. Nothing like that. It was a decision, made in the last number of years, that, in the end, evil didn’t really have much point either. God was a shmuck, but the Devil was no better. His own sense of ethic, if you could call it that, served no great purpose. And he didn’t even get a kick out of it anymore.
He looked at Lucy. ‘You win,’ he said, and cast a portal spell in front of them.
‘Where are you going?’ Lucy asked him.
The Devil gave one last look at his adversary. ‘Away from here, Lucy Smith. And I don’t know if I will see you again. For I don’t know if I even care any more.’
And a tear formed in Damien’s eye as he looked at the girl who taught him the final lesson in his repentance, stepped through the portal, and was gone.
‘Humph,’ said Zoldarius.
‘She got to him,’ said Grimlock.
The two dark lords of evil looked at their adversaries and then, Zoldarius gathering up his pride, lifted his cloak, walked past Shelandragh and Darren, and with Grimlock following, the two of them were never seen again.
‘We let them go,’ queried Darren.
‘They’re a spent force,’ said Shelandragh. ‘I don’t think they will be much of a threat any more.’
‘Thank God for that,’ said Daniel, nursing a broken arm, but grinning none the less.
‘Do you have anything to say?’ Alfric asked Alexander.
‘I have not interfered in these proceedings. Just came to watch.’
‘We know,’ said Shelandragh, as she looked up at Lucy who was climbing down the tower.
‘You could have intervened,’ said Darren to Alexander.
‘If I really thought any actions were necessary, I might have done something. It seems to have resolved itself.’
Lucy ran up to Decadence, and hugged her.
‘Have we seen the last of him, then?’ Shelandragh asked her.
Lucy Smith looked at Shelandragh May, and looked at Lucifer, standing there, not seeming to be threatening anybody. ‘What the hell is your problem, huh?’ she asked him.
Lucifer walked over to Decadence, kissed her on the cheek, and smiled at Lucy.
‘You know me, Babe. A devil to the end.’ But he winked at her, and pinched Decadence’s butt, who hit him in the arm, and as they made their way back inside the tower, he turned to Lucy, gave her a wink, and you could hear his laughter trail off, as the show came to an end.
Lucy noticed Daniel’s broken arm. ‘Oh, Danny,’ she said, suddenly concerned.
‘I’m ok,’ he said.
‘Shall I?’ she asked, holding her wand ready to heal him.
‘I’ll be ok. Natural healing. You know me.’
‘Don’t I,’ she responded.
‘Well that ends that,’ said Darren and, as the maelstrom disappeared back north from whence it came, normality returned to central Canberra and, as Lucy Smith drove her man home, who was sitting in the front seat next to her, she smiled and thought on Damien and his final choice.
For perhaps Lucifer had indeed been redeemed.
Dark Days. Lonely days. Heavy days. Sad days.
‘I miss her,’ she said.
‘I know,’ responded Daniel.
‘Why a Cathedral?’
‘Why not,’ responded Daniel.
‘You haven’t enough converts,’ stated Lucy flatly.
‘Actually. I do. There are 457 in the Monaro.’
She looked at him, for once surprised.
‘Well they certainly don’t come to fellowship hall.’
‘That is just Haven Noahide. The other’s don’t have a hall. It’s been quiet on that.’
‘Springstone. It’s a property I own. Formerly known as Cloyne. I bought it several years ago.’
‘I know Cloyne,’ she responded. ‘Roses.’
‘Yes. There’s room for a Cathedral. I will call it Springstone Cathedral. It is where 7DF will assemble.’
‘Mmm,’ she nodded.
Dark Days. Lonely days. Heavy days.
The Cathedral, now completed after 3 years of building, was quite impressive. It had been an overtime project, with a gazillion employees from all over the world, all working in harmony, all working to get the job done quickly.
‘Took em centuries, once,’ said Daniel.
‘I know,’ responded Lucy.
‘You’re sad,’ he said.
‘I miss her.’
‘7 more years,’ he replied.
‘She won’t even remember me,’ said Lucy.
‘She will. She will know. They always do. In the end.’
They sat in the Cathedral, 14 weeks, each morning, Daniel and Lucy came and prayed. Nobody else. Then the first assembly. Over 500 in attendance. It was – intense.
But she would not be consoled.
Laura started the conversation. ‘You know, Lucy. Life goes on. Cheer up. It has its down time, yes. But there are good days. She’ll be back before you can blink.’
‘Rebecca,’ said Lucy.
Laura looked at her two year old playing in the playground of the Cathedral.
‘She will always know you. My Jenny. She won’t. I feel it. In my heart. She’s gone from me. Her love has left me. Found another home.’
Laura put her arm around Lucy’s shoulder. And then the tears came. And they did not stop.
Lucy looked at the Cathedral. It was late in the afternoon, and the sun was setting. She had juice. Apple juice with her, and a snack. She wasn’t hungry. But she drank the juice and sat there. Silent. Quiet.
The wind blew. Warm and gentle, late Spring wind. And everything was peaceful. Everything was good.
‘You miss her,’ said a voice inside her.
‘Like nothing else.’
‘You gave your word, though.’
She did not reply.
‘Very well. It is broken on your behalf.’
Lucy did not know who was talking inside her, but felt better. A wave of love ran over her, and she sat there, in the wind, the gentle wind, and looked at the Cathedral. It was beautiful. An old design, with gargoyles and archangels. But it was beautiful.
Lucy turned. The girl looked about 8.
‘Mummy?’ she queried. Then Daniel let her go, and she walked over to Lucy.
Lucy watched, as the child sat down on her knee, and rested on her. She looked at Jenny. She looked at her daughter.
And then she looked at the Cathedral, and then Daniel, and then Jenny again.
‘I asked him nicely. The King. Said they were finished with her.’
Lucy nodded, softly.
Then she held her child.
And softly wept.
And softly wept.
And softly wept.
‘Jonathon and Lucinda’
Jonathon fancied himself a theologian, if that really was the word for it. He was a kiwi, and proud of it, a member of the Wellington ‘Haven Noahide Fellowship’, which had 3 members in New Zealand, himself being the only Wellington based member. Worldwide it was not a huge fellowship, not at all. But it was united to a degree and the head pastor in Canberra, Australia, Daniel Daly, seemed to know what he was talking about on spiritual matters, and seemed to minister with a degree of both positive justice and merciful grace. He stressed, in fact, in his emails that these were chief qualities which God employed with mankind. ‘Be in the Hearts of Men’, he stated to the fellowship often, something which he had stated Jehovah himself had said to him in a waking dream. The other ‘Word’ from God he claimed he had received was that it was his responsibility to build Haven Noahide Fellowship on ‘My Rock’ which was Israel, according to God’s personal revelation. Apparently his exact words to Daniel in the dream were ‘Build on My Rock’ with the impression directly given to his mind that Israel was his rock. Mr Daly took this seriously, realizing that Israel had kept faith in the covenant of Noah, by and large, when nobody else had. When nobody else cared about it. And because of this the fellowship had service to Israel for a long time, a lengthy amount of work of promoting Israel also as God’s chosen people, and being kind and good-hearted towards them. To apply both words he had received from God in this sense ‘Place Israel in the hearts of Men’, which would hopefully please God, who apparently loved his Son Israel.
Yet Mr Daly also taught this truth for Haven Noahide Fellowship – ‘Ultimately, in some ways, we have a responsibility towards being even holier than Israel. Of being more of the ‘Family Heart’ of mankind, as we are Noahide only, not based on latter covenants. As such, in a sense Israel builds on us as their covenant is built on the Noahide Covenant of the Rainbow. ‘And we must be holy and keep the faith because of it,’ maintained Mr Daly. ‘To prove ourselves worthy of what we aspire to.’
It was a lot to expect of anybody, Jonathon thought, but he was a member of Haven now and took what the head pastor taught seriously.
So if he was a member of ‘Haven’, and a theologian, what contribution could he make to the world? What could leave the mark of Jonathon Holmes on the world? What could do that?
Perhaps finally marrying his girlfriend Lucinda Jeffries would be a good idea, and getting some children. She had hinted at it long enough that it was what she wanted most of all with him. But Lucinda was a Christian, and not a Noahide. And while he wasn’t quite sure yet if that really mattered or not, he wanted to make sure he did the right thing as far as God was concerned. That much was important to him.
Jonathon worked in a Video rental store in Wellington, behind the counter, buzzing DVDs in and out through the scanners. He worked part time and didn’t do much else, thus rented an apartment, not being able to afford anything else. But he wanted to go to university and, at 23, felt he now was wise enough and old enough that he could cope with a degree, something he had been unsure about immediately after leaving school. But he had no idea what to study and prayed that God would lead him in the right direction. He would work out what he would do sooner or later. It was just a matter of time.
* * * * *
Lucinda believed in God, was a practicing Christian, but didn’t go to church and really didn’t care that much about religion. It bored her really and caused too many arguments. She liked her boyfriend, Jonathon, and really wanted to marry him, and had dropped hints long enough for him to get the idea. But the fool didn’t get the point, and she was not really sure if he wanted to. ‘Perhaps he likes it the way it is,’ she thought to herself. That hadn’t bothered her at first, but she wanted to be married. She wanted commitment and she wanted to settle. To carry on her own family traditions and have children. This was all in the mind of Lucinda Jeffries, but sometimes fate gets in the way before our hearts prayers can be answered. Sometimes destiny has its say first.
* * * * *
‘…and so the world has drawn even closer to world unity, today, with the official signing by the Asian Union to join the Western Alliance. We are uniting, and we will be one.’
The President of America, one of the key figures in ensuring that the Asian Union joined the Western Alliance, echoed off words to a rapturous applause. The world would never be the same again, Jonathon thought to himself. Never the same again.
The following day at work he was on his lunch break, looking through one of the Batman comics he bought from the store next door, when the owner of the comic store came in, Callodyn Bradlock, coming up to him. ‘Hi Jonathon. I am after a particular movie – a classic. ‘The Omen’. Do you have it?’
‘Let me check,’ said Jonathon, and typed the title into his PC. ‘Sure, we have a copy in the horror section. It shouldn’t be too hard to find. I can find it for you if you like.’
‘No, I’ll look for it.’ And he went off to look for the movie.
Jonathon sat reading through the latest adventure of the Caped Crusader, oblivious to Callodyn who had returned and was holding the DVD, staring at him. Jonathon finally noticed him and excused himself. ‘Yeh, the Omen. Cool. Classic Antichrist movie. Loved it when I saw it.’
Callodyn smiled. ‘Tell me, do you believe in an Antichrist?’
‘I’m not a Christian.’
‘Really,’ said Callodyn. ‘So are you religious at all?’
‘Uh, yeh. Noahide, actually. Based on Noah’s covenant – a biblical thing.’ Callodyn stared at him momentarily, almost as if stunned, but finally spoke. ‘Well, Jonathon, isn’t it?’
‘We may just have something to talk about. I am quite familiar with the Noahide faith. Quite familiar. I myself follow Samaritan Noahide faith established by the Israelite Taheb, amongst other spiritual beliefs.’
‘Yeh, I have heard of the Taheb. I am in a fellowship called ‘Haven Noahide Fellowship’. We are basically Samaritan Noahides as well. We hold to the Hexateuch, in a progressive mindset though, but do believe in literal creation and literal covenant. A core history in Torah is what we teach.’
Callodyn responded, quite interested in the conversation. ‘Do you hold to documentary teachings?’
‘Yeh, pretty much. I keep abreast of the latest literature on the subject. It is fascinating stuff.’
‘I think, though, it is perhaps more historical then you may have guessed, the Torah. There is a lot which I would call quite historical in there.’
‘We are open on that subject. We don’t claim to have the historical information, apart from scripture and archaeology, really. So we keep an open mind. But the picture is getting clearer, these days. A lot of work has gone into it this century. A lot of work.’
‘Would you like to come over for dinner, tonight?’ Callodyn asked him. ‘I would relish an opportunity to discuss this matter.’
‘Uh, sure. Okay. Can I bring my girlfriend?’
‘Sure. Well, here is my card. It has my address. See you tonight, around 7?’
‘That’ll be fine. See you there.’ Callodyn nodded, paid for the DVD rental, and left.
Watching him go Jonathon was suddenly quite pleased. It seemed he had met another Noahide, a rare thing, and having conversation on this issue really looked appealing. He looked forward to the night tremendously.
* * * * *
Neither Jonathon or Lucinda could really say why, but there was something about Callodyn’s wife Rachel, something which instantly connected them to her, in some way as if they had already known her personally, but didn’t know why.
But, later on that night, after they’d had a great dinner with the Bradlock’s, Jonathon recalled a strange dream he’d had a while ago. A strange dream in which he’d seen a lady and given her great honour, amongst a whole crowd who was honouring her, and somehow this ‘Rachel Bradlock’ seemed to be that lady. He could not really remember the face of the lady in the dream, but somehow he knew it was Rachel. He just knew it in his heart.
He discussed this with Lucinda, and then he was alarmed, because she related a similar dream and a similar feeling towards Rachel. And then both of them were truly puzzled. What a weird coincidence, Jonathon thought to himself. What a totally weird coincidence. And what possibly could it mean?
* * * * *
Jonathon and Lucinda gradually developed a friendship with Callodyn and Rachel Bradlock, Rachel in particular, and before they left for Canberra they had become quite close. It was destiny which drew them together – a carefully chosen destiny, crafted by Almighty God from Jonathon and Lucinda’s youth. The Ketravim were not foreknown by God in the same sense as the children and angels of God. They were, instead, simply humans. But after God chose Rachel as the lastborn of the Cherubim in a sense of the Realm of Eternity, and as the firstborn of the Ketravim, he began his task of building the Ketravim community. They would be linked, though, inevitably. And the link was that each Ketravim chosen must come into the destiny in some way of prior Ketravim. This was the most definite will of God. For this reason Callodyn and Rachel’s destiny had brought them to New Zealand, for the meeting with Jonathon and Lucinda. But, with the friendship formed, which was the primary thing, Rachel could now move on, in God’s plans, to the next Ketravim. And this was a Canberra resident. A most special Canberra resident.